Conspiracies and Winning and Realizing the Dissonance

SCOTUS? bah, Appeals court rules against Trump travel ban for third time By Stephen Dinan – “Earlier this week the Supreme Court delivered a spanking in overturning another 9th Circuit ruling related to the president’s decision to end the Obama-era DACA deportation amnesty program.” It’s making it very clear that the 9th Circuit is a rogue court that considers itself an authority above any other court or government branch or governing document it doesn’t like.

Why pro football has become so hard to watch By Jay Cost – “As much as it pains me to say it, I’m drifting away from football. The NFL is sapping all the joy out of it.” … “I’d be lying if I said I was going to stop watching next week, or next month. But every season I get a little closer to turning off the NFL for good.”

Unravelling the Conspiracy

Was FBI Chief Legal Counsel James Baker Captured By New DOJ Leak Task Force? by sundance – “Things are getting increasingly interesting and simultaneously obvious.”

“Those who are seeking answers to the most critical questions are now running into the officials within the scheme using the Mueller probe as a defensive shield so they do not have to answer investigative questions from congress. This motive is now the primary purpose and benefit of the Mueller probe.

With hindsight it is now clear why the Democrats, the intelligence operatives, and their media allies were so adamant a Special Counsel probe be initiated. They planned to use Mueller’s investigation as a shield all along.

Morell didn’t really regret By David Zukerman – “This former top CIA official offered no details on these bizarre claims.”

“Morell continued: “So, I think there was a significant downside to those of us who became political in that moment. So, if I could have thought of that, would I have ended up in a different place? I don’t know. But it’s something I didn’t think about.”

Actually, Morell’s response is something Congress should indeed think about. Look at that last comment — “those of us who became political” during the 2016 presidential election. Seems like a pretty clear admission that Morell was not alone in meddling in domestic politics — that other senior officials in the intelligence community “became political,” as well. At the same time, none seem to have considered that Hillary Clinton could lose to Trump. How would the intelligence people defend their political transformation to the Trump administration?

Rape Trial Dismissed, After Two Years of Hell for Falsely Accused Man, After 40,000 Texts From “Victim,” Seeking Casual Sex, Are Finally Disclosed to Defendant Ace highlights an example or two from the mire of human depravity. – “That one person should lie about rape is no scandal — you’ll find liars anywhere.” … “That the police should deliberately railroad a man they know to be innocent? That is a scandal, and one that should result in prison for the police and prosecutors responsible.”

Another case noted by Ace: Judge Declares Mistrial in Clive Bundy Trial, Citing Prosecution’s “Willful” Withholding of Six Key Pieces of Evidence – “Trust in authority emerges from trustworthy behavior — it is not a right owed to them due to their mere credentials, which is a liberal notion infecting pretty much everything.”

Are These Something? The movies get good reviews but also say something about growing realizations of scandal. Chappaquiddick, 7 Days in Entebbe, The 15:17 to Paris, and then there’s the Darkest Hour. It’s hard for movies to get more suspenseful and strange than reality right now.

The Death Rattle of Obama’s Reputation By Noah Rothman – “The members of Barack Obama’s administration in exile have become conspicuously noisy of late—even more so than usual.”

“It’s no coincidence that these overheated condemnations accompany abundant evidence that the Trump administration is finding its legs. As the last administration’s undeserved reputation as sober-minded foreign policy rationalists is dismantled one retrospective report at a time, its jilted members are lashing out.

Even as early as March of 2017, it was clear that the Obama administration’s foreign-policy professionals were quite insecure about how posterity would remember their stewardship of American interests abroad. They had every reason to be. For now, at least, the Trump administration has declined to govern as Trump campaigned; not as a populist firebrand but a conventional Republican. Susan Rice and her former White House colleagues have every reason to worry, but not for the United States. Their reputations, however, are another matter entirely.

The real fake news of 2017 by Rex Murphy – “There has always been fake news. But the Fake News that we heard about for most of 2017 was something new and altogether more sinister.”

“The antipathy to Donald Trump, which in its keenest manifestations is fierce and relentless, is a disabling set of mind, nowhere more so than in the reporting on or about him.

Contempt for Trump—the conviction that he is some sort of dangerous historical “accident” in the presidential office—serves as a warrant for abandoning all disinterested judgment and analytic neutrality.

When the majority of the American media failed in their coverage of the presidential election, they had to find some excuse for their massive incompetence.

Their reading of the American election was the greatest journalistic failure—the largest act of group incompetence—in decades. This failure fostered the need for some excuse for how they got so much so wrong.

The way the term Fake News was invoked by newscasters, panels, and journalism profs was actually kind of scary. Fake News was a threat to the republic; it enjoyed a corrupting power that effortlessly ousted the voices of the real media, and blunted the rational minds of the electorate. That Fake News was powerful stuff.

Actually, it was just a lot of silly rationalization for poor coverage, an excuse for incompetence on the part of much of the professional press.

Winning

A Great Week for the President and a NeverTrump Crack-up By Julie Kelly – “This week has been a vindication for much-maligned Trump supporters. Not only did the president have the best week of his administration, an internecine feud erupted within the “NeverTrump” tribe.” Note that it is specific and not full of ad hominem, personal attack, and other logical fallacies.

“Let’s just say, for those of us who have been demeaned by some NeverTrumpers, and who have called out their harsh rhetoric and destructive agenda, it was gratifying to watch this play out. Not only is it time for anti-Trump conservatives to acknowledge this president’s bold and conservative-friendly presidency so far, it is time to call bullshit on those who refuse to do so. Admitting you were wrong—or at least mistaken in your assessment of both the electorate and a president—is never easy. But holding on to a dishonest narrative that a president—who is now doing things that alleged “conservatives” once proclaimed to be among their objectives—is somehow working to undermine those goals, is not being conservative. In fact, it’s just lying.

A good week for the president, his voters, and the country. A bad week for the NeverTrump sore losers who keep digging a hole that will be tough—if not impossible—to climb out of. Happy to toss them a rope, though, when the apologies come.

Never Trumpers: The good (who have re-evaluated), the bad (who can’t get over themselves) and the ugly (who have thrown in with the Left) By Thomas Lifson – “The passage of tax reform and the booming economy, sweeping transformations in Middle East policy, and regulatory reform that is unleashing vast potential bottled up the last 8 years and more are all signs that President Trump is not the ogre feared by a large faction of the conservative intellectual establishment.”

“The famous (or infamous, depending on your perspective) special issue of National Review, “Against Trump,” stands as a unique instance of the conservative movement’s intellectual elite turning against the champion of the GOP’s base. With almost a year in office for Trump, some of those who partook of the NeverTrump fashion have started to change their minds, while others are doubling down, becoming bitter enders.

National Review’s editor Rich Lowry, the man most responsible for “Against Trump,” has managed to give the POTUS credit where he sees it due, particularly in material written for other publications … He recently wrote a column entitled “Promise Keeper that was quite remarkable in reversing course: … “Donald Trump’s purpose in office is to disrupt if not overturn the patterns of governance and ideological consensus that have dominated the U.S. capital for decades.”

Others have been unwilling to change the positions they have staked out, and some have been actively destroying their credibility.

Kristol’s personal bitterness and unwillingness to change his position to the point of identifying with the movements he has opposed for decades are remarkable. But even more unrepentant is Evan McMullin, who ran a farcical campaign for the presidency, aimed at depriving Trump of the electoral votes in Utah.

Roger L Simon, a founder of PJ Media, called on remaining Never Trumpers to apologize now:

The reason for the necessity of apologies now is not personal vindication, but rather the stakes ahead:

Those stakes are far greater than any individual’s ego. It is tragic (in the sense of being brought low by fatal flaws) that people like Kristol, McMullen, and David Frum cannot get over themselves.

Feeble Resistance By Fred Barnes – “Look at what the Democrats haven’t accomplished.”

“Shocked by Donald Trump’s election, Democrats adopted a strategy of resistance that’s simple and blunt: Anything Trump is for, they’re against. It’s turned out to be one of the least successful strategies a political party has ever pursued. Yet Democrats have stuck to it.

it didn’t have to be that way. Had Democrats negotiated with Republicans, they might have saved the provision they most wanted to preserve—the full deductibility of state and local taxes. It’s a crucial break in rich, high-tax states like New York, New Jersey, and California.

President Reagan tried to kill deductibility in the tax reform legislation of 1986. But that was a bipartisan effort, and Democrats insisted on keeping it. Now they’re on the outside looking in.

Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) has a sensible theory about why Democrats thought they could defeat the tax bill. They sidetracked the repeal of Obamacare by intimidating GOP senators. They staged protests, harassed them at town-hall meetings, and held rallies denouncing them.

The wild charges tended to unite Republicans.

Roskam, who chairs the Ways and Means subcommittee on tax policy, had his own experience with Democrats. They offered a dozen or so “gotcha” amendments, nothing more, he says. Ways and Means chairman Kevin Brady devoted four days to amendments when the full committee met. Democrats ran out of them quickly.

Odds are, the resistance will lose again.

The resistance hasn’t done much better in opposing confirmation of Trump’s nominees to U.S. courts of appeals, one level below the Supreme Court.

Nor have the resisters succeeded in slowing the pace of deregulation that Trump has insisted on.

Donald Trump the Right Man at the Right Time [Warden] – “If you didn’t already know that today’s media is nothing more than a propaganda arm for the left, an easy giveaway would be their reaction to the Trump presidency.” [language warning needed]

“How and why did this blustering, uncouth, under funded, politically inexperienced outsider succeed when the odds appeared to be so stacked against him? I’m not qualified to say, but I do think he has one quality that is critical to understanding his impact and it is that Donald Trump is the only person I know in America that actually possesses f*** you money.

Wealthy people are usually materialistic, but they’re not primarily interested in the utility of material things. What they’re interested in is the status attached to the things that they buy.

President Trump … defines success differently than do other people at his level of wealth. He cannot be shamed into or out of a particular action or position because he simply does not care how the chattering class views him. This, alone, makes him a fascinating character and one deserving of study. I also believe it’s what makes Donald Trump such a uniquely effective politician.

It’s this quality that has Trump’s opponents spinning like tops. They’ve gone back to the same playbook for so many years that they don’t know how to adapt to someone who is immune to their historically most potent attacks. Trump has ripped back the curtain on the wizards of public shaming and revealed them to be powerless crybabies.

But he’s the only man who could do it. He had both the money and the attitude necessary to the task. His supporters grasped the importance of this unique advantage early.

The big question as we move past Donald Trump’s first year in office is whether Trumpism is a force that is dependent on the man bearing its title or whether it’s a cultural and political wave that will retain its power when he leaves.

I don’t have the answer to this question, but I think it can be confidently asserted that there is no returning to the status quo after Donald Trump has exited the stage. We are at a different place now–one that is simultaneously more visceral, raw and honest.

While nobody was looking, Trump and the GOP actually got some things done by Jazz Shaw –

“When congressional Republicans failed to enact many of President Barack H. Obama’s agenda items on looser immigration laws, gun control and “social justice” issues, they were declared by the press to be The Party of No. When Senate Democrats blocked one GOP bill after another supporting the agenda of President Donald J. Trump the media lauded them as The Heroic Resistance. When President Obama declared that he had a pen and a phone and took executive, extra-legislative action in response he was declared to be Decisive. When the pen and phone in question were placed in President Trump’s hands he was branded as Authoritarian.

Is this pattern sounding familiar?

With the end of the year just around the corner, the Democrats are grinding their teeth over the signing of the tax bill into law, while the media rushes to remind everyone that this is Trump’s “only legislative victory” in his first year. … It’s as if virtually nothing has been accomplished this year and the few achievements that managed to happen were uniformly disastrous.

But was that really what happened?

as for the endless attacks on the President over each and every thing he does or says, I would ask his many detractors to contemplate a couple of points during the Christmas and New Years break. If you didn’t complain when a previous president imposed new regulations absent legislative action, you look rather foolish claiming that the next president can’t undo them. If you didn’t complain when a president summoned DACA into being without an accompanying new law, you appear ignorant when you claim that a subsequent president “can’t” make changes to it. If you’re screaming about due process for Al Franken but you’ve already convicted Donald Trump of collusion with Vladimir Putin to steal the 2016 election, please don’t be too disappointed if we don’t take you seriously.

How to Determine If You Should Talk About Politics in Public by Scott Adams – “When candidate Trump first set about the job of redefining politics (and reality) back in 2015, people had lots of predictions about how things would turn out.”

“One year isn’t long enough to know everything we need to know about his presidency, but it’s long enough to to check some of our predictions. As a public service, I put together a list of predictions that various people made about Trump that you can use to evaluate your own predictive powers. Count the number of items on the list that you once predicted would be true. I’ll tell you how to evaluate your score at the end.

if you are wrong for three years straight — about almost everything Trump-related — please adjust your confidence in your predictive powers accordingly.

If you got 15 or more of those predictions wrong, please consider reading a copy of my book, Win Bigly, to learn how to use what I call the Persuasion Filter to predict better.

Season 2 of Trump is going to be interesting.

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