The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Year One—The Kick of a Mule

During the week of the one year anniversary of Donald Trump's inauguration, it's worth recalling an old Kentucky aphorism: "You don't learn anything from the second kick of a mule."

The implication, of course, it that you can learn a lot from your mistakes, but if you continue to make the same mistakes, you've obviously learned nothing. The same goes for bad predictions.

Those who today suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) made an awful lot of predictions after he won an upset victory over Hillary Clinton. David Azzerad recounts a few of them:
It was supposed to be the worst of times: an age of foolishness, a season of darkness, and a winter of despair. According to the experts, the presidency of Donald J. Trump would “cause the stock market to crash and plunge the world into recession,” threaten “the planet’s health and safety,” bring “fascism” to America, and maybe even “get us all killed.”

“In terms of our liberal democracy and constitutional order,” Andrew Sullivan announced in New York magazine, “Trump is an extinction-level event.” Paul Krugman warned his New York Times readers that America would soon turn into “Trumpistan,” with Trump ushering in “an era of epic corruption and contempt for the rule of law, with no restraint whatsoever.”

“And you have to wonder about civil liberties, too,” he added. “The White House will soon be occupied by a man with obvious authoritarian instincts, and Congress controlled by a party that has shown no inclination to stand up against him. How bad will it get? Nobody knows.”

His conservative colleague Ross Douthat was no more reassuring. He offered his three “baseline dangers for a Trump administration”—not far-flung predictions mind you, but the “perils that we would very likely face”: “sustained market jitters leading to an economic slump,” “major civil unrest,” and “a rapid escalation of risk in every geopolitical theater.”
There's no doubt that Donald Trump's first year in office has been crazy. Some of that craziness is due to Trump himself. His crass behavior, his tweeting, his brawling, peevish style all contribute to the view that he's "unpresidential." And yet, he has already accomplished far more in a single year than his predecessor accomplished in eight.

But much of the craziness is directly attributable to the TDS crowd. The Democrats, with the continuing help of their trained hamsters in the media, have successfully created a fantasy meme that Trump colluded with Russians to win the election. This meme has more in common with an episode of South Park than it does with the real world, but it works to create crazy. Trump's every tweet is parsed by the hamsters for the worst possible interpretation. His opponents continue their hysterical claims including hyperbolic statements about "a threat to democracy," a "constitutional crisis," "unstable and insane," "racist, racist, racist, ... racist," and much, much more. All of that contributes to crazy.

Just this weekend, the Dems thought that shutting down the government was a viable strategy, but because derangement clouds their thinking, failed to understand that this president is not like others and is not as vulnerable as others. Their strategy collapsed into an embarrassing (for them) capitulation to the man and party they hate. The shutdown ended not with a bang, but a whimper.

Azzerad continues:
Trump, it is true, has only been in office for a year. He still has another three years to destroy America and perhaps the rest of the world too.

He could still “try to modify the First Amendment and restrict freedom of the press.” He could declare “martial law” on a whim. “The crisis in women’s health” that activists could “already see on the horizon” a week after the inauguration come still come about. And perhaps he has already begun “laying the groundwork for extensive voter-suppression efforts aimed at making voting far more difficult for Latinos, African Americans and others hostile to him.”

America could still become “a de facto one-party state,” and we may still have, in the words of Eliot Cohen, “calamity—substantial domestic protest and violence, a breakdown of international economic relationships, the collapse of major alliances, or perhaps one or more new wars (even with China) on top of the ones we already have.”
And yet, the vast majority of the predictions of the TDS crowd have been demonstrably, provably wrong. That leads a calm observer to conclude that their current predictions about Trump and the nation are equally wrong.

What is fascinating is that Trump's opponents eschew introspection. Driven by their hated of the man, they make the same predictions and the same mistakes over and over again.

I guess they like getting kicked by a mule.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Broken

If you are to believe the Democrats, the entire government shutdown hinges of Donald Trump's stand on immigration in general and the "dreamers" in particular. After all, Trump did the unforgivable. He asked congress to pass laws governing both illegal immigrants and their children, rather than reliable on the questionably constitutional executive orders of Barack Obama. He also allegedly using the term "sh**hole" to describe a collection of broken countries—countries in which corruption, violence, poverty, and general chaos lead to a dystopian atmosphere. Many people who live in those countries want out because the rule of law is tenuous, the leadership is dishonest and often amoral, the economy is in shambles, education is spotty, healthcare is poor, and the day-to-day stresses of living are enormous.

The trained hamsters in the main stream media, along with far too many Democrats, have become obsessed with the word "sh**hole," and now suggest that a single word is enough to derail legislation that just might reform immigration policy because the person who uses it is a "racist!!"

A question worth asking is whether calling a person a "racist" is any less offensive than calling a country a "sh**hole?" The answer, I think, is "no."

When you label someone a "racist," you bundle that person with those who are among the worst of humanity, people who have a long and sordid history of actions against specific groups. Donald Trump, for all of his faults, doesn't exhibit that history, except of course, in the fevered imaginations of those with Trump Derangement Syndrome. The implication, therefore, is that before the epithet "racist" is used, the accuser better have clear and irrefutable evidence that its use is more appropriate than accusing a person of "crass" behavior or "unthinking" language or "inappropriate" expression.

Yet, the TDS crowd that is outraged by the use of the epithet "sh**hole" to describe a country, seems completely unconcerned about hurling the epithet "racist" to describe Donald Trump. They argue that Trump is using his tweets or private comments to delegitimize and demonize countries and peoples. At the same time, TDSers are perfectly sanguine about using their language to delegitimize and demonize an elected president who they don't happen to like. It would sorta be like some group suggesting that Barack Obama wasn't born in the United States. Oh, wait ...

Blinded by TDS, Trump's opponents can't process the notion that their accusations are perceived by millions upon millions of American citizens as equally and maybe more offensive than using the word "sh**hole" to describe a broken country. So, they sit atop a fantasy pinnacle of moral superiority and shut the government down.

UPDATE:
-------------

In a recent post, I noted that the Dems strategy of shutting down the government has worked to the disadvantage of the GOP in past presidencies, but Donald Trump's presidency changes the rules, and they might have overplayed their hand. As a crescendo of criticism focused on the Dems and their cynical action to precipitate a shutdown, it looks like Chuck Schumer has had second thoughts. James Taranto comments:
Add this to the list of ways in which Donald Trump is conducting an unconventional presidency. For the first time in memory, Republicans just won a public debate over shutting down the government. Recent history says that the GOP can now expect a series of other wins this year on spending and debt.

On Friday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) led most of his Democratic colleagues in denying the federal government the funding it needs to conduct normal operations. To end the shutdown, Democrats demanded that illegal immigrants brought here as children be allowed to stay past the March 5 expiration of an Obama policy temporarily extended by President Trump.

On Monday, Democrats agreed to end the shutdown without a change in immigration law. Nor did they get a promise that the Senate will approve their desired change, nor did they get any commitment from House Republicans to do anything at all.
Heh ... winning bigly.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Sweden

Those who suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) suggest that everything that Donald Trump says is a lie. They deride any statement or tweet by parsing it in ways that lead to interpretation that is never flattering. But what really makes them crazy is that the passage of time often proves Trump to be correct in his tweets. For example, Trump's early suggestions that the media produces fake news? Yep, that's pretty much what we're experiencing right now. Consider for example the little reported fake news awards that provide a window into the incompetence and bias of the main stream media.

As another example, think back to a statement during a speech Trump made in February, 2017:
"You look at what's happening in Germany. You look at what's happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers [of Muslim immigrants] and they're having problems like they never thought possible."
Anti-Trumpers when nuts. How could he say that? The Swedes, along with every progressive on the planet, were outraged. There'd been no terror attack ("last night") in Sweden, after all. Never mind that Muslim immigrants were causing problems inside the country, a hyper-literal interpretation of Trump's comments, allowed the TDS crowd to call him a "liar" and a "fool," not to mention an "Islamophobe" and a "bigot."

A few months ago there was a firebombing at a synagogue in ... Gothenberg, Sweden. Patrick Poole reports:
An apparent terror attack occurred overnight in Sweden's second largest city, as a mob of masked men firebombed a synagogue in Gothenberg during a youth event.

This happened just a day after Palestinian protesters in Malmo, Sweden's third largest city, shouted "Shoot the Jews" and chanted taunts about killing Jews.

Sweden has been leading the international diplomatic effort against President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, which was announced last Wednesday.

JTA reports that at least a dozen masked men approached the synagogue last night and hurled firebombs as synagogue officials rushed the youths gathered inside into the basement until police arrived.

According to one Jewish community official, rains prevented the fire from spreading and causing more damage.

The Local-Sweden reports that at least three of the attackers were arrested by police this morning.

No motive has been identified for the attack [I'm certain it had to do with an obscure anti-Muslim video], but The Local reported anti-Semitic incidents in Malmo and Stockholm over the weekend during protests against the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem.
In December, there was a firebombing of a synagogue in Malmo, Sweden. The trained hamsters in the U.S. media avoiding any reporting of this—it conflicted with the narrative.

And today, The Sunday Times (UK) reports:
Sweden is among the world’s safest, richest and best-run countries enjoying steady growth and rising employment. But it has been experiencing an unprecedented surge of gang shootings, bombings and sexual assaults.

In a country of 10m people, more than 320 shootings and dozens of bombings were reported in 2017, along with more than 110 murders and 7,226 rapes — a 10% increase on 2016. More than 36% of young Swedish women say they feel unsafe at night.

The authorities have admitted they are unable to investigate rape cases immediately because the resources are focused on gang crime. “We are forced to choose between two evils,” the police said.

The crime surge is mainly confined to so-called “areas of social exclusion”, a code for neighbourhoods such as Rosengard that are predominantly populated by [Muslim] immigrants. They are not classic ghettos — the infrastructure and services are better than in areas of central London — but these communities are plagued by high crime rates and unemployment.
Hmmm. Looks like Trump was right, only one year too early.

I have on a number of occasions suggested that Islamic extremism is to the early decades of the 21st century what Nazism was to the early decades of the 20th century. It's interesting that firebombing synagogues and roving gangs of thugs who terrorize the general populace were and are early stage activities for both forms of evil. The President of the United States had the courage to buck political correctness and its predictable accusations of "Islamophobia," "racism," and "bigotry" and identify this rising tide of 21st century Islamic "Nazism" in places like (but certainly not limited to) Sweden.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Shutdown

It's amusing to listen to Democrats and their trained hamsters in the media repeat some variation of "the GOP controls the House, the Senate and the Executive—therefore, they're responsible for the shutdown." Although this meme sounds reasonable for those who are uninformed, it's dishonest. To pass a budget or even a continuing resolution, 60 votes are required in the Senate. Depending on the variation, between 46 and 50 of 51 GOP senators voted to keep the government running, but only 3 to 6 Democrats of 49 voted similarly. That means that about 45 Dems on average decided that intransigence was a better option that giving the hated Donald Trump a win.

The shut down happened because the Democrats appear to be more concerned about the fate of 800,000 children of illegal immigrants than they are with tens of millions of real citizens who depend on government programs, including about 8 million children who depend on the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) program. Making things look even worse for the Dems, they have until March to resolve the DACA issue—why shut down the government now?

David Harsanyi comments:
Democrats blame the GOP solely for the shutdown. Yet, any person with even rudimentary understanding of American governance knows that’s not how this works. A minority can shut down the government — which amounts to very little but a paid vacation for non-essential government workers. In this case, they’re helping to do it because of an ancillary issue. Democrats will block the longest-ever extension of the CHIP program, because they believe it politically expedient to connect the DACA issue to the funding debate. Perhaps it’s good politics. We’ll see.

But the fact is, during the shutdown of 2013, the consensus of all serious, right-thinking people was that Republicans, who took basically the same position, were unfit to govern. When Republicans in the Senate were pushing for a pipeline in the spending bill, an issue their base happens to find important, Obama’s speechwriter Jon Favreau wrote, “Obama will not — he cannot — negotiate with a roving band of anarchists who say, ‘Build our oil pipeline or the troops don’t get paid.’”
The media cheered that position then, but it just might be that Donald Trump has decided to steal a strategy from the Dem playbook, possibly showing the Dems pushing a small child off a cliff (sound familiar?) and then refusing to "negotiate with a roving band of anarchists" who say Amnesty for DACA or small children won't get their healthcare.

This may well be a case where the Dems have overplayed their hand. After all, it's possible that they'll be blamed for the shutdown. Even worse, people won't notice much difference and just might come to realize that some of the services provided by the Feds aren't quite as essential as the Dems tell us they are. The Dems might lose both ways.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Whataboutism

Many of us have observed that the trained hamsters in the main stream media, along with the vast majority of all Democrats, use a different set of behavioral standards, different rules for honesty, and certainly, a different view of what constitutes evidence of scandal when evaluating Donald Trump as compared to past presidents. When making those observations, progressives accuse us of "whataboutism." James Taranto describes "whataboutism" as "a slur against people who wish to hold President Trump to the same standards as his predecessors and his political opponents. It is one of the oddities of our era."

I have on many occasions been guilty of "whataboutism," and why not? After all, again quoting Taranto:
If the “resistance” really believes that Mr. Trump represents a unique threat to the republic, they should welcome comparisons with other presidents as the most straightforward method of proving their case.

Apparently double standards are more fun. But before applying them, perhaps the President’s critics [who threaten to boycott Trump's State of the Union address] should watch Mr. Trump’s remarks later this month and then compare them to those delivered by his predecessor at the same point in his presidency.

Some readers probably recall that on January 27, 2010, President Barack Obama —not for the first or last time—falsely described his signature domestic policy: “Our approach would preserve the right of Americans who have insurance to keep their doctor and their plan.”

But readers may not remember other portions of the speech that also proved to be untrue, such as when he claimed: “We will have all of our combat troops out of Iraq by the end of this August.”

But ... but ... but ... the #Resistance tells us that Donald Trump is uniquely divisive. Hmmm, at the same point is his presidency, Barack Obama said (not in a private meeting but in his first State of the Union address:
With all due deference to separation of powers, last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in our elections.

I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests or, worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people. And I urge Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps correct some of these problems.
James Taranto notes:
Georgetown law professor Randy Barnett wrote in the Journal that “the head of the executive branch ambushed six members of the judiciary, and called upon the legislative branch to deride them publicly... No one could reasonably believe in their heart that this was respectful behavior.”
But, of course, when Trump accuses a judge or a special counsel of wrong-headed decisions, it's a 'vicious attack of the American judiciary,' but when Barack Obama does it, it's perfectly acceptable to the media hamsters, even praiseworthy, because—Obama.

And then there was the past president's 2010 promise to reform the Department of Veteran's affairs (followed in subsequent years with the VA scandal) or his statement that he would rid the world of nuclear weapons (followed today by North Korea), or his mea culpa to the Muslim world that resulted in increased violence and discord throughout the Middle East for the remainder of his presidency.

Yeah ... all of this is "whataboutism." What about it?


A HUMBLE EXAMPLE
---------------------

When Donald Trump allegedly used the word "sh*thole" to describe the broken countries of origin for some immigrants, the many Democrats and their trained hamsters in the media labeled Trump a "racist." They also used it as an excuse to walk away from immigration reform.

WHAT ABOUT when a senior Obama administration official called Israeli Prime Minister, Bibi Netanyahu, "chickensh*t"? Following the same logic, that would make the Obama administration and by default, its leader, anti-Semitic, right?

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Biased and Bitter Hacks

The Democrat and GOP elites furrow their brows and speak in solemn tones when they discuss the interaction between Donald Trump and the news media. Their voices nearly break as they decry Trump's "attacks on the press" and "the threat" that represents to the American people and an open democracy. They cringe when Trump characterizes once-respected outlets like NYT, WaPo and CNN as "Fake News." Meanwhile "journalists" at those and many other mainstream outlets bristle at the accusation and become uncharacteristically defensive whenever it is levied.

It's all hypocritical nonsense, of course. The media is conducting an outright war against this president. Objectivity and accuracy have been jettisoned and replaced by Trump Derangement Syndrome. Epithets that would never have been used on any Democrat president are as commonplace and they are ridiculous.

This morning, Donald Trump and the White House published its "2017 Fake News Awards." One can only wonder whether the NYT, WaPo, CNN, MSNBC, WSJ, ABC, NBC and the rest will give these awards as much coverage as, say, the Golden Globes. I doubt it, but I hope they're wrong.

Any person who doubts that media bias is rampant, that vituperation has replaced accuracy, that the (Democrat/progressive) narrative now drives almost all main stream media reporting should consider each instance mentioned in the awards and ask himself/herself: Why have all of these media missteps, inaccuracies, and narrative-driven errors (so serious, that media people have been forced to resign) occurred for this president, but not for his predecessor?

All presidents have an adversarial relationship with the media, but no other president in my lifetime has been so relentlessly attacked, often without merit or basis in fact. The mainstream media is often "fake news," particularly when Donald Trump is the focus of a report. The "2017 Fake News Awards" (be sure to read the entire article) couldn't have been given to a more deserving group biased and bitter hacks.

The Immigration Debate

The Democrats needed a reason to sabotage any agreement on DACA and more broadly, immigration reform. After all, allowing Donald Trump to have a major win on immigration where past presidents failed (notably the sainted Barack Obama) is anathema to those with Trump Derangement Syndrome. Dick Durbin gave the Dems the reason they needed by reporting that Trump used the word "sh**holes" to characterize the broken countries of origin of some immigrants. "Racist," the Dems screamed, over and over and over again. You'd think there was method to their derangement, and there is.

Molly Hemingway comments:
Democrats claim to want amnesty for DACA recipients. At least some Republicans claim to want to fix the problems that lead to never-ending streams of non-citizens clamoring for amnesty, such as a porous border and irregular enforcement of the law. The Trump administration and some Republicans seek to end an incoherent immigration policy that is unbound to the needs of the country, particularly the needs of the non-elite portions of the country. All of these competing desires make now seem like a prime opportunity for an immigration compromise.

Early last week, President Trump hosted a cordial negotiation that made the compromise seem possible. But is it true that Democrats are willing to work toward a DACA compromise? They were unwilling to offer any concessions to get it — no wall, no drawdown of random visa lotteries, no de-emphasis on chain migration, no move to a Canadian- or Australian-style merit immigration system. In fact, one of their proposals would actually expand chain migration, by which family members can get an easier path to U.S. residency and citizenship than other applicants.
Given their passive-aggressive approach to immigration negotiations and their red-hot hatred of Donald Trump, it appears that the Dems would like nothing better than a government shutdown. Possibly, a shutdown will work in their favor.

But Donald Trump has a way of escaping from the Dems most vicious politics and he just might flip the shutdown on them. The trained hamsters in the media will, of course, blame Trump and the GOP for any shutdown, but with Twitter at Trump's disposal, it might not play the way the Dems and the hamsters expect. We'll see.

The Dems think they have a winner with DACA, a program that is favored by a majority of Americans. But other important immigration issues don't play very well for Democrats. A significant majority of Americans is against open borders, chain migration, and lotteries that have no benefit to our country. Instead, Trump proposes a system similar to many Western countries based on merit as well as need, with limits placed on immigrant who show a high likelihood of demanding a continuing flow of government services and a poor likelihood of assimilating into our culture.

Even the fantasy version of DACA isn't supported by the facts. Victor Davis Hansen writes:
Democrats are so focused on the 800,000 Dreamers — less than 10% of the undocumented population — because they’re politically photogenic and for now seen as the easiest group to exempt from efforts to control illegal immigration. In blanket fashion, the media consistently report that they are model youth, fulfilling their proverbial “dreams” of finishing college and achieving upward mobility.

That narrative lacks subtlety, if it’s not outright deceptive. The average age of DACA participants is now 24. Few after entering adulthood sought to address their known illegal status. Surveys suggest that most are not in school; fewer than 5% have graduated from college. Those employed earn a median hourly wage of $15.34, which means they are forced to compete on the lower end of the wage ladder. Only about a tenth of 1% of DACA youth serve in the U.S. military — fewer than 900 total.

Setting aside the reality of the Dreamer pool, the Democrats’ method of fighting for DACA suggests that they are broadly in favor of letting immigration dysfunction continue apace. Why else would they refuse to give President Trump any significant concessions in the DACA negotiations — no wall, no end to chain migration, no cessation of visa lotteries?

They know that if this generation of Dreamers gets a pass without broader reform, it will be followed by another and another, all expecting the same eventual exemptions.
The Dems accuse anyone who wants true immigration reform of being xenophobic at best and racist at worst. Yet, their tired epithets that Americans are xenophobic or racist aren't supported by immigration statistics. Again, Hansen provides some numbers:
The United States is hardly a xenophobic country. Much less is it anti-Latino. As of 2015, 46.6 million people living in the United States were not born here. That is the highest number in American history — about four times greater than the number of immigrants living in any other nation on Earth. One of four California residents was not born in the United States.
Democrats suggest that if you're against their version of 'immigration reform" you're anti-immigrant. That's typical of their moral preening, but it's also dishonest and cynical.

There's no doubt that immigrants contribute greatly to our country, and immigration is to be applauded, if it is (to use Hansen's words) "legal, measured, meritocratic and diverse." Today, it is rarely all of those things at any one time.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Human Nature

I have on numerous occasions (e.g., here) noted that political correctness, while sometimes promoted by the Left with the best of intentions, has morphed into a near-oppressive and unforgiving ideology that is now the functional equivalent of group-think. Whether it's the accusation that any opinion about race relations outside the PC mainstream is "racist," or any view that women must take at least some responsibility for their interactions with men is "misogynist," or that any reticence in accepting that a trans people are exactly equivalent to their biological counterparts is a "gender crime," political correctness works very hard to control speech and thought. Violators are subjected to outrage and shaming—powerful tools that are at their core, mechanisms for control.

But it's doomed to fail—at least in controlling thought. Harvey Jeni describes a "Big Brother" reality TV show in the UK in which one of the contestants is a trans woman. The contestants go out of their way to be accepting to her, saying all the right things, but tension ensues. Jeni writes:
... The problem is that while you can perhaps legislate for speech and expression, you cannot legislate for conviction. In other words, you might be able to force people to say a certain thing, but you cannot force them to truly believe it. ...

The danger of course ... is that this level of pretense corrupts human relationships and ultimately causes more distress than it relieves. We cannot get along while lying to each other on such a fundamental level, and legislation that forces us to do so paves the way for more problems than it solves. There is no respect inherent in dishonesty and — more importantly — absolutely nothing at all wrong with the truth: that trans women are trans women; distinct from natal women by virtue of their biology, but entitled to live as they wish, worthy of the same rights, respect, and representation as anyone, simply by virtue of being human beings. There is nothing wrong with embracing the reality of being trans.

What is wrong though (and not only wrong, but a doomed and deeply flawed strategy) is to force people — either by law or social coercion — into pretending to believe something they do not, in the hope that they will eventually come to accept it. That way lies anger, resentment, and almighty, explosive backlash. There is space in this world for everybody, but living successfully with others requires generosity, open discussion, compassion, and honesty.
For far too many aspects of PC ideology, the Left contends that it's possible to force human nature to conform to PC dictates. Human nature resists, and as a consequence, we all must suffer the demand to reject reality, rather than embracing it.

UPDATE:
------------------

Consider, for example, the recent character assassination of Aziz Ansari, a much-loved comedian who plays a VERY politically correct character in the popular TV series, Master of None. Ansari was effectively branded a predator by a female date who felt he didn't properly interpret her non-verbal hesitation not to have full-blown sexual intercourse. However, she did still participate in a variety of intimate sexual practices at his apartment. The details of this encounter can be found here.

More important is the manner in which some otherwise "woke" progressives have turned on Ansari—another progressive who otherwise meets all of their criteria for inclusion in a protected group: Ansari is a Muslim; a person with brown skin, and a person who plays a character with great sympathies for the progressive movement and political correctness.

Caitlin Flanagan, a contributing editor of left-leaning The Atlantic, voices the concern of some progressives as this feminist pogrom continues to sweep up some of their own. She writes:
Twenty-four hours ago—this is the speed at which we are now operating—Aziz Ansari was a man whom many people admired and whose work, although very well paid, also performed a social good. He was the first exposure many young Americans had to a Muslim man who was aspirational, funny, immersed in the same culture that they are. Now he has been—in a professional sense—assassinated, on the basis of one woman’s anonymous account. Many of the college-educated white women who so vocally support this movement are entirely on her side. The feminist writer and speaker Jessica Valenti tweeted, “A lot of men will read that post about Aziz Ansari and see an everyday, reasonable sexual interaction. But part of what women are saying right now is that what the culture considers ‘normal’ sexual encounters are not working for us, and oftentimes harmful.”

I thought it would take a little longer for the hit squad of privileged young white women to open fire on brown-skinned men. I had assumed that on the basis of intersectionality and all that, they’d stay laser focused on college-educated white men for another few months. But we’re at warp speed now, and the revolution—in many ways so good and so important—is starting to sweep up all sorts of people into its conflagration: the monstrous, the cruel, and the simply unlucky. Apparently there is a whole country full of young women who don’t know how to call a cab, and who have spent a lot of time picking out pretty outfits for dates they hoped would be nights to remember. They’re angry and temporarily powerful, and last night they destroyed a man who didn’t deserve it.
Flanagan is correct in her concern, but she exhibits everything that's wrong with a PC movement that emphasizes victimization and condemns "privilege." Apparently, she'd be far more sanguine if the character assassination experienced by Ansari focused only on "college-educated white men" because they are not a protected group and therefore fair game. Instead, the #MeToo movement has morphed rapidly and now uncontrollably into something that makes even progressives think twice.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Not at all Funny

As the evidence-free fantasy of "Russian Collusion" plods into its second year, there's relatively little to add, but that hasn't stopped the trained hamsters in the media from beating the story to death every single day (when they're not, as CNN did, repeating the word "sh**hole" over 100 times in a 24 hour period). After months and months of "investigation," Robert Mueller and his team of intrepid lawyers (almost all of whom were Clinton donors) have come up with no indictments that indicate collusion. In an environment in which asking for a double scoop of ice cream was the leak du jour, not a single leak coming from the deep state provides compelling evidence that collusion occurred, not one. Yet, there is copious and reliable evidence that the Clinton campaign not only colluded with a smear shop, Fusion GPS, to create a phony dossier, but paid for it. There's also the clear implication that the Obama Justice Department used the phony dossier with Clinton provenance to get the FISA court to approve spying on Trump's campaign.

Of course, in the fantasy world of those who suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome, all of the actual evidence is fake and all of the fake allegations are real. Through the looking glass we go!

Andrew McCarthy provides an excellent discussion of the Fusion GPS dossier (and indirectly, of the Mueller investigation) when he writes:
How do you make someone look guilty of something he hasn’t done? You erect a formidable circumstantial case around the big hole in the middle — the hole that, in a normal case, would be filled by evidence that the suspect actually committed the crime. You don’t so much cover the hole as create distractions from it.

The biggest distraction is bad character: You must establish that your suspect is a five-alarm rogue. This is the fun part, the part you can feel righteous about. By the time you’re done, people will want to believe the scoundrel has done whatever he’s charged with. Indeed, if you’re the maestro, you’ve probably even convinced yourself that this sort of morality play is, shall we say, a well-meaning “insurance policy” against the ruinous harm the accused would surely do unless we convicted him of . . . something.

The rest is smoke and mirrors: Unable to demonstrate the actual commission of the offense, you compensate by showing, in dizzying detail, that all the conditions are in place for the crime to have happened just the way you claim it did. This doesn’t actually prove that that our suspect did anything wrong, just that he could have — or as you will call it: Corroboration!

To complete the web of suspicion, we sprinkle in the expert investigator. He has sources. We can’t say who they are, of course — that would be a security breach. But look, this guy is a pro. Not only are his snitches telling him our suspect is guilty; it seems that the sources’ stories get better every time a new detail about our suspect leaks out in the press.

Funny how that happens.
Not funny at all, actually.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Enemy of the State

Sometimes it's difficult to resist the breathtaking hypocrisy of Hollywood's social justice warriors—in this case exemplified by actor Sean Penn. After Donald Trump privately referred to a number of countries as "sh**holes," Sean Penn wrote an op-ed for Time:
... We will find unity, only when we recognize that in our current president we have elected, perhaps for the first time in our history, an enemy of compassion. Indeed, we can be unified not only with each other but with Africa, El Salvador, Haiti, Mexico, the Middle East and beyond if we recognize President Donald Trump is an enemy of Americans, Republicans, Democrats, Independents and every new child born. An enemy of mankind. He is indeed an enemy of the state.
Certainly, Trump's choice of words was crass, and certainly, there are many good and decent immigrants who have those countries as their national origin (in fact, many reside in ethnically diverse South Florida), but the countries that were the targets of Trump's name-calling are broken—badly broken. There must be limits to how many immigrants from those countries, as well as all others, we allow to enter the United States on an annual basis. Trump's opponents don't like to talk about limits, implying instead, that open immigration is preferable and that entry criteria (you know, just like entry critieria used by those bastions of "racism," Australia and Canada, among dozens of others) are somehow "against our values."

But back to Sean Penn. Penn is a good actor, but that doesn't qualify him as a good judge of character or an astute analyst of international politics. Michael Qacvini writes about other international figures who Penn feels more comfortable with:
... Sean Penn has long had a soft spot for Latin American thugs. From notorious drug kingpin El Chapo to Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, the list of tyrannical figures inscribed in Penn’s diary of love really makes one question whether the mediocre actor has suffered a frontal lobe injury that would impair his ability to engage in moral reasoning. Nowhere is Penn’s moral deficiency more apparent than in his friendship with the late Hugo Chavez.

Penn first met the oppressive maniac in 2007 during a trip to Caracas. Following his meet-and-greet, Penn gushed about his encounter with the man he called a “fascinating figure” ...

Since [a David letterman] interview [in 2009], Penn has called for journalists who criticize the Venezuelan dictator to be jailed.

"Every day, this elected leader is called a dictator here, and we just accept it, and accept it. And this is mainstream media,” he said in 2010. “There should be a bar by which one goes to prison for these kinds of lies."

In turn, Chavez praised his “friend” for his pursuit of “truth.”

"I was reading the declarations from our friend Sean Penn, the famous American actor," Chavez said during a televised rally years ago. "Penn defended what he considers to be the truth."

When Chavez finally kicked the bucket in 2013, Penn mourned as though he had just lost the mother of his children.

"Today the people of the United States lost a friend it never knew it had. And poor people around the world lost a champion," he lamented. "I lost a friend I was blessed to have. My thoughts are with the family of President Chávez and the people of Venezuela. … Venezuela and its revolution will endure under the proven leadership of vice president [Nicolas] Maduro."
So ... let's see if we can sort this out:

Hugo Chavez and his mini-me, Nicholas Maduro, instituted actual socialist policies that caused Venezuela's economy to collapse with resulting food shortages, a health emergency, hyper-inflation, human suffering, human rights abuses, and the forced emigration of hundreds of thousands. They didn't talk about doing these things, they did them! As a consequnce, their people continue to suffer greatly. Yet according to Sean Penn, Chavez and Madura are "fascinating," "friends," and "champions" of the people."

Donald Trump did (allegedly) label some countries as "sh**holes." Unfortunate and ill-chosen language, no doubt, but nothing more. Trump did nothing to cause those countries to fail. In fact, as President, he continues the massive aid that we, the citizens of the United States, provide for some of them. But according to Sean Penn, Trump is "An enemy of mankind. He is indeed an enemy of the state."

Given this, it's only reasonable to conclude that Sean Penn would be far better served if he continues in a profession where he makes believe he's another person speaking the words of that person using language written by still another person. Because when actor Sean Penn plays himself and projects his own thoughts through his own language, he demonstrates conclusively that he is a fool.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Handmaid's Tale

When Margaret Atwood wrote her novel, The Handmaid's Tale, in 1985, the Left warned that a hard-right Christian theocracy might take over the United States. Her novel was a allegory that depicted women's plight under such a theocratic regime. Like most things that the Left tells us to worry about, the right-wing theocratic regime never materialized, but Atwood's novel (now a popular HULU show) has become a rallying point for modern-day feminists.

As an aside, there is only one theocratic ideology that truly does represent a threat to Western woman. It's radical Islam (some would argue any conservative interpretation of Islam), but since the Left is Islamophilic, that threat is never considered in polite (read: politically correct) company. It's therefore ironic that the allegorical antagonist in The Handmaid's Tail has morphed into radical Islam, even though most progressives don't realize it.

With the advent of the #MeToo movement, the allegory takes on even more currency. But #MeToo has itself morphed into a pogrom-like attack on men. So much so, that some on the left (to their credit) have begun to push back. Margaret Atwood herself writes:
My fundamental position is that women are human beings, with the full range of saintly and demonic behaviours this entails, including criminal ones. They're not angels, incapable of wrongdoing. If they were, we wouldn't need a legal system.

Nor do I believe that women are children, incapable of agency or of making moral decisions. If they were, we're back to the 19th century, and women should not own property, have credit cards, have access to higher education, control their own reproduction or vote. There are powerful groups in North America pushing this agenda, but they are not usually considered feminists.

Furthermore, I believe that in order to have civil and human rights for women there have to be civil and human rights, period, including the right to fundamental justice, just as for women to have the vote, there has to be a vote. Do Good Feminists believe that only women should have such rights? Surely not. That would be to flip the coin on the old state of affairs in which only men had such rights.
Yet many social justice warriors do believe that every accusation of sexual impropriety MUST be believed; that a man is guilty when he makes a woman "feel uncomfortable" (even if he never touches her) and that as a consequence, he should be stripped of his rights, his job, and his reputation. In some cases of egregious harassment, that may be deserved. In many, it is not.

Former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice generally sympathizes with the #MeToo movement, but she warns that feminists should not characterize woman as "snowflakes"—too fragile to withstand boorish, but unthreatening behavior.

Atwood characterizes the current hunt for sexual transgressions and/or harassment as a "witch hunt" with a structure that has had a predictable history:
This structure – guilty because accused – has applied in many more episodes in human history than Salem. It tends to kick in during the "Terror and Virtue" phase of revolutions – something has gone wrong, and there must be a purge, as in the French Revolution, Stalin's purges in the USSR, the Red Guard period in China, the reign of the Generals in Argentina and the early days of the Iranian Revolution. The list is long and Left and Right have both indulged. Before "Terror and Virtue" is over, a great many have fallen by the wayside. Note that I am not saying that there are no traitors or whatever the target group may be; simply that in such times, the usual rules of evidence are bypassed.

Such things are always done in the name of ushering in a better world. Sometimes they do usher one in, for a time anyway. Sometimes they are used as an excuse for new forms of oppression. As for vigilante justice – condemnation without a trial – it begins as a response to a lack of justice – either the system is corrupt, as in prerevolutionary France, or there isn't one, as in the Wild West – so people take things into their own hands. But understandable and temporary vigilante justice can morph into a culturally solidified lynch-mob habit, in which the available mode of justice is thrown out the window, and extralegal power structures are put into place and maintained. The Cosa Nostra, for instance, began as a resistance to political tyranny.
The Left, more than any other group, love, loves, loves to talk about "revolution" as a mechanism for creating their definition of a "better world."

What concerns the rest of us is that their "revolution" already stinks of subtle oppression and just might "morph into a culturally solidified lynch-mob" that does more to restrict our freedoms than it does to protect aggrieved groups.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Afghanistan

Whenever I think of Afghanistan, I think of the truly wonderful novel, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. It begins by describing the travails of an Afghan boy trying to navigate the challenges of his culture and country during the Soviet invasion in the late 1980s. The Kite Runner is a story of guilt and redemption, describing the good that can come out of the immigrant experience. But it also provides a portrait of the violent and tumultuous events that led to the rise of the Islamist Taliban and the general breakdown of order.

Today, Afghanistan is broken—irreparably, irretrievably broken. The United States has spent almost two decades in the Afghanistan and accomplished little except to lose lives and spend billions. George W. Bush did the right thing when he invaded Afghanistan in an attempt to eliminate al Qaida after 9/11. But he made a horrific mistake when he was convinced by neocons to stay and attempt nation-building. It is difficult to build a nation in a place that is a cesspool of violence, corruption, tribal animosities, Muslim on Muslin warfare and much more. Barack Obama was correct in trying to extricate us from Afghanistan, but his feckless attempts to do so failed. The GOP and the military were dead wrong when they pressured him to remain. To date, Donald Trump is following much the same flawed path.

Daniel L. Davis writes:
Lost under the growing headlines related to the North Korean nuclear program, America’s permanent war in Afghanistan continues its aimless drift. Effectively hidden from public view, the war remorselessly chews up American service members and tens of billions of dollars in national treasure, while no longer contributing to U.S. security. The latest developments serve to deepen the futility.

Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), said the introduction of additional U.S. troops and more relaxed rules of engagement authorized by President Trump would help to “focus on offensive operations,” and help Afghan troops, “gain the initiative very quickly” as fighting enters 2018. One must wonder, however, how long Congress and the American people will continue believing these unrealistic, “victory is just around the corner” declarations from its senior commanders.

In April 2005, then-commander Lt. Gen. David Barno said that over the coming year he saw “much of the (Taliban), probably most of it, I think collapsing and rejoining the Afghan political and economic process.” Far from collapsing, however, the Taliban rebounded to such a degree that four years later, Gen. Stanley McChrystal famously warned President Obama that without massive reinforcements, America’s fight against the Taliban “will likely result in failure.”

Gen. David Petraeus followed McChrystal in command of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, assuring the American people in congressional testimony that we were “on the right azimuth” to victory. At the end of his deployment in 2013, Gen. Petraeus’ successor, Gen. John Allen, went so far as to claim the U.S. coalition had triumphed, saying “(t)his is victory. This is what winning looks like, and we should not shrink from using these words.”
None of the claims made by military leaders have been realized, and we stumble forward, slide sideways, and often pull back two steps for every one step forward.

It's time to admit our mistake and leave—permanently and completely. Yes, it can be argued that the lives lost will have been wasted, and yes, carnage will undoubtedly ensue, but that's not for our lack of trying. The Afghans want to be control of their own destiny. Let them.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Gleichschaltung

The German language has a way of boiling complex concepts down to a single word. For example, the word: Gleichschaltung. The definition is:
... the act, process, or policy of achieving rigid and total coordination and uniformity (as in politics, culture, communication) by forcibly repressing or eliminating independence and freedom of thought, action, or expression : forced reduction to a common level : forced standardization or assimilation
For the past decade, the hard Left, followed by the many progressives who are social justice warriors, and a majority of Democrats have encouraged (occasionally with violence: think Antifa) gleichschaltung.

It really makes little difference whether an independent thinker questions the necessity of big intrusive government solutions, or the compelling need to redistribute income, or the growing demand for government controlled healthcare, or the shouts that socialism is preferable to capitalism, or the moral imperative of open borders and unrestricted immigration, or the notion that minorities are "victims" of "white privilege" and therefore absolved of responsibility for their own lives, or the dictates of identity politics, or the contention that all men are misogynists, or ... you know the rest.

Those who have adopted those views demand gleichschaltung. So much so, in fact, that people who suggest alternative views are often shouted down or demonized. Free speech? Nah, if you question the catechism of the Left, you're a neo-nazi, white supremacism, anti-immigrant, racist, misogynist, bigoted DEPLORABLE!

The big question for our country as we move forward is whether the Left's adoption of gleichschaltung will achieve "rigid and total coordination and uniformity" or whether we remain a vibrant democracy with opposing views, yet an overall set of goals that lead to better lives for all of us.

The Demolition Man

A widely-discredited book implies that Donald Trump is "unstable and insane"; that his administration is in chaos, and that the presidency and the constitution are threatened. The Democrats and their trained hamsters in the media love it, showing us their concerned faces as they predict the demise of the republic. At the same time, this "unstable and insane" leader suggests the possibility of a comprehensive immigration plan. Odd that really really, really stable and smart leaders like, uh, Barack Obama, seemed unable to achieve that. And while all of this was going on, this "unstable and insane" leader holds an important meeting with congressional leaders and looks quite presidential in doing so.

Ann Althouse comments:
“Look at him, with members of Congress arrayed around him at that table. The news media had to keep the cameras running live. After spending the last week promoting the theory that he’s stupid and crazy, the media look stupid and crazy, as he’s clearly in command, speaking coherently, behaving competently, and getting full respect from the members of Congress. This really was a perfect response the barrage of criticism that bounced off Michael Wolff’s convenient-but-fake book.”
But the Dems keep digging in a deep hole of their own making. Now there are whispers of a variety of passive aggressive "demonstrations" planned for Trump's forthcoming State of the Union address. Digging, digging and more digging.

Scott Adams characterizes Donald Trump as "The Demolition President" because in addition to achieving some rather significant accomplishments in 2017 (reducing taxes for about 80 to 90 percent of all Americans comes to mind), he has demolished much of the moral authority of the elites and the media. Adams writes:
President Trump has delivered on a number of promises for his base. But there was an impressive amount of breakage along the way. You might say he President Trump did as much demolition as he did construction. The press is doing a good job of telling us what he accomplished in 2017. But they keep leaving out all the stuff he broke that probably needed to be broken. I’ll fix that for you here.
  • GOP – Trump broke the GOP and reconstructed it along his terms, successfully it seems.
  • DNC – The DNC has no charismatic leader, no game plan, and little money.
  • Clinton Dynasty – Done
  • Bush Dynasty – Done
  • Mainstream Media – The public learned that news coverage is based on bias as much as fact.
  • NFL – Ratings down, attendance down.
  • FBI (leadership) – The FBI as a whole is still highly credible, but the leadership is not.
  • Pundits – Nearly all the pundits were wrong about Trump’s nomination, election, and successful (by Republican standards) first year.
  • Government Regulations – For good or bad, we have fewer regulations now.
  • Hollywood – Big stars are alienating 40% of their potential audience whenever they take time off from groping.
  • North Korea – They used to have a pathetic but functioning economy. That situation is changing rapidly.
  • ISIS – Remember ISIS? They used to be a big deal.
  • TPP – Pulled out
  • Paris Climate Accord – Pulled out 
  • Reality – I told you in 2015 that candidate Trump would change more than politics. I told you he would change the way we saw reality. Do you remember when you thought the news reported facts and that humans used those facts to make reasoned decisions? You probably don’t think that anymore.
Trump makes people uneasy,* and although he sometimes seems to be out-of-control, Adams contends that he is anything but. Donald Trump is a disruptor in an age of technological, cultural, and political disruption. The demolition he precipitates is indeed as important as the construction he champions.

FOOTNOTE:
---------------

* Trump's unfortunate and crass characterization (in a private conversation) of the originating countries for some of our immigrants as "s#$*holes" gave many of the elites the vapors. It was a stupid blunder on his part, but let's get real for just a moment. Many of the countries in question are severely broken—violent, corrupt, economic basket cases with totalitarian leadership. Call them what you will—they are generally not a place you'd want to live. And apparently, that's true for the thousands of immigrants who want to leave.

The big question, is it our responsibility to allow everyone who wants to leave these broken countries sanctuary in the USA? Is there a limit to the numbers we allow to immigrate. 10,000? 100,000? 1,000,000? 10,000,000? 100,000,000? At some point, we have to establish limits, and that's something that progressives never want to think about.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Your Truth

Scott Adams, one of the most insightful commentators of the current American scene, notes that every person has a "movie" running in their head—and that each movie may have little, if any, relationship to reality or to one another. That's why progressives view the past administration as "one of the greatest" in American history, and conservatives label it "the worst." That's why today's progressive movie stars Donald Trump as an "unstable, insane" monster with a story line that rejects the hard fact that he has accomplished many things that significantly improved the economy, and therefore, the lives of many middle class people, reduced taxes for millions of working people, and stopped our long slide in foreign policy that lead to war and chaos.

Oprah Winfrey, you know, the potential 2020 presidential candidate that put almost all progressives into an Obama-like swoon a few days ago, said something very troubling in an otherwise uplifting coronation speech at (where else) the Golden Globe awards: "... “speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.” The operative phrase is "your truth," that is, your movie is the one that matters.

The phrase "your truth" is an outcome of post-modernist thinking on the Left in which there is no subjective truth or for that matter, no irrefutable facts (except, of course, the ones that those on the Left believe). It suggests that facts, real science, both big and small data, and irrefutable evidence are irrelevant ... that "your truth" is what you should believe, let the real world be damned.

It is true that the "truth" can be elusive. That's why humans, over the millenia, have used collected facts, a scientific method that thrives on proving findings and questioning results, big and small data that have not been messaged to produce a desired outcome, and evidence that is both compelling and corroborated.

Joseph Wulfsohn comments:
But what exactly does “your truth” mean? Perhaps it can be interpreted as “your experience.” If something happened to you, you speak “your truth.” Winfrey spoke “her truth” when she invoked her childhood memory of watching the 36th Academy Awards. The victims of sexual abuse have spoken “their truths” when sharing their allegations against certain predators. I speak “my truth” when writing this column.

However, not only is using the term “your truth” wrong; it’s dangerous ...

But when we rely on “our truths,” we get to choose what to believe.

This is why terms like “allegedly” and “reportedly” are crucial. We cannot nor should not accept something as fact without having proof. And we cannot ignore facts simply because they conflict with an ideal narrative.
Your truth is your movie, nothing more nothing less. It what you believe, not what is real.

I doubt that Oprah Winfrey will run for president, but it is troubling that progressives would swoon over a woman who implies that "your truth" should be used as the basis for decision making and leadership on a national level, particularly when they condemn the current president for doing just that.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

SALT

Add more SALT? Legislators and governors in blue states always answer 'yes' to that question, raising state and local taxes (SALT) repeatedly over the years. The overall tax bill for residents in blue states has caused many people to become tax refugees—fleeing their home state for lower tax red states. The reasons for more SALT are many, but the top of the list is a blue disposition to tax and spend, coupled with repeated concessions to public sector unions (think: unfunded pension obligations) in those states.

And now, the new federal tax reform legislation sets an upper limit of $10,000 on SALT deductibility. Obviously, this isn't a problem for people who take the standard deduction along with a significant percentage of middle class people in those blue states (who don't pay over $10,000 in SALT). But the governors of blue states are in a tizzy. William McGurn reports:
In his official address kicking off the new year—and no doubt his bid for the White House—Mr. Cuomo accuses Republicans in Washington of having declared an “economic civil war” aimed at “robbing the blue states to pay for the red states.” The reference is to the limit on deductibility for state and local taxes in the GOP tax reform passed just before Christmas. The effective tax hike on New York residents, the governor complains, “could cause people to leave the state.”

Hyperbole aside, Mr. Cuomo and other blue-state governors are right about the pain. The SALT deduction operated as an effective federal subsidy for blue-state taxpayers because it returned to them some of the high taxes they paid to their state governments. With the deduction now capped at $10,000, citizens in states such as New York, New Jersey, California and Connecticut will be feeling more keenly the pinch of their states’ tax and spending policies.
The primary argument that Cuomo and other governors use is that citizens in blue states pay a disproportionate shart of federal taxes, and the SALT deduction used to allow them to recoup some those payments. There are two problems with that argument:
  1. Why is it that progressive politicians don't feel the same way about the fact that 20 percent of taxpayers pay a disproportionate share (about 80+ percent) of all federal income taxes? If the argument can be made for blue states collectively paying a disproportionate share of federal taxes, why not the same argument for individuals? I haven't heard Governor Cuomo argue that we're "robbing high income taxpayers to pay for low income taxpayers."
  2. Why is it the progressive politicians use the "fair share" meme repeatedly when discussing the "rich" and taxes, but suddenly jettison that position when the "rich" in their states are asked to pay their SALT with only a $10K deductible amount. After all, in the main, if you're paying more than $10K in SALT, you're not on food stamps.
It's interesting that the Andrew Cuomos of Democratic party tell us repeated that high taxes have no economic affect. But deep down, they know that's simply untrue. McGurn comments:
Ironically, in the course of denouncing the attack from Republicans in Congress and the White House, Mr. Cuomo ceded their core argument: Tax rates affect behavior. For in his declaration of war, Mr. Cuomo admitted his worry that hiking the marginal tax rate on New Yorkers gives them an incentive to relocate. Until now it was supposed to be a Republican canard that highly taxed blue staters defect to lower-taxed red states.
I completely understand that beleaguered taxpayers in blue states are angry. I would be too. But the proper approach should be to demand that their legislators get spending under control, thereby reducing the taxes they must pay. Of course, that won't happen, and it's really not the taxpayers' fault. The other option that many are taking is to leave.

Then again, those of us in red states with balanced budgets and low taxes shouldn't be asked to subsidize "the rich" who choose to live in high tax states. Their legislators and governors are the ones who have initiated an "economic civil war" against their own citizens.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

DACA

There are relatively few Americans who would like to see the children of illegal immigrants, the so-called "Dreamers," deported from the United States. They came here with their parents, have established lives, and in the main, are contributing to our society and culture. But like most things in Washington, the Dreamers have become a political football.

The editors of the Washington Examiner provide some background:
“Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” was the name of Obama’s executive action, which clearly invokes selective enforcement. Immigration law experts called it “administrative relief from deportation.”

It’s a reasonable application of selective enforcement. These people generally didn’t break immigration law of their own volition, and immigrants are eligible only if they haven’t committed felonies. But as an executive action, DACA didn’t legalize these immigrants. It merely put off their deportation.

Donald Trump did exactly the right thing when he rescinded an executive order that enabled the DACA policy. He demanded that Congress pass legislation that would codify the standing of Dreamers and provided ample time for that to be done. Of course, posturing and hypocrisy ensued and time is now running out.

The status of DACA and the Dreamers should be considered as part of a larger effort to reform our immigration system. DACA should be part of legislation that reforms chain immigration, a patchwork of nonsensical preferences and lotteries, and of course, border protection. "The Wall" has become of lightning rod for both Democrats and the President. As a consequence, the Dems have tried to divorce DACA from immigration negotiations and instead, include it as part of the budget negotiations. This is an obvious attempt to leverage their threat of a government shutdown and force the GOP to approve DACA without any other immigration reforms. The GOP wants to force the Dems to consider a package of immigration reforms along with DACA, anathema for the Democrats.

The Washington Examiner comments:
Immigration policy always spurs a debate. It's a complex matter, but also there’s so much emotion on both sides. But the current debate suffers from an unfortunate malady. One side seems not actually to want the policy it claims it wants; it instead simply wants the fight.

Democrats, while gnashing their teeth about the fate of “Dreamers,” illegal immigrants who arrived as children, behave as though they don't actually want to keep these immigrants in the country. Instead, they want to keep the Dreamer issue alive for political gain in 2018 and 2020.
It's pretty obvious that both sides want to solve the DACA issue, but one side refuses to address much-needed immigration reforms and wants to maintain the status quo—a system that is badly broken.

We'll see where negotiations lead.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Peas

On a positive note: the economy is booming, unemployment for African Americans is the lowest it's been in 45 years, hispanic unemployment is the lowest ever recorded, 80 percent of all Americans are keeping more money in their paycheck due to once-in-30-year tax overhaul, the regulatory state has been slowed, major U.S. corporations are providing substantial bonuses for their employees, energy independence is close at hand, ... the list of positive developments is quite long, actually.

On the international stage, Iran is in flames with the first real threat to its evil, totalitarian theocracy in a decade, North Korea uncharacteristically seems to want to talk to South Korea, Arab governments have quietly accepted the reality that Jerusalem is Israel's capital. Sure, challenges remain on both the domestic and foreign policy front, but it's pretty hard to argue that Donald Trump's first year in office was anything but a success.

So ... what do the trained hamsters of the mainstream media want to talk about as the year starts? A tell-all book, Fire and Fury. Here are Michael Wolff's own words about his book:
“Many of the accounts of what has happened in the Trump White House are in conflict with one another; many, in Trumpian fashion, are baldly untrue. Those conflicts, and that looseness with the truth, if not with reality itself, are an elemental thread of the book. Sometimes I have let the players offer their versions, in turn allowing the reader to judge them. In other instances I have, through a consistency in accounts and through sources I have come to trust, settled on a version of events I believe to be true.”
So ... the trained hamsters obsess over a book whose author himself admits that it plays fast and loose with the truth, does nothing to reconcile contradictory accounts, but rather settles on the account (regardless of whether it's true or not) that makes its target, Donald Trump, look as bad as possible. Then again, the Trump Derangement Syndrome crowd doesn't much care. Anything that helps them justify their continuing hysteria over an upset political loss is to be believed.

But let's step back for a moment.

We've all observed the fact that many small children don't like to eat peas.

"They're yucky," a small child might say, "I won't eat them." Or, when the suggestion that they're not "yucky" is offered, the child might respond,

"They're too small and roll around on my plate" Or, when one notes that small things are easy to eat, the child recalibrates his response with,

"They're green and I don't like green food."

This seems to be an apt metaphor for progressives in general and their trained hamsters in the media. When Donald Trump is the subject of their attention (and because he lives rent-free in their heads, he always is the subject of their attention), they seem to use the strategy of a small child. First, it was "Russian collusion," but when that false meme began to fall apart (getting frighteningly close to actual Russian collusion perpetrated by the Democrats, think: Fusion GPS*), they moved on to "obstruction of justice." But when that false meme was shredded by objective legal experts, they moved on to the 25th Amendment—Trump is unstable and insane. Fire and Fury. feeds that last meme, so it's now the only thing that matters.

Eventually, Wolff's screed will be discredited, but when it is, there'll be more excuses for why Democrats and progressives don't like peas. Bet on it.

FOOTNOTE:
------------------

* The documented collusion (yes, that is the correct word) between the DNC, The Clinton Campaign, a smear shop—Fusion GPS, an ex-British spy, Christopher Steel, and the Russians to create a phony dossier that smeared candidate Donald Trump during the presidential campaign is beginning to blow up. Molly Hemingway describes the latest turns in the case. Even worse, it now appears that the Fusion GPS dossier was used by the Obama justice department and the FBI to justify FISA warrants that enabled "wiretapping" of the Trump campaign.

Of course, the trained hamsters in the media are completely uninterested in this scandal, which if proven is, like a number of Obama-era scandals, considerably more serious than the two-bit burglary of a DNC office that was called Watergate. A sitting president was correctly forced to resign over that act, but then again, he was not a Democrat, so the media did its job.

Today, we have a media so biased it refuses to look at serious scandal when perpetrated by its chosen political party. The nation and truth suffer as a consequence.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Fire and Fury

The Democrats, their trained hamsters in the media, and the professional commentariat are acting as if the new book by Michael Wolff (via Steve Bannon), Fire and Fury, is the next coming of The Pentagon Papers There's no point in debating its gossipy content, except to say that it is fascinating that Wolff has already been interviewed by major media outlets who breathlessly want him to delineate every piece of gossip that they think validates their contention that Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) is a justified psychological reaction to the defeat of Hillary Clinton.

And speaking of Clinton, it is equally fascinating, that Peter Schweizer, the author of the book, Clinton Cash, a book that also contained unsubstantiated gossip, but did provide now-proven indicators of actual corruption, influence pedaling and other crimes and misdemeanors,* couldn't get an interview on any mainstream media outlet throughout 2016. I wonder why that is?

The editors of the Wall Street Journal summarize Wolff's book nicely:
Most striking, despite the juicy quotes, is how little new the book reveals. Everyone knew Mr. Trump was surprised to win the election, that he then tried to run the White House like he had his family business with rival factions and little discipline, and that the place was a chaotic mess until John Kelly arrived as chief of staff. We also knew that Mr. Trump knew almost nothing about government or policy, that he reads very little, and that he is a narcissist obsessed with his critics. Any sentient voter knew this on Election Day.

The book is told mainly from Mr. Bannon’s point of view, and the Breitbart impresario is portrayed as thinking Mr. Trump is as much a dolt as Democrats think he is. He dislikes the Trump family, especially son-in-law Jared Kushner, who was a rival for influence.

The book also makes clear that Mr. Bannon was a leading cause of the pre-Kelly White House chaos. He and the press corps have a relationship of mutual loathing but co-dependency. They use each other, and the media love to promote Mr. Bannon because he is a talkative source and a destructive political force inside the Republican Party.

The press is also playing up Mr. Bannon’s claims, which he doesn’t deny, that Don Jr.’s meeting with Russians in June 2016 was “treasonous” and that Don Jr. and Mr. Kushner will be cashiered for money laundering. So the same reporters who think Mr. Bannon is a xenophobe and bigot now view him as a legal authority. There’s that co-dependency thing again.
The Trump Derangement Syndrome crowd seem to be missing a very important irony in all of this. For a moment, let's assume that every single claim made in Wolff's book is 100 percent true. Consider the following tweet by Glen Reynolds of Instapundit in response to a tweet suggesting that Fire and Fury is the epitome of journalistic excellence:



I'm sure that Fire and Fury will make the best-seller lists and might be a good read, but I also suspect that it will have absolutely no impact on anything, except as an accelerant for the fire and fury exhibited by those who suffer from TDS.

FOOTNOTE:
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* As an aside, the trained hamsters in the main stream media obsess over Fire and Fury, hoping desperately that they can somehow spin gossip into:

(a) collusion!
(b) obstruction of justice!!
(c) treason!!! or
(d) all of the above!!!!

But they seem bored by the Iranian uprising and completely uninterested in the following breaking political news (morning shows at ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC were absolutely silent on the story), reported the preceding evening by The Hill:
The Justice Department has launched a new inquiry into whether the Clinton Foundation engaged in any pay-to-play politics or other illegal activities while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of State, law enforcement officials and a witness tells The Hill.

FBI agents from Little Rock, Ark., where the foundation was started, have taken the lead in the investigation and have interviewed at least one witness in the last month, and law enforcement officials said additional activities are expected in the coming weeks.

The officials, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, said the probe is examining whether the Clintons promised or performed any policy favors in return for largesse to their charitable efforts or whether donors made commitments of donations in hopes of securing government outcomes.
Of course, any implication that Hillary Clinton was dishonest or corrupt isn't news, rather, it's a vast right-wing conspiracy. And even the slightest indication that the Obama administration was complicit in that dishonesty or corruption is blasphemy.

Nothing to see here ... back to the gossip.

Friday, January 05, 2018

Cognitive Dissonance

In what can only be characterized as a comical example of cognitive dissonance, two reporters, Binyamin Appelbaum and Jim Tankersley, for the NYT take the brave (for the Times) position that business optimism has improved significantly under Donald Trump:
WASHINGTON — A wave of optimism has swept over American business leaders, and it is beginning to translate into the sort of investment in new plants, equipment and factory upgrades that bolsters economic growth, spurs job creation — and may finally raise wages significantly.

While business leaders are eager for the tax cuts that take effect this year, the newfound confidence was initially inspired by the Trump administration’s regulatory pullback, not so much because deregulation is saving companies money but because the administration has instilled a faith in business executives that new regulations are not coming.
This is upsetting news for progressives, given that they predicted economic disaster after Trump's upset victory over Hillary Clinton. That's why the NYT reporters, when faced with the reality they themselves report, also feel the need to tell us that business leaders "have been publicly critical of President Trump’s approach to social and cultural issues," propounding on Charlottesville and the Paris Climate accords. And here I thought that this article was about business spending and economic growth.

Even more comical is that after presenting actual evidence the Trump's de-regulation environment has spurred business spending (a key element of economic growth), the reporters feel compelled to state: "There is little historical evidence tying regulation levels to growth." But then, as if whipsawed by reality, they write: "Regulatory proponents say, in fact, that those rules can have positive economic effects in the long run, saving companies from violations that could cost them both financially and reputationally."

Then, after lamenting the lack of regulations, the reporters state:
Only a handful of the federal government’s reams of rules have actually been killed or slated for elimination since Mr. Trump took office. But the president has declared that rolling back regulations will be a defining theme of his presidency. On his 11th day in office, Mr. Trump signed an executive order “on reducing regulation and controlling regulatory costs,” including the stipulation that any new regulation must be offset by two regulations rolled back.

That intention and its rhetorical and regulatory follow-ons have executives at large and small companies celebrating. And with tax cuts coming and a generally improving economic outlook, both domestically and internationally, economists are revising growth forecasts upward for last year and this year.

Even before it became clear that Republicans would pass a major tax cut, capital spending had risen significantly, climbing at an annualized rate of 6.2 percent during the first three quarters of last year. Surveys of planned spending also show increases.
Hmmm. I suspect there is concern among the big government crowd that once the impact of reduced taxation is combined with reduced regulation, there may be still another economic boomlet. Sooo ... they quote a past "economic advisor to Joe Biden, assuredly an unbiased observer, who dutifully states that: "The notion that deregulation unleashes growth is virtually impossible to find in the data."

Except that we're experiencing growth, new jobs, and documented wage increases that were elusive over the Obama years of heavy regulation and heavy taxation, aren't we? And here I thought that the Dems were oh-so concerned about jobs for the middle class and income inequality (mitigated by wage growth). Nevermind.

The economy is affected by many parameters and is an exceedingly complex system. And it's completely understandable that reporters for a news organization that is a leader in Trump Derangement Syndrome would suffer from cognitive dissonance when a president the NYT often characterizes as a stupid, incompetent monster somehow shepards through executive actions and legislation that lead to significant and undeniable economic improvement, while his exalted predecessor failed to do so at every turn.

This NYT article has the feel of a ping-pong match. Its authors grudgingly report excellent economic news:
The low unemployment in the United States may also be prompting increased spending, just as it did in the 1990s, as corporations invest in technology to make workers more productive, or replace them entirely. Wendy’s is adding self-service kiosks at 1,000 restaurants. [I guess it might be too much to ask that the reporters delve into the impact of a $15.00/hr. "living wage" and entry level worker "replacement."]

But business executives say the Trump administration deserves credit. Mr. MacDonald said home builders have benefited from the killing of regulations written by the Obama administration, including a rule that broadened the definition of wetlands, which could have restricted home building in certain areas. The National Labor Relations Board also reversed a decision that made builders more responsible for the working conditions of their contractors’ employees.

In some industries, the administration’s actions will allow companies to engage in activities they might not have been able to otherwise; electric utilities, for example, might be able to invest in upgrading power plants that run on fossil fuels, thanks to a promised rollback of Mr. Obama’s Clean Power Plan to fight climate change.

The Business Roundtable, a corporate lobbying group in Washington, reported last month that “regulatory costs” were no longer the top concern of American executives, for the first time in six years. Mr. Zandi said that regulation was still the top concern in Moody’s survey of business confidence, but that it was rapidly losing ground to concerns about the availability of labor.

The National Association of Manufacturers’ fourth-quarter member survey found that fewer than half of manufacturers cited an “unfavorable business climate” — including regulations and taxes — as a challenge to their business, down from nearly three-quarters a year ago.

Some industries have seen particularly clear changes in fortune. The Trump administration has reversed a number of environmental protections that would have imposed significant costs on energy companies. Mr. Trump’s appointees to the Federal Communications Commission voted last month to repeal so-called net neutrality rules, which treated internet services as a regulated industry, like power lines, and prohibited broadband providers from charging for faster internet service or from blocking or slowing some websites.

That decision helped prompt Comcast to announce that it would invest more than $50 billion in infrastructure over the next five years.

The banking industry, in particular, has been buoyed by a relaxed approach to financial regulation as the Trump administration moves to ease many of the postcrisis rules put in place to prevent another financial meltdown. The Treasury Department has issued a series of reports calling for sweeping changes to rules required under the 2010 Dodd-Frank law, and a council set up to designate firms that pose risks to the financial system is in the process of removing those companies from heightened federal oversight.
.
All of this from the NYT, tempered, of course, with a disdainful tone and plenty of qualifiers that imply that the growth we see might not be what it seems—an outstanding achievement for Trump after only a single year in office and a validation that high taxes and suffocating regulation are NOT good for the economy.

Cognitive dissonance aside, it is what it seems—a major win for this president.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Hard Men in Black Robes

It is truly fascinating to watch members of Barack Obama's foreign policy team (what I call the Team of 2s) try to spin their lead-from-behind approach to the 2009 Iranian protests as somehow more nuanced and appropriate than the more aggressive tone taken by the Trump White House. Obama's shameful non-support for those in Iran who wanted to be free of a totalitarian theocracy was one of many low points of his presidency. We now know that Obama's silence was precipitated by his craven desire to cut a narrow nuclear deal with the world's biggest sponsor of Islamic terror. A deal so bad that it was largely unverifiable, allowed the continuing development of ICBMs, provided no mechanism to control Iran's hegemony in the Middle East, and provided Iran with hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief and hard cash in the form of subtle bribes.

Even some of Obama's supporters are taking a second look at his actions. Left-wing New York Times columnist, Roger Cohen, writes:
I have a New Year’s confession: I retweeted President Trump with approval, not something I had expected to do, especially on the subject of Iran. But Trump has been right to get behind the brave Iranian protesters calling for political and economic change ...

For a few days [in 2009], the Islamic republic stood on a knife’s edge. I have often asked myself what would have happened if Mir Hussein Moussavi, the leader of the reformist Green Movement who was later placed under house arrest, had told that crowd to march on the seats of power in the name of the ballot box over theocratic whim.

Signs of disarray were palpable before the regime led by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei cracked down through the thugs of the Basij militia. As I wrote at the time, “There’s nothing more repugnant than seeing women being hit by big men armed with clubs and the license of the state.”

In Tehran, then, the silence of the Obama White House was deafening: too little, too late. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed regret over this in 2014. Excessive caution was the mother of the Obama administration’s worst failures, not least in Syria. The slippery slope school of foreign policy has its limitations. Inaction, in the name of the ninth unanswerable “And then what?” question from the president, is as emphatic a statement as action. President Vladimir Putin, among other American rivals, took note.
To paraphrase Cohen, I rarely agree with anything he writes, but on this, Cohen is spot on.

As the days pass and the protests continue, it's surprising that more people on the Left, you know, the ones who tell us over and over again that they have great concern for human rights, seem oddly ambivalent about taking sides. They suggest that Donald Trump is wrong to get involved. Here's a typical snippet from Robin Wright of the left-wing New Yorker:
The unrest has also further increased tensions between Tehran and Washington. From vacation at Mar-a-Lago, President Trump seemed to delight in Iran’s situation. “Many reports of peaceful protests by Iranian citizens fed up with regime’s corruption & its squandering of the nation’s wealth to fund terrorism abroad,” he tweeted, on Friday. “Iranian govt should respect their people’s rights, including right to express themselves. The world is watching! #IranProtests.”
The Administration’s tone has become more belligerent in the new year, with Trump alluding to support for regime change “Iran is failing at every level despite the terrible deal made with them by the Obama Administration,” Trump tweeted, on New Year’s Day. “The great Iranian people have been repressed for many years. They are hungry for food & for freedom. Along with human rights, the wealth of Iran is being looted. TIME FOR CHANGE!”
Why wouldn't anyone "delight" in a popular movement in Iran that just might overthrow the Mullahs and their anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-Semitic government policies? Why is it that Barack Obama's post-Iran Deal promise of better relations with Iran and a reduction in their hegemonic approach to the Middle East never came to pass? Was he simply naive or worse, dangerously ill-equipped to negotiate with the hard men in black robes? And why are "increased tensions" and "a more belligerent tone" between adversaries a bad thing? For eight years we made nicey-nice, and it got us very little in return.

But back to Iran today. Michael Ledeen breaks down the current unrest:
Is it a revolution? Can it succeed? Should we support it, and if so, how?

Surely this tumult is very different from the protests of 2009. It’s different in at least two ways, geographical and demographical.

Geographically, whereas the 2009 protests were mainly limited to Tehran, today’s phenomenon covers the whole country, from major cities to smaller towns and even rural villages. That’s significant, because those who do not believe in the prospects of an Iranian revolution invariably argue that opposition to the regime is restricted to the elites of the big cities, and that rural populations are pro-regime. It’s difficult to judge how many rural residents are protesting, but it’s a significant number. That’s new, and I believe it surprised both the regime and the leaders of the uprising.

The demographic difference is class: the 2009 demonstrators were Tehrani bourgeoisie (bazaaris, for example). Today’s masses are proletarians: workers, unemployed, failing farmers and the like. Notice that trade unionists are being arrested in Tehran, because the tyrants fear they are the real organizers of the uprising, and because workers and the unemployed are not as easy to intimidate as professors and businessmen.
Despite protestations from Obama apologists, Donald Trump has reacted quickly and appropriately. Richard Goldberg and Jamie Fly make a number of suggestions on how to proceed:
Instead of continuing to protect the supreme leader and his tyrannical regime, the White House and Congress should move in a new direction — backing policies that hold the regime accountable and siding with the Iranian people.

All regime officials and assets should be re-designated under US sanctions, immediately freezing the supreme leader’s vast business empire in all its parts.

Any person or company found complicit in the regime’s attempts to block communications between protesters should feel the enforcement of US sanctions prohibiting censorship in Iran. Key entities involved in the oppression of the Iranian people and in the diversion of resources from the people to terrorism and missiles must be targeted with maximum sanctions as well — starting with Iran’s terror-finance headquarters, the Central Bank of Iran ...

President Trump must also confront Iran’s regional aggression, especially by blocking Iran’s attempts to establish a permanent presence in Syria. Iran, as well as our regional partners, needs to understand that America isn’t abandoning the Middle East.

The president should announce a comprehensive review of US assistance to the Iranian people and reallocate and increase funding to groups and activities that have the best chance of assisting change from inside Iran.
In addition, I think all aspects of cyberwarfare should be brought to bear as soon as possible. Allow social media to flourish, thereby providing command and control for the protesters. Keep up the call for international condemnation for any human rights abuses (many have already occurred). And lastly, decertify the Iran deal in mid-January. It buys us nothing and serves only the interests of hard men in black robes.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Civil Disservice

The federal government has gotten far too large and too partisan. The reason is simple—those who work for government, collecting fat salaries and pensions that surpass those in the private sector, want to continue to do those things. It's would follow, therefore, that government workers vote for the party of big government—the Democrats—and take that preference into their jobs within government.

Over the past year, there have been hundreds of instances where government workers have sabotaged, leaked and otherwise tried to subvert the actions of the new administration. The previous administration blatantly weaponized agencies like the IRS, the EPA, and the State Department, and the middle management civil service partisans embedded in those agencies remain in place.

Despite what the Dems tell us, the "government" in not working in the best interests of the people. Rather it's working in the best interests of the government. There was a time when one could claim that the people and the government were the same thing. That time is past.

Kim Strassel suggests a legislative initiative that is long overdue and just might capture the imagination of the general public. She writes:
When Candidate Trump first referred to “the swamp,” he was talking about the bog of Beltway lobbyists and “establishment” politicians. But President Trump’s first year in office has revealed that the real swamp is the unchecked power of those who actually run Washington: the two million members of the federal bureaucracy. That civil-servant corps was turbocharged by the Obama administration’s rule-making binge, and it now has more power—and more media enablers—than ever. We live in an administrative state, run by a left-leaning, self-interested governing class that is actively hostile to any president with a deregulatory or reform agenda.

It’s Lois Lerner, the IRS official who used her powers to silence conservative nonprofits. It’s the “anonymous” officials who leak national-security secrets daily. It’s the General Services Administration officials who turned over Trump transition emails to Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the absence of a warrant. It’s the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Leandra English, who tried to stage an agency coup. It’s the EPA’s “Scientific Integrity Official” who has taken it upon herself to investigate whether Scott Pruitt is fit to serve in the office to which he was duly appointed. It’s the thousands of staffers across the federal government who continue to pump out reports on global warming and banking regulations that undermine administration policy.

More broadly, it is a federal workforce whose pay and benefits are completely out of whack with the private sector. A 2011 American Enterprise Institute study found federal employees receive wages 14% higher than what similar workers in the private sector earn. Factor in benefits and the compensation premium leaps to 61%. Nice, huh?

These huge payouts are the result of automatic increases, bonuses, seniority rules and gold-plated pensions that are all but extinct in the private sector. The federal workforce is also shielded by rules that make it practically impossible to fire or discipline bad employees, to relocate talent, or to reassign duties. These protections embolden bureaucrats to violate rules. Why was Ms. Lerner allowed to retire with full benefits? Because denying them would have cost far more—and required years of effort.

It’s been nearly 40 years since the last civil-service overhaul...
It's long past time for a complete overhaul of the civil service system. But huge forces will be aligned against any attempt at reform. The party of Big Intrusive Government, the Democrats, will resist because the swamp is largely their constituency. The GOP elites might resist because the bureaucracy works for them. The deep state will act aggressively to derail any effort at reform, because their fat paychecks and benefits would be threatened. And the media will fight it because—Trump. And—I can see it now—the Hollywood glitterati would conduct benefit concerts to "protect" our beleaguered public servants.

But the general public just might get on board and favor reform. After all, when was the last time private sector workers got pay and benefits offered to federal employees, who typically work half as hard with no real accountability? When was the last time you got outstanding service from a government agency, or for that matter, simply got a straight answer to a simple question without being placed on hold for an hour?

Reforming civil disservice won't be easy ... it might even be impossible. But if anyone can do it, it just might be The Donald.

One cannot help but conclude by paraphrasing the immortal words of P.J. O'Rourke:
It is a popular delusion that the government wastes vast amounts of money through inefficiency and sloth. But that's not true. Enormous effort and elaborate planning are required to waste that much money.