Will we find what has been lost?

On Thanksgiving, I’m Thankful For Trump. Bruce Bawer – “Finally, a president who isn’t a turkey.”

“I’ve been of voting age in eleven presidential elections. I voted in most but not all of them. Usually both choices were uninspiring. Whom to pick, a dimbulb D.C. drudge (Ford) or a smarmy phony (Carter)? A charmless technocrat (Dukakis) or an establishment empty suit (Bush senior)? In 1992 I bought Slick Willie’s act; the disillusion set in almost immediately after his inauguration. Bush junior and Obama were the two worst presidents since Wilson, but the men who ran against them weren’t world-beaters either. Even the one great president of my lifetime prior to 2016, Ronald Reagan, fell way short of carrying out the sweeping small-government reforms he’d pledged.

Past experience, of course, had taught me not to put too much stock in anything a politician says. But Trump was no politician. He wasn’t the front man for a bunch of rich guys or the mouthpiece for a staff full of policy wonks. He wasn’t scripted. He wasn’t focus-grouped. He wasn’t a mannequin projecting sham humility and offering up fake compliments to the hoi polloi. Yes, Obama had been a rousing orator, but he’d always been reading spiels written for him by a speechwriter. Trump was connecting with ordinary Americans in long, tireless, and patently sincere stream-of-consciousness monologues some of which were, frankly, tours de force. He was palpably having fun with it and actually enjoying the human contact.

This guy was talking in real language to real people about the things that really mattered to them and that he himself had been thinking seriously about for decades.

The answer: wow. So far, the results have exceeded all of my expectations. The border wall aside, Donald J. Trump has actually kept his promises, and then some. He’s done one good, gutsy thing after another.

U.K. Media: British Intelligence Heads Worried President Trump Will Discover Their Involvement in “Spygate”. Sundance – “An article published originally in the U.K. Telegraph, and republished via Yahoo News outlines growing fear within the U.K. government and British intelligence officers surrounding President Trump discovering how far they were involved within “Spygate”.

“The facts are not uncommon to anyone who has done research into the events of 2015 and 2016; however, the interesting aspect surrounds the current level of anxiety which indicates something is soon to become very public.

The central concern of the British officials surrounds President Trump declassifying evidence that will outline a coordinated effort by a weaponized U.S. intelligence apparatus to use their foreign counterparts for two aspects

Out: Russia. In: Saudi Arabia. Thomas Lifson – “The progressive narrative of President Trump as evil never changes, but the argument keeps changing.”

“Since Trump must be a pawn of nefarious foreigners (except when he is a dangerous nationalist, heedless of our obligations to other nations), we now have hysterical accusations that he is instead a pawn of Saudi Arabia, because he insists on maintaining the strategic relationship with that Arab absolute monarchy.

Yesterday, Democrat Representative Tulsi Gabbard, using vulgar language, accused the POTUS of being a Saudi agent, which would be treasonous

Barack Melts Down. John Hinderaker – “This is the central conceit of liberalism: we know how to solve the world’s problems–socialism!–but those pesky conservatives just won’t go along and make it unanimous.”

“The truth is the opposite: policy debates rage across a broad range of issues, and conservatives usually win them.

But, like a dead frog whose legs continue to kick, clueless liberals like Barack Obama parrot the pro-government line, not because it makes any scientific sense, but because it supports their statist desires.

Which brings us to the rest of Obama’s riff: Americans are “confused, blind, shrouded with hate, anger, racism, mommy issues.” This is more or less insane

We have entered a new era in American politics, and, make no mistake, it is the Democrats who have ushered in the juvenile, no-holds-barred epoch in which we live. Barack Obama should be condemned for the part he plays in debasing American political discourse.

Or consider Juan Williams on The Five in a dialog about civility over dinner. His answer was to dig out the trivia he uses to support Trump hatred as conversation topics where all could agree. It is amazing what he puts on the pedestals in his mind … but also rather telling. Instapundit on this: Leftists’ Fear/Hatred Of Their Families, as exemplified by leftist media all over explains a lot about their politics. Another insight is Stop pretending you don’t love Thanksgiving. Bridget Phetasy – “You get to tell your whole family that they’re fascists.” Mr. Williams, are you listening and can you tell satire directed at you when it is in your face?

“Obama judges”? Pretty much. Paul Mirengoff – “I like and respect Chief Justice Roberts, but I disagree with him.” This is the polite disagreement. For something more extensive and stronger, see Fischer’s comments following this citation. Keep in mind that the problem with a judicial oligarchy was a significant Trump campaign issue. The Chief Justice stepped in it …

“The questions of whether it matters who appointed a federal judge and whether such judges view litigants, including President Trump, with equal regard in any meaningful sense are empirical ones. If one can predict with a high degree of accuracy how a judge will rule in a highly controversial case, or in a case challenging a Trump edict the left doesn’t like, just by knowing which president appointed that judge, then Roberts’ defense of the federal judiciary fails.

I practiced law without appearing more than a handful of times before Obama-appointed judges. But even in the pre-Obama era, I could predict with a high degree of accuracy the way federal appellate court judges would vote in cases involving controversial, politicized subject matter

Chief Justice Roberts is right that we have an independent judiciary in the sense that no one can tell judges how to rule. He is also right that we should be thankful for this.

But we also have a judiciary in which federal judges very often decide controversial cases based on policy preferences and partisan considerations. No president has told them how to vote, but presidents have selected them based on which ideological side they are likely to uphold, and, especially in the case of Democratic presidents, the judges rarely disappoint.

Of Course We Have Obama Judges and Trump Judges, Clinton Judges and Bush Judges. Dov Fischer – “As the Left makes a mockery of the lower Federal Courts that we need to honor.”

“Impartial justice is central to life’s core values. The very notion is engraved into our Constitution, and our Founding Fathers even took steps to preserve judicial impartiality by guaranteeing federal judges lifetime tenure so that they never would fear personal ramifications of issuing unpopular decisions they believe justice demands.

One easily can read between the lines of a frustrated and perplexed Chief Justice John Roberts when he now desperately claims, with patent nonsense and perhaps even a dry sense of humor, that “we do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges.” Of course we do! The ACLU knows that we do. Roberts knows that we do. Everyone knows that. The radical “Progressive” cabal of Democrats and their Left Media stooges know it. Heck, the Obama and Clinton judges know it. Why did The Resistance go to war trying to destroy Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh? Why does the ACLU always run to the Ninth Circuit, up and down the West Coast, instead of seeking justice from a conservative appellate circuit in the Deep South? … But Roberts knows his denial is stuff and nonsense, and that it sounds ridiculous — even borderline delusional — to deny that today’s federal judiciary is chock-full of Obama judges and Clinton judges on a mission to stop President Trump’s agenda.

The system makes a mockery of the courts, as Chief Justice Roberts now desperately realizes. It creates a cynicism towards the rule of law by manipulating and leveraging judges into pawns of Democrat “Progressives.” Even if the liberal judges are trying to rule impartially, the context behind their very selections undermines their authority. People see that the ACLU and its ilk repeatedly run to Democrat-appointed judges under the umbrella of the Ninth and get the results they want. It creates a terrible aura of cynicism that “the fix is in” and that politics is ruling, not blind justice.

In so many ways, President Trump has reversed so much of Obama’s eight years, leaving so much as if Obama never were there. We are out of the nonsensical Paris Climate travesty, out of the Iran Deal, out of the bad NAFTA. Regulations have been reversed in grand style. The individual mandate is gone. Tax policy changed. The IRS is honest and no longer weaponized against political opponents. The Left media are exposed. The unemployed have returned to work. Food stamps no longer are a religious sacrament. College students falsely accused of rape now may defend themselves. There will be control of the southern border. Cuba and Venezuela no longer are our best two friends in the world, and Israel no longer is our worst pain. ISIS no longer rules half of Syria, and Putin has stopped expanding into his neighboring countries. NATO is paying some bills. For two years we have been spared Trayvon Martin dramas and the scene of cities burning like Ferguson (Michael Brown, “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!” — never happened and no indictments) and Baltimore (Freddy Gray, all accused officers acquitted). We have closed down the PLO office in Washington, no longer are supporting terrorism by funding the UNRWA in Gaza, walked out of the terrorist-enriched UN Human Rights Council, moved America’s Israel embassy to Jerusalem, and voted against the annual UN resolution against Israel in the Golan Heights. White House visitor invitations are extended to patriots, not to people who sing lyrics extolling cop-killing, and overpaid fools who are given millions of dollars to throw or run with a ball are denounced when they disrespect our flag and national anthem.

It increasingly falls on the President to focus on making the lower and mid-level federal courts every bit as Constitutionally faithful as he has worked to make the Supreme Court. The way he marks the federal bench these next two years will play a major role in bench-marking his place in history. And if he succeeds, he might even improve Chief Justice Roberts’s place in history by creating a more balanced court that places the law and objective fidelity to the Constitution above Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals.

Instapundit – “If judges are as neutral and apolitical as Roberts pretends, then why so much sturm und drang over judicial appointments?”

“Two thoughts. First, in talking about “Obama judges,” Trump was merely echoing the common media trope that identifies judges in controversial cases based on who appointed them. …

Second, Roberts is in a particularly poor place to talk about apolitical judging after his transparent capitulation to the Obama Administration’s campaign of media bullying during the pendency of the ObamaCare case. He reversed his position in response to political pressure from an administration that was, at the time, a party to the case. He has no high horse to sit on.

UPDATE: Chuck Grassley to Chief Justice John Roberts: You Rebuked Trump — but Sat Silent Through Obama’s Abuse. The increased feistiness of people like Grassley and Orrin Hatch post-Kavanaugh has been an amazing thing to behold.

Living on the Edge. James B. Meigs – “Just as coastal communities must learn to live with hurricanes, communities that edge up against forests are going to have to learn to live with fire.” On Slate of all places, but there is the expected dig at Trump where the wildfire is dismissed as a factor so Trump’s comments about management can, obviously, be dissed. Like the note about Williams above, supporting hatred can require a lot of pickin’ and choosin’ and other denial of reality. But let’s look for the part of the commentary that does tell about what actually happened and how it could be addressed.

“if you look closely at photos and video of the aftermath, you’ll notice something surprising. The buildings are gone, but most of the trees are still standing—many with their leaves or needles intact.

Within Paradise itself, the main fuel feeding the fire wasn’t trees, nor the underbrush Trump suggested should have been raked up. It was buildings. The forest fire became an infrastructure fire. … The town of Paradise didn’t just experience a fast-moving wildfire, its own layout, building designs, and city management turned that fire into something even scarier.

like almost every disaster that kills large numbers of people and damages communities, the causes of the tragedy in Paradise are more complex than it first appears.

A number of environmental, political, and economic trends converged in Butte County in just a few hours on Nov. 8 to spark this fire. But the tragedy was the result of many longer-term decisions, decades in the making.

So, California’s fire country faces a double-barreled threat: More lives and infrastructure lie in the path of potential fires than ever before. And the fires are getting bigger. That combination explains why 6 out of the 10 most destructive fires in California history have occurred in the past three years.

The question is how to provide the right incentives for people so that we limit the chances of this happening again. Looking ahead, “We need to ensure that prospective homeowners can make informed decisions about the risks they face in the WUI,” Moritz, Tague, and Anderson say.

What else can be done? Building and zoning codes can be changed to make towns less fire prone. Homes that are built or retrofitted with fireproof materials—and landscaped to keep shrubbery away from structures—can usually survive typical wildfires. In new developments, homes can be clustered and surrounded by fire-resistant buffer zones, such as orchards. And, no matter how well designed, communities in fire zones need realistic evacuation plans and better emergency communications.

If global warming models hold true, fire seasons are going to be hotter and last longer. Just as people in coastal areas need to adapt to hurricanes, residents of fire country need to learn to live with fire.

Can’t forget “global warming” despite no evidence it exists much less aggravates disasters. It is worth noting the comparison to coastal areas where the dilemma has always existed about whether the build disposable structures or bunkers as reliance on insurance and government for recovery has about run its course. A great attraction for being a ‘beach bum’ or forest camper is a pleasant environment with a low cost of living – until the next hurricane or forest fire. Easy living: cheap, avoid maintenance and preparedness costs, take it as it comes …

California is struggling with the other source of compensation, the big pockets power company. It is the electrical grid bouncing in the wind that sparked some of these fires and is an easy target for culpability. Since the state is so gung-ho on renewable energy and solar panels, perhaps they should just make any electric power infrastructure crossing these forests illegal?

To understand the fire, Neo cites The Camp fire burned homes but left trees standing. The science behind the fire’s path. Thomas Curwen and Joseph Serna – “Gray smoke meant vegetation. Black smoke meant homes, possibly entire city blocks. The Camp fire was no longer just a wildland fire.”

“It was an urban conflagration,” Pangburn said. “It was structure-to-structure-to-structure ignition that carried the fire through this community.” … what Pangburn realized is that the Camp fire had changed its character upon entering the town — and in that revelation lay the hope for preventing tragedies such as this from happening again.

Most telling were the trees. Most of the pines that sheltered this community still had their canopies intact. The needles, yellowed from the intense heat, were not burned — evidence that the winds that morning had pushed the fire along so fast it never had a chance to rise into the trees. But as a surface fire, it lit up the homes that lay in its path.

Drawing lessons from tragedy is never easy, especially when those lessons have been known for years.

“Our problem is a society that is unintentionally, but actively, ignoring opportunities because of the cultural perception of wildfire,” said Jack Cohen, who is retired from the U.S. Forest Service where he worked for 40 years as a fire research scientist.

That perception, he argues, is based on myth and fear and complicated by an ongoing narrative that attributes conflagrations like the Camp fire to such factors as climate change, overgrown forests and urban encroachment into rural areas.

The first step, Cohen said, is to address the misinformation about wildland fires.

“When we look at the big flames but not the firebrands, we miss the principal igniter and pay attention to the show,” Cohen said.

Billions of these embers fly into neighborhoods, landing onto flammable roofs, into vegetation around the structure and rain gutters choked with leaves and needles.

We don’t have to live in ammo bunkers, Cohen said, and we don’t have to entirely eliminate fire from within the perimeter, just ensure that fires that occur within 100 feet don’t burn long enough or intensely enough to ignite other objects.

If Paradise and the other communities destroyed by the Camp fire are to be rebuilt, then the conversation must address the role that neighbors play collectively in protecting themselves and their environment.

Keys to Democratic success. Neo – “I continue to be surprised at how many people seem to think the direction in which the Democratic Party is going now is just peachy keen.”

“The first reason states the positives of what the Democrats offer: they promise “free” stuff to people who really do need it or who feel they need it. …

The second reason states the negatives of what Democrats say Republicans offer: racism and bigotry. The left has successfully managed to brand the right, even the moderate right—in fact, any Republican …

The actual consequences of a given policy in the real world, and the fact that most people in both parties want the common good and just have different ideas about methods to achieve it, has gotten lost.

Not a Hollywood Horror Story: Actor Loves Making Hallmark Movies. Jacob Comello – “Polhala admits that he was reluctant at first to do any work for Hallmark, whose channels have traditionally been the haunt of senior citizens and the families of their grandchildren.

“Hollywood has become synonymous with cynicism, entitlement, hypocrisy and group think. Its products and its people seem to be in a race to the bottom.
… 
Polhala mentions that his Hallmark films are by far the ones that get him the most notoriety nowadays, and don’t sacrifice family-friendliness to get him there. He relates that “… I am leaning into Hallmark because it’s fun to sit with my 7-year-old and show him what I do for a living … I’m leaning in because my 91-year-old Nana finally thinks I’ve made it in Hollywood because I’m on Hallmark.”

Polaha concludes with “… if you haven’t indulged yet, perhaps this is your year to go where the love is.” Sage advice.

So much has become lost. Perhaps some are re-discovering to find it anew.

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