General Washington, his funds spent, his army low on provisions and perhaps close to mutiny, needed help desperately. He spoke these words at a time of peril for the Continental Army who were in a life and death battle with the British forces over the future of a brave new republic that would change the world:

Send for Haym Salomon

Salomon – apparently of Spanish and Portuguese Jewish heritage but from a family with long ties in Poland – had been arrested in the the colonies during the war by the British and sentenced to death and had escaped and fled to Pennsylvania, to the city of Philadelphia. He was a broker, a financier, and a damned f!cking good one thank the Lord. He used an innovative – but obviously not unheard of – method by basically creating a debt market in the 13 colonies war debt and using those bills of exchange with merchants and others to raise the money Washington needed to continue the fight for freedom from the shackles of monarchy.

The money was raised. The war continued. America – a shining new republic – was born.

Hate crimes have always attempted to create an “other”, someone to be hated because of their differences. And those of the Jewish faith, again and again, have faced the lies and brutality of wave after wave of pogroms. They left Europe with its burdens of history and prejudice, along with all the others, and found freedom in America. America is Jewish. America is Christian. Yes, America is Muslim, and Hindu and Buddhist. And atheist and all the rest.

Houses of worship are not merely a refuge for those seeking shelter within the comforts of their faith, their traditions, their language. They are a cornerstone – perhaps a keystone – in the glorious arch of the Republic and its constitution. They are a foundation from which the habits of a virtuous people spring and the liberties that virtue brings into life flourish.

America was built by people like Haym Salomon. It exists because men and women like Salomon sought a better life. Washington understood that in the marrow of his bones.

Let us pray for the souls of the good people lost on Saturday and find the time somewhere in the future to try and consider forgiving an evil sick soul like Robert Bowers. You can debate whether the death penalty is justified. As in the killings in Charleston at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church, the death penalty will be sought. Justice will be done. Haters like Bowers and Roof are far fewer than the millions who have the strength and faith to survive the mourning they will pass through and, in the end, endure.

Our prayers for Pittsburgh. Our prayers for America. Ask not for whom the bell tolls.

Is Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein waiting out the various congressional committees until after the mid-term elections? It would make sense, as some conservative House GOP members have suggested, since if Democrats do indeed win back the House, committees will be run by Democrats and the pressure on Rosenstein to give evidence about both the Mueller probe and his reported comments on wearing a wire and using it to record President Trump with a view to weaponizing the 25th amendment as a lever to unseat the president, will go away.

And Rosenstein will be left in place with House committees digging up any opposition research they can possibly find to prosecute anyone they possibly can that has anything at all to do with Trump and most likely very little to do with the objectives of the original counter-intelligence probe launched sometime in the early spring of 2016.

Rosenstein is nothing if not cagey. He has survived Trump’s wrath so far, and he has managed to slip and slide around the various Congressional committee requests for him to testify or to at least agree to an interview, the latter being something he has agreed to without a firm date having been set now that he’s cancelled a couple of times. He understands perfectly the risks associated with firing him at this point, and he understands perfectly how those risks change after the mid-terms.

He is, in some ways, the uber-bureaucrat. He looks the part to an unnerving degree of perfection. If Marvel Comics were to create some office manager who may be the evil genius about to destroy the world, but no one can really tell, they could just pin a photograph of the Deputy AG next to the desktops of their top artists and say: “draw him.”

But how partisan is he really?

Maybe not nearly as much as the man who may have set up the NYTimes story about the wiretap: Fired former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe.

In a hard-hitting and fascinating piece in The Hill, former FBI agent Kevin Brock suggests that it was in fact Andrew McCabe who was at the center of the various Russia and Hillary probes:

  • McCabe pulled the Hillary e-mail probe out of the FBI field office and began to run it out of his office as Deputy Director. It was concluded swiftly with Peter Strzok now handling the case, just in time for the Democratic Convention with the verdict that Hillary was merely extremely careless and not grossly negligent.
  • McCabe was key in launching the Russia collusion counter-intelligence investigation that ended up behaving more like a criminal investigation, with no compelling evidence of any crime committed.
  • McCabe then launched a criminal investigation against AG Sessions for not having remembered meeting with the Russian ambassador based on the advice of two Democrat Senators apparently. Not the usual method of proceeding to say the least.
  • Sessions finally fired McCabe for lying earlier this year.
  • McCabe however, had also launched another probe, a criminal investigation for obstruction of justice against President Trump presumably for firing Director Comey. As has been commented, doing something perfectly within the President’s power, like firing an AG, is not cause for obstruction of justice. Firing Comey may have been politically risky, but McCabe’s stunning overreach in launching his various probes reeks of partisan rancor and vile maneuvering.
  • And now based on a memo McCabe filed stating that Rosenstein had seriously commented on using the 25th against Trump, we have the will he or won’t he fire Rosenstein scenario. This would have been McCabe’s attempted revenge for Rosenstein having written the memo that was used to fire Comey, who was McCabe’s mentor and sponsor.

Thank you, Kevin Brock, for shining a light on how much damage McCabe has done to the FBI. So perhaps the real evil idiot is Andrew McCabe about whose political preferences there cannot be the slightest doubt and whose Machiavellian memos, probes, and investigations have helped cause a crisis of trust and confidence in government across America.

Maybe McCabe should be the one to testify (yet again). Live before the cameras and for as long as it takes to get to the truth.

Byron York has a piece in the Washington Examiner that analyzes Senator Cruz and President Trump’s transactional relationship. It’s fascinating and not necessarily for the reasons one would suspect. Yes, they were rivals, more or less friendly ones at the start of the 2016 presidential campaign, which means in the fall of 2015. Then as they emerged as the two top contenders for the GOP nomination, things got nasty starting in Iowa and coming to a head as Trump became nominee in the spring of 2016. Cruz lashed out at Trump and basically called him a vile narcissist who treated people – including Cruz’s feisty Cuban-born father – terribly.

Trump won the election, and things changed. And now Senator Cruz is not just an ally but a close ally of the President.

What a load of hypocritical horsesh!t right?

Maybe not so load-of-sh!tty, as a matter of fact.

Why so? Because of you. The voters. That’s why.

America is a republic. A democratic republic, with elected representatives who serve their voters. It is not an administrative state, as much as many in the beltway wish that ALL of America was one sprawling set of all-seeing agencies, and they could therefore go about their plans for a perfect, government-run state that takes care of all your needs and tells you everything you must and mustn’t do.

The reality usually sits somewhere between majority voters deciding every issue and that dystopian vision of how America should be according to the bureaucrats.

Seen that way, it is interesting how leadership nowadays is seen as the ability to ignore the unwashed majority’s demands and do unpopular things for their own good. Yes, that may have very well have been what the founders envisioned especially with regards the Senate. But the problem is that the good that is sought today is not what the founders would have called the good. The good today is a statistic. A compilation of statistics.

The Good, Plato’s fundamental cornerstone of what guides a just society, has now devolved down to what we call Big Data. Google therefore knows the good. Not you. And Google has the goods. On you. And to run all that data that tells the experts what is good and what isn’t – the rather narrow range of values that the global elites have agreed on for a couple of generations now – you need lots of administrators, don’t you?

In fact, the agencies in Washington are currently in a panic because their IT professionals are close to my age, which is nowhere near young. The administrative state and Silicon Valley are the same parts of an enormous blob that functions much more like old-fashioned oligopolies than their lean, disruptive, and innovative image that they nourish so carefully with the complicity of big media, would like you to think. And they need young blood to staff the blob.

So, the administrative state and its branches in tech and the media work around, over, and under the transactional relationship you should have with your representative. It’s one of the things that Trump is taking a sledgehammer to, and big Tech is pissed off naturally.

That means that transactional is an adjective that not only applies to foreign policy, or the relationship between Trump and Cruz, but also to the relationship between voters and their representatives. Voters enter into a transaction with any given candidate based partly on the candidate’s views (or ideology if you must use that frickin’ word) and on how they’ve voted once in office. With all due respect (which is very little) to Karl Marx’s coined phrase.

What gets in the way of that transaction between voters and their representatives is the administrative state. Yes, the Constitution itself sets up checks and balances to guard against the tyranny of the majority, but the administrative state is so deeply embedded within the executive branch itself, that it has flown under the radar of those checks and balances and only recently has it truly begun to be brought out into the light and attacked as undemocratic. From Justice, to the intel agencies, to the IRS and the EPA: the agencies that have accumulated so much power are at last a little more visible as to their ever expanding reach and thus more subject to voter anger.

Maybe that’s why voters lined up overnight to see the Trump-Cruz rally. They’re getting transactional with their elected representatives. They might even call it a grand bargain.

At Tarleton State University in Texas, a student journalist at the university paper reported on apparent unwanted advances by a professor towards a student. Her adviser – assistant professor and long-time journalist Dan Malone – was sanctioned by the university for running afoul of Title IX regulations at the school. That’s because according to the regulations, any alleged sexual harassment must be reported to university authorities first.

Title IX started as a way to end discrimination against women in sports at universities, but it now has become a framework for all sorts of administrative rules and regulations that universities are increasingly using to clamp down on free speech. Here’s a part of an article in Real Clear Investigations by Steve Miller:

Although Title IX requires schools to create their own policies guided by federal law, it gives them leeway in how they are shaped. This has led to a mish-mash of policies. “Some universities have chosen to remain silent on mandatory reporting,” said Jill Engle, a professor of clinical law at Penn State University and the author of a 2015 paper on mandatory reporting. Others have crafted their own approaches.

The University of Northern Iowa simply requires any employee who is “aware of” incidents involving harassment to report them, while students are “encouraged” to do so. At the University of Oregon, an employee is obligated to report an incident if he or she has “reportable evidence” of a problem. At Texas A&M, all employees must report “alleged or suspected” activity.

Administrative law – which is essentially what Title IX is – does not have the checks and balances of the Judiciary because it operates under the Executive as part of the administrative state where rules and regulations by the boatload are churned out continually. It is more quasi-judicial so the rights one has in the standard criminal or civil proceedings are not enjoyed here. They are far more conditional and therefore not really rights at all.

The solution to this seems to be what a Texas A&M (Tarleton is part of the A&M university system) spokesperson suggested:

A private sector journalist is one thing, but a university employee isn’t covered [by the state shield law. If someone wants an exception, he will probably have to get the law changed.

One can imagine the furious pushback should the GOP mention the possibility of modifying Title IX to avoid the spreading censorship on campuses across America. Perhaps it will take a centrist Democrat – a woman of course – to take that bull by the horns and amend Title IX. But that’s a long way off for now. Meanwhile, campus journalists be warned. Your rights to free speech do not exist as a university member. You may express yourself, but only as long as you ask permission from the proper university authorities. And they may very well say no.

Just one more example of how free expression is far more difficult at most of America’s universities and colleges than it is off campus. That might sound like a tiring conservative cliché, but it’s real and should be troubling to most of us.

Pope Francis wants an official invite to the Koreas and Korean President Moon seems keen to send him one. One can imagine the Holy Father’s willingness to wade into the peninsular negotiations and act as a grand peacemaker. It would – in the Vatican’s mind at least – lessen the troubling conclusions that one is forced to arrive at concerning Francis’ involvement in promoting and protecting bishops that clearly covered up crimes of sexual abuse amongst the clergy. And it would perhaps be seen as a way to burnish the Pope’s foreign legacy. Like John Paul II.

Right.

Let’s start with Pope Francis recent, and apparently secret, agreement with the Chinese Communist Party regarding China’s much-persecuted Catholic Church. What Francis has done is hand over control to the communist bureaucracy while claiming to have final say on the nominations of Catholic bishops in the country. The Pope gave the thumbs up to all 7 bishops proposed by the Communist Party and in fact also agreed to the retirement or demotion of bishops that were authorized by the so-called underground church in China. That is, the real church. Francis wrote a murky and confusing letter explaining his actions and included this example of shining rhetorical strength:

When, in the past, it was presumed to determine the internal life of the Catholic communities, imposing direct control above and beyond the legitimate competence of the state, the phenomenon of clandestinity arose in the Church in China.

Clandestine. Unsanctioned. Therefore illegitimate. Francis has thrown the faithful of his church in China into the jaws of Beijing’s bureaucracy. God help them, because the Pope isn’t about to.

So, this is good isn’t it if you’re President Moon and are desperate to sign a deal with Kim and to do so you need to placate both Kim and his Chinese sponsors. Who better than Francis to place a withered hand of blessing on the birth of a new unified peninsula?

But why stop there? Seeing that the Catholic Church may be heading towards another split due to the Pope and the Church hierarchy’s shameful handing of the sex abuse scandals, why not consider an earlier schism, one previous to Luther’s thesis nailed to the cathedral door? Let’s go back 964 years to 1054 and the birth of the Eastern Orthodox Church? It’s a nice historical model if you’re Pope Francis because the Eastern Orthodox Church in Soviet times was a supine appendage of the Communist apparatus.

But Beijing is worth a mass, with bishops sanctioned by the authorities, and the billion-odd souls a new and exciting opportunity for Francis. He could even move East like Marco Polo. He won’t of course. The Vatican’s luxuries, and the power which flows from them, are too compelling. But perhaps he could be thought of as the Eastern Pope.

Or as Beijing’s Man in the Vatican. With a copy of Mao’s Little Red Book, and a biography of Saint Ernesto Guevara de La Serna, alongside his mitre and rosary.

So, the Dow was down over 3% and the Federal Reserve has no choice but to tighten rates given the incredibly robust economy. Should we panic?

Rising interest rates in a growing economy with relatively benign inflation has not generally been a harbinger of doom, but a flattening yield curve (interest rates plotted against the length of maturities: usually 2 to 10-year maturities are the ones markets focus most on) does indicate a possibility of slower growth or even recession in the future.

But there’s another sliding market that’s perhaps more important right now, and for the future of the global economy: the slide in the Chinese yuan, the unit of account of the renminbi, China’s currency. For some reason the Chinese have to use two terms where most countries use one. America’s currency is the dollar and the unit of account is … you guessed it! The dollar!

Forecasters have been predicting the collapse of the Chinese bubble for years now, while the defenders of China’s economy suggest – reading from the official party script – that it’s all a case of careful fine-tuning of policies. Adjusting a little here. Tweaking a little there. Never mind mounting real estate debts. Never mind suspicious balance sheets at many banks. Never mind the shadow debts tucked away underneath all that new construction.

But do mind Trump and his trade conflicts.

Worries about U.S. tariffs hurting China’s export economy are truly coming home to roost, finally causing nervousness on the part of the main people whose opinion really does matter: the Chinese leadership. So, the question becomes: will China back down now or will it stick to its 30-year plan to World Domination, and ignore the pesky irritations of this surely one-term president?

Uh, maybe not?

These tariffs will cause damage, how much remains to be seen, but the damage will be and already is real. The question is, can they convince the Chinese leadership through their blunt force to start minimally respecting things like property rights and basic freedoms of their own people?

We don’t know at this point, but we will find out over the next few years. Trump has brought a sledgehammer where the experts have said he should use a finely-tuned laser. But there’s been a great deal of fine-tuning and little has changed in China’s ruthless mercantilism over the past two decades during which it has reaped enormous benefits from being a member of the WTO. Its behavior suggests it has not really deserved this privilege, but most countries look the other way and are glad to pick up what they can from leftovers of the banquets at the Great Hall in Beijing, speaking I hope to God, metaphorically. I don’t think the Prime Minister of Canada or the German Chancellor, for example, have actually gone scurrying under the tablecloth in Beijing to grab some crumbs, but you get the point.

Will Trump produce a noticeable change in China’s behavior? Or will he cause a real trade war? Or will he perhaps end up doing a bit of both, thereby giving his detractors just enough to holler about and give his defenders enough to praise?

And give his Chinese counterparts enough to worry about?

It’s late Wednesday as I write this. The FBI was supposed to wrap up by today or yesterday, by some accounts. They hardly seem to be doing that. Apparently, the July 1, 1982 party detailed in Judge Kavanaugh’s notes (being a few years older than that crowd I must confess I’ve heard “brewskis” countless times but never shortened to “skis”) in his diary and covered in some detail by Byron York in the Washington Examiner, is now the target of FBI investigators. How much additional information can they unearth?

Endless amounts if it were up to Democrats.

As well, aside from interviewing Mark Judge, Tim Gaudette, Chris Garret, and Leland Keyser, the FBI is now interviewing more people. We also have contradicting details about where the party Professor Ford was supposedly assaulted was, given how far from the Columbia Country Club Tim Gaudette’s home was (around 11 miles). And the fact it was a townhouse rather than a large home on its own lot.

But memory is hard to reconstruct after all those decades and that’s one reason why Professor Ford’s notes from her therapy sessions are so vital to the FBI investigation. She won’t give them to the Senate Judiciary Committee, however, until she’s been interviewed by the FBI.

And Democrats also want Ford’s husband who supposedly was the first person Christine Ford told about Kavanaugh back in 2012. And they want the FBI to interview Judge Kavanaugh himself. And they surely have a further list ready when and if those interviews take place. And they are ready to denounce the whole process they demanded as inadequate should somehow all the interviews they demand be actually carried out by the FBI.

On another front, Senator Feinstein has accused the GOP of violating the rape shield part of the Violence Against Women Act, passed in 1994 in part due to the Clarence Thomas hearings and Anita Hill’s supposed unjust treatment at the hands of GOP senators.

Senator Cory Booker meanwhile said the following a day or so ago:

And then, ultimately, not whether he is innocent or guilty, this is not a trial, but ultimately, have enough questions be raised that we should not move on to another candidate in that long list put together by the Heritage Foundation and Federalist Society. Move on to another candidate because ultimately the Supreme Court is not an entitlement.

In fact, Booker means exactly that.

In his view, the Supreme Court is only for those entitled to sit on its hallowed bench. Entitled by their identity. Kavanaugh is older, conservative, male, and of course, he’s white. He therefore cannot sit on the Supreme Court, if you actually follow Senator Booker’s logic to its conclusion. Kavanaugh is not entitled to be a Justice of the Supreme Court, and whatever they can dig up to make sure they can convince people of this, they’ll use.

For the many people who clearly believe this, any way to stop Kavanaugh short of actual assassination is justified.

Will envelopes filled with white powder start appearing at GOP Judiciary Committee member’s offices or homes? Or at Judge Kavanaugh’s home?

It’s only Wednesday, but let’s hope not.

So that’s the loop.

Jeff Flake was assaulted in an elevator by an angry rape victim, Maria Gallagher, who has clearly made up her mind about Kavanaugh’s guilt on the basis of Professor Ford’s words and statements, and no other evidence. And anyway, it’s all symbolic don’t you see? He’s conservative, Catholic, and played football and basketball in high school. How could he be anything else but a predator, right? Her furious demands that Flake look her in her eyes will become the next MeToo rallying cry.

So now Flake has demanded – after voting Judge Kavanaugh out of committee along with the rest of the GOP – that there be an FBI investigation, as Senator Durbin demanded Kavanaugh himself ask for, in Thursday’s hearings’ most audacious move by Democrats. One that finally prompted Senator Graham to speak the words that had to be spoken that day.

But guess what? Flake’s wishes have come to fruition and we now have what the Senate Judiciary Committee’s statement calls:

The supplemental FBI background investigation would be limited to current credible allegations against the nominee and must be completed no later than one week from today.

Senators Murkowski and Manchin quickly expressed support for Flake’s idea before the rest of the Senate decided whether to go with Flake’s plea for what will be a rushed and inconsequential piece of political theatre. Democrats like Jeff Flake’s idea, shockingly.

That’s the loop. A background check by the FBI so that Manchin, Murkowski, and Flake can vote yes sometime next week. Or the week after. Maybe. While Collins seems to be leaning towards no, given her silence.

Do you think people like Maria Gallagher will approve of Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation because the FBI do a perfunctory 1-week background investigation? Does Senator Flake think this will somehow help to calm passions?

The answer to that question comes in the form of a rumor that Democrats are planning to launch impeachment proceedings against Kavanaugh should he be confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice. It is a given that Justice Kavanaugh would have to, and will have to if he is confirmed, live with round the clock security for at least the first year of his tenure. And perhaps for far longer.

Flake himself, as well as Grassley, have received threats and are under protection as well. Could we arm the Texas Rangers and have them provide protection?

How about we protect them like the overturned vehicles that surrounded Boris Yeltsin in the summer of 1991? Who gets to be that mythical architecture student who was crushed to death under the wheels of a Soviet Tank? Metaphorically speaking, of course. I think. I hope.

Which makes me think. Maybe there is a Russian connection after all, and it’s this one.

President Trump in fact really is the Boris Yeltsin of 21st century American politics.

Gorbachev the great reformer did not preside over the Soviet Union’s collapse. He desperately tried to keep it together under a collapsing command-and-control economy with a bloated military budget and a kleptocratic bureaucratic class. A supposed clown like Yeltsin was the one with the cojones to actually change it. And Yeltsin was more than clear about what he was up against. Despite the drinking. The silly dancing. The bumbling privatization schemes which helped created the oligarchs who are now firmly under Putin’s thumb.

The Soviet Union collapsed under the weight of its absurdities, but it was Yeltsin that forced those absurdities to the surface. Like Trump does on a daily basis it seems.

The good news is that America is America and that what Trump is presiding over is the collapse of institutional process – not the collapse of institutions themselves; I’m not saying that – in Washington D.C. Consider:

  • A senator is trapped in an elevator with a raging sexual assault victim.
  • That event perhaps changes the way the Senator will vote on the confirmation of a Supreme Court Justice.
  • The UN general meeting with the gathering of the world’s nations becomes a boring little footnote.
  • The Democrats seem to be planning impeachment proceedings against a possible Justice Kavanaugh, should he gain that position.
  • Violent threats from both ends of the spectrum cause increased police protection across the Hill.

And a 1-week background investigation will bring peace to the land? Sorry, don’t think so. This could get much worse. When do the tanks start rolling? Metaphorically of course.