A Synopsis Of What Obamagate Was And How It Happened

Yesterday Andrew McCarthy posted an op-ed piece in The Washington Examiner detailing some of the highlights of Obamagate. Please follow the link to read the entire article. I am going to focus on a few highlights.

The op-ed notes:

The Trump-Russia inquiry was ingeniously designed. If the president demanded that his subordinates unveil the intelligence files that would reveal the prior administration’s political spying, he stood to be accused of obstructing investigators and seeking to distract the country from his own alleged criminality.

On that score, an underappreciated aspect of the saga is that Trump came to office as a novice. His unhinged Twitter outbursts obscure an abiding uncertainty about the extent of the president’s power to direct the intelligence bureaucracy. A more seasoned Beltway hand would have known what he could safely order reluctant bureaucrats and Obama holdovers to produce for him or disclose to the public. Trump, however, was at sea. That is why it was so vital for his antagonists to sideline Michael Flynn and Jeff Sessions, Trump loyalists with deep experience in intelligence and law enforcement, who could have put a stop to the farce if they’d remained, respectively, national security adviser and attorney general.

The article concludes:

There are two lessons to be drawn from all this.

First, Barr could not be more right that the malfeasance in our government today is the politicization of law enforcement and intelligence. The only way to fix that is to stop doing it. That cannot be accomplished by bringing what many would see as the most politicized prosecution of all time. The imperative to get the Justice Department and the FBI out of our politics discourages the filing of charges that would be portrayed as banana-republic stuff. Yet, even if Barr succeeds in this noble quest, there is no assurance that a future administration would not turn the clock back.

Second, when wayward officials are not called to account, the powers they have abused become the target of public and congressional ire. The problem is that the powers are essential. Without properly directed foreign counterintelligence, supplemented by legitimate law enforcement, the United States cannot be protected from those who would do her harm.

The Trump-Russia farce has destroyed the bipartisan consensus on counterterrorism, and on the need for aggressive policing against cyberintrusions and other provocations by America’s enemies. There is an implicit understanding: The public endows its national security officials with sweeping secret authorities, and those officials solemnly commit that these authorities will only be used to thwart our enemies, not to spy on Americans or undermine the political process.

That understanding has been fractured. In counterintelligence, government operatives have to be able to look us in the eye and say, “You can trust us.” Americans no longer do. The sentiment is justified. That will not make our consequent vulnerability any less perilous.

Consequences for the guilty parties would be appropriate. However, until the American public is educated on exactly what happened, any consequences are going to look political. What is needed at this time is a massive education campaign to bring the general public up to speed. Unfortunately, the mainstream media is not likely to participate in that campaign. I am concerned that because of the dishonesty of the mainstream media,  many Americans have no idea that there actually was an attempted soft coup against President Trump. Attorney General Barr and those working with him will need the wisdom of Solomon to navigate the maze that lies before them.

A Wonderful Idea That Will Go Nowhere

I have no idea how to drain the swamp in Washington. My first thought would be to fire all lobbyists, but somehow lobbying would still happen. Million dollar businesses always seem to find a way to survive. However, every now and then someone in Washington comes up with a good idea. That good idea does not always survive, but occasionally it does.

Just the News reported yesterday that four Republican senators are introducing legislation that seeks to eliminate government waste by establishing a bipartisan commission tasked with reviewing federal agencies and furnishing cost-cutting recommendations.

The article reports:

The Agency Accountability Act proposed by Florida Sen. Rick Scott, Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo, Indiana Sen. Mike Braun and North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis calls for the creation of a bipartisan Federal Agency Sunset Commission. 

The 13-person commission would be comprised of people appointed by House and Senate majority and minority leaders and one person appointed by the president. Of the three appointees made by each of the majority and minority leaders, two must be appointed from members of the respective chamber of Congress and one must be appointed from outside.

At a minimum the group would need to evaluate all federal agencies and advisory commissions one time each six years and then provide a recommendation about whether those entities should be reorganized, nixed or remain the same.

If the commission suggests changing or dispensing with a government entity, it is supposed to provide Congress with proposed legislative language to carry out the suggested changes. If the commission recommends no change it is supposed to explain its evaluation to Congress in a report.

This is a fantastic idea that will be fought tooth and nail by bureaucrats who support big government.

In The Long Run, This Would Not Have Mattered, But It Was Still Irresponsible

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about the shortage of N95 protective respirator masks. Some of the media have stated that President Obama chose not to replenish the stockpile of these masks after the 2009 H1N1 virus epidemic. That is true, but there is more to the story. At this point I would like to note that the masks have a shelf life of five years–even if President Obama had replenished the stockpile, in order for the stockpile to be any good it would have had to have been replenished again in 2014 and 2019. The responsibility for the shortage of these masks rests of both the Obama and Trump administrations. However, I think that the blame actually rests on the bureaucrats running the CDC and other health agencies inside the government.

The article notes:

H1N1, also known as the swine flu, drew down about 100 million N95 protective respirator masks.

Afterward, an H1N1 task force recommended that the Obama administration replace the masks in the national stockpile, according to reporting by the Los Angeles Times and Bloomberg News.

“If the Obama administration didn’t respond to a request for additional masks, and if they did not communicate that need to the incoming [Trump] administration, that would certainly make the present situation more difficult,” Amy Anderson, a registered nurse and co-founder of the Global Nurse Consultants Alliance, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview.

…The Los Angeles Times reported March 20 that the U.S. government ignored warnings in 2009, making no reference to Obama’s being president at the time. 

The CDC, under the George W. Bush administration, published a “National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza” in 2005. In that case, the government heeded the agency’s advice to stockpile medical supplies. 

…The International Safety Equipment Association and the federal H1N1 task force recommended replacing the N95 masks after the response to the swine flu drew down 100 million masks from the federal stockpile, the paper reported.

However, association President Charles Johnson told the Times: “Our association is unaware of any major effort to restore the stockpile to cover that drawdown.”

The problem with a medical emergency is that you generally don’t see it coming. Blaming any administration for current supply problems is not helpful. Finding a solution to those problems is helpful. It would be nice if the mainstream media would attempt to unite us rather than divide us. The reporting during the Wuhan Flu epidemic has been horrendous and very unhelpful.

Who Is Making Our Laws?

We have reached the point in our representative republic where the people making the laws are not the people the voters elect and not the people the voters can hold accountable. A very large percentage of our laws are in the form of regulations that come from un-elected bureaucrats who cannot be held accountable by the voters. Yesterday the Conservative Tribune posted an article about the cost of these regulations.

The article includes the following graphs:

Hidden Government TaxHiddenGovernmentTax2The article reports:

Most troubling is the the nature of our regulatory system. They are designed by rogue and unelected bureaucrats. Regulations effectively become laws with little oversight or accountability. 

This isn’t a small problem. Take for example your elected representatives in Congress. In 2015, CEI finds that Congress enacted 114 laws (that’s probably too many). However, unelected bureaucrats issued 3,410 rules in that same year. In other words, the “fourth” branch of government that is unaccountable issued 30 regulatory decrees for every one law passed by Congress. That’s simply insane. 

In total, there are 178,277 pages in the Code of Federal Regulations which outline the 94,000 rules currently on the books. The cost to enforce all these regulations comes at a massive price. CEI finds that federal agencies spent $63 billion in taxpayer dollars to administer and police this regulatory enterprise.

As bad as this seems, it’s about to get worse. There are currently 3,297 new regulations in the implementation phase. Of this total, CEI finds that 218 are considered “economically significant,” a definition the government uses when a regulation will have an economic impact of $100 million or more. 

The hidden regulatory tax is becoming dangerous to American democracy. The regulatory apparatus is out of control. Over the past 23 years, the number of regulations has increased by 2,060 percent. Individuals that are not elected, or confirmed by elected representatives, should not have such great authority and power over our lives. 

Please follow the link to read the entire article. It is eye-opening.