On the Mueller Investigation, Wait and See

I have no idea what Robert Mueller is going to reveal with his report and very few other people know either. I have long thought we would not find that Donald Trump colluded with the Russians to steal the election. I do not believe the President is some sort of agent for Moscow as the most fevered dreams on the left would have us believe.

What I have long thought is that the President never expected to become President and used his campaign to enrich himself personally, expand his property portfolio, and otherwise reward friends and influence people. That seems to be where we are headed with a side branch of the investigation revealing some conservative grifters were willing to work with Russians to hurt the Clintons.

The Michael Cohen situation seems to suggest that the President was trading on his campaign and nomination to advance his business interests. I suspect we will find that the Trump Organization has some serious financial issues and I have long wondered if it might have been used as a conduit for Russian oligarchs to launder their money. I have no idea and we will see.

Right now, however, we know very little. The advanced speculation is mostly spin to set the narrative upon reveal. The Presidents’ spinners have worked first to claim there was no there there, now they are working to say it was no big deal.

The left too has gone from “he’s a Russian agent” to doubling down on Russia stealing the election.

About the only thing certain right now is that Bob Mueller is potentially doing the conservative movement a great favor by exposing and, in some cases, jailing the grifters and charlatans who have invaded the conservative movement.

Congress is Now Taxing Churches. It Must Reverse Itself.

An unnoticed provision in the Republicans’ tax reform plan is about to cause all sorts of problems for nonprofits in America, particularly for churches. Congress should repeal this provision immediately as part of its overall end of year budgeting. This provision imposes an income tax on churches.

The newly added Section 512(a)(7) of the Internal Revenue Code states, in part: “Unrelated business taxable income of an organization shall be increased by any amount for which a deduction is not allowable under this chapter by reason of section 274 and which is paid or incurred by such organization for any qualified transportation fringe, any parking facility used in connection with qualified parking, or any on-premises. . . The [Treasury] Secretary shall issue such regulations or other guidance as may be necessary or appropriate…”

What does this mean in English? As the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission points out, the law “requires tax-exempt organizations to file federal income tax returns and pay unrelated business income tax (UBIT) on the cost of parking provided to employees. Filing a return is required even if the organizations do not actually conduct any unrelated business activities. This is a significant change in the treatment of charitable organizations.”

But it is not just the cost of parking that will be treated as income to churches. If churches and other nonprofits cover the costs of mass transit for their employees, they will get taxes on that as well. In other words, if a church encourages its employees to use a metro system, the church will have to pay an income tax on the benefit it provides its employees. This is ridiculous and needs to be repealed immediately. It not only effectively imposes an income tax on non-profits, but does so for incentivizing their employees’ use of mass transit, etc.

Congress needs to not impose an income tax on churches and other nonprofits. They must repeal this provision immediately. They can do so by passing H.R. 6460, the LIFT for Charities Act, authored by Rep. Meadows in the House and Senator Lankford in the Senate.

Ginger snaps

Ingredients:

3/4 cup crisco (154g)
1 cup brown sugar (200g)
1/4 cup molasses (85g)
1 egg
2 1/4 cups sifted all purpose flour (257g)
2 tsp baking soda (10g)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves

Directions:

Cream together the wet ingredients. Sift together the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix together. Refrigerate until slighty chilled, about 30 minutes. Scoop a tablespoon each and shape into a ball. Roll in granulated sugar. Place 2 inches apart on parchment lined cookie sheets. Flatten slightly with a glass bottom dipped in sugar. Bake at 375° approximately 8 minutes for chewy cookies and 10 minutes for crisp cookies. Note: If using a convection oven, bake at 350°.

We Should Find and Support the Next Pinochets. Not Really, But Sort Of.

Augusto Pinochet was a corrupt tyrant in Chile. He also reformed Chile’s economy, drove out the communists and socialists, and put Chile on the path to reform and stability. President Trump should seek out future Pinochets in Central and South America. The United States needs to get its hands dirty in the Western Hemisphere and be willing to support tyrants and autocrats who do not share our view of human rights. We need to do it because China is doing it, Russia is doing it, Cuba is doing it, and they have no qualms about human rights. We need to do it because we value free markets and stable, pro-America regimes that will fight MS-13, failed socialist policies, and a socialist-communist resurgence in the Western Hemisphere that threatens our borders.

According to the most conservative estimates, President Trump’s wall will cost $11 billion. The House Republicans have set aside $5 billion. But consider what we currently spend in just a few problematic governments in Central America.

In El Salvador, we spend $75 million in foreign aid.

In Guatamala, we spend $297 million in foreign aid.

In Nicaragua, we spend $31 million in foreign aid.

In Honduras, we spend $127 million in foreign aid.

In Mexico, we spend $88 million in foreign aid.

Combined, that is $618 million in foreign aid for four countries that are causing or contributing to the migrant caravan. If we doubled what we spent in those countries, we would still only be spending around 12% of the cost of the wall.

If we spent the money wisely, we could support strong leadership in those countries willing to do our bidding who might resist the lure of China, Russia, Cuba, and even Venezuela.

Yes, we are dealing with corrupt regimes. We will probably not stamp out the corrupt. But, again, consider Pinochet. He was a corrupt tyrant who ruthlessly exterminated communists, cracked down on criminal and gang elements, and moved Chile into a stable, free market country.

Our foreign aid in Chile these days is only $2.3 million. We need to find future Augusto Pinochets in Central and South America and get behind them, support them, teach them about and help them promote free markets, provide them a few helicopters, and then let them ruthlessly deal with their nation’s gangs, communists, and others who are causing the caravans of people fleeing those failing nations.

We could spend less in one decade solving the problems causing these caravans of migrants than we spend building the wall and, in the process, we would curtail China and Russia’s incursions into the Western Hemisphere. The stakes for hemispheric stability are great. The United States needs to be willing to get its hands dirty again.

Now, everybody breathe.

No, I’m not actually fully on board with my own idea. Pinochet was actually a ruthless dictator who dropped people out of helicopters. And I actually think Pinochet has been treated more unkind by history than he should be, but only by a bit.

I didn’t support Trump because I acknowledged that even if I got everything I wanted from him, he was still a terrible person and we shouldn’t be propping up terrible people to give us what we want.

The same goes for abroad.

The point in laying all of this out and getting some of you nodding along with it is this — there are real problems in Central and South America that are causing the migrant caravan heading north. Building a wall won’t fix those problems and at some point there will be a Democrat President again who might just fling open the doors even if you have a wall.
The United States needs to deal with the root causes and can actually deal with those causes cheaper over the next ten years than building a wall that remains unfunded and hypothetical.

While we are not dealing with those problems, China is. It has no qualms about backing distasteful autocrats who abuse human rights. We have no competing systems and policies in place to respond. So in addition to not dealing with the root causes of the repeated caravans, we are letting a despotic, communist regime plant roots in the Western Hemisphere and doing little to nothing to respond thereto.

We need to. And that will actually require we ally with some unsavory types more likely than not. The left has a bit of hypocrisy on this front because they’re perfectly fine cutting deals with Iran, treating Qatar favorably, and even working with those affiliated with Hamas. They may get bent out of shape by the suggestion that the United States work with thugs in the Western Hemisphere, but frankly I’d rather a pro-America thug running Venezuela than the guy there now.

We do not even have to engage in regime change in these countries. We can spend money openly and surreptitiously. We too can scheme in these countries to both push back growing Chinese influence and also the laundry list of problems causing the caravans.

You build that wall if you want to. But we will keep dealing with caravans and we will get a Democrat President willing to open doors within the walls. And, by the way, it is far more likely you will get funding for engaging with this problem than you will get funding for the wall.

But keep screaming “build the wall” if you makes you feel better. There are just cheaper solutions, but ones you can’t fundraise off of.

The Key to Escaping Twitter is the Past

Earlier this year, we were facing some problems at The Resurgent. Our designer/coder got a new job. He was in the process of making upgrades to the site. He loaded the updates and then rapidly transitioned to a new job. the problem is several of the changes wound up breaking other things and he suddenly wasn’t around to be able to fix them. It all happened in a hurry.

About the same time, The Maven came calling offering to put us on their platform and provide us the tools we needed to build up our community section, which I had wanted to do. It happened at a perfectly fortuitous moment and we went with it. It was less of a financial strain to us than trying to fix the problems we were facing at our old site.

But, in less than a year, it has become obvious to me and everyone else around here that we really need our own site. We want to be able to control every pixel and be responsible for it all. With the success of our first conference, we have the bandwidth to be able to do that and are in the process of moving to a site where we will be responsible for and control everything.

That gets me to Twitter. Long before the rise of Facebook and Twitter, there were blogs. A lot of people have, over the years, abandoned their personal blogs and the community of friends and readers they built in favor of various social media platforms. But as we are seeing with the various purges at Twitter, algorithm changes at Facebook, and advertising whims at Google, you don’t really own your stuff. The businesses you rely upon can change their business models, algorithms, or rules on a whim and you could be up a creek.

People who got Twitter famous and depend on Twitter for attention and buzz are left to the whims of arbitrary and capricious progressives in San Francisco to let them continue existing or delete their relevance.

The best way around that is to get a blog. They’re cheap. You are not dependent on others. And you can write as much or as little as you want. We at The Resurgent and me individually have full editorial control over what we post here. We can make it as long as we want. And if we build a loyal audience we do not have to worry about Twitter, Facebook, etc.

In fact, Twitter accounts for less and less of our daily traffic now. Most of our traffic comes through a daily email I send out. Several people have asked me where and what should we do as Twitter seems intent on purging more and more conservative voices. My answer is to go bak to the past. Get a WordPress site, connect with others, and build community that way.

Congressman-Elect Roy’s First Hires Suggests Good Things Forthcoming

Chip Roy, the congressman-elect in Texas’s 21st congressional district, looks like he wants to establish himself as a real conservative leader in the House. His first hire is Wade Miller, a Marine combat veteran who served both in the Horn of Africa and Iraq. Miller worked for Heritage Action when it was still the congressional heart burn generator and then went to work as Political Director for Ted Cruz.

Maggie Harrell is an Auburn grad, which we won’t hold against her, and she worked as counsel to Jeff Sessions, which suggests Roy wants to be a fighter on immigration. Harrell will be the legislative director.

Then there is Nathan McDaniel who served as Roy’s campaign manager and had been a field director for Americans for Prosperity.

So we have a Jeff Sessions alumnus, a Heritage Action and Ted Cruz alumnus, and an Americans for Prosperity alumnus. In other words, we have people who can organize the grassroots and the grass tops. Insert nuclear bomb gif here, folks. Keep your eye on this office.

Congresswoman Marcia Fudge Asked for Leniency for Friend Charged With Spousal Abuse Who Later Murdered His Wife

This is going to be a problem for Marcia Fudge as she seeks to potentially challenge Nancy Pelosi for Speaker.

Fudge wrote a letter to a prosecutor in support of her friend, Lance Mason. Mason, at the time, was charged with beating his wife. “I commend Lance for immediately recognizing that he needed help and entered counseling,” she wrote. “The Lance T. Mason I know is a kind, intelligent man and loyal friend. The Lance T. Mason I know is an advocate for the people of his community,” she continued.

According to the New York Times, Mason served “nine months in prison for brutally beating his wife in 2014 in front of their children, punching her 20 times and fracturing a bone in her face

Lance T. Mason murdered his estranged wife in front of his kids this past Saturday.

I’ve Changed My Mind on Third Parties and a 2020 Primary Challenge

I want to be careful here. I am not endorsing the concept. But I have reconsidered my flat opposition to both the creation of a third party and a 2020 Presidential primary challenge. I think neither would be successful, but as I recently pointed out to someone, had John C. Frémont not run as a Republican in 1856, there would probably be no Lincoln in 1860.

For the first time, I think I finally see a path forward for a third party in the United States, but it may run through the 2020 Republican primaries.

If you pay attention in Florida, Senator-elect (that sounds awesome to write) Rick Scott got 45% of the Hispanic vote. Brian Kemp, the Governor-elect in Georgia, got 38% of the Hispanic vote in Georgia. In fact, Republicans did far better with the Hispanic vote than the media would have anyone believe is possible.

Across the country, another notable data point is that Republicans this year, without Trump on the ballot, actually increased their share of the vote among black voters. Most notably, the share of the vote of black men and Hispanic men increased for the GOP. The trend away from the Democrats by minority voters is almost entirely because of cultural issues. The Democrats’ growing hostility to faith, conservative social values, etc. is a real Achilles heel for the party with minority voters, particularly Hispanic voters.

Concurrent to that, the white suburbs fled the GOP. High income white voters in the suburbs who have been reliably Republican have had enough of President Trump. Combine white suburban voters with black and Hispanic voters who will not go to the GOP because of Trump, but no longer feel at home in the Democratic Party, and there appears to be real room for a third party in the country now — one that is viable unlike the Libertarians or Green parties.

I suspect this all runs through the GOP, however. Put up someone in the 2020 Republican Presidential primary against Donald Trump running on these sorts of themes and the person probably cannot win, but probably could start a third party movement as a sizable, though not a majority portion of Republicans tired of President Trump leave their political home and make it an acceptable place for black and Hispanic voters.

The GOP would become a mostly white rural party. The Democrats would become a mostly wealthy, urban white party. This new party, call it the Federalists, would be a coalition of former Republicans and minority Democrats with a healthy addition of evangelicals all of whom think the two parties have failed the country.

Again, I do not think such a pivot would be successful in 2020. I also think it would probably lead to President Trump’s defeat, thereby making remaining Republican bitter towards the effort. But the data from the midterms shows pretty clearly the suburban Republicans and the socially conservative minority Democrats are all ready for a new political home. It would not be an immediate successful enterprise, but could potentially sustain itself so long as it makes it a party of ideas, and not one man’s enterprise like the Reform Party of Ross Perot.

For those of us who are fiscally conservative, we’d also have to get used to the idea that this would not be a small government party, per se. But it could no doubt position itself as a fiscally responsible, free market party, which neither of the existing parties are.

I am pretty sure I would not support the effort. And I have said repeatedly I think the GOP is Trump’s for the time being and there is no reason for a primary challenge. But the midterm data all very compelling suggest if someone wanted to try a go at resetting the American political coalitions, now would be the time.