1/26/2017: Campaign promises used to be a joke; now it’s Gaslighting

A few days in and it is beginning to look like the campaign promises were an actual to-do list.

Stephen Hayward says Looks like we’re just going to have to inaugurate a new regular feature here on Power Line, which I’ll call “The Meltdown Notes.” We’ll have to exert some discipline to keep it from becoming an hourly update.” He may have something …

The Washington Times: They said it couldn’t be done – “The Donald would never redeem extravagant campaign promises.” Enforce the existing law?

“From here on out I’m asking all of you to enforce the laws of the United States,” he told the Homeland Security Department, delivering the instructions live and in person. “They will be enforced, and enforced strongly. We do not need new laws. We will work within the existing system and framework.”

This is the pushback against the flabby enforcement of the immigration laws that many wanted but few dared expect.

That is what is strange more than anything else. The campaign promises actually having weight is indeed unusual but the follow through on those promises with the structure of existing law is incredible. No new toothless laws. No outrageous out of bounds executive action. Just follow the law.

And then there’s that bit about “live and in-person” … that’s the MBWA ethos (management by walking around popularized by HP) on display. Another example is the CIA visit. Paul Mirengoff gets off on this with Trump at the CIA, Part Two – and concludes: “Give me a break. The mainstream media never showed concern for morale at the CIA when Obama was releasing terrorists and Holder was persecuting agents. The mainstream media isn’t concerned about it now. The mainstream media is just looking for ways to bash President Trump.”

But Wait! There’s More! Andrew P. Napolitano is amazed. Donald Trump, revolutionary – “In Obamacare, the president sides with individuals against the government.”

He ordered that regulations already in place be enforced with a softer, more beneficent tone, and he ordered that no penalty, fine, setoff or tax be imposed by the IRS on any person or entity who is not complying with the individual mandate, because by the time taxes are due on April 15, the IRS will be without authority to impose or collect the non-tax tax, as the individual mandate will no longer exist. Why take money from people that will soon be returned?

Then he ordered a truly revolutionary act, the likes of which I have never seen in the 45 years I have studied and monitored the government’s laws and its administration of them. He ordered that when bureaucrats who are administering and enforcing the law have discretion with respect to the time, place, manner and severity of its enforcement, they should exercise that discretion in favor of individuals and against the government.

It looks like what we have here is bald faced selective enforcement – but in favor of the individual and against the government? And not dismissed or ignored law but just ‘kinder and gentler’ with no hurry enforcement? With a rationale that the law will change, soon? There are indeed some revolutionary concepts in government as it has been up to now.

Dan Burton thinks Trump’s trade stance is right on the money – This is an issue because many of the current trade agreements hew to the free trade ideology. The problem with that is what happens when ideology meets actual practice. There are oversight agencies to assure compliance with agreements and the U.N is providing an example of where those can go awry. Trade is not simple and nations can engage in various tactics to give themselves an edge.

Burton says “in the 1960s, 24 percent of American workers were employed in manufacturing, today only 8 percent. “ and “Many experts say the shift away from manufacturing was inevitable.” Mark Perry fell into this trap by noting that it was productivity that was the proper measure but missed the concept that automation and other productivity enhancers that displace the workforce should not mean to eliminate it but free it to do more. That phenomena has been behind a lot of government effort to assist people in finding new careers and in training for new skills. That, in turn, gets into looking at government effectiveness in these efforts.

Kellyanne Conway struck a nerve and Suzanne Fields explains about Telling the post-truth with alternative facts – “Statistics, once a reliable guide, have become arrogant, insolent and discredited.” The media, of course, is trying to force an alternate reality: “Alternative facts are not facts,” Chuck Todd told her. “They’re falsehoods.”

Fudging facts — turning them into “alternatives” — is both science and art in the nation’s capital. Everyone remembers Bill Clinton’s famous denial of hanky-panky in the Oval Office as depending on “what the meaning of is, is.” The Obama White House spun the most egregious example of fake facts with its assertion, on all the networks, that the Islamic attack on the American consulate in Benghazi was inspired by an obscure American-made video and kept the fake facts alive for days. Everyone at the White House knew better.

In the intellectual world, where standards once disciplined language and the philosophical canon required precise definitions rooted in common appreciation of reality, the debate over ideas is devoid of indisputable evidence testifying to facts. Stephen Colbert of “Comedy Central” coined the word “truthiness” to describe what speakers want to be true rather than what they know is true. The Merriam-Webster dictionary a decade ago called it the word of the year. Media in the last election, dominated by Hillary fans, suffered from acute truthiness.

This particular problem isn’t just in the matter of estimating crowd sizes or public preference polling. For an example of hard core statistical malfeasance, consider the Climate Alarmists famous Hockey Stick. That was subject to rigorous mathematical exposure as being not only ‘alternate facts’ but also false facts but such exposure didn’t matter much to the many who depend upon it to support their ideology of catastrophic human caused climate change.

One of the big ‘alternative facts’ stories is that of voter fraud. For years, the Left has thrown everything it could at voter ID and similar measures to improve election integrity. Their position has always been that there is no proof of any voter fraud. That is, until they lost the last election and then they decided there was massive fraud at the hands of the Russians. But they still denigrate Trump’s claim about voter fraud as another Trump Lie. David Sherfinski and Stephen Dinan say the Watchdog sees need for election fraud probe – “Many wonder why Trump complains.”

More than 140 jurisdictions across the country have more people registered to vote than their entire voting-age populations, according to a watchdog group that says there is reason to have the kind of investigation into voter fraud that President Trump called for Wednesday.

The League of Women Voters said the claims were false and that it was odd for the winner of an election to call for an investigation.

So, who to believe? The League of Women Voters and others on the Left are looking at one particular election while Trump and the watchdog group are looking at the process involved in all of the elections. Then there is the precautionary principle. Those on the Left see no need for precautions while others think prudent and reasonable precautions are a good idea. Who is obsessing on the Russians but ignoring the graveyard voters and other anomalies uncovered in voter rolls? Who is personalizing the issue versus who is not? For more on this, see Jazz Shaw: Even if there were zero voter fraud, wouldn’t you want to know rather than just guess? – find out how the murder rate in NYC is a factor.

An IBT Commentary: President Trump Gets His Wall — Thanks To Democrats

It’s a classic case of a political party being too clever by half. Many Democrats, fearful of an electoral backlash, signed on to the idea of building a wall knowing that they could stall it in Congress. If they won control of both houses, the bill to build a wall would become a dead letter. They thought they had killed the idea for sure in 2008, by amending a spending bill to essentially defund the project.

So they were for the wall before they were against it.

Now the Democrats have been hoisted by their own petard, so to speak. Their cynical vote to approve the wall was pure political theater to fool voters back home that they were really doing something to control rampant illegal immigration into the U.S. In fact, they weren’t interested in doing anything about it.

The rant of the day: How Losing My Political Values Helped Me Gain My Freedom [Warden] – this is a gut reaction to the ‘both sides do it’ fallacy.

There’s a frustrating game that the left plays with conservatives. It’s an Alinksy tactic called, “Make them live up to their values.” … The left loves to exploit these shortcomings–every Christian who falls short of perfection is a hypocrite; the social values candidate you voted for just got arrested for drunk driving. Haha, everything you believe and advocate is now discredited. … They got away with it for years, waving away the lies, hypocrisy, indiscretions, and criminal behavior from their own politicians while beating the right mercilessly with the missteps of their own. It’s effective because the right always maintains a baseline of integrity not displayed by the left

I will attack, attack, attack, attack using their own tactics against them until they learn their lesson.

What I will not do is let them play my values against me ever again. I don’t need to prove that I’m better than them. I already know it.

On the Fake News front: Gaslighting seems to be a word getting a lot of use lately. David Wolfe says this is “a form of emotional abuse that causes a victim to question their own feelings, instincts and sanity, giving the abusive partner power and control.” His list of 10 signs “you’re most likely being gaslighted” provides interesting material for examining the concept. There are efforts to play the media as the victim of Trump’s gaslighting but the reality is that the media has been gaslighting Republicans for ages and Trump is mirroring their efforts back on them. Perhaps one of the more telling indicators of what is going on with this is the many ‘what if a Democrat did this’ contrasts that are becoming more common.

Consider Willis Eschenbach on AltUSNatParkService – “After the Trump Administration told the Department of the Interior to shut down all their Twitter accounts because they were being used for partisan political purposes by Democratic government employees, some National Park Service employees got in a huff about how their rights were being violated. So they put together a new Twitter account called AltUSNatParkService.”

They’re organizing meetings and the like because of these fears. Gotta say … I’m getting tired of people trotting out their fears and using these fears to justify all kinds of actions. I get it that folks are afraid. And I know that the fear they feel is real. But that is not sufficient reason for me to automatically take their fears seriously and buy into their fright, particularly if nothing untoward has happened to date. It’s just baseless fears.

In any case, they’ve shot themselves in the foot. They are putting themselves out as if they represent or are part of the real National Park Service, both by their name and even to the extent of using the official arrowhead emblem of the Park Service on their Twitter site, as seen above. … Why is their using the arrowhead a huge mistake? Because using it is not just a bad idea. It is a crime to use the official NPS “arrowhead” emblem without specific permission from the NPS

For more in this vein, see Tyler O’Neil Is President Trump Launching a ‘War on Science?‘ – “scientists … allege that President Donald Trump’s administration has slashed funding, gagged scientific findings, and pressured them to abandon “science-based policies.

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