Archive for February, 2017

2/7/2017: But Mom, he hit me back!

Ed Morrissey: Senate talk-a-thon: Full of sound and fury signifying … no change –

Democrats spent the entire night and morning exhausting its debate time in an effort to convince the other Republicans to abandon DeVos and hand Donald Trump his first defeat on Cabinet nominations. … This morning, Sen. Chris Smith (D-CT) admitted that it’s not doing any good 
And it’s not quite over yet. Having realized that they’re impotent, Senate Democrats have set phasers on full gadfly, a setting several power levels below stun
it’s not a rebuke unless they can keep them from getting confirmed. This looks more like an historic temper tantrum, one which provides a large contrast between Senate Democrats now and Senate Republicans eight years ago. That’s the real “historic” comparison. And don’t think for a moment that the lessons of this tantrum are lost on voters, even if the tantrums take place when few are awake to watch them.

Victor Joecks describes the ‘compare and contrast’ viewpoint as Bad blood in the Nevada Senate – In this case, the Californication of Nevada has Las Vegas Democrats as the majority in the Nevada Legislature. They are seeking to turn over anything the previous session passed, bi-partisan or no, and are backstabbing the previous legislator’s leaders. This year the legislative leaders were selected by race. So it’s spite, bigotry, and racism driving the majority party.

Morrissey also notes Schumer says Gorsuch will need to get 60 votes in Senate –

What’s rather remarkable about this piece — it’s short and easy to read in full — is that it barely mentions Gorsuch himself, and makes no case that his confirmation is problematic. That makes some sense, given that Senate Democrats confirmed him to the appellate court by acclamation over a decade ago. That includes every current member of Senate Democratic leadership, including Schumer himself.

Furthermore, Schumer’s essay contains exactly zero acknowledgement of the fact that his party put the 60-vote threshold on the chopping block with its own exercise of the nuclear option in late 2013.
It’s an amazing example of projection. For those who have children, the entire article can be summed up thusly: “Mom, he hit me back!”
Actually, the question is how much damage has already been done to the country by Senate Democrats, and whether they will ever own up to it

And another Morrissey: Are Senate Dems planning a government shutdown? – “that the shutdown will be over nearly nothing but spite … Democrats will have nothing but Trumpophobia as their issue.” That can compare to when Republicans tried the tactic when they did have a rational case.

Kevin D. Williamson: There is no serious case against DeVos, Price, or Mnuchin – [update: DeVos approved by Chair tie breaker vote Tuesday morning]

The leaders of the Democratic party, especially Senator Chuck Schumer, need to think a little more deeply about the precedent they are setting with their near-unanimous and purely partisan opposition to virtually all of President Donald Trump’s remaining Cabinet choices.
The Democrats are making a dishonest argument, most intensely against DeVos, that being “qualified” for an office means agreeing with the Democrats on substantive policy questions.
A generation ago, Democrats thought they could destroy Robert Bork in an act of petty political score-settling against President Ronald Reagan and never pay a price for it. They have, and the country has, as an increasingly politicized federal bench has undermined both the prestige and the perceived legitimacy of the judiciary. If you are wondering why Americans haven’t exactly gasped at Trump’s ugly denunciation of a “so-called judge,” that is part of the explanation: We may believe that judges should be above politics, but who believes that they actually are?

Sally Zelikovsky: The Blood Libels of the Left – the must read for today

Antifa is short for “anti-fascist” and is pronounced an-TEE-fah. According to left-leaning tech magazine Wired, they are “militant anti-fascist[s]” and “anarchists prone to property destruction and online abuse.they double down on political polarization, driving the national narrative even further from center.”
Do not brush off these protests as the usual left wing rent-a-mobs. This is the stuff coups and revolutions are made of.
When Democrats characterize mainstream Republicans and conservatives as members of the alt-right, they aren’t just on a slippery slope, but a sheer vertical drop from which there is no return. If this continues unaddressed, they will have our blood on their hands.

Peter Hasson: In Their Own Words: Anti-Trump ‘Resistance’ Leaders Say They Want To Make America ‘Ungovernable’ – “leaders of anti-Trump “resistance” efforts are communicating the same simple but dark message: they want to make America “ungovernable” for the president of the United States.” Do they not consider the implications of their behavior?

These protesters say they will do whatever it takes to keep Trump from enacting his agenda, and many of them have shown a willingness to destroy public property, assault law enforcement officers and inflict violence upon their fellow citizens.
“We won this night. We will control the streets. We will liberate the land. We will fight fascists. We will dismantle the state,” Occupy Oakland captioned the photo. “This is war.”

Willis Eschenbach pleads Scientists, Please Don’t March – “Why is this a bad idea? Three reasons. There’s no clarity on what they are marching for. There’s no clarity on what they are marching against. And they are marching on Earth Day.”

I feel sorry for these folks. They are most likely good scientists in their fields, but they truly are out of their depth organizing either a march or a movement. A public march is only worth doing if you have a clear and compelling message. You need to show people a path from here to the desired future, offer real actions people can take, and urge people to take those actions. But “You should listen to evidence”? Where does that go?
So I implore all scientists, please don’t add your names to this foolish attempt. Don’t go on this march around Washington to lecture us on why we’re wrong. It will just piss people off and further damage the reputation of science and scientists. We’re lectured out, you’ve cried “wolf” too many times. Stay home and enjoy the day.

Rich Lowry: Sorry: Trump’s immigration order is totally legal – “If the law means anything, the Trump administration will succeed in overturning the so-called court ruling against its travel ban.”

The nationwide stay of the ban issued by Judge James Robart, a Washington state-based federal district judge, is tissue-thin. It doesn’t bother to engage on the substance, presumably because facts, logic and the law don’t support Robart’s sweeping assertion of judicial authority in an area where judicial power is inherently quite limited.
Judge Robart may not like the Trump policy, but that doesn’t mean that it is illegal or unconstitutional. His ruling is worthy of the generally unhinged opposition to President Trump. If the judge doesn’t deserve the abuse that Trump heaped on him on Twitter, he produced what should rightly be considered so-called jurisprudence.

Lowry tosses in a ‘both sides’ aside with “President Donald Trump tweeting that Robart is a “so-called judge.” and suggesting the comment “may encourage other judges to tilt against Trump’s ban in response.” That ignores the similar or worse behavior of previous presidents and impugns the judiciary in asserting that they cannot rise above such comments to meet their obligations to the law. As such, Lowry indicates his own dissonance in grappling with reality.

Morrissey has been busy and offers another essay about Former nat-sec officials file brief to fight Trump EO – this is the more insidious revolt as “Nine former high-ranking government officials filed an affidavit with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal to urge that the temporary restraining order on Donald Trump’s “travel ban” executive order remain in place.” They are asking the courts for a political judgment, not a legal one.

The question for courts in this situation is not whether the policy implemented by Donald Trump through this EO is wise, but whether it fits within his legal authority. We have elections to deal with wisdom or lack thereof on policy, and Congress to work with the president on statutory obligations and boundaries on policy (as well as the Constitution).
It’s true that presidents do not have “unfettered” authority to do anything, but that’s as meaningless as saying that neither do judges. … The ability to craft policy on visa and refugee entry falls within the constitutional authority given to the executive for national defense, and within statute specifically dealing with those issues. As such, it falls easily within Youngstown‘s Zone 1 of presidential authority.

But what about the policy? Is it really all that irrational? Not according to a study from the moderate-Muslim think tank Quilliam

The key issue here is whether the courts will follow the law or the ideology of the judges. That is what worries people who know that we have no civilization unless law has precedence. It is a very clear cut Constitutional Crisis on the plate. Will the law prevail?

Scott Johnson has a Ninth Circuit Update with links to a special page set up by the court for the case and other useful information. One of those links is to Andrew C. McCarthy explaining why he thinks even SCOTUS may go against law and precedent. Essentially, it is Justice Kennedy’s previous cases where he has indicated that the courts are superior to everybody else. “as I’ve been arguing for years now, the Supreme Court operates more like an unelected super-legislature than a judicial tribunal.”

McCarthy also asserts: Prosecute the Rioters – “And make sure that we condemn them as well.”

The message could not be clearer: For the political Left in this country, violence in the pursuit of “social justice” is not to be condemned, it is to be understood. There is the occasional winking rebuke of the forcible methods, but the underlying “progressive” cause is always endorsed, and the seditionist vanguard is the object of adulation.

It is a huge problem in our country.

What is being championed is not dissent. It is the destruction of the right to dissent. It is the suspension of the rule of law, without which a free society protective of life, liberty, and property is impossible.

One of the Fake News items is about UCB being the birthplace of the free speech movement. Jonah Goldberg begs to differ with The ‘Reasonabilists’ of Berkeley – “If you think free speech is assault but assault is free speech, you’re a moron of world-historical proportions.”

I’m not going to wade deep into the weeds on all this, but if you want to you can read, say, Nathan Glazer’s 1965 Commentary essay “What Happened at Berkeley.”

“Those of us who watched the Free Speech Movement (FSM) daily set up its loud-speakers on the steps of the administration building to denounce the president, the chancellor, the newspapers, the Regents, the faculty, and the structure and organization of society in general and universities in particular, could only admire the public-relations skill exhibited in the choice of a name for the student movement,” Glazer wrote.

The Coyote has an interesting model for a broken organization that seems to fit very well with the public school system. See Why We Need School Choice, in One Chart – “I call all these factors “organizational DNA”. This is from years ago about a corporate example, but the same is true of any organization.”

One will hear that criticism of public schools in unfair because they have all these great teachers in them. Examples will be cited. I say: “Exactly!” That is why change is needed. Public schools are hiring good people and putting them in an organization and system where they deliver poor results. Let’s liberate this talent.

By the way, one of the misconceptions about school choice is that it necessarily means the end of public schools. I find this an unlikely outcome, at least in most areas. Competition from Japan meant that Ford lost some of its customers to Toyota, but it also meant that Ford became a lot better.

Judith Curry provides a Response to critiques: Climate scientists versus climate data and provides a set of examples that show why a reasoned debate can be rather difficult.


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2/6/2017 The Deplorables versus the Depraved

But, of course, this sort of thing doesn’t matter.

First, the lawsuit could have been dismissed by the district court (or the court of appeals) in whole or in part for lack of jurisdiction. Second, the district court did not give the required legal reasoning in its order to justify the TRO. Third, the court had no business enjoining the executive order nationwide, instead of just in the two states. But fourth, once the district court issued the TRO, the appeals court had no authority to touch any other aspect of this legal challenge until it reaches the next stage of litigation.

Ken Klukowski explains the Travesty of Legal Errors in Immigration EO Lawsuit – “Washington and Minnesota’s lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s immigration executive order (EO) showcases a cavalcade of legal errors.”

But having made those errors, there is nothing the Justice Department can do until the TRO is superseded by a preliminary injunction (PI). A TRO expires within 14 days of being issued, unless another event overtakes it first.
Given the liberal makeup of the Ninth Circuit, however, the Justice Department faces an uphill fight in San Francisco. More likely this issue is heading to the U.S. Supreme Court, meaning that President Trump’s EO—and immigration as a whole—could become a major topic of discussion in the confirmation process of the Supreme Court’s incoming ninth justice, Neil Gorsuch.

Byron York also weighs in: Justice Department demolishes case against Trump order – “James Robart, the U.S. district judge in Washington State, offered little explanation for his decision … Now the government has answered Robart, and unlike the judge, Justice Department lawyers have produced a point-by-point demolition of Washington State’s claims.”

the Justice Department argued that Robart’s restraining order violates the separation of powers, encroaches on the president’s constitutional and legal authority in the areas of foreign affairs, national security, and immigration, and “second-guesses the president’s national security judgment” about risks faced by the United States.
The government brief supported the president’s decision on both legal and constitutional grounds, starting with the law. And that starts with the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952
On the larger question of the Trump order’s constitutionality, the government makes a very simple point: foreign nationals in foreign countries do not have U.S. constitutional rights
strength of the case does not assure victory. As Laura Ingraham, the conservative radio host who also served as a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, tweeted on Sunday: “The law is on Donald Trump’s side. Doesn’t mean that the courts will follow it.”

Ilya Somin beclowns himself, again, trying to explain Why Trump’s refugee order is unconstitutional –“On its face, the order does not discriminate on the basis of religion” but, of course, he knows better as words only mean what he thinks they ought to. He goes into a tortured explanation about why a temporary ban of visitors from countries where citizen documentation is suspect that were selected by a previous administration is really a religious ban and not a security issue. Then Somin ignores precedent and diminishes that part of the Constitution he does not like.

A more reasoned approach is Focusing on temporary visas as protected “liberty interests” in the challenges to Trump’s Immigration EO – the key argument here is about a topic not explicit in the EO which is the matter of current visa and green card holders with established U.S. residence. The EO is being treated as if it was a lot more than it is.

In order to analyze that hybrid constitutional/statutory question, however, one needs to focus on the most legally plausible constitutional interest at stake that would counsel for a narrow construction of the President’s power. In my view, the EO’s point of greatest vulnerability is its depriving long-term U.S. residents with non-immigrant visas of their interest in entering the United States and returning to their homes, families, workplaces, and schools. By contrast, the claim that the EO violates equal protection faces a steeply uphill battle. Disparate impacts on Muslims are not sufficient to trigger strict scrutiny (although the smoking gun of Trump’s campaign speeches as well as Giuliani’s boasting about creating a “Muslim ban” might suffice to shift the burden of proof). Moreover, nationality-based discrimination is still deeply embedded in our immigration system, despite the 1965 move away from national quotas. The Hart-Celler Act of 1965 still maintains per-country limits on immigration, and, more recently, national categories similar to those in Trump’s EO were used to exclude immigrants from the visa waiver program in the Terrorist Travel Prevention Act. I do not see federal judges eager to overturn all such nationality-based distinctions in immigration law in the name of equal protection.

Daniel Greenfield: Judge James Robart is the swamp that Trump must drain – “This is the radical judge who endorsed the racist Black Lives Matter hate group from the bench and illegally blocked President Trump’s order to keep Americans safe.”

This is why there is so much concern about SCOTUS and rogue justices and one of the major issues that help elect Trump. James A. Lyons essay on Restoring America’s leadership and security – “President Trump’s political revolution points a way forward” is pertinent here, too.

It is interesting that a Democrat on a talking heads panel was totally outraged and disgusted by Trump setting aside Putin murders with a ‘U.S. does it, too’ comment and then seeing a CBS Poll: Two-Thirds of Democrats Say Islam, Christianity Equally Violent reported by Neil Munro.

Almost seven out 10 Democrats believe Islam “encourages violence… about the same as other religions,” according to a new CBS poll.

The trusting attitude towards Islam is revealed in the February 2017 poll follows 17 tumultuous years of attacks against Americans motivated or shaped by Islamic ideology throughout the United States
Progressive and left-wing activists say much violence is caused by Christians, although few make the argument that the violence is motivated Christian doctrines.

Sarah Gustafson: Obama’s higher education record: a low bar for Betsey DeVos – “critics will continue to frame her as dangerously inexperienced. Even the slightest misstep will be held up as proof she’s out of her depth.”

critics should grade DeVos on a curve, with the midpoint set at the Obama administration’s less-than-elegant higher education policymaking. Let’s review that record.
Reviewing the follies of the Obama administration’s higher education agenda is not meant to be (completely) cynical. There are lessons here for DeVos. Making good higher education policy is challenging. And the stakes are quite high: bad policy and slipshod implementation put students’ futures and taxpayers’ dollars at risk. DeVos must treat postsecondary education with as much consequence and care as she would elementary and secondary education policies.

But the lesson for everyone else: the left-of-center politicians and advocacy groups who worry Betsy DeVos lacks higher education experience treated the Obama administration with kid gloves each time the administration botched a new reform. Take their sudden worry that DeVos will commit all sorts of policy blunders with a grain of salt.

Noting some whistle-blowing by Delingpole: NOAA Scandal Gives Trump The Perfect Excuse To Drain The Climate Swamp –

In the field of energy and climate, President Trump has said that there is a massive swamp that needs draining.

But his efforts are being resisted at every turn by all those lying scientists, bent politicians, rent-seeking businessmen, and Soros-funded activist groups who insist: “What swamp? What crocodiles? What leeches? Nothing to see here!”
What does this all mean in terms of science? Not much. As we’ve seen above, there have been strong suspicions about Karl et al’s paper since the moment it was published.

In terms of the climate propaganda wars, on the other hand, it is huge: this is a blow from which the Alarmist establishment may never recover for it gives the Trump administration just the excuse it needs to sweep clean the Augean of corrupt climate science once and forever.

Trump is now in the perfect position to demand that climate-related scientific bodies in receipt of government funding (ie all of them) make their code and data available to the public.

This gets interesting because there is a massive effort to ‘save the data from Trump’ as the Left knows he is going to destroy it. The Left knows a lot of things, it seems, that are rather strange when viewed in the sunshine of reality. See John Bates on Climate scientists versus climate data on Dr. Curry’s blog – “A look behind the curtain at NOAA’s climate data center.”

I read with great irony recently that scientists are “frantically copying U.S. Climate data, fearing it might vanish under Trump” (e.g., Washington Post 13 December 2016). As a climate scientist formerly responsible for NOAA’s climate archive, the most critical issue in archival of climate data is actually scientists who are unwilling to formally archive and document their data. I spent the last decade cajoling climate scientists to archive their data and fully document the datasets. I established a climate data records program that was awarded a U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal in 2014 for visionary work in the acquisition, production, and preservation of climate data records (CDRs), which accurately describe the Earth’s changing environment.

Robert Knight: Left uses violence but decries ‘speech as violence’ – “Respect for faith and family trumps ‘the power of the people’” – “In the upside down world of leftist activism, speech is violence while actual violence is an appropriate response.” The Boy Scouts caving to Leftist bullying is the example.

Another form of anarchy is the violence done to language in the name of ideology. Without common understanding of the meaning of words, we cannot communicate, much less engage in meaningful dialogue.

The enemies of civilization in America figured out long ago that they could control debates by controlling language. In order to avoid the smear of “extremism” and to get along, most people reflexively adopt the new terms. You know, turning homosexuality into “gay,” abortion into “choice,” gambling into “gaming,” smut into “erotica” and government spending into “investments.”

One reason that Donald Trump evokes such fear and hatred among progressives is that he avoids politically correct phraseology. It’s not that he didn’t get the memo; he tore it up and sent it back in tiny pieces.
The mobs at Berkeley and the go-along-to-get-along leadership of the BSA might regard themselves as the vanguard of a cultural revolution, but they’re just peddling their own forms of anarchy. While they drift into nonsense, a quiet revolution is taking shape below the radar that aims to reestablish respect for the permanent things of faith, family and freedom. Not to mention sanity.

J. Christian Adams provides another example of “ violence done to language in the name of ideology.” Why the North Carolina voter ID case matters – “It’s actually an attempt to preserve the Voting Rights Act.” – “Because voter ID is overwhelmingly popular, and because courts have largely supported it, they are trying to change what the Voting Rights Act means.”

They may never admit it, but the civil rights industry is tired of spending millions of dollars only to lose most voter ID fights in court. Instead of declaring defeat, the strategy has shifted to changing the rules of engagement, and trying to transform the Voting Rights Act into something it isn’t.

On appeal, however, the judges ruled in the exact opposite direction for North Carolina: claiming that the state went out of its way to intentionally discriminate against minorities. It did this by substituting its own version of the facts, even though appeals courts don’t see witnesses, and even though experts for the United States were found to be not credible.
This difference between two courts was because of how the Voting Rights Act was read.
There is more at stake than the integrity of elections. If the Court does not intervene, the nation could see one of the shining achievements of the Civil Rights era be politicized.

Rebecca Hagelin has the ‘compare and contrast’ down pat in Thank God for Kellyanne Conway – “She’s one of the smartest, most kind, most thoughtful people you could ever hope to meet. And the mass media are intent on destroying her.”

the deeper reason for the particularly venomous attacks aimed at Kellyanne is so simple that it’s sophomoric: The media are professionally embarrassed that Donald Trump won the election despite their repeated attempts to kill his campaign. So, they have decided to destroy the one who made that victory possible.
While the media elites publicly ignore the fact that Kellyanne made history and should be lauded as a role model for all women who have struggled in the male-dominated political arena, they secretly obsess over the fact that she beat their pants off.
And they really can’t accept the fact that their woman, Hillary Clinton, was beaten by a man whose “right-hand man” is actually a conservative lady.

Thank God that Kellyanne continues to fight and win. And mark my words: She will keep fighting, with millions of Americans cheering her on.

Michael Filozof says The United States Cannot Survive as Presently Constituted – “With slight shades of difference,” wrote George Washington in 1796, Americans “have the same religion, manners, habits and political principles.”

The inauguration of Donald Trump sparked national protests – obscene, vulgar, and crude — by the Left. Over sixty congressional Democrats boycotted his inauguration. Plans to impeach him were in the works – before he had even done anything.
the Constitution of 1787 no longer articulates a set of shared principles. For practical purposes, today there are two separate and unrelated constitutions – a constitution of the Left, and a constitution of the Right. The Leftist constitution includes the rights to abortion, anal intercourse, and gay marriage. The Right, reading the “supreme law of the land” as it was actually written, sees no such rights anywhere in the U.S. Constitution.
The Right regards America’s Founders as men of achievement, morality, and virtue. They see our European heritage as praiseworthy, for it gave us the Enlightenment, Industrial Revolution, electricity, medicine, clean water, automobiles, powered flight, and landed men on the moon.

The Left sees the Founders as wicked, greedy men who cheated innocent Indians and enslaved innocent blacks. Whites of European descent raped and destroyed the pristine environment with global warming, imposed monogamy and heterosexuality upon women, and subordinated the “peaceful” cultures (like Islam) of black and brown people.
Why waste time and effort trying to persuade people who cannot and will not be persuaded? If Californians want to ban guns, parade around in bondage leather, and allow illiterates and criminals to cross the border to receive government benefits, let them. Ohioans and Michiganders ought not be forced to go along with it.

But the present situation is untenable. The nation is like a car careening down the road, with two people fighting over the wheel. One pulls the car left, the other swerves back to the right.

Sooner or later, a crash is inevitable.

Jazz Shaw: Can the government rein in disruption and riots hiding under the guise of “protests?” –

The old school idea of “protesting” which I grew up with has changed a lot in the 21st century. This new school of protesters focuses on “disruption” as the vehicle for their efforts as opposed to the old school, quaint concept of simply marching on sidewalks, in parks or designated areas with signs and songs. … At some point along that trail we crossed the line from protesting to rioting, and while we can debate the exact moment when it happened, we’re there now.

Robert Rohlfing: The Long War Of The Left – “The Left’s Long War is far from over, we see it now more than ever being exposed and played out not only in this nation, but on the world stage as well. With each battle they are losing ground, but they are not down and out.”

Judi McLeod: The Civil War Known as the Deplorables Vs The Depraved – “Obama’s legacy of hate is just beginning to show its hideous face. Words have meanings, elections have consequences and propaganda is changing the world into one where outrageous lies masquerade as truth. The worst is yet to come.”

Matthew Vadum: The seditious left – “Prosecute the Berkeley rioters by enforcing federal law.”

It’s the Deplorables versus the Depraved. 

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2/5/2017: Measuring and observing Angst

On the Fake News front is an ‘alternative facts’ bias in the form of labeling the Washington judge as a Bush appointee. The other alternative fact is that the judge was appointed as a normal consideration to a Senator in the state. Which of these ‘alternative facts’ is chosen for headlines indicates whether or not the attempt is to push a false narrative or not. The judge’s behavior makes the reality clear.

Patterico describes The Judge Who Halted Trump’s Immigration Order Has Made Some Wacky Rulings In The Past – “Today, we are learning more about that judge . . . and some of it is unsettling.”

Will Baude wonders about The deadly serious accusation of being a “so-called judge” – “to call him a “so-called” judge is to hint that he is not really a judge, that he lacks judicial power. … I hope I am reading too much into this. But I am positive that this is not the last time I will be writing about judicial decisions and judicial authority.” Consider context. Trump was talking layman and not lawyer. So, yes, Baude was reading way too much into a Trump tweet. The error is so obvious that it lends credence to a concern about bias and, therefore, accuracy, of the essay.

You may have heard about the Doomsday Clock getting set ever closer to Armageddon. Because Trump. Never mind that as real estate mogul with high value properties all over the globe he’s got more incentive to avoid a nuclear holocaust than nearly anyone else. Dave Taylor describes why The Doomsday Clock is a Measure of Liberal Hysteria, not Armageddon –

The Doomsday Clock was created by a group of scientists who managed a publication about nuclear warfare research called the Bulletin of The Atomic Scientists. The clock itself first showed up back in 1947 and its starting position was “seven minutes to midnight,” with midnight symbolizing earth’s end.
Predictably, the media has gone bananas: “Thirty seconds closer to global annihilation!” NBC News trumpeted,
But where were all these alarmed journalists when the clock’s keepers moved Doomsday’s countdown from six minutes to midnight to three minutes to midnight during Barack Obama’s presidency?

As the deafening silence about the clock during Obama’s presidency suggests, the Doomsday Clock has long been a partisan, not a scientific, device.
As for the Doomsday Clock, it’s probably best to heed the advice of one of its critics, who notes that it is “a more reliable measure of liberal angst than the risk of a nuclear holocaust, and it should be treated as such.” Turns out that what we really need these days isn’t a countdown to nuclear Armageddon, but more levelheaded and nonpartisan scientists.

Looks like this one, too, is more fodder for the problems in the propaganda machine that is being cataloged by more and more pundits.

Karin McQuillan says the Democrats Find a Use for Violence – “Democrats are rejecting the heart of our democracy: the peaceful transfer of power via the ballot box.”

Democrats are scared stiff that Trump’s sensible, practical polices will make our country safer, boost our economy, and deliver jobs to blacks and millennials. That’s why they are running around in pink hats and black masks, beating dissenters up literally or verbally.
This is not the 1960s. This is not a mass movement protesting an unpopular war or supporting civil rights legislation. We have Obama’s community agitation, not Martin Luther King’s nonviolent resistance.
First, progressive violence reinforces the messages of identity politics, to keep their side from hemorrhaging support.
Second, Democrats liked it better before Trump, when conservatives kept their heads down and their mouths shut.
Democrat power relies on millions of unpaid thought police.
Third, violent speech and actions by Democrats are meant to define Trump’s policies as abnormal.
The fourth strategic goal: provoke a national crisis.
Some Americans will end up hurt, beat up, and perhaps worse. Democrats don’t care. Republicans are non-persons; their bloodied faces and concussions are acceptable collateral damage for Democrat power politics.
Democrats’ violent refusal to accept their loss of the presidency and Congress should be a national scandal.

John Hinderaker is asking What, really, is the Democratic Party? – highlighting projection.

Kevin Williamson in National Review … takes off from the observation that the Democrats are not making any serious effort to block such Trump nominees as Satan Jeff Sessions, but instead have trained their guns on the seemingly-innocuous Betsy DeVos. His argument is that a familiar slander against the Republican Party may actually be true as applied to the Democrats
Do the people who run the Democratic Party really care about the social issues, other than as a cynical means to fire up their base? The evidence suggests that the answer is No
Williamson’s conclusion:

“What is the Democratic party? Is it a genuine political party, or is it simply an instrument of relatively well-off government workers who care about very little other than securing for themselves regular raises and comfortable pensions?

“If I were a progressive, I’d be curious about that.”

Introspection is difficult so it is rather rare, especially on the left. That is why there is so much angst that can be seen in behaviors typical of denial and dissonance.

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2/4/2017: Blindsided by preconceptions and a closed mind makes you a target

It’s not the new administration upsetting the applecart. Now the judiciary has set itself above established and explicit executive authority and in a most fundamental area. It used to be that the concern about terrorism was that it only took one lapse in security but a judge has now tossed that idea aside. It used to be that the executive could determine who could be allowed into the country but a judge has now tossed that aside. It used to be that citizens had special rights that non-citizens did not have but a judge has now tossed that aside. Andrea Noble reports Federal judge halts Trump’s immigration order – the judge has decided that the lawyers in the DoJ were incompetent and that many others who cannot find support for his view were wrong also. Basic concepts of precedent and prudence have been set aside for partisan ideological satisfaction even in the area of national security.

In written arguments in the Washington case, the Justice Department defended the president’s order and his authority “to suspend or impose restrictions on the entry of aliens into the United States.”

“Every President over the last thirty years has invoked this authority to suspend or impose restrictions on the entry of certain aliens or classes of aliens, in some instances including classifications based on nationality,” DOJ attorneys wrote.

Judge Robart’s written order, issued several hours after the court hearing, indicates that the plaintiffs successfully demonstrated that they would “suffer irreparable harm” if the court did not intervene.
The Associated Press reported that Judge Robart asked Justice Department attorneys whether there had been any terrorist attacks by people from the seven counties listed in Mr. Trump’s order since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
“The answer is none,” Judge Robart said. “You’re here arguing we have to protect from these individuals from these countries, and there’s no support for that.”

John Sexton observes that “Politico notes this setback came just a few hours after the Trump administration prevailed in another lawsuit against the executive order.” In other words, it is warfare by attrition with no holds barred in attempting to subvert the established social order.

Slashdot may have a clue as to the “immediate harm” idea: Microsoft’s H-1B Workers Cited In Motion That Successfully Blocked Trump’s Travel Ban – “Washington’s technology industry relies heavily on the H-1B visa program.”

Washington ranks ninth in the number of applications for high-tech visas. Microsoft, which is headquartered in Washington, employs nearly 5,000 people through the program. Other Washington companies, including Amazon, Expedia, and Starbucks, employ thousands of H-1B visa holders. Loss of highly skilled workers puts Washington companies at a competitive disadvantage with global competitors.

Trump might get a ‘twofer’ out of this as the H-1B visa holders replacing American skilled workers has been on the burner for quite a while. It also provides fodder for those who endlessly complain about inhuman corporate interests except Trump is shown here as fighting those interests. That’s in addition to the national security and immigration promise fulfillment.

On a similar front is the civil war being conducted by the deep state. Andrew Restuccia, Marianne Levine And Nahal Toosi say Federal workers turn to encryption to thwart Trump – they make it clear that the enemy isn’t the criminal or the terrorist but rather the people and their nation. If you run a company and encountered employees as described in the article, what would you do? should you do?

Federal employees worried that President Donald Trump will gut their agencies are creating new email addresses, signing up for encrypted messaging apps and looking for other, protected ways to push back against the new administration’s agenda.
At the EPA, a small group of career employees — numbering less than a dozen so far — are using an encrypted messaging app to discuss what to do if Trump’s political appointees undermine their agency’s mission to protect public health and the environment, flout the law, or delete valuable scientific data that the agency has been collecting for years, sources told POLITICO.

Just what is it that provides any basis for these fears of a “small group of career employees”? Such fears add to the concerns. Not only do you have employees who are plotting to undermine their employer, you also have indications that they are irrational in their behavior.

Russell Paul La Valle notes The Trump opposition: Hell hath no fury like Democrats’ scorn –

Trump’s destruction is nothing less than the moral battle for the soul of America, and his sacrifice will reconcile God and the Democrats for the mortal sin of ever allowing him to be elected president in the first place.

Reaching this level of hatred and contempt has required cultivation.

John Sexton picks up on one example of where this hate can lead: Dakota Access Pipeline protest leader charged with inciting a riot, 74 arrested – “Dakota Access Pipeline protester Chase Iron Eyes was arrested this week and has been charged with inciting a riot, which is a felony.”

It might be helpful to the protesters if Iron Eyes were the spokesman for the Standing Rock Sioux and could be portrayed as a victim here. But in fact, the actual spokesman for the tribe, Dave Archambault, published a statement on the tribe’s Facebook page Wednesday which was very critical of Iron Eyes, albeit without mentioning him by name.
If you’re wondering, it was Chase Iron Eyes who called people back to camp this week despite a recent vote by the tribal council asking all of the remaining protesters to vacate the land before floods wash them and all their voluminous garbage into the river.

Chuck Ross: Look Who Funds The Group Behind The Call To Arms At Milo’s Berkeley Event –

The left-wing group that helped organize the violent shut down of the Milo Yiannopoulos event at the University of California, Berkeley on Wednesday is backed by a progressive charity that is in turn funded by George Soros, the city of Tucson, a major labor union and several large companies.
And on its Facebook page, the group asserted that the vandalism and arson were not “violence.” Instead, the group argued that Yiannopoulos and Trump perpetrate violence through the policies they support.

Again, constructed outrage based on manufactured pretenses that displays projection more than any constructive effort to advance their stated purposes. Ace notes that Newsweek Enthuses Over Political Violence, Saying “Protesters” “Schooled” Milo Yiannopolous and the city of Berkley aren’t too concerned about the implications of riots that destroy property and commit assault and battery.

Allahpundit noticed the potential for ‘good cop, bad cop’ tactics in a Nikki Haley Russia blasting at the U.N. Another insight is Video: Kellyanne Conway on the “Bowling Green massacre” that didn’t happen – “when you’re a top White House advisor and the single most ubiquitous surrogate for the president on American TV, unreliability about a terror attack is a very bad trait to display, whether the mistake is innocent or not.”

But the heavy media coverage of her mistake today, in treating this as a “can you believe it?” mega-gaffe and an example of the “alternative facts” that Conway infamously touted a few weeks ago, is also being unreliable in glossing over her underlying point. She’s defending Trump’s temporary refugee ban by noting that dangerous people have been admitted to the United States before — which is true, and the two Bowling Green scumbags are paradigm examples. There was no “massacre” and she deserves to be called on that, but if you worry about letting people in from Iraq and Syria because you’re afraid they might have an interest in bombs and jihad, well, the Bowling Green incident gives you reason to worry. She misremembered it as a successful attack, but the intent to kill American soldiers was there — enough so to secure federal convictions.
If the press wanted to fact-check Conway effectively on this, they’d skip the buzzers and do what Elizabeth Nolan Brown did, asking the question of just how many refugees have gone bad like the pair in Bowling Green. The answer, according to a 2015 study: Three — out of 784,000.

Good point on the overblown ‘Conway Lies’ meme but missing the fundamental ‘it only takes one’ on the terrorist meme or, in this case 3 out of 784,000. That’s, of course, the 3 known terrorists. It’s like voter fraud where what you don’t know can be either a reason to ignore (the Left’s view) or a reason to check (Right’s view).

Andrew Malcolm says Donald Trump’s setting so many fires Democrats can’t keep up – “What is it exactly these congressional Democrats want instead?”

Perhaps you’ve noticed a fair number of protests, many of them violent, since Hillary Clinton was not elected president.

Perhaps you’ve also noticed the Democrat minorities in Congress opposing pretty much every single thing involving the man who was elected president Nov. 8
There is — and was — no main message.

That thematic void can be politically lethal in American elections.
Remember Alexander Hamilton or maybe someone else saying, if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything? Well, the converse is true too: If you oppose everything, you stand for nothing. And that’s the muddy path that Democrats Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi and their Gang of No has taken.
You may not agree with many or any of his actions. Or like his loud style. But the strategic truth is, in creating just two main themes, the unpredictable media magnet Trump has lit so many fires that Democrats under their elderly leaders can’t decide which to fight. So, they’re fighting them all, none effectively. Everybody watching the not-exactly spontaneous protests and the on-camera anger has their own tolerance level for outrage. But at some point, everybody has one.

“We need to be guided by a positive message about economic growth for everybody and a country that includes everybody,” Connecticut’s lonely Democrat Sen. Chris Murphy said sensibly. “We can’t respond to everything. You have to decide what to respond to based on what your vision for the country is.”

Good luck with that these days in Washington.

Steven Hayward, in his The Week in Pictures: Trump Train Keeps on Rolling Edition says “it appears the only thing that can possibly slow down President Trump is carpal tunnel syndrome.”

Michael Sainato says Everything Trump Is Doing, Establishment Democrats Set in Motion – “In 2006 Obama, Clinton, Biden, Schumer and 20 other Democrats voted in favor of a physical barrier to be built along the US-Mexico border.” This sort of comparison and contrast just makes it worse because it makes it clear that the opposition is really inane protest.

The Democratic Party has actively participated or remained complicit in several of the policies and plans now being pushed by the Trump administration, despite their rhetoric conveying a blanket opposition.
Establishment Democrats have acted outraged over Trump’s plans to develop a Muslim registry, but their criticisms were nowhere to be found when Bush and Obama had one in place between 2001 to 2011.
In order to develop serious opposition against Trump’s Presidency and the Republican-dominated Congress, Democrats need to face how their political cowardice and questionable policies enabled Trump’s ascendancy. … Understanding the Democratic Party’s past wrongdoings is vital to develop a recovery plan, but so far the Democrats continue to remain entangled in the policies that they claim to oppose from the Trump Administration.

Ed Morrissey expands on a point Rush Limbaugh made: Robert Reich: “Rumors” that Berkeley riots were a right-wing false flag, or something –

Is it possible? Er … sure, in a theoretical, paranoid-conspiracy construct, I suppose. We’d have to believe that is using its money to fund roving bands of thugs that only seem to appear when conservatives go to speak on campuses or when Republicans get inaugurated as presidents. And if you believe that, you can also believe that our friends at Breitbart have figured out how to travel through time to stage the 1999 WTO riots in Seattle, which featured similar tactics by people dressed and acting in an almost identical manner

Godwin’s Law [wikipedia] has been taking hits. The Left says it is suspended because Trump is just like Hitler in every vile way imaginable. There is a good explanation of This Hitler Nonsense on Regie’s Blog. His father “toured post-war Germany extensively in 1957 and ’58 as a child performer. And he often recounts the stories.”

These and other intense experiences in Germany sent my father on a life-long quest to understand this sociopath (Hitler) and the country that allowed itself to be dragged into one of the darkest chapters in world history. My dad is a Hitler/Nazi buff the way Indiana Jones’ dad was a Holy Grail buff.

As the son of a man with this hobby (one might call obsession) I learned a lot about Hitler and the Third Reich just by osmosis, growing up. My father would weave WWII stories into his sermons.
But the truth about Nazis isn’t funny at all. It’s bloody and horrible and gut churning. And it involves machine guns and butchery and inhumanity on a scale that takes your breath away.
The idea of comparing an American president to Hitler is just as absurd …from any angle, in any context.
Hitler took over a small, failing state that didn’t have separated government, enumerated powers or checks and balances. … His entire political career was violent from the beginning. … He disarmed the population, then nationalized healthcare and education.
Hitler was a real life murdering sociopath. He wasn’t just a charismatic speaker who incrementally fell into bad behavior. He wasn’t just a racist corrupted by unfettered power. In other words, you or I probably couldn’t end up being Hitler. A garden variety KKK leader probably couldn’t end up being Hitler either …or a community organizer …or a New York real-estate tycoon. It’s not that easy or simple.
But if you study enough about it, you realize the guy vetting and banning refugees is probably not Hitler …the guy CREATING refugees probably is.

If we keep looking for Hitler in every United States president we disagree with, we’re not going to recognize the real one when he actually shows up …in a different country.

Here’s a bit of the Californication of Nevada that might be on the positive side of the ledger, reported on TechDirt of all places. Good News: Nevada’s Strong Anti-SLAPP Law Is Constitutional – “SLAPP stands for a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. In short, SLAPP suits are lawsuits where it is fairly obvious that the intent of the lawsuits is to stifle free speech, rather than for a legitimate purpose under the law. “

the ruling basically recognized that Nevada’s anti-SLAPP statute was similar to California’s (much older and much more broadly litigated anti-SLAPP) law, and that Nevada courts can use California case law for its own anti-SLAPP cases

Dan Calabrese says Trump’s blunt style throws foreign leaders into a tizzy—and has them rushing to meet with him – “Establishment voices think Trump is an out-of-control bumpkin who has no idea what the proper way is to operate on the world stage.”

One of the biggest mistakes of the political establishment – one they show no sign of grasping – is that when they constantly complain about how Trump is violating all the norms of politics, the presidency and international relations, they totally miss that this is exactly what the people who voted for him wanted him to do. And they totally miss that he is doing it intentionally and with purpose.
Career diplomats are appalled because their job description usually involves preserving the stability of the established global order. If stability is disrupted, a diplomat thinks that’s a crisis.

But there’s a concept in business called order from chaos. It holds that what appears to be order might actually be little more than a set of norms with which you’ve become comfortable. It’s not really producing anything positive, but it feels comfortable to you so you continue to operate according to it. An outside party can come into an organization and observe that the established order is not producing the desired results, but it can be difficult for those who have operated within the established order for awhile to see that.

Coyote Blog provides a Global Temperature Update – “I just updated my climate presentation with data through December of 2016, so given “hottest year evah” claims, I thought I would give a brief update with the data that the media seldom ever provides.” He’s probably a bit more in line with the “consensus” than the alarmists and shouters and the ideologues. There are graphs and charts and a bit of preening as well.

Blindsided by preconceived fantasies on so many fronts …

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2/3/2017: Kill the chicken and let the monkey watch

David French: If We Can’t Unite Against Rioting, We Can’t Unite at All – “Public officials should find riots more appalling than free speech” but it is questionable whether this is the case right now. French provides examples from the crowd to the mayor to the Lt Governor.

In the United States of America, rioting to stop free speech is unlawful and reprehensible. Period. Full stop. It’s not “understandable.” It’s not excusable. There should be no tolerance and no sympathy for people who pepper-spray young women, beat bystanders senseless, and tear up property because they’re mad that another human being is speaking. Last night’s spectacle in Berkeley, Calif., was disgraceful.
What you’ll notice (and what you’ll experience, if you ever find yourself in the middle of violent left-wing protest) is that the rioters and the “peaceful” protesters have a symbiotic relationship. The rioters break people and destroy things, then melt back into a crowd that often quickly and purposefully closes behind them. They’re typically cheered wildly (to be sure, some yell at them to stop) and often treated as heroes by the rest of the mob — almost like they’re the SEAL Team Six of left-wing protest.
it’s entirely improper for a public official to declare what kind of speech is or is not “welcome” in American communities. Or to place free expression in the entirely fictional (legally speaking) category of “hate speech.”
The thing that is so galling — and so destructive — is that we know that if the ideology of the rioters were flipped, if they were wearing #MAGA hats, the entire university world, the mainstream media, and every Democratic politician alive would be united in a full-throated declaration that the apocalypse was upon us, that “Trump’s America” was unequivocally a dark, violent, and hateful place.
If our nation can’t unite unequivocally and without reservation around the notion that rioting to stop free speech is reprehensible and unlawful regardless of the ideology of the speaker, we are not only losing respect for our core constitutional values, we’re losing respect for the rule of law itself. The unraveling continues, and every public official who dares to muster up more anger at free speech than at violence — or who equates free speech and violence — is doing his part to rip at the very fabric of our civil society.

French also provides another example of Fake News: Don’t Believe Claims that Trump ‘Botched’ the Yemen Raid – “many journalists are rapidly reaching the point of maximum credulity — they’ll immediately believe virtually anything negative about Donald Trump, not matter how thinly-sourced or implausible.” This particular operation is also another ‘on the Democrat’s Watch’ being misapplied to Republicans tactic.

Journalists spread the Reuters report far and wide, but anyone with the slightest experience in complex special operations missions should have been instantly skeptical. The anonymous attacks on Trump look a lot more like ass-covering than whistle-blowing. Absent truly extraordinary circumstances not outlined in the report, these officials seem to be relying on reporters’ ignorance and willingness to believe anything about Trump to cover to deflect criticism of a dangerous operation that turned out to be even more dangerous than anticipated. That happens in war. It happened all the time when I was in Iraq.
So, no, don’t believe claims that Trump botched the raid in Yemen. He didn’t plan the operation, and we don’t want him planning operations. We want presidents to rely on professionals. But those same professionals will tell you that war is terrible by its very nature, and no president can guarantee victory without cost.

There’s also Fake News of the ‘we won’t mention that’ variety. Here’s Something For Schumer To Cry About: Polls Show Public Backs Trump’s Travel Ban – “If you haven’t heard of these polls, don’t kick yourself. The mainstream press isn’t exactly parading them around.”

The Trump-hating Huffington Post’s poll, conducted by YouGov and released on Thursday, shows that only 44% of the public opposes Trump, while 48% back him and another 8% aren’t sure. (You have to scroll far down Huffington Post’s main page to find it.)
So, even biased poll questions can’t get anywhere near half the public to oppose Trump. And his executive order gets significant majority support when it is accurately described.

For the international implications, see Spengler: Why Middle Eastern nations support Trump’s immigration halt – “The US president’s measure has had precisely the result he intended, giving succour to those engaged in an existential war against jihadist elements.”

Glenn Kessler provides some Fact Checking: Senate Democrats’ misleading language on a 60-vote ‘standard’ for Supreme Court nominees – it’s a bit more than the usual gotcha’ fact checking the WaPo usually offers and provides some insight into rationalizing denial.

But you can see, in Durbin’s remarks, the slippery language that Democrats use to give the impression that achieving 60 votes is some sort of Senate “standard.” Even in his amended remarks, Schumer went on to say “60 votes is the right standard for this nominee.”
Let’s explore.
Democrats are being slippery with their language. Sixty votes is not “a standard” for Supreme Court confirmations, as two of the current justices on the court did not meet that supposed standard.

There is a separate issue of whether Republicans will have to invoke cloture to end a filibuster — and whether Gorsuch could meet the necessary 60 votes to proceed to a confirmation vote.

On this one, Betsey Newmark says “Hmmm. Notice a trend in those most recent six nominees? Republican senators were willing to vote for a qualified nominee even though they ideologically disagreed with that nominee’s positions. Democrats willing to do so are much fewer.”

While Talk Radio Host Michael Savage Cautions Trump About Inner Circle – “‘Godfather of Trumpmania’ says ‘too much, too soon’,” Fay Voshell is describing Trump’s Political Blitzkrieg –

Over the last eight years, the Left has taken the offensive continually while Republicans either capitulated, cooperated, procrastinated, or employed purely defensive maneuvers that amounted to a finger in the dam.
It’s been barely two weeks since Donald Trump has taken office and Democrats are facing a political blitzkrieg.
Stunned political operatives like Nancy Pelosi don’t recognize President Trump is not interested in guerilla warfare tactics, but has put into effect a broad-based offensive against the very citadels of liberal power and bloated government.
Democrats are unused to a total war offensive, as they have relied on relentless guerilla warfare and the long march. They are even more unused to being on the defensive, and are ill-prepared to fight defensively. They are aghast over the Trump tactics being applied against them, are assuming the old weapons once applied so effectively against their political enemies still work.
Trump correctly discerned that ordinary citizens who desire nothing more than to be left alone to enjoy peace and while at an actual job or sitting by their undisturbed hearths are sick to death of constantly being roiled by the incessant demands of the latest approved victim of the month. They are fed up with the constant assaults on authority and on their faith. For them, the old tactics from radicals’ playbooks dating from the 1960s have become merely irritating and meaningless liturgical chants rather than urgent and legitimate calls for justice.
However, it is still wise to put on helmets when engaged in guerilla warfare and facing sniper fire. There are still many battles to be fought, though it might appear liberalism is in the position of Custer during his last stand.

But due to Trump’s broad front against the excesses of liberalism and the tacit complicity of some with leftist goals, at least conservatives are on the offensive and conducting total warfare for the first time in a very long time.

Ace has an essay getting into the ‘leave me alone’ idea: Why Can’t the Left Accept a Defeat? – “Because Their “Politics” are a Messianic Cult, and Every Religious Zealot Knows You Cannot Repeal the Kingdom of Heaven Come to Earth.” He also notes in another post “We cannot have a country in which one party is praised for obstruction and the other demonized. … If there are two classes of citizenship in a society, then we have no society. We just have the law of the jungle in which violence can be expected to solve many disputes.”

Getting to know the President’s men: Austin Ruse provides A Bannon Apologia – “there is the seeming contradiction; Bannon is a deeply thoughtful pugilist who does not care what you think. Some will say this is a recipe for disaster. I say it’s just what we need.” It brings to mind Matthew 7:16.

Much of what he has said is Bannon riffing, having fun, shocking the lefty reporters. What the left and sadly some conservatives have done is take these quotes and spun dystopian fantasies about Steve Bannon. The best glimpse into the thinking of Steve Bannon is the lecture he gave via Skype to a conference at the Vatican two years ago. You can find the transcript online. There is also his interview with Kimberly Strassel a few months ago in the Wall Street Journal. What you will find is not a cartoon villain but a deeply thoughtful man.

The SJW or Social Justice Warrior has been taking hits. Perry de Havilland thinks GamerGate was the canary in the coal mine. Never heard of it? Some of the comments provide a good summary and there is also a link to Elizabeth Fogarty.

The Gamergate controversy is the result of a combination of separate, yet related, issues. Firstly it is a call for ethical reform in the games press, primarily in the form of disclosure of either personal or financial conflicts of interest between a journalist and a subject they are reviewing or reporting on. Secondly, it is a response to ideological manipulation of the gaming industry, and the censorship that has occurred as a result of this. These two things are, in fact, related, because we are seeing the praise of this manipulation by members of the gaming press, as well as praise of the censorship of discussion by members of the gaming press. This combination of the lack of objectivity and fact checking with the desire to adjust or omit truths in order to appeal to a particular “group” is in no way exclusive to games journalists, but rather is indicative of a larger, more universal issue in how we all receive news.

There is a cancer and it’s isn’t confined to the political arena.

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2/2/2017: pheromones

The report is that the Seahawk’s QB sees nothing good coming from the new administration. He is not alone. But one has to wonder about their perceptions. For example consider Pinkerton: Trump Lays Down the Law to Big Pharma, Embraces the Cure Strategy –

The basic thrust of Trump’s idea can be stated simply: Health insurance is important, but health itself is more important. In other words, as vital as health insurance might be—including the battle over Obamacare—the reality is that health insurance of any kind is only as good as the treatment system backstopping it.
To that end, on Tuesday morning, speaking to those “pharma” chieftains, the President made six basic points about medicines and cures

Or how about the news out of UCB this morning about the riots to protest a gay conservative speaker and shut him down? The evidence is quite clear that there is a lot of positive coming from the new administration and a lot of destruction and negative coming from his opposition.

The queen of snark has been rather quite lately but the recent news storm may have provided a stimulus. Ann Coulter: Give Me Your Tired Arguments… – “Everything said about President Trump’s “Muslim ban” is a lie — including that it’s a Muslim ban.”

The New York Times wore out its thesaurus denouncing the order
Amid the hysteria over this prudent pause in refugee admissions from seven countries whose principal export is dynamite vests, it has been indignantly claimed that it’s illegal for our immigration policies to discriminate on the basis of religion.

This is often said by journalists who are only in America because of immigration policies that discriminated on the basis of religion.

Game playing in the Senate is getting results. Maybe the wrong kind of results, though. Here’s from Sen. Orrin Hatch via Hatch on Senate Dem Delay Tactics: ‘They’re a Bunch of Juvenile Idiots’ –

Hatch noted the action was unprecedented and referred to the Democrats as “juvenile idiots.”

“My gosh, first time in my history and the history of the Finance Committee that Democrats even refuse to show up for hearings and for markup,” Hatch said.

“It says they’re a bunch of juvenile idiots is what it says,” he added. “It’s one thing to wage a good fight and do the best you can. And we understand that. But to just not even show up, not even come? That’s another matter. And so today I invoked the rules. We went ahead and put both nominees, Mr. [Steven] Mnuchin and the congressman [Tom Price] out.”

They’ve lost the elections and now they don’t even show up for work as they have sworn an oath to do. Ed Morrissey hits implications in Hatch: I had to change committee rules while Dems “cower in the hallway” –

What makes this exceptionally foolish is pulling this stunt on Orrin Hatch — one only two Republicans publicly arguing to allow Senate Democrats to keep the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees (Susan Collins is the other). Hatch may not change his mind easily on this point, but Democrats had better believe that they just taught him a lesson about the level of comity he can expect from the next two years or more. They couldn’t have picked a worse venue for their impotent stunt, and now Hatch has set a precedent that can’t be easily walked back either. Dumb, dumb move.

VDH is calling it Our Game of Thrones – “Trump’s opponents believe that they are bleeding him from a thousand nicks.”

In contrast, the Trump people may believe that the Left is becoming so unhinged that their inflated rhetoric has lost all credibility and eventually becomes counter-productive. In Napoleonic terms by attacking everything, the Left is attacking nothing.

Second, by raising the stakes, they bring out of the woodwork the true malevolence of the Left such as the adolescent boycott of the inauguration by many in the Congress, the unprofessionalism of the media typified by the Martin Luther King bust fiasco or Michael Cohen’s nonexistent Prague meetings, the unhinged behavior of the acting attorney general, the repulsive rhetoric of a Madonna or Ashley Judd, and the creepy talk of journalists abroad of assassination.

In that sense, the executive orders are pheromones that draw out and expose unattractive predators.
The loser, as in all strategic collisions, is he who more slowly misreads constantly shifting public opinion and is more guided by ideological zeal rather than empiricism and so doubles down on rather than modifies a failing strategy.

The best indices of who seems to be getting the upper-hand are of course polls on particular issues and on Trump’s favorability — and the unity or lack of among congressional Republicans.

Suzanne Fields cites Rudyard Kipling When the truth is ‘twisted by knaves’ – “President Trump is paying the price of a policy badly executed.” What is interesting is that the reasoned debate about the immigration order has devolved to its manner of promulgation and not its legality or importance.

The poem, “If,” counsels aiming for truth even when it’s “twisted by knaves,” and the plentiful knaves abroad today not only believe they have a monopoly on the truth, but are good and pure of heart and entitled to impose their “truth” on everyone else.
It’s necessary to argue with reason and attention to facts because it’s the only way to have an honest debate about how to keep America safe in the age of terrorism. Characterizing the president, as one prominent journalist did, as “deranged,” cheapens conversation and ignores the rational reasons that led to his decision to prescribe “extreme vetting” on refugees from the seven countries identified by the Obama administration as breeding grounds for terrorists.
No matter what this president does, angry antagonists on the left will object, protest and make decent disagreement impossible. The actual facts of the president’s order have been submerged in invective and loose talk.

LuboÅ¡ Motl dissects an example in Leonard Susskind’s dumb attack on Steve Bannon –

Such cheap oversimplified and unambiguously hostile labels simply cripple the political culture and reduce the intellectual standards that participants of the political debates expect from each other. This dumbing down and constant repetition of hostile slogans was an important reason why most Germans gradually lost their democratic instincts during the 1930s.
This insanity should stop. Susskind and others should simply get used to the fact that the only thing that has happened is that they have lost the election.

Cal Thomas picks up on this with The left’s narrative – “Having run out of ideas, their only strategy is to protest.”

Democrats have run out of ideas, even bad ones, and have nothing left but name-calling and protests. The fact that voters have rejected their agenda has not yet resonated with them. They are like people who attend oldies concerts and wave their hands in the air, eyes closed, singing “The Age of Aquarius,” like it is 1969 again. For them, the sun isn’t shining in, it’s setting. That narrative hasn’t changed.

The narrative can be jaw dropping. OregonMuse provides examples in Trump: The Universal Solvent – “Open Question for this Open Thread: What amazing things could Trump accomplish and how would the MSM spin them into failures?”

When I first read it, I thought the guy was making fun of knee-jerk progressive journalists. Then I realized “holy crap, he’s serious.”

This statement is jaw-dropping: “If it was, then this is result of Trump rhetoric”. WTF? It’s like he’s got the story already written before ascertaining the actual facts.

What it all boils down to is:

Trump Is To Blame For Everything

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is getting a lot of notice these days because his story is one of a win against fierce protest from the Left and established interests. Mike Gecan takes the Walker story and a sports analogy to explain How Democrats are getting played – one thing he misses is that the left’s playbook, or as Thomas calls it, the left’s narrative, is becoming well known and there is very little imagination in its use.

Many Dems either don’t know how to relate to people with moderate or mixed views or they don’t want to. They prefer rock stars and celebrities to bus drivers and food service workers. They like cute sayings and clever picket signs, not long and patient listening sessions with people who have complicated interests, people who might not pass the liberal litmus test.

Don Surber gets in on this by stating that Hatch joins the Party of Trump – “It is time to ignore their belligerence and incivility.”

Democrats tried this crap in Wisconsin in February 2011. Remember the shouting mobs Democrats sent to the Capitol in Madison? Meanwhile, Democrats left the state to try to stop the vote in the legislature.

But Republican Governor Scott Walker did not bend, and he became the first governor in our nation’s history to survive a recall election.

Ed Morrissey has more on the narrative – and its consequences. Begala: Should we let this duly-elected president fill Supreme Court openings? –

This Supreme Court opening wasn’t “stolen” — it was a case of “sauce for the goose.” Democrats have a habit of creating and imposing “rules” that benefit themselves, only screech about the shock, shock of having to abide by the rules and policies that they created themselves. That has been especially true about confirmation of Trump’s Cabinet picks after Harry Reid set a precedent by wiping out the use of the filibuster for presidential appointments other than the Supreme Court. Having allowed Barack Obama to stack the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals with that stunt, Senate Democrats are now staging boycotts of Senate committee meetings in a vain attempt to reinstate the filibuster on these appointments by other means.

Republicans simply played by Democrats’ rules, and Democrats are furious about it. Perhaps in the future, they should refrain from unilaterally setting precedents and “rules,” but the only way to teach them a lesson is to make them pay for it — which is precisely what Republicans did last year. That way the lesson sticks.

The Fake News of Alternative Facts is a lawyer’s technobabble, David Allison explains. ‘Alternative facts’: A common legal term – “The phrase “alternative facts” is used in law and is known to most lawyers” and it was put in public by a lawyer. One can depend upon the Left to twist it into Orwell.

Again, factually true, but facts are not a reliably valid substitute for the truth.

Despite such distinctions, critics will continue to posit that the only conceivable intention of using of the term “alternative facts” would be to obfuscate truth. Such a claim is not self-evident.
Our folklore, too, is filled with the challenges presented by the delicate relationship truth has with facts. Surely, we are all familiar with the story of the blind men and the elephant.
when Chuck Todd upbraids Kellyanne Conway with the claim that “alternative facts are not facts; they’re falsehoods,” he is not only wrong, but propagating an ignorance born out of lazy and shallow thinking. But this is not surprising, really, since when it comes to telling half-truths, or presenting alternative facts, the liberal mainstream press is more notoriously guilty than any other group currently out there.

This is an important consideration in evaluating intellectual integrity. That would be why those who study perception and facts versus truth make careful distinctions and allow for unknowns.

Leadership is showing. Gabby Morrongiello says Morale at Homeland Security has ‘skyrocketed’ under Trump –

Kelly’s remarks to reporters, and his willingness to enforce laws that the administration believes will protect Americans, “re-energized a lot of us because for so long we’ve been vilified for doing our jobs, and here was someone finally standing up for us,” said one Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent who was not authorized to speak on the record.
One DHS source praised Kelly, but was careful to note that Trump also deserves credit for the sudden boost in agency-wide staff satisfaction. The source highlighted the president’s visit last week to the department’s Washington headquarters, during which he signed his first two immigration-related executive orders and offered encouraging words to employees.

This sort of thing does not please the Deep State. It does illustrate how an effective CEO rallies the workers. Scott Adams made the call and his forecast is showing credibility.

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2/1/2017: enough already: from Fake Science to Fake News to Deluded and worse

Alex Berezow says Don’t Let Partisans Hijack The ‘Science March’ – he’s noted that the Left has another partisan political protest banner flying under false color.

The problem is that this message is aimed at one particular side of the political spectrum. The Right is more likely to reject climate change and evolution than the Left. Absent from this paragraph are warnings against the rejection of nuclear power, GMOs, and vaccines, and admonishments for the embrace of organic food and alternative medicine, which are stronger with the progressive Left and its leadership. Those issues aren’t even mentioned, which looks like they don’t want to alienate one side.
Regardless of where one stands on this issue, the question remains, “What does this have to do with science?” Nothing. It’s social signaling meant to excite one side of the political spectrum.

As if often the case with the ‘trying to be nice’ folks, Berezow stretches to find a ‘both sides do it’ analogy. What he noted is that the Left is trying to ‘steal’ science from the right much as the Democrats are trying to claim Trump ‘Stole’ Neil Gorsuch Seat from Obama. i.e. the Democrats are engaged in projection.

In a fundraising email, the Democratic National Committee said (original emphasis): …“Donald wants to put Judge Gorsuch in the Supreme Court seat the GOP stole from President Obama. Add your name to tell the Senate to reject his nomination.”
Republicans declined to move Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, through the Senate, based on the principle — articulated by then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) decades before — that a Supreme Court Justice should not be confirmed in the last year of a lame duck administration.

This nomination protest has devolved into such nonsense because the judge was nominated to the appeals court not long ago and approved by unanimous vote. His record and resume are stellar. Therefore, the rationalization of the protest has to be manufactured via innuendo, falsehood, and Fake News. Consider Pelosi: Gorsuch Is Bad If You ‘Breathe Air, Drink Water, Eat Food, Take Medicine,’ Trump Picked Him to Distract from EO – consider the implications of this assertion. Or take a look at how Democrats have turned on one of their colleagues in a display of malfeasance in their job. Democrats Drag Out Jeff Sessions’ Confirmation Fight and Trump Cabinet confirmations stalled by Democrats’ tactics. There is a contrast offered by one of the Left’s new heroes. Picking and choosing: Fired AG defended Obama’s unlawful immigration amnesty – She refused to support Trump’s EO but did support Obama’s even after a federal court declared it unlawful. i.e. for the Democrats, lawful orders are to be disdained, unlawful orders – if by a Democrat – are righteous.

The people have had their say. The Democrats are showing the people just how little they care and how far they will go to impugn the country and its people. Ed Morrissey explains the people part in Obama’s Solicitor General to liberals: Confirm Gorsuch –

It’s worth noting that all of these issues played out in the general election. In fact, Democrats from Hillary Clinton all the way down the ticket campaigned explicitly on eliminating the Hyde Amendment so that federal dollars could go to Planned Parenthood explicitly to subsidize abortions, apart from defending the federal subsidies they already receive. Donald Trump repeatedly cited the Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters cases as examples of runaway regulation that infringed on free exercise of religion. Hillary Clinton and the Democrats wanted to expand ObamaCare, the platform that created the issues with Hobby Lobby and the Little Sisters; Donald Trump and the Republicans wanted to repeal ObamaCare. How did the election turn out for Democrats — and not just at the presidential level? Poorly, as I recall.
Elections have consequences. So do extreme arguments and positions, both in an electoral context and outside of it. Katyal understands that, but don’t bet on most of his allies on the port side of the political boat to follow him rather than the exhausted extremism of Slate.

Consider ‘Nuclear’ cloud hangs over pick of Gorsuch for Supreme Court – “Eleven years ago this week, Democrats made history by attempting the first — and to date only — partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court nominee.” To avoid having Republicans emulate their tactics, the Democrats, at least in the lower courts, changed their procedures.

Glen Reynolds notes that “That’s roughly equivalent to the game former President Obama played by nominating Merrick Garland last year. Obama dared the GOP to consent to someone somewhat conservative, but hostile to the 2nd Amendment — or risk an even worse selection made by President Hillary Clinton.”

Now the Left is being faced with the fact that raising the stakes also raises the conflict. They have made it clear that violence in the streets is of no concern to them. The question is whether they will take it as far as they did the last time they got this upset (asw one pundit said “when Lincoln freed their slaves”). J. Robert Smith picks up on this noting that It’s Escalating: Defiance and Calls for Violence among Democrats – “Making America safer is exactly what they’re opposing, blubbery words about compassion and inclusion aside.”

Calls or suggestions of violence haven’t bubbled up among Democratic leaders. Let’s hope they never do. All Chuck Schumer could muster the other day at a presser about Trump’s executive order was to sob. (Perhaps Chuck needs his estrogen level checked?) But defiance among Democrats is on the rise. It’s becoming strident.

Or consider Byron York: Dems escalate anti-Trump offensive – “From Washington State to Washington DC, Democrats across the country are stepping up what some call “The Resistance

Finally, as The Resistance organized itself and pushed on multiple fronts, a new supporter spoke up to encourage the protesters — former President Barack Obama, who managed to stay out of his successor’s affairs for all of 11 days.
Trump nominees will be slowly confirmed, well behind the pace of earlier administrations, in coming weeks and months. But the Democratic offensive will likely intensify — perhaps resembling a national version of the desperate Democratic protests against Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker when Walker’s agenda threatened key Democratic constituencies in 2011.

Walker won that fight, but only after Democrats threw everything they had at him. Trump can expect no less.

John Hinderaker wonders Can Insanity Succeed? –

There is, of course, no constitutional crisis. But the Democrats are going beyond the usual hyperbole. Shockingly, their just-defeated vice-presidential nominee, Tim Kaine, is urging the party’s faithful to make like Brownshirts …

I don’t believe any major American political figure has previously urged his followers to fight in the streets; not since the Civil War, certainly. Things may be about to get even more dangerous for Americans who dare to show their support for our duly-elected president, and for our democracy.
What they need is a good spanking.

At the polls, I mean. The Democratic Party has been in decline for a number of election cycles. The verdict on the Democrats’ strategy of synchronized hysteria will be rendered in November 2018. My guess is that after two years, most voters will have seen enough of the Democrats’ vileness. Watch for the Democrats to slide nearer to irrelevance in 22 months.

But Thomas Lifson says Gorsuch nomination a lose-lose for the Democrats – “The Dems always look and find “victims” of some decision of a Republican judicial nominee and state therefore that he or she will not protect women, minorities, Muslims,” (see Pelosi for an example). Lifson points out that the filibuster rule debate is working against Democrats up for re-election in Trump heavy states. The assumption is that the nomination will succeed and the Democrats can only decide if it is going to be by the ‘nuclear option’ or the will of the voter. Either way, they lose.

A part of the Democrats problem is being exposed and put on the table about national security. How Trump strengthens national security – “The executive order turns up the heat on known sponsors of terror.”

Mr. Trump campaigned on making America safe again. He was elected based on his campaign promises, which he has been implementing in rapid fashion. And while the usual suspects in the bureaucracy aren’t happy, the American people approve.
Dissent is an important aspect of the American ideal, but the argument moved by the Democrats that American leadership is “cruel” and “like Hitler” is more than wrong and embarrassing — it invites contempt and emboldens the very terrorist groups who make the same argument to their craven army of murderers.

Shaming and threats are big items in the Left’s playbook. Jazz Shaw explains with an example: How Harley Davidson caved to the SJW on a Trump visit – Interesting how a company with a manly image caves so easily.

Can you imagine that? The progressives wolves are very well organized and they are stalking the new president’s every move. What was there to protest about this trip? Is anyone really objecting to creating more manufacturing jobs in Milwaukee? That’s doubtful, even among Democrats. No, the protesters simply wanted to shut the event down because Trump was there and if Harley Davidson appeared as if they supported him they would be made to pay.
What we’re seeing is the beginning of a national level campaign similar to what the SJW has been so successful in doing at the state and local levels. If you can make enough noise and keep CNN’s cameras on the scene 24/7 you can get major businesses to do your bidding in the political arena.
This is the new special snowflake playbook. If you can’t win at the ballot box or the halls of the legislature, stomp your feet and create a spectacle. Knowing that the majority of the media will rush in to provide favorable coverage you can scare off business and punish pretty much everyone in the area – even those who might be inclined to agree with you.

Also check out the case of Taylor Gourmet, a Beltway local hoagie shop, whose owner got caught shaking hands with the President about cutting small business regulations. Then there’s Welcome to the era of “transgender Boy Scouts” provides another example

Something has obviously gone very wrong in that home and it’s not the little girl’s fault whatsoever. At eight years of age kids aren’t thinking about sex and their bodies aren’t even close to puberty in all but the rarest cases. Eight year olds should be out playing hopscotch, jumping rope and getting into the usual sort of trouble that younger elementary school kids get into. But this one clearly lives with parents who are exposing her to massive doses of SJW propaganda and filling her head with strange ideas.
But we’re talking about kids here. This isn’t a social trend… it’s a criminal offense. (Or it most certainly should be.) At an age suitable to be in the Cub Scouts and even the earlier ranks of the Boy Scouts, children have no idea about these things and are easily influenced by what they pick up in the home and on social media.
But now, hang on to your hats because the Boy Scouts have been cowed into submission by the special snowflakes. We’re going to have girls in the Boy Scouts, which means they’ll probably be heading out to live in the cabins together at summer scouting camps. Speaking as someone who did that every summer for about six years as a kid, the immediate and obvious question comes to mind. What could possibly go wrong?

The mind doth boggle.

Used to be Boy Scouts promised to be morally straight. G. K. Chesterton had something on understanding Democrats in his quote for the day: “A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.”

As for Trump v Resistance, consider VDH on The Democrat Patient – “If progressives were to become empiricists, they would look at the symptoms of the last election and come up with disinterested diagnoses, therapies, and prognoses.”

Trump essentially ran against a united Democratic party, the Republican establishment, the mainstream media (both liberal and conservative) — and won.

He was outspent. He was out-organized. He was outpolled and demonized daily as much by Republicans as Democrats. Yet he not only destroyed three political dynasties (the Clintons, Bushes, and Obamas) but also has seemingly rendered the Obama election matrix nontransferable to anyone other than Obama himself.
Any reasonable post-election autopsy for a party would identify certain inconvenient truths.
For now, the Democratic-party strategists are doubling down on boutique environmentalism and race/gender victimhood, while hoping that Donald Trump implodes in scandal, war, or depression. They are clueless that their present rabid frenzy is doing as much political damage to their cause as is the object of their outrage.

While York is describing strategy on the left, Reynolds notes that Trump is in that, too: Trump Files With FEC For 2020 Election Bid, Outmaneuvers Nonprofit Organizations.

A document from the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) indicates that Donald Trump took steps last week to outmaneuver nonprofit organizations, leaving them unable to officially campaign against him over the next few years of his Presidency.
The move is consistent with Trump’s campaign promises to reduce the financial influence of private special interest groups on Washington.

The Democrats are not alone. Buckley: Time for Roger Goodell to provide answers to Patriots fans

Just a guess here, but I believe Goodell will be fielding some questions from Boston media members today, and for one simple reason: He can’t hide forever. And that’s a nice jumping-off point to our Questions Roger Goodell Must Answer for Patriots Fans,

People will be held to account for their behavior.

An there’s a lot more. It looks like Trump is taking a position on CNN like Limbaugh on MSNBC. The EO in immigration gets solid support from the public, including Muslims. The Senate appears to be setting aside quorum rules requiring Democrats present if the Democrats boycott the meeting. This is what the country voted for and that is a full and vigorous engagement in the battle for security and culture and the U.S.A. itself.

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