Positions that Duncan Hunter espoused at his Town Hall on March 11, 2017:
- Trump is doing a good job and our nation is great because of our God.
- Hunter sees his job as getting the federal government out of your life – out of every aspect of your life.
- The state, county and city have more power/impact on you/on people and thus should have the decision making powers (on essentially all issues was the implication) not the federal government.
- Deep State exists.
The briefest non-political definition of the newly popular term ‘Deep State’ is that it is the established career civil service professionals throughout government (in every branch & agency) – the individuals who stay even as the presidency and its administration change or to quote Sean Spicer, these are individuals who have “burrowed into government” (http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/10/politics/trump-deep-state-sean-spicer/). For many the term also includes non government power brokers, such as Wall Street, lobbyists or Silicon Valley (to name a few favorites).
So far this term describes what actually exists, but this is not where the definition ends. This term veers into the land of conspiracy and insanity in that it is being used to capture the belief that the “burrowed” employees have a political agenda different from the Trump administration and are all working in concert to bring the President down so to erect their agenda. They are the unelected shadow government, the swamp that needs to be drained.
Steve Bannon believes in the “deconstruction of the administrative state”, which means dismantling the ‘Deep State’, government regulations, and government departments. Knowing this is akin to the shift when the kaleidoscope goes from disjointedness to clarity. Firing career professionals say in the State and Justice Departments, not filling government positions, gutting regulations, and appointing cabinet officials who are against the very departments they oversee i.e. who will dismantle the essence of the departments they run, all makes sense – for this is how an “administrative state” is dismantled and it is also how millions of Americans will lose trust in government institutions, will be more vulnerable to trust the one great leader (see the post on Bannon – for this is exactly what Bannon believes will occur and must occur to save America form the Armageddon like existential war he believes we are in).
When citizens and residents in democracies lose the ability to trust the truthfulness of an agency, to trust the inherent decent intentions of government, democracies become vulnerable and history teaches us that many a vulnerable democracy has fallen – so to hear Hunter espouse the rhetoric as well as the policy points of the Bannon wing is a deeply disturbing occurrence. Bannon’s power has reached out past the White House and Hunter has radicalized, he is no longer just a Trump supporter.
A few articles on ‘Deep State’: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/10/world/americas/what-happens-when-you-fight-a-deep-state-that-doesnt-exist.html?_r=0; http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/03/20/there-is-no-deep-state; http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2017/03/economist-explains-6; http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/03/the-deep-state-is-a-figment-of-steve-bannons-imagination-214892; http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/deep-state-inside-donald-trumps-paranoid-conspiracy-theory-w471375
- The Office of Congressional Ethics is a Nancy Pelosi creation and solely a way for liberals to, “throw people under the bus”. The Office should be eliminated and the House Ethics Committee is sufficient.
In short the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) is like an Ombudsman. It is an independent review board (with members appointed by the House) that investigates members of the House and their staff if/when ethical concerns arise – anyone, even an anonymous source can bring an issue to the attention of the OCE. The OCE does not have subpoena power but must release to the public a report of their findings and if after their investigation they deem it appropriate the case is referred to the House Ethics Committee (https://oce.house.gov/learn/process/ shows a flow chart depicting how decisions are made). It is the House Ethics Committee that has sole power to discipline its members regarding ethic violations. Here is an interesting interview with the first leader of the OCE: http://www.npr.org/2017/01/03/508075292/first-leader-outlines-history-of-congressional-ethics-office and here are the websites of the OCE: https://oce.house.gov/ and the House Ethics Committee: http://ethics.house.gov/ .
An ironic element to Hunter’s charge of the OCE being a politically motivated entity is that this is exactly what citizen watch-dog groups are charging Speaker Ryan with, due to him changing the rules of how OCE board members are picked (formerly there needed to be agreement between the majority and minority leaders, no more): https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/under-the-radar-change-to-house-ethics-watchdog-may-weaken-it/2017/02/08/7b066f8e-ee31-11e6-b4ff-ac2cf509efe5_story.html?utm_term=.fd872a8dc368. I suspect that this change in rules, or in other words the board members appointed earlier this year exclusively by Republicans, explains why when you search both the OCE and the House Ethics Committee websites for Duncan Hunter, nothing appears – absolutely nothing – no history of his ethics investigation, nada. I even called the OCE to ask them to help me understand this but was politely told that they cannot comment on any investigations that have not been completed. It is my suspicion that Hunter’s investigation in the OCE has been terminated and thus a public report will never occur, a referral to the House Ethics Committee will also never occur. It has if the violations never occurred.
- The intelligence community is filled with people who hate Trump and are trying to undermine the administration.
- Hunter believes that Trump’s emails and communications were intercepted when Obama was in office.
- The EPA has destroyed American business. Hunter referenced a sewage spill in Mexico that impacted Imperial Beach and said that none of us care about it b/c it was not an American company that caused the spill – i.e. we don’t actually care about the environment we only care about fining & crippling American businesses.
- A build in America, buy American and only hire Americans policy would be a good policy and should be the policy.
- Hunter cannot commit to a rough date (i.e. during the April or August recess) for a future town hall (though he will commit to having one) because his schedule is so busy.
Immigration, Refugees and Asylum Seekers
- A border wall is necessary and a key part to ensuring safety as well as stopping undocumented immigration. Hunter put forth that proof for this is the fact that San Diego now has “zero” undocumented immigrants crossing, due to the wall along the San Diego – Mexico border.
- Hunter supports the Muslin Ban.
- All refugees and asylum seekers who have entered the United States within the last 8 years or so need to receive retroactive “extreme” vetting.
- Refugees and Asylum seekers should not be allowed into the United States.
- Peoples from countries in Europe, specifically France and Germany, who have welcomed refugees in the past few years should not be allowed into America without vetting because terrorists could be among them.
- There should be a halt to all legal immigration because the United States must be focused on itself for a “short” while.
- Healthcare is not a right and should not be guaranteed but access to healthcare which people can “afford” should be guaranteed – to which a fellow constituent made a wonderful retort, just because I have access to a buy a first class airplane ticket doesn’t mean I can afford it.
- The ACA is the reason why healthcare premiums have increased in cost.
- Healthcare under the ACA is terrible.
- Canadian healthcare is terrible and Canadians come to the US for their healthcare because their healthcare is so bad.
- Hunter will, most likely, vote for the Republican healthcare bill.
- The fact that the Republican healthcare bill is shorter than the ACA means it is a better bill.
- The Republican healthcare bill will provide quality as well as cheaper healthcare for everyone with a job. The tax credits are sufficient.
- Medicaid should be a block grant program.
Block grant programs are when the federal government decides that it will no longer pay for a specific service/program and instead gives each states X dollars to pay for the specific service/program. How the state decides to allocate those monies is entirely up to the state. In theory this may seem reasonable but in reality it often means that the federal government gives the states less monies than the federal government would have spent to provide the same service. It also provides an endless blame game – the federal government says they are not responsible if services are inadequately provided because they gave monies to the state and the state/the governor blames the federal government for underfunding the service. In the Republic healthcare bill the block grant funding for Medicaid goes down by roughly 1/3 after a handful of years.
- The VA should not provide healthcare to veterans who have a health issue that is not service connected.
- An independent investigation into Russia’s role in the Trump campaign & presidency is not needed because there are congressional investigations, which will be sufficient.
The following three committees are investigating the Trump-Russia ties 1) The U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which is chaired by Senator Richard Burr who joined Trump on the campaign trail 2)The U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Intelligence, which is chaired by Representative Devin Nunes who boldly defended Flynn and is regarded as being strongly pro-Trump 3) United States Senate Committee on Armed Services, which is chaired by Senator John McCain who is showing earnest concern and placing country before politics. So, 1 out of 3 committees can be trusted to do an unbiased job of the investigation but per Duncan there is no need for an independent investigation.
- Trump is pro-Russia because Russia is fighting ISIS (while not stated the implication was that Obama was not fighting ISIS) and so the US needs to work with, to join Russia to fight ISIS in Syria.