Category Archives: clinton

Can Pelosi & Schiff Get Away With Running a Star Chamber Impeachment?

What are the issues at the heart of the impeachment farce, and, as between the President and the progressives in the House, who has the superior legal argument?

Everything wrong with progressives today is playing out in the Star Chamber that Democrats are running as an “impeachment inquiry” in the House of Representatives.  The Democrats’ have dispensed with due process, precedent, and Constitutional limitation to create a juggernaut designed not to reach a just conclusion, but to ensure a vote impeaching the sitting President and bringing this nation half way to overturning the 2016 election.  Today’s progressives feel themselves above the law and believe the rest of us, including very much President Donald Trump, are unworthy of its protection.  Nowhere is that more apparent at the moment then in this impeachment farce.

The issues are two-fold.  First, may the House exercise the power to conduct an impeachment inquiry without formal authorization voted upon by the full House?  Second, is Nancy Pelosi constitutionally able to manipulate the House rules of impeachment to deny any due process or procedural protection to President Trump and to the minority members of the House?  In other words, is it true that Impeachment is nothing more than a particularly one-sided Grand Jury investigation?

A bit of background first.  A formal decision to investigate for impeachment is not a meaningless decision or a mere label.  At a minimum, once the House formally decides upon impeachment, the House accrues powers beyond that which it normally possesses.  Thus, it is a substantive legal question whether a House impeachment inquiry requires a House vote or whether the Speaker of the House can unilaterally announce the beginning of an impeachment inquiry. I know of no precedent in American or British history supporting Nancy Pelosi’s contention that she can accrue these formal powers of impeachment by simple fiat.  More on that below.

The House of Representatives normally only has “legislative” authority.  Thus House members are limited to investigating and holding hearings on matters that relate directly to producing legislation. As with so much in our Constitution, this is not a thing of bright line clarity.  But as is almost always the case, the fact that there’s no bright line does not mean that there is no line.  Perhaps the clearest example of line drawing outside of the impeachment context comes from recent House efforts to use a subpoena to force the IRS to release Trump’s tax returns.  When Trump refused to honor the subpoena, his attorneys pointed out that the House, while its members may have a political interest in reviewing Trump’s tax returns, have no legitimate legislative interest.

The House of Representatives accrues an additional power (i.e., “judicial power”) only when conducting an impeachment action.  That gives the House the power to overcome many claims of executive privilege for materials; to subpoena materials and testimony on topics beyond the House’s inherent legislative interests; and to access materials to which it otherwise has no legal right, such as grand jury testimony.When the House authorizes an impeachment, the question is no longer whether the House has a legitimate legislative purpose for its subpoenas, but whether the matter is relevant to its exercise of a judicial power on the specific matter before it.

Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, claims the unilateral right to assume this judicial power by fiat. Can Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats constitutionally get away with doing so?

The legal argument supporting Nancy Pelosi’s Star Chamber proceeding is set forth in that cutting edge repository of progressive legal analysis, Vox, in an article entitled “The White House argues the impeachment inquiry is “constitutionally invalid.” They’re wrong.”  WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! [Picture a child stamping its feet.]  Give me a break.

Here is the nub of the Vox argument, which contends that the House is free of any constraints on its ability to initiate and conduct an “impeachment” inquiry in whatever way it pleases, without deference to the Constitution’s language, to historic precedence, or to Due Process rights:

 The Constitution makes it clear the House has the “sole” discretion to impeach and the Senate has the “sole” ability to hold a trial.

In other words, impeachment is purely a function of the legislative branch; not the executive, and not the judicial. A 1993 US Supreme Court case around the impeachment of federal Judge Walter Nixon upheld this finding, saying the courts would not weigh in on Congress’s impeachment procedures because it could violate the separation of powers.

“The important thing is constitutionally, the president is making claims not supported by history, or fact, or previous judicial decisions,” Linda Fowler, a congressional and legal expert at Dartmouth College, told Vox. “This [letter] actually says Congress has no prerogative whatsoever with respect to the presidency.”

If your knee jerk reaction is not to believe anything that appears in Vox, you will be right far more often than you are wrong.  Let’s pull this apart.

The Constitution, Article I, Sec. II, Clause 5, states that “The House of Representatives . . . shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.”  Note that the language on its face establishes unambiguously that the power belongs to the House of Representatives collectively, not to the Speaker of the House and not to a House Committee Chairman. This makes sense because, to the extent impeachment overturns the People’s will, it’s important for the next election cycle that the People’s representatives go on record with their stand on the issue.

True, the Constitution does not set forth the precise procedure the House must follow for impeachment.  That said — and I know you will find this surprising — contrary to Vox’s assertions, history does not support initiating a presidential impeachment using anything other than a resolution voted upon by the full House.

In our nation’s history, only three sitting presidents have been subject to impeachment proceedings. The House initiated Andrew Johnson’s impeachment after voting on a Resolution to Impeach, and only after that vote was counted did the House order the Judiciary Committee to meet and draw up articles of impeachment which the House then voted to approve and send to the Senate.  Over a century later, the process to impeach Richard Nixon began when the entire House voted on a resolution to send the matter for investigation to the Judiciary Committee.  And Bill Clinton’s impeachment likewise began when the full House voted on a resolution to begin the impeachment process.  While Vox claims that history does not support the position that only the full House can vote to begin the impeachment process, the reality of Presidential impeachments is exactly the opposite.

Because federal judges are more frequently subject to impeachment, when trying to understand the impeachment process for a sitting president (when safeguards should be at their highest), it’s helpful to look at judicial impeachment proceedings. The following is one of several procedural examples found in the Congressional Research Service Reports for 2011, and it focuses on a situation in which a judge is being impeached upon a third party complaint:

Rarely, a third party will attempt to jumpstart an impeachment investigation against a judge by sending evidence, petitions, memorials, or other communications to the chair of the House Judiciary Committee directly.  In the past 100 years, however, this has only happened on five occasions. Only one of these attempts successfully initiated an impeachment investigation against a judge. In this lone successful attempt, the U.S. Attorney General transmitted a report to the House Judiciary Committee in August 1913 to determine whether the House should make an impeachment investigation into the conduct of Judge Emory Speer (Southern District of Georgia).  Ten days after the receipt of the Attorney General’s report, Representative Henry Clayton of the House Judiciary Committee brought to the House floor a resolution authorizing the Judiciary Committee to investigate Judge Speer, as well as providing for the creation of a special subcommittee to assist in that investigation, to which the House agreed.  [Emphasis added]

And one can go back much further in time than the above example.  Indeed, the Founders adopted the impeachment process from Britain’s historical practice, which dates back to the 14th century.  For instance, in the 19th century series Precedents of Proceedings in the House of Commons, Vol. IV (Relating to Conference, and Impeachment), the author traces all of the impeachment proceedings in the House of Commons over a period of centuries, none of which, to the extent it can be ascertained, support initiating proceedings by anything other than a full vote of the body.

Next is Vox’s contention that there is a “1993 case” holding that procedural questions are non-justiciable, or as Vox puts it,  “courts would not weigh in on Congress’s impeachment procedures because it could violate the separation of powers.”  The case is Walter Nixon v. U.S.  When the case reached the Supreme Court, Walter Nixon was a federal court judge sitting in jail after having been found guilty of several offenses.  The House had formally impeached Judge Nixon, something he did not contest, nor did the Supreme Court consider it.  The question before the Supreme Court was whether the Senate, in its role as the trier of an impeachment, had adopted Constitutionally sufficient procedures by which to try Nixon. As Justice Rehnquist recounted in his opinion:

The Senate committee held four days of hearings, during which 10 witnesses, including Nixon, testified. S.Rep. No. 101-164, p. 4 (1989). Pursuant to Rule XI, the committee presented the full Senate with a complete transcript of the proceeding and a report stating the uncontested facts and summarizing the evidence on the contested facts. See id., at 3-4. Nixon and the House impeachment managers submitted extensive final briefs to the full Senate and delivered arguments from the Senate floor during the three hours set aside for oral argument in front of that body. Nixon himself gave a personal appeal, and several Senators posed questions directly to both parties. 135 Cong.Rec. S14493-14517 (Nov. 1, 1989). The Senate voted by more than the constitutionally required two-thirds majority to convict Nixon on the first two articles. Id., at S14635 (Nov. 3, 1989). The presiding officer then entered judgment removing Nixon from his office as United States District Judge.

Nixon thereafter commenced the present suit, arguing that Senate Rule XI violates the constitutional grant of authority to the Senate to “try” all impeachments because it prohibits the whole Senate from taking part in the evidentiary hearings. See Art. I, § 3, cl. 6. Nixon sought a declaratory judgment that his impeachment conviction was void and that his judicial salary and privileges should be reinstated.

In other words, Nixon contended that, once the formally voted-upon impeachment arrived in the Senate from the House, the Senate rules, which tried him before a committee rather than the full Senate, failed to meet constitutional requirements.  In announcing his majority opinion, Rehnquist held that, once a legislative branch is re-constituted as a court for impeachment purposes, it has the right to determine procedural matters that the Constitution (i.e., the text) does not address:

In the case before us, there is no separate provision of the Constitution which could be defeated by allowing the Senate final authority to determine the meaning of the word “try” in the Impeachment Trial Clause. We agree with Nixon that courts possess power to review either legislative or executive action that transgresses identifiable textual limits. As we have made clear, “whether the action of either the Legislative or Executive Branch exceeds whatever authority has been committed, is itself a delicate exercise in constitutional interpretation, and is a responsibility of this Court as ultimate interpreter of the Constitution.” Baker v. Carr, supra369 U.S., at 211, 82 S.Ct., at 706; accord, Powell, supra395 U.S., at 521, 89 S.Ct., at 1963-1964. But we conclude, after exercising that delicate responsibility, that the word “try” in the Impeachment Clause does not provide an identifiable textual limit on the authority which is committed to the Senate.  [Emphasis added]

Fortunately, the Constitution, at Art. I, Sec. 2, Cl. 5, does have text explicitly addressing whether certain members of the House (as opposed to the collective House via a vote) may initiate an impeachment proceeding. That language holds that “The House . . . shall have the sole power of impeachment.”  The key question, then, is what the Constitution means with the phrase “The House.”  Is it the entire body of the House, or can Nancy Pelosi contort the text to hold that “the House” merely means “the Speaker of the House” acting by fiat?

As noted above, to the extent impeachment overrides the voters’ will, there is a good argument to be made that the entire House must go on record via a vote in order that the People, during the next election cycle, can make their pleasure or displeasure known. This, of course, is what Pelosi is avoiding — she knows that she does not speak for a majority. Emotionally, her party members may be all in with impeachment, but as a practical matter, many know that the voters will kick them out of office if they take a formal stand.

But to return to the Vox argument, examining the text in Nixon v. U.S. establishes that, at the very least, that decision does not control — indeed, it never addresses — whether the House of Representatives may validly initiate an impeachment proceeding without a full, on-the-record vote of the House members. Contrary to Vox, a House Speaker announcing without a formal vote that “we’re doing an impeachment investigation,” is a question of first impression.  Indeed, there is no court case on point because, before progressives decided to turn the House into a Star Chamber with Trump and his voters below the law, this is an issue so far out of the normal and fair process that no American — nor, for that matter, any British citizen in pre-Revolutionary times — has had to litigate it.

The second question bedeviling Pelosi’s unusual “impeachment inquiry” concerns the deeply unfair and one-sided means by which Pelosi is conducting it.  Precedent has always been the case, in both England and America, that the accused may participate in his or her impeachment inquiry and that the minority gets procedural protections.  Outside of the old, hated Star Chamber, there is no historical precedent for procedures that hold proceedings in secret while shutting out both the minority party and the accused — yet these are the procedures Nancy Pelosi has adopted for her “impeachment inquiry.” What Pelosi and Schiff (who is effectively putting the Senate’s seal of approval on these proceedings) are doing is a mockery of due process.  So, are Pelosi’s bizarre procedures also immune from challenge?

That is a closer question.  Under Rehnquist’s sweeping holding in Nixon — to the effect that the Senate, when acting in a judicial capacity can make its own rules — the House rules, one sided as they are, are indeed immune to challenges. However, that’s too facile a conclusion. Unlike the Star Chamber now operating in the House, in the Nixon case, as Rehnquist made clear, even though the proceedings were held before a committee, rather than the entire Senate, Nixon had full due process rights, including a public trial.

The unique facts in Nixon meant that, while several justices agreed with the Court’s ultimate decision, they were troubled with the reasoning and therefore wrote concurrences explaining those concerns. Justice Souter, presciently, wrote in his concurring opinion that a situation could arise in which a Congressional body’s conduct was so devoid of constitutional protections that the Supreme Court could overrule its chosen procedures:

One can, nevertheless, envision different and unusual circumstances that might justify a more searching review of impeachment proceedings. If the Senate were to act in a manner seriously threatening the integrity of its results, convicting, say, upon a coin-toss, or upon a summary determination that an officer of the United States was simply ” ‘a bad guy,’ ” ante, at ____ (WHITE, J., concurring in judgment), judicial interference might well be appropriate. In such circumstances, the Senate’s action might be so far beyond the scope of its constitutional authority, and the consequent impact on the Republic so great, as to merit a judicial response despite the prudential concerns that would ordinarily counsel silence. “The political question doctrine, a tool for maintenance of governmental order, will not be so applied as to promote only disorder.” Baker, supra, at 215, 82 S.Ct., at 709. (Emphasis added.)

Put more simply, the question is not, as Vox would have it, whether the House may adopt its own procedures.  The question is whether the House has the right to adopt procedures that promote “disorder” — that is, rules that are so one sided as to wholly “call into question the integrity of its results.”  That, it would seem, is going to be something that can and should be litigated to the Supreme Court.  And it is beyond irony that the House Democrats, who have created this Constitutional crisis by jettisoning procedural precedents to create this farce of impeachment theater, will certainly argue vociferously that the Supreme Court must honor Nixon’s precedent to find the House’s precedent-breaking acts non-justiciable by the Court.  Does anyone else see a problem with that?

Some, in defending the one-sided rules the House adopted in order to manipulate an impeachment of President Trump, liken the House action to a Grand Jury proceeding wherein jurors determine whether the state has mustered a case strong enough to convince a majority of jurors that the matter should proceed to trial.  These proceedings are always held in secret and the accused has no right to appear and make a defense.  That is a ludicrous comparison to impeachment, where the House, an elected, representative body, is voting upon the very legitimacy of the People’s electoral choice.

Paul Mirengoff, writing at Power Line, addresses the argument that impeachment in the House can or should be treated as a Grand Jury proceeding:

. ., . As far as I can tell, the Democratic House wants to deny President Trump anything resembling due process. It seems to view its role as akin to a grand jury with the Senate acting as a regular jury. A suspected criminal has very few rights before the grand jury. His opportunity for due process is afforded at the trial stage.

This model has very little to recommend it, either by way of precedent or common sense, in the impeachment context. The two modern impeachment proceedings — of Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton — weren’t handled this way. In both instances, the House adopted procedures that afforded the president due process.

The procedures approved by the Judiciary Committee for the Nixon and Clinton impeachments stated “[t]he President’s counsel may question any witness called before the Committee.” President Clinton’s attorney questioned Ken Starr when he appeared before the Judiciary Committee and President Nixon’s attorney questioned each of the nine witnesses that appeared before the Judiciary Committee.

The procedures approved by the Judiciary Committee for the Nixon and Clinton impeachments stated “[t]he President and his counsel shall be invited to attend all hearings, including any held in executive session.” President Clinton’s attorneys were allowed to call and question 14 expert witnesses before the Judiciary Committee.

Finally, it’s my understanding that in every prior presidential impeachment inquiry in American history, the full House voted to authorize the inquiry.

So far, it looks like Nancy Pelosi has rejected each of these precedents.

Common sense tells us that the grand jury model should not apply to the impeachment of a president. . . .

Nothing about this model makes sense in the impeachment context. Congressmen aren’t pulled in randomly off the street. They are the elected representatives of the American people. In an impeachment proceeding, all members of the House should be able to vote on the basis of the fullest, most fairly developed record.

This entails a proceeding in which the president receives due process — one in which his lawyers can attend all hearings, question all witnesses, and call witnesses of their own.

The president, moreover, is not an ordinary criminal defendant. He is the chief executive officer of the U.S. government and commander-in-chief of the U.S. armed forces. He typically, and in this case, was elected president by the American people. He should not be indicted as if he were a ham sandwich.

Impeachment isn’t a trifling matter, it’s a momentous one. It entails a trial that will bring the Senate to a halt. It will divide the nation and suck the oxygen out of all other political and policy discourse. The matter won’t be resolved by a plea bargain or one week trial in some faraway court room.

None of this is an argument against impeaching President Trump. But it does counsel strongly in favor of an impeachment proceeding that is both transparent and fair to the president — one in which he receives due process, including the right to have his lawyers participate fully.

And this is before even raising the argument that the substance of the House’s impeachment claim is not within the original meaning of “a high crime and misdemeanor,” a point made by Alan Dershowitz writing recently at the Wall Street Journal.  According to Mr. Dershowitz:

As for the allegations against President Trump, obstruction of justice is plainly a high crime, but a president cannot commit it by exercising his constitutional authority to fire or pardon, regardless of his motive. (It would have been an impeachable offense in Mr. Clinton’s case, but the facts were disputed.) Neither is it a crime to conduct foreign policy for partisan or personal advantage—a common political sin with no limiting principle capable of being applied in a neutral manner.

The Framers, by rejecting open-ended criteria such as “maladministration” and substituting more specific and criminal-like criteria, sent a message to future generations: Impeachment should not be a political measure governed by “the comparative strength of parties.” It should be based on “the real demonstration of innocence or guilt” of “the accused.” It is left to Congress to be reasonable and conscientious in interpreting the words “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors”—a tall order in our hyperpartisan age.

To finish, let me add a parting thought:  What is happening in the House — this abuse of power to manipulate the process of impeachment and strip the accused of all protections to reach a wholly political end — is rule by tyranny of the majority.  Another way to frame that is to frame it as our Founder’s did in the 18th century, “pure democracy,” something that – like socialism and communism – sounds good, but that has been shown unworkable and disastrous in the pages of history.

Our Founders knew the problems of this rule by tyranny of the majority and it is why they designed a Constitution to minimize its impacts everywhere they could foresee it as a problem.   As John Adams wrote, democracy unchecked by rules to protect the minority produces naught but “fraud, violence and cruelty.”  Alexander Hamilton wrote of it that its “very character” is “tyranny,” its very “figure deformity.”  And as Madison wrote, “A pure democracy can admit no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will be felt by a majority, and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party.”  Marvin Simkin, writing in the Los Angeles Times in 1992, gave those sentiments a more modern cast:Democracy is not freedom. Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to eat for lunch. Freedom comes from the recognition of certain rights which may not be taken, not even by a 99% vote.

More openly than ever before in our Nation’s history, progressives desire pure democracy — at least so long as they hold a numerical majority by fair means or foul — for this country.  We are seeing it at the micro level in this impeachment proceeding, but we are seeing it at the macro level in everything else progressives do.  Whenever they achieve a majority, then they want the rules changed to a pure democracy so they can exercise unfettered power.  And with those rule changes come such things as Court packing, so that they will tie the hands of non-progressives and always rule over this country, even when out of the majority.

Our system of government is designed to respect the will of the majority while protecting the rights of the minority and the individual.  It is why our government is designed as a Republic rather than a democracy.  In the legal sense, “due process” exists to insure that the individual does not unfairly become the victim of the passions of someone cloaked in the power of government.  In the political sense, “checks and balances” exist to insure that, while the majority will is respected, the rights of the minority party are protected.  Are all of those to be tossed out now, sacrificed on the progressive altar of “orange man bad” and the belief that only progressives have an inherent and moral right to rule over the rest of us?

The post Can Pelosi & Schiff Get Away With Running a Star Chamber Impeachment? appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

Hillary Clinton’s Deplorables Strike In Rural North Carolina

The minivan slows to a crawl, then dies. The Latina driver with her daughter unbuckled in the front seat frantically tries the starter but the engine refuses to turn over. Within seconds she is surrounded by white men. Again she tries the engine, pumping the accelerator furiously, beads of sweat appearing on her forehead as she mumbles for the car to start. It refuses. She is stuck and on her own.

One of the men shakes his head. “Sounds like your battery’s dead. You need a jump.” The shoppers exiting Walmart smile benignly as the traffic moves slowly around the stranded minivan. No one honks. Honking is considered extremely rude unless you are using it to get the attention of someone you know.

I return to my SUV with the “Hillary For Prison 2016” bumpersticker and pull up in front of her and pop my hood as she exits. “What happened,” I asked.

“I was waiting,” she said, “Then the car stop.”

“That’s not the battery,” I said to the old man who became the de facto leader of our group of Deplorables. “The alternator should have kept it running.”

But I had cables so we popped the minivan’s hood and I attached them. Resetting them several times and gunning my engine failed to make any difference in the sound coming from the minivan’s engine. The thing was dead.

I put away the jumper cables as the Deplorables considered what to do next. The car had died right in front of the entrance, blocking traffic passing in front of the store as well as foot traffic into it. The old man decided the safest bet was to push the car in reverse and turn the wheels so that she backed into a parking aisle and into a parking spot marked with stripes.

Using simple English and gestures I tried to explain to the woman what I needed her to do, but when our group of Deplorables attempted to push her car, she didn’t turn the wheel, so we ended up pushing her along the front of the store.

One of the big Deplorables, a well-built man in his fifties with tattoos shook his head and sighed “Women drivers.” He pointed out to a young man with a slight build, “Why don’t you get in there and drive?”

So the woman got out and the Deplorable kid got in. The rest of the group pushed the car forward a bit, then gently pushed it backward, shepherding it into the spot where it was out of the way of traffic yet with easy access to the engine or for towing. I noticed the woman was on her cellphone, and I assumed she was calling for help.

And just like that, with no word of thanks, our little group of Deplorables dissolved into the crowd of larger deplorables here in rural North Carolina, a place where Hillary Clinton will never visit populated with people she hates. And though they will never say it (because it involves public swearing) none of them gives a damn what Hillary Clinton thinks.

Brilliant campaign email from Trump

I tend to submit my name to various political campaigns, both Republican and Democrat, so that I can see their emails. Most of the emails are open begs for money, and they are predicated on fear — the other side is winning, we’re cornered, we need your help. As Scott Adams points out, fear is a very good motivator and Hillary, especially, likes to use it. The problem with fear is that one eventually gets inured to it.  For example, if you read diaries from people who experienced the bombing campaigns in either London or Berlin, what you see is a gradual transition from blind panic to something akin to zen resignation. Eventually racing to bomb shelters just doesn’t seem worth it. All you can do is hope that the next bomb isn’t meant for you.

In terms of Hillary’s fear campaign, I don’t think that her most devout, ideological followers are going get inured to her warnings that Trump is a mad man. I do think, though, that they’ll cease to remain enthused for her. At a certain point, they’ll say in a robotic monotone, “Yeah, he’s crazy and I’m going to vote for Hillary, but I really don’t like Hillary very much. . . .”  That is, fearing Trump doesn’t transform into liking Hillary and, to the extent voter enthusiasm matters, this isn’t a good thing.

Going back to the Scott Adams link above, Adams says that Trump had a very good week. He did three smart things:  He gave calm, normal speeches; the calm, normal speeches contained core truths that most Americans (even loosey-goosey Lefties, if they’re honest with themselves) recognize as true; and he hired very media savvy campaign advisors — and this is true even if Ben Shapiro is correct in his claim that Stephen Bannon is the demonic Mephistopheles to Trump’s Faust.

Apropos Shapiro’s J’Accuse! to Bannon, I admit to being troubled. I admire greatly Shapiro’s wicked good intelligence, strong moral core, ideological courage, and great communication skills, so I’m most certainly not going to dismiss what he says. Having said that, his accusations against Bannon are so strong that, to me, they’re a bit self-defeating.  Despite believing that there are evil people out there, it’s difficult for me to believe that Bannon is that evil. And if he’s not that evil, how evil is he? Also, to the extent Shapiro is a NeverTrumper, and I’ve concluded that Hillary will be so dreadful that it’s worth taking the risk that Trump will be less dreadful, I have to factor Shapiro’s anti-Trump bias into the equation. But I digress….

My point is that fear is a useful weapon up to a point. It excites strong emotions, but those emotions cannot stay excited. Also, while it most certainly drags the opposition down, it’s not a great tool to build yourself up. That is, I don’t think Hillary makes herself look any better by saying that Trump is scary, especially when he’s not behaving in scary ways.

So if the fear-based campaign email is a little bit of a dead-end, what else can a candidate do?  Well, I just received a very different email from the Trump campaign and, frankly, I thought it was brilliant.

Before I get to that email, let me back up a minute and talk about campaign slogans and rhetoric. Hillary’s slogan is “I’m With Her,” which is just a meaningless statement of allegiance. Paul McCartney twisted to “She’s With Me,” which should certainly get out the aging British rocker vote, but isn’t much of a get-out-the-vote slogan either.  (And honestly, I really wish he’d kept his mouth shut because I love the Beatles’ music but now, every time I hear a song, I think to myself “It’s such a shame that McCartney matured into being an idiot” — which kind of spoils the music.)

Trump did a beautiful bit of rhetorical jujitsu and, instead of insisting that voters line up behind him, sheep-like, announced to the voters “I’m With You.”  There’s a world of meaning in that. I’m supporting your values, I’m your man in the fight, I care about the things you care about, I am your servant, not your master.

Taking that powerful statement one step further, Trump’s campaign sent out a wonderful campaign email, which I’ll quote in full here:

Trump Pence Logo
In less than three months, you get to vote for the next president of the United States.

But in order to make sure Trump wins, we need YOUR immediate input on his critical general election strategy moving forward.

Take the Trump Campaign Strategy Survey now. >>

Without you, this campaign would be NOTHING.

Our landslide victories, our momentum, and our massive rallies are all thanks to supporters like you who were ready to Make America Great Again!

But now we face the fight of our lifetime. We The People are going up against Hillary Clinton’s monstrous machine of elites, lobbyists, and special interests who have sent our country down a very dark road.

To win this fight, Trump is turning to his most trusted advisers: the American People.

That means you.

Please – consider it your duty to take the Trump Campaign Strategy Survey now. >>

Thank you,

Team TRUMP

TAKE THE SURVEY

This was good for my lizard brain. He’s not telling me what he thinks I need to know. He’s asking me what I think he needs to know. Okay — I’ll bite. I followed the “survey” link and, rather than being told to give money first, actually got a real survey asking for my opinions about things important to conservatives. The survey ticks off most of the true conservative boxes, which should help allay suspicion amongst those who think he has no idea what conservative voters care about. As you look at the questions, which are a laundry list of the desires of frustrated conservatives, you will see that the Trump campaign has engaged us in his platform. We now have ownership.

  1. Which issues are most important to you?
  • Securing the border
  • Stopping radical Islamic terrorism
  • Economy/jobs
  • Fair trade
  • American energy independence
  • Protecting the life of the unborn
  • Religious liberties
  • Upholding the Constitution
  • Preserving a conservative Supreme Court
  1. Should Trump spend more of his time going after Hillary’s record and her positions on the issues?
  • Yes
  • No
  • No Opinion
  1. Should Trump invest more time and resources in YOUR state?
  • Yes
  • No
  • No Opinion
  1. Should Trump focus more on positive or negative advertising?
  • Positive
  • Negative
  • Both equally
  1. Our tax system must be simplified to help working families and reduce IRS corruption.
  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • No Opinion
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree
  1. America must become energy independent to strengthen our economy and end dependence on our enemies for oil.
  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • No Opinion
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree
  1. Term limits should be imposed on congressmen and senators.
  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • No Opinion
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree
  1. Taxpayers should not be forced to fund abortions.
  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • No Opinion
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree
  1. A wall must be built along the southern border of the United States to stop the flow of illegal immigration.
  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • No Opinion
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree
  1. Trade deals must be renegotiated into terms that put America first.
  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • No Opinion
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree
  1. Hillary Clinton’s plan to increase the number of refugees America takes in by 550% would be disastrous.
  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • No Opinion
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree
  1. Taking proper care of our veterans must be a cornerstone of the Trump administration.
  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • No Opinion
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree
  1. The Second Amendment must be protected
  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • No Opinion
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree
  1. Republicans are correct to wait until Trump becomes president to confirm Justice Scalia’s replacement on the Supreme Court.
  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • No Opinion
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree
  1. The federal government should return much of its power to state and local governments.
  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • No Opinion
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree
  1. Businesses have been crushed by burdensome regulations that stunt growth.
  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • No Opinion
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree
  1. We cannot tax our way out of debt. Instead, we must stop wasteful spending to reduce our $19 trillion debt.
  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • No Opinion
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree
  1. Our next president must roll back regulations that have forced companies to relocate overseas.
  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • No Opinion
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree
  1. Repealing and replacing ObamaCare should remain a top priority.
  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • No Opinion
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree
  1. A Republican House and Senate will best empower Trump to pass necessary reforms for our country.
  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • No Opinion
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree
  1. Political correctness has gone too far. It now threatens our national security.
  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • No Opinion
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree
  1. School choice policies are critical to empowering American families.
  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • No Opinion
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree
  1. We must end government regulations that have cost Americans jobs in states like Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and West Virginia.
  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • No Opinion
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree
  1. Obama’s executive orders must be rolled back on Trump’s first day in office.
  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • No Opinion
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree
  1. Trump must put an end to Obama’s military spending cuts.
  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • No Opinion
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree
  1. Veterans should be able to choose their own health care providers.
  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • No Opinion
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree
  1. Under Obama, the powers of the presidency have been abused.
  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • No Opinion
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree
  1. Our country has strayed too much from what our founders outlined in the Constitution.
  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • No Opinion
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree
  1. Law and order should remain a centerpiece of Trump’s platform.
  • Strongly Agree
  • Agree
  • No Opinion
  • Disagree
  • Strongly Disagree
  1. Which of the following are your biggest concerns personally? (Select as many that apply)
  • Job security
  • Mortgage payments
  • Social security
  • Saving for children’s education
  • Saving for retirement
  • Social issues
  • Terrorist threats
  • Cost of living
  • Increased crime
  • Veteran aid
  • Other

Cross-posted at Bookworm Room

Link:  

Brilliant campaign email from Trump


Article written by: Tom White

Forum: Does America Still Have A Free, Independent Media?

Every Monday, the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s question: Does America Still Have A Free, Independent Media?

Stately McDaniel Manor: Our society has, without a doubt, a free, independent press. What it lacks is a responsible, ethical, professional press. The role of the press is no less potentially important than it was in the time of the Founders, but much has changed.

Some suggest that the digital age has fundamentally transformed the role of the media. Internet news sources, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, all mold opinion. The Legacy Media no longer have a monopoly on the news, or on opinion writing, for that matter. This has wrought changes, perhaps even opportunities: Donald Trump rode Twitter to the Republican nomination.

One thing, however, remains unchanged: we get precisely the press we deserve, just as we get the politicians we deserve. Think Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are a coincidence? A completely unexpected bolt from the blue? They are the logical, foreseeable consequence of a people who, for the most part, no longer understand or embrace the Constitution, the very principles and the rule of law that make America, America.

The Legacy Media have always had a leftist slant, but in the past, they angrily denied it, and if one of their own stepped too far over the line, they were roughly brought back into the fold, and in rare instances, fired. But the temptation to advocate rather than report–after all, the Legacy Media are elite, educated, smarter and more in the know than those they supposedly inform–became ever stronger, and before long–mere decades–the line became all but invisible, the consequences for crossing it, weaker and weaker until they have all but vanished.

Much of the Lamestream Media abandoned all pretense at objectivity with the first election of Barack Obama. They were no longer content with reporting history, they wanted to make it, and nearly everyone in their ranks became–if they were not already–a Democrat operative with a byline. Oh, they still argued their objectivity upon occasion, but ever more weakly.

Circa 2016, there is virtually no protestation of even-handedness. An Associated Press reporter, one Lisa Lerer, was present for an incident where Hillary Clinton potentially had a seizure of some kind. There have been numerous concerns about Clinton’s health, and several public instances of seizure-like behavior, but the media has responded primarily by declining to cover them. That has all changed, and surely represents the Media’s realization that Clinton does have serious health problems and needs their help to cover them. Ms. Lerer to the rescue!

Lerer, obviously with the blessing of the Associated Press, wrote a full-throated defense of Clinton, including a medical diagnosis of her unique fitness to be President that would have done a hired Clinton press flack proud.

Who needs people like neurologists or other medical professionals to testify to Clinton’s physical fitness to rule when we have the Associated Press!

Keep in mind that the AP is a wire service. Their content is sold to new organizations around the world, so if the AP is in the tank for Clinton, every newspaper, blog, or other media source that uses their material is also in the tank for Clinton, whether they realize it or not.

Surveys routinely reveal that 90% and more of reporters self-identify as Progressives/Democrats. They are independent and free to make that choice. What they are not is honest, objective, and trustworthy. We are, in part, responsible for that.

Laura Rambeau Lee,Right Reason : While we still have a free independent media, what we are lacking is integrity in our journalists. Actually, it’s worse than that because they don’t even realize how biased they are.

The major media outlets employ journalists and reporters who graduate from progressive universities and colleges where they have been indoctrinated with a bias against traditional American values. Being immersed in the hatred and animosity against America and its perceived evils it becomes impossible for them to report on stories objectively. Returning to college to finish my bachelor’s degree I sought a notoriously liberal school and took an American Studies major with a focus on communication and media. I tell people I received a bachelor’s degree in Bitterness Studies. The focus in nearly every class was anti-American and pro-globalism and multiculturalism. Marxism is alive and well and producing good little communists on our college campuses. It is no wonder we have a generation of young adults who seem unable to cope with even the basic challenges of adulthood. The guilt and hopelessness of this generation is striking and I find it difficult to imagine them becoming well adjusted, happy, and competent contributors to our society.

Progressives need people who are dependent on government. Our progressive education system has destroyed their sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Today’s journalists regurgitate the party line because this is where they are made to feel safe and protected. To step outside this circle would mean suffering public humiliation, a useful tool of the left to keep people in line.

On a positive note, with the advent of the internet and the rise of independent news reporters and bloggers we are able to counter some of the leftist media. We do this because we are the truth tellers in a world we find full of corruption and media bias. We are not beholden to politicians and the progressive agenda which pervades the major media outlets. We are the pre-Revolutionary War pamphleteers of the twenty-first century. There are a lot of people who are still able to think critically and see what is happening in our country and as things become progressively more intolerable there will be more searching for the truth. We have taken on this task willingly and out of love for our country and our way of life. We are truly happy warriors.

We do have a free independent media for now, but I fear very soon we will not as the internet is being turned over to a global governing oversight entity. It may become very difficult to write as we do today in the near future. I hope I am wrong about this, but I don’t think I am.

Bookworm Room : If we define “freedom” to mean that the government cannot use coercion to force people into speech against their will, America still has a free media. America’s tragedy is that our media didn’t need force and coercion to abandon its commitment to truth. It did so voluntarily. So free? Yes. Honest? No.

JoshuaPundit: I’ve been a news junkie for a longtime…even dating back to the old pre-internet short wave days. It was an is fascinating to me to see how different news agencies in different countries would handle the same stories, and weight them in importance. Even in those days, there were news agencies that were obviously biased, and others whom prided themselves on their objectivity like the BBC. That, of course,is no longer true of the Beeb and a number of other institutions.

The change could be traced back as far as the 1940’s, when groups like the New York Teacher’s Union were heavily infiltrated by the communist party. It revved up during the ’60’s, when a number of red diaper babies and similar radicals infiltrated the university systems and many college administrators caved in to their demands to try and preserve civil order.But to me, the real tipping point was in 1972, when President Nixon ended the draft. The supposedly moral anti-war movement melted away, but the leaders and cadres went back to the university systems and became tenured radical professors.

There’s a reason people like Bill Ayers got so involved in education.

Because that’s the key to what’s going on with news media now. The Left controls education and has for some time.

American media has always had its partisan elements. In most sizeable towns, there was always a democrat and Republican paper. But the bias was up front and honest, and the competition was on a relatively level playing field. That’s not the case today.

Back when the nation’s press was a monopoly of three alphabet networks and a handful of influential big city newspapers, the bias towards the Left and the Democrats was there and always increasing, but the Old Guard who still maintained a modicum of journalistic standards kept it somewhat in check. As they retired and the new breed took over, the change became more and more apparent.

The introduction of talk radio and later, the internet exploded this monopoly for a time.

But thanks to social media. It’s reasserting itself again since these sites are pretty much controlled by the Left and they now control how news is weighted and what gets highlighted. Facebook, Twitter, and Google are actually suppressing conservative media and doing what the Leftist media has always done…not covering or hiding news stories and information that goes against their progressive agenda. Conservative activists have found themselves banned by Twitter, Instagram and Facebook or even worse, ‘shadow banned’ where the poster believes his or her content is being posted because he or she can see it on his page. They’re unaware no one else can.

Google is even more insidious. If you have an exact URL, you’ll get what you were looking for but they have altered the search algorithms so that if you merely do a general search on a topic that debunks the Leftist mythology what you’ll frequently see instead is a lot of articles taking the other side, with what you’re looking for frequently being buries several pages away if you’re lucky. You have to be extremely specific to find what you want, and many times that doesn’t even matter. This also applies to google images.

Want to fix the media and preserve the First Amendment? Fix education. It would take some intestinal fortitude, but it is by no means impossible.

If Mrs. Clinton is elected, look for a pervasive effort to neuter talk radio via the FCC and the internet using use taxes, ‘hate speech’ codes and high fees for the privilege of blogging. I hope I’m wrong about that.

Well, there you have it.

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. And stay tuned for news on an exciting new development from the Watcher’s Council!

Trust me, you won’t want to miss it.

And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter..’cause we’re cool like that, y’know?

Originally posted here:

Forum: Does America Still Have A Free, Independent Media?


Article written by: Tom White