Oligarchs and Sycophants

We the People, Still Matter

I am a US Navy Veteran with six tours to Afghanistan under his belt (1997-2007). I love God, my family, my country, my constitution, and my individual liberty – I am neither morally flexible nor willing to compromise on things I love.

In 2007, when I left active duty and settled down in Nebraska to be with my wife who was stationed at Offutt AFB, I started to become worried about the rise of absolute progressivism throughout the country, but I felt as if the Heartland was immune because of its constant allure of Americana.  However, by 2012, I knew that no one was safe from the constitutional apostasy and radical ideologies of the progressives, so I started to become politically involved.

Up front, I am an independent and constitutional conservative, which means I hold all political leaders accountable regardless of their political affiliation. If a political leader is grounded in the constitution, I will take no issue with their governance; however, if they usurp the constitution and the principles on which our nation was founded, I will find every occasion to publically scorn them.

Generally, I cover points and principles of the constitution and the correspondences between our founding fathers, and I explain the similarities between their struggles and our own at present time. Today, however, I want to include a little more substance given the literal deluge of scandals pouring out of the Democratic Party[1]. Remember, the Democrats gave us slavery, Jim Crow laws, and the impoverishment of minority urbanites through programs like Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and other socialist welfare programs. I mean, if you want to enslave a people, give them free money and services so long as they stay at or below the poverty level, and then you can maintain control with threats to remove the crutch that is actually impoverishing them. This is the maxim of progressive Democrats like Hillary Clinton and other politicians of the same ilk.

The game is up. We have let morally-bankrupt corporations rape our planet of its natural resources, pollute our environment, rob us of our money, and control the very people we put in office to represent us – you know, the “D.C. Swamp”, as it were. Our response? Blind apathy. Our penance, a soon to be dystopian society of magnanimous proportions so far beyond our comprehension that to speak of the impending doom simply gets you labeled as an “Orwellian, neo-con nut-job”.

We sit back in apathy and play with our cheap, distracting technology as our government forces oppression down our throats that is disguised as “modified” freedom. The main corrupt politicians, operating within the fractured central-government of this great nation, have no regard for the people from which they have derived their just powers (which is solely from the consent of the governed who have put them in office), and as they have seemingly become destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness. Any of this sound familiar?

I continue…

Having suffered a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce us under absolute despotism, it is our right, it is our duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new guards for our future security.

You see, I am part of a small, marginalized group of constitutional conservatives that are not blinded by all usurpations teeming from the crock-pot that has become the Washington DC political apparatus. I could give a laundry list of reasons how our government has failed us, but drink in this fun fact. There are myriad of reasons for our declaration of independence; however, in the words of Benjamin Franklin, “The refusal of King George III to allow the colonies to operate an honest money system, which freed the ordinary man from the clutches of the money manipulators, was probably the prime cause of the revolution.”

The crux of our current economic plight is very similar to that of our founding fathers, wherein our “central authority” refuses to produce its own interest-free currency, and forces Americans to borrow money from a private, central banking system (the Federal Reserve), thus hurling our great nation into a perpetual state of debt from whence there is no recovery or respite. Moreover, this system, which is controlled by elite plutocrats, has corrupted a majority of Republican and Democratic leaders alike – so I say, “a plague on both your houses.”

“We the people”, for no apparent reason, allow 535 elected officials to continue to draft legislation that is detrimental to the livelihood of hard-working Americans, which also stands to bankrupt our future and push us further towards complete socialism and economic impoverishment.

OUR FOREFATHERS DID NOT WANT A MONARCHY ON AMERICAN SOIL, SO WHY ARE WE ALLOWING OUR FREEDOMS TO BE SWINDLED BY A HANDFUL OF CRIMINALS WHO ARE WOULD BE MONARCHISTS?

If our elected officials refuse to acknowledge the will of the people, then it is the will of the people that will soon refuse to acknowledge its central government’s authority to rule. Serving America is a privilege, not a means to make money and serve lobbyists from special interest groups or multi-national corporations that rape, pillage, and plunder our rights to life – liberty – and the pursuit of happiness. So “what happened” Hilary Clinton? Ma’am, you happened. Americans have grown tired of the condescending lordship of career politicians, and they can no longer stomach the vilification by leftist progressives who reject the principles and moral behavior that made this country the greatest nation history has ever know. So, no “madam president”, you lost because good, hard-working Americans are tired of the blatant corruption by oligarchs, like yourself, who are served by an entourage of sycophantic and obsequious politicians like Brad Ashford. We’ve all heard, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”, but in politics… the sycophants don’t stray far from the oligarchs. We’ve all seen just how corrupt the Clinton machine can be, so what does that say about their political cronies suckling at the power teet? Either they are ignorant or apathetic, but in either case, neither of the choices are characteristics of a good leader. But, I digress…

Baffling and absurd, these are the two words that incessantly reverberate in my mind as I watch my fellow countrymen offer up their freedom and liberties for the illusion of security. Our founding fathers committed high treason so that we might be free, but in just over two centuries, we have besmirched that gift and embraced the very type of tyranny they fought to end. Is it not our dutiful obligation to remove from power any government that has become destructive to its own end? This Washington-based government now sits in a position of absolute authority; any act of defiance against the reign of its plutocratic body is labeled as “rightwing or leftwing” extremism. In essence, the very same patriotic acts our forefathers executed while laying the foundation of our nation and a government – of the people, for the people, and by the people – is held in the same regard as the acts of Osama Bin Laden and Al Qa’eda. This new ruling class of plutocrats aims to deracinate the fabric of our society and crush our lives with insurmountable debt and complete, unquestionable allegiance to their metaphorical crown.

I say it is about time we end the reign of these absolutists and take back our nation. I say we can no longer sit in apathy and watch our ideals and liberties be trampled upon by those whom we have entrusted to preserve our birthright of true, unadulterated freedom. We, as a collective body of patriotic heretics much like our founding fathers, must unite and defy the career politicians in the Washington-based government, and we must not let the fear of tyrannical recourse outweigh the need for a radical change in this country. We must fight with the same moral arguments our founding fathers used, and we must rebuild a nation in which everyone contributes equally to the betterment of the union rather than feeding off the hard work of others like a parasitic plague. We must fight so that the future of our nation does not continue to be outsourced and sold to other nations for the sake of corporate campaign funding under this the pandemic plague known as career politicians. We must fight to retrieve and preserve the rights our ruling class has stolen from us. And when I say fight, I am not talking about violence of any kind. I am talking about holding our elected officials accountable, and, at the very least, shaming them into doing a better job for their constituents.

The meaning behind the words “we the people” have been lost in a sea of complacent apathy. We are the protectors of freedom in the military, we are the preservers of justice in the police force, we are the farmers that feed the whole, we are the merchants who provide commerce, WE ARE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, and WE are tired of this trodden state of existence. We the people will never give blind allegiance to career politicians that try to destroy our nation and framework of liberty. We the people choose to ignore the authority of absolutists we did not put into power.

In all of this, which is in plain sight everywhere I look, the plutocratic oligarchy of Washington DC has the audacity to label me a “domestic terrorist[2]”. Why, because I fought for 6-years in Afghanistan to come home to see our liberties stripped away, our economy in shambles, and the citizens I fought to protect in dire need of metaphorical Robin Hood? If I am a terrorist for using harsh language against the politicians in our failing government, then so be it! My morals, ethics, values, and pursuit of happiness are not dictated by the criminals who seek to ruin the nation and constitution I fought to serve and protect. If you have to petition, apply for approval, or get permission to exercise a right, regardless of which right that may be, then is not a right… it is a privilege that is given at the discretion of someone else and it can be taken away just as fast as it is given. So pay attention Brad Ashford… you just may learn a thing or two.

On November 20, 1772, Samuel Adams drafted Correspondence entitled “The Rights of the Colonists”. I will keep this as close to the original as possible, but I will substitute words like “colonists and crown” for words like “citizens and government”.

Among the natural rights of citizens are these: First, a right to life; Secondly, to liberty; Thirdly, to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can. These are evident branches of, rather than deductions from, the duty of self-preservation, commonly called the first law of nature. All men have a right to remain in a state of nature as long as they please; and in case of intolerable oppression, whether civil or religious, to leave the society they belong to, and enter into another. When men enter into society, it is by voluntary consent; and they have a right to demand and insist upon the performance of such conditions and previous limitations as form an equitable original compact.

The point here is that you choose to coexist with other human beings in a society, but you DO NOT GIVE UP YOUR NATURAL RIGHTS – ESPECIALLY NOT TO A CENTRAL GOVERNMENT!

Every natural right not expressly given up, or, from the nature of a social compact, necessarily ceded, remains. [You keep your rights unless YOU EXPRESSLY GIVE THEM UP.] All positive and civil laws should conform, as far as possible, to the law of natural reason and equity. The natural liberty of man, by entering into society, is abridged or restrained, so far only as is necessary for the great end of society, the best good of the whole. In the state of nature every man is, under God, judge and sole judge of his own rights and of the injuries done him. By entering into society, he agrees to an arbiter or indifferent judge between him and his neighbors; but he no more renounces his original right than by taking a cause out of the ordinary course of law, and leaving the decision to referees or indifferent arbitrators. [YOU HAVE YOUR RIGHTS; THEY CAN ONLY BE GIVEN AWAY BY YOU!] The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but only to have the law of nature for his rule. In short, it is the greatest absurdity to suppose it in the power of one, or any number of men, at the entering into society, to renounce their essential natural rights, or the means of preserving those rights; when the grand end of civil government, from the very nature of its institution, is for the support, protection, and defence of those very rights; the principal of which, as is before observed, are Life, Liberty, and Property. If men, through fear, fraud, or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any essential natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.

Meaning, even if the government tricks you into giving up your rights; only God can take them away, so it doesn’t matter what “laws” a government makes to strip you of your rights, it still cannot take them away. Now, they can trick you into thinking they have the power “by law” to strip you of your rights, but that is the beautiful thing about natural rights. You are born with them and you shall die with them; NO MAN or GOVERNMENT OF MEN can take them away.

A commonwealth or state is a body politic, or civil society of men, united together to promote their mutual safety and prosperity by means of their union. The absolute rights of all freemen, in or out of civil society, are principally: personal security, personal liberty, and private property. All persons are, by the laws of God and nature, well entitled to all natural, essential, inherent, and inseparable rights, liberties, and privileges. Among those rights are the following, which no man, or body of men, consistently with their own rights as men and citizens, or members of society, can for themselves give up or take away from others.

First, “The first fundamental, positive law of all common wealths or states is the establishing the legislative power. As the first fundamental natural law, also, which is to govern even the legislative power itself, is the preservation of the society.” A governing body is established to preserve and protect a society – arbitrate when necessary – but otherwise not interfere unless it pertains to preservation and security, as it were.

Secondly, The Legislative has no right to absolute, arbitrary power over the lives and fortunes of the people. [RIGHT HERE, THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD HAVE NO RIGHT TO TAKE YOUR MONEY!]

Thirdly, The supreme power cannot justly take from any man any part of his property, without his consent in person or by his representative.

These are some of the first principles of natural law and justice. It is utterly irreconcilable to these principles and to many other fundamental maxims of the common law, common sense, and reason that a [[government]] should have a right at pleasure to give and grant the property of the [[citizens]].

 

Ladies and gentlemen, these are but a small portion of the profound words that helped shape our country into a FREE NATION. We cannot concede to the bullies of the government. This is our land. This is our liberty. This is our freedom. Don’t stand by in apathy and just give it away to a bunch of rapacious and predatory vultures.

You see, a statesman is a diplomat or other notable public figure who has had a long and respected career at the national or international level. Generally, they act in a capacity that is for the greater good of the nation and their respective common concerns and interests. We used to have statesmen in this country, in fact, they founded our nation, but statesmen have become a dying breed and are all but extinct; they have been replaced by an alpha predictor species known as “the politician”.

Politicians are hollow shells – puppets if you will. They are whores-for-hire that hate freedom and get intoxicated by power. They use race and religious divisiveness as a means to strip us of our rights and send us to our homes like whipped dogs. They feed off of our apathy and loathe our attempts to exercise the freedoms bestowed upon us by our creator that were ratified by the constitutionalists who found our national identity of liberty. They use the media to spread their lies and propaganda while dumbing-down the population with cheap technology and shiny objects. The worst part about politicians is that they have fed us their garbage for so long that we actually standby – albeit seething – completely enamored by the circus that has become our ruling oligarchical plutocracy.

If you need clarification, U.S. Representative Don Bacon is a statesman. Why? Because he served his nation with honor and integrity for 30-years while in the U.S. Air Force; he wants to represent Nebraska’s values and help affect change in Washington DC. Brad Ashford, on the other hand, is a career politician who has done nothing significant other than to isolate and serve himself. One is a statesman, the other is a politician… and Nebraskans, much like a majority of Americans, have had enough of politicians.

On March 5th, 1772… Joseph Warren drafted correspondence entitled “Constitutional Liberty and Arbitrary Power.” In an excerpt, he said:

“When we turn over the historic page, and trace the rise and fall of states and empires, the mighty revolutions which have so often varied the face of the world strike our minds with solemn surprise, and we are naturally led to endeavor to search out the cause of such astonishing changes. It was this noble attachment to a free Constitution which raised ancient Rome, from the smallest beginnings to that bright summit of happiness and glory to which she arrived, and it was the loss of this which plunged her from that summit into the black gulf of infamy and slavery. It was this attachment which inspired her Senators with Wisdom; it was this which glowed in the breast of her heroes; it was this which guarded her liberties and extended her dominions, gave peace at home, and commanded the respect abroad, and when this decayed, her magistrates lost their reverence for justice and the laws, and degenerated into tyrants and oppressors; her Senators, forgetful of their dignity, and seduced by base corruption, betrayed their country…

What can be proposed by the repeated attacks made upon our freedom, I cannot surmise, even leaving justice and humanity out of the question. We are governed by the absolute command of others; our property is to be taken away without our consent; if we complain, our complaints are treated with contempt; if we assert our rights, that assertion is deemed as insolence; if we humbly offer to submit the matter to the impartial decision of reason, the sword is judged the most proper argument to silence our murmurs!”

These aforementioned words ring as true as they did nearly 250 years ago. We need to demand a need for change, and we cannot accept anything less than the liberty and freedom granted to us by God at the time of our births. We cannot allow the DC elite to continue to act like third-world, banana-republic despots. And we certainly cannot allow feckless career politicians, like Brad Ashford, to continue to propagate this nonsense because they cannot serve anyone but themselves.

 

*************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

[1] Sainato, M. (2017, July 27). Corruption Scandals Are Piling Up for Democrats. Retrieved September 18, 2017, from http://observer.com/2017/07/corruption-scandal-democratic-party/

[2] Lake, E., & Hudson, A. (2009, April 16). Napolitano stands by the controversial report. Retrieved September 18, 2017, from http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/apr/16/napolitano-stands-rightwing-extremism/

Ready to Rumble

A Salute to the Volunteers

Last night, 300 of our state’s most committed and hardworking political volunteers gathered at the Omaha Hilton to mark the NEGOP’s Founders’ Day — an annual tribute to the party faithful who do the yeoman’s work knocking on doors, walking in parades, and making phone calls for candidates they believe in.

These Nebraskans are some of our best. They embody the kind of civic engagement and respectful participation in the democratic process we need more of around the country.

Governor Pete Ricketts brought his buddy and fellow businessman-turned-governor of Arizona Doug Ducey as the keynote. Ducey did a nice job walking through Nebraska’s many successes and recounted his own disbelief on Election Day 2016 when Donald Trump turned the political world on its head. Ducey was affable, self effacing, and ended with a call to grow the party. Can I get an Amen?

It was a gathering of Nebraska political heavyweights. There was a lot of love in the room for Senator Deb Fischer as she reminded us of her deep love for Nebraska while introducing Governor Pete Ricketts. Don Bacon and his indefatigable enthusiasm were both present and accounted for, as was the ever congenial Adrian Smith, Jeff Fortenberry, Jean Stothert, Rita Sanders, Aimee Melton, and many, many other electeds who had gathered to say thank you to the men and women whose blood, sweat, and tears give them the chance to govern.

Ben Sasse was not there, but had a letter read. Many in the room were hoping to hear from him on the upcoming healthcare bill, but alas his schedule required him to be elsewhere. Rumor has it he was in Cali with donors – surf’s up!

The energy and organization of the NEGOP was on full display last night. With marquee races for the Governor, US Senate, 3 House seats, all of the constitutional offices, and 24 seats in the legislature, Nebraska Republicans are ready to get to work, and make no mistake, they are ready to rumble.

Kleeb on the Ropes

It’s also worth noting that the Nebraska Dems still can’t land candidates to enter most of the statewide races — most glaringly, the race for GOVERNOR. And oddly, the NDP twitter account is shilling for independent candidate Bob Krist. Weird, right? Do they realize Krist will also be looking to take down their future standard bearer, if they can find one? Or has Kleeb just given up?

I hear she is considering a bid herself, but presumably she is shrewd enough to know she is too extreme to ever win a statewide race. A loss would tarnish her brand, so my guess is she stays on the sidelines. Safer that way.

Not sure Jane Kleeb can claim to lead a credible statewide party without a candidate for governor. Conversations with traditional Democrat party stalwarts in both Lincoln and Omaha over recent weeks continue to lay bare the mistrust and skepticism with which Kleeb is viewed. Her extreme views on issues from abortion to Keystone and her disregard for hardworking union members have pushed many old school Democrats out.

Bernie’s Back in NE Politics

Did anyone else catch that the NDP Twitter account endorsed Bernie Sanders’ single-payer government run healthcare scheme? Quite a statement for the state party.

Serious question: Was that party position discussed at a committee meeting or just trigger happy Jane going on gut? My bet’s on the latter, but please enlighten me if this was debated and agreed upon by the state party.

Kara Eastman, who is eager to pass any litmus test the left can throw her way, was quick to get in formation and support Bernie. Brad Ashford is still polling, no doubt, but made some incoherent rumination expressing concern on it. And not a peep from the Nebraska Democrat Senate candidate, Jane Raybould. Surprise, surprise.

Anyone who is unsure of a position on this should call Heath Mello and ask him how Bernie’s magic worked out for him. I hear has a lot of time on his hands.

TGIF.

A message from Street Sweeper

Hello Leavenworth St. fans!

I apologize for not being on top of the political news the past month or so. And I regret that this day had to come, but I sort of figured it would at some point.

I will be stepping back from Leavenworth St. – the talk of Nebraska politics, again, for at least a year.

However, LeavenworthSt.com will still live on, with more and/or newer writers. Some will write under their own names. Others under pen names.

But the hope here is that you will get at least a post a week — and hopefully much, much more than that — to read and comment on.

Now I’ve tried this before, and the writers sometimes end up realizing how hard it is to kick out a post a week. Or every two weeks. Or every month. (You get the picture.)

But hopefully you’ll get your fill of Nebraska local, state and federal politics, as well as discussions on all political topics of the day. The writers have been given pretty much carte blanche to write on topics they want, and I hope they will do so.

You will still be able to send in emails to LeavenworthSt (at) gmail.com, and both of Leavenworth St.’s social media sites — Leavenworth St. on The Facebook and @LeavenworthSt on the Twitter — will continue to be up. If you want to get notice of when there is a new post up, you can subscribe up top right of this page, or you can just Like L.St. on The Facebook and/or follow on the Twitter where new posts will be linked.

There could and should be some exciting races in Nebraska in 2018, and I regret that I won’t be able to take part here on Leavenworth St.

But YOU will still get to (Gaia willing).

God Bless, and au revoir (for now).

 

Feeling the Future

Oh, and one last note.

After the election I told a number of friends…and WROTE IT here at the end of May, that President Trump is most willing to “make deals” so that he can get successes.

And those deals could come with just about anyone in Congress or beyond. As I noted:

“In order to ‘keep winning’ he’d have to make deals with the Democrats, thereby diminishing his Conservative cred…”

I sort of thought this would come later than year one…but here we are.

Now I just wonder if the rest of the discussion from that post will come true.

Discuss amongst yourselves!
Have fun!

And come back on Monday for posts (hopefully) from some different people on Leavenworth St!

Royal to seek State Treasurer gig

Leavenworth St. has learned that Taylor Royal will indeed run for the Republican nomination for State Treasurer in 2018.

Royal’s campaign plans had been on hold after creating a website and considering all of his options for the statewide office. But he has been making the campaign rounds lately and his announcement (or announcement to announce) is considered imminent.

State Senator John Murante (R-Big Fred’s) who announced his campaign a few months ago, is currently the only other candidate in the primary race.

But Royal’s plans have seemingly been in the works for a while. Coming off his surprising notoriety in the 2017 Omaha Mayor’s race where he changed the focus for all the campaigns, Royal, a certified public accountant, would seem to be in his wheelhouse for the Treasurer’s office.

This has the potential for one of the more interesting primary races in the state next year.

 

Topic of the Week

I’m guessing you commenters want to wring your hands about DACA.

Most Republicans say it was the correct, Constitutional, move by President Trump to rescind this “Executive authority” which many agree does not exist. And Congressional Republican pretty much uniformly say it’s their job to address this immigration issue.

Many, many Democrats say it is “heartless” to change the DACA order…and simply want the status quo? No change to this perfect immigration system we now have? Or something?

Unclear.

Rock n’ roll.

 

“XOXO Betsy Riot”

Ah Betsy Riot.

You know your audience so well.

Scream more at those Republicans who pay full-fare for Nebraska football tickets.

They appreciate you calling them Neo-Nazis. And the louder your scream, the more likely they are to come to your side of thinking.

I’m sure of it.

Ashford Riot

Well, if instead of the Mayweather-McGregor fight, you were betting on when Brad Ashford would flip-flop on another issue, and you placed your money on “This week!”…winner winner chicken dinner!

Brad Ashford stepped bravely forward and tweeted and re-tweeted and re-posted and Facebooked how much he luuuuuvs DACA. How much does he love DACA?

A lot!

Because he says so, right here:

I support the existing DACA and oppose the efforts by the administration to repeal it. 

Which is awesome, because he said the exact opposite in 2015 when he was still a Congressman:

“I do not agree with the unilateral action taken by the president,” Ashford said.

That’s fine. We’re sure none of Ashford’s opponents have paid any attention to this.

Probably won’t even bring it up…in their literature…online ads…in debates…

Keep on truckin’, Brad. (Let us know if you’re sticking with that name, btw…)

 

Riotous

The whole yell-down of the UNL students on campus has pretty much been covered everywhere, locally and nationally.

One interesting point was what UNL “PhD student and lecturer” Courtney Lawton was chanting at the UNL TPUSA student rep, Katie Mullen:

As you watch it, you hear Lawton saying, “neo-fascist Becky right here, Becky the neo-fascist right here.”

This meant nothing to me, and probably many others.
But it means something to Lawton. As noted on the Powerline blog:

This is odd. Did Lawton somehow think that Katie’s name was Becky?

I don’t think so. This is the sort of thing that most people don’t know, but the Urban Dictionary says “Becky” means “a basic bitch.” It also means “hot white girl” and denotes a woman who enjoys giving oral sex.

It is this last meaning that was celebrated by a rapper named Plies in his rap titled “Becky,” which has been viewed over 10 million times on YouTube.

How very woke of Ms. Lawton.

And another person noted that Lawton seems to be a member of the Betsy Riot group. (Here she is at the TPUSA table, and another of a Rioter (note shoes and rings…).

You remember that Betsy Riot are the ones who do things like throw blood on Senator Deb Fischer’s door, and plasters this stuff on Don Bacon’s office.

Maybe I’ve missed the local Democrats denouncing all of this. Maybe I’ve missed their strong statements castigating this abhorrent behaviour of their supporters.

But probably not.

To hear a little more, here is Nebraska Regent Hal Daub discussing the matter with KLIN’s Coby Mach:

 

Workin’ for the Weekend

But hey, not to be outdone, here is your’s truly discussing Democrat Jane Raybould’s U.S. Senate candidacy with Mach last week.

Enjoy!

 

Viva la Papa!

Recently there were news reports about former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer getting the opportunity to meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican. This was news since Spicer didn’t get to meet with the Pope when President Trump did, and Spicer is Catholic, etc. etc. Palace intrigue and all that.

In any case, when this story hit, there was further info that four U.S. Congressmen were in the Papal audience (of about 100 people, it seems) with Spicer.

One of them was…Rep. Jeff Fortenberry.

And Fortenberry’s office confirmed that he WAS there, on behalf of the International Catholic Legislators Network.

His office reports that Fortenberry, “also had bilateral meetings with the Vatican foreign ministry, the US Embassy to the Vatican, and the US Mission to the United Nations on food security issues.”

But, apparently no photos with the Pontiff.

Or WERE THERE???

There’s this pic of the Pope greeting the audience, (with Sean Spicer in the front row, right, taking an iPhone pic):

 

Then, let’s glance to the left, back of the room. Who’s silver-gray doo is that back there?

Could it be?

Hmm. We may need an ex cathedra ruling on this…

 

Blank slate

Have a great weekend and Go Huskers!

Democrat challenger for Senator Deb Fischer

Leavenworth St. has learned that United States Senator Deb Fischer will have a Democrat challenger.

We are told that Lincoln City Councilwoman Jane Raybould will announce on Saturday that she will be a candidate for the Democrat nomination for the U.S. Senate in 2018. Raybould was the Democrat nominee for Lt. Governor, with running mate Chuck Hassebrook, in 2014.

According to an extensive June 2017 LJS story about Raybould, (wasn’t that a coincidence…) Raybould spent over 20 years working and living in Washington, D.C. Now she seems to be itching to get back.

How itchy?

Well, soon after hearing about Raybould’s venture into the Senate campaign arena, another contact suggested that Raybould’s real plan isn’t even the Senate. Word is that she is realistic about her chances against Nebraska’s well-liked and respected Senior Senator. (i.e. Not good chances.)

So what’s the REAL plan?

Build up her name ID in 2018…and run for Jeff Fortenberry’s Congressional seat in 2020.

Well…it’s a plan…maybe.

In any case, Raybould has shown that she is gung-ho for playing politics in Lincoln. Earlier this year, she and her husband provided the seed money for a Super PAC…to elected select candidates to the Lincoln City Government. (She even has something in common with the Koch brothers!)

Why she and her husband, along with the Mayor of Lincoln, found the need to go top-secret Super PAC, instead of simply donating to the candidate or party is unknown. (Maybe she isn’t that into the party…)

We will presumably be hearing more about Raybould in the next few days. (And btw, the countdown clock at JaneRaybould.com is set to explode around 1am on Friday morning…) It will be interesting to see how much the national Democrats get behind her as well.

 

A third in the 2nd?

On the House front in Nebraska’s 2nd District, Leavenworth St. is also hearing rumblings of a THIRD candidate on the Democrat side.

Currently there is former Congressman Brad Ashford, the conventional front-runner and prefered choice of the national Democrats. They know him, know he has name ID, and know he can raise money.

But local Democrats also know that he’s not really “one of them”.

He has been known to deny the Democrats three times before the cock crows (I hate ObamaCare! I like Jeb Bush! I’ll be in whatever party you want me to be!) And he spent lots of time diving towards the middle in the last election, only to come up short.

So now there is an arguably bona-fide Democrat in the race in Kara Eastman. Whether or not she inspires hard-core Democrats in the district is one thing. But whether that translates to any real name ID or fundraising is another.

Could she beat Ashford? It’s possible.

But if another candidate jumps in? Unless that person has super name ID and fundraising abilities (the one we heard about lacks both), all that will happen is the third candidate would split the anti-Ashford vote. And Ashford skates into the General.

Depending on your outlook, that may be a good thing or a bad thing. But that’s the reality from these seats. We will have to wait and see what and who comes forward in the next few weeks and months.

 

Political drive

At the top, I would like to express my condolences to KFAB’s Gary Sadlemyer, and all of his family and friends, after the death of his wife.

Before her death, Sadlemyer eloquently told listeners (which he didn’t have to do) why he had been gone from his seat in the station at various times recently, and expressed his love and devotion to his wife.

We send our prayers to them and for them at this difficult time.

 

Oh, what do commenters want to discuss?

So lets dive into the Charlottesville issue, because of course. The only local angle seems to be, “how MUCH do you hate Nazis?” (Which is pretty much a direct quote from “Monty Python’s Life of Brian”, when Brian was asked just how MUCH he hated the Romans. Brian’s response: “a LOT!”)

As much as the President is getting criticized for his statements, the one that really missed the mark is when he said, “very fine people on both sides”.

Here’s the deal: Let’s say there’s a good ole’ boy, never meanin’ no harm, who hates racism, but feels like the taking down the Robert E. Lee statue is an affront to his heritage. He feels like one of the “Dukes of Hazzard” who named their car the “General Lee”.

There’s an argument to be made there. Not necessarily a winning argument (Pat Borchers is one of many pointing out the reasoning behind so many Confederate statues). But it is an argument that can be made without it meaning that you’re automatically pro-slavery or pro-Jim Crow, or something.

But the PROBLEM with this particular march, in Charlottesville, was that it was billed as a “White Lives Matter Rally”. And then the torches came out. And then the literal battle lines were drawn between the two sides. And the whole statue thing was an afterthought.

At any of those points, if you were actually the above-referenced “good ole’ boy, never meanin’ no harm”, the literal red-flag should have told you to turn around and go home. You don’t join the march. You don’t pick up a torch. If you do, you just lost your “never meanin’ no harm” badge, and you sure as hell aren’t a “fine person”.

There were no “good Nazis” there (like a Max von Sydow in “Victory” or Sgt. Schulz in “Hogan’s Heroes“).

Clear enough? Good.

Now, let’s jump to the OTHER side of the literal battle lines.

If you show up to protest said Nazis and White Supremacists, good for you. Getting a permit is a better thing, but let’s say you’re being generally peaceful. (As near as I’ve read, it seems that the woman who was killed in the car attack was among those protesting peacefully.)

Nota bene: “Peaceful” doesn’t mean you try to get in the face of the dude with the Nazi flag to try to instigate him. And it should go without saying that “peaceful” also doesn’t include bringing and using your preferred battle items for when you plan to throw down with the other side.

And here, we are specifically calling out the “Antifa” nut jobs who have done this across the country, using violence to get their way or make their points.

As the New York Times noted:

Unlike most of the counterdemonstrators in Charlottesville and elsewhere, members of antifa have shown no qualms about using their fists, sticks or canisters of pepper spray to meet an array of right-wing antagonists whom they call a fascist threat to American democracy. As explained this week by a dozen adherents of the movement, the ascendant new right in the country requires a physical response.

Jonah Goldberg of National Review writes about this today:

Fighting Nazis is a good thing, but fighting Nazis doesn’t necessarily make you or your cause good. By my lights this is simply an obvious fact.

The greatest Nazi-killer of the 20th century was Josef Stalin. He also killed millions of his own people and terrorized, oppressed, enslaved, or brutalized tens of millions more. The fact that he killed Nazis during the Second World War (out of self-preservation, not principle) doesn’t dilute his evil one bit

.

The young Communists and fascists fighting for power in the streets of 1920s Germany had far more in common with each other than they had with decent liberals or conservatives, as we understand those terms today. That’s always true of violent radicals and would-be totalitarians.

As Hitler solidified power and effectively outlawed the Communist Party of Germany, The Communist International (Comintern) abandoned its position that socialist and progressive groups that were disloyal to Moscow were “fascist” and instead encouraged Communists everywhere to build “popular fronts” against the common enemy of Nazism.

These alliances of convenience with social democrats and other progressives were a great propaganda victory for Communists around the world because they bolstered the myth that Communists were just members of the Left coalition in the fight against Hitler, bigotry, fascism, etc.

(President Trump) borrowed from Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity the bogus term “alt-left” to describe the antifa radicals.

The term is bogus for the simple reason that, unlike the alt-right, nobody calls themselves “the alt-left.” And that’s too bad. One of the only nice things about the alt-right is that its leaders are honest about the fact that they want nothing to do with traditional American conservatism. Like the original Nazis, they seek to replace the traditional Right with their racial hogwash.

The antifa crowd has a very similar agenda with regard to traditional American liberalism. These goons and thugs oppose free speech, celebrate violence, despise dissent, and have little use for anything else in the American political tradition. But many liberals, particularly in the media, are victims of the same kind of confusion that vexed so much of American liberalism in the 20th century. Because antifa suddenly has the (alt-)right enemies, they must be the good guys. They’re not.

And that’s why this debate is so toxically stupid. Fine, antifa isn’t as bad as the KKK. Who cares? Since when is being less bad than the Klan a major moral accomplishment?

This is the point that is worthwhile, and may be the point that the President rather ham-handedly was trying to make.

And another thing to ask: The guy who drove the car into everyone at the Nazi rally. Is he “better” or “worse” than the guy who shot up the Republican Congressional baseball practice? As far as I’m concerned, they’re both going to Hell. The only difference is what sort of ironic punishment Satan decides to give them for eternity.

(And as I get ready to post this, it looks like Steve Bannon is out at the White House, which will be a joy to many, including Goldberg and others at National Review, who have despised Bannon’s seemingly close ties to the alt-Right movement.)

 

If only Ashford’s preferred candidate, Jeb Bush, had been elected…

Onto happier thoughts…

Congressman Don Bacon was on the Twitters asking…

I agreed with 2014 version of who opposed ACA…but he flipflopped on this like many other issues. Maybe he’ll flip again?

Well Congressman, there was word that at Brad Ashford’s recent “townhall” (no word on why Ashford didn’t have ONE of these when he was an actual House Rep…) he did just that flipping and flopping.

Ashford reportedly said that he would favor an increase in the Social Security age. Which is surprising, since Ashford slammed Bacon for this in the 2016 campaign. And as a matter of fact, the DCCC spent about $2M attacking Bacon for this position.

So Ashford has been on both sides of ObamaCare. Both sides of the Keystone Pipeline. Now apparently both sides of the Social Security issue.

As someone once said, voters want a compass, not a weathervane.

 

Nebraska values

Senator Deb Fischer had three bills passed in the U.S. Senate before Congress recessed for the August break. (You can read the details of them here.)

Since then she has been traveling across Nebraska meeting with groups and other constituents — as she does every August.

Then again, Fischer is back in Nebraska nearly every weekend, so August meetings aren’t any real change to her busy schedule.

 

Driving me nuts

Here is a story that ground my gears this morning — as someone who started their political career as a driver on a statewide campaign.

Politico has a story about a staff memo leaked from a Congressional office on “Instructions on Staffing and Driving” for the Congressman in his Indiana Congressional district.

The Politico headline is: The agonizing, 8-page memo on how to chauffeur a congressman – Pity the poor aide charged with driving Rep. Todd Rokita around his district.

No, pity the boss of the snowflakes who wrote this article.

As a former driver, I never had a candidate or anyone else I had to drive treat me any way other than respectfully. (That being said, they’re not ALL like that, but surprise.)

But this memo is for a young or inexperienced staffer to learn how to be prepared, as well as to understand that they’re not out on a burger run with their buddy. They are driving a mobile office. Their job is to treat the Member the same way they would if they were sitting in their office with them. This is especially the case where “Driver” is often one of the entry-level type positions for the new kid out of college, who never had a job before, now in close daily proximity to the top person in the office.

Maybe this particular Rep is known has a hard-ass, with lots of turnover or some such. Unknown. But if you’re new to politics, or any office situation, you could do a LOT worse than having this type of memo to let you know the basics of doing your job.

That the writers here don’t understand, and sneer at this, is also part of the problem.

 

Workin’ for it

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Hal Daub: It’s Time to Approve the Keystone XL Pipeline

Hal Daub is a lifelong Nebraskan. He is a member of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents and is a former Representative of Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District and former Mayor of the City of Omaha.

This week, the Nebraska Public Safety Commission (PSC) will meet to hear final arguments in approving the last leg of the Keystone XL pipeline. The decision of the PSC will be the end of a process that has lasted for far too long, and has held up economic benefits for communities across Nebraska and the country.

Since 2009, environmental extremists have worked to stall production of Keystone by promoting doomsday scenarios with little basis in facts. The realities are that Keystone will lead to thousands of jobs, hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

We can all agree that safekeeping our lands, whether in Nebraska or other states, is of utmost importance. That’s one of the reasons we need pipelines like Keystone.

As a country, we still rely on clean fossil fuels, like natural gas, to power our daily lives. That isn’t going to change anytime soon.  While one day we may be able to affordably depend on energy sources other than fossil fuels, we simply aren’t there yet. Therefore these energy sources need to be transported, and pipelines are the safest way of doing so. Without them, we would be forced to rely on rail, tankers, and trucking transports, which have far more risks than pipelines. In fact, 99.99 percent of natural gas and petroleum products moved via pipelines reach their destinations safely. The Obama Administration’s own State Department’s review of Keystone concluded alternative transport options all had higher environmental impacts.

Ironically, if environmental activists had their way and banned pipelines, we would end up producing even more greenhouse gasses by having to utilize modes of transport reliant with high emission levels.

There’s also the vast economic benefits directly related to Keystone. Construction of the pipeline itself would create thousands of jobs, along with the thousands created as a result of new investments in the energy sector.

Keystone will also generate about $55 million in new property taxes for 27 counties, 12 of which are in Nebraska. One study concluded Nebraska would add over $580 million in labor income, boosting the state’s GDP by $679 million over the 15 years after completing construction.

The benefits of Keystone speak for themselves, however it’s the alternatives that are most alarming. Radical environmentalists either don’t know or don’t care about the disastrous consequences that would occur if they achieved their goals of banning pipelines everywhere. We’ve already seen what happens to communities where it’s been done before.

New York State self-imposed a pipeline ban, and the results are exactly what you would expect. By 2020, the state is expected to see 1.6 billion less in their GDP, and the loss of 17,400 jobs. The rest of the Northeast can expect 78,000 jobs to disappear, thanks to New York’s decision.

It’s fairly simple, this comes down to a choice that protestors don’t want to acknowledge exists: are we willing to pay more in energy costs, for the services we receive, and the goods we purchase, in exchange for banning pipelines and ultimately fossil fuel production? I’m not.

It is intellectually dishonest for any group protesting this pipeline that 1) has never protested any of the scores of Nebraska underground pipelines crisscrossing our state in the past, 2) does not recognize the international relationships on the issue of trade with our best partner, Canada, and 3) does not protest railroad and trucking transport of oil that is much more dangerous on every count than pipeline conveyance.  If that were the case, their howls would be more logical and would then have the climate-change apologists acting more rationally.  As the protesters stand, their position is discredited by their inconsistent approach.

For too long we’ve delayed unleashing the economic potential of the Keystone XL pipeline. With approval from the PSC, we can safely transport necessary fuels, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and generate hundreds of millions of dollars for our great state. This is about as simple of a decision as there is.

Meet the new litmus test. Same as the old litmus test.

Take back the old district?

Dems are still flailing about after the dust-storm that was kicked up when Pro-Choice Bernie Sanders joined “Pro-Life” Heath Mello on stage during the Omaha Mayor’s campaign.

Since then, there has been a great deal of wailing and teeth-gnashing about whether the Dems are a Big-Tent party, or require a pro-abortion litmus test.

In the past week, it went like this:

U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico, who is chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said the party would have to “be a big family” if it wants to regain control of the U.S. House and should not withhold financial backing from candidates opposed to abortion.

“There is not a litmus test for Democratic candidates,” Luján said.

 

Not having any of that, Pro-Choicer Lindy West wrote in a New York Times Op-Ed, headlined:

Of Course Abortion Should Be a Litmus Test for Democrats

She went on to say:

Democratic candidates are perfectly welcome to refrain from terminating their own pregnancies. But to be anti-choice on a policy level is absolutely indefensible from an economic justice, racial justice, gender justice and human rights standpoint. And if the Democratic Party does not stand for any of those things, then what on earth is it?

 

Then candidate for the Dem nomination to Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District, Kara Eastman wrote in a mini Tweet-storm:

Brad Ashford & other Democratic candidates are perfectly welcome to refrain from terminating their own pregnancies.

Everyone should be able to decide if, when, how, and with whom they start or grow a family.

I’m proud to be the only pro-choice candidate in the race for the Nebraska Second Congressional District.

If you agree, and want an elected official that isn’t going to back down from this fight, I hope that I can count on your support.

 

And then she laid into Brad Ashford…

@BradAshford18 – if I am wrong on any of this, please, give me a call. Nothing would make me happier than to know that you’re pro-choice.

You also voted ‘Yes’ on LB 1103 prohibiting abortion after 20 weeks.

You voted ‘Yes’ on LB 675, which wanted women to view their ultrasounds prior to an abortion procedure.

While running as a Democrat in 2014 for Congress, you stated that you strongly opposed abortion on the Faith2Action Survey.

As a Democrat running for Congress in 2014, you again stated that you were strong opposed to abortion being a woman’s unrestricted right.

 

Ashford and his wife have been pushing back against Eastman, with Tweets such as…

You need to stop misleading statements.

Of course, Brad is trying to play both sides of this issue, much like he has on health care, (not to mention what party he is in).

But it will be fun to watch Kara go as far left as she thinks, and see how far Brad is willing to go — both knowing they’d have to run back to the center in November.

 

Here they are at their “County Fair”

CNN sent a reporter and camera crew west of Lincoln (gasp!) to David City, Nebraska do a story on the hillbillies…er…huskers who still support President Donald Trump.

A recent Gallup poll showed 52% of Nebraskans STILL support the President of the United States, and the national reporter wanted to find out what these rubes…er…Red Staters were thinking.

For instance…

Asked why their support for Trump is still so strong despite no concrete legislative successes in his first six months, supporters here quickly blame “obstructionists”

They “quickly blame”… see because they’re not even thinking about it. They’re just knee-jerk goobers…er…conservatives who will support the President no matter WHAT he does.

Oh and…

Any mention of Russia to these resident prompts bristling and instant dismissal.

Well, there’s your bi-annual view of life out in fly-over country.

Lord help them if they ever make it all the way to Broken Bow.

 

Bold enough?

So here’s one that was passed on to Leavenworth St.

It seems that with the continual hammering of the Keystone XL Pipeline, some on the union side of the state Democratic party have had it with Chairperson Jane Kleeb.

Rumor in the Capitol is that unions are no longer donating to the NDP. They are, we have been told, saying that Jane either needs to leave Bold Nebraska or step down as Chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party.

The double-dutying of Kleeb is certainly something that could get under the hide of those whose jobs she is trying prevent. The unions have been long supporters of the party, but have also been supporters of the pipeline.

Jane has been having it both ways as head of both.

 

Coolio

Have a great weekend and be sure to follow @LeavenworthSt on the Twitter and Like Leavenworth St. on the Facebook for updates all weekend long!

Who’s gonna run?

Low intern on the totem pole gets this gig…

News Channel Nebraska’s Joe Jordan talked to Jane Kleeb the other day about fielding candidates for the two major statewide offices in the 2018 elections.

Jane’s lament?

Too much money in politics….

Whose money, you ask?

Well…not Dick Holland’s money…which was funding Jane’s Bold Nebraska for years.

Or the Nebraska State Teacher’s Association’s money, which has funded numerous Democrats over the years as well. Then there’s the Firefighter’s Union cash which has been spent against any number of candidates, including very recently.

Nope, Jane and her cohorts are scared off by…Pete Ricketts’ money (or maybe one could say Joe Ricketts’ money, ya know). Let’s hear Jane herself:

“Pete Ricketts’ money is a serious problem, not only for the top of the ticket but below as well.”

That’s a funny whine.
We must have missed that from the Democrats against Ricketts’ money in 2006.

But ignoring Joe’s clickbait in the rest of the story (no, Jane Kleeb does not say she is going to run…), Jane says that they WILL have candidates in both offices statewide, Ricketts’ cash notwithstanding.

So what does all this money-fearing mean then?

Well, it likely means that serious candidates — the type who can win — won’t be showing their faces across the county fairs over the next month to challenge in the Governor’s race, or against Senator Deb Fischer.

Sure they may get Dave Domina or a Mike Meister. But will they get a Kim Robak — who has a little bit of name ID? Boy, you’d think if she were interested she’d be raising money for a serious campaign already.

And then if they can’t find a candidate for Governor or Senator, what hope do they have for Secretary of State or Treasurer?

Are those offices the long game or the short game?
Someone can ask Jane (when she’s done reining in her central committee, that is…)

 

Whoa.

Oh and hey, Governor Ricketts also has a primary challenger now.

No, Bob Krist didn’t go back to being a Republican again.

It’s someone named Krystal Gabel, who recently came in 3rd place in the District 2 (North Omaha) City Council primary.

Gabel is running on a platform of industrial hemp, hemp biodiesel and decriminalized weed.

She clearly has the GOP voter nailed down…

 

Midtermers

The Hill is continuing to review the chances of the Dems taking Congress in 2018. Historically, the party out of power has done well in the mid-terms, and the University of Virginia’s Larry Sabato doesn’t see any reason why 2018 should be any different:

By Sabato’s analysis, the president’s party has shed House seats in 36 of 39 midterms stretching back more than 150 years, with an average loss of 33 seats — well above the 24 pickups the Democrats need to take the chamber next year.

And then there’s the fact that…

Democrats still face unique challenges, including legislative district lines that favor Republicans and the danger that Democratic voters simply will not go to the polls in a non-presidential election year.

Which of course brings it all back to…the actual candidates.

The Hill only focuses on a few specific candidates who could have tough races — and gives a broad swipe at GOPers who voted to repeal ObamaCare while representing swing districts.

And no, Don Bacon is not listed.

Do you hear that clamoring to get rid of Bacon and bring in Eastashfordman?
Neither do I.

 

2020 Vision

And then what about…President?
Well, that’s 2020 (just like hindsight…).

But CNN’s Chris Cillizza (formerly of the Washington Post, who has since found his true Trump-hate) wanders down the path of a Trump primary in 2020.

His speculations…
Sen. Ted Cruz
Sen. Jeff Flake
Gov. John Kasich
Gov. Scott Walker and…

Sen. Ben Sasse.

Well, it’s not the first time Sasse has been on one of these lists. But strangely, the National Review has a video up of who THEY think could be on the list.

And they have the same list, but swap out Sen. Marco Rubio for Flake.

Which still leaves Sasse with his home base magazine.

Interestingly enough, ICYMI, Sasse also apparently turned down an offer from the Heritage Foundation to become their new President.

In the past, former Senator Jim DeMint headed up the conservative thinktank. Unclear why the org thought they could get Sasse to quit his elected office only about halfway into his term.

But word was that Sasse rebuffed them, and Sasse’s press flak for some reason issued a statement that Sasse wants Nebraska offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf out of his job before the season even starts.

So there ya go.

 

No, where have YOU been?

Been missing Leavenworth St. on a daily basis? Well there are places to go and things to do, ya know. But Leavenworth St. DID recently put up a Separated at Birth, along with links to numerous other daily articles.

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