The Praetorians

During the years of the Roman Republic, the Praetorian Guard was an elite unit of the Roman army responsible for the protection of important public officials. Augustus converted the Guard into a personal protective detail for the emperor, and the unit served in that capacity for about three hundred years. After years of being close to the center of power, the Guard became notable for its intrigue and interference in Roman politics, to the point of overthrowing emperors and proclaiming their successors. In 312, the Guard was disbanded by Constantine.

Mackubin Owens has a post over at American Greatness which draws some interesting comparisons between the Deep State, especially the Intelligence Community, and the Praetorian Guard.

The fact is that the deep state is praetorianism on steroids. It is based on the claim that unelected bureaucrats have a duty to undermine the policy of a duly elected president, simply because they disagree with it. Vindman is a perfect example of this mindset. He complained that “he was deeply troubled by what he interpreted as an attempt by the president to subvert U.S. foreign policy . . . .” Read that again. The problem here is that Article II of the Constitution gives the president sweeping powers to conduct foreign affairs and negotiate with leaders of other nations. It does not grant any such power to unelected bureaucrats to act in ways that demonstrate they approve or disapprove of foreign policy—even when they are “deeply troubled” by it.

No matter what one thinks about Trump, we must ask ourselves: is it a good idea for military officers, members of the Intelligence Community, and even run-of-the-mill bureaucrats to form a phalanx around the duly elected president “for the good of the country”? Do we really want to normalize the view that unelected bureaucrats are the protectors of republican government? If so, we enable the denizens of the deep state, a concept at war with the very idea of republican government.

No, I think not.

Read the whole thing.

Quote of the Day

The more the people are discontented with the oppression of taxes; the greater need the prince has of money to distribute among his partisans and pay the troops that are to suppress all resistance, and enable him to plunder at pleasure. There is scarce a king in a hundred who would not, if he could, follow the example of Pharaoh, get first all the peoples money, then all their lands, and then make them and their children servants for ever . . .

—Benjamin Franklin

But What Are They Trying To Cover Up?

My podcasting partner Stacy McCain has a post up at The American Spectator about the Democrats’ use of their double secret impeachment process as a coverup. Yes, it’s fairly obvious that they have plenty to hide, but what is the real secret they want to keep hidden?

There are plenty of individual crimes that are coming to light as a result of investigations by Attorney General Barr, U. S. Attorney Durham, and Inspector General Horowitz. At least one grand jury has been empaneled, and various members of the Deep State are lawyering up in expectation of being indicted. If those cases proceed as I expect, various connections between individuals and organizations will come to light, and we may see a significant level of cooperation and coordination among them.

It may be that it’s that coordination which is being covered up. The Gentle Reader shouldn’t be surprised to discover that people with similar views take actions consistent with those views. They might be expect to do so acting independently, each acting in his own personal interest. However, the possibility exists that some would organize their actions together. If those acts were illegal, it’s also reasonable that they would band together to obstruct any investigation. Such organized obstruction is one of the definitions of a racketeering enterprise.

The corrupt entanglement of bureaucrats and politicians was given a boost during the 8 years the country was run by a Chicago politician, but corrupt organizations are parasites. They weaken their host, and they fail when the host takes steps to throw them off or when the host dies. They don’t want us to see enough to effective clean up the infection.

Fire Season in California

Back in the early ’80s, Mrs. Hoge and I lived in Thousand Oaks, California. While we were there, a substantial (100,000+ acre) fire burned through the Los Padres National Forest 20 or so miles north of us. We went up to a hill on the north side of town to take a look at the fire. The crest of the hills on the far side of the Santa Clarita River Valley was a solid line of red and orange, dark smoke covered the sky, and ash driven by the strong winds was falling on us. Connie turned to me and said, “Mordor.”

Many of California’s natural ecosystems evolved with fire. Indeed, some native plants’ seeds won’t germinate until exposed to the heat of a brush fire. Wrongheaded resource management practices have led to too much brush accumulating at once, and the resulting fires are larger and more disastrous than occurred when the land was unmanaged.

It may be hard to evacuate if your only vehicle is a Tesla and PGE has turned off the power.