Archive for the ‘politics’ Tag

Actions Speak Louder Than Twitter Storms   Leave a comment

I didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. I’ve taken some heat for complaining about some of President Trump’s actions and I’ve taken some heat for applauding some of his actions. I don’t care about his Twitter flurries. Those are not governance. Honestly, I find it refreshing that a politician says what’s on his mind before convening a focus group to find out what should be on his mind.

By and large, I was at least half-pleased with President Trump’s cabinet picks. I know lots of people disagree, but they would have disagreed if Trump had allowed Hillary Clinton to pick his cabinet for him. And, no, that’s not a joke. Some people seem to be unfamiliar with how the Constitutional election system works. Donald Trump won the presidency completely by the rules. Maybe your candidate should have not played fast and loose with state secrets on her unsecured private email server and bit her tongue before declaring that 40% of the country’s voters were irredeemable racists she would consign to a “deplorables” basket where she wouldn’t have to take their concerns seriously. You don’t have to be a Donald Trump fan to recognize that she was declaring she would be president for only some Americans. We’re lucky she didn’t win, which does not mean we are blessed that Trump did.

Image result for image secretary elaine chao in alaska

Alaska swung pretty hard to Donald Trump. They didn’t need my help and they didn’t get it, but a lot of people here think they made a right decision because of the Trump administration’s behavior toward Alaska. Since the beginning of the Trump administration, Alaska has been the host to at least three federal department chiefs — Secretaries Rex Tillerson (State), Ryan Zinke (Interior) and Elaine Chao (Transportation). Zinke and Chao came to Alaska at the behest of Alaska’s Congressional delegation. two come quickly to mind, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who was here a couple of weeks ago.

Both Zinke and Chao toured the state and talked to all walks of Alaskans and then said they hoped to be able to work with the State of Alaska and Alaska residents to develop infrastructure and allow reasonable resource development. Contrast this to the Obama’s administration’s cabinet visits. Antony Foxx (Transportation) and Sally Jewell (Interior) both visited Alaska, but they met only with Native groups, appeared to be hostile to the State government and announced they would further tighten regulations on the state so as to prevent development of infrastructure and further restrict resource development, hobbling our economy even more than the Jones Act and previous environmental regulations already do.

Last week Chao spoke with transportation officials and industry leaders in Alaska, coming to the conclusion that the federal government will more quickly advance projects, which have been delayed, often for decades, by a burdensome regulatory process.

This is no small matter for Alaska, which receives about $500 million annually for its transportation projects through the Federal Highway Administration. Southeast and Southwest Alaska benefit from federal highway funds through limited road projects, but federal funds are used to build Alaska Marine Highway System ships. Like all other states, Alaska matches federal dollars with a 10-percent contribution.

Toward alleviating project delays, Chao noted that Alaska has become only the seventh state to acquire an agreement with the federal government that allows it to conduct environmental reviews for state and federal highway projects. The agreement, which is under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), is expected to be signed in October, according to Chao.

Environmental protections will remain and the federal government will monitor the state’s reviews, but projects should be able to move forward more efficiently.

Actions speak louder than Twitter storms, disapproving pundits and shouting, rock-throwing protesters. There’s been considerable noise coming out of Washington, D.C. since Trump’s inauguration. It’s often difficult to know what’s true and what isn’t, because politicians and pundits present points of view favorable to their preferences, often ignoring the needs of states and even those of the nation.

I’m still not a Donald Trump fan. I doubt I’ll vote for him in 2020, but he’s doing some things right and it’s been a long time since Alaska has seen that coming out of the Oval Office. Alaskans, lets focus on what’s actually being accomplished for Alaska and tune out the rest of the nonsense.

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Posted September 12, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in politics

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Hey, Trump Voters! How Do You Like Betrayal?   1 comment

So, I think a lot of people have heard that President Trump and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) have agreed to pursue a deal that would permanently remove the requirement that Congress repeatedly raise the debt ceiling.

Trump signs Harvey aid, debt ceiling packageThis is a gentlemen’s agreement that’s been leaked by administration insiders. The Oval Office meeting included an agreement that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) would work with the two men over the next several months to finalize a plan. Congress would have to approve the plan, of course, but the leakers claim Senate Democrats believe they can finalize the arrangement by December.

One reason I didn’t vote for President Trump is one of the reasons I didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton. I suspected Trump is still a Democrat. You do know you can join any political party you want and nobody actually asks you to prove you agree with the platform? One day in every four years, I’m a Republican so I can vote in the GOP primary. I’m back to being a Non-Partisan (an actual “party” designation in Alaska) by the general. So, I’m not surprised that President Trump has made this decision to betray American conservatives who voted for him. I kind of thought he would do something like this because he’s a closet Democrat and Democrats really don’t see anything wrong with debt.

I’ve spent a lot of blog posts talking about the danger of debt. Just as runaway debt in your household will force you into bankruptcy eventually, runaway debt in the government will eventually drive Washington DC into bankruptcy. Just like some households carry some debt and they do okay so long as they keep it under control, the national government can also carry some debt, but we are currently carrying more debt than all debt for the entire history of the United States. We’re in trouble, folks, and that periodic discussion of the debt ceiling helps us to remember that and encourages Americans to demand Congress do something about it.

It’s a lot easier to increase spending levels if the people don’t know what the national debt is. That’s how the government got away with running up debts in the 1950s and 60s. But in the 1970s, we started a very steep recession and the debt became a subject of common discussion. It forced the eventual passage of the Contract with America, which almost retired the debt.

No, Clinton did not have an actual surplus of funds. He raided the Social Security Trust Fund to make it seem like he had. And, now, we are $20 trillion in debt and going up and they want to move the problem out of sight so that we won’t care so much about it.

 

 

So, my question is –

Are you pissed off yet, Republicans?

Are you going to do something real about it?

No, I’m not saying vote for the Democrats. They are behind this stupidity!

I’m becoming convinced that voting does nothing, but if you’re going to vote, at least don’t vote for Dweedle Dee (GOP) or Dweedle Dum (Democrats). Instead, pick a third party you mostly agree with and vote for them. Take away the power from the elites – Congress and President Trump. Maybe a Libertarian President with a mixed Repubican, Democratic and Libertarian Congress would be more likely to address the debt and insist we do something about it.

Or maybe it will teach all of us that voting doesn’t do ANYTHING and we need to do something far different.

Trump’s Gambit   3 comments

Okay, I could choose to be embarrassed that the President of the United States responded in kind to threats from North Korea’s petulant child of a tinpot dictator. Promising “fire and fury” really does sound like a schoolyard threat.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/09/north-korea-us-airbase-guam-trump-fire-fury

And, maybe if I’d voted for Hillary Clinton, I’d surmise on how much better she would handle it … choosing to ignore that the Obama administration expanded two wars and got involved in at least four others while she was Secretary of State. For the record, in case you are unfamiliar with the cabinet secretary functions, the role of the Secretary of State is to, as far as possible, keep us out of war. Negotiation is a key part of the job. Since the US war footing expanded greatly during her tenure as Secretary of State, we can rightfully say she was a failure as Secretary of State.

Image result for image of north korea threatening guamYes, she would have issued a statement along the same lines as Barack Obama’s lukewarm admonitions to Kim Jong-Un, something like:

“You shouldn’t threaten other countries. We’re going to get tough and refuse to trade with you so your people can be even more starved than they are now, but you can continue getting more portly. Be a good little dictator now and run along. Go back to playing with your nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles and leave the adults alone.”

You get my point? Past presidents at least since as far back as Bush 1 have treated Pyongyang like wayward children and the paternalism is probably one reason why Kim acts up. The other BIG reason is that he is the leader of a starving nation with a lot of enemies and he feels threatened, so he threatens loudly and talks big about what little he can do against us.

He can’t hit the US with a nuclear payload. His missiles can’t carry a payload … at all … yet. He could hit Alaska with an unarmed missile, but nobody would notice the difference in the Valley of 10,000 Smokes. It’s already been devastated by volcanoes, so there’s no risk to a national treasure. So why are we acting like the 4-pound cat is a danger to us? They aren’t even really a danger to Guam (which the Guam governor acknowledges”, although an unarmed missile would do some damage, assuming that THAAD battery in Guam didn’t take it down before it hit.

I’ve said before, the best thing we could do is get off North Korea’s back and let the organic movement toward reunification with South Korea slowly work itself out. The more the US interferes in the internal workings of Pyongyang, the more likely we are to cause a reaction with negative consequences. Puffing himself up and threatening something he hasn’t got the means to do is not an actual reaction that we should arm up for.

Frankly, when I hear US Presidents deliver their worn-out, “don’t threat us, we might starve your people some more” speech, I’m frankly embarrassed by the ineffectiveness of a powerful nation like the US tut-tutting an insignificant little country. It’s kind of like how I feel about our military getting our asses handed to us in Afganistan and Iraq … or for that matter, Vietnam. Are we stupid? Clearly it’s not that we can’t win these conflicts … it’s that we don’t try to win them … so why do we even get into them?

I’m also embarrassed that the government of the United States has used its sanction power to starve the people of North Korea. Really, you don’t think that works in Kim’s favor? Of course it does.

So President Trump threatened “fury and fire”. He gave Kim the same basketball trashtalk that the North Korean dictator has been spouting for years. It’s a little embarrassing that our President isn’t more grown up than that, but again … what is the real difference between that and the ineffectual pronouncements of Barack Obama and his predecessors? If we’re talking about outcome, there isn’t any. Pyongyang will continue to bristle and threaten until we back off and give them some breathing space and maybe allow some food shipments into the country. If Kim’s subjects weren’t starving, maybe they’d have the energy to plot a coup and take care of their own problem.

Just a thought. And, for all you Trump supporters out there who are so excited that your President is finally talking tough with the child-man of Pyongyang … President Trump appears to be making threats that he’d have to be a crazy man to actually do, so … yeah, not really very effective … anymore than Hillary Clinton would have been. So, there you have it … balanced analysis.

Democratic Violence Begets More Violence   Leave a comment

I’m posting a little late on this because I am loath to step on Writing Wednesday, but for heaven sakes, this deserves some attention.

I’m not surprised this happened. It’s been coming ever since the first American leftist with Trump Obsessive Disorder throw a rock through a window because their feelings are more important than the Constititutional election process.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/multiple-people-injured-after-shooting-in-alexandria/2017/06/14/0289c768-50f6-11e7-be25-3a519335381c_story.html?utm_term=.a4cdab0782a2

Image result for image of washington shooting 6.14.17All you Democrats out there need to stand up and denounce violence. Stop being so freaked out and start acting like sane people again.

And Republicans and independents, including Trump voters, need to recognize that while this was caused by over the top rhetoric coming from the left, the principled Democrats who denounce all the election-related violence are not the ones personally responsible for what is happening.

During the build up to the Civil War, a southern Senator warned that whichever side fired the first shot would lose the war because they’d know they weren’t on the high moral ground and the other side would feel justified in their aggression going forward. Although the South lost the first Civil War for a lot of reasons, they were pushed into firing the first shots and the North whipped Ft. Sumter at every opportunity.

So far we’re in a “cold” civil war not between easily definable regions, but between the urban dwellers who think they are so smart that they and only they should have a say in national politics and the rural dwellers who are tired of living in Panem and took an opportunity to do something about it. It’s been a long time coming. So long as the leftists were breaking their own windows and nobody was seriously hurt, we could not call it a war, but now ….

Yeah …..

Anger about his own colleagues being attacked was evident in the words of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who, suit in tie, stopped by the crime scene to pray, was viscerally angry about his own colleagues being attacked.

“America has been divided,” he said, “and the center of America is disappearing, and the violence is appearing in the streets, and it’s coming from the left.” King did indicate it was impossible to separate the hyperpartisan climate in Washington — especially people protesting President Trump — with Republican members of Congress being gunned down at a baseball scrimmage.

“The divisions within the country, people that can’t accept the results of the election that are determined to try to take this country down, take this organization down,” King said. “This city was filled up with demonstrations the day after the inauguration, where you couldn’t drive down the streets.”

So blood has been spilled now. Thankfully nobody died. Is the left now ready to stop pushing the country in this direction.

The FBI and Hillary Clinton   1 comment

Judge Andrew Napolitano

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2017/04/andrew-p-napolitano/the-fbi-and-hillary-again/

Last weekend, The New York Times published a long piece about the effect the FBI had on the outcome of the 2016 presidential campaign. As we all know, Donald Trump won a comfortable victory in the Electoral College while falling about 3 million votes behind Hillary Clinton in the popular vote.

Related imageI believe that Clinton was a deeply flawed candidate who failed to energize the Democratic Party base and who failed to deliver to the electorate a principled reason to vote for her. Yet when the Times reporters asked her why she believes she lost the race, she gave several answers, the first of which was the involvement of the FBI. She may be right.

Here is the back story.

Time to buy old US gold coins

In 2015, a committee of the House of Representatives that was investigating the deaths of four Americans at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, learned that the State Department had no copies of any emails sent or received by Clinton during her four years as secretary of state. When committee investigators pursued this — at the same time that attorneys involved with civil lawsuits brought against the State Department seeking the Clinton emails were pursuing it — it was revealed that Clinton had used her own home servers for her emails and bypassed the State Department servers.

Because many of her emails obviously contained government secrets and because the removal of government secrets to any non-secure venue constitutes espionage, the House Select Committee on Benghazi sent a criminal referral to the Department of Justice, which passed it on to the FBI. A congressionally issued criminal referral means that some members of Congress who have seen some evidence think that some crime may have been committed. The DOJ is free to reject the referral, yet it accepted this one.

It directed the FBI to investigate the facts in the referral and to refer to the investigation as a “matter,” not as a criminal investigation. The FBI cringed a bit, but Director James Comey followed orders and used the word “matter.” This led to some agents mockingly referring to him as the director of the Federal Bureau of Matters. It would not be the last time agents mocked or derided him in the Clinton investigation.

He should not have referred to it by any name, because under DOJ and FBI regulations, the existence of an FBI investigation should not be revealed publicly unless and until it results in some public courtroom activity, such as the release of an indictment. These rules and procedures have been in place for generations to protect those never charged. Because of the role that the FBI has played in our law enforcement history — articulated in books and movies and manifested in our culture — many folks assume that if a person is being investigated by the FBI, she must have done something wrong.

In early July 2016, Clinton was personally interviewed in secret for about four hours by a team of FBI agents who had been working on her case for a year. During that interview, she professed great memory loss and blamed it on a head injury she said she had suffered in her Washington, D.C., home. Some of the agents who interrogated her disbelieved her testimony about the injury and, over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, asked Comey for permission to subpoena her medical records.

When Comey denied his agents the permission they sought, some of them attempted to obtain the records from the intelligence community. Because Clinton’s medical records had been digitally recorded by her physicians and because the FBI agents knew that the National Security Agency has digital copies of all keystrokes on all computers used in the U.S. since 2005, they sought Clinton’s records from their NSA colleagues. Lying to the FBI is a felony, and these agents believed they had just witnessed a series of lies.

When Comey learned what his creative agents were up to, he jumped the gun by holding a news conference on July 5, 2016, during which he announced that the FBI was recommending to the DOJ that it not seek Clinton’s indictment because “no reasonable prosecutor” would take the case. He then did the unthinkable. He outlined all of the damning evidence of guilt that the FBI had amassed against her.

This double-edged sword — we won’t charge her, but we have much evidence of her guilt — was unprecedented and unheard of in the midst of a presidential election campaign. Both Republicans and Democrats found some joy in Comey’s words. Yet his many agents who believed that Clinton was guilty of both espionage and lying were furious — furious that Comey had revealed so much, furious that he had demeaned their work, furious that he had stopped an investigation before it was completed.

While all this was going on, former Rep. Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of Clinton’s closest aide, Huma Abedin, was being investigated for using a computer to send sexually explicit materials to a minor. When the FBI asked for his computer — he had shared it with his wife — he surrendered it. When FBI agents examined the Weiner/Abedin laptop, they found about 650,000 stored emails, many from Clinton to Abedin, that they thought they had not seen before.

Rather than silently examine the laptop, Comey again violated DOJ and FBI regulations by announcing publicly the discovery of the laptop and revealing that his team suspected that it contained hundreds of thousands of Clinton emails; and he announced the reopening of the Clinton investigation. This announcement was made two weeks before Election Day and was greeted by the Trump campaign with great glee. A week later, Comey announced that the laptop was fruitless, and the investigation was closed, again.

At about the same time that the House Benghazi Committee sent its criminal referral to the DOJ, American and British intelligence became interested in a potential connection between the Trump presidential campaign and intelligence agents of the Russian government. This interest resulted in the now infamous year-plus-long electronic surveillance of Trump and many of his associates and colleagues. This also produced a criminal referral from the intelligence community to the DOJ, which sent it to the FBI.

Yet this referral and the existence of this investigation was kept — quite properly — from the press and the public. When Comey was asked about it, he — quite properly — declined to answer. When he was asked under oath whether he knew of any surveillance of Trump before Trump became president, Comey denied that he knew of it.

What was going on with the FBI?

How could Comey justify the public revelation of a criminal investigation and a summary of evidence of guilt about one candidate for president and remain silent about the existence of a criminal investigation of the campaign of another? How could he deny knowledge of surveillance that was well-known in the intelligence community, even among his own agents? Why would the FBI director inject his agents, who have prided themselves on professional political neutrality, into a bitterly contested campaign having been warned it might affect the outcome? Why did he reject the law’s just commands of silence in favor of putting his thumb on political scales?

I don’t know the answers to those questions. But the American public, and Hillary Clinton, is entitled to them.

Posted June 9, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in politics, Uncategorized

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Leaking Like a Sieve   Leave a comment

This article about a young NSA operative who leaked classified documents is exactly what I’ve been saying about the Deep State and how there doesn’t need to be a “conspiracy” for this organization and others like it to undermine the democratic process the US has operated under for 230 years.

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/how-did-accused-nsa-leaker-reality-winner-get-security-clearance-n768816

When the news broke that Reality Winner, a 25-year-old NSA contractor with an apparently heavy social media presence, had been charged with leaking a classified document to reporters, many people wondered: How does someone so young have a such a top-level security clearance?

It’s actually very common.

“The vast majority of people who do the National Security Agency’s intercept work, who translate and analyze — most of them are fresh out of high school,” said Matthew Aid, an intelligence historian who has written about the NSA. “There are thousands and thousands of 18 to 21-year-olds doing critically important and secret work around the world.”

Related: Feds Arrest NSA Contractor in Leak of Top Secret Russia Document

The NSA is a military intelligence agency, and many of the people who work on the front lines of intelligence gathering in the military are young enlisted personnel. If they are eavesdropping on anyone from a terrorist in Afghanistan to a Russian colonel, they need a very high security clearance. The equipment, the methods, the words they hear — are all highly classified.

So it was that Winner, a former Air Force linguist fluent in the languages of Afghanistan, found her way to a job as a contractor at an NSA facility in Georgia. She was arrested at her home Saturday for alleging leaking a document about Russian hacking of U.S. electoral systems that was published in a story by the Intercept on Monday afternoon.

The issue that Winner’s arrest highlights is not her age, current and former intelligence officials say — it is what they perceive as a cultural shift that has led a small but growing subset of spy agency employees to break the ultimate organizational taboo, and share secrets with the public and the news media.

There have always been American spies who have betrayed their country for money. Now, from Chelsea Manning to Edward Snowden to Reality Winner, a new class of rogue employee has emerged: People who decide there are secrets the public needs to know, and take it upon themselves to share them with reporters.

Image: Reality Winner poses in a photo posted to her Instagram account
Reality Leigh Winner, 25, a federal contractor charged by the U.S. Department of Justice for sending classified material to a news organization, poses in a picture posted to her Instagram account.Reality Winner / Instagram via Reuters

“It’s a new kind of insider threat that the agency can’t defend against,” Aid said.

And it’s getting worse, he added, in part because “Donald Trump and the change in the political scene in America has created an environment for a lot of people who feel that they have to DO something. You become an instant activist.”

We’ve invested a lot of power into the hands of mere mortals who now pick and choose what it is that we the people need to know. Edward Snowden did the nation a favor by opening our eyes to what we should have known was going on all along. At this point, I don’t know if Reality Winner (yeah, that is apparently her real name, which might tell us something about her) told us something we needed to know or if she “leaked” false information meant to further destabilize the country. I’m withholding judgment until I know more.

It still circles us back to the question … what happens if we do reach the point where the democratic process of the United States is overturned. Do we honestly believe that if the “right” politician “wins” and is allowed to impose her power against the “rural hicks” who wanted someone else, that the country will be better for it?

We have either got to get away from this subjugating different parts of the country under the guise of majoritarian politics or we need to admit it doesn’t work and declare a peaceful divorce with amicable terms.

No Crisis in the Cheap Seats   Leave a comment

I’m less concerned about Donald Trump’s antics than most of the people I know. It might have something to do with my choosing to “throw my vote away” on a third-party candidate who couldn’t win rather than on either of the two bad choices available this time around.

Image result for image of a fan watching a hockey fightBut listening to the mass media hysteria about Trump’s antics, you could easily get the impression that America is is in the throes of a crisis. Democrats stonewall Congressional legislation and dream of impeaching Trump out of the presidency. The Republicans are in panic mode that they will lose their majorities in the House and the Senate in 2018 because Donald Trump is eating away at their credibility and legitimacy, which they need to get anything done in terms of ObamaCare, and tax and regulatory reform.

The media is in its own frenzy, especially in the left-of-center press. Day-in-and-day-out, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The New Yorker and CNN assure the citizenry and readers and viewers around the world that the Trump presidency is in chaotic disarray, trending towards unconstitutional authoritarianism, and threatening the free press in the United State. He’s supposedly pushing the country to the verge of international conflicts in various parts of the world and acting as partner or puppet to Vladimir Putin in Russia.

Judging by this coverage, the people of the United States must be psychologically, socially and economically paralyzed by all the controversies, conflicts, and confusions enveloping all that is happening in Washington, D.C.

But … no … out here in real-world land, people are getting up every morning and going to work. Production goes on the same as before Trump was inaugurated on January 20, 2017. Goods roll out of the manufacturing plants and facilities and onto the retail outlets where the consuming public continues to compare, choose and buy.

Parents are still driving their young sportsmen and -women to recreational facilities to play organized team activities. Summer vacations are being planned. Construction sites are still busy building new residential homes, office buildings, and new or expanded manufacturing units.

Politics comes up in various conversations, and political discussions have become more tense, confrontational and argumentative in some circles in the Age of Trump. There are some people you just avoid, but for the most part, people talk about sports events, family activities, movies and all the other affairs of ordinary, daily life.

The vast majority of Americans are mostly uneffected by the events in Washington, D.C. Government taxes, regulates, intrudes, surveils, and in general makes life more frustrating, costly and less free than it could be and that leaves many of us wishing government would do less or none of these things, leaving people more liberty to go about their individual peaceful, personal and private business.

American society has not been sucked into a vortex of political paralysis because of Donald Trump’s personal antics and verbal rants on Twitter.  We don’t even care about his making up words on Twitter. The country is not frozen like a deer in the headlights of an oncoming car due to the rhetoric from and rancor between the Republicans and Democrats in Congress.  Everyday life is bigger than politics, even in our epoch of the pervasive interventionist-welfare state and national security state.

Yeah, there is danger and damage from the enveloping straight-jacket of growing political paternalism and regulatory cronyism. Those things concern me quite a lot, but “society” generally remains greater than the “state,” though the balance between the two shifts in the state’s favor with every extension of political control and command over people’s personal, market and social interactions.

Outside of politics and the presidency, Donald Trump is a fast-talking, deal-making blowhard, who apparently has learned how to navigate the real estate markets to make millions. He has searched for market opportunities, but has also used government means to achieve his ends when they have been available to include in his “deal making.”

The world went on before Donald Trump became president and will continue after he has left that high political office, though perhaps in a less entertaining way. 

The supposed “crises” of political leadership, the anger and frustration that that  “man” is in the White House rather than “our” experienced, qualified, and forward-looking candidate who should have been the first woman president of the nation, has horrified “progressives,” shocked Congressional Democrats, and driven the left media into attack mode. But for most of us in our homes and workplaces, about our regular activities, it doesn’t matter at all.

Politics and government policies matter only insofar as the political battle lines over who runs various levels of government and what that power is used for have very real influences on the direction, form, and prospects for society. Especially in the 24-hour news cycle, it’s easy to forget that “society” is different from the “state.” What goes on in each is based on two distinct principles of human association: voluntary agreement versus compulsory direction.

In the competitive marketplace, human beings interact on the basis of peaceful and mutually agreeable association. In the political arena, human relationships are based on command and control, with those in governmental office able to impose coercive regulations, restrictions, and redistributions which the people are bound to obey or accept under the threat of force.

It is the private sector, however hampered and constrained by government, that produces the goods and services available to all of us.

In a free society with government limited to a few essential functions, primarily the protection of life, liberty and honestly-acquired property, the sphere of political presence and influence on society is limited and non-intrusive in the affairs of the large majority of people. A historian once noted that before the First World War, a British subject could live in London their whole life and never come into contact with the state beyond the constable walking his rounds and the occasionally inconvenience of jury duty.

Today the state is pervasively present in our daily affairs in numerous visible and invisible ways. We notice government when:

  • the cashier rings up the applicable sales taxes at the checkout counter
  • the government dictates the wage a businessman must pay a worker
  • the government dictates how a businesswoman may organize hers production activities and market a product
  • when we need zoning and building permissions from a local regulatory commission to repair or modify our home or other property
  • when we have to apply for a passport to leave the country and declare if we are returning to the United States with more than $10,000.

Less visible to most of us as we go about our daily affairs is the extent to which the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the forms of transportation we use, the design and content of many of the products we buy, or the services we use have all been restricted, commanded or controlled in some way by the vast network of governmental bureaucracies that surround and have power over everything we do.

But nonetheless while the encroaching presence of the state touches all of our lives, the “private sector,” though hampered and constrained by government, produces the goods and services available to all of us, and generates the employment opportunities which enable us to earn the income that allows us to buy all the things we wish to purchase from all the other producers in the marketplace.

The political crises and conflicts that fill the mainstream media concern the attempts of politicians, bureaucrats and special interest groups to interfere with the nature and normal flow of events and peaceful human interaction by introducing regulatory, fiscal and monetary policies that redirect society and the market from the course and patterns they would follow if determined by only all of those private individuals going about their daily market business.

Just think of the headlines of the last several months since Trump assumed the presidency of the United States. Put aside the personal dislike and disgust felt by Trump opponents. Focus just on the rhetoric and some of the policy proposals emanating from the Trump White House.

During the campaign, Trump asserted that he planned to remove the United States from the role of global policeman and restrict American foreign activities to an “America First” agenda. After the election, he brought on advisors who represent the traditional foreign interventionist outlook that has guided U.S. foreign policy since the end of the Second World War. Trump is just as interventionist in his actual policies as George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

The professional diplomats, the network of foreign policy think tank and NGO “experts,” and the bureaucrats in the State Department who saw their role, influence and power threatened based on the statements and promises made by Trump during his campaign are now “leaking” about Trump’s statements and missteps in the arena of international affairs. What better way to undermine an administration that challenges their belief that they know best how the world should work. How dare this upstart threaten their enjoyment of all the benefits that come with being among the elite attempting to re-engineer society and create a global plan for humanity.

On the domestic front, the left-of-center media creates the impression that Donald Trump is about to end the re-distributive state. Libertarians ought to be cheering, but we’re not. Why not? In reality, Trump has no desire or intention of repealing the welfare state. He has made it clear that he wishes to preserve and protect Social Security, Medicare, a “reformed” version of “ObamaCare,” and implement a more school choice-friendly agenda with taxpayers’ dollars at the Department of Education.

Sounds like a mildly incremental approach in the right direction, but politicians, bureaucrats, and special interest groups that live off and control the existing system prefer to more intrusively extend it over society for their own personal and ideological ends and purposes. It’s all a matter who will control the levers of power and the direction the bureaus, agencies, and departments take, along with the hundreds of billions of dollars that come with those regulatory, redistributive and spending powers.

So the “national crisis” in Washington, D.C. is really a crisis between the “refined,” “polished,” and “progressive” political establishment versus a crude, rude, “stream of consciousness” crony capitalist who has the audacity to listen to the people who voted him into office. The “enlightened” can’t allow that because they KNOW how America should be ruled and guided for the good of humanity.

Take these two warring political factions out of the social nexus and America would do just fine. Do away with the interventionist-welfare state and there would be no power, privilege or plunder for these factions to fight over at the domestic level. There would be nothing to regulate, redistribute or manipulate. There would be no levers to pull or dials to turn to make people act and do things in ways they would peacefully chose if left to their own personal, social, and free market choices.

“America” is not paralyzed or in “crisis.” Americans are just going about their business everyday in their agreed-upon associations and exchanges, trying to the best of our ability to ignore and overcome that intricate web of government intervention that restricts, restrains and co-ops many of the choices and relationships we otherwise would freely pursue and undertake if government simply got off our backs and out of our way.  It is the politicians and political plunderers who are apoplectic and in chaos, not the ordinary people.

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