Unsolicited Advice for the Trump Administration, Part 1: Government Corruption

In the spirit of Andy McCarthy offering national security advice for Trump’s transition team, I thought I’d weigh on with my own advice on assorted policy areas from my forlorn little internet outpost.  First up: fighting government corruption:

Thoroughly Investigate the Civil Service.  It is fair to say that a great many executive agencies have, under the eight years of the Obama administration, become corrupt.  Examples of such activity, including slow-walking or ignoring FOIA requests, the destruction of evidence, collaboration on lawsuits with friendly advocacy groups, protection of employees who have engaged in criminal conduct, etc., are numerous.  The Trump administration should make it a high priority to investigate each agency and determine to what extent its employees, including political appointees, engaged in such activity and terminate and prosecute, if possible, such individuals.

Ban on the Use of Private Email.  Clearly the prohibition on private email use (not to mention private servers) is inadequate.  New legislation that unequivocally bans the practice, and mandates a special prosecutor be appointed for any DOJ that refuses to prosecute such activity, is advisable.

New FOIA Agency.  The stonewalling and email destruction of the Obama years show that the present FOIA regime is of little usefulness in the hands of a corrupt administration.  I propose that a new agency be formed to handle FOIA requests.  Ideally it would be an independent agency along the lines of the FEC / FCC to bolster its impartiality.  Most critically, this agency would be the repository of the taped email backups created by each federal agency, so that the agencies from which the information is sought would not be in a position to destroy it.

Federal Employee Accountability.  Pass legislation providing that the name and job tittle of any federal employee found to have engaged in misconduct can never be withheld from public disclosure on privacy or any other grounds.

Shakedown Reform.  Pass legislation banning any federal official or agency from entering into a legal settlement that directs a portion of any monetary recovery to a non-governmental organization.

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More Bipartisanship: Goldberg, Brooks and Dems Agree That Old White People Just Need To Die

Over at the Corner Ramesh Ponnuru notes that Democrat Ed Kilgore agrees that the Democrats have not had much to say to working class whites other than “Please, hurry up and die off.”

I knew that sounded familiar.  Why, that’s exactly what Jonah Goldberg had to say in the October 29, 2016 G-File.  He didn’t say it directly (these things are best handled sotto voce).  Instead, he merely echoed David Brooks’ optimism for the future and linked to a Brooks column.  And what is the basis for Brooks’ optimism?

But I confess I’m insanely optimistic about a conservative rebound. That’s because of an observation the writer Yuval Levin once made: That while most of the crazy progressives are young, most of the crazy conservatives are old. Conservatism is now being led astray by its seniors, but its young people are pretty great. It’s hard to find a young evangelical who likes Donald Trump. Most young conservatives are comfortable with ethnic diversity and are weary of the Fox News media-politico complex.

Ah, we just need to wait until all those old GOP bigots die off and the kids who are cool with diversity take over.  Who says Conservatism Inc. and the Democrats can’t agree on anything?

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Aaron Sorkin: NeverTrumper?

Hollywood screenwriter and crack cocaine enthusiast Aaron Sorkin has penned a letter to his 15-year-old daughter, bracing her for the coming Trump Captivity.  It has to be read to be believed.  Every . . . last . . . word:

“I won’t sugarcoat it—this is truly horrible. It’s hardly the first time my candidate didn’t win . . . but it is the first time that a thoroughly incompetent pig with dangerous ideas, a serious psychiatric disorder, no knowledge of the world and no curiosity to learn has.”

Wait, I thought Hillary lost?  Thank heavens the writer responsible for blatant left-wing agitprop The Left West Wing and The American President has dispensed with his customary subtlety, and is just gonna let us know how he feelz.

“And it wasn’t just Donald Trump who won last night – it was his supporters too.  The Klan won last night.  White nationalists.  Sexists, racists and buffoons.”

You forgot homophobes!  You forgot homophobes!  Why do you hate the LBGTQ community so, Aaron?  There will be no fruit basket from GLAAD this Christmas Winter Holiday for you!

“The Trumpsters want to see people like us (Jewish, “coastal elites,” educated, socially progressive, Hollywood…) sobbing and wailing and talking about moving to Canada. I won’t give them that and neither will you.”

But that turncoat Cher might.  And that weasel Amy Schumer.  And sellouts like Miley Cyrus, Barbra Streisand, Neve Campbell, Chelsea Handler, Lena Dunham — WHY WON’T THESE STUPID WOMEN LISTEN TO ME!

“And the world took no time to react. The Dow futures dropped 700 points overnight.”

Umm, about those futures.  Yeah, the market had a record rally the next day, which means the geniuses who bought those futures betting on a fall got wiped out.

“Economists are predicting a deep and prolonged recession.”

Oh, about that too — hate to tell you but Paul Krugman retracted that prediction by close of business the next day.  Don’t dash off these screeds so fast next time!

“What wouldn’t we give to trade this small fraction of a man for Richard Nixon right now?”

Dude, I know you bragged about writing The American President while high on crack, and you claim you’ve been clean and sober since, but if this is how you think sober maybe it’s time to pick up the pipe again.

“Men who have no right to call themselves that and who think that women who aspire to more than looking hot are shrill, ugly, and otherwise worthy of our scorn rather than our admiration struck a blow for misogynistic shitheads everywhere.”

Please, there has to be a runner somewhere close by who can drop off a baggy at the Sorkin residence.

“And speaking of fear, Muslim-Americans, Mexican-Americans and African-Americans are shaking in their shoes.”

For the love of God man, can no one in the LA metro area spare a couple of rocks for this poor bastard?

“There’s a party going on at ISIS headquarters.”

Cool — maybe they could send something?  I hear they have a lot of smack lying around.

“We do what we can to fight injustice anywhere we see it—whether it’s writing a check or rolling up our sleeves.”

Thank God, they are sending heroin.

“It is also good to remember that most members of Trump’s own party feel exactly the same way about him we do.”

This may a just a bit of an overstatement, considering about 90% of Republicans voted for Trump.  But it is probably a fair description of the Beltway GOP.  Memo to Chris Christie Mike Pence:  In the name of all that is holy, please keep Conservatism Inc. away from those Plum Book positions.

(H/T Roger Simon)

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Should Hillary Be Prosecuted?

As tempting as it sounds, my answer is no.  Sometimes the best thing for a democracy is to let people get away with it.  Prosecuting the former regime is the way things go in the Third World, and it is a dangerously slippery slope to start down.  This is especially true in the U.S., where all sorts of innocuous actions can be trumped up into criminal charges.  The prosecutions of Rick Perry and Tom Delay, and the investigation of Scott Walker leap to mind.

This solicitude should not extend to the underlings.  Unscrupulous leaders can do wrong only if their lackeys are willing to go along.  If the evidence shows Cheryl Mills or any other Hillary lieutenants committed any crimes in their cover-up of Hillary’s secret server, then they should be prosecuted and go to prison.  And street thugs like Robert Creamer and Scott Foval should be thoroughly investigated by Trump’s DOJ.

I suspect President Obama will be issuing lots of pardons.  Lots and lots of pardons.

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Amen Brother

The great Spengler speaks:

The #NeverTrumpers showed elitist contempt for the American people and betrayed the interests of the Republican Party as well as our country. Magnanimity is not the appropriate response to this kind of betrayal. A new Republican intellectual core is forming around Claremont Review, the Journal of American Greatness and—with a word from our sponsors—publications like PJ Media. It is a time to be daring and innovative, to consider what policies will turn around the deterioration of the last dozen years, and to divest ourselves of the dead weight of failed ideologies. Hard work lies ahead of us. Let us devote ourselves to it without distraction.

Absolutely and undeniably true.  Let’s get started.

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Back to Work

As the sun rises on this glorious morning after, our federal government has put this hard fought campaign behind it and is already back at work attending to the nation’s business.  At government agencies across the District, the buildings are alive with the sounds of hard drives being erased, blackberries being hammered, tape backups being assiduously and irretrievably “lost.”  At the White House a long list of cronies-to-be-pardoned is being drawn up, while at the State Department calls are being made to corporate HQs who might be rethinking funding commitments to the Clinton Foundation.  The people’s business must go on.

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On the Other Side

As a proud and constant critic of the NeverTrump surrender caucus run out of the offices of the Weakly Standard and National Review, I have been watching their websites this morning to see how they will process the happening of the one thing they insisted could never ever happen.  No actual mea culpas so far, just a few grudging admissions of the “well maybe we were a little bit wrong and hopefully the Cheeto Jesus you Nazis voted for won’t be as awful as we know he will” variety.

And then there is Dan McLaughlin, who, applying the keen grasp of politics his colleagues have become famous for, has announced that now is the time for True Conservatives to make common cause with liberals to confront a Trump administration.  To modify Glenn Reynolds’ running refrain to describe the “anti-war” protesters who dogged George W. Bush: they aren’t anti-Trump, they’re just on the other side.

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Pre-Mortem of the Post-Mortem

It seems now is a good time to weigh in even though the election’s outcome is still unknown — mainly because I will be in no condition to write anything coherent once the outcome is known, whichever way it goes.

The day after Romney’s loss in 2012 I wrote the following:

Over the coming weeks and months conservatives will engage in a lot of soul searching.  Let the recriminations commence!  But underneath the Monday-morning quarterbacking and general wishful thinking (“If only Chris Christie and Marco Rubio had run!”), the fundamental problem will remain.  The electorate has changed, and by 2016 will have changed some more.

I think I was right about the electorate changing, but wrong about the recriminations and soul-searching — they never commenced with sufficient intensity!  Instead, Conservatism Inc. convinced itself that its trusted playbook and its unblemished record of failure were right as rain, and the sunlit uplands of 2016 were only a day away.

Continue reading

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