The French Presidential Election & Britain Invokes Article 50

Granting that circumstances are always subject to change, it is for the moment true that Marine Le Pen has run into a ceiling of public support encountered by other European Nationalists since Britain voted to exit the European Union.

We at Pragmatically Distributed see the inverse link connecting Britain’s referendum to the plateauing fortunes of anti-EU populists as, simply, the public on the Continent realizing (correctly) that if another large EU member goes over to populism that the complete disintegration of the European Union becomes a strong possibility.

The electorates of Western Europe can, like de Gaulle once did, envision the EU functioning without Britain.  With its individualistic tendencies Britain was always reluctant to embrace “pooled sovereignty”, too wealthy (except for a brief period in the 1970s) to truly be sold on the idea their normally strong economy benefited from the petty Technocrats seated in Brussels, and too close to the United States to support anti-American EU Supranationalists when it counted.  The end of the bad marriage of Britain with Belgium is arguably survivable because it was, to a degree, expected.

France is an entirely different matter.

No one can envision the EU existing with a President Marine Le Pen threatening to withdraw France from European Monetary Union; particularly the French electorate which overwhelmingly opposes leaving the euro.  The post-Britain EU is already in a precarious enough state with Italy threatening to elect an anti-euro Parliament and Greece’s unpopular, radical Left (i.e., Proletarian Socialist) SYRIZA government led by Alexis Tsipras toying with the idea of having its revenge against the Troika by defaulting on its debt; a default that may well spark a new European banking crisis.

Even Eastern Europe, where they have so far gotten away with rejecting EU imposed immigration mandates while still enjoying wealth transfers from Western Europe, finds the prospect of another populist victory worrisome because the end of the EU will be the end of their subsidies.

The French, unfortunately, also realize what a vote for Le Pen entails.  Unless the French warm to the idea of returning to the franc very soon the independent Liberal candidate Macron is set to win the election.

Meanwhile, Britain has invoked Article 50. We applaud the start of their exit from that most thoroughly developed manifestation of Dictatorial Bureaucracy.  We encourage them to drive a hard bargain in the exit negotiations.  If, as expected, an anti-euro government wins elections in Italy this year Brussels will be ought of economic leverage to deny Britain generous trade and financial terms.

This is also an opportunity for England to destroy the loathsome SNP.  The SNP has been agitating for a second Scottish independence referendum.  Their calls must surely be hollow bluffs because Scotland would almost certainly vote against leaving the UK since, if they opted for independence, they would then have to either launch their own currency to replace pound sterling or begin applying to enter the EU.  The currency of an independent Scotland start out as exceptionally weak.  Joining the euro would require Scotland to cripple itself trying meet the entry requirements for a currency that may not exist in the years it would take Scotland to join the EU.

We recommend Britain call the SNP’s bluff and agree to a second independence referendum.  If the vote fails for a second time, the SNP will be politically obsolete when they are robbed of the ability to pretend Scottish nationhood is a possibility as they have been pretending at election time for decades.

Civil Service Reform – Legislation & Mitigating the Worst Habits of the Spoils System

We have previously explored the need for legislation to convert all Federal government workers (except for those serving in the military, Federal law enforcement, and the Judiciary) from hard to dismiss unionized employees to at-will employees dismissable at the whim of the President.

Exemptions should be granted to military and law enforcement personnel because they already have adequate, if not perfect, hiring and firing rules; the Judiciary is exempted to maintain its Constitutionally defined status as an independent branch of government.

Aside from these exemptions, the power of the President to remove Civil Servants should be fully restored in order to bring the FedGov bureaucracy under the strict control of the Executive, which is how the founders intended the bureaucracy to fit in the Federal system, and to break the Bureaucratic State’s present freedom to act as a Technocratic Fourth branch of government acting independently of the other three branches and the voters.

Any restoration of the, now completely broken, chain of command between the Executive and the Civil Service brings with it the potential problem of restoring the corruption produced by the Hamiltonian Spoils System of Golden Age America.  This corruption was the result of President’s excessively using Federal government positions to reward political cronies.  Although I would without hesitation prefer the worst political scandals of the Golden Age over the best of today’s politics, it is still preferable to mitigate the potential for excessive Spoils System cronyism if only to prevent unnecessarily handing the Progressives scandals they can hold up to justify making the Civil Service again independent of the Executive.

To head off this problem, our ideal Civil Service legislation would include the following items –

  • All new Civil Servant candidates must be approved by the Senate just as Cabinet Secretaries are.
  • Because the above would require the Senate vote on potentially thousands of candidates at once, to save time the Senate could, for every vote, vote on slates of multiple candidates on a single list submitted to the Senate by the President.
  • A single Senator will have the power to block any nominee they find objectionable from appearing on a candidate list that is to be voted on for Senate approval.
  • All candidates must meet certain requirements before they can take their Civil Service job, such as having no criminal background, passing drug tests, etc.
  • Forbid the President from nominating bureaucrats who have had personal financial dealings with the President in any capacity over the past 20 years (or some other span of time).
  • To avoid running afoul of Supreme Court rulings forbidding the President from making unilateral cuts to the Federal budget, the President will be required to nominate a replacement for every vacancy made by his dismissal of an existing Civil Service bureaucrat instead of just letting the position (and the money budgeted for that position) go unfilled.

The advantage of these policies rests in that they would make it harder for the President to seat very objectionable candidates for government jobs while at the same time giving him great freedom to remove any government bureaucrat from a previous administration.

An easy-to-fire/hard-to-hire Civil Service rearrangement of the Federal workforce is far more advantageous to Conservatives than Progressives because a Conservative President like Trump can easily afford to leave government positions temporarily unfilled if the Senate delays and stalls votes on his  nominees to the bureaucracy.  Trump would be especially happy with any Senate obstruction if, in exchange for this obstruction, he is handed the statutory power to unilaterally remove vast swathes of existing bureaucrats, at any time, without Congressional approval.

Technocratic Progressives, whose reason for existence is to give as much unconstitutional power to tyrannical government bureaucrats as possible, have little to gain from our outline of a restored Spoils System because Republican Senators would be empowered to block the most objectionable nominees of a Democratic President and because the Progressive political system is inherently more dependent on an activist Bureaucracy than any Republican Presidential administration.

The End of Week Circulars for March 26, 2017

Paul Ryan

We predicted Ryan was courting failure of Obamacare repeal by ignoring the concerns Conservative Congressmen held about the bill.

Ryan ignored our advice, continued on his path to try sneak a flimsy repeal bill under the noses of Conservatives, and was finally humiliated because of his disregard for reality.

His Speakership has probably been wounded beyond repair even if he limps on in the position for a time.

Ryan’s position is in jeopardy because his major constituents, the Republican establishment, now know Ryan cannot be trusted to move their preferred legislation through the House, he is not feared after this week’s debacle, and through his failure has proven he is not a shrewd enough legislative tactician to outmaneuver Conservative House members.  And if Ryan is too weak to defeat the Freedom Caucus Ryan is even more unsuitable as an obstacle to Trump’s formidable political capacities.

Trump, of course, has many reasons to see Ryan replaced as Speaker.  Aside from the obvious personal animus that brewed between them during the campaign, Trump cannot have anymore confidence in the ability of Ryan to move legislation than establishment Republicans do.

A crippled Speaker, disloyal to his party’s then-nominee now-President throughout the election, and incompetent at passing laws can be of no utility as a lieutenant to Trump’s agenda when Trump demands his political underlings be formidable operatives.

A number of Trump advisers would also like to see Ryan’s Speakership come to an end as a way of finally dispensing with Ryan-ally Reince Priebus.  Priebus is not only mistrusted by Trump’s most Conservative advisers.  Others such as Secretary Mnuchin are irritated with Priebus’ interference in their roles as well as his, at best, lackluster performance coordinating legislation with Congress.

The sooner Ryan is toppled the better for Trump.

Obamacare – Can it be Repealed?

Many believe repeal will be almost impossible to pull off because Obamacare is an entitlement.  This is incorrect.  Obamacare is not an entitlement because its insurance offerings are expensive for the non-poor.  In reality, Obamacare for everyone modestly above the poverty line is very costly private insurance designed according to poorly thought out, government imposed, specifications.

Because Obamacare is not welfare it remains vulnerable to repeal in the future.

The London Terror Attack

Finally we more attacks such as the one that took place outside Britain’s Parliament because ISIS feels increasingly cornered.  They are losing ground in Syria and Iraq to Assad loyalists and his Russian allies before Trump’s Pentagon begins its own military operations.  Their oil revenues have decreased proportionate to their loss of territory.  As they feel the noose tightening they have every reason to use whatever operatives they have in Europe and the United States and cause as much havoc as possible before they are wiped out in the Levant.


Reviving American Relations with Russia

Moscow is anxious to begin negotiations with Trump based on the recent statements of Russian officials.  The expressed mood in Russia is one of mild frustration at what they sense is a slow pace to normalizing relations with America.

So that these concerns may be smoothed over before a lack of initiative turns them into more significant obstacles we recommend Putin simply discuss diplomatic relations directly with Trump.

The important thing to keep in mind about Trump is that he often does not know details about and is not firmly wedded to specifics related to his broad policy outlines.

What this means for diplomacy with Russia is that Trump needs to be prompted before he will dive substantively into topics that are priorities to Russia but that are either not high priorities for Trump or that he is not aware of.  In the absence of the nudge a direct discussion with Putin would provide it is possible that Trump will not feel compelled to further focus on Russian-American ties since they have not become worse since he took office and, therefore, from his perspective do not require greater attention.

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Paul Ryan, Oblivious Idiot

Ryan is the perfect symbol of the establishment Republican because he always has to make matters unnecessarily difficult for everyone.

Everything would go so much easier for every member of the GOP hierarchy, from the most indifferent Republican voter up to the most plugged in donor, if the establishment would simply cooperate occasionally with Conservatives.

And yet they always take the hard route by insisting on fighting their rightwing with many times more tenacity than they do, if they do, against Democrats. We see this wrongheaded mindset of theirs emerge again in the repeal process.

For his sake only, Ryan has a compelling enough self-interest in appeasing Conservatives to get something respectable passed:  If Ryan fails he isn’t nearly feared enough by his Caucus compared to how, for example, they once feared Tom Delay to survive a setback on repeal.  But Ryan continues on, smiling obliviously like the idiot he is, jeopardizing his legislation by refusing to compromise with Conservatives.

Continue reading “Paul Ryan, Oblivious Idiot”

Neutralizing the Social Engineering State – Budget Cuts or Restore the Spoils System?

Since the Presidency of Reagan the official platform of the Republican Party towards reigning in Federal social engineering programs has been the elimination of Progressive dominated agencies. This well intended dream has gone without realization.  Regretting his inability to cancel them, Reagan commented FedGov agencies are harder to kill than a vampire.

In the Hamiltonian view, Reagan found them difficult to overcome because his actions were built on incorrect assumptions about the basis of their power.

The political strength of Technocracy lies not, per se, in how much money is allocated to Bureaucracy in the Federal budget.  Instead, the power of Bureaucracy to resist political attacks lies in the lack of executive control over FedGov Bureaucracy.

As originally intended by the founders, the mission of the Civil Service was nothing more than to implement, without question, the orders of the Executive so long as those orders were legal and/or not contested by either the Legislative or Judicial branches.

Continue reading “Neutralizing the Social Engineering State – Budget Cuts or Restore the Spoils System?”

Shallow State – The Progressive Pussyhat Unravels

Evidently knitted together with weak yarn, a grab was not necessary for this hat to disintegrate.  A gentle pull on one of its many loose strands was enough to have it fall apart and reveal the heads of the many loose screws who wore it.

Although the controversy that sparked this unraveling – a suggested investigation into the wiretapping of the Trump campaign – is still unfolding, there is already more than enough damage done to Progressive objectives that we feel obligated to take stock of what the Left did wrong.

There are two lessons to take from this fiasco.  One lesson is particular to its immediate circumstances, the other general.

First, the Progressive story about a Trump-Russia connection has backfired and is now checked.

Second, Progressive FedGov machinery has devolved into an incompetent Shallow State less and less able to defend Liberal interests.

The flimsy allegations Russia somehow coordinated with the Trump campaign have trapped the accusers in a catch-22 they have no obvious way to escape from:

  • If the Obama administration did have the Trump campaign wiretapped, numerous Obama officials are at risk of becoming targets of criminal investigations.
  • If the Obama administration did not have the Trump campaign wiretapped, no actual evidence of collusion with Russia was found because if it was it would have surely been leaked during the campaign.

In either case the Progressives can do little more with their allegations.  If they insist on their investigation going forward the Left risks Trump retaliating with his own investigation into the legality of the wiretaps.  Based on the non-denial denials coming from Obama officials it is doubtful they believe they will come out of an investigation looking better than Trump.

If the Progressives back off their story they are admitting they knew their reported accusations were based on little to no evidence.

Trump, for his part, is in an envious position.

Continue reading “Shallow State – The Progressive Pussyhat Unravels”