There’s been a target on Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s back ever since he assumed the role from his predecessor, John Boehner. That target wasn’t painted there by Democrats or leftist media, though they haven’t exactly been supportive. The target was painted on his back by Breitbart and other alt-right “conservative” media sites who view Ryan and all of his cohorts as “RINOs” that need to be abolished.

I have no affection for Ryan. He’s more moderate on most issues than I would like, but that’s to be expected. What’s worse is that he’s been ineffective as Speaker, unable to push through significant legislation since President Trump took office.

Should Ryan fear Steve Bannon who has pledged to attack the “Establishment” with primary battles and bad press? Yes, though it’s unlikely that he would lose a primary as a result of Bannon’s attacks. The real thing Ryan and every Republican should fear is that damage Bannon and Breitbart can do in the general election. Will they pave the way to Democrat majorities in both the House and Senate?

Sadly, the answer is probably, “yes.” It’s not as if Congressional Republicans have done enough to be worthy of keeping a majority even without attacks from Bannon. They’ve been impotent at best and counterproductive at worst. They’ve forced the President to resort to executive orders to attack Obamacare and force immigration reform onto Congress. Bannon’s attacks will only make them more vulnerable. Even if they’re able to defeat the primary opponents he puts up (and most if not all of them will with the exception of Jeff Flake), they’ll still be weakened both financially and with the Trump base going into the general elections.

In other words, they’re going to lose seats if they can’t figure out a way to pass real legislation soon. Tax reform will go a long way towards helping them, but they need to pass some sort of Obamacare repeal before election day in 2018 if they realistically hope to hold the House and Senate.

For Ryan’s part, he’s playing it cool. Is it a show? Is it ignorance? Does he know something we don’t? While he probably wouldn’t lose a primary nor the general election directly, he may end up losing his seat as Speaker of the House if the GOP can’t figure out how to keep their majority.

I’ve been in Washington DC for two days and I can’t wait to go home. As politically horrible as things can be in Southern California, at least the liberals are easy to spot. In DC, it’s hard to tell who supports who, which direction the winds will take them, and whether or not their stance today will match their stance tomorrow.

I’m here for some important meetings about pushing forward with the Federalist Party. No, I’m not going to pitch you on it here. I know there are still plenty of conservatives who believe in the Republican agenda and their ability to deliver, so this isn’t the venue. What I hope we can all agree on is the notion that DC needs a conservative reset, one that looks to the Constitution as the framework through which we must govern this nation.

Some of the people I’ve been speaking to here are known conservatives. They’re not “RINOs” who campaign on conservative values then lurch left once they’re in office. Despite this, the atmosphere is far more passive than I would have expected. It’s almost as if they’ve given up hope to pass anything meaningful that would limit government, balance the budget, remove the impediments DC has put on business, or attack the national debt. I came very hopeful and, with one more meeting scheduled, feel as if they’re all defeated already. I’m hoping the last meeting with a conservative Congressman will change my view, but right now I’m still befuddled by the defeatist attitude. They feel like they can’t get anything done.

We need a reset, badly. I’m not talking about a mini-Tea-Party revolution that yielded far less than most would admit. I’m not even talking about what Steve Bannon is trying to do to disrupt the system by finding primary opponents for pretty much every Senator up for reelection other than Ted Cruz. What we need is a fundamental change, a new direction that focuses on our nation’s roots within the constraints of the Constitution.

Call this a rant, if you will, but I’m more energized about building a limit-government agenda than I’ve ever been. DC does that to conservatives as long as they’re not exposed to the swamp for too long. I can’t wait to leave, but I know I have to return soon.

It’s unlikely that President Trump will certify that Iran is in compliance with the nuclear deal signed by his predecessor, which means Congress will be able to impose new sanctions on the Islamic state. Iran has now threatened to attack any American bases within a 2,000 km range if we impose these sanctions. These shouldn’t be viewed as idle threats.

This is a deal that never should have happened and the President would be wise to do what he can to end it. However, we cannot go into this thinking there will be no consequences. Instead, we should prepare for the inevitability that Iran will strike U.S. forces, bases, ships, and allies. They’ve been itching for a good fight for a while and supporting Bashar al-Assad in Syria hasn’t quenched their thirst for blood.

Unlike North Korea, which is run by a narcissistic madman, Iran is pragmatic. That should worry us all because it actually behooves them to draw America into an isolated conflict. They have diplomatic support from nearly all of our allies other than Israel and Saudi Arabia. Moreover, they have military support from Russia and possibly China and North Korea. This is not a situation like Iraq where we’ll be able to send in some coalition forces and have troops surrendering to journalists. This is a dedicated and passionate group of Shiite Muslims who worship their leaders. They’re also adept at cyberterrorism and possess and shockingly advanced military.

According to Streiff at RedState:

Given the Iranian direct and indirect provocations in the Persian Gulf and along the deconfliction line separating US supported Syrian rebels from pro-Assad forces, it is very likely that Iran will try retaliation of some type to see what it can get away with.

Not since the Cold War has America been targeted by those who can actually harm us and our allies. We already have one dangerous enemy that wants to strike us in North Korea. Add Iran to that mix and we need to be cognizant of the risks. We shouldn’t fear them and provoking them seems unavoidable in light of the actions of the previous President, but we shouldn’t dismiss them as harmless. They’re not.

The left is getting lefter. There’s no doubt the Democratic Party is pushing towards socialism and communism with “independent” Bernie Sanders leading the charge. I hear a lot of conservative commentaries welcoming this lurch. We need to be careful what we wish because, as we all know, voters can be swayed quickly with limited information and a good sales pitch.

They’re talking about Medicare-for-all. We know this is a horrific idea. Even Sanders himself admitted as much 30-years-ago. That hasn’t stopped the push. We need to be cognizant of it and be prepared to counter it with full force. Don’t take for granted that people can be easily shown how it would bankrupt the country. There are plenty of people who hear about $20 trillion debts, debt ceilings, busted budgets, and the federal reserve and think, “If I get free healthcare, who cares what the number crunchers in DC have to do to get me there?”

Remember how many people were shocked that Obamacare wasn’t free? Well, this IS “free” so millions will call for it regardless of the consequences. The Democrats are learning this. Their research is telling them they may have a winner if they nurture it. Many are willing to set aside logic and fiscal responsibility if it means taking back the House and the Senate. Don’t disregard this as impossible.

The hot topic lately has been about guns for obvious reasons. This is an area where there’s a little less complacency from the right, but it’s still almost impossible to imagine an America that completely disregards or repeals the 2nd Amendment. Folks, it really could happen and not as far in the future as most believe. Gun control pushes today are the first domino in a string that leads to full-blown gun-grabbing.

Lastly, there’s socialism itself. We are a capitalist nation. That’s (probably) not going to change any time soon. What we need to worry about is the false notion that they can’t push for socialism without tearing down capitalism first. In an ideal world for socialists, they don’t need to tear down capitalism at all. In fact, they would want capitalism to fund the socialism they desire.

One can read Atlas Shrugged and see the systematic deconstruction of capitalism happening with the rise of socialism. It’s fiction. It’s also not entirely impossible to happen even in America. We’re a nation of plenty that is fueled by those who do not have plenty in their opinions. They aren’t comparing their situations to the billions in the world who are starving and/or who do not enjoy basic levels of freedom. They’re comparing themselves to the guy down the block with the Ferrari. Socialists can paint a picture of income equality that is appealing on the surface. They won’t tell the people that income equality means everyone will be equally poor. They’re selling it as pushing things slightly better for the average American by taking from the rich. If you don’t think that can be sold as appealing to people, you’re still stuck in the 80s when such notions were unthinkable.

The Democrats aren’t committing the political suicide many on the right believe they are with their push to the far left. They’ve tested their messages, polled the people, and have come to the conclusion that this is a winning play for them. We cannot assume that common sense and facts will be enough to stop them from succeeding. It’s imperative that we fight the good fight to keep the impossible from becoming our reality.

This has been said by multiple people since the first time Rex Tillerson’s name was announced as President Trump’s pick to run the State Department. Everyone has their reasons: no experience, liberal tendencies, love of the Iran nuclear deal, love of TPP… the list goes on an on. I have a new reason to want him out.

He’s too weak to stand up to President Trump.

Politico posted an article today asking if Tillerson should resign. While much of what they said had its standard leftist tilt, one important note is that Tillerson has been the least effective Secretary of State so far, perhaps ever. Harsh criticism. Nonetheless, it’s quite true. Tillerson has literally nothing notched in the win column. The reason isn’t just his lack of ability. He’s undermined by the President and placed far below the level that most Secretaries of State enjoy. He’s subservient to John Kelly now and Reince Priebus before him. His word holds less weight than people allegedly under him, namely Jared Kushner, Wilbur Ross, James Mattis, and Gary Cohn. Even Steve Bannon, when he was in the White House, had much more pull than Tillerson.

In short, Rex Tillerson isn’t strong enough to lead the foreign affairs wing of the White House.

While not endorsing them, both John Bolton and Nikki Haley would be better choices. Bolton is outspoken enough for the job, which may be why he doesn’t have it. Haley has proven to be aggressive enough, though she may have the same challenges as Tillerson if she’s unwilling to fight her way up Trump’s pecking order. I should mention Mitt Romney, but I won’t. I just don’t like the guy.

If Tillerson stays, it will be because President Trump wants someone in position that he can bully or embarrass with Tweets like these:

Now is not the time for America to have an ineffective Secretary of State. Between China, Russia, the Middle East, North Korea, Venezuela, and turmoil in Europe, we need someone like James Baker. Instead, we have a bored old rich guy whose biggest claim to fame is being recognized by Vladimir Putin as a Friend of Russia.

The evidence has been documented numerous times that cutting taxes improves the economy in ways that replace “lost” revenues for the federal government. In other words, reduced tax burdens spark economic growth with over time yield a revenue-neutral stance. This is the part about the proposed GOP tax cuts that I like.

There are two big problems with it, though. We haven’t seen nearly the level of cuts necessary to balance the budget or attack the unfathomable debt problem the nation faces. It’s time to slash and burn in DC; we need to eliminated entire programs like Obamacare, agencies like the EPA, and even departments such as the Department of Education.

The second problems is that this isn’t really a tax “reform.” They’re calling it “reform” because it’s a powerful word that makes people feel good, but this is still the same progressive tax system that’s been failing miserably for decades. As Daniel Horowitz at Conservative Review notes, there’s no right way to fix the progressive tax.

I’ve been exploring everything from a fair tax to a flat tax to a neutral tax. All have merits. All have flaws. Now is not the time to go over them or other plans in detail, but one thing is certain. We need to implement REAL reform if we’re going to make a true impact on how the national government operates. The system is broken and smarter people than me need to get together and explore the options.

Back to cuts. Standard operating procedure in Washington DC is to bifurcate taxing and spending. They try to convince us that they’re two different conversations that should be handled independently. This is illogical and an insult to our collective intelligence. If you’re deciding what car to buy, you don’t pick a car and do the math on the monthly payments later. If you’re income fluctuates, you don’t buy things based upon the best case scenario. This is personal economics 101, yet the federal government wants us to believe this logical thinking doesn’t apply to them.

Why do they bifurcate? It’s all a smokescreen. I’m not a conspiracy theorist who believes everything the government does has nefarious undertones, but this is very clear to anyone paying attention. They don’t want to talk about taxing and spending at the same time because it means revealing the truth about both. It’s easier for them to say, “we need this much revenue regardless of expenses” while simultaneously saying, “we need to spend this much regardless of revenues.”

To tackle tax reform before tackling spending isn’t just putting the cart before the horse. It’s detaching the cart from the horse and then questioning why it won’t move. We need to address them simultaneously. If that’s too complicated for DC, then they need to tackle spending first. Instead, we’re hearing about trillion dollar infrastructure plans that may no longer receive private funding relief, an expensive border wall that Mexico apparently isn’t going to pay for, and Obamacare “repeal” bills that don’t significantly reduce DC’s financial role. No, block grants don’t change the fact that DC still has to collect the money first.

If DC really wants to boost the economy, they need to start by cutting spending and regulations. The latter seems to be in motion; kudos to the President for keeping that promise. The former isn’t even close to happening. It needs to happen quickly. Otherwise, Republicans are the same big spenders as the Democrats, just focused on different issues.

The big buzz over the weekend was the President commenting and Tweeting about the NFL “kneelers” betraying the National Anthem, the flag, and all the symbolism associated with it. I get it. This is news because football is in our DNA as a nation. As soon as possible, it’s time to move on.

I’m not going to criticize those who expressed their opinions. That would make me a hypocrite since I sent out many Tweets about it. I’m humbly asking that we not get so caught up in something as petty as a pastime and the idiots representing it when there are many more important issues to deal with right now.

North Korea is a growing problem. They are antagonized and antagonizing with a massive military presence that can strike our allies in minutes. They may be able to strike America directly. There’s a petulant, insecure lunatic with his hands on the attack buttons. This is bigger than #TakeTheKnee.

Obamacare is alive and killing America’s economy. We need to raise our voices and demand a repeal before we’re stuck with an Obamacare-continuation-bailout plan instead. This is urgent. It may already be too late but we can’t give up yet. This is bigger than #TakeTheKnee.

The travel ban was expanded to include more countries, including countries that do not have an Islamic majority. This ban will, of course, get attacked by the left as soon as the NFL nonsense fades in the news cycle. Liberals will be ready to attack. Will conservatives be ready to defend? This is bigger than #TakeTheKnee.

DACA, a $20 trillion national debt, Iran nuclear deal, Alabama’s primary runoff (yes, it has national significance), Puerto Rico collapsing, tax reform… the list of issues much bigger than #TakeTheKnee could go on and on.

I’m not suggesting this “new” sports culture war doesn’t deserve attention. I’m just hopeful it can fade to the background where it belongs. This has been going on for some time. Just because the President mentions it doesn’t mean the nation can afford to take its collective eyes off more pressing issues.

Let’s set aside, for a moment, whether or not you (or I) support the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare replacement bill. That’s been debated publicly and privately more tenaciously than any bill since Obamacare and in a much smaller time frame. Instead, let’s look at one argument: future elections.

There have been a lot of fallback arguments made. These are the indirect arguments not associated with the substance of the bill that people will make in an attempt to paint passage as a proper strategic move. The most common one is that the GOP needs to pass SOMETHING in order to go into the midterm elections from a position of strength with the claim that they kept their promise.

In one sense, this is true. As a whole, if the GOP cannot pass some form of Obamacare repeal, they’ll lose face… as a party. It will reflect poorly on the party in a way that sparks national discussions. RNC representatives will have to spin feverishly. Fundraising, their strong point for a long time, will be hampered.

In every other sense, it’s false to believe they’ll lose the midterm elections by not passing Graham-Cassidy. First, let’s look at the obvious example: Obamacare. When it passed in 2010, every leftwing media outlet heralded it as a show of strength for the Democratic Party and President Obama. It was. However, that show of strength did not translate into electoral wins. Later that year, the Democrats lost the House. Four years later, they lost the Senate. Two years later, they lost the White House. They were defeated by GOP candidates who incessantly hammered on the need to repeal Obamacare.

The same scenario looms for the GOP. Will the party be strengthened? Yes. Will the President? Yes. Will individual candidates in the House and Senate be strengthened? No. By passing Graham-Cassidy, the GOP will be taking the same red meat they’ve been using for seven years and handing it to their Democratic competitors. Every Democrat running for seats on Capitol Hill will use Graham-Cassidy and any shortcomings that come to light before election day as all the ammunition they need to win.

On a national stage, it would be hard for the GOP to argue their failure to repeal Obamacare. In individual elections for the House and Senate, a good GOP candidate can easily remove that albatross from their neck based upon their personal voting record. If they voted for repeal, the issue is no longer a valid attack point. In fact, PASSING Graham-Cassidy will force them to answer more questions on the defensive… just as Democrats had to do in 2010 after Obamacare passed. That didn’t work out well for them and it won’t work out for many vulnerable GOP candidates.

Passing Graham-Cassidy will help the President win reelection in 2020 and will make the GOP look good. It will harm midterm GOP candidates in 2018 just as Obamacare harmed midterm Democrats in 2010.

As I write this mini-article, millions of Americans are hearing about how bad Donald Trump is, how unfair the government is going to be to illegal immigrants, how Ted Cruz loves porn, and who won an award or two scattered in with the slew of liberal jokes. I’m not.

Instead, I’ve put together a list of better ways to spend my time than to show support (and yes, by merely watching it you’re showing your support) for an industry that generally despises the small-government, freedom-loving conservatives that accounts for most readers of this blog.

  1. Watch Ben Shapiro’s Berkeley speech. I don’t care if you’ve already seen it. Watch it again.
  2. Read the Constitution. Hey, it’s Constitution Day!
  3. Check out my latest conservative news project, NOQ Report.
  4. Read this article by Lloyd Marcus that highlights the importance of sustaining the American Dream regardless of race.
  5. Listen to the Book of John (because there’s never a bad time for John).
  6. Watch John Stossel asking people about the Constitution. Hey, it’s Constitution Day!
  7. Listen to my interview with The Foo.
  8. Learn what you can about California’s decision to become a sanctuary state. It may happen in your state some day.
  9. Check out this underreported story about a t-shirt maker who may be forced out of business for defending his rights.
  10. Contribute to DaTechGuy. He needs our support.

I don’t care who wins the awards. The narcissistic town of Hollywood (where I had to live for nearly two months while my son had two open-heart surgeries) doesn’t deserve my attention. They do more to harm conservatism than just about any other town in the nation outside of Washington DC.

When I’m wrong I say I’m wrong. This particular mistake was one that I would kick myself for missing if I were more flexible. Instead, I’ll simply call out my errors and try to set a more accurate perspective.

I missed it completely on President Trump and DACA. It’s arguably the first time I didn’t see the 4D chess at work. Perhaps I was simply being blinded by hope. Before he officially rescinded DACA, I applauded rumors that he would be doing just that. I added emphasis to the opening paragraph of that particular article titled, “Letting DACA lapse would be the President’s best move so far.”

Rumors are flying that President Trump could announce the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), allowing one of his predecessor’s most egregious examples of overreach to fade away into oblivion.

Call it an assumption that he wouldn’t go against one of his most consistent and arguably the most important promise he made to his base. He declared shortly after launching his campaign in 2015 the DREAMers had to go. When asked by Chuck Todd whether he’d split up families, candidate Trump doubled down on the narrative by saying no families would be split up… because he’d deport everyone in the family who wasn’t supposed to be here.

I followed up that article once the official announcement about rescinding it was put forth. Like a silly boy hoping that Santa was real but noticing the handwriting on all the gifts was the same, I suspended my disbelief in the president’s worthiness by posting “Trump to end DACA the right way for the right reasons.”

For President Trump, this is a win-win. He is fulfilling one of his most important campaign promises and setting the stage for the GOP to demonstrate their resolve on the issue. If they do, he wins because the “blame” will be spread throughout the party rather than just focusing on him. If they cave for political expediency and recreate a congressional version of DACA, then President Trump did his part and Congress was the body that changed.

Now I see the light. Many conservatives are upset at the potential for a DACA amnesty that doesn’t include the wall. Even a handful of his Day 1 faithfuls have gone beyond scratching their heads and have graduated into full-blown scorn.

How did I miss it? I’ve been critical of leftist moves from him in the past. Why did I not see the writing on the wall? Perhaps it was his consistent stance on the matter:

DACA will end up being STRONGER once Congress pushes it through as the law of the land rather than an unconstitutional executive order. In fact, had Trump done nothing, the Supreme Court likely would have put a stop to DACA altogether. Oh well. Maybe we’ll get a wall someday. Maybe not.