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Barbara Bush

By Jonathan Wackrow

Former first lady Barbara Bush once said, “Nobody likes, you know, the ugly parts of politics.” On Tuesday night, the ugliness of our current political landscape dissipated for a moment as people reflected on the life of this remarkable woman. We quietly smiled at the pictures flashing across our screens of her with her famous family, her turns in the national spotlight and the testimonials about her grit and forthright warmth.

As a special agent with the United States Secret Service, I had the opportunity to work on many protective assignments with Mrs. Bush. While I was never permanently assigned to her detail, I am thankful for two specific moments with Mrs. Bush, ones I will cherish as defining experiences in my career and testaments to her legacy, her candor and grace.

The first occurred when I was a new agent, assigned to work a midnight shift at the Bush family’s summer residence in Kennebunkport, Maine. I was walking in the front yard at daybreak, preparing to end my shift, when Mrs. Bush suddenly appeared.

In my world, it was better to be unseen, but in this instant, I was in the former first lady’s full view with nowhere to hide. Mrs. Bush gave me the warmest smile and said, “Well, it is good morning for me, but it looks like you have been up all night, so I will wish you a good night’s sleep.” Stunned, I thanked her.

She was the first Secret Service protectee I had ever spoken to. That encounter is only one of scores of examples my fellow agents could give of the genuine admiration and respect Barbara Bush showed to the people who protected her and her family — and her recognition of the sacrifices the agents made for the presidential security operation. I can report that this ethos and gratitude resonates within the entire Bush family.

Many years later, I encountered Mrs. Bush again when she made a visit to the New Jersey area. This time, I was driving her limo from New York City to an appointment in New Jersey. The motorcade was small and unassuming — traits that Mrs. Bush appreciated — consisting of a few Secret Service vehicles and one unmarked New York police vehicle. But upon exiting the Holland Tunnel into New Jersey, we were joined by an assortment of New Jersey State Police vehicles and motorcycles operating with full lights and sirens.

Typically, this was not the way that the former first lady liked to travel, as it drew undue attention. However, in this instance — with her husband’s presidency behind her — she was thrilled. Taking a quick glance in the rear-view mirror, I could see an amazing smile illuminating her face as she turned to her staff in the back seat, exclaiming, “They remember me! We have not had this much excitement since the White House!”

After her meeting, as the motorcade started to travel back to New York, Mrs. Bush leaned forward and asked the head of her protective detail if we could stop before getting back into New York City, as she wanted to thank all the police officers who, she said, “so warmly welcomed me to New Jersey.”

Peering out the limo’s back windshield, I will never forget the image of Mrs. Bush shaking hands with the officers. It was a genuine moment of sincerity and unguarded kindness delivered out of the public eye, which, to me, defined this great woman.

When I was selected to the Presidential Protective Division, I attributed my desire to join the first lady’s detail to those moments with Mrs. Bush. I wanted to protect the institution of the first lady to ensure that an administration’s compassion and conscience would never be jeopardized.

With the utmost seriousness, Secret Service agents assigned to the first lady take the sacred responsibility of protecting a political and cultural icon, knowing full well that any harm that comes to the first lady could impede the President’s ability to govern.

The United States Secret Service code name for Barbara Bush was “Tranquility.” It exemplified her demeanor and its calming, humanizing and gentle effect on those around her. She will be forever missed.

Jonathan Wackrow is a CNN law enforcement analyst and former agent with the US Secret Service, serving in the Presidential Protection division. He is a managing director at Teneo Risk, a strategic risk mitigation advisory firm.

Power outage

Coming to Southern Pines on May 2, The Power of the Press is promoted as a conversation between local newspaper publishing executives. It is hosted by the Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities. It surely will be enlightening to hear from former Raleigh News & Observer publisher Frank Daniels Jr., currently chairman of The Pilot, and the paper’s current publisher, David Woronoff.

The presumption that the press wields power has, through much of America’s history, been premised on a commitment to objective reporting about current events. In its relentless pursuit of the truth, the press would curry no favor with powerful people and expose deceit, ethical lapses, corruption, and crimes.

A powerful press bears a tremendous burden of responsibility, and in many communities across the land, publishers and editors remain vigilant in demanding objectivity and fairness. But any pretense of same within large, corporate-owned news organizations, both in print and broadcast “journalism”, has been deteriorating at an alarming rate. Some have declared a legitimate American mass media already deceased.

It has been death by insanity. The major news networks, and cable’s CNN and MSNBC (MSDNC, as it is known within some Washington circles), along with formerly iconic newspapers, foremost among them The New York Times and The Washington Post, have become delusional about their reason for existence. It is rooted in a singular mission: to rid the White House and the U.S. Presidency of Donald J. Trump.

What is frustrating about this pretense of legitimacy among the mainstream media among Washington lawmakers, policy influencers and at least half of the voting-age population is that it obscures real legislative progress inside the gates of “The Swamp”. The mainstreamers are drowning in breathless accounts of collusion, special counselors, dossiers, hookers, porn actors, and pre-dawn raids on citizens, even as the nation and its economy are riding a rising tide.

Consider recent developments that ought to encourage Republicans and independent voters, who still believe America’s strength lies in embracing her values and free-market capitalism.

The Washington Examiner reported late last week thusly: Manufacturing hiring rises to highest level since before the recession.

“Hiring in the manufacturing sector in February rose to the highest level since before the Great Recession began, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported (April 13). Manufacturing hires rose to 380,000 in the month, the most of any month since November of 2007, the month before the recession officially began.”

On another significant initiative, U.S. House Republicans are weathering fierce opposition to reducing by millions the numbers of Americans dependent on food stamps. Reports Politico.com:

“House Republicans unveiled on (April 12) a farm bill that would impose stricter work requirements on millions of low-income Americans receiving food stamps — a bid to enact a small slice of the GOP welfare overhaul.”

It is a sticky debate owed to the inclusion of food stamp allocation in what is essentially longstanding legislation intended to address farming industry support. Food stamps account for 80% of funding to the legislation. But entitlement reform is a battle worth fighting. It will unfold largely ignored by the mainstreamers, who will note in passing that Republicans are merely vying to “take away” food stamps from the poor. The alternative, unreported, is to liberate Americans from needing food stamps to buy food.

If the press presumes to have power it would literally press lawmakers to make their cases on key policymaking debates. Instead, it shamelessly ignores any news that might vindicate Trump era policies, and acts as an accomplice to the radical left when it attacks spending reforms as assaults on helpless citizens (which some Republicans have buckled to as evidenced by the recently passed obscene omnibus spending bill). Bottom line: The MSM allocates almost no time to policy reporting.

Across human history, every socialist government that has seized power and sought to make its citizenry 100% dependent eventually has crumbled into chaos and unimaginable poverty. And they share one other common denominator: a press entirely lacking in power, owned and operated by ruling elites.

 

Bring it on

President George W. Bush was roundly criticized for uttering his taunt of “bring it on” in articulating a strategy for fighting back against radical Islamic terrorism. President Donald Trump essentially takes the same view on a number of issues, most recently China and illegal trade imbalances. America First means being ready to fight, never nurturing the status quo.

Despite what has been and will be accomplished by a President and an administration rarely fazed by confrontation, we are increasingly hearing the drumbeat of Republican gloom as the 2018 mid-term election season approaches. The Democrats are energized, we’re told, by pundits and politicians alike.

Walker Warns of Dem Wave in Wisconsin after Liberal Wins State Judicial Race, read a headline at TheHill.com, citing a tweet by Republican Gov. Scott Walker:

“Tonight’s results show we are at risk of a #BlueWave in WI. The Far Left is driven by anger & hatred — we must counter it with optimism & organization.”

A similar headline appears on the The Daily Beast website, Mitch McConnell Frets on Midterms: ‘The Wind is Going to Be in Our Face’. “This is going to be a challenging election year,” McConnell said.

Another Daily Beat headline shouts, New Analysis Finds More Republicans at Risk in Midterms.

“Democrats are widening their targets and a nonpartisan analysis shows that more GOP incumbents might be at risk.”

There is plenty of historical data to back Democrat optimism about a blue tsunami sweeping them into control of the U.S. House or Senate (the latter, a longer shot). But, as with healthy returns on investments, the past does not assure what will happen in the future.

This much we know. The present looks pretty solid for Republicans. In North Carolina the economy is growing, while unemployment is shrinking. The state ranked in the top 10 among best places for wage growth in 2017 (3.8%), tied at ninth with Georgia, according to Business Insider. Nationally, President Trump’s favorable rating (51% reports Rasmussen) has surpassed Barack Obama’s at the same stage of their presidencies. It is becoming increasingly difficult to argue that Republicans will struggle in states Trump carried in 2016 because of dissatisfaction with him since he took office, especially in the aftermath of last year’s tax cuts and a renewed pledge to secure the Southern border.

Also not to be overlooked in the face of inner-party fear mongering is the raw reality of what it is Democrats are actually for. The young co-founder of Great America Era, commentator and prolific tweeter Jack Murphy, neatly summarized just how far to the left the Dems are shifting as evidenced by themes on which they plan to win:

“Free college. High taxes. Open borders. Getting rid of ICE. Taking the guns. Unlimited welfare. Single-payer healthcare.”

In another tweet, Murphy brilliantly itemizes the Democrats’ glorious scandals and track records during the Obama era, the 2016 election and here and now in the Age of Trump:

“Fast & Furious (under Obama AG Eric Holder). FISA abuse. Oakland’s mayor (warning illegals about ICE raids). A failing Veterans’ Administration. IRS abuse. Benghazi. Hillary emails. Uranium One. NSA spying. Bowe Bergdahl.”

He might have added sanctuary cities and the bogus Mueller investigation, which can’t find a sliver of Russian collusion evidence.

We remind you that this is the RESOLVE blog. It is named for an acronym: Republicans for Security, Opportunity, Liberty and Victory that Endures. If we remember what we stand for, rally our voters to grasp the pivotal importance of the 2018 midterm elections, and hammer home the absurdity of Democrats running on a Hate Trump platform, it will indeed be a blue November — for them.

Mark his words

President Donald Trump was elected to “drain the swamp”, a phrase that characterizes for many a federal government gridlocked by entrenched career politicians across the ideological spectrum. His supporters, the so-called base, continue to demand drainage but Trump encounters resistance at every turn. Swamp creatures are defiantly protective of their turf (or muck, to be more precise).

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Mark Meadows 

The Swamp overwhelmed the quest for Obamacare repeal early on. It was taken to its knees, finally, when Congress passed and Trump signed major tax cuts and reforms in late 2017. Other minor dredging has been accomplished here and there on Capitol Hill, yet along came the $1.3 trillion Omnibus spending bill. Even Trump was wearing waders at the signing ceremony for that spending fiasco.

Hours beforehand, Trump tweeted that he was tempted to veto the bill. The first entity to step forward in full support of a proposed veto was the House Freedom Caucus, a widely derided group of Republican lawmakers led by North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows (NC-11). Going back to the age of Obama, Meadows and the Caucus have stood shoulder to shoulder since 2015 as Swamp-busting contrarians, committed to “giving a voice to countless Americans who feel that Washington does not represent them” and “open, accountable and limited government.”

Understandably, Democrats and, less vocally, many Republicans dismiss the Caucus as a band of obstructionists on matters of spending and ideological flash points such as immigration control. “Very destructive,” writes Bloomberg’s Jonathan Bernstein. True conservatives applaud the refusal of Meadows & Co. to waiver, which typically is the signature of movements with staying power and, ultimately, real power.

As the Omnibus train was veering off the rails, Meadows and 24 others voted against bringing the bill to the floor, furious “that Republican leadership were only able to get (Trump) just over one-twenty-fifth of what he wanted for the construction of his long-promised border wall,” reported The Daily Caller. Said Meadows:

“Members of the Freedom Caucus chose to vote no, because this omnibus doesn’t just forget the promises we made to voters — it flatly rejects them.”

Meadows, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) penned an opinion piece in mid-March decrying yet another inclination by Republicans to accept business as usual. Despite the important elimination of the Obamacare mandate in the tax reform bill, policies remain under consideration that “would expand this healthcare disaster beyond even President Obama’s ambitions,” they wrote.

While still pending, Meadows et al are sounding the alarm — using a now well worn alarm button:

“One (proposal) would direct the Obama-created bailout known as cost-sharing-reduction (CSR) payments to go to ObamaCare insurance companies. Another would create an entirely new reinsurance program to funnel billions of taxpayer dollars directly to insurers in order to convince them to stick with ObamaCare.”

Who are the “destructive” ones in this scenario?

If there is a fray to enter, Meadows typically leads the charge into it. As a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, he’s become a go-to for Fox News programmers but is often seen on the Sunday show circuit as well. Most recently, he and Ohio’s Jordan were guests on FNC’s The Ingraham Angle to walk deeper into the fray surrounding calls for a new Special Counsel to investigate improprieties, and perhaps illegalities, committed by the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation leading to and after Trump’s election.

Meadows and Jordan recently reviewed a heavily redacted report by the DOJ, which is a first step toward assembling the puzzle that will confirm shady activity and communication by figures such as fired Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, demoted FBI official Peter Strzok, and former CIA Director John Brennan.

“On seven pages, there were 12 material facts — material facts, not just names — material facts that were omitted by the Department of Justice. It’s time they come clean and give us what we need. … This Department of Justice is not complying with the subpoena. … For the Attorney General (Jeff Sessions) to suggest that there is not enough ‘there’ there is extremely disappointing.”

The frequent refrain echoed by frustrated Republican voters is a simple request, “Do your jobs.” The entrenched Swampers argue the better measure of their performance is how often they “get things done”. Meadows consistently does his job, unapologetically. Which is good news for his North Carolina district and for those who want to see President Trump succeed. Fellow NC lawmakers in Washington would be wise to adopt Meadows’ tenacity.

In a profile written for Vox.com last August, Tara Golshan described Meadows’ sphere of influence in Washington:

“The reality of today’s Congress is that in the House of Representatives, the Freedom Caucus is in control of the Republican agenda — with Meadows at the helm. He leads a body that made its mark as an opposition force from within. But tasked with governing, Meadows has to decide whether his conservative principles supersede getting things done. He may have paved the way for (Paul) Ryan’s speakership, but it’s Meadows who stands in the way of every major Republican policy push.”

Conservatives stand with him.

 

 

Deep concerns

Is it possible that escalating erosion of trust in our federal government is causing Democrats and Republicans, joined by independents, to find common ground in a nation seen as deeply divided? Perhaps even irreparably divided.

A new Monmouth University Polling Institute poll indicates that the entrenchment of a shadowy, post-Obama era “deep state” bothers those who embrace President Donald Trump as much as those who would cheer for a President Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.

The poll, as reported by left-leaning The Hill, found that “74 percent of respondents believe in a ‘deep state’ when it is described as a collection of unelected officials running policy.”

“We usually expect opinions on the operation of government to shift depending on which party is in charge,” Monmouth University Polling Institute Director Patrick Murray said in a statement. “But there’s an ominous feeling by Democrats and Republicans alike that a ‘Deep State’ of unelected operatives are pulling the levers of power.”

Who are these operatives? They are everywhere. Former Congressional senior analyst Mike Lofgren, who toiled a total of 28 years on Capitol Hill, is author of The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government, which lays out chilling insights.

Most significantly, “the Deep State does not consist only of government agencies,” Lofgren writes.

“In a special series in The Washington Post called ‘Top Secret America,’ Dana Priest and William K. Arkin described the scope of the privatized Deep State and the degree to which it has metastasized after the September 11 attacks. There are now 854,000 contract personnel with top-secret clearances — a number greater than that of top-secret-cleared civilian employees of the government.

“Seventy percent of the intelligence community’s budget goes to paying contracts. And the membrane between government and industry is highly permeable: The (former) Director of National Intelligence, James R. Clapper, is a former executive of Booz Allen Hamilton, one of the government’s largest intelligence contractors. His predecessor as director, Admiral Mike McConnell, is the current vice chairman of the same company; Booz Allen is 99 percent dependent on government business. These contractors now set the political and social tone of Washington, just as they are increasingly setting the direction of the country, but they are doing it quietly, their doings unrecorded in the Congressional Record or the Federal Register, and are rarely subject to congressional hearings.”

A vast majority of the American media is complicit in concealing the machinations of the Deep State. In fact, the media is, in reality, a Deep State appendage. This explains why it is so diligent in its efforts to make villains and “threats to national security” out of benign characters in the Trump orbit such as Carter Page, Jared Kushner and George Papadopoulos.

Deep staters surely must chuckle at all of this from the shadows.

 

Dem delusion ‘revealed’

A reader of this blog kindly drew our attention to a content-rich web site, Constitution.com, operated by Atlanta-based editor Onan Coca, who oversees multiple digital platforms covering politics. His sites draw contributions from an extensive roster of writers and scholars.

One of Coca’s latest posts addresses that which is top of mind for both political parties, but especially Republicans — the 2018 midterm elections. His piece reviews all of the historical reasons why Republicans might/should lose majorities in the House and Senate. He points to the added Trump factor, which refers to fierce opposition to the President within his own party, along with the reality that “the GOP is incredibly unpopular” when the public is surveyed.

Finally, Republicans must contend with an increasingly biased (and corrupt) mainstream media, which has become an unapologetic appendage of the Democrat party in the age of Trump.

The grim tone of the dispatch, however, is presented under the sarcasm-laden headline, Secret Democrat Strategy for 2018 Discovered. The so-called “strategy”, Coca unveils, is rife with the ability to do widespread damage to the Dem’s 2018 prospects. In other words, Republicans must remain vigilant and determined to get out the vote, but should do so with less wrist wringing. Here’s why:

Just as the Republicans spent much of the last 25+ years shooting themselves in the foot and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, the Democrats seem poised to be their own worst enemies come November 2018.

  • Gun “control”. Almost always a losing prospect for Democrats, Coca writes, and while many Americans may be unhappy in the wake of the Douglas High School shooting (in Parkland, Fla.), they’ve not necessarily shown any appetite for the Democrats extreme gun control proposals.
  • The Democrats just released their $1 TRILLION TAX HIKE plan that they hope America will support in November. It’s almost as if the Democrats think Americans hate it when the economy is doing well.
  • Illegal immigration policy. Democrats are moving away from any pretense of desiring to stem the tide of illegal immigration. In fact, their new united front, and with a sense of urgency, is centered around the abolishment of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Democrat rock star, Sen. Kamala Harris (CA), was quickly rebutted across social media for merely suggesting that ICE plays an important role.

Democrats, perhaps more impacted than anyone imagined by Trump Delusion Syndrome, are planning to unleash a “blue wave” in 2018 thusly:

Gun Control, Tax Hikes, abolishing ICE and opening our borders. I cannot imagine a more disastrous platform to run a campaign on, but I’m not a Democrat, so I have a difficult time thinking of terrible ideas. It honestly seems as if the Democrats are trying their best to lose the 2018 midterm election, but that can’t be right. Can it?