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Why Is Trump Waging War on the Freedom Caucus? by Jeffrey A. Tucker

Why is Trump attacking the House Freedom Caucus? He has tweeted that “we must fight them.”

My first thought: this is inevitable. Destiny is unfolding before our eyes!

There is the obvious fact that the Freedom Caucus was the reason the GOP’s so-called replacement for Obamacare went down to defeat. They fought it for a solid reason: it would not have reduced premiums or deductibles, and it would not have increased access to a greater degree of choice in the health-insurance market.

These people knew this. How? Because there was not one word of that bill that enabled the health care industry to become more competitive. Competition is the standard by which reform must be judged. The core problem of Obamacare (among many) was that it froze the market in an artificial form and insulated it from competitive forces.At minimum, any reform must unfreeze the market. The proposed reform did not do that.

Bad Reform

That means the reform would not have been good for the American people. It would not have been good for the Republican Party. And then the chance for real reform – long promised by many people in the party – would have been gone.

Trump latched on to the proposal without understanding it. Or, other theories: he doesn’t care, he actually does favor universal coverage even if it is terrible, or he just wanted some pyrrhic victory even if it did nothing to improve the access.

The Freedom Caucus killed it. And I’m trying to think back in political history here, is there another time since World War Two that a pro-freedom faction of the Republican Party killed a bill pushed by the majority that pertained to such a large sector and dealt with such a hugely important program?

I can’t think of one.

What this signifies is extremely important. We might be seeing the emergence of a classically liberal faction within the GOP, one that is self consciously driven by an agenda that is centered on a clear goal: getting us closer to an ideal of a free society. The Caucus isn’t fully formed yet in an ideological sense, but its agenda is becoming less blurry by the day. (And please don’t call them the “hard right wing.”)The old GOP coalition included nationalists, militarists, free enterprisers, and social conservatives. The Trump takeover has strained it to the breaking point. Now the genuine believers in freedom are gaining a better understanding of themselves and what they must do.

For the first times in our lives! Even in our parents’ and grandparents’ lives!

The Larger Picture

Trump is obviously not a student of history or political philosophy, but he does embody a strain of thinking with a history that traces back in time. I discussed this in some detail here, here, and here, among many other places. The tradition of thought he inhabits stands in radical opposition to the liberal tradition. It always has. We just remain rather ignorant of this fact because the fascist tradition of thought has been dormant for many decades, and so is strangely unfamiliar to this generation of political observers.

So let us be clear: this manner of thinking that celebrates the nation-state, believes in great collectives on the move, panics about the demographic genocide of a race, rails against the “other” invading our shores, puts all hope in a powerful executive, and otherwise believes not in freedom but rather in compliance, loyalty, and hero worship – this manner of thinking has always and everywhere included liberals (or libertarians) as part of the enemy to be destroyed.

And why is this? Liberalism to them represents “rootless cosmopolitanism,” in the old Nazi phrase. They are willing to do business with anyone, move anywhere, and imagine that the good life of peace and prosperity is more than enough to aspire to in order to achieve the best of all possible worlds. They don’t believe that war is ennobling and heroic, but rather bloody and destructive. They are in awe of the creation of wealth out of simple exchanges and small innovations. They are champions of the old bourgeois spirit.To the liberal mind, the goal of life is to live well in peace and experience social and financial gain, with ever more alleviation of life’s pains and sufferings. Here is magic. Here is beauty. Here is true heroism.

The alt-right mind will have none of this. They want the clash, the war, the struggle against the enemy, big theaters of epic battles that pit great collectives against each other. If you want a hilarious caricature of this life outlook, no one does it better than Roderick Spode.

Natural Enemies

This is why these two groups can never get along politically. They desire different things. It has always and everywhere been true that when the strongmen of the right-Hegelian mindset gain control, they target the liberals for destruction. Liberals become the enemy that must be crushed.

And so it is that a mere few months into the presidency of this odd figure that the Freedom Caucus has emerged as a leading opposition. They will back him where they can but will otherwise adhere to the great principle of freedom. When their interests diverge, the Freedom Caucus will go the other way. It is not loyalty but freedom that drives them. It is not party but principle that makes them do what they do.To any aspiring despot, such views are intolerable, as bad as the reliable left-wing opposition.

Listen, I’m all for working with anyone to achieve freedom. When Trump is right (as he is on environmental regulation, capital gains taxes, and some other issues), he deserves to be backed. When he is wrong, he deserves to be opposed. This is not about partisanship. It is about obtaining freer lives.

But let us not languish in naïvete. The mindset of the right-wing Hegelian is not at all the same as a descendant of the legacy of Adam Smith. They know it. We need to know it too.

Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey Tucker is Director of Content for the Foundation for Economic Education. He is also Chief Liberty Officer and founder of Liberty.me, Distinguished Honorary Member of Mises Brazil, research fellow at the Acton Institute, policy adviser of the Heartland Institute, founder of the CryptoCurrency Conference, member of the editorial board of the Molinari Review, an advisor to the blockchain application builder Factom, and author of five books. He has written 150 introductions to books and many thousands of articles appearing in the scholarly and popular press.

RELATED ARTICLE: GOP Repeal Bill Left Too Much of Washington Power Grab in Place

Ryan threatens to sue Trump if he tries to enact temporary ban on Muslim migration

Paul Ryan and the Republican establishment seem determined to do two things: to elect Hillary Clinton President of the United States this November, and to make sure that nothing impedes the huge influx of Muslim migrants into the U.S.

Yet San Bernardino shooter Tashfeen Malik had passed five separate background checks from five separate US government agencies. Ahmad al-Mohammed and one other of the jihadis who murdered 130 people in Paris in November 2015 had just entered Europe as refugees. In February 2015, the Islamic State boasted it would soon flood Europe with as many as 500,000 refugees. And the Lebanese Education Minister said in September 2015 that there were 20,000 jihadis among the refugees in camps in his country.

Meanwhile, 80% of migrants who have come to Europe claiming to be fleeing the war in Syria aren’t really from Syria at all. So why are they claiming to be Syrian and streaming into Europe, and now the U.S. as well? An Islamic State operative gave the answer when he boasted in September 2015, shortly after the migrant influx began, that among the flood of refugees, 4,000 Islamic State jihadis had already entered Europe. He explained their purpose: “It’s our dream that there should be a caliphate not only in Syria but in all the world, and we will have it soon, inshallah.” These Muslims were going to Europe in the service of that caliphate: “They are going like refugees,” he said, but they were going with the plan of sowing blood and mayhem on European streets. As he told this to journalists, he smiled and said, “Just wait.”

Paul Ryan doesn’t care. He only cares that the bipartisan politically correct establishment retains its power.

“Paul Ryan says he might sue Donald Trump if he tried to enact the Muslim ban,” by Allan Smith,Business Insider, June 17, 2016:

Paul Ryan considers Donald Trump’s proposal to indefinitely ban Muslim immigration into the US to be executive overreach.

And during an interview with The Huffington Post, uploaded on Friday, the House speaker said he’d “sue any president that exceeds his or her powers.”

Ryan, who said Trump supported the separation of powers when the speaker endorsed the presumptive Republican nominee, released part of his agenda regarding executive overreach this week.

However, Ryan is not totally sure if Trump enacting a ban on Muslims entering the country would be outside of presidential authority.

“That’s a legal question that there’s a good debate about,” Ryan said, pointing to the 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act. That act was meant to exclude immigrants from certain countries from coming to the US in the aftermath of World War II.

On Monday, Trump made the appeal that he could legally enact such a ban as president.

“The immigration laws of the United States give the president powers to suspend entry into the country of any class of persons,” he said at a rally. “I will suspend immigration from areas of the world where there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States, Europe or our allies, until we fully understand how to end these threats.”…

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‘Le Grand Guignol’ Comes to Town – Political Corruption

By Wallace Bruschweiler and William Palumbo

Grand_Guignol_poster

Promotional poster for a Grand Guignol performance. Courtesy of Wikipedia.com.

Over the last several years, the American people have witnessed one perplexing political shenanigan after another – a never-ending story.  Instead of standing up for principles, for democracy itself, our elected leaders routinely sell-out the same country to which they swore an oath to protect.

The most recent enormous sell-out was the passage of a budget that served only the government, not the country.  It began with the election of a new Speaker, whom many hoped would serve the country better than his predecessor.  Instead of a political savior, we got yet another total political loser.

Once in power, the Speaker raised the curtain on a most appalling political horror, a true grand guignol: a budget that funds a government which is already standing on financial quicksand, and that has an abysmal, out-proportion debt.  So much for “we won’t get fooled again.”

Indeed, many of the men and women whom we once considered true patriots have, in recent years, months, and weeks, shown that their own personal agenda and banks accounts take priority over the safeguarding and destiny of our nation.  Their treachery – their betrayal­ – of the American people is forcing a major geopolitical realignment.  Under rule of the current political establishment, the United States is a leading contender in whatever Oscar equivalent is awarded to banana republics.

How and why did all this happen?  Without access to personal records, such as bank accounts domestically and on an international level, including tax shelters, it is impossible to say with certainty.  But, if past is prologue, then bribery facilitated by a government-entrenched mafia is what greases this political machinery.

Welcome to Our Real World: Today’s Ugly Reality

It is not pleasant at all to think that a mafia-type government runs Washington, D.C.   Yet it exactly explains why, despite widespread disapproval of Barack Hussein Obama and Congress, both parties continue working shamelessly against the interests and well-being of the American electorate.

Take, for example, the so-called Iranian nuclear deal.  By legitimizing Iran, the world’s preeminent sponsor of terrorism, Obama has opened the Iranian markets (especially oil and natural gas) to the western world.  In the long run, this deal has the potential to generate trillions of dollars in international trade.  Companies represented by extremely well-financed and influential lobbyists see Iran as the mother-of-all potential markets.

Despite the overwhelming dangers that emanate from enriching a brutal regime with not-so-veiled nuclear ambitions and a proven worldwide terrorist network, the Republican-led Congress refused to try anything which would have effectively postponed and/or killed the deal.

Again, how and why could this have happened?  The answer is unfortunately obvious: money (and, in the case of the Iranian nuclear deal, close family connections between the negotiating members from both sides).

There are other examples that come to mind: a multi-trillion dollar “stimulus” package, a $700 billion dollar bank bailout, countless “green” energy loans that have ended in bankruptcy, etc.

How likely is it that some of this money has been used to line pockets for political favors on both sides of the aisle?  All of this was paid and financed by the people’s tax dollars.

“A government of the mafia, by the mafia, and for the mafia” – that seems to be today’s motto

Mafia is non-ideological: it does not embrace political ideals.  It cynically espouses ideals from time to time, but ultimately it will not uphold virtues that interfere with the strict pursuit of money and power.  So, when (not if) necessary, ideals and decency are conveniently forgotten.

The public at large calls this process “a bipartisan compromise.”  However, in reality, there is only one party.  It is a political animal which puts your God-given rights on the auction block, to be sold to the highest willing and able bidder.

It’s also indisputably true that politicians, on both sides of the aisle, are taking bribes.  Wherever power accumulates, corruption immediately follows. Widespread corruption is the defining trait of Washington’s establishment today.  There is no principled leader among them.

Politicians, like everyone else, have a price.

Syrian Muslim migration to the U.S. rests in the hands of Ryan and McConnell

I’m happy to report that our readers are more up on the news than I have been these last few days.  Thanks to all of you who are sending me hot-off-the-press news on the roiling controversy about Syrian refugee resettlement AP (After Paris).  I just don’t have the time to post it all!

Speaker Ryan and Senate Majority leader McConnell will be the ones who determine the fate of resettlement of Syrian refugees in the US this year (not the governors!). Kentucky is gradually becoming an important resettlement target and it’s been a mystery to me why McConnell has let it happen. I can only assume McConnell gets campaign contributions from industries, including the chicken processing industry, which needs cheap reliable laborers. For ambitious readers, we have a very large archive on Kentucky extending back many years (with many problems) here.

LOL! I did take a break today as Rush Limbaugh held forth for what I assume was much of his show and every time I turned on the TV I heard the “R” word (refugee).  Heck, everyone is covering it, I reminded myself.

Here, at Politico, is a story from yesterday I’ve been meaning to get to.

Don’t get me wrong, it is wonderful that governors across the country are speaking up, but even if you wish them to have the power to stop the resettlement (unless there was a Constitutional challenge which does need to get underway, but will take years!) there is really only one place it can be done quickly with any finality (for this year) and that is in Congress where the FUNDING MUST BE CUT OFF.

See our post on Saturday where I said just that—CONGRESS MUST USE ITS POWER OF THE PURSE!

The refugee resettlement contractors know that very well or they wouldn’t have had an emergency press conference call today!

Here is Politico telling us what the stakes are and informing us that what happens next will be the first crisis for new House Speaker Paul Ryan.

A cascade of Republicans on Monday implored the Obama administration to scrap plans to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees in the United States next year, saying they pose an unacceptable security risk in the wake of last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris.

And, in a dramatic twist, the sudden standoff is raising the possibility of a government shutdown next month.

Throughout the day a host of Republican governors around the country, wary that refugees could end up in their home states, blasted President Barack Obama’s plans. But those governors lack real sway over the process, andsome are asking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to insert a provision in the Dec. 11 spending bill that would bar more Syrian settlers.

Did you see this?  Lindsey Graham has backed off his earlier proposal to ADD funding for Syrian resettlement!

The politics are moving fast: The Democratic governor of New Hampshire, a Senate candidate, is siding with conservatives, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is reversing his support for a $1 billion spending bill intended to allow in more Syrian refugees after touting the measure just weeks ago. GOP leaders are keeping their options open as they mull whether to try to block new Syrian refugees by adding language to the must-pass spending bill.

[….]

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), one of the leading immigration hard-liners in the Capitol, sent a letter to colleagues calling for provisions in the omnibus spending bill that would give Congress more oversight over Syrian refugees.

[….]

Ryan and McConnell will have to decide quickly on a course of action as they confront the first potential legislative crisis since Ryan became speaker.

More here.

Please everyone, starting tomorrow call your Washington elected representatives and call the leadership—Ryan and McConnell—and let them know how you feel.  And, keep calling through the Thanksgiving recess.

By the way, the resettlement contractors*** are ginning up their grassroots and the most maddening part of that is that they get to use your tax dollars to do it!

***Nine major federal contractors which like to call themselves VOLAGs (Voluntary agencies) which is such a joke considering how much federal money they receive: