Archives for: January 2018

Not Watching the SOTU

No, I won’t be watching Trump’s State of the Union address tonight. I will probably read the transcript so that I can properly comment on it. This had less do with Trump and more to do with my disgust with the dreary spectacle, a feeling that dates all the way back to the Clinton Administration. Kevin Williamson put it perfectly four years ago:

The annual State of the Union pageant is a hideous, dispiriting, ugly, monotonous, un-American, un-republican, anti-democratic, dreary, backward, monarchical, retch-inducing, depressing, shameful, crypto-imperial display of official self-aggrandizement and piteous toadying, a black Mass during which every unholy order of teacup totalitarian and cringing courtier gathers under the towering dome of a faux-Roman temple to listen to a speech with no content given by a man with no content, to rise and to be seated as is called for by the order of worship — it is a wonder they have not started genuflecting — with one wretched representative of their number squirreled away in some well-upholstered Washington hidey-hole in order to preserve the illusion that those gathered constitute a special class of humanity without whom we could not live.

I used to fisk the SOTU but it’s gotten tiresome. Every President promises things he can’t possibly deliver, boasts about things he deserved little to no credit for and basks in the undeserved adulation of his party. Trump has only put that into slightly sharper focus. If he said he would go up there and stand silently while tweeting the whole thing, I might actually warm to the guy.

Occasionally, I have tuned it to see the response of the opposing party. But this year, the Democratic Party — have sensed the mood of the people turning against the establishment, against oligarchs, against entrenched power — have gone with … Joe Kennedy. Yeah, another damned Kennedy. In this case, a Kennedy who is vehemently anti-marijuana to boot.

So double no thank you.

The Clinton Cover-ups

I know, I know. It’s just so shocking, isn’t it?

A senior adviser to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign who was accused of repeatedly sexually harassing a young subordinate was kept on the campaign at Mrs. Clinton’s request, according to four people familiar with what took place.

Mrs. Clinton’s campaign manager at the time recommended that she fire the adviser, Burns Strider. But Mrs. Clinton did not. Instead, Mr. Strider was docked several weeks of pay and ordered to undergo counseling, and the young woman was moved to a new job.

Mr. Strider, who was Mrs. Clinton’s faith adviser, a co-founder of the American Values Network, and sent the candidate scripture readings every morning for months during the campaign, was hired five years later to lead an independent group that supported Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 candidacy, Correct the Record, which was created by a close Clinton ally, David Brock.

He was fired after several months for workplace issues, including allegations that he harassed a young female aide, according to three people close to Correct the Record’s management.

Yes, who would have thought that the woman who spent so much time managing her husband’s “bimbo eruptions”, slagged his accusers, wanted to paint Monica Lewinski as a psycho and thanked Juanita Broaddrick for keeping her rape to herself would do such a thing?

According to the NYT, Clinton’s staff wanted Strider fired but were over-ruled.


These people never cared at all. They’re just afraid now that The Reckoning is closing in. It’s too late to not be complicit. Hillary Clinton has zero credibility on the issue of sexual harassment. And the Democratic Party that pushed her on us as its candidate has basically no credibility either.

Exactly. As poor as the response of private industry has been to allegations of sexual harassment and assault, the response of the government has been even poorer. Yeah, Al Franken stepped down (at least in part because he could be replaced by another Democrat). But he was the first to ever do so based on allegations. The Democrats tolerated Ted Kennedy’s behavior for decades, they tolerated Bill Clinton’s behavior for decades, they said nothing about a Congressional slush fund used to pay off victims. Now, all of the sudden, they want us to believe they care? They sacrifice one goofball from Minnesota and that’s supposed to prove their bona fides?

(Note that this also is yet another illustration of how every single one of Hillary Clinton’s political instincts are terrible. Firing Strider would have taken guts and might have been a two-days story on the news. But it would have shown that Clinton took sexual harassment seriously. Not firing him kept his behavior quiet but is now creating a different kind of scandal.)

During the campaign, Trump was rightly called out for his treatment of women. Trump’s response was to bring Bill Clinton’s accusers to the debate. While it was derided as a stunt — and it kind was — it also worked because it reminded people that the Democrats do not care about this stuff when it’s their guys. Clinton’s behavior does not make Trump’s OK, obviously. But it serves as a crystal clear indication that the difference between the two parties, if any, is one of degree, not kind.

The Return of the Shutdown

It’s baaaack:

Much of the federal government officially shut down early Saturday morning after Senate Democrats, showing remarkable solidarity in the face of a clear political danger, blocked consideration of a stopgap spending measure to keep the government operating.

The shutdown, coming one year to the day after President Trump took office, set off a new round of partisan recriminations and posed risks for both parties. It came after a fruitless last-minute negotiating session at the White House between Mr. Trump and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader.

With just 50 senators voting in favor, Senate Republican leaders fell well short of the 60 votes necessary to proceed on the spending measure, which had passed the House on Thursday. Five conservative state Democrats voted for the spending measure. Five Republicans voted against it, although one of those, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, did so for procedural reasons.

The basics are this: the Democrats will not agree to a continuing resolution without a fix to the DACA situation (a problem I warned about back in September when Trump struck his crap deal with the Democrats). It seemed that there was a deal on immigration earlier this week but after a handshake deal with Schumer, Trump changed his mind apparently on the urging of the more anti-immigration members of his staff. He then indicated that he would not agree to an immigration deal until after a continuing resolution was passed. The Administration’s shifting narrative has left the Senate GOPers scrambling around, trying to figure out what exactly the President’s stance is.

Right now, everyone is trying to find someone to blame. As far as that goes, I would allocate the blame thusly:

Chuck Schumer (20%) — Schumer made passage of the CR conditional on a DACA agreement. I support DACA (as do the vast majority of Americans, including Republicans). But this is the big hangup. Even attaching six years of CHIP funding couldn’t get him on board.

Mitch McConnel (30%) – Flake effectively called McConnell out, saying they should put together a deal and send it Trump and let him sign or veto it. Unfortunately, that chance may have passed. With the shutdown in effect, Trump will feel that his manhood is at stake. Which means #1 is:

Trump (50%) – Trump killed a bipartisan deal on DACA, which plunged us into this abyss. He has given no indication to his own party what his intentions are. And by making immigration his signature issue, he has put that as the stumbling block before everything. In past government shutdowns, the President played a key role, making it clear what he wanted, what he might concede on, what he might not. In the Gingrich-Clinton shutdown, Clinton was constantly negotiating with the GOP and you knew what his stance was. In the Obama-Ryan shutdown, both sides were clear on their intentions. Hell, if you go back to the Carter shutdowns, it was clear where everyone stood on the abortion funding issue. Having a White House with no clear agenda is the biggest problem right now.

It’s hard to give the Democrats most of the blame here when the Republicans control both houses and the White House. They’re being dumb to shut down the government over DACA but the Republicans are more dumb not only for failing to come up with a deal but for kicking down the road again back in September.

In any case, the big question is where do we go from here and … I have no idea. The logical course is for the Senate to make a deal without Trump and then hope he’ll sign it. But Republicans are too cowardly and Democrats too craven for that right now. So I expect this one to last for a while.

A Seat For The Deplorable Vet

The SOTU is coming at the end of the month. If we go with some of the Chicken Little’s here, the true TDS sufferers, the state is in bad shape,”grim, desperate times “, gee, that sounds pretty bad. Of course, reality is otherwise.

Your typical SOTU is more fanfare, boilerplate, propaganda, and talking points then any real objective analysis of current affairs. The President will always put a happy face on events, unless his party does not hold Congress, then it’s the other guy’s fault. No real news is made or new policies revealed, some strutting and jeering, but usually just snooze inducing. Of course this upcoming SOTU will be a bit different, see, some Democrats just can’t be in the same room with Trump, so they will boycott, what a punch of pussies;

On Monday, after Congresswoman Maxine Waters joined other Democratic lawmakers announcing they planned to skip President Trump’s State of the Union address, an American veteran who served 10 years in the Army and two tours in Afghanistan had a a great idea that quickly went viral, suggesting that the seats be filled with veterans instead.

Waters announced last Friday night on MSNBC that she would join three other House Democrats, Rep. John Lewis (GA), Rep. Frederica Wilson (FL), and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR) to boycott the January 30 address. Waters snapped, “Why would I take my time to go and sit and listen to a liar? … He doesn’t deserve my attention.”

The veteran had a powerful rejoinder to Waters and her cohorts:

Here is Deplorable Vet, and his tweets.

What a great idea. I suggest Trump send out a tweet requesting that any Dem congress critters that wish to stay home and catch up on old reruns of Gossip Girl, let him know a head of time so he can fill those seats with Vets. In addition, invite a few hundred vets to the event and if no seats are available, standing room only can be used in the back. As several respond tweets can attest, many vets would love to attend. We can all be spared the sour constipated faces that normally accompany the sore losers, make it a party.

Maybe something like this.

Wrong is not Unconstitutional

I’m a bit bumfuzzled by last week’s judicial decision on DACA. A federal judge suspended Trump’s efforts to end DACA. Doug Mataconis gets into the weeds of the federal issue, notably the issue of “equitable estoppel” — the idea that it is unfair to DACA recipients to have had the government make promises to them, have them act on those promises and then have the rug jerked out from under them. I understand those arguments, to the extent I can. But ultimately, it seems absurd that Trump can not undo by executive order what Obama did by executive order.

Look, I’m in favor of extending DACA. And it frustrates me no end that Trump apparently nixed a deal last week on advice from rat-toad Stephen Miller. But he is will within his authority to undo Obama’s executive orders. In fact, most of Trump’s “accomplishments” in his first year have simply been rescinding Obama executive orders. Live by the pen and the phone, die by the pen and the phone. I opposed Obama’s DACA order precisely for that reason: that this is something that should be done through Congress. Yeah, Trump’s being a jerk by treating the Dreamers this way. But Obama was just as big a jerk by getting the Dreamers to believe that they were taken care of when they, in fact, were not.

I have been saying this now for 15 years and the lesson is still not sinking in: executive power is not a way to run a government. The Democrats still haven’t learned this lesson; their leadership voted just last week to give Trump expanded surveillance powers. But the danger to DACA recipients is the result of depending on the executive to right all the wrongs in our country. What one king can do another can undo. And that is no way to run a country.

The Wolff Book

Look, I understand it’s the BIG NEWS now that Michael Wolff wrote a book that purports to chronicle Trump’s rise to power and first year in office. But having read excerpts from it, it crosses me as as bit … exaggerated (and frankly, sloppy). I think it’s quite likely that Trump didn’t really want to be President and I think it’s quite likely that his Administration, especially in the early days, was marked by chaos, backstabbing and incompetence. But the picture he paints is one of complete dysfunction which I’m not seeing. Like it or not, this Administration has gotten some things done. Blunderingly, haltingly and while pissing two-thirds of the country off. But they did put in a travel restriction, they did cut taxes, they did get judges appointed, they have rolled back some regulation, they are ending a lot of immigration programs and may move on trade soon. Whether you like what they’re doing or not — and I have many issues — this is not an Administration in complete paralysis.

Moreover, think it would be dangerous for Trump opponents to read this and underestimate the relative order that Kelly has brought to things. There is a tendency of the “resistance” to buy any story about Trump as long as it’s bad, to see his tweets as a diagnostic of what’s going on inside the White House. And there’s been a recent and foolish tendency to try to diagnose Trump as having a mental disease. But NeverTrumper David Brooks cautions against this:

Imagine if Trump didn’t tweet. The craziness of the past weeks would be out of the way, and we’d see a White House that is briskly pursuing its goals: the shift in our Pakistan policy, the shift in our offshore drilling policy, the fruition of our ISIS policy, the nomination for judgeships and the formation of policies on infrastructure, DACA, North Korea and trade.

It’s almost as if there are two White Houses. There’s the Potemkin White House, which we tend to focus on: Trump berserk in front of the TV, the lawyers working the Russian investigation and the press operation. Then there is the Invisible White House that you never hear about, which is getting more effective at managing around the distracted boss.

I mention these inconvenient observations because the anti-Trump movement, of which I’m a proud member, seems to be getting dumber. It seems to be settling into a smug, fairy tale version of reality that filters out discordant information. More anti-Trumpers seem to be telling themselves a “Madness of King George” narrative: Trump is a semiliterate madman surrounded by sycophants who are morally, intellectually and psychologically inferior to people like us.

Exactly. The internet has been buzzing about a recent report that Trump only works at most about 7 hours a day and spends most of his time watching television and talking on the phone. Let’s assume that’s true. And? What does this mean, exactly? Many celebrity politicians get bored with politics once they realize how limited their power is. I have long predicted that this would happen with Trump. The descriptions of Trump cross me less as a Howard Hughes type madman gradually retreating to his lair and more of a man who really doesn’t want to be President and is happy to turn as much responsibility over to his staff as possible. This is probably for the best, but it is a double-edged sword. Trump’s staff are unelected, only accountable to him and free to pursue their own agendas. Many of the policies we see being enacted are still bad ideas. And the possibility that Trump is an unstable person looms over us. So, sure, there is reason for concern. But the recent spate of articles calling for the 25th Amendment to be invoked are still, one year into this Administration, premature. This is not a situation for panic. Yet.

Our friend Thrill read the book and has more detail. But my limited time has become even more limited now that I’m teaching so I will probably not find the time to slog through it. Nevertheless, I will recommend taking it a grain of salt. Hell, I recommend taking any story about the inner workings of this Administration with a grain of salt.

Voting With Their Wallets

I saw this last week;

He packed a lot into this short clip. Identity politics (how dare millennials vote “oddly”, we told them how to vote), that this tax cut will really benefit everyone, not just the rich ,”God know how many of them will see their taxes go down and base it just on that”, that they are still not over the election, millennials need to be pandered to just like women, blacks, and Latinos.

one third of them are safe, these don’t pay taxes, don’t understand economics, and are easily swayed by what ever rapper or movie star says.

But those millennials that do work, do pay taxes and do understand the value of their labor, watch out. A dem that believes millennials could be snookered into believing the GOP is the better choice for financial self-determination.

This should give them chills.

Lock Her Up? Not So Fast

Russian collusion, that is what they told us, remember? Not being able to accept the unfathomable (Hillary lost? How did that happen, Ah, the sneaky Russians) an explanation was needed, even a fabricated one. The problem with running with a fabricated narrative and tasking investigators to look under rocks, some of your dirty laundry just might turn up………oops;

Hillary Clinton could be in for a rough 2018. The former Obama-era Secretary of State is facing three investigations and could be part of a fourth investigation, all of which the Clintons insist is nothing more than a manufactured attempt by “Trump” and “Fox News” to divert attention from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia election probe.

Below are the investigations that Clinton is facing, or could face in the near future:

Taken in succession;

1) Clearly this was long overdue. I know there is a substantial cadre of followers out there that parrot the notion, “Hey, she lost, you guys won, we don’t lock up political opponents like banana republics, leave her alone”. This would naturally follow if the losing opponent had not committed actual crimes. If an FBI investigation (a real one, not one guided by a Hillary sycophant) reveals irregularities, doesn’t justice demand some retribution? As the very least, massive fines and a closing down of that Clinton money laundering enterprise? Lets see were the facts take us.

2) This one stunk from the very beginning. I was going to tic off all the irregularities but I found this, from a real live seasoned FBI investigator;

When it happened I wrote posts about the irregularities, Comey putting on a “prosecutor” hat (one they don’t ever wear), the clandestine meeting at the tarmac, no grand jury, immunity given out like candy. But this is a boombshell;

On Thursday, The Hill published a report from John Solomon which featured former FBI Director James Comey’s original draft on the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server. The draft showed that the term “gross negligence” was used multiple times and specifically said that there was evidence to conclude that Clinton committed a felony. Anti-Trump FBI agent Peter Strzok, who texted about having an “insurance policy” against Trump’s election, softened the language in Comey’s draft so Clinton could avoid possible criminal charges.

Oh, and guess what, Comey probably needs to go to jail as well. Comey giving his friend classified memo’s to leak to the press? Let’s look into that as well.

3)I know Hal has told us over and over that there is no there there, but smarter more connected and certainly more knowledgeable folks have opined that there is lots of there there, for now I say lets investigate. It certainly seems like a quid pro quo, but if “seems” was all you needed to convict, Zarate and Officer Yanes would be in prison now.

4) OK, now this one is rather recent, and about a juicy as they get. We now most of the lengths Obama went to secure his bad Iranian nuclear deal (he needed something to secure a flapping in the wind legacy) but if any of this is true, great googly moogly, this would be huge. Put some sunshine on this as well.

Democrats have long backtracked from their Russian collusion meme, now all that’s left is to let Mueller hunt for evidence for their inevitable impeachment wet dream. But it is amusing to watch them trip over each other to get away from the Steele Dossier;

Democrats have been quoting from the infamous anti-Trump “Steele dossier” as if it were gospel, but now that Hillary Clinton has been revealed as its paymaster and a Hillary-friendly FBI is under investigation for possibly launching the Trump-Russia “collusion” probe under its false pretenses, they are suddenly in full retreat from it.

Their credibility is in tatters along with the discredited document.

You know, if Hillary just road into the sunset and disappeared like all other losers, I would probably (?) be more forgiving. But justice has really been turned on it’s head of late. Flynn is hip deep in the grease for lying, but Hillary lied, Mills lied, Abedine lied, that tech guy that bleached her server, he lied, Lady Justice is supposed to keep her blind fold on tight, and the rule of law equally applied is the very cornerstone of our democracy.

No, Hillary or Comey or any of the other bit players are going to jail, or is Trump going to fire Mueller, but normal folk like to see evil doers pay for their sins. If anything, the Clintons and all their willing henchmen need to be exposed so that the history books have a proper accounting of events. Ditto with Trump, he better have all his ducks in a row because if the dems take the house this year……….the best paid job in DC, being a Trump lawyer.

The Apocalypse Will Be Tweeted

OK, that headline is a bit over the top. But last night, our President — who constantly tells us he doesn’t watch TV — tweeted this out ten minutes after Fox News did a segment on North Korea’s nuclear button:

The reaction to the tweet has been, as the reaction to Trump’s tweets always is, a bit hysterical. He’s not about to plunge us into war. He doesn’t literally have a nuclear button nor is he likely to push it anytime soon. This is Trump being Trump: always having to be the center of attention, always having to tweet about something he sees on TV, always saying things partially in jest, partially in anger and partially because he can.

However, the continual childishness, pettiness and silliness of the President is something to be concerned about. It always has been. Julian Sanchez:

A lot of Trumpers are trying to make the case that the President has had a great first year because he cut taxes … eventually. And he got judges approved — although an unprecedented number have been rejected by his own Congress for being grossly unqualified. And he cut regulations — although many of those were actually cut by Obama. I can see that. But Trump hasn’t done anything really revolutionary. He’s basically adopted the Republican agenda. There are few Republicans out there who wouldn’t have signed off on a tax cut or appointed judges. And there are many who made have made the tax cut less fiscally reckless or had an actual health reform plan. But sure, fine, you got a tax cut. And the world hasn’t burned up. Yet.

But … here is my concern. I feel that over the last year, the President eroded many of the political, diplomatic and legal norms that hold our world together. There is a human tendency to take things for granted and to start nitpicking at the minor concerns of the things that keep us safe from major concerns. For example, anti-vaxxers fret about the possible side effects of the vaccines that protects us from diseases that have killed millions. Anti-NATO people worry about the cost of an alliance that has maintained the longest peace in Europe … ever. We become spoiled. We expect the world to just function without a continuous ongoing effort to maintain the status quo. We forget that the Four Horseman are always ready to ride and that barbarism is only a few weeks away at the best of times. Political, social and cultural norms can sometimes be wrong, misguided or unnecessary. But they do not spring from holes in the ground; they are the result of decades of trying to make the world work better.

At some point, Trump’s erosion of norms going to bite us in the ass very hard. At some point, we will need to alert the world to a serious geopolitical threat and they won’t listen to us. At some point, we may need to engage in military action and people will think it’s just Trump being a toddler. At some point, we will lean on those norms that hold our civilization together and, instead of propping us up, they will yield.

Just because we haven’t yet paid a price for having a President who spends half the day watching Fox News and rage-tweeting about it doesn’t mean that price won’t have to be paid.