Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Trump Picks a Winner

President Trump nominated Federal Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court today. I made many statements during the campaign in which I openly doubted that Trump would follow through with his pledge to nominate conservative judges. I was wrong. Very wrong.

Spend some time listening to this Speech from Gorsuch. Seems a great choice.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

On Trump's Immigration and National Security Orders

Having spent all of 2016 riding a sinusoidal wave of emotion as I allowed myself to be alternately enraged by things Donald Trump said and did, and then buoyed by the poor reactions I read thereto, I have decided to try and be far more measured in my responses to his actions as President. After all, he was duly elected, and if I actually continue to believe in Constitutionally mandated separation of powers, the system should be able to check the President where he exceeds his powers.

Which brings us to a couple of Executive Orders that were promulgated by the White House on Friday--one of which lays out restrictions on immigration to the United States, and one that directs some changes in the national security establishment, specficially designating the members of the National Security Council. In the spirit of my new "Measured in '17" approach, I have a few thoughts to share.

1.  Donald Trump won the election. As our inaugurated President, he occupies the world's most powerful office. That power is not unbounded, but it is immense. In fact, he occupies an office whose power was somewhat broadened by his predecessor, who used Executive Orders promiscuously thoughout his two terms to work around a deadlocked and feckless legislature. Until the other branches of government begin to exercise their Constitutional authority, we will likely contine to have Presidents who push the boundaries of executive power.

2.  On immigration, he is doing what he said he would do. It is somewhat suprising that anyone is surprised by his EO on immigration. He made no bones about what he wanted to do during the campaign, and he was elected anyway (see #1). There has been a great deal of hypeventilating going on about Trump's order, but I found David French of National Review (no friend of Trump) to be particularly enlightening on the facts surrounding the order. There can be no mistaking that whole classes of people have been excluded from entry into the United States in the past 40 years, including at least twice by order of Democratic Presidents. Put another way, what Trump has done is not without precedent. You may not like what he's done, but his authority to do it is broad, and he certainly telegraphed it for quite a while.

3. The immigration EO was poorly vetted and implemented. This is not a bug, but a feature, of the new Administration. And it is directly attributable to its determination to devalue those with experience and wisdom while raising the value of loyalty and zeal.  The plain truth of the matter is that either by omission or commission, the consequences of the EO as written were not subject to rigorous review by competent authority. That is because such competent authority does not currently exist in the nascent National Security Council staff, the Justice Department, the State Department, or the Department of Homeland Security. Slow to staff up and surprised by its own victory, the Administration is further hampered by opposition from many experienced national security experts and by its own political choice to exclude them from service.

4.  National Security Council membership is largely the President's prerogative. One of EO's on Friday laid out who would be the members of the Principals Committeee of the National Security Council.  Excluded (from the Obama version) are the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the Director of National Intelligence; included is the President's political strategy czar Steve Bannon. Both of these moves have a number of critics. I think it is a bad idea to remove the Chairman and the DNI--and I honestly cannot understand the logic behind it. Again though--this is BY DEFINITION a choice of the Executive, and there is little to be done about it. Inclusion of Steve Bannon is something entirely different--and merits some discussion. I don't know Steve Bannon. I know what I've seen in interviews and public appearances, and he and I do not share a common ideology. In fact, I have little regard for his brand of nationalist populism.

That said, his boss seems to value his input--and I refer you again to #1. Trump won an election--in no small part because of the political advice he received from people like Bannon. While I may not agree with them, a great number of people across the country did--and that's how they won an election. Much of the kvetching about Bannon stems first of all, from the fact that he is a political figure--and for some reason, there is a sense that the NSC should be free from political considerations. The second source of discomfort is the straight up dislike Bannon has engendered because of his politics and ideology. Let's take the first part first. I have absolutely no problem with the President inserting his chief politcal strategist an the Principals Committee, because issues of war and peace are -- here it comes -- political matters. What did Clausewitz tell us? "War is the continuation of policy by other means". We have a civilian, elected Commander in Chief of our military--a Consitutional designation, by the way. The presence of a chief political adviser on the body that serves to debate the great questions of national security is not only sensible, but I believe essential. Whether you like it of not--that person, in this DULY ELECTED ADMINISTRATION is Steve Bannon.

To conclude: Do I personally agree with the President's EO on immigration? No. Of course I don't. I didn't agree with it when he promised to do so in the campaign, and I am not in favor of it today. I believe the legal and policy review process to which it was subjected was botched, which is why portions of it are going to face difficulty in the courts (see earlier faith in separation of powers). I don't believe it represents an effective tool to achieve the goal (make us safer, exclude terrorists), and I believe its chief value was as a political instrument designed to provide his electoral supporters with a "victory." But--it is wholly within his power to do what he has done, and he appears to be doing exactly what he told us he would do.  As for the Steve Bannon's place on the NSC, I'm far more worked up about the CJCS and DNI not being on it, than I am the President's political czar being on it.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Week One

Here we are, a week after the inauguration of President Trump, and much of Washington is in high dudgeon over Trump doing much of what he has said he would do and acting exactly like he has all along. Those who thought he would somehow be changed by the office didn't pay much attention during the campaign, and for those who enthusiastically supported him, there is no desire for him to change.

It is hard for me to get terribly excited, at least in a negative way. I've been largely impressed with Trump's cabinet picks, and most of his Executive Orders have been positive (although I continue to believe pulling out of TPP -- while initially a political benefit to the Trump base, will ultimately be a liability as it creates a giant vacuum into which China will pour). I continue to support a physical barrier between the US and Mexico, and it appears that Congress is coming to the realization that the American people are going to have to fund it, as is the actual process for such things in this country.

The place I inhabit politically is an interesting one. Because I haven't taken to the barricade in anti-Trumpism, his political supporters kvetch that I am disloyal and have not climbed aboard the train, and because I was vocally against him in the election, his detractors complain that I have been co-opted. I--on the other hand--think I am right where I want to be. The system worked, we had an election, we have a new President. I will (as I've written here) be happy to applaud the things I agree with and I will--with civility and specificity--point out differences.

Big Fat Friday Free For All

What's the matter, Chumley? Can't seem to find one of them pretty pink hats you want so badly? Wifey interrupting your pleasant retirement with not-so-subtle-urgings to go back to work?

Let it all out, friend. This is a SAFE SPACE!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

What Would Cause Me to Protest?

I'm watching the events in Washington over the course of the last two days, as great crowds gather there to participate in public demonstration. Many were there to welcome the new President, and many were there to protest his ascension to the office. It is this latter group that I concern myself with here.

Clearly, something has moved them to this act--the act of public protest. There is the investment of their time and whatever money it cost to be there, so there is also a question of logistics for many. Those who protest without violence have my consistent approval. Knock yourselves out. That's what we do here---we bitch, we march, we get on TV. I don't necessarily get it right now, because my temperament leads me to believe someone should actually DO something worth protesting, rather than protesting on the basis of what they might do or what they have said they might do. But that's just me.

This process has however, led me to wonder what kinds of things might bring me to the act of public protest. I am an ideological conservative. Public protest is just not what we do. I certainly do not protest in anticipation of societal ills, and I doubt very seriously whether I could be brought to the point of marching and sign waving by the jot and tittle of our political process--meaning that when my side loses a legislative debate--I will raise noise here and on other social media, but I won't hop in my car, drive to the metro, pack myself like a sardine among others similarly moved by the political loss, and march. Put another way, I don't think you'll see a "Million Brooks Brothers March" any time soon.

No, for me to be moved to march, bright lines would have to be crossed. And so, in an effort to figure out what might drive me to the barricades, here is a framework for what would cause me to consider it:

1. The government is in some way actively and purposefully abridging the Constitutional rights of the citizenry. Short of the kind of thing Lincoln did in the Civil War, the Bill of Rights MUST mean something. It makes no difference if the action comes as the result of legislative majority. The Greeks told us long ago that the people can be a tyrant. An example? The internment of American citizens of Japanese descent in WWII. This would have brought me to the streets.

2. The government is in some way actively and purposefully enforcing the law in a manner that selectively targets groups based on their group affinity, as a matter of public policy. Had the Obama Administration been more convincingly shown to have (from the very top) targeted conservative groups for IRS intimidation, I could see myself carrying a sign in front of the IRS building. As it turned out, it looks to me that lazy (but still ideologically motivated) IRS officials DID go after conservative groups, but the lack of a direct tie to the White House seems important. That said, if it were shown that the Trump Administration was in some way punishing its enemies using the apparatus of the State selectively, this would trip my "protest" logic. But this logic applies to any administration.

3.  The nation engages in an armed conflict I consider antithetical to our interests. This is a tough one and full of interpretation. But that my friends, is what deciding whether to protest is all about. I have a rather wide "bucket" into which I place our national interests. Some are economic. Some are security. Some are reputational. And I can easily get to the point of not supporting a whole range of interventions. But one that brings me to the streets would likely have to be waged for reasons largely disconnected from even a loose interpretation of what I consider to be in the nation's interests.

Any suggestions for other criteria? I guess what it boils down to for me is the difference between how I react to a policy setback, and how I react to essential Constitutional questions.

Friday, January 20, 2017

On the Inaugural Protests

I had a snappy little exchange with a liberal friend of mine last night on Twitter. At some point in the evening when the protests began to turn violent, I tweeted something along the lines of not remembering there being violent conservative protests when Obama was inaugurated. My liberal friend then tweeted (without reference to me--so I cannot be sure that I was his target) these words "Fun watching GOPsters who were bitterly denouncing Trump several months ago, now with the vapors about the possibility of protests."

Apparently this fellow believed that because some of us strenuously objected to the possibilty of a Trump Presidency, we must therefore believe that violent protest was warranted (or should at the very least, be accepted) now that he had been elected. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. The country conducted an election, there was a clear winner by the clearly stated rules of the game, it is time to get on with things.

That there are people protesting in the streets does not bother me. Only when they turn violent do I take issue. And seeing that the man had not even yet been inaugurated, that he had not yet made a single decision as President--there simply isn't a rational excuse for violent protest.

There seems to be an expectation among those on the left that those of us who were vocally anti-Trump during the election would then turn into take-to-the-barricades radicals when he was elected. That's just not the way it works, at least not with someone possessed of a classically conservative mind.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Inaugural Balls

As political as I am, I have attended only one inaugural ball in my life. In January 1993, I was the Flag Aide to a Three Star in Washington, and one of the senior civilians in our office was a genuine, Medal-of-Honor Recipient War Hero---Tom Kelley.  Tom and I became quite close (we shared a solid Irish sense of humor), and when Clinton won the election, Tom was able to get me two tickets to the Medal of Honor Ball, which as it turns out, would be the only one Clinton and Gore attended together.

My wife and I got all gussied up (she in ball gown, me in Dinner Dress Blues) and we had a blast.

Eighteen days later, we decided to separate.

Ten months later, we were divorced.

Haven't been to an inaugural ball since.

Trump Team Getting Out the Budget Knife

Here's a story to warm the cockles of a conservative's heart. This story from The Hill lays out the broad strokes of the developing Trump Administration budget proposal, which cuts $10T in spending over 10 years, including privatizing "public" broadcasting, and eliminating funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. This is change I can get behind.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

More Navy!!!!

Some of you know that I've been engaged in an American Seapower Speaking Tour. I had a recent event videotaped, and below you can find a lightly edited version. Enjoy!

The Lowdown on the Showdown

War is upon us. So far it is an uncivil, loud and vicious war, and I think will continue to be. There will be casualties on both sides; ruined careers, ruined fortunes and ruined lives. The American political establishment has declared this war on behalf of the globalist elites. This war is waged by their foot soldiers in the 'bought and paid for' media, the academy and the federal bureaucracy against the middle-class of America. What instigated this war (their Archduke Ferdinand moment) was the presidential election of which the outcome was completely unacceptable. The elites (I make no party distinction) are full of anger, outrage and self-pity. They feel blindsided. They have convinced themselves outside influences are at least partly responsible for the result. They are beside themselves with angst believing the world is in peril without their enlightened leadership all the while knowing they could have affected the outcome, numerous times, had they just taken Donald Trump seriously. They are determined to fix their mistake.

What we are witnessing in Washington and New York is panic. In one short week a man they do not and cannot control, will take the reins of power. This situation is incomprehensible for a ruling class who think themselves the best and brightest, with not only an obligation but the EXCLUSIVE RIGHT to rule America (and much of the world). For them the notion some pleb, without their validation and approval, without a clear 'understanding' as to what the new administration's policies will be vis-a-vis their positions and power, the idea some guy like Trump could take their Presidency and expose them to the 'will of the people', well the whole thought just leaves them speechless. Trump is a festering, open wound even BEFORE he takes office, and he has to go, there is no alternative. The political establishment, and even more so the 'wanna be' establishment, hates Donald Trump like no other. The American left hated Reagan, they hated Nixon, they hated the Bushes, but that was just business. This is different. This is bi-partisan and visceral. This is FEAR!


The question is can Trump beat the establishment and what does this all mean for us? The answer is yes he can and everything.  We all know Trump doesn't fear the establishment. He's been fighting these kinds of people all his life. Plus he has at least one significant advantage. You see the guy on the bottom knows the guy on top all too well, but the guy on top has to work at knowing the people beneath him (or her). The Donald's business background has prepared him well for this job. Trump broke into Manhattan real estate AGAINST the advice of his very experienced father and Trump was smart enough and tough enough to beat them at their own game. Just consider for one second how hard it was to scratch his way to the top of that hill! He dealt with cronyism in government and unions, mafiosi, predatory banks, rules, regs and bullshit like you wouldn't believe. It boggles the mind. What Trump did wasn't free enterprise as I we know it, it was dealing with the corrupted, the criminal, the connected and the incorrigible... and he WON! This man understands how to beat a rigged game, a fact the establishment knows only too well. Hence the panic.

Regardless of how you may feel about Trump, step back a second and consider. Isn't all this what we've been waiting for? How many times on this very blog have we complained about media corruption? How many times have we pointed an accusing finger at Obama's cronyism and corruption? How many times have we seen our politicians refuse to represent us "WE THE PEOPLE" or obey our laws or hold themselves and their colleagues accountable? How much of our money will they blow? How many times will they exempt themselves from the rules they impose on us? They use and abuse us and we complain, and rightly so, but that's all we do. Now, at this moment in history, we have a rare opportunity in Donald Trump. I would even say a once in a lifetime opportunity. At any other time and place the man would be a disaster, but in our present circumstance he is Heaven sent being absolutely perfect for the job at hand. A guy with his skill-set, his mind-set, his toughness and determination showing up when we as a nation sit precariously close to the precipice, Good Grief it's almost biblical. All we have to do is hope and pray the left continues their reckless attacks, watch his back and let the guy be himself. Mark my words, if we stick by Trump he will break the back of the left, and we will get our country back.

So, if you think as I do the elites are ruining the country and destroying the greatest, most productive middle-class in the history of mankind and therefore MUST be taken to task and/or rendered powerless, that we need an AMERICAN cultural revolution to preserve our values and the rights and priviledges enunciated so well by the Founders, that the days of 'by and for the elites' and their failed globalist economics are OVER, then let's all commit to this Presidency. We owe it to ourselves, our children and our children's children to preserve, protect and defend American culture and the Judio-Christian values we hold dear. We owe it to the World as well. No other country can do what we do and still be a force for good. No one apart from we Americans can do it or will do it.

The establishment elites have a vastly different view, a view of entitlement and privilege and world governance. The believe the nation-state is obsolete. They are neither for nor against American interests, and they are standing in our way, but they will not go quietly. A war is not only necessary and inevitable, but desirable. If we want our country back we must take it and Trump is the best chance we've had in a generation. Now is the time. There is no alternative.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

CW Does Some of that Navy Magic

Doing my annual thing at the Surface Navy Association Symposium. Vago Muradian of Defense and Aerospace Report did an interview with me that may be of interest to those tiring of politics....

Sunday, January 8, 2017

From Russia With Love

Can you believe all the whining, pissing and moaning going on these days? Of course you can, we all knew the Dems would take the election hard, forgetabout the #nevertrump idiots. I personally am eating it up, their pain is my pleasure. It's wonderful to see the left thrashing about hoping someway, somehow they will find themselves back in power. I almost feel sorry for them, even though they did it to themselves and their efforts have no basis whatsoever in reality, but WTF, neither does their ideology. At this stage I am absolutely convinced they would resort to violence ON A GRAND SCALE if they thought; #1 there was any hope at all for success and #2 they could direct things from afar with no possibility of putting their own asses in harm's way. As I've said many times in the past, liberals are many, hardcore leftists few. Liberals are the storefront clerks, leftists are the shop owners in the back who rarely show their face. Liberals are do-gooder pussies, leftists are killers and thugs not the least bit shy about (how do they describe it?) cracking a few eggs to get their subjugated and compliant omelette they can eat off of for at least a generation. But before you buy into all this stuff about Russia "weaponizing" DNC emails (which apparently CW has) let's keep a few things in mind. It could all be 100% bullshit.

To start with do we indeed KNOW Russia hacked the DNC? The answer is maybe. Our Director of National Intelligence (a position created after 9/11 to act as a clearinghouse because liberals had put up so many bureaucratic impediments between our intelligence agencies the right hand didn't know if the left hand was scratching its butt or picking its nose) the venerable James Clapper is of no use on the subject. He is just another of Obama's political stooges, as are all the President's appointees. He's lied before Congress and repeatedly covered up facts that don't jibe well with the Baraq Hussein Obama official world view. In short he's a hack, I know it, you know it, and anybody paying attention knows it. So his testimony before that bitter loser John McCain's committee the other day has the same level of credibility as Rachel Dolezal's Ancestry.com profile. BTW I hear she's dating fake black dude Shaun King...or maybe they're just Facebook friends.

But having said that Lord knows none of us would put something like this past the Russians, or the Chinese, Israelis, Brits, French, Italians, Latvians or the Burkinabe if they had a God-damn computer and an outlet to plug it into. The point is everybody hacks everybody, if they can. And the fact the Democratic National Committee got hacked by SOMEBODY is NOT my problem. "But Hammer, they 'weaponized' those emails for the benefit of one candidate over another. We cannot allow our elections to be hijacked by a foreign power, especially Vlad Putin. He's so SCARY!" To which I say not nearly as scary as what was in the emails: Corruption, collusion and a laundry list of RICO predicates that would keep an honest prosecutor busy for the next several decades. "But Hammer...eh....we don't want to talk about that."

To put this in perspective, this whole business is a no more than a last-ditch effort by the MSM and the left (one and the same) to delegitimize Donald Trump before he even takes office, all the while distracting from the real criminality found in the emails. If John McCain and the bachelor (hint, hint) Lindsey Graham gave a good God-damn about the United States of America and the integrity of our elections they would be going after George Soros, Jan Schakowsky and her thug husband Robert Creamer who directed much of the violence at Trump rallies (otherwise known as a blatant attempt to affect our elections). Plus the idea that many who read this blog have bought into this narrative of deceit troubles me greatly. You need to wise up and stop being used. If Putin did it, he did us a favor!

A Trump supporter being "affected".

Thursday, January 5, 2017

It Appears the Wall Will Not Be Paid for by Mexico

The entering argument for national sovereignty is being able to determine who enters and who stays in one's country.

We have a porous border with Mexico that needs to be effectively closed.

I fully support a physical wall being built.

I believed that it was a national security imperative, and that as such it would be funded by the American taxpayer.

It appears that the President-Elect agrees. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

On Term Limits

Senator Ted Cruz, capitalizing on a subject that is near and dear to America's growing populist movement and one that also has some adherents in the mainstream conservative movement, has introduced in Congress an amendment to the Constitution that imposes term limits on members of the House and Senate.The amendment limits service to three two-year terms in the House and two six-year terms in the Senate.  My compliments to Senator Cruz for refamiliarizing the American people with a proper method of amending the Constitution (see Article V), but as bad as Congress is, things would be measurably worse if this amendment were to become law. Here's why:

1. Like any other job, being a competent legislator takes time. After a certain amount of time, one begins to acquire expertise. Once attained, that expertise is applied to law-making. Under the Cruz amendment, members of our legislative branch would not be in Congress long-enough to attain this experitise and put it to work. Power would move naturally then from the legislators to unelected bureaucrats in the administrative state. Additionally, if you think there is a "swamp" now, just wait until the day when the only folks with policy expertise are lowly paid staffers and highly paid lobbyists. And if you think there is a revolving door now.....

2.  While we may detest Congress, we love our own Reps and Senators. Why should Americans be denied the services of those deemed best qualified to represent a given polity simply because those outside that polity don't like them? I don't care for Chuck Schumer. Not one bit. But the voters he represents returned him to office in 2010 with 66.4% of the vote. Clearly someone likes him.

Here's a pretty good piece on the subject from The Heritage Foundation from 2009. I think it holds up well.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

RINO's Talk about the Future

Jonah Goldberg and Bill Kristol talk about where we are headed. A lot to like here.

It Was All Obama...and they love him for it.

I'm sure the Democratic Party is gearing up for the smear campaign of all smear campaigns. The Donald has gotten under their skin like no Republican since Richard Nixon. It's a blind, unreconcilable hatred with no semblance of reason or thought. Trump touches all the bases in the progressive playbook of hate; racist, homophobe, misogynist, xenophobic and at least ten other 'isms' or phobias I can't recall. Plus leftists feel emboldened when they see common cause with Republicans who feel as threatened by Trump as they do. But Donald J. Trump is not to blame. Donald Trump is a symptom.

The problem was Democrats, as they usually do, overstepped and over-reached. They take every election as a mandate. Most of them are well aware their ideas are unpopular and unworkable, but they have no policy discipline, no idea of what they can reasonably get away with.

BHO took office in a financial crisis CAUSED by Democrat policies stupidly left in place by a weak and distracted Republican President. Through their bought and paid for media they successfully laid the blame on every conservative since Ronald Reagan. They were well positioned to be the saviors of the middle-class resulting in Democrat rule for the next several decades. But what did they do? They set about ramming through an unpopular and unworkable healthcare takeover which not only didn't address the problems of the uninsured but actually raised cost (and limited choices) to those who did have insurance. We all know the result. Since 2008, across the board from top to bottom the Democratic Party has been devastated, and Hillary is just the latest casualty.

What I just described is the accepted, conservative view of this past election and I think there's a lot of validity to it. But I'd like to add a few points if I may.

If you were to talk (or gloat) to a committed progressive, the smarter ones would tell you they are not worried at all. They are in a happy place and look forward to a Trump Presidency. Why? Because their agenda has been advanced, significantly! Plus they are far from being powerless and this is a time for consolidation. A respite before the next big push. They would tell you elections are fleeting, temporary, of the moment. What BHO was trying to do was TRANSFORM the system, and he hasn't done a bad job, in fact they would say he's done a great job. He has put nearly a generation out of work, in debt and beholding to government one way or another. He has transferred middle-class wealth out of the country to foreign dictatorships and abused and weakened our military. He has destroyed (or nationalized) industries and natural resources. He has armed our worst enemies and created divisions among our populace designed to weaken our resolve to defend ourselves and our allies. He has flooded our country with people unable or unwilling to assimilate but more than willing to game our system. He has overburdened our social safety net and squandered our money to the point of insolvency. In other words he has weakened us as a nation unlike anything we've seen in modern history, including the Great Depression. He has made us ripe for social unrest and revolution. He has employed the Cloward-Piven, Saul Alinsky strategy like MacArthur island hopped to Japan. He indeed has been a transformational President and although he and his fellow progressives would have much preferred Hillary carry on, they are not in the least bothered by Trump. Let Trump take the heat for a while, let Trump deal with the mess, and when he fails, well you know.

Remember their strategy, one step back, two steps forward. As the tide comes in (so to speak) the progressive agenda will ebb and flow, but it never recedes as far as it was and it always advances further than it has been. THAT thinking is repeatedly drummed into their leftist heads and it's why they never quit and never get discouraged...and why they ADORE Baraq Hussein Obama.


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