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Invoking the 25th Amendment would be disastrous

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Invoking the 25th Amendment would be disastrous

There’s no need to go into the backstory. Readers are likely very familiar with the Bob Woodward book, NY Times anonymous op-ed, Robert Mueller’s investigation, Michael Cohen’s charges, and a handful of other pieces of “evidence” Democrats are throwing out as reasons to invoke the 25th Amendment in an attempt to remove Donald Trump from office. Let’s cut straight to why it’s a very bad idea.

Before I get into the reasons I think so, let’s look at why some in both parties are opposed. Democrats who are against it believe it will fail. That failure could fuel President Trump and Republicans in upcoming elections beyond the midterms. Just as ending Obamacare helped Republicans take the House, then the Senate, then the White House, turning Trump into the victim of political chicanery could help him and the GOP retain power.

If at some point they feel they can get the votes to remove him, they will. Today, it would fail. Talking about it without acting is worse than not talking about it at all, so prudent Democrats are warning their colleagues to stand down.

Republicans are against it for obvious reasons, but there’s also a not-so-obvious reason they oppose it. What the anonymous NY Times article implied is what many GOP representatives and Senators already knew. There’s a quiet protective force in the White House, the resistance, that is keeping many of the President’s worst actions and decisions from seeing the light of day. Invoking the 25th Amendment would mean outing cabinet members who are working on behalf of the country (or at least their perspective of the nation’s best interests). If it fails, the buffer in the cabinet and among senior staff would be evaporated.

Here’s why I believe trying to take him down is a bad idea.

Some would go so far as to say attempts to remove Trump from office would result in civil war. I’m not quite as dramatic, but I know we would see the type of unrest that this country can’t afford right now. Remember, a good chunk of America’s gun owners are Trump supporters. It wouldn’t be war, but there would be damage as a combination of the “deep state” and leftist power brokers would become enemies and traitors in the eyes of many.

They won’t sit back and let their guy go down without a fight.

But that alone is not the reason I think it would be disastrous. Looking to the future, I believe it’s important for Trump’s presidency to play out to fruition. Derailing it prematurely will not give us the valuable lessons we need in American society today.

His presidency may end up being successful; so far the positives such as tax cuts and deregulation have outweighed the negatives. If we could ever get the GOP back in line with free trade, eliminate Obamacare, and fulfill a handful of other important promises, this could turn out to be a better term than anything we’ve seen since Reagan’s first.

It could turn out to be a complete debacle. That won’t necessarily come from policy decisions. Instead, it could simply come in the form of a presidential meltdown unlike anything we’ve ever seen.

Whether it ends well or badly, it has to be allowed to end in its own time. Trying to remove him from office prevents us from learning the lessons every American and group needs.

Democrats need to learn their contempt for America is untenable. If Trump remains in office and is successful, perhaps they’ll finally abandon socialism and other dead end principles that have been corrupting the party for a decade.

Republicans need to learn they cannot abandon their values for the sake of a good sales pitch. They had an opportunity to be discerning with a handful of good candidates mixed in with the rest of the huge field they put together in 2016. They chose a Democrat in GOP clothing who has failed at the vast majority of his endeavors, was proud of his immorality, and demonstrated abysmal judgment in life and business for five decades.

American needs to learn about their duty to get involved with their government. Trump wouldn’t have been able to win a decade ago and probably wouldn’t be able to win in a future America that will hopefully be more involved in the guidance of their own lives. He picked the perfect time to become the sideshow in a distracted America that craved the biggest distraction of them all. Now that he’s here, we have to let him finish.

This is the presidency many of us expected. While it might be tempting to try to end it prematurely, it’s important for us to let it go all the way through. How America reacts and what it learns will say a lot about what the future holds for our nation.

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Foreign Affairs

The Saudi predicament requires radical changes in our foreign affairs positions

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Saudi predicament requires radical changes in our foreign affairs positions

The United States is at a foreign affairs crossroads. One of our most important allies in the most important region in the world is being led by a man that U.S. intelligence (and pretty much everybody else) believes ordered the murder of a journalist living in our nation and writing for one of its biggest news outlets. How can we reconcile between what’s right and what’s smart?

Further evidence was leaked today that Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince and de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, ordered the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last month. The CIA concluded this based on multiple pieces of circumstantial evidence, including phone calls intercepted between Khashoggi and Mohammed’s brother assuring Khashoggi’s safety if he went to the Saudi consulate where was murdered.

CIA concludes Saudi crown prince ordered Jamal Khashoggi’s assassination

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/cia-concludes-saudi-crown-prince-ordered-jamal-khashoggis-assassination/2018/11/16/98c89fe6-e9b2-11e8-a939-9469f1166f9d_story.html?utm_term=.718b2d26599cThe CIA’s conclusion about Mohammed’s role was also based on the agency’s assessment of the prince as the country’s de facto ruler who oversees even minor affairs in the kingdom. “The accepted position is that there is no way this happened without him being aware or involved,” said a U.S. official familiar with the CIA’s conclusions.

Among the intelligence assembled by the CIA is an audio recording from a listening device that the Turks placed inside the Saudi consulate, according to the people familiar with the matter. The Turks gave the CIA a copy of that audio, and the agency’s director, Gina Haspel, has listened to it.

This is much more complicated than deciding whether or not to punish Mohammed. The stakes are unfathomably high, including balance of power in the Middle East, a potential oil crisis that could cripple the world economy, and the future of a peace plan between Israel and the Palestinians.

Unfortunately, what’s right and what’s smart are diametrically opposed in this situation.

What’s right?

Every ounce of evidence points to the near-certainty that Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. He was a permanent residence of the United States who lived in Virginia and worked at the Washington Post. While not a citizen, he lawfully earned the right to fall under our nation’s protections.

The right thing to do is to condemn the Crown Prince, even if that will irreversibly damage our relationship with Saudi Arabia.

What’s smart?

Based on the current geopolitical status quo, Saudi Arabia is our best proxy to keep Iran in check in the Middle East. They are also the reason the dollar is still the world’s reserve currency despite efforts by Russia, China, and other nations to change that. This status allows the dollar to maintain artificial stability. There are many factors in play that could cripple the dollar if Saudi Arabia and OPEC started dealing in other currencies, bur national debt alone would be enough to catastrophically collapse our entire economy if the world had the means to turn its collective back on us.

Saudi Arabia and the so-called “petrodollar” is the force that maintains the illusion of stability.

The arms we sell Saudi Arabia account for a substantial chunk of revenue and jobs in the United States, but more importantly it gives them the technological edge they need over Iran. If the Saudis turn to Russia or China, our influence over the region would diminish greatly.

The smart thing to do is to sweep this under the rug. Throw symbolic punishment at some sacrificial Saudi lambs and move on.

Time for change

There is no way to do what’s right and still do what’s smart, so it would seem the White House has to pick between the two.

Perhaps they don’t. Perhaps there’s a third option.

Even if we do the “right” thing by condemning Saudi Arabia Mohammed, ties will not deteriorate immediately. There will be a wind down during which time the Saudis will be looking for other partners and the Americans will be trying to salvage the relationship.

What if we didn’t? What if we acknowledged for the first time that Saudi Arabia is more than just the country that murdered Khashoggi. Their human rights record is atrocious. They have directly or indirectly harmed the United States for years, including a significant role in terrorist attacks. They spread Wahhabism across the world. If you haven’t heard much about Wahhabism, it’s because the radical Islamic sect that drives the House of Saud is protected from media scrutiny. See Network, which only partially satirizes the influence the Saudis have on U.S. media.

Saudi Arabia is a horrible ally. They’re necessary because we’ve made them necessary, but if we drastically cut budgets and spending, the economic ramifications of a break with them would be mitigated. It’s time to make deals with nations that do not smile at us in public and subvert us in private. Nations that do not like us, including Brazil and Venezuela, could be brought under our wing to replace Saudi Arabia on the oil front. It’s unimaginable now, but we live in fast-moving times.

Also, build the Keystone XL pipeline.

As for stability in the Middle East, it’s time we go all-in with Israel. They are the only true democracy and the one nation in the Middle East we can count on to not stab us in the back. They are capable of being the check against Iran. Abandon all talks of a two-state solution, work with Israel as our primary proxy in the Middle East, and make Saudi Arabia turn to others for support.

All of this sounds dangerous because, well, it is. The dominoes that will fall when we take drastic measures against Saudi Arabia will be painful. But there’s one thing to consider before balking at this. We may be heading in this direction already. The difference is it wouldn’t be us initiating (and therefore prepared for) these changes. Saudi Arabia has been quietly seeking a better deal for decades. They haven’t found it yet, but someday they will. When that happens, they’ll pull the rug out from under us.

We should be the ones pulling the rug. If we’re not, the permanent repercussions will be devastating.

Radical change in our foreign affairs stance is long overdue. Saudi Arabia is the worst kind of ally to rely upon, not just because of Khashoggi but because of everything else they’ve done. None of this seems feasible now, but it may be the only path forward.

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Guns and Crime

Eric Swalwell gets 2020 attention by reasserting his gungrabbing agenda

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Eric Swalwell gets 2020 attention by reasserting his gungrabbing agenda

Representative Eric Swalwell (D-CA) is running for President in 2020. He hasn’t announced it, sources close to him told Politico last week that he’s running. Today, he reasserted himself into the conversation by reminding us he’s all in for a mandatory gun buyback program.

Oh, and he threatened nuclear civil war in the process.

Swalwell was being dramatic, of course. His response to people calling him out over his gungrabbing proposals was political theater at its finest. It’s actually a little impressive to see him take on prominent 2nd Amendment proponents despite making losing arguments. Lest we forget, what conservatives view as losing arguments are effective at rallying the unhinged leftist base that Swalwell hopes to get behind him.

Swalwell’s proposal is to focus on certain guns and accessories that he deems to be “military-style” and target them for confiscation, which in leftist terms is called a “gun buyback.”

Let’s discuss that for a moment. A true gun buyback is an event, usually put on by a city, that allows gun owners (legal or not) to sell their guns to the government, no questions asked. It is voluntary and often results in a decent number of guns taken off the streets. Lawful citizens have the option of getting rid of guns they no longer want while unlawful gun owners get money. It’s sometimes effective, though studies have shown lukewarm results regarding reductions in gun-related crimes.

What Swalwell is proposing is not a gun buyback. It’s compensated confiscation. When gun owners are mandated to turn in their guns or face criminal consequences, we can no longer give it cover by calling it a buyback.

This is a political ploy to plant his flag in far-left dirt ahead of announcing his presidential run. Eric Swalwell isn’t on anyone’s radar now, but stunts like this should make gun owners take notice. Leftists are getting bolder with their gungrabbing declarations.

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Foreign Affairs

Three observations about Julian Assange following charges filed against him

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Three observations about Julian Assange following charges filed against him

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been charged by the United States. The charges are sealed and were not intended to be released to the public yet. Now, there is plenty of speculation surrounding his future.

He has been holed up at the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012. He sought asylum there to avoid extradition to Sweden over rape charges. He has always asserted the charges were fabricated to get him extradited to the United States, a conspiracy theory proven no longer valid since Sweden has stopped pursuing charges.

Wikileaks’ Julian Assange has been charged in US, prosecutors accidentally reveal

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/julian-assange-charged-us-wikileaks-prosecutors-court-filing-ecuador-embassy-a8636336.htmlThe Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been charged under seal with unspecified offences in the US, prosecutors have accidentally revealed in an unintentional court filing.

Federal prosecutors had hoped to keep the indictment against Mr Assange a secret “due to the sophistication of the defendant, and the publicity surrounding the case”, and so that Mr Assange would “no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter”.

There are three peculiar observations about his situation that should be noted.

  1. Sealed charges may signal the charges are related to the Mueller investigation. Most have assumed the charges are based around his leaking of classified military information and videos that started getting leaked in 2010. The timing of the “leak” might lend more to the possibility that Robert Mueller’s 2016 election interference investigation is the source. This week, Jerome Corsi said he believes he will be indicted over his association with Wikileaks. Corsi rightly “predicted” Wikileaks would release John Podesta’s emails. Did he or Roger Stone know about the emails being hacked? If so, did President Trump know as well?
  2. Ecuador hates him. If there was a honeymoon, it ended years ago. Living in the same building for six years can change a person, but it seems more likely that he really is just a jerk. Complaints have come through his stay, but they’ve ramped up recently with embassy personnel and visitors complaining about his hygiene, treatment of his cat, and a generally bitter attitude. He even sued them for violating his rights. Ecuador wants him out and these new charges might be enough to make them reverse their course. If he were extradited to the United States, a deal would probably including taking the death penalty off the table.
  3. The leak may have been intentional. Either someone is an idiot for copying and pasting information about Assange’s charges from a different document or this was supposed to get leaked. If the latter is true, the motivation could be to start pressuring Ecuador into handing him over to the United States.

Some say he’s a hero. Others call him a traitor. Whatever he is or isn’t, one thing is certain. If he ever leaves the embassy, he will be arrested.

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