The Democrats are passing laws specifically aimed at forcing disclosure of Donald Trump's finances and tax returns from when he was a private citizen. This is garbage politics. Whether you like Trump or not, there's absolutely no reason for a House committee to be digging through his personal finances.

A federal judge in New York City on Wednesday said Deutsche Bank and Capitol One can turn over financial documents related to President Donald Trump and his businesses in response to subpoenas from House Democrats.

Judge Edgardo Ramos's ruling came after a hearing at which lawyers for Trump, his three older children, and the Trump Organization argued that the subpoenas to the two banks should be quashed. ...

And Ramos's ruling came hours after the New York State legislature passed two bills aimed at Trump, which would allow Trump's state tax returns to be turned over to Congress if they are requested. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he supports that idea, but has yet to say whether he will sign the bills.

This behavior is disgraceful. Just imagine the outrage if Trump started rooting through the finances of Democrat politicians!

Everyone gets it: Democrats hate Trump. Fine. There's an election coming up, so just beat him. Quit with all the embarrassing garbage.


So the Season 8 of "Game of Thrones" was pretty bad -- but why? It didn't have to be. Why was it both slow and rushed? These paragraphs sum up my questions.

I don't pretend to understand the pressures of TV production -- logic suggests that with the episodes getting ever more technically complicated, they would take longer to shoot, which results in fewer of them per season.

But didn't the show already take as much time as it needed, with months and months between some seasons? Why not go ahead and take as much as it takes to get to 10 episodes for those last two? For that matter, why not break up some of these supersize installments from this season into two separate ones that let moments land and things develop less frantically?

It doesn't take a genius to write a good script, but it does take time. And it takes screen time to give complex plots and characters a chance to resolve in a satisfying manner. I don't get it.


United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut John Durham is investigating improper surveillance of the Trump Campaign.

Durham, known as a "hard-charging, bulldog" prosecutor, according to a source, will focus on the period before Nov. 7, 2016--including the use and assignments of FBI informants, as well as alleged improper issuance of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants. Durham was asked to help Barr to "ensure that intelligence collection activities by the U.S. Government related to the Trump 2016 Presidential Campaign were lawful and appropriate."

A source also told Fox News that Barr is working "collaboratively" on the investigation with FBI Director Chris Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel, and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, and that Durham is also working directly with Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who is currently reviewing allegations of misconduct in issuance of FISA warrants, and the role of FBI informants during the early stages of the investigation.

Durham was appointed to the job of U.S. Attorney by Trump, but he has a long history of appointments by both Republicans and Democrats, from as far back as 1999.

Amid allegations that FBI informants James "Whitey" Bulger and Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi had corrupted their handlers, US Attorney General Janet Reno named Durham special prosecutor in 1999. He oversaw a task force of FBI agents brought in from other offices to investigate the Boston office's handling of informants.

It would be good for our country to have a full and honest accounting of what went on behind closed doors in the Obama administration. I sincerely hope that no wrong-doing occurred.


State Representative Brian Sims appears to be insane -- he's offering cash rewards to identify teenage girls who are praying outside an abortion clinic.

Sims posted the second video on his Facebook page three weeks ago. He began by introducing himself and calling for support of Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in America. Then, he turned the camera to four pro-life women who were peacefully sidewalk counseling outside the facility.

"What we've got here is a bunch of ... pseudo Christian protesters who've been out here shaming young girls for being here. So, here's the deal, I've got $100 to anybody who will identify these three, and I will donate to Planned Parenthood," Sims said.

One of the young women responded that she is not white. Another said they simply are praying for women, and they believe women deserve better than abortion. Then, they walked away.

The linked article calls the people praying "four pro-life women", but three of them were very young teenagers!

The mother of two teenage girls who were harassed by Democratic Pennsylvania State Rep. Brian Sims for protesting outside a Philadelphia Planned Parenthood a few weeks ago told Fox News' Tucker Carlson Tuesday night that it was a "shocking experience," but they had prayed for him following the incident.

Ashley Garecht had taken her 13- and 15-year-old daughters and their 15-year-old friend to Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, which is in Sims' district, on Holy Thursday of the Easter Triduum to peacefully pray before they went to Mass.

During the disturbing encounter -- which Sims live-streamed on Periscope -- the unhinged Democrat offered $100 to anyone who could identify the young girls.

Garecht said the altercation that was caught on video was not the first interaction they'd had with Sims.

"He approached us about 20 minutes before that," she explained. "He came in yelling at us and really was yelling very directly at the girls -- very specifically at the girls. So I moved myself in between him and said 'please talk to me, let's have a conversation, the two of us as two adults,' but he continued to yell at the girls and then eventually he left and about ten minutes later is when he came back videotaping us," she continued.

How in the world does Sims think his behavior towards these children is acceptable? What do other Pennsylvania Democrats think?


Andrew C. McCarthy explains what should be obvious: Mueller's complaints about "context" are pointless now that his report is public.

Mueller was annoyed because Barr's report showed Mueller didn't do the job he was retained to do, and omitted all the narrative-writing that Mueller preferred to do.

Before Attorney General Barr issued his letter outlining the special counsel's conclusions, Mueller was invited to review it for accuracy. Mueller declined. After Barr explained that Mueller had not decided the obstruction question, the press reported on this dereliction. Mueller is miffed about the press coverage ... but he can't say Barr misrepresented his findings.

Like the Mueller investigation, this episode is designed to fuel a political narrative. But we don't need a narrative - we don't even need anyone to explain the report plainly. That's because we now have the report. We can read it for ourselves. The rest is noise.

If you don't like Barr's summary then ignore it and go read Mueller's report for yourself.


An anti-Trump cabal in the American government played the media for fools for the past three years, and journalists can't stop patting themselves on the back.

The Mueller report makes clear reporters were sold wolf whistles over and over, led by reams of unnamed official sources who urged them to see meaning in meaningless things and assume connections that weren't there. ...

More than anything, reporters should be furious at the many sources close to the various investigations who (it now seems clear) must have known pretty early there were serious holes in many areas of this story, and that a lot of these "dots" were dead ends, but didn't warn their press counterparts. For instance, the papers should be mad those who supposedly had misgivings about the Steele report didn't warn them earlier.

But they're not mad, which makes it look like a case of intentional blindness, in which eyes and ears were shut among other things because the Trump-Russia conspiracy tale made a ton of money. Media companies earned boffo ratings while the Mueller probe still carried the drama of a potential spectacular ending, with blue-state audiences eating up all those "walls are closing in" hot takes.

This fiasco will surely end up being a net plus for Trump. The obstruction parts of the report make him look like a brainless goon and thug, but the absence of what Mueller repeatedly calls "underlying crime" make his ravings about an elitist mob out to get him look justified. This is not an easy thing to achieve, but we're there, and the press is a big part of that picture.


Politicians use this sentence to express general agreement with an idea while maintaining plausible deniability in case the idea becomes unpopular.

It's not just voting voting rights for terrorists. Saying you're willing to "have a conversation" about any issue is implicit support for the underlying idea. The only question is whether you believe it's politically feasible. Would Harris have a conversation about legalizing fully automatic firearms? Of course not. Would she be open to having a conversation about banning post-20-week abortions? No. Harris won't even have a conversation about banning post-abortion abortions. Any deviation from wild-eyed progressivism has the potential to brand you a heretic in this environment.

Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have been the leading instigators of this dynamic, but they're not alone. It's a group effort. Every time a candidacy lags, the contender will offer a new attention-grabbing plan to confiscate wealth for some socialistic policy proposal. Want to form a commission to develop slavery reparations proposals? Let's have a conversation. "Free college?" Let's talk. Nationalize the entire health care industry? Let's start a dialogue. You want to pass a law that guarantees every American a job? Yep, let's huddle on it.

How about a plan that eliminates all fossil fuel energy production, the lifeblood of American industry and life, and replace them with windmills, bicycles, and choo choo trains? Nearly every Democratic Party presidential hopeful--including Harris, Sanders, Warren, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Julián Castro, and Beto O'Rourke--says we need to get a conversation going.

The underlying issue at the moment is that the Democrat party has been captured by radicals who won't tolerate compromise. Democrat politicians need to pander to radical zealotry without sabotaging their chances in the general election. This dilemma presents an opportunity for triangulation by Republicans.

At this point, Republicans should figure out ways to pose questions to Democrats in public and stimulate extremist contagion: Do you support allowing non-citizens voting rights? Do you believe all abortions should be paid for by taxpayers? Do you believe that border walls should be torn down? Do you think it would be okay for presidents to unilaterally institute bans on fossil fuels to save the earth if Republicans had "refused to act"?


Wow, I love this euphemism! Government agencies don't break the law, they simply under-comply!

Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Russell Vought is issuing new guidance to all agencies on complying with the Congressional Review Act, a 1996 law that requires "major" rules be submitted to Congress at least 60 days before they take effect.

A senior administration official told The Washington Times that the Trump administration has found, with Government Accountability Office reports, that "agencies sometimes under-comply with CRA."

"We decided that some additional guidance from OMB is necessary to the agencies to help them comply with the law," the official said in an exclusive interview. "Many agencies often don't know how the CRA works. Agencies often don't even know to ask."

I wonder how far a citizen would get with this approach? "Actually officer, I wasn't speeding, I was merely under-complying with the speed limit."

Anyway, good on President Trump for reining in these executive agencies.


Sometimes early Christianity is criticized for not explicitly condemning slavery or demanding its elimination, but instead "merely" recasting slaves as valuable to God and worthy of equal human dignity. I think this criticism is unfair for many reasons which I won't outline here. I want to highlight a verse that I recently discovered which does point to the inherent evil of slavery, surprisingly from the book of Revelation, chapter 18. The chapter is about the destruction of Babylon / Rome, and calls out all the evil people who are lamenting the loss of their nexus of sin. Skipping down to verse 11, we get to the merchants:

And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her [Babylon / Rome], since no one buys their cargo anymore, cargo of gold, silver, jewels, pearls, fine linen, purple cloth, silk, scarlet cloth, all kinds of scented wood, all kinds of articles of ivory, all kinds of articles of costly wood, bronze, iron and marble, cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls.

The word "slave" there is sōma: "the body both of men or animals".

The word "soul" there is psychē: breath, life, soul, that in which there is life.

You can see the contrast. These vile merchants act as if they are trading mere bodies, without recognizing that the slaves are living souls created in the image of God. The cargoes that make up the majority of the paragraph are morally neutral: wood, metal, trinkets, treasures. Nothing inherently good or evil, until final words: you merchants buy and sell human souls.

The wealth of Rome was built on slavery, and the Bible identifies that evil and condemns it.


Mike Pence doesn't seem so paranoid anymore, does he?

On March 29, Democrat Lucy Flores accused former Vice President Joe Biden of acting inappropriately toward her in 2014 with an extended kiss on the back of her head. Biden, a probable candidate for the 2020 presidential election, has denied any wrongdoing, although he is known for treating women in an overly affectionate and sometimes downright creepy manner. At times, he steps over the line of decorum into the realm of the unwanted and awkward. This is common knowledge. ...

The vice president [Mike Pence] has very strict, personal standards concerning how he interacts with those of the opposite sex. Without a doubt, they leave no room for misconduct. By doing so, he respects women in general and most importantly, his wife, Karen. Despite the good that this personal code does, the media has run a campaign of ridicule that includes articles like How Pence's Dudely Dinners Hurt Women, Mike Pence poses biggest threat to women in a generation, say campaigners, Mike Pence's Marriage and the Beliefs That Keep Women from Power, and a piece from mid-March about a current Democratic candidate's feelings on the subject entitled Harris says it's 'outrageous' that Pence limits one-on-one meetings with women, just to name a few.

Apparently, respecting your wife and other women too much, enough to remove any past, present, or future doubts, is a bad, bad thing. In the #MeToo era, where there is a range of improper behavior on a scale of Biden to Weinstein, society at large could actually use more of Mike Pence's attitude. Shouldn't the absence of indecorous conduct be a thing to applaud?

I've written about Mike Pence and the Billy Graham rule before. It's important to always treat women (and men!) with respect, and it's also important to avoid the appearance of impropriety.


The CIA offers a sabotage guide for ordinary citizens who want to undermine their country in support of America. Here's a selection of tips from the link.

  1. Managers and Supervisors: To lower morale and production, be pleasant to inefficient workers; give them undeserved promotions. Discriminate against efficient workers; complain unjustly about their work.
  2. Employees: Work slowly. Think of ways to increase the number of movements needed to do your job: use a light hammer instead of a heavy one; try to make a small wrench do instead of a big one.
  3. Organizations and Conferences: When possible, refer all matters to committees, for "further study and consideration." Attempt to make the committees as large and bureaucratic as possible. Hold conferences when there is more critical work to be done.
  4. Telephone: At office, hotel and local telephone switchboards, delay putting calls through, give out wrong numbers, cut people off "accidentally," or forget to disconnect them so that the line cannot be used again.
  5. Transportation: Make train travel as inconvenient as possible for enemy personnel. Issue two tickets for the same seat on a train in order to set up an "interesting" argument.

You can download the whole 40-page guide here.


We're all shocked, shocked to learn that rich people cheat to get their kids into elite universities.

On Tuesday, the Justice Department revealed a massive effort by wealthy parents and a shady "admissions consultant" to bribe and cheat their way into getting kids into a slew of elite schools.

Prosecutors say William Singer, the ringleader, sold two forms of services. For tens of thousands of dollars, parents could pay to have a proctor correct their kids' incorrect answers as they took the SAT. Or they could pay hundreds of thousands to bribe coaches at elite schools to designate applicants as desired athletes, thus circumventing the minimum requirements for grades and test scores.

One California family allegedly paid $1.2 million to Singer, who in turn allegedly paid Rudy Meredith, the women's soccer coach at Yale, $400,000 to claim that the family's daughter was a coveted recruit even though she didn't play at all.

If you think this is about one shady "consultant" at a few schools then I've got a bridge to sell you. Higher education has always been a bit of a racket -- ever since aristocrats started sending their second, third, and fourth sons off to University. In order to be sustainable a grift can't be too obvious, and it needs to provide some value to its marks while it skims a little off the top for itself. Higher education has abandoned that social contract, and it's in for a reckoning.

In his book "The Case Against Education," George Mason economics professor Bryan Caplan makes a compelling case that most of the value in diplomas from elite colleges isn't in the education they allegedly represent but in the cultural or social "signaling" they convey.

Imagine you're deposited on a desert island, forced to fend for yourself. Would you rather have the knowledge that comes with taking a survival training course, or just the piece of paper that says you took the course? Obviously, you'd rather know how to identify poisonous plants and sources of water than have a diploma that says you know how to do things you can't do. Now, ask yourself: Would you rather have the Yale education without the diploma, or the diploma without the education?

From an economic perspective, the piece of paper is vastly more valuable than the education, particularly in the humanities (and Caplan runs through the numbers to demonstrate this). The paper opens doors and gets you callbacks from employers and entrée into elite social circles where whom you know matters more than what you know. The education might make you a better person, but the parchment is the ticket to opportunity. It's no guarantee of success, but it's a profound hedge against failure.

Parents know this, and parents without special advantages (wealth, fame, connections) resent it.

"Elite" education -- and to a lesser extent, higher education more generally -- has become a scheme for inter-generational power transfer disguised as meritocracy.

Do you think I'm exaggerating by calling higher education a grift? Here's how America's young people are being robbed blind by our universities.

If you're wondering why the majority of Americans under 30 say they prefer socialism, debt is a major reason. Student loans are killing them, and they never go away. Thanks to extensive lobbying efforts here in Washington, student loans, unlike other forms of debt, cannot be erased by bankruptcy.

The student loan crisis is a modern problem. Just 13 years ago, the average new college graduate owed $20,000 in student loans. Today, that number has jumped to $37,000. Student debt is rising far faster than the earnings of American workers, the very earnings that are supposed to justify student loans in the first place. ...

In 1990, a quarter of American adults lived with their parents. Today, the number has risen to 35 percent. The home ownership rate for millennials dropped eight points from the generation before. Unable to afford homes, millennials are getting married later and less often. They're also having fewer kids. It's not because they don't want children. According to Gallup, the percentage of Americans who want children has not changed in 25 years. And yet fewer children are being born, thanks in part to rising debt levels, America's middle class cannot replace itself. ...

A hundred schools now have endowments over a billion dollars. They are hedge funds with schools attached. What have colleges done with this money? Well, they've hired massive staffs of like-minded people for one thing. From 1987 to 2012, the number of administrators on college campuses more than doubled. That's far bigger than the increase of actual students going to college. College administrators routinely make six-figure salaries. What exactly do they do for that money? Not a single thing that makes this a better country.

College presidents often get seven-figure salaries. Their pay is probably the only thing in America rising as fast as tuition costs. Academic publishers are getting rich from all of this, too -- from the debt boom. Prices of textbooks have tripled in the past 20 years. Printing hasn't gotten more expensive; non-academic books are cheaper now than they were two decades ago. But students are a captive market, and they are being exploited ruthlessly. Nobody says a word about it.

Parasitical universities are killing their hosts, and destroying our cultural and intellectual inheritance in the process.


Did you know that Jeff Bezos writes product reviews on Amazon? Or at least he used to -- his most recent review is from 2006 for... milk.

Jeff Bezos reviewed a product · Aug 9, 2006

5 out of five stars

Long Time Fan

I love milk so much that I've been drinking it since the day I was born.

Unfortunately many of the products he recommends are no longer available.


According to Jeff Carlson at the Epoch Times, the DOJ ruled out charging Hillary Clinton with gross negligence for her mishandling of classified materials. This article is supposedly based on unreleased transcripts of Congressional testimony that the author got access to.

Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer who served as special counsel to Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe during the time of the Clinton investigation, noted during her testimony in July 2018, that the DOJ was intimately involved in the investigation.

"Everybody talks about this as if this was the FBI investigation, and the truth of the matter is there was not a single step, other than the July 5th statement, there was not a single investigative step that we did not do in consultation with or at the direction of the Justice Department," Page told congressional investigators on July 13, 2018.

Comey had also hinted at the influence exerted by the DOJ over the Clinton investigation in his July recommendation, stating that "there are obvious considerations, like the strength of the evidence, especially regarding intent."

Intent is a requirement of several statutes the FBI was looking into. But intent is specifically not a factor under the charge of gross negligence--contained within 18 U.S. Code § 793(f)--a fact that was brought up by Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) during Page's testimony:

Rep. Ratcliffe: Okay. And that's -- I think, when you talk about intent, that's certainly true under part of 18 793(f), but it sounds like you all just blew over gross negligence.

Ms. Page: We did not blow over gross negligence. We, in fact -- and, in fact, the Director -- because on its face, it did seem like, well, maybe there's a potential here for this to be the charge. And we had multiple conversations, multiple conversations with the Justice Department about charging gross negligence.

Page made clear during her testimony that the DOJ had decided that due to "constitutional vagueness" a charge of gross negligence would not be supported without accompanying proof of intent--a seemingly oxymoronic position:

Rep. Ratcliffe: Okay. So let me if I can, I know I'm testing your memory, but when you say advice you got from the Department, you're making it sound like it was the Department that told you: You're not going to charge gross negligence because we're the prosecutors and we're telling you we're not going to --

Ms. Page: That is correct.

Rep. Ratcliffe: -- bring a case based on that.


I'm sure the irony is lost on the Leftist barbarians who are threatening to murder supporters of the Second Amendment in Washington State.

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said he refused to enforce Washington State's latest gun control law, I-1639. According to the Sheriff's office, a person called into Crime Stoppers to report a threat made on Facebook.

"Sheriff Knezovich is going to get a bullet in his skull," the post allegedly read. The caller also said he'd shoot anyone who disagrees with I-1639.

When investigators looked into the person's Facebook account, the user also commented on a news story about Grant County Sheriff Tom Jones refusing to enforce the new law. The person commented on the news story saying, "I am going to kill every single one of them," referring to Republicans.

I can't imagine why anyone feels the need to own and carry a gun for self-defense.


I sometimes have the opportunity to mentor younger professionals, and they often laugh when I suggest that their number one career goal should be to simply stay employed in a hard-to-automate job. The trends are sobering.

The forecast of an America where robots do all the work while humans live off some yet-to-be-invented welfare program may be a Silicon Valley pipe dream. But automation is changing the nature of work, flushing workers without a college degree out of productive industries, like manufacturing and high-tech services, and into tasks with meager wages and no prospect for advancement.

Automation is splitting the American labor force into two worlds. There is a small island of highly educated professionals making good wages at corporations like Intel or Boeing, which reap hundreds of thousands of dollars in profit per employee. That island sits in the middle of a sea of less educated workers who are stuck at businesses like hotels, restaurants and nursing homes that generate much smaller profits per employee and stay viable primarily by keeping wages low. ...

"Until a few years ago, I didn't think this was a very complicated subject; The Luddites were wrong and the believers in technology and technological progress were right," Lawrence Summers, a former Treasury secretary and presidential economic adviser, said in a lecture at the National Bureau of Economic Research five years ago. "I'm not so completely certain now."

The threat isn't just to jobs that don't require a college degree, that's a vast oversimplification. Here's a graphic by McKinsey from 2016.

And note that the "managing others" category is hard to automate, but also becomes less necessary when there aren't many humans left to manage.


I haven't written about the recent state-level abortion laws because the horror of it all is almost too much to bear. The devastation wrought on precious human lives by the evil of abortion is an abominable weight on our country and civilization.

Genesis 4:9-10

Then the Lord said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?"

"I don't know," he replied. "Am I my brother's keeper?"

The Lord said, "What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground.

God hears the silent cries of the children we have sacrificed on the modern altar of Molech. A million deaths every year isn't just a statistic, it's a million individuals, each loved by God.

Psalm 139:13-18

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
   and knit me together in my mother's womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
   Your workmanship is marvelous--how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
   as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
   Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
   before a single day had passed.
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
   They cannot be numbered!
I can't even count them;
   they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
   you are still with me!

God forgive us for the evil of abortion, for the intentional suffering we inflict on mothers and children, the most vulnerable among us.

God forgive me for doing little more than writing and praying.

God deliver our nation from this horror. Teach us to value every human life you lovingly create.


"The military attaché at the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, Col. José Luis Silva, broke with the Nicolás Maduro regime Saturday and urged other armed forces members to recognize Juan Guaidó as the legitimate interim president of the South American nation."

"As the Venezuelan defense attaché in the United States, I do not recognize Mr. Nicolás Maduro as president of Venezuela," Silva told el Nuevo Herald in a telephone interview from Washington, D.C.

"My message to all armed forces members, to everyone who carries a gun, is to please let's not attack the people. We are also part of the people, and we've had enough of supporting a government that has betrayed the most basic principles and sold itself to other countries," he added.

1 Timothy 2:1-4

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people -- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.


Has the shutdown caused you any inconvenience yet? Chances are that unless you work for the federal government the answer is "no". However, the surging disruption to airport operations is an excellent example of why federal control of almost everything should be minimized.

The federal government has been partially shut down now for 32 days, and nowhere is feeling the strain quite like the nation's airports, where tens of thousands of essential federal employees are required to show up to work regardless of whether they're getting paid.

On Monday, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reported that 10 percent of its agents were absent from their posts, up from three percent in the same time period last year. Agents are reportedly playing hooky to work jobs that actually pay them.

The result has been longer wait times, closed security checkpoints, and collapsing morale among those still on the job. Headlines are filled with stories of TSA agents relying on donations of free food or playing explicit, uncensored rap music at checkpoints.

Holding it together only slightly better are the nation's air traffic controllers, some 10,500 of whom have been working without pay and without the aid the 3,000 "non-essential" support staff during the shutdown.

The federal government would be less dysfunctional -- and the inevitable dysfunction would be less damaging -- if the federal government didn't have so much power and involvement in every-day life.


The best thing for America will be if one side or the other decisively wins the government shutdown. Politicians and journalists are shocked and confused that Trump is pushing for a victory instead of yet another indecisive compromise, which is how our elites are used to doing business.

The standstill also underscored the dysfunction that has gripped Washington since divided government began this month. Overtures to Trump's core voters have dominated the White House's strategy as Democrats have looked on in confusion, after the last round of talks between Trump and congressional leaders collapsed last week when Trump walked out.

No matter what Democrats and independents think about the shutdown Trump simply can't win reelection without his core voters, and his core voters will reject him if he caves on the wall. It doesn't matter how low his approval rating goes with anyone else. This is the same equation that Democrats face on, e.g., abortion, where they have no political room to compromise.

A group led by Graham worked last week to stitch together a bipartisan immigration deal that would trade wall funding for protections for unauthorized immigrants brought to the United States as children. But the group disbanded after Vice President Mike Pence announced that Trump wasn't interested in such a deal.

Graham, speaking later on "Fox News Sunday," urged Trump to "open up the government for a short period of time, like three weeks before he pulls the plug, see if we can get a deal" on the wall.

This is the kind of compromise that our elites love to make because both sides can "claim victory" without anything actually being decided. The can gets kicked down the road for a few weeks, a few years, a few terms, whatever. Voters on both sides get further entrenched, and politicians leverage their own failure to win to rile up their base for the next election.

"We do need to have a Plan B," said Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis. "It looks like both sides are pretty well dug in. I don't like the dysfunction in Washington, D.C., so I'm trying to alleviate that dysfunction."

Johnson is one of many GOP senators straining to balance their alliance with Trump with their desire to end the impasse. His plan involves "opening up the essential parts of government and making sure that people who are working are being paid," while keeping some agencies shut down.

Senator Johnson is eager for an indecisive stalemate. The pain of the shutdown is what could eventually force the two political armies into a decisive battle, instead of just endless maneuvering. If you remove the pain, there's no motivation for a conclusive resolution. Maybe Republicans are cowards and/or don't believe they can win a battle -- but who can tell before you actually fight? They'd have had a better chance if they had forced this conflict to a resolution 15 years ago, but now they're stuck in the present with a weaker hand.

No matter who wins, it will be better for America if we can reach a decisive conclusion instead of prolonging the agony for another few decades.

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