Let’s Revive Extreme Vetting for Politicians

It’s amazing the American public can be so right in general and so wrong in particular when it comes to evaluating Congress. The Gallup survey found the approval rating for Congress as a whole is currently a dismal 20 percent. This means our DC swamp denizens are tied with members of the opposition media, lawyers and car salesmen when it comes to the public’s general distaste.

But at the same time, when rating their individual member of Congress, the public gives that representative a much better grade of nearly 50 percent. Somehow the fact their representative is part and parcel of the entire wretched institution escapes voters.

On Election Day the situation is even worse.

We’re told in most cases familiarity breeds contempt. In politics familiarity evidently stupefies, because an absolutely stunning 98 percent of the incumbents up for re–election in 2016 were returned to office.

Members of Congress are evidently as hard to fire as employees of the Veterans Administration.

Re–elect numbers at the sure thing level only serve to make Republican cowardice when faced with the daunting prospect of keeping their promises that much more repugnant. Sending the same people back election after election only guarantees voters will get the same lack of results election after election.

What’s the solution? Strange as it may seem Mexico may have a suggestion and I don’t mean revolution or cartel government. Find out by clicking the link below and finish the column at Newsmax:

https://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/constitution-military-tlaxcallan/2017/08/15/id/807832/

 

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Is a Shortage of Brownies Next?

What a man considers a crisis tells us a lot about his character. In the past governors have declared a state of emergency for hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, droughts, riots, epidemics, crime waves, Trump rallies and earthquakes.

Evidently in Nevada Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval thinks those problems are too 20th Century for him. He’s declared a state of emergency because Nevada is running out of marijuana! Maybe Sandoval had a severe case of the munchies that clouded his thinking or maybe his priorities are just different, but mobilizing the state government because of a “wacky tobaccy” shortage breaks new ground in emphasizing trivialities.

Nevada has legalized the sale of mota for “recreational” uses (are there truthfully any other?) and just two weeks after the chronic crop went on sale retailers began warning their supply is almost down to seeds and stems.

Personally I question the need for a state of emergency. I was under the impression maryjane users were a calm, mellow lot more prone to expressing outrage if stores ran low on Cheetos after a “bake sale.”

While it was the sellers who were more prone to violence.

Yet blaming the governor for the laughing grass shortage is probably unfair, since he didn’t support dope legalization in the first place. The blame rests on a supposedly “conservative” Republican legislature that let crony capitalism get in the way of the competition they allegedly support.

So what did the legislature do? How could it foul up something as simple as legalization? Why do I feel strangely lethargic and uncompelled to post the Newsmax link?

Okay, I’m better now. Complete details available at:

https://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/marijuana-mary-jane-yerba/2017/08/08/id/806537/

 

“Draining the Swamp” Isn’t a Part–Time Job

When the leftists at the Washington Post start offering relationship advice a Republican knows he could be on the cusp of something big. A recent WaPost headline warned, “Trump’s baffling attacks on McConnell could be costly to the president.”

“Cost” here is mainly a function of how often Trump is hoping to eat in the Senate’s invitation–only dining room. Otherwise what’s “baffling” is how long it took the notoriously impatient Trump to sound off.

After six months McConnell has failed to repeal Obamacare, failed to fund the wall, failed to reform the tax code, refused to return the Senate to pre–1970 filibuster rules and dismissed out of hand debating the one change that would do more to correct what’s wrong with Congress than any other: Term Limits.

The real risk to Trump and any hope he has for accomplishments in his first term is the status quo.

Currently Trump has achieved the unthinkable: Bi–partisan cooperation in Congress. Republicans are blocking what Trump wants to do and Democrats are blocking what Trump wants to do.

Something tells me the man who built Trump Tower didn’t win the presidency so he could be Mitch McConnell’s autopen.

Naturally there is division over how to persuade Congress to support Trump. I’m sure the General Staff, or at least the generals, advocate doubling down on the “hearts and minds” strategy to win over recalcitrant Congressional leadership.

Just schedule a few more summits, golf games, White House lunches and Twitter tutorials. Soon Trump will be able to emulate the success our high command has produced in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And continuing this strategy will produce results very similar to Afghanistan. McConnell will continue to be passive–aggressive and the Taliban aggressive–aggressive. Mitch, author of the unread tome “The Long Game,” and the Taliban both plan to outwait their opponents. Their intention is to be around after Trump and the Army are long gone.

The alternative to the appeaser’s long, slow defeat strategy is letting Trump be Trump.

The outsider who said during his inauguration, “For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost.” The outsider who promised to drain the swamp, not stock the White House with reptiles.

The principle obstacle here is Trump. He is our first ADHD president. Moving an inert mass like McConnell’s Senate requires persistence and focus. So far Trump lacks both.

For example:

On July 27th Trump criticizes McConnell for failure to repeal Obamacare.

On August 8th Trump reverses course and endorses McConnell’s candidate, Luther Strange, in the Alabama special election.

On August 10th Trump lurches back into drive and says McConnell should resign from Senate leadership.

On August 15th Trump repeats his strange endorsement of Strange.

A tortoise like McConnell is immune to whiplash from this back–and–forth, but it only serves to reinforce what the WaPost says, “For some time, it has been apparent that members of Congress do not fear the president.”

That must change. Trump needs to play his “long game” and make opponents pay a price. Trump is holding a rally in Arizona next week, the home of craven media hound Jeff Flake who is conveniently up for re–election in 2018.

That’s the perfect time for Trump to announce he’s personally donating $50 million to the Make America Great Again PAC that will be supporting primary opponents of senators who are blocking the platform on which he won the presidency.

He can consider adding Utah’s Orrin Hatch and Tennessee’s Bob Corker to the list. It’s important that Trump doesn’t make the effort based on these lizard’s opposition to him personally, but rather their opposition to making America great again.

The primary opponents Trump supports don’t even have to win. They just have to make targeted incumbent’s life a living hell and an example of the consequences resulting from betraying the base.

Could it happen? Yes. Will it happen? Probably not.

The Strange endorsement proves Trump’s White House political operation is either second–rate or angling for jobs with the establishment GOP after Trump leaves.

Trump is also notoriously cheap, as his reneging on his pledge to fund his own campaign proved, so funding a PAC to support primary challengers is unlikely.

Finally, Trump has the attention span of a short circuit.

I’m afraid instead of reforming a political system run solely for the benefit of the elites; Trump will wind up being George Bush with an angry Twitter account. Forced to accept whatever crumbs and statist legislation McConnell and Speaker Paul Rino, excuse me, Ryan send him.

Newest Congressional Perk Comes with Sidearm

The lunatic that opened fire at Republicans practicing for the annual Congressional baseball game may have only succeeded in making Congress even more remote and detached from the lives of the people the members allegedly represent.

Now the Washington Post reports panicky representatives “are traveling the halls of the Capitol — and the streets of their home towns — with security details.” The question is how do they justify the expenditure and the resulting imposition on the public?

Easy, they have an inflated estimate of their own worth.

Members of our Imperial Congress, in their minds, have gone from being representatives of the people to becoming caretakers of the people. And without our caretakers how would we get along?

In reality, every member of the House and the Senate is a public servant, no more important individually to the functioning of the Republic than the cop on the beat. It is only en masse that the individual politician starts to become a special case.

While being short one representative out of a total 435 isn’t going to cripple the nation, losing them in bunches would be a symbolic loss with worldwide repercussions. That is why I reluctantly support the fortress–like atmosphere of the Capitol and House and Senate office buildings. We can’t always rely on the Flight 93 Militia to guard those buildings from attack.

Individual members in their district and outside the government complex should not have “security details.” And the Capitol Police should have no role outside the federally controlled part of DC. Larger gatherings of elected officials and politicians who feel particularly threatened should ask for protection from local authorities.

Otherwise one might get the impression the local police, that are good enough for the public that elects them, aren’t worthy to protect senators and representatives.

However, there are other questions involved in this issue, too. Like who created this political environment and how should citizens expect politicians to respond? I have some ideas, but you’ll have to click the link below to explore them as you read the remainder of my Newmax.com column.

https://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/congress-representatives-senators-security/2017/07/27/id/804136/

 

Now We Know Where Barack Got the Design for Obamacare

Where have you heard this before? There’s a federal insurance program designed to protect citizens from catastrophes that can devastate families. A program fashioned by experts who employed “best practices” as they formulated and priced this vital insurance protection.

Now it looks like the wretched naysayers were correct. The entitlement is plagued by users, with pre–existing conditions, who repeatedly cycle in and out of the program. These frequent flyers drive up costs and their premium dollars don’t begin to cover the government’s outlay.

Combined premium income from the entire coverage base falls short year after year forcing the program to run a deficit that won’t ever be reduced.

The combination of an unfavorable cost structure and unrealistic coverage requirements have forced private sector insurance companies to abandon the market, leaving the feds as the insurer of first and last resort.

Now you’re thinking you’ve seen this movie before. You know that under Obamacare limited government dies a lingering death.

But this isn’t Obamacare.

So now you’re wondering: What is it?!!! What obvious lesson have the professional politicians in DC overlooked that would have warned the nation, yet again?

I’ll tell you, but you’ll have to click the link below and finish reading at Newsmax.com:

https://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/nfip-flood-insurance-obamacare/2017/07/18/id/802399/

 

Donors View GOP Leadership as “Sunk Costs”

It’s begun to dawn on GOP donors that the millions they’ve poured into the Republicans are a bad investment. So far during the Trump administration what they have is a Bernie Madoff situation without Bernie’s return on investment.

Call it a “Promise Scheme” where Mitch and Paul promise great returns in the future if you will invest money so they can hold office today.

Lifezette reports moneymen who attended “a gathering of Koch network donors…are more than a little restive. Dallas donor Doug Deason declared his “piggy bank” is closed until the GOP leadership “produces results on health care and tax reform.”

I’m not rich myself, but Deason’s thinking mirrors mine: “[Republicans] control the Senate. “[Republicans] control the House. “[Republicans] have the presidency. There’s no reason you can’t get this done. Get it done and we’ll open it back up.”

Deason does not appear to be one of those donors in awe of GOP political “leadership.” Some of the more gullible and easily flattered will come around after a private tour of the capital dome and a meeting in one of the secret Senate hideaway offices.

Deason rejected his invitation. He refused to meet with Curator of the Senate Mitch McConnell. Instead he urged Mitch to “grow a pair” and pass Obamacare repeal and tax reform first. Unfortunately, I’ve got bad news for Deason. A change of that magnitude on the part of McConnell will probably require an organ donor.

How can people so smart in business be so naive in politics? What should their criteria be for backing political leaders? All your questions will be answered by clicking on the link below and hypering to my Newsmax.com column for the stirring finish.

https://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/doug-deason-republican-party-healthcare-tax-reform/2017/07/11/id/801062/

 

 

Gullible Republican Voters Fooled Again

When Republican voters went to the polls last November, electing Trump meant seizing the last branch of government in Washington. Trump would join the existing Republican House and Senate. These optimistic voters looked forward to ushering in a new era of unchallenged conservative government. Trump’s election would be a stunning repudiation of Obama’s eight years of big government, soft socialism,

Instead, what Trump voters got was Vichy France.

Although in fairness to the French, when President Albert Lebrun surrendered to the Germans in 1940 Hitler was at the height of his power.

Republicans in Washington — led by Curator of the Senate, Mitch McConnell —surrendered to Chuck Schumer after Hillary lost the presidential election and Schumer failed to capture the Senate. But Democrats don’t have to actually win to defeat Republicans.

Democrats just have to exist.

I’m sure the explanation for this rout has something to do with the 2018 mid–term election.

In the run up to the 2016 vote, Republicans were warned not to expect too much in the way of conservative legislation from the GOP–controlled Senate and House. The GOP was defending more incumbent Senate seats than Democrats and McConnell had to protect the vulnerable.

In 2018 it looks like Republican voters can’t expect a return to conservative government this time because the Democrats are defending more incumbent Senate seats.

How does this budget bill betray the base who keeps electing Republicans and the new voters Trump added? You’ll see for yourself when you click the link below to the rest of the column on Newsmax.

https://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/congress-goals-legislation/2017/05/02/id/787714/

 

Climate Change Doesn’t Affect NWS Forecasts

How long would firemen remain the nation’s genial mascot if they forced you to move into a hotel for a few days because you smelled smoke in the garage? As you were wondering if ten years of chainsaw, lawn mower and leaf blower gas cans were about to be launched into a low earth orbit while you waited for firemen to arrive, once the truck arrived the first responders weren’t worried.

They knew in 30 seconds the smell originated in an overheating freezer, and unplugging it solved the problem. But the brass was concerned.

The chief worried that since your house didn’t go up in a giant fireball, you would be so relieved that you’d fail to view the problem as the narrow escape from a fiery death that it was.

Consequently, you might be tempted to plug the freezer back into the socket after they departed; potentially melting you and the lamb chops if the freezer shorted out while you slept.

That’s why, to impress the gravity of the situation on your family, the chief delivered a scary, arm–waving lecture and ordered you to earn two nights of Hilton points at Embassy Suites.

Unlikely you say? Tell that to the National Weather Service.

It was responsible for scaring airlines into canceling 9,000 flights, schools into closing, the federal government into delaying three hours, the DC Metro into cancelling transit services for the handicapped and a variety of other private businesses into shutting down on Tuesday for a storm that put a mere 2 inches on snow on the ground in Washington, DC.

Even worse, the NWS knew “Winter Storm Stella” was going to be more on the order of Snow Shower Sweetie but it refused to revise the forecast. The Associated Press reports, “After announcing that snow could reach record levels in the city, NWS meteorologists in New York and other Northeast cities held a conference call Monday afternoon about computer models that dramatically cut predicted totals.”

Taking a cue from “climate scientists” who never cut back on their hyperventilating over smoldering polar bears – in spite of their computer model’s failure to come close to predicting how the climate has changed – the weather service took a stern line on sleet.

Instead of calling off the evacuation of the Eastern Seaboard, they decided to stick with hysteria. This monumentally bad decision relied on that byword of the modern bureaucrat: “Extreme caution.”

These Chicken Littles felt people wouldn’t view a storm with a potential for just two to seven inches of snow as a harbinger of the apocalypse. Which is right, since it isn’t.

Greg Carbin, chief of forecast operations at the Weather Prediction Center observed, “I actually think in the overall scheme that the actions [by states and cities] taken in advance of the event were exceptional.”

If “exceptional” is another word for lunatic overreaction, then right on!

The NWS thought costing taxpayers millions of dollars in lost time, revenue and emergency daycare was a small price to pay if it prevented one granny from slipping on her way to the mailbox.

In their defense the weather wardens at the NWS are under a certain amount of pressure from the incoming Trump administration. Since it rained on him at the inauguration, the president has felt the NWS might be secretly participating in the “resistance.”

I’ve written the NWS is under a severe hiring freeze warning, which comes at a bad time for the organization because it’s been down 650 employees and no has appeared to notice. The solution for the weather mavens is to reinvent the NWS and make it part of the nation’s public safety apparatus, which the Washington Post says might allow NWS to exploit the hiring loophole Trump left for agencies involved in the military, public safety or public health.

If the NWS brass can finesse this textbook example of mission creep, the guy who eyeballs the rain gauge at the airport will join Seal Team 6 on the front lines of homeland defense.

Downgrading “Winter Storm Stella” into “Scattered Flurries Flo” and lifting the No Fly Zone on the East coast might have been accurate, but it wouldn’t enhance the sense of urgency management wants to convey to the White House.

Just mentioning these potential cuts in a previous column was enough to unleash hounds of humidity. My protestations that I’ve had my own Wi–Fi weather station on the roof for years fell on deaf ears connected to a dangerous high–anger zone.

I’ve suggesting the NWS concentrate on getting the data and let the private sector handle the forecasts, which in the case of the Weather Channel have proven to be more accurate. This latest exercise in paternalism and over–reaction hasn’t changed my mind.

Civil Servants Foment Civil Insurrection Against Trump

The United States is the only nation on earth where the saboteurs are both well paid and impossible to fire. Some nations call them spies, other nations — Iran comes to mind — claim they are Zionists, but here at home we call them “public servants.”

trump-why-doesnt-what-american-people-want-happenFederal employees have decided they’re the 4th branch of government and if you can believe the opposition media, they intend to do what they can to make the Trump presidency a failure. As Steven Hayward has written, “That bureaucratic government is the partisan instrument of the Democratic Party is the most obvious, yet least remarked upon, trait of our time.”

This is why it’s not surprising the New York Times writes, “Across the vast federal bureaucracy, Donald J. Trump’s arrival in the White House has spread anxiety, frustration, fear and resistance among many of the two million nonpolitical civil servants who say they work for the public, not a particular president.”

That concept is a convenient misunderstanding of the role of public employees by pretentious public employees. “Working for the public” means they are claiming to work for a concept. One that doesn’t issue annual performance reviews or provide direct supervision.

These “non–political” public employees — who just happened to send an astonishing 95 percent of their presidential campaign contributions to Pantsuit Nation in 2016 — will now claim to act as oracles who can divine the will of “public” and formulate appropriate policy.

If they get their way, it will be the Obama administration all over again without the annoying self–regard and afternoon tee times.

Now I’ve got you wondering: Who will save us? It depends. If someone sends the rest of my Newsmax.com column to President Trump and he takes my advice, there’s hope. See for yourself how I would put recalcitrant bureaucrats in their place by clicking here:

http://www.newsmax.com/MichaelShannon/employees-federal-public/2017/02/14/id/773615/

 

Future Is Cloudy With Occasional Trump Gusts at National Weather Service

How many weather people does it take to change a forecast? Evidently more than we currently possess.

The National Weather Service Employees Organization is issuing a severe hiring freeze warning. The union is afraid if Donald Trump’s freeze order is applied to the National Weather Service it will be a cold day in hell before it can add another employee.

global-warming-forecasts-mckeeThe union hopes it can slip through a loophole under cover of a rhetorical fog bank. Trump’s order doesn’t apply to agencies involved in the military, public safety or public health. The Washington Post says the NWS is hoping to reclassify itself as an integral part of the nation’s public safety apparatus: First responders when the precipitation hits the fan.

If NWS brass has its way, soldiers fighting for our freedom, anti–terror agents protecting the homeland and doctors battling dread disease will be joined by the guy who eyeballs the rain gauge at the airport. Each doing their small part in the vital effort to keep taxpayers alive and paying taxes.

Normally you would call this sort of bureaucratic aggrandizement “mission creep” but in the case of the weather service we’ll call it moisture creep.

The real problem facing weather wizards is it’s difficult to make the case for 650 new hires before Hurricane Donald arrives, when the desks have been empty for years and no one, outside the cleaning crew that dusts the monitors, has noticed.

A union functionary claims the vacant slots are “Emergency Essential” and it’s a big deal, “meaning those employees are critical to the life-saving mission of the NWS, so they must report to work (in hurricanes, floods, blizzards, furloughs, etc.).”

That’s a confusing explanation. I’d have thought an employee who shows up at the office after being furloughed is a potential source of workplace violence, not a reason to consider NWS workers the equivalent of Marines with barometers. As for the rest of the examples, when the morgue is empty it’s easy enough to claim your agency was responsible, but where’s the evidence these vacant slots represent a “life–saving mission?”

When a city is short of cops or has a surplus of demonstrators crime goes up. With a shortage of doctors patients pile up. But it will take some convincing to persuade me a shortage of weather oracles encourages tornadoes.

Making the case the NWS is a public safety necessity is difficult when the weather service has trouble coping with normal weather. Last week, while a blizzard was slamming into Maine and California was wondering if leftist sanctuaries would protect citizens and illegals from flood waters, the NWS system went offline.

A case could be made the cat was out of the bag and Maine and California were already familiar with the weather, but knowing if the rain was expected to stop would have been helpful to the sandbag crew.

Instead two “core routers” failed and the system was offline for three hours. The WaPost’s weather blog reminds us NWS systems failed as Hurricane Matthew was bearing down on Florida last October and in July it experienced another network issue.

It’s almost as if Hillary is the IT consultant.

Even if NWS bureaucrats can convince Trump a weather watcher wielding a weathervane is the public safety equal of a doctor brandishing a thermometer, there is the vetting problem.

In a government that yawns over classified phone call transcripts being leaked to the opposition media there’s a surprising amount of paranoia regarding the five–day forecast. Higher level NWS employees are for some unknown reason required to have a security clearance.

It’s not like you can hide the weather, just go outside and you know as much as President Trump. The only forecasts that have any usefulness are next day predictions. Three and five–day forecasts, which you can get from any weather poodle on TV, are about as reliable as a Republican Congressman’s promise to repeal Obamacare.

I suppose if your life is wrapped up in humidity the staffing shortfall is a big problem, but to me it looks like a good way to save money. It would be cheaper to let NWS focus on gathering weather data and let the private sector handle the forecasts. Using the same data the NWS employs, the Weather Channel is already more accurate and if you don’t like those global warming fanatics there’s always your local TV weather babe.

Why fight it? The missing 650 employees are approximately 14 percent of total employment. Since Trump wants to cut the federal workforce by 20 percent, the NWS’ head start puts it well on the way to meeting that goal.

It’s new motto could be: All the Weather at 80 Percent of the Cost!