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.

Iran Explodes Again

It took a while for the American media to catch on, but there are anti-government and anti-fundamentalist protests erupting all over Iran:

The largest public display of discontent in Iran since the 2009 Green Movement has brought about a series of tweets from US President Donald Trump, pushback from the Iranian government and a scene that might have been unfathomable a decade ago — protesters challenging the rule of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

Nominally, the protests are about Iran’s bad economy. But I suspect, as in 2009, there is more to it than that: a younger generation that chafes under the iron rule of the mullahs and wants Iran to move into … well, at least the 19th century. Trump has tweeted in support of it, a move I am a bit dubious of. The Iranians have a long memory of how the US propped up the Shah and it would be easy for the government to cast the protests as US meddling. However … well, I’ll get into that in a second.

Naturally, everyone is scrambling to claim credit for the protests. The Trumpists are claiming that Trump has inspired the protests because reasons. The Obamaists are given him credit because of the nuclear deal, which made it harder for the Iranian government to blame us for their spectacular incompetence and corruption. The Obama explanation sounds a little more plausible to me. I’ve never been convinced that sanctions do anything but empower dictators at the expense of the populace (see, e.g., North Korea, Cuba, Russia and Iran). We saw, with the collapse of the Communist Block, how a little bit of prosperity can fuel demands for true freedom. However …

OK, here’s the thing about that last two paragraphs. It’s tempting to try to wedge this is into our political tribalism. But the world does not revolve around the United States. Maybe Trump’s open support or Obama’s silence make a difference, but I really doubt it. The US will get blamed for the protests no matter what we do. And I don’t think the protesters really care what the President of the United States says. They’re far more concerned with what’s going on in their own country. And maybe Obama’s nuclear deal or Trump’s [insert something Trump didn’t do which he’ll claim credit for anyway] made a difference. But again, the protests happened when the sanctions were still in place.

No, I think this has way more to do with … stay with me here … Iran and the Iranians. They have a large population of young people who don’t want to live under a theocratic regime. This undercurrent has always been there — people I know who’ve been to Iran tell me it is far more pro-US than the media would have you believe. For example, they held vigils for the fallen on 9/11. I don’t think Iran’s going to become a secular Western non-Israel-hating state anytime soon. But we’ve seen a lot of baby steps toward a more moderate regime. And one of these days — maybe now, maybe ten years from now — we’re going to a big step in that direction.

So what should we do? Again, I don’t think it will make a huge difference what we do. But tempered statements of support for the people are probably fine. Maybe we can even hint at moderating sanctions further with regime change.

I’m just glad we’ve spent the last 20 years ignoring the neocon morons who wanted us to start bombing.

Dave Barry Reviews 2017

This is always the best end-of-the-year article. In 2017, it’s amazing to remember how many bizarre unbelievable stories filled the news.

Meanwhile the big emerging journalism story is the Russians, who, according to many unnamed sources, messed with the election. Nobody seems to know how, specifically, the Russians affected the election, but everybody is pretty sure they did something, especially CNN, which has not been so excited about a story since those heady months in 2014 when it provided 24/7 video coverage of random objects floating in the Pacific while panels of experts speculated on whether these objects might or might not have anything to do with that missing Malaysian airliner. You can tune into CNN anytime, day or night, and you are virtually guaranteed to hear the word “Russians” within 10 seconds, even if it’s during a Depends commercial.

President Trump, following in the footsteps of Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, tweets out a video clip from the internet in which he body-slams a wrestler with a CNN logo superimposed over the wrestler’s head. This in itself is so embarrassing that everybody assumes the story cannot get any stupider, but CNN rises to the occasion by announcing that its “KFile” investigative team has ferreted out the identity of the image’s creator, a private citizen who goes by the internet name “HanA**holeSolo.” (We are not making this up.) In a lengthy story on this journalistic coup, CNN magnanimously declares that it will not reveal HanA**holeSolo’s identity because he apologized and “showed his remorse” for other things he has tweeted that CNN, in its constitutionally prescribed role as Internet Police, deemed unacceptable. And thus the republic is saved.

Let’s hope 2018 is a bit better.

Merry Christmas

Today is a day of celebration. We celebrate brotherhood, community, family, love, and a sharing of life and it’s bounty, hope on earth and goodwill towards our fellow man. It is a day of optimism, of thankfulness, of traditions we pass down to our kids, and new ones that they will pass down to theirs. It is not only a day that we embrace our cherished existence and good fortunes, but it is also of hope, hope that the better angels of our nature will prevail in the future.

Hug your kids, tell your wife (again) that you love her, remember those less fortunate and do something that will genuinely enrich their lives, give to charities, watch those sappy Christmas movies on Hallmark Channel (I love those), but mostly, live life (not just today) for the purpose of depositing goodness and mercy to the sum total of the world’s character bank.

For Christians, today holds a special appeal, the birth of a savior and a new hope, THE reason for the season.

God bless you all.

The Tax Bill Passes

So, it happened. The GOP got the votes for the tax bill and it passed both houses today. Trump is guaranteed to sign it.

The reconciliation process fixed some of the flaws in the bill but many of the others — the explosion of debt, the blow to individual insurance markets, the half-baked territorial tax, the BS budget gimmicks that make the bill seem smaller than it actually is — remain. The cut in the corporate tax rate is good as are some of the simplifications. But it’s not the radical reform we needed. In the end, however, the deficit remains my primary concern. This is yet another example of how the GOP has abandoned even the pretense of fiscal conservatism.

That having been said, the reactions from the Left Wing are nothing short of hysterical. Seemingly, every liberal blog out there is calling this a betrayal, a plundering of America, the end of freedom, the end of America, the end of the world. The GOP tax cut bill is irresponsible, but if the “resistance” wants to be taken seriously, they need to knock it off with this apocalyptic bullshit. A bill can be bad and not be the end of the world. And hearing cries about “the process” from people who cheered Obamacare and “fiscal responsibility” from people who thought the stimulus was too small is laughable. This will not be the panacea the Republicans are claiming; but neither will it be armageddon. It’s simply one more step on our way to full fiscal insolvency, a process that’s been going, almost without pause, for 15 years.

What I think really bothers the Left is that Trump finally has an accomplishment he can claim. Frankly, he’s welcome to it.

That last part has been harped on by the Trumpaloos as proof of Trump’s genius. But I have a hard time believing any Republican President wouldn’t have gotten this tax cut through. And they might have gotten a much better and more responsible bill.

I know my blogging has fallen dramatically since Trump’s election. I’ve gone from posting almost every day to maybe once a week. The reason is because I can’t think of much to say. Trump is bad, the Democrats are stupid and the GOP is reckless. Each day of 2017 has been just a rerun of those realities. There are only so many ways I can say the same thing.

Hopefully, 2018 will see some changes. I suspect — or maybe hope is the right word — that the GOP will begin to resist Trump’s worst tendencies now that they’ve gotten their judges and their tax cuts. But we shall see.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, folks.