Someone got it…

I bet you in the future, that’s exactly how they will react to these tantrums..

The Wheat from the Chaff

Trump has been in office for one week, but it’s an eventful one. Before I get into the heavy stuff, I wanted to take a second to note that, on occasion, we all need to take a deep breath. Yes, some of the things he’s already done are misguided and some of his proposals are poor. He’s showing an alarming egotism and disregard for existing institutions, the law and the Constitution.

But … we’ve got 1460 days of this (at least). It’s important to figure out what to be alarmed by and what not to be alarmed by. Ken White has a great post on this, pointing out that the media and the American people have a tendency to react to stories of government abuse as though they are unprecedented, mainly because they weren’t paying attention while a President they liked was the in the Oval Office.

The urge to indulge in this habit under the thoroughly loathsome Trump Administration is overpowering. Trump and his underlings are scornful of rights and openly fantasize about abusing them. They require dedicated scrutiny. But not every ugly thing that happens now is the result of a Trumpism. Take, for instance, the concern about members of the press being arrested at anti-Trump protests. We should absolutely be vigilant for signs of the criminal justice system being abused to suppress the press and dissent. But cops have always indiscriminately arrested people at protests — including journalists — and falsified masses of improbable riot or assault or obstruction charges afterwards. Reporters have been charged plenty of times before. Sometimes it’s a reflection of law enforcement’s indiscriminate approach to arrests at protests and sometimes it’s a reflection of entrenched law enforcement hostility to press scrutiny. Is the latest incident actually a change — or is the press just noticing because this time they got caught up in it, and they are primed to expect tyranny?

Examples are legion, and not just in the criminal justice arena. Every day you’ll see old policies being cited as new Trump atrocities. Before it happened to Obama, and Bush, and so on ad infinitum.

I’ve decided to impose a 12-hour moratorium on tweeting or blogging any Trump outrage (unless it is something said or done by Trump or his surrogates). Because we’ve developed a huge problem with identifying real Trump outrages from phony ones. Just a few examples

  • Last week, the internet erupted because Trump had “scrubbed” pages from the White House website on climate change and LGBT rights. But it turned out that this was not unusual. When Trump assumed office, all of Obama’s web pages were moved to a new site and the only pages that went up were ones Trump’s team had put together. You could complain that this means LGBT rights and climate change are not priorities with Trump (which we already knew). But saying they’d been “scrubbed” was ignorant.
  • A day later, the internet erupted because Trump had declared his inauguration day a “National Day Of Patriotic Devotion”. This was creepy, but … Obama declared his to be a “National Day of Renewal and Reconciliation”. So this was ultimately much ado about nothing.
  • Yesterday, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists advanced the “Doomsday Clock” to 2.5 minutes to midnight. This is utterly meaningless.
  • Yesterday, the internet also erupted because several senior State Department staff resigned. This is a bit alarming because Trump has not filled almost all the senior positions at State (and even the most ardent small-government conservative would admit that foreign relations are the Federal Government’s job). But, as Alex noted, the resignations were not unusual or unprecedented. In fact, most senior government officials resign when a new Administration takes office. Some are just held on for continuity.
  • There’s been a bit of hubbub over the Administration telling government scientists not to communicate with the public. It’s not clear how common this is or how extensive. I am very concerned that the Administration may be politicizing science. But this is not unprecedented — the previous Administration was more than happy to indulge in pseudo-scientific trafficking “studies”. For the moment, I am holding back on a full-scale blast until it’s clear what’s going on.

The problem with these pseudo- or semi-controversies is that they obscure really bad stuff the Administration is actually doing that is not in question at all. To wit:

  • Issuing an executive order last week that has HHS grant more waivers to insurance mandates under Obamacare. That may sounds good. But since insurance companies are still forbidden from blocking insurance due to pre-existing conditions, this is only going to enhance the insurance death spiral.
  • Wallowing in conspiracy theories about voter fraud. Trump is obsessed with his popularity and is now proposing a massive investigation into mythical millions of illegal aliens voting. If masses of illegal aliens voted in 2016, they were just as skilled as the mythical Russian hackers who supposedly stole the election for Trump. They somehow disguised themselves as well-established demographic trends, voted Republican down-ballot and concentrated all their power in California, which Clinton was going to win anyway. This fantasy of Trump’s ends in one place: a national ID card and national voter database.
  • Reopening CIA black sites and resuming torture. This was one of my biggest breaks with the Republican Party and remains so. The black sites create a space where torturers can operate outside of the law, outside of the Geneva convention and outside of the rules of war. And the CIA’s record in defense of their program — destroying evidence, lying to Congress, spying on Congress — is a huge black mark against them. Trump has decreed that torture “absolutely” works despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. And whether it works or not, it is a violation of the law, our treaty obligations and basic human decency. He’s talking as though to defeat ISIS, we need to become ISIS.
  • Trump, a supposed Culture War moderate, restored the gag order that prevents NGO’s from getting money if they perform abortions or even counsel women about abortions. But he extended it further to all international health organizations, not just those involved with family planning. Organizations fighting HIV/AIDS could see their funding cut if they even mention abortion. (To be fair, this reeks of that Culture War dunderhead Pence. But Trump signed it, probably not knowing what he was signing.) This seemingly innocuous move could kill thousands, even potentially undoing Bush 43’s greatest legacy: the tremendous progress made in fighting AIDS in Africa.
  • Trump, as promised, banned immigration from several Muslim countries, including countries where we created the refugee crisis and applying even to people who helped us and are now at risk of retaliation. Oddly, or maybe not so oddly, the ban does not apply to countries where Trump has business interests.
  • He continued to make false claims about surging crime, saying DC and Philadelphia are experiencing huge surges in murder (they aren’t). He also threatened to send in the feds to deal with Chicago, which really is seeing a surge of violence. But as Radley Balko pointed out, the Feds already did look into Chicago and concluded that the policing culture, which includes such “politically correct” things as black sites, beatings, smashed dash cams and cover-ups, is the biggest problem.
  • Trump cancelled TPP, to the delight of China and the despair of the people who would have benefitted. And he’s now supporting a “border adjustment tax” that will spike the cost of consumer goods. Yesterday, it was touted as the way Mexico will pay for his stupid wall although it does not such thing. And his angry tweeting about Mexico caused the Mexican President to cancel a meeting — not a good thing for our third biggest trading partner.

Since I wrote the above, I’ve been trying to think of anything good Trump has done in the first week. He froze regulations, which is sorta good but there are few on things like airline safety that we kind of need. He froze government hiring, which is fine. He removed the ban on the Keystone Pipeline, which is fine, but not nearly the economic stimulus he thinks it will be. That’s pretty much it and all stuff we could have gotten out of a generic Republican sans the bullshit.

Look, there are bunch of you that support Trump. I get that. But you can’t claim that a man who wants political control of science, torture, baseless investigations into supposed voter fraud, hard restraints on immigration, a global gag order on abortion and a thousand other policies that clamp down on us is, in any way, a supporter of freedom or the Constitution. I said before the election that Trump had the makings of a thug. We’re only a week in but I’ve seen nothing to make me reassess that opinion.

Thanks for disappointing me douchebags!

I was cautiously optimistic that the fake news media was finally delivering some good news when I encountered a WaPo article titled The State Department’s entire senior administrative team just resigned. I read the leading paragraph:

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s job running the State Department just got considerably more difficult. The entire senior level of management officials resigned Wednesday, part of an ongoing mass exodus of senior Foreign Service officers who don’t want to stick around for the Trump era.

Needless to say I was fist-pumping and downright ecstatic that what probably amounts to one of the most ineptly staffed and politicized US government agencies was shedding useless dreck, and that it was all happening without Trump needing to tell someone to show these people their walking papers. I was hoping more of these useless collectivist credentialed dead weights would follow suit and also walk. Things could only get better. I am sure my coworkers thought I had gone bananas when I let out a guffaw and followed it up with a load “MOAR PLEASE!”. I had a bounce in my step and was feeling awesome most of the day until I ran into this:

Fake News Again

Way to let me down people. I actually hope more people take after these idiots that did the American people a favor by leaving, not just at state, but across the board (high hopes for those at the DOJ and the IRS). It will be a great thing for this country to get rid of these leftist nanny stater shitbags. They are honestly doing the country a favor by quitting.

Of course, the leftists, as this WaPo piece clearly shows, are acting as if this is something catastrophic. In their minds – for some explainable reason – these credentialed elite never-do-wells somehow are important, even thought they fuck up everything constantly, and Armageddon is sure to follow if they are no longer there to fuck things up. Talk about really not getting what is happening. I can hope that the ones that are left stayed more because they are happy the nearly a decade of nutty shit is over, but with my luck these are just the smarter people there (not really a compliment either), and thus, unwilling to risk their cushy government teat sucking job. They are at least bright enough to admit odds are high that they couldn’t do any other kind of work except in academia (that is a derogatory comment for the slow people here).

What’s obviously missing in this story: again?

Well, a few weeks ago it was some Hillary Clinton voters expressing their anger at the election of Trump to the office of the POTUS, by torturing a mentally challenged white teenager and live streaming it on Facebook. The horrific attack caused furor because it came at a time that the DNC operatives with bylines were desperate to create the illusion that America was under attack from the racists, misogynists, and other assorted evil people that the left want you to believe is the only reason Trump could beat crooked Hillary. They danced around what happened for a while, and we then spent days after with people actually telling us why 4 black teenagers brutally abusing a handicapped white kid while screaming “Fuck White People” and “Fuck Trump” didn’t amount to a hate crime or racism. The story disappeared from the news soon after that, obviously because it wasn’t the narrative these douchebags wanted to tell.

It looks like we have more of the same. Facebook was again used to stream the live rape of a Swedish woman bu three men for whom we never get a description. Trained like I am to pick up on these queues after decades of our DNC operatives with bylines doing the same when reporting on criminal or bad behaviors by the left, it became immediately obvious that the lack of details about the perps could only mean that there was another concerted effort to hide misbehavior by a group the left knows is trouble but would like to prevent us from knowing so. My first guess was that the lack of detail probably comes from pressure from the authorities not to divulge details that would embarrass the leadership cast or fear of retribution from the authorities. After all, in Europe, saying things that are not permitted, even when they are true, can and has landed people not just in trouble with the authorities, but behind bars. I did some digging, and in the comment section of this article dealing with the issue, it looks like someone has confirmed my suspicions. I expect them to end up paying for revealing information that the elites in Brussels have told the powers that be is taboo. All because the truth reflects horribly on them and what they are doing to the annoying and ungrateful serfs they are caring so hard for.

Keep it up you people. The more of this we see the more people will realize that the credentialed elite class should no longer be allowed near the leavers of power. Anyone willing to put their citizens in definite harm’s way in the name of an ideological vision and ideal, deserves the boot. I hope the Swedes go all Viking on the people doing this to their country.

Bizzaro World

So Trump’s inauguration was on Friday. It was obvious that the inauguration — while well-attended — was not as well-attended as Obama’s. There were visible open spaces on the mall, MTA ridership was down and ballpark estimates were low. 250,000 tickets were sent out but it looks like the total crowd was in about the half million range or a bit below. This would be massively less than Obama’s crowds, but close to what Bush drew. Estimates will come out soon (the Park Service no longer make estimates after Louis Farrakhan threw a fit over his “million man march” drawing “only” 400,000 people.)

For some reason, Trump and his supporters got in a tizzy over the low attendance numbers though. There were a number of arguments that could be made in Trump’s favor: the weather wasn’t great; Trump’s supporters are more working class; DC is a very heavily Democratic town; there’s less of a cult following of Trump; etc. But instead of doing that, Trump decided to go with an outright brassbound cringingly obvious lie:

White House press secretary Sean Spicer came to the briefing room Saturday to chastise journalists for their coverage of attendance at President Trump’s inauguration before leaving the briefing room without taking any questions.

..

“Inaccurate numbers involving crowd size were also tweeted,” Spicer said, his voice escalating in volume. “No one had numbers…because the National Park Service does not put any out.” He said the same applied to “any attempt to count the protesters today,” referring to the Women’s March on Washington that packed the National Mall area.

Despite the lack of numbers he cited, Spicer went on to assert “this was the largest audience to ever witness the inauguration period both in person and around the globe.”

“Photographs of the inaugural proceedings were intentionally framed in a way in one particular tweet to minimize the enormous support that had gathered on the National Mall,” Spicer said. He described what he considered unfair visuals from the event: “This was the first time in our nation’s history that floor coverings were used to protect the grass on the mall…That had the effect of highlighting any areas where people were not standing while in years past, the grass eliminated this visual.”

Later, Spicer blasted the reporting as “shameful” and “wrong,” calling them “attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration.”

Spicer cited false MTA ridership figures, made false claims about floor coverings (which were used in past inaugurations), blasted the media and then stomped out. You have to watch it to get the full flavor. He was angry. It reminded me of nothing so much as Bill Clinton wagging his finger at us and insisting he’d never touched Monica.

(Spicer also blasted Time for incorrectly reporting that MLK’s bust has been removed from the Oval Office. The reporter in question realized within hours that his view was obstructed and apologized for the error. Spicer accepted the apology on Twitter, then went out and had a hissy fit about it anyway.)

Look, I’m used to politicians lying. But never this blatantly, this stupidly or this angrily. It’s usually stuff like claiming small decreases in spending growth are “draconian cuts” that they’re the most transparent administration ever. It’s usually stuff they can weasel around. But this was an obvious lie, a ridiculous lie, the kind you would have expected for Baghdad Bob.

There’s a lot of theories floating around. Some people think Trump is gaslighting the country — trying to lie so much about little things that his lies about big things will be swallowed. Some people think he’s trying to distract attention away from other things (although the number of dumb Trump lies and dumb Trump scandals is so high, they’re guaranteed to overlap). I never ascribe to conspiracy, however, what can be ascribed to incompetence. Trump is just a dumb, venal, conceited man who desperately wants to think he is beloved and worshipped. Hence the hilarious claims that he won the election in the biggest landslide in history. Hence the bizarre claims that his approval numbers are rigged. Hence the surreal sight of a press secretary screaming at the press that a million and a half people attending the inauguration, apparently mostly disguised as empty reviewing stands. He desperately wants our admiration and worship, the two things he will never get. Because even if his Presidency goes exceedingly well … he’ll still be Donald Trump. He’s never going to be Reagan or even Bush 41. The most he can aspire to be is a low-rent Bill Clinton, a President we can say did a good job but was still a horse’s ass.

There is one real concern here, however. If the Trump Administration gets a reputation for dishonesty, it could create problems in foreign relations. If we need to reassure China that we have no intention of recognizing Taiwan, they need to believe that. If we have to mitigate a conflict between India and Pakistan, both sides have to trust us. If we tell the world that Iran has restarted its nuclear program, they can’t think we’re full of shit.

This reflexive flagrant dishonesty is going to bite us in the ass down the road.

Update: This nails it:

Rule #1 for press relations is that you can obfuscate, you can misrepresent, you can shade the truth to a ridiculous degree, or play dumb and pretend not to know things you absolutely do know. But you can’t peddle affirmative, provable falsehoods. And it’s not because there’s some code of honor among press secretaries, but because once you’re a proven liar in public, you can’t adequately serve your principal. Every principal needs a spokesman who has the ability, in a crunch, to tell the press something important and know that they’ll be believed 100 percent, without reservation.

Sean Spicer is blowing credibility on an issue that means absolutely nothing. What’s he going to do when we’re on the brink of a war or something?

Yeah, it isn’t about making sure he doesn’t succeed even if doing that is bad for America

Democrats loyal to former President Barack Obama are waging a behind-the-scenes effort to undermine President Donald Trump’s national security team by blocking key appointees, according to multiple sources familiar with the outgoing administration’s efforts.

The centerpiece of this obstruction is the recent refusal by Senate Democrats to quickly confirm incoming CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

Democratic leaders—including Sens. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), Ron Wyden (Ore.), and Patrick Leahy (Vt.)—postponed Pompeo’s confirmation, claiming they need more time to debate the pick, which is widely supported by a majority of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

The decision to stall Pompeo’s vote, a move that will leave the critical post of CIA director vacant as Trump takes office, is part of a wider effort by the outgoing administration and its allies to hamstring Trump on the national security front, according to multiple sources, including those close to the Trump administration.

Gen. Michael Hayden, a former CIA director who served under former Presidents George W. Bush and Obama, told the Washington Free Beacon that he is “puzzled by the objections recently raised” by Senate Democrats.

“It’s hell being the political football,” Hayden said Saturday afternoon, ahead of a visit by both Trump and Pompeo to the CIA headquarters in Langley, Va.

Democrats cited Hayden’s role under Bush and Obama as a precedent for Pompeo’s holdup.

“Just as Director Hayden served as a bridge between the Bush and Obama presidencies eight years ago, Director [John] Brennan could play the same role for the incoming and outgoing administrations, if the President is willing to keep him on,” Matt House, a Schumer spokesman, said in a recent press statement.

Democrats opposing Pompeo have expressed concerns about his desire to combat terrorism by boosting the collection of personal data in the United States. They also have raised concerns about Pompeo’s stance on enhanced interrogation techniques.

Hayden dismissed these concerns, saying Democratic talking points on the matter are unconvincing.

“With regard to interrogations and surveillance, Congressman Pompeo said that he would follow the law. If his intelligence professionals advised him that current law denied him intelligence opportunities that would be otherwise available, he would so advise the Congress so that they could discuss and debate whether changes in the law might be indicated,” Hayden said. “That is the essence of a professional carrying out his duty within the American political context.”

There is nothing abnormal about Pompeo’s desire to potentially strengthen the interrogation techniques available to the U.S. military, Hayden said.

I love the fact that all it took for democrats to suddenly feel spying on Americans was a bad thing that we shouldn’t be doing was for a republican to be elected! Maybe they should also ask him what his take is on drone striking as many people as possible, including Americans citizens, without due process. Cause if he is against that he certainly is taking a radical turn away from the way the Obama administration did things.

Note that I am all OK with drone striking non-Americans without any due process. Enemy combatants are enemy combatants, and while collateral damage sucks, people that hide behind human shields and then use that to play martyrs, need to be denied that benefit. But not American citizens. And Obama smoked a few of those and claimed he had the authority to just do whatever he wanted.

My point is that changing the letter next to the president’s name sure as hell made the left all righteous and concerned about abuse again for some reason…..

Women’s March

I won’t say anything about their goals or objectives. But the turnout for today’s Women’s March has so far been extraordinary. Either on Twitter or FB, I’m seeing crowds from LA to Austin to Nashville to DC. And they are dwarfing what showed up for Trump’s inaugural. It seems to be almost entirely peaceful.

Doubtless, there is a lot of stuff I’d disagree with out there (the agenda seems to be a mishmash of liberal priorities). And I’m wondering where all this was while Obama was droning American citizens and snooping through our phones. But I have to tip my hat to the organizers. This is an astonishing turnout.

Trump’s First!

The Senate today voted 98-1 to confirm Mattis as Trump’s Sec Def:

The Senate easily confirmed retired Gen. James Mattis to be the next defense secretary on Friday, shortly after President Trump took the oath of office, making Mattis the first confirmed member of the new Cabinet.

Mattis’ nomination to be the Pentagon’s top civilian easily passed the Senate in a 98-1 vote. The only “no” vote came from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, who is Trump’s nominee for attorney general, didn’t vote.

The Senate Armed Services Committee approved his nomination this week in a 26-1 vote in which Gillibrand was again the only opposition.

Gildebrant opposed the Mattis nomination under the pretense that a civilian should run the military, and she is correct: that civilian is the POTUS. Methinks however that Gildebrant had ulterior motives she hid behind a veneer of concern. From the article:

Gillibrand is a vocal member of the Armed Services Committee and has spent years crusading against the Pentagon’s policies on sexual assault in the military. Gillibrand has repeatedly and unsuccessfully introduced bills to reform the way the U.S. military handles sexual assault, in the face of objections from the Pentagon.

Mattis has been vocal about the damage done under the Obama administration that turned the military from an organization that was staffed by warriors into one staffed by social justice warriors, and his intent to change that crap. The military, contrary to the belief and agenda from the left, is the one organization that has no room for social engineering of any kind that doesn’t make its members more lethal and effective at killing and blowing up shit. That’s what war is. Or at least that is what people that want to win wars do.

After WWII, the western world over time forgot what militaries are for. I read an interesting book once that claimed this was an unavoidable consequence of the nuclear age, but I think while that did make leaders more cautious about going to war (a great thing), what really did the most damage is the move to sanitize warfare. War was, and always, will be – if you want to win – about breaking the enemy and most importantly, the enemy’s will to fight. The stupid quote that force never settled anything was coined by idiots. History is replete with examples where force settled everything. Ask the Carthaginians, the Mongols, the Armenians, the Jews, or Osama bin Laden, what their take on that is. WWII was the last war where the western world had people that fought to win. There were no innocent bystanders, and both sides bombed the living shit out of civilians.

War historically was, and is supposed to be a ugly and nasty thing to be avoided at all cost. Sanitized warfare has only resulted in a lot more and perpetual conflicts, where because the deaths happen in smaller numbers that oft does nothing but cause people to talk, has confounded many into seeing it is as a superior way of doing things. It is not. There is never any finality, and the decision to go to war has become far easier to make because the people involved always convince themselves they can keep casualties down and fight it all nice and clean like a video game. Eventually those playing the video game will end up fighting those that fight for keeps and care little for civility, and that’s when the shit hits the fan. The barbarians have always stormed the gates when those that thought civilization made war a bad idea, and nothing was worth defending, lost their bearings, and it was never good when it happened for anyone (often including the barbarians).

Anyway, this was not supposed to be a post about war itself, but about turning the military into a social engineering experiment. If they made all players plat by the same rules, at least the results would have chance of being beneficial, but what has been happening to the military – because SJW types have demanded reality and human nature subside to their ideological beliefs – has been detrimental to the survival of this country and the western world. Mattis reversing some of the idiocy of the last 5 decades, but especially the last 8 years, is a welcome thing. Gildebrant, and people like her whom want reality to bend to what they want it to be, can go do her social engineering elsewhere.

UPDATE: And his second.

UPDATE PLUS 1: Well done, sir.