This is my first shot at the American Conservative Union’s (ACU) Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). I intend to capture as many cogent remarks by the speakers as possible in order to convey the highlights. Here is what I captured during Thursday’s early morning sessions.

From the introduction session:

  • Matt Schlapp (ACU chairman): The theme for this year’s CPAC is Freedom versus Socialism.
  • Mark Meadows (R-NC): During the impeachment witness interrogations in the House of Representatives, CNN reports had the classified excerpts of the transcripts in hand, which were synchronized with the Democrat talking points.
  • Jim Jordan (R-OH): If you’re going to fight the swamp, you need to have your people in place. And the President is doing some great things now to do just that.
  • Meadows: The enthusiasm for President Trump on the ground in New Hampshire was amazing. The ratio of people supporting the President versus any of the Democrat candidates was almost at least 5 to 1 (signs, too).
  • Meadows: We are in the middle of reauthorizing the FISA process. Shame on any Senator or Congressman who votes to reauthorize FISA without significant changes.
  • Meadows: Freedom lifts everyone out of poverty; it doesn’t put the government in control.

From the Session on Socialism, Wrecker of Nations:

  • Liz Cheney (R-WY): America will never be a totalitarian nation. Socialism creates authoritarians. She introduced a Cuban-American named Enrique who fled Cuba. He said he was motivated by listening to the speeches of President Reagan in the 1980s.
  • Roger Williams (R-TX): As a former MLB player and manager, I’m going to describe two all-star teams and the differences between the two. The socialist all-star team: Marx, Stalin, Fidel, Mao (and others). The capitalist all-star team: Adam Smith, Ronald Reagan, Henry Ford, Donald J Trump (and others). Pro-growth policies of the capitalist team work; we are a nation of opportunity and incentives. Capitalism is the greatest force for good in the world because it lifts people out of poverty. The socialist policies of the other team promise equality and fairness but deliver poverty and misery.
  • Mercedes Schlapp (columnist; on the Trump 2020 campaign): Our democracy and freedoms are fragile. Throughout history, we have seen them taken away from people in many countries. Venezuela is just the latest example. Preserving our freedoms is the most important task we have as American citizens. Complacency does not get the job done.

Remarks by former Deputy National Security Adviser KT McFarland: [Relayed her personal story of how the FBI used pressure tactics in interviewing her after she left the Trump Administration] I was interviewed for about 8 hours initially. I turned over all my communications (emails, texts, etc.) to the government. Then I was interrogated about stuff from a year-and-a-half ago. (Who can remember every email/text ever sent?) I went to DC and met with 5 prosecutors from the Mueller team who pressured me to plead guilty for lying (process crimes). They were looking for a scalp. I couldn’t agree to crimes to save myself and implicate others. They didn’t have to prove me guilty; I had to prove my innocence. I wrote about my ordeal with the Mueller goons in a new book, Revolution. We do not want a government that did what they did to me. Do not give your country over to these people (the Deep State and Democrat Party).

From the “conversation” with Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), moderated by Katie Pavlich:

  • Blackburn: We believe in entrepreneurialism and freedom. We need happy warriors ready to deploy throughout the country to elect Republicans.
  • Ernst: I experienced the Soviet Union first-hand while an exchange student at Iowa State University. My home family lived in poverty just like their neighbors. They wanted to know what it was like to be an American and have freedom. I have seen what socialism is like, and we don’t want any part of it in America.
  • Blackburn: Bernie was applauding Castro’s literacy program – probably reading the Communist Manifesto (or some other mandated claptrap).
  • Ernst: We both serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  • Blackburn: 193 judges so far!
  • Ernst: We are seeing lots of trafficking issues on the Committee – both drugs and humans. We are working on legislation to deal with the problem, including holding Big Tech accountable (not allowing traffickers access to their networks).
  • Blackburn: We have equal opportunity in this country (and outcomes driven by initiative and personal and economic freedoms), not guarantees of equal outcome through socialism (and a lower standard of living).
  • Blackburn: Government control means making life decisions for people: what you can buy, what you can do, what your education will be, and what your career will be. People in socialist countries are desperate for the opportunity to make their own personal choices in life.
  • Ernst: All of Bernie’s promises sound wonderful (everything is free), and it takes time to explain to people that these things aren’t “free.” For example, Medicare for All equates to rationed healthcare.

Charlie Kirk’s (Turning Point USA) remarks: [an excellent and passionate speech]

  • What I see on college campuses every single day is exactly the same thing happening in the Democrat primaries today. Students are being taught that America is racist, homophobic, and bigoted. Colleges and universities are turning out budding Democrats as if it is their main job.
  • We should not dismiss Bernie’s candidacy through complacency. The Left are doing things to increase turnout to the maximum on college campuses everywhere.
  • Stop giving money to your alma maters. These universities are indoctrinating students. Bernie’s activist base is college students and recent college graduates.
  • The Left is also taking over school boards across the country. They then change the curricula to incorporate leftwing textbooks.
  • Four-year universities are not the only answer for kids; trade schools are really great options.
  • The Squad are a harbinger of things to come. It’s only possible when we lose cultural institutions.
  • The Left would never send their kids to universities if the result was to turn them into conservatives. Why do we commit conservative kids to the brainwashing?
  • School choice is the answer; the Left will never support choice.
  • We have one side that wants to transform this country into a socialist hell-hole. It is up to us to prevent that from happening. The battlegrounds for the hearts and minds are college campuses.
  • President Trump has empowered a resurgence of conservativism on college campuses across the country. The executive order protecting free speech on college campuses was YUUUGE.
  • The party of Mitt Romney was the party that would not fight the Left. No more!
  • Wearing a MAGA hat on campuses is revolutionary.

From a session on “The Coup: Rosenstein and Comey” with Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) and Andy McCarthy (National Review columnist), moderated by Sara Carter:

  • Collins: We are seeing the underbelly of the corrupt Deep State over the past 3.5 years and their efforts to take out this president. Carter Page was investigated for three years and never charged with any crimes.
  • Carter: When this whole thing started, we didn’t know about any of the corruption within the FBI and DoJ. One of the first breaks was about FISA abuse, which helped unravel the corruption. That facilitated additional “good guy” sources who started to come forward to disclose many other illicit activities of the Deep State.
  • Collins: The Carter Page fiasco set the table for everything and should never have happened to begin with. Truth will always win out in the end, and the truth is coming out.
  • Carter: The FBI altered documents to surveil Carter Page, but the real targets were two or three hops away. The big question is, how many other FISA applications besides Page’s were falsified? FISA is being sunsetted on 15 March; the question is whether the reauthorization will also including a restructuring of the FISA process completely.
  • Collins: Nadler and the rest don’t want to admit there was FISA abuse; they try to shift the topic by making new (and false) allegations against President Trump.
  • Carter: Once we saw the text messages between Strzok and Page, and McCabe was determined to have lied four times, we should have seen some indictments because average Americans would have been indicted in those circumstances. George Papadopoulos cooperated with the FBI the entire time, but he faced jail time through prosecutorial misconduct (the latest revelations).
  • Collins: McCabe should have been prosecuted. He lied to his own colleagues!
  • Carter: If the deputy director of the FBI can get away with lying, how does that reflect on the rest of the FBI? I believe that John Durham and AG Barr are the real deal. Durham has been overseas interviewing a lot of people, and I believe he is doing the right thing, but if he’s not, then he needs to be held accountable.
  • Collins: We are the ones who believe in the system. The Democrats believe in abusing the system to achieve their own political ends – even if it involves criminality or unconstitutional behavior.
  • Carter: The Democrats don’t care when they disparage Americans or President Trump. They think Americans aren’t smart enough to elect the “right people” (themselves). President Trump wants to do what YOU want. That’s the difference between him and them. If he had not won the 2016 election, everything would have been hidden from us. We would never have known of the corruption and criminality in the Obama administration.
  • Collins: When the Democrats started attacking a foreign leader (President Zelensky), they are telegraphing their disdain for anybody and anything that doesn’t fit their world view. They politicize everything for their own political benefit.

More to follow; we’re just getting started!

The end.

Stu Cvrk
Stu Cvrk served 30 years in the US Navy in a variety of active and reserve capacities, with considerable operational experience in the Middle East and the Western Pacific. An oceanographer and systems analyst through education and experience, Stu is a graduate of the US Naval Academy where he received a classical liberal education which serves as the key foundation for his political commentary. He threads daily on Twitter on a wide range of political, military, foreign policy, government, economics, and world affairs topics.
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