Biden’s top 68 appointees have just 2.4 years of business experience

 

No surprise to learn that the Biden administration is filled with those who have little to no experience in business. One has to wonder if they are simply props in this circus called the government “running” our country. We still look to see the real people behind the curtain pulling the strings. These are the people who are going to orbit us out of this inflation spiral who still refuses to acknowledge there is a problem. Add to that:

Biden’s top 68 appointees have just 2.4 years of business experience, analysis finds – including 62 percent of officials who have ‘virtually NO private sector experience’ on their work records

Then  of course we have the diversity choices. One simply has to look at our Press Secretary and we get a triple wowzer. Immigrant off the boat from Haiti. LGBT plus, and a person of color. And of course I always have to point out, previously from MoveOn.Org. Then we had the Native American I posted about yesterday- Deb Haaland who heads up the Department of the Interior who made a total fool of herself at the hearing that was held. So on with the story:

Daily Mail:

A new report from the Committee to Unleash Prosperity claims that most of President Biden’s top officials have no business experience at all. 

Economists Stephen Moore and Jon Decker analyzed the work records and resumes of 68 officials, including Biden himself and his Cabinet members, advisers and regulatory officials. 

 

The report found that 62 percent of Biden appointees who deal directly with business matters – economic policy, regulation, commerce, energy and finance, have ‘virtually no business experience.’ Only one in 8 were found to have ‘extensive’ business experience and their average business experience was 2.4 years. 

‘These highest level people who are in charge of kind of keeping our economy on track of haven’t got the experience to deal with, you know, the logistics of managing $22 trillion economy,’ Moore told DailyMail.com in an interview.

‘You have basically lawyers and university professors and community activists that don’t have any experience with managing a big operation or steering the economy in the right direction.’ 

The report notes that Health and Human Services Sec. Xavier Becerra is a lawyer with little business or health experience, and Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg was the mayor of a small college town, South Bend, Indiana, and a management consultant before he was tasked with a $1 trillion industry in charge of transportation infrastructure.  

Energy Sec. Jennifer Granholm has two years’ business experience, while U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai has no experience and no one on the National Council of Economic advisors has any business experience. 

‘You know, so a lot of these are people you wouldn’t even want to hire to run a lemonade stand, let alone a $20 trillion economy,’ Moore said. 

The authors found that the Biden administration is staffed by those who come from law backgrounds (20), politics and government (21) and academia or policy-making (12).

Biden and Harris both have 0 years business experience, as do Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack, Treasury Sec. Janet Yellen, Labor Sec. Marty Walsh and Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young, to name a few. 

 

OMB director Shalanda Young does not have business experience but worked as a staffer in Congress and heralded as the first woman of color in this position.  Well worth the full read at the Daily Mai

CSPAN on Twitter: "OMB Director Shalanda Young testifies on 2023 Budget  Proposal @housebudgetGOP @HouseBudgetDems - LIVE at 10am ET on C-SPAN3  https://t.co/PZSOqxcEkh https://t.co/OWvClRgPp6" / Twitter

And of course my favorite gal- from an earlier post.

Shocker: Anti-Semite Karine Jean-Pierre New Press Secretary

MoveOn praised the selection.

“Karine is a talented and fiercely intelligent individual who has worked to advance progressive values, candidates and policies throughout her entire career,” MoveOn Executive Director Rahna Epting wrote in an email to the Bay Area Reporter. “Her appointment as chief of staff to our next vice president during this campaign is a testament to her level of skill and dedication. MoveOn members are proud of Karine and confident that she will make the Biden and Harris campaign to be the best it can be.”

Other than that all is well in the swamp.

For the best in conservative news push the button.

John Adams – ‘While I live, let me have a country, a free country!’

Together “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

John Adams, who was part of the Declaration-of-Independence-drafting committee, argued in favor of approving Lee’s Resolution to sever the colonies’ ties with Britain.

Today’s patriot reminds us of this.

Image

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square perform “America the Beautiful” by Samuel A. Ward and arranged by Mack Wilberg.

Wishing everyone a wonderful and happy Independence day…….

Flying the Unfriendly Skies

Travel Plans

by Mustang

The price of an airline ticket — up 25% since the first of June — the most significant jump since 1989, and up from the 18.6% spike in April 2022.  But those high prices aren’t keeping any Americans home … no, sir.  According to Bank of America, personal spending on airline fares has increased 60% — with the demand creating havoc among the airline companies to get those planes in the air.  Of course, Americans are geniuses; those airline tickets are being purchased with credit cards.  What?  Me Worry?

No one who expects to make money by investing in the stock market is interested in the airlines; they’re a losing proposition unless you’re one of the big boys.  Since the beginning of China’s virus, airlines have been drowning in debt and clawing their way back to profitability — or at least to break even.   With travel restrictions lifted and people giddy to leave their homes no matter the cost, the airlines couldn’t have been more ecstatic.  Why?  Because there is more demand than there are seats.

Meanwhile, jet fuel prices have increased 150% over the past twelve months.  Oops … the airlines also do not have enough pilots and flight attendants, who, by the way, are demanding higher salaries.  Economists describe this as “market forces at work.”  Here’s an example of what that means: pre-Biden, a round-trip fare from Philadelphia to Los Angeles, costs $320.00.  Now it costs $685.00.  But what the hell … it’s only money.

Well, there is a bottom line to this … if you’re clever, you can still travel at twice the cost (thanks to your president).  You begin with a travel agent, who will charge you a fee for booking but they are reliable.  It’s only money.  Hint: it’s in the packages.  Also, if you’re an elderly socialist, you can contact AARP for “complimentary travel agent access.”

Another cheap way is to book your travel on an inexpensive airline — but always insist on a plane with wings firmly attached.  And seats.  You may have to settle for stale peanuts, though.  Some companies like Spirit Airlines or Sun Country.  Companies no one had ever heard of before now.  And you can mix up your travel plans.  For example, instead of flying to an international airport to catch an international flight, travel experts suggest you take a train to the international airport … train tickets are cheaper.  And, it will be cheaper to vacation in Slobovia than in the Fiji Islands.

Or, maybe you’re just like the rest of us.  We can’t afford the vacation, we can’t afford to charge up our credit cards, and we have no confidence in this country’s economic future … at least not in the near term.  Oh, and also … elections have consequences.  If you’re reading this blog regularly, you know what I’m talking about.

Mustang also blogs at Fix Bayonets and Thoughts From Afar

Pete Buttigieg Announces Biden Inflation Plan is to Create Government Dependency

The promised land awaits. A buffet of everything the left dreams of dispensing as gifts to the peasants was revealed as the plan in an interview yesterday with George Stephanopoulos.  Anyone who is wondering if this very inflation is not of the plan, one need wonder no more.

The ultimate cradle to the grave benefits awaits. Merely steps away. If anyone doubts that the rising gas plans are part of the plan to get to the promised land, wonder no more.

The ultra-leftist Biden Transportation Secretary, Pete Buttigieg, appears on ABC with George Stephanopoulos to discuss the solutions to the massive economic collapse that looms all around us.  Within the interview Buttigieg states the Biden administration goal is to use the high cost of living (policy driven inflation) as an opportunity for the government to take over household expenses and create equity via government distribution.

The same Pete Buttigieg voices strong opposition to any further exploitation of oil and natural gas.  Buttigieg and the Biden administration vociferously advocate for green energy transition with extreme urgency and apply punitive punishment toward any opposition.  Moments later, they are blaming the oil and gas industry for not providing enough supply….

Remarkably, Stephanopoulos references one of the most insane New York Times op-ed’s ever written around economics {ARTICLE HERE}.  Within the reference, the Democrat legislative proposal is for the government to take over the purchasing of essential products like food, fuel, gasoline and medicine.  The government would then distribute those products.  The entire premise is based on some academic leftist theory of economics that is just nuts. It looks nothing like capitalism.

“By a continuing process of inflation, government can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens.” — John Maynard Keynes

Inflation is Biden’s ‘top economic priority’: Secretary Buttigieg | ABC News

H/T: Conservative Tree House – worth the full read.

Read More

The very best of the swamp.

Seizing Russian Property at the Cost of Trashing the Constitution

For those disturbed by the confiscation of property without due process, the Editorial piece written by Judge Andrew Napolitano will hit the mark. 

Napolitano talks about how the seizure frenzy of Russian oligarchs is a terrible violation of restraints placed on the US government under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments of the Bill of Rights.

We witnessed last week the questionable case Ex-president of Honduras extradited to US on drugs charges

It seems the end justifies the means to get the desired result with this Department of Justice.

This from our “Justice Department.”

To put an exclamation mark on it, the department added this clip without sound so we could enjoy the fruits of their labor:

$90 Million Yacht of Sanctioned Russian Oligarch Viktor Vekselberg Seized by Spain at Request of United States

Some key excerpts from Judge Andrew Napolitano’s column below…

I have argued in this column and elsewhere that the Biden administration sanctions imposed on Russian and American persons and businesses are profoundly unconstitutional because they are imposed by executive fiat rather than by legislation and because the sanctions constitute either the seizure of property without a warrant or the taking of property without due process.

When the feds seize a yacht from a person whom they claim may have financed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rise to power, they are doing so in direct violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

Similarly, when they freeze Russian assets in American banks, they engage in a seizure, and seizures can only constitutionally be done with a search warrant based on probable cause of crime.

As well, when the feds interfere with contract rights by prohibiting compliance with lawful contracts, that, too, implicates due process and can only be done constitutionally after a jury verdict in the government’s favor, at a trial at which the feds have proved fault…

…As if to run even further away from constitutional norms, a group of legal academics began arguing last week that the property seized from Russians is not really owned by human beings, but by the Russian government. And, this crazy argument goes, since the Russian government is not a person, there is no warrant or due process requirement; therefore, the feds can convert the assets they have seized and frozen to their own use.

To these academics — who reject property ownership as a moral right and exalt government aggression as a moral good — the argument devolves around the meaning of the word “person.” The Fourth and Fifth Amendments protect every “person” and all “people,” not just Americans…

Read the rest of Napolitano’s editorial here.   Well worth the full read.

H/T: Zero Hedge

The best of the swamp today.

Golden Nuggets From Biden, Harris and Friends

Biden’s state of the European Union speech is amazing…pretending like his Ukraine policy has been a huge success, and the trained seals in chamber clap. -Laura Ingraham.

So let’s circle back and look at a few clips with the low points that happened at the State of the Union affair as well other sentinel moments this past week.

Our President and Vice President flashed their moments of brilliance. Even Pelosi had something to offer. Let’s get started.

Joe Biden

 

Chuck has a question as to how it went last night.

Ukraine crisis

Afghanistan crisis

Oil/energy crisis

Inflation crisis

Border crisis

Crime crisis

Covid crisis

 

Nothing like the old Pullman brown color to bring out the best.

 

 

Took her a few seconds to compute though.

Nancy testing out those free crack pipes

Even Jill has a hard time remember who is first.

Bonus today: Hmmm….says it all

Photo credit: “Joe Biden” by Gage Skidmore is marked with CC BY-SA 2.0.

That’s the best of the swamp.

Stoicism: It’s time we found our center 

by Mustang

We are overworked, underpaid, struggling with family issues, stressed by government incompetence, confused by mixed messages from the Center for Disease Control, fighting with our mates, fed up with the 24/7 propaganda machines billed as news, and frustrated with ourselves because we can’t seem to break out of the rut we’re in.  We don’t know where to turn.

Here’s a suggestion: Look to the past — Read the Stoics.

Why?  Because these men have already had to endure the things we are experiencing today, they mastered them and wrote about them.  We ought to try to learn something about history, which will serve our interests today.

Stoicism comes to us from the Greeks via the Romans.  I think it is valuable to us today because they spoke of universal truths.  Here’s what I mean: we don’t control what happens to us, but we do control how we respond.  The Stoics, you see, gave us valuable advice about just this one thing: how to live.  There was nothing arcane about this two to three thousand years ago, and there’s nothing academic about such questions today.

So then, what do we do about our anger?  How shall I respond to insults?  What is there to fear from death?  How must I deal with the taxing situations that confront me?  How do I deal with my success or lack of it?  How do I live under a tyrant (which most will agree our government has become)?  For answers to such questions, we can turn to Seneca and Marcus Aurelius, whose works are unique in all of human history.

If we are perplexed about an overwhelming amount of information, then perhaps we should consider Epictetus, who tells us that if we wish to improve, then be content to appear clueless in extraneous matters (or, in other words, let us stop contributing to the noise).  Our frustration with rude and selfish people should cause us to ask ourselves if we have ever behaved similarly and then double our efforts not to become impolite and inconsiderate.  If achievement and money consume us, then perhaps we should consider “the balance sheet of our lives rather than that of the grain market.”

The Stoics reminded us that few things are as important as our duty to God, ourselves, our loved ones, our communities, and then the nation — in that order.  We must consider that every obstacle is an opportunity to demonstrate that we are its master.  Seneca asked, “Where do I look for good or evil?”  He answered, “Within myself and to the choices that are my own.”

Marcus Aurelius lived from 121 A.D. to 180 A.D.  His family was well-established, but no one in his youth would have predicted that he would one day become an emperor of Rome or that people living 2,000 years later would read anything he had to say. Equestrian Sculpture of Marcus Aurelius with detail of extended arm

Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius was the son of Marcus Annius Versus, a nephew of Emperor Hadrian.  Versus died when Aurelius was only three years old, and he was raised by his mother, Domitia Calvilla, and her father.  When Hadrian’s heir died suddenly, Hadrian adopted Domitia’s brother, Antonius Pius, a senator of Rome.  When Hadrian died, Antonius ascended to the throne.  It was, perhaps, Marcus Aurelius’ well-ordered mind that led him into the favor of Antonius, who had no heirs and adopted Aurelius.

Marcus Aurelius Antonius was a good choice because, in his time, Marcus Aurelius became the military savior of Rome — and while some claim that Rome’s persecution of Christians increased during his reign, there is other evidence to suggest that Marcus Aurelius believed in the power of Christian prayer and claimed that the Christian God once saved his army “by pouring water from the heavens.”

As heir-apparent to the throne of Rome, Marcus Aurelius was handed over to Herodes Atticus, a Greek rhetorician.  If Meditations moves us at all, then we may credit Herodes for the training, which does nothing to take away from Aurelius’ mind, who was its author.  What we must understand about this man is that as Emperor of Rome, he was THE most powerful man in the world.  He might have done many things to abuse that power (as many others did), but he did not.

Marcus Aurelius was the last of “the good emperors” of Rome, and he proved his worthiness of such a position on more than a few occasions.  He ruled through wisdom and virtue.  He dealt with the stress of that position through his Stoicism, which he no doubt obtained from Rusticus, Epictetus, and Heraclitus.  The one tragedy of Marcus Aurelius is that his Stoicism was not taken up by those who succeeded him, including his son — who was as dense and as corrupt as Biden.

Meditations is the only document of its kind in the entire world.  If one wants to better themselves, particularly in self-discipline, personal ethics, humility, self-actualization, and integrity, then that’s the work they should be reading.  Here are a few teasers:

Practice the virtues you can show:  It is easy to succumb to self-pity when we admit that we lack certain talents or miss things that seem to come so quickly to others.  Everyone has strengths and weaknesses.  Rather than moan about deficiencies, capitalize on the strengths.  You can demonstrate honesty, gravity, endurance, austerity, resignation, abstinence, patience, sincerity, moderation, and thoughtfulness.

Draw strength from others:  When you need encouragement, think of the qualities of the people around you, which allows you to capitalize on their energy, their strengths … because when combined with your modesty and generosity, there is nothing so encouraging as the virtue of everyone working together.

Focus on the present:  We are all tempted to let our imaginations run wild about all the ways things can go wrong.  The only benefit of this is that it may help prepare us for the future or prepare us for adversity, but it can also become a paralyzing fear.  Don’t let life crush your imagination.  Don’t try to picture everything bad that could happen.  Instead, stick with the situation at present and ask, “Why is this so unbearable?”  You may be embarrassed to answer.  But remind yourself that the past and future have no power over you; only the present — and you can minimize even that.  Just mark off its limits, and if your mind claims that you can’t hold out against it, then shame your mind into action.

If you were doing the last thing in your life, would you want to do it well?  Stop being aimless, stop letting your emotions override what your mind tells you must be done, stop being hypocritical, self-centered, and irritable.  Strive to put yourself in the right frame of mind.  When you awaken in the morning, remind yourself that the people you will deal with that day will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly.  Then remind yourself that those people simply cannot distinguish between good and evil — whereas, you can.

Mustang also blogs at Fix Bayonets and Thoughts From Afar

Photo source:“Equestrian Sculpture of Marcus Aurelius with detail of extended arm” by profzucker is licensed under (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Mayor Lightfoot walked out of a meeting with a million dollar crime victim — then a city inspector showed up

In the scheme of things, this story could be about just another brazen robbery held in broad daylight on The Magnificent Mile of Chicago. A few clips for the local news: the victim gives a moving story about crime in the city. Attacks Mayor Lightfoot over the terrible crime wave. Story makes the national news. Mayor decides to visit the victim in a PR move. What could go wrong? Well it turns out plenty. More importantly, there is a lesson for those who “poke the bear.” The meeting did not go well. In fact

Days after the smash-and-grab, Lightfoot walked in to Perillo’s showroom at 834 North Rush Street, where Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini, and Bentley models are on display. She wasn’t there to buy.

Instead, she met with Perillo and, according to two sources familiar with the conversation, it did not go well. One said that the famously abrasive mayor “got into a fight and walked out.”

The second source confirmed the conversation soured and said Lightfoot called Perillo an “idiot” as she headed for the door.

 

If only this was the end of the story… but there is more. There is the lesson for all of us. Multiply the ending of the story to the tenth power and one has the force of the federal government. Thus we now have the new DOJ’s FBI’s Counterterrorism Division . They will keep track of those who attend school board meetings and disagree. In truth, they will no doubt keep track of anyone who disagrees with the apparatchiks. Then we get a visit. IRS? Or another agency that can turn our life upside down.

CWB:

After two men smashed a display case in Joe Perillo’s Gold Coast Exotic Motor Cars showroom and escaped with over $1 million in luxury watches on December 11, the well-known car dealer appeared on local and national TV news programs, demanding that the city and county take immediate steps to curb crime.

A mayor’s office spokesperson confirmed that Lightfoot met with Perillo but declined to provide details about the conversation, citing privacy expectations.

“The Mayor routinely meets with victims of crime and reached out to Mr. Perillo which resulted in a meeting. The Mayor offered to work with him to address safety and security matters at any of his dealership locations,” the spokesperson said.

A day or two after Lightfoot walked out, Perillo’s dealership received another visitor from the city: an inspector from the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP). She brought her ticket book.

Lightfoot’s spokesperson said the inspector was following up on an anonymous complaint that the city received on December 15 about a public health violation at the dealership.

“It was unrelated to the mayor’s meeting with Mr. Perillo,” the spokesperson said.

In fact, CWBChicago has learned, the city inspector slapped Perillo’s dealership with four tickets for six violations during her visit shortly after 2 p.m. on December 17. Only one ticket and two of the alleged violations are health-related.

The inspector allegedly saw three employees and one customer not wearing COVID masks inside the dealership. She issued a ticket for two violations: failing to comply with the commissioner of health’s mask order and failing to comply with BACP’s order to comply with the commissioner of health’s mask order.

Perillo received another ticket for “storing, receiving, possessing, selling nineteen bottles of liquor. One whiskey, champagnes, wine, etc” The fourth ticket alleges two violations: failure to display an incidental consumption liquor license and failure to have a required liquor license.

The inspector wrote a fourth ticket for “interfering with or obstructing the commissioner’s designee in the performance of duties.” According to the citation, the inspector announced an inspection at the dealership’s front desk, and the attendant presented her with the business’ licenses. When she asked for the man’s personal identification or the ID of any of the company’s representatives, he walked away, the inspector wrote.

And we all know, no one walks away from an agent of the government.

The best of the swamp today.

For the best in conservative news push the button.

The March of the Revisionists Continues

By Mustang

When did American politics become polarized?  The answer depends on who answers.  If you’re a left-wing hack, the turn to the dark side occurred when Republican Newt Gingrich became Speaker of the House.  One of these hacks is Princeton professor Julian E. Zelizer, who assures us that American politics “went pear-shaped” between January 1987-March 1989, when Newt Gingrich’s rise to power culminated in the forced resignation of former Democratic House Speaker Jim Wright of Texas.

Having made that mind-shattering statement, Zelizer continues to say that it was Gingrich who “legitimized ruthless and destructive practices that had once been relegated to the margins” and “helped degrade Congress’s institutional legitimacy and paved the way for the anti-establishment presidency of Donald Trump.”

Zelizer isn’t standing alone.  Other “scholars” have made similar claims, such as Harvard University professors Daniel Ziblatt and Steven Levitsky, who claim that Gingrich’s speakership had a profound and lasting impact on American democracy because Gingrich instilled a combative approach in the Republican Party, where hateful language and hyper-partisanship became commonplace.

Balderdash.

File:US Capitol from NW.JPG

U.S. Capitol

Gingrich simply the one man in the Republican Party who refused to be kicked around by Democrats, who controlled the House for 40 years (1955-1995)?

And how did Gingrich “skewer” former House Speaker Jim Wright?

House members elected Jim Wright as their speaker on 6 January 1987, following the retirement of the famed Tip O’Neil, whose tenure as Speaker lasted ten years.  In 1987 (the 100th Congress), Democrats outnumbered Republicans 258-177.  Wright won reelection as Speaker in 1989 (the 101st Congress), Democrats outnumbering Republicans 260-175.  Tom Foley replaced Wright as Speaker in 1989.  Gingrich didn’t become Speaker of the House until 1995.  So how did Gingrich skewer Wright?

He didn’t.  Wright skewered himself.

In 1988 Wright became the target of an inquiry by the House Ethics Committee.  Their report in early 1989 implied that Mr. Wright had used bulk purchases of his book, Reflections of a Public Man, to earn speaking fees above the allowed maximum.  Not only that, Mr. Wright’s wife, Betty, was given a job and perks designed to help hide the limit on gifts to members of Congress.  Of course, since the 100th Congress was controlled by Democrats, Mr. Wright’s misconduct was only implied, which is different from evidence of wrongdoing.

During the 101st Congress, in May 1989, when the United States had a somewhat non-partisan press, media reports revealed that 16 years earlier, Representative Wright’s top assistant, a man named John Mack, had violently attacked a woman named Pamala Small.  Mack not only hit Miss Small repeatedly with a hammer, but he also stabbed her with a knife, and slashed her, and left her for dead.  Miss Small survived and gave testimony against Mack, whose trial ended in a conviction.  The trial judge sentenced Mack to 15 years in prison.  He only served 27 months.  You see, John Mack’s brother was married to Jim Wright’s daughter.

Oh, and when Mack walked out of prison, he walked into a clerk’s job in the Capital — and then became the executive director of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee and Representative Wright’s Chief Legislative Strategist.  According to the press report, Wright manipulated the legal system to get Mack out of prison and then protected him from media scrutiny.  Somewhat embarrassed by this revelation, John Mack resigned from his post in May 1989.  With that horrid tale out of the bag, some wondered whether Mr. Wright could long remain Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Well, there is more to consider about Mr. Wright.  In the 1980s and 1990s, over 1,000 savings and loan associations (S&Ls) failed.  William K. Black, an S&L regulator, publicly accused Speaker of the House Jim Wright, and five U.S. Senators (John Glenn, John McCain, Alan Cranston, Dennis DeConcini, and Donald Riegle) of improperly intervening in the investigation of Charles H. Keating, Chairman of the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association.  According to journalist Bill Moyers:

“The former Director of the Institute for Fraud Prevention now teaches Economics and Law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.  During the savings and loan crisis, it was Black who accused then-house speaker Jim Wright and five US Senators, including John Glenn and John McCain, of doing favors for the S&L’s in exchange for contributions and other perks.  The senators got off with a slap on the wrist, but so enraged was one of those bankers, Charles Keating — after whom the senate’s so-called “Keating Five” were named — he sent a memo that read, in part, ‘get Black — kill him dead.’  Metaphorically, of course.  Of course.”

Keating went to jail.  He was the only one who went to prison.  Dirty members of Congress didn’t.  And Jim Wright?  A report by a congressional special counsel implicated him in several influence-peddling charges, such as Vernon Savings and Loan, and attempting to get William K. Black fired as the deputy director of the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation (FSLIC).  However, the Democratically controlled House Ethics Committee concluded that “… while the Congressman’s dealings with representatives of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board may have been intemperate, the committee was not persuaded that there is reason to believe that he exercised undue influence in his dealings with that agency.”

Have I mentioned that Jim Wright was a Democrat in a Democrat-controlled Congress?  With 34 years in Congress, Jim Wright “resigned.”  Actually, he retired with a comfortable income for life.  Mr. Wright drew that retirement until he died in 2015.

So, for Dr. Zelizer to argue that Newt Gingrich’s rise to power in the House of Representatives forced Jim Wright’s resignation is a very long reach, borders on revisionist history, and goes a long way in questioning the veracity of Zelizer’s claim that Mr. Gingrich “burned down the House.”  Gingrich may have filed the charges with the House Ethics Committee, but it was Wright himself who misbehaved and escaped prosecution owing to the corrupt practices of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Who did the Democrats choose to replace Mr. Wright?  Tom Foley, the only member of congress to lose his seat in Congress while serving as Speaker of the House since 1862.  Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi (also a Democrat) said of Jim Wright, “Speaker Wright was a person of deep courage, brilliant eloquence, and complete mastery of the legislative process.  Speaker Wright’s strong, decisive leadership built an indelible legacy of progress, not only in his beloved state of Texas but around the world.  Wright championed prosperity for every working family and helped lead the way to peace to Central America.”

Okay then.  But what about the fact that Wright was a liar and a thief?

All of this is “old news,” of course.  Its only relevance is that in 2020, revisionists and left-wing hacks (such as Dr. Zelizer, Burning Down the House) are trying to explain the toxicity and polarization of our political system, and they’re doing it by shifting blame from corrupt Democrats to certain “toxic” members of the GOP.  This is what Democrats do — avoid responsibility, shift blame, and revise history.  And Dr. Zelizer, remember, is a college professor who bends the minds of our tuition-paying children to suit his own brand of politics.  How does that fit in with “polarization of politics” in the United States?

Photo credit:  “File:US Capitol from NW.JPG” by UpstateNYer is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Mustang also blogs at Fix Bayonets and Thoughts From Afar

Machiavelli’s Heavy Hand

 

by Mustang

For well over 2,000 years, all of humankind’s philosophers — from the Greeks to the Renaissance thinkers, focused on the “end of the state.”  They believed, for example, that political power (of the state) was the only useful tool to achieve a further higher moral end.  Of course, that would depend entirely on the head of state’s definition of morality.  Niccolò Machiavelli, however, had a different point of view.  To him, the power of the state WAS the end of the state.  Every state must focus on maximizing its power; if the state fails to maximize (retain) its power, it must collapse.  So, Machiavelli turned his attentions toward the means of achieving and then maintaining state power.

Uffizi statue: Niccolo Machiavelli

Machiavelli

Machiavelli told us that the state is the highest form of human association.  This is true, he argued, because the state is indispensable to promoting human welfare.  People must worship the state, even to the extent of sacrificing themselves to maintain it, and rulers must do whatever is necessary to retain that power — emphasizing “whatever is necessary.”  By state, we must include governments and non-governmental entities, such as religion.  Whatever a government must do to retain its power over the people, religious organizations must do as well.  The state cannot achieve and maintain control without the capacity for and willingness to force the people into compliance with the dictates of the state/ruler. 

 

Those who do comply with the dictates of the state are patriots.  Those who do not comply are enemies of the state.  Machiavelli was no republican.  Republicanism presupposes a virtuous, honest, civic-minded citizen who agrees to bind themselves to a social contract.  Machiavelli didn’t find any of those kinds of people in Italy; he found, instead, a corrupt society of greedy, selfish people — people who needed (and deserved no better than) a heavy-handed prince to keep them in line.

 

Americans did much better than that in the late 1700s.  Our social contract with the government was the U.S. Constitution and several (near-mirror image) state constitutions that defined the relationship between the ordinary citizen and the government, federal or state.  Unhappily, the U.S. government began to ignore the Constitution almost before the ink was dry … and has been regularly doing so ever since.  Machiavelli is still with us, embodied in the Democratic Party, which deigns to force Americans into compliance with its government dictates — and somewhat embraced by the Republican Party, as well.  The so-called Patriot Act is an excellent example of Republican acquiescence to Machiavellian philosophy.

 

Nothing of what has happened to America’s grand experiment is recent.  The cauldron of social discontent began to boil before the ink was dry on the U.S. Constitution.  In the early 1790s, Alexander Hamilton argued for a nationalistic economy; Jefferson opposed Hamilton, arguing instead for democratic and agrarian programs.  This very contentious debate led to the formation of national political parties.

 

In 1798, the Federalist-dominated 5th U.S. Congress submitted to President John Adams for his signature, the Alien and Sedition Acts — a series of four acts.  The Naturalization Act made it more difficult for an immigrant to become a citizen.  An Act Concerning Aliens allowed the President to imprison and deport non-citizens deemed dangerous to the state’s interests.  The Alien Enemy Act barred citizens from hostile countries.  The Sedition Act made it a criminal act for anyone to make “false statements” critical of the U.S. government — a clear affront to the First Amendment.

 

While the Alien and Sedition Acts were highly unpopular, the treasonous acts of men such as James Wilkerson, Aaron Burr, and (some will argue) Thomas Jefferson did justify Congressional action.  There is clear justification for thinking Wilkerson and Burr were treasonous; Jefferson, on the other hand, took on a leadership position as a pro-Southern opposition to federalism.  By the end of President Washington’s presidency, Thomas Jefferson was an avowed political enemy of Washington and Hamilton.  Jefferson’s pro-French/anti-British sentiments led him to repudiate Washington’s sage advice to avoid foreign entanglements.  We’ve been going “downhill” ever since.

 

Washington and Jefferson were two genuinely decent men with different ideas about governing an ever-enlarging population of mostly ignorant farmers and industrial workers.  Nevertheless, in response to the Alien and Sedition Acts, Jefferson and James Madison authored the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798-99, which made this abrupt assertion: The Union was a compact of several states, with the federal government as their agent, imbued with certain specified, enumerated, delegated powers.  The states, Jefferson argued, may have joined the Union, but they always retained their sovereign authority to determine for themselves when the federal government exceeded its powers and declare such excesses “void and of no force” within their respective jurisdictions.

 

The first nullification crisis didn’t arrive until 1832, during the presidency of Andrew Jackson.  South Carolina declared the federally imposed tariffs of 1828 and 1832 null and void.  These acts, South Carolina argued, favored northern states, and punished the southern states, who relied on an agricultural economy.  After South Carolina adopted an Ordinance of Nullification in November 1832, Jackson threatened federal troops to enforce federal law.  South Carolinians did not react well to Jackson’s threat, and this goes a long way in explaining why South Carolina militia fired the first shots of the Civil War.

 

Of course, at the heart of that conflict was the issue of human bondage.  No one alive in 1850 had anything to do with creating the institution of slavery; they inherited it and relied on it to produce the mainstay of the southern economy: agriculture.  And, in keeping with states’ rights philosophy, southern legislatures reasoned that it was up to each state to determine whether to retain or do away with it.

 

Truth be known, northern states were hardly any better.  There was slavery in the northern states, of course, some blacks, but primarily whites indentured to the status of slaves for some period of time, and of course, locked into slave labor at minimum wages to sustain northern industrial profits.

 

The geniuses in Congress made the issue of slavery more volatile by establishing the idea of popular sovereignty as a determining factor in the creation of new states from federal territories.  The first violence over the issue of slavery took place in Kansas in 1854, but the final straw, insofar as the southern states were concerned, was the election of Abolitionist Abraham Lincoln to the presidency.

 

Actually, Lincoln was a popular candidate under the new Republican Party ticket, evidenced by the fact that Lincoln won the election of 1860 even though ten southern states omitted his name from their election ballots.  But Lincoln’s election triggered the secession of southern states, whose legislatures decided that if the U.S. government was going to renege on the U.S. Constitution, they no longer wanted to be part of the United States.  The southern states formed a new country after secession: the Confederate States of America.

 

We, of course, know who won that bloody war — and we know why.  What most people do not realize, however, is that the outcome of the war changed forever all the work accomplished by the founding fathers in putting together our Constitutional Republic.  After the Civil War, the people’s rights were limited.  After the war, states’ rights were limited.  The Civil War Amendments, forced down everyone’s gullet beginning in 1866, was only possible by manipulating the admission of western Virginia as an independent state.  Here again, we see an example of the Republican Party embracing the philosophy and advice of Niccolò Machiavelli.

 

This underhanded manipulation of the Constitution continued for several decades as Congress initiated an amendment to deny the right of state legislatures to choose their representative in the U.S. Senate.  I will never understand why any state should approve the popular election of senators, for in doing so, the states gave up their vital role in U.S. federalism and our system of checks and balances.

 

The effect of these machinations is that we have a powerful federal government today that can determine which rights the people may enjoy.  The assault on the First Amendment began in 1798, continues today.  The modern argument is that there is no absolute Constitutional guarantee.

 

We are NOT entitled to free speech if that speech offends anyone.  We are NOT allowed to associate with others if the federal government does not approve of our associates.  We are NOT allowed to express our religious beliefs if they offend anyone who believes otherwise.  We are NOT guaranteed privacy in our personal belongings and property; we are NOT guaranteed open hearings in matters relating to search warrants or grand jury deliberations. 

 

According to the government, the government may spy on us, collect information without warrants, and retain that information against us.  We do NOT have a right to a speedy trial, nor a right to consult with an attorney, nor a right to bail, and the government may arrest and detain us in perpetuity — if it chooses to do so.  In fact, the Supreme Court and Congress agree that a President may suspend the Constitution under certain circumstances — that is, circumstances that the federal government decides justifies doing so.

 

Granted, this is much to think about … but responsible citizenship demands that our people today think about such things — if they value their inalienable rights.  Should our first question directed at a political candidate inquire if they intend to abide by the Constitution — as their oath of office demands of them?  And, if they do not, should we impeach them?

 

To Niccolò Machiavelli, the state’s power was the end of the state.  This is what “we the people” are witnessing today — if we are, at all, paying attention.  So, I ask again, what are you doing about it?  What are you willing to give up to maintain your inalienable rights as an American?

 

Photo Credit:  “Uffizi statue: Niccolo Machiavelli” by Crashworks is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

 

Mustang also blogs at Fix Bayonets and Thoughts From Afar

 

%d bloggers like this: