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

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Bennan

In an obvious political move that is as much about payback as it is about national security, Donald Trump revoked ex-CIA director John Brennan's courtesy security clearance this week. If you listen to the establishment commentariat, including a gaggle of ex-CIA and intelligence directors, you'd think that Trump torched the entire Langley, VA operations center of the CIA.

It's worth noting that Brennan is one of the architects of Barack Obama's disastrous Middle East policies, you know, the policies that created a catastrophe in Syria (along with the deaths of half a million civilians), the policies that resulted in Libya becoming a failed state and the home of a variety of dangerous Islamist terror groups, the policies that isolated Israel—a true US ally, the policies that resulting (indirectly) in the Benghazi debacle, and the policies that lead to an "Iran Deal" that was so bad, so one-sided, and so ineffective that Obama refused to bring it before Congress, recognizing it would be rejected.

Steve Hayes has done an in-depth report on Brennan's tenure in the national security apparatus, and his conclusions do not depict Brennan in a positive light. Hayes, a prominent #NeverTrumper, disagrees with Trump's revocation of Brennan's security clearance, not because Brennan is an upstanding citizen (he isn't) but because Trump's move was vindictive. But on Brennan himself, Hayes is not kind. He relates how Brennan forced CIA operatives returning from Benghazi to sign an NDA on the day of their colleagues' funerals that effectively silenced them from discussing the scandal. He did this not to protect national security, but to protect his patron, Barack Obama, from obvious political fallout. He then denied that he had presented NDAs to the men in congressional testimony. Hayes writes:
This kind of mendacity in the service of politics was the rule for Brennan, not the exception. Brennan was one of the chief architects of President Obama’s “strategy” for fighting terrorism. That strategy hinged on the idea that the jihadists’ territorial ambitions didn’t really matter. Remember Obama’s remark that the predecessor to ISIS and other al Qaeda-affiliated groups were the “jayvee” of terrorism? Brennan laid the groundwork for that view. During a speech on June 29, 2011, Brennan claimed that al Qaeda’s "grandiose vision" of an "Islamic caliphate" is an "absurd" and "feckless delusion that is never going to happen." Three years later to the day, on June 29, 2014, ISIS declared itself to be a caliphate, ruling over a large part of Iraq and Syria. ISIS didn’t invent the idea of a jihadist caliphate out of thin air. Bin Laden and his men had preached it for years, including when the ISIS’ forerunner was part of al Qaeda’s global network.

Six months before the 2012 election, the Obama administration launched a comprehensive effort to demonstrate that the president had kept America safe ... The future CIA director [Brennan, then chief White House counterterrorism adviser] predicted that the global terrorist organization [Al Qaeda] would see its “demise” by the end of this decade. This wasn’t analysis, it was politics. Brennan made the claim despite a wealth of evidence—classified and open source—that al Qaeda was amassing more territory and recruiting more fighters ...

Obama officials, eager to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan, claimed distance between the Taliban and al Qaeda. The documents demonstrated the opposite, as the two fought side-by-side on the battlefield. Obama White House officials, already laying the groundwork for the Iran nuclear deal, downplayed the threat posed by the Iranian regime. The documents showed the Iranian regime as a key facilitator of al Qaeda, despite ideological differences and antagonism between the two sides.

And Brennan not only fought the public release of these documents, as CIA director he blocked other elements of the U.S. intelligence community from access to them.

John Brennan didn’t suddenly become political with the election of Donald Trump, as his defenders in the intelligence community and the media would have us believe. He was an adviser on Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign. He was political as a top White House counterterrorism adviser. And he was political as CIA director. He used intimidation tactics similar to the ones he now finds so objectionable and lied about it afterwards. He sold the country a misleading narrative about the demise of al Qaeda and worked to bury evidence that contradicted Obama administration claims.

None of this is offered as a justification of Trump’s revocation of Brennan’s security clearances. I share many of Brennan’s concerns about Trump’s temperament, his character, and his behavior in office. There are serious questions about Trump and Russia. I’m glad Bob Mueller is investigating them.

But portraying Brennan as a dispassionate, apolitical intelligence professional is misleading. It gives his pronouncements the appearance of detachment and objectivity; they have neither. Some reporters doing this are guilty of the black-hat/white-hat reporting that has infected political journalism in the Trump era. Trump so offends their sensibilities that they depict his critics as heroes almost by default. Other reporters are no doubt portraying Brennan this way out of genuine ignorance. After all, there wasn’t much reporting on his efforts to politicize intelligence during the Obama administration and what reporting there was routinely was ignored.
Of course it was. Brennan is now characterized by many in the media as a victim. He isn't. He's a liar, a partisan hack, and a man who has done much to damage the image of an objective, non-partisan, apolitical CIA. Revoking his clearance was ham-handed, but it couldn't have happened to a more disreputable guy.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Conspiracy Theory

The New York Times never ceases to be the laughably predictable protector of and mouthpiece for the Democratic party. It chooses to spin its stories to denigrate the GOP whenever possible. It chooses to tamp down coverage of any legitimate news events and/or scandals that might hurt the Dems or their candidates or elected officials, and most recently, it has embraced full-blown Trump Derangement Syndrome as if it is a religious quest.

Those who questioned the Democrat narrative on Benghazi—a slam dunk case of blatant executive level dishonesty and chain of command malfeasance (with copious evidence to support that characterization) were accused by the NYT of being "conspiracy theorists." Those who questioned the Obama administration version of the events leading to the IRS scandal—a slam dunk case of weaponizing a powerful government agency to act against the then-president's opponents (a claim recently vindicated by a lawsuit and government settlement) were again accused by the NYT of being "conspiracy theorists." Just today, a front page story in the NYT entitled, "Embracing Conspiracy Theory, Trump Escalates Attack on Bruce Ohr" again uses "conspiracy theory" to label yet another a slam dunk case of the weaponization of the FBI and intelligence agencies (under Obama) supported by so much irrefutable evidence it is mind-boggling.

Holman Jenkins comments on the media's obsession with protecting the Dems in the latter case when he writes:
... If you are not by now open to the suspicion that the blowhardism of former Obama intelligence officials John Brennan and James Clapper is aimed at keeping the focus away from their actions during the election, then you haven’t been paying attention. In his New York Times op-ed this week after being stripped of his courtesy, postretirement security clearance, the CIA’s Mr. Brennan finally put his collusion cards on the table: Mr. Trump’s ill-advised remark [it was a joke said with a smile] during the campaign inviting Russia to find the missing Hillary Clinton emails.

Really? This is it? Mr. Trump’s behavior was typically unpresidential in the fashion that we have now become used to, such as referring to a fired White House employee as a dog. But his jibe was at least as much aimed at the media, which he correctly noted would eagerly traffic in the stolen emails even as it deplored Russian meddling.

When Mr. Trump tweets and blurts out so many offhand things, are you really going to build a “treason” case (a term Mr. Brennan has used) out of just another free-form Trump campaign riff of 2016? If that’s all he’s got, the secret knowledge Mr. Brennan keeps hinting at is a fabulous fraud.

Which brings us to the press. The two stories outlined above are of legitimate, pressing interest, but editors and reporters say to themselves: “Might not looking into these matters be construed as pro-Trump? We can’t have that.” Not one U.S. paper, despite lavish coverage of the DOJ inspector general’s report, even noted the existence of a secret appendix. According to reports in his own Washington Post, Bob Woodward’s forthcoming book will be an upmarket “Fire and Fury” looking into the known knowns of Mr. Trump’s chaotic first year in office. Meanwhile, history is screaming at Mr. Woodward to dig into the known unknowns of U.S. intelligence activities in the campaign that elected Mr. Trump.
But every editor and every reporter who has an IQ higher than their golf score knows that 'looking into" anything associated with the actions of the Obama administration during the 2016 campaign, the FBI, the CIA, the Clinton campaign and the DNC, the phony dossier ginned up by smear shop Fusion GPS, and yes, the actions of Bruce Ohr among a cadre of anti-Trump FBI executives, knows deep down that what they find won't be good for the Dems or for Obama's already shredded legacy. So they choose not to look. Instead, they accuse, as the NYT does, those who do look as "conspiracy theorists."

Ya know what? Sometimes,
  • when evidence indicates a clandestine communications by supposedly non-partisan government officials (think: text messages outlined the FBI IG report) aimed at the opponents of the administration;

  • when a chain for facts indicates that 'evidence' was bought and paid for by your opponents and knowingly used by other supposed non-partisan government agencies against a political opponent (think: the Fusion GPS dossier);

  • when the spouses of government employees are bought and paid for by one party (think Andrew McCabe wife's political donations and Bruce Ohr's wife's job working for ... wait for it ... Fusion GPS);

  • when government agencies (e.g., the DoJ and FBI) do everything possible to derail any Congressional inquiry into their action (think: Obama era DoJ types and their slow-walking of important documents);

  • when senior intelligence officials (think: Clapper and Brennan) outright lie to congress about these events),

  • when the person (think: Trump) who was the target of these actions is broadly accused of "collusion" with absolutely no evidence to support that charge, and

  • when the trained hamsters in the main stream media along with far too many Democrat politicians keep accusing anyone who reports these facts as "conspiracy theorists" in an effort to gaslight the public,


  • what you have is clear and compelling evidence of a full-blown CONSPIRACY!

    And if the editors and reporters of the NYT, the Democrats, #NeverTrumpers, and virtually every progressive refuse to see it, that tells us more about their grasp on reality than it does about conspiracy theory.

    The famous line out of the classic movie, Cool Hand Luke, comes to mind: "What we have here is a failure to communicate."

    True, but let's add, what we have here is a failure to accept the obvious—during the 2016 presidential campaign and spilling into the presidency of Donald Trump, there was a conspiracy to delegitimize his candidacy and then his presidency. It is ominous in its breath and depth, but far more ominous is the complete and utter failure of the most of the media to even investigate it, much less work to ensure that this cancer within our government never again occurs.

    Friday, August 17, 2018

    Editorials

    Yesterday, between 70 and 350 newspapers and other online news sources (depending on which source you read) published coordinated editorials attacking Donald Trump for his attacks on the media. His attacks note the media's obvious left-leaning bias, its emphasis on "news" that depicts the current administration in a negative light (90+ percent of all news stories), its de-emphasis or omission of news (think: the economy) that suggests that Trump is doing a much better than average job when compared to past presidents and, of course, Trump's suggestion that "the press is the enemy of the American people."

    Nina Bookout writes:
    The New York Times offered this up:

    A FREE PRESS NEEDS YOU

    Oh. Ok. A free press needs us? Actually, yes, it does. And we do need a free press. What we ALSO need and expect is an OBJECTIVE free press. Which is difficult when you factor in human nature. But objectivity must be strived for. Temper tantrums in the White House press corps a la Jim Acosta-style is by no means objective and only serves to have us mistrust the press even more.

    Memo to the national media: We don’t like you because you are printing fiction and then throwing pearl clutching fits when we demand you print facts. If you want to be liked and trusted, then EARN it.
    My recent post on the media as a victim and their subsequent temper tantrums makes essentially the same point.

    For decades, the media was a bully when reporting on any GOP policies, politicians, or lawmaking. When the GOP screwed up, the media amplified the screwup invariably suggesting that the GOP didn't care about the common person or were racists, or bigots, or anti-Democratic. And the GOP largely took it, pushing back weakly when they pushed back at all. They allowed the media to define the narrative. And the media loved it. No more.

    In recent years, during the term of Barack Obama, the media went into gaslighting mode, telling us that everything was sweetness and light, that scandals didn't happen, that bad policy was good policy, that dishonesty was only a matter of misinterpretation, that a weak foreign policy with disastrous outcomes was strength, that allies loved what we were doing when they hated it. And when opponents suggested otherwise, the media created an image of "conspiracy theorists" who were opposing their lies for partisan advantage.

    Excuse those of us who view the media with skepticism. We think that the majority of "journalists" are biased, lazy, and often dishonest. We view the lack of objectivity and the prevalence of fake news (a.k.a. "mistakes" that always seem to favor the Democrats) as clear bias. We look askance at their selective leaks and investigations that often refuse to look at wrong doing when it reflects badly on Dems. We think that lack of context is akin to propaganda. And "we" are not a small number of people, but the majority, if you are to believe the polls.

    The media has a problem, and it has NOTHING to do with Donald Trump. My bet is that not a single editorialist noted the real problem even though it's easy to identify. All they have to do is look in the mirror.


    Wednesday, August 15, 2018

    Dudley Mueller

    If you are to believe every Democrat and a significant number of GOP #NeverTrumpers, the Mueller investigation is the epitome of ethics and a forthright attempt to "get to the bottom of" claims of Russian collusion. Mueller, if you were to believe the establishment elites, is the Dudley DoRight of lawyers and investigators.
    It's odd, isn't it, that with all the leaks out of the Mueller-DoRight investigation, there has been no mention of any investigation of collusion between the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Russians, even with this week's major investigative report (ignored, as usual, by most of the trained hamsters in the media) that indicates clear and continuous contact between a Clinton cutout, Fusion GPS, and the Russians throughout the 2016 campaign and after.

    Lee Smith of RealClearInvestigations reports:
    The June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between high-ranking members of the Republican presidential campaign staff and a Russian lawyer with Kremlin ties remains the cornerstone of claims that Donald Trump colluded with Russia to steal the election.

    A growing body of evidence, however, indicates that the meeting may have been a setup -- part of a broad effort to tarnish the Trump campaign involving Hillary Clinton operatives employed by Kremlin-linked figures and Department of Justice officials. This view, that the real collusion may have taken place among those who arranged the meeting rather than the Trump officials who agreed to attend it, is supported by two disparate lines of evidence pulled together for the first time here: newly released records and a pattern of efforts to connect the Trump campaign to Russia.

    The first line of evidence includes emails, texts, and memos recently turned over to Congress by the Department of Justice. They show how closely senior Justice Department officials and the Federal Bureau of Investigation worked with employees of Fusion GPS, a Washington-based research firm reportedly paid $1 million by Clinton operatives to dig up dirt on the Trump campaign.

    They reveal that then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, the fourth-highest-ranking official at DOJ, coordinated before, during and after the election with Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson, who did work for the Clinton campaign and Russians; and former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, who was employed by Simpson.

    ... In fact, the Russian lawyer at the center of the [infamous Trump Tower] meeting, Natalia Veselnitskaya, was his [Glenn Simpson's] client.

    She has publicly stated that she used talking points developed by Simpson for the Russian government in that discussion. Kremlin officials also posted the allegations on the Prosecutor General’s website, and shared them with visiting U.S. congressional delegations.

    In addition, Simpson has testified that he had dinner with Veselnitskaya the night before the meeting and the night after.

    Accompanying Veselnitskaya to the meeting was Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, who had served in the Soviet Union’s military counterintelligence service. His role remains unclear, but evidence suggests he may have been the source Simpson was alluding to in December 2016 when Ohr recorded that Simpson told him, “Much of the collection about the Trump campaign ties to Russia comes from a former Russian intelligence officer (? not entirely clear) who lives in the U.S.”

    Veselnitskaya hired Simpson in spring 2014 for work that lasted, according to Simpson’s Senate testimony, until “mid to late 2016.”
    Gosh, you'd think because the New York Times and other trained hamsters in the media are so, so concerned about Russian collusion, they'd launch their own investigative resources to corroborate or refute the RealClear Investigations allegations, but nope. No interest -- none at all. You'd think the Dudley Mueller and his band of lawyers (patriots and Clinton stalwarts all) would be appalled by allegations that HRC worked with the Russkies and mount their own grand jury probe. Nope, no possibility of wrong doing, none at all. But Stormy Daniels or Omasosa ... oh, that's another story entirely.

    Dudley (err, Robert Muller) has broadened his probe to ensnare everyone from crooked lobbyist Paul Manafort to aging porn star Stormy Daniels to sleezy fixer-lawyer Micheal Cohen, to sleezy political operator, Roger Stone) all in an effort to bust Donald Trump. Yet, not one shred of credible evidence has been leaked to indicate that Trump colluded with the Russians. It does seem odd, does it not, that Mueller and his merry band of investigators seem unwilling to broaden their collusion probe to look at the only real Russian collusion that occurred during the 2016-2017 campaign and promoted by Hillary Clinton's campaign.

    Hmmm. Given Dudley's selective focus, it sure looks like a "witch hunt" to me.

    Tuesday, August 14, 2018

    Not Smart

    In a recent post, I noted that the main stream media has begun to characterize itself as a victim under attack by Donald Trump. According to the trained hamsters, Trump is berating them for no reason whatsoever.

    They, of course, have been perfectly objective in their coverage of all things Trump. Not. They de-emphasize the major accomplishments of the Trump administration (e.g., high GDP and low, low unemployment, tax breaks for the middle class, etc.) because they have to give Amarosa 24-7 coverage. They have purposely ignored the weaponization (against Trump) of major government agencies (think FBI, CIA, IRS) by the Obama administration because inveterate liars like James Clapper of James Comey tell us it isn't true. They use a double standard to cover malfeasance or ethical laps by Republicans and Democrats, breathlessly reporting alleged minor wrong-doing in a Trump charity while refusing to even acknowledge allegations of massive wrongdoing in a Clinton-related charity. They treat extremist groups on both the right and left differently; for example, this week's physical attacks by left-wing Antifa thugs in Charlottesville on their own media brethren (NBC reporters) were downplayed while a tiny demonstration (about 20 people) by alt-right extremists in Washington garnered hours of coverage. And of course, they are convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that Russian collusion did occur and that Trump was involved, even though the only hard evidence of Russian collusion occurred when Hillary Clinton and the DNC paid for and colluded with Russian sources to vilify Trump by creating the infamous phony dossier.

    And now we learn that the left-leaning Boston Globe is coordinating anti-Trump editorials by 100 newspapers across the nation set to criticize Trump for attacking the media. After all, think of all the balanced and objective Administration-related journalism offered by the Globe and others over the past two years. The poor trained hamsters have been violated and attacked by a meanie president and their delicate feelings have been crushed. Gosh, CNN's Jim Acosta felt "unsafe" at a Trump rally.

    The Boston Globe coordinated attack caused @walterkern to tweet:
    Angered by Trump's charge that it feigns independence while acting as a unified coordinated attack machine, the press responds with a coordinated unified attack on Trump. Smart.
    Actually, no. Not smart, but biased and unprofessional, yes.

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

    The trained hamsters love to vilify Devin Nunes, the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and the person who has embarrassed them repeatedly by uncovering critical information about the above mentioned scandal that normally would have been reported by the media (except it embarrassed their masters, the Dems).

    Mollie Hemingway writes:
    It is worth noting that Nunes’ and others’ work doing real congressional oversight has deeply embarassed the media. Without congressional oversight, the country would not know:
    • That Clinton and the DNC secretly funded Fusion GPS’s dossier.
    • That Trump affiliates were wiretapped during the campaign.
    • That a $50 million public relations operation is ongoing to feed Russia stories to the media and government even now.
    • That the FBI is working with this group running the PR operation.
    • That Bruce Ohr’s wife worked for Fusion GPS.
    • That top officials were leaking to CNN.
    • That the unverified dossier was used to justify FISA warrant applications.
    • That no official intelligence was used in Peter Strzok’s electronic communication launching the investigation.
    And much, much more. Yes, Nunes makes the media’s role in this story look just terrible. Still, their derangement toward him is getting ridiculous.
    The WaPo's slogan is "Democracy Dies in Darkness." Heh. Looks like the WaPo "journalists" don't mind darkness as long as their Democratic friends can hide their scandalous wrongdoing in the shadows.




    Friday, August 10, 2018

    Sticks and Stones

    Social media giants like Facebook and YouTube have decided that they can be the arbiters of what speech is free and what speech can be banned. As private entities they have that right, of course. But that doesn't mean they're equipped—ideologically, intellectually, or emotionally—to make decisions that control what voices can be heard and what voices must be banned. Censorship is almost always a bad idea, and current attempts to censor speech are no exception.

    The case of Alex Jones is representative. Jones is a right-wing extremist, a conspiracy monger, and a bad guy generally, who often espouses hateful ideas. David Harsanyi comments on Jones and efforts to ban him from Facebook:
    Jones, who has made numerous hateful and reckless remarks, should make any reasonable person uncomfortable. In this regard, though, he’s certainly not alone. And if Facebook is now guaranteeing a platform free of unpleasant voices who break their vague terms of service, they have lots of work ahead.

    To some extent, I can understand how frustrating it is watching a bigoted conspiracy theorist who has destroyed lives be provided a voice on a large media platform. After all, I’ve been trying to ignore Al Sharpton’s cable show for years. Yet if I were running a social media platform, I’d like to think I would allow nearly anyone— minus those who threaten violence or otherwise break the law—to speak. It’s not as if users wouldn’t possess a block button. I can’t recall a single time in my decade using social media ever opening an [Alex Jones'] Infowars link. I doubt most of you have either. Even if you did, you wouldn’t melt. They’re just words.

    And while the ejection of Jones isn’t the end of the world, and it doesn’t necessarily portend a mass expulsion of less extreme voices, let’s stop acting like conservatives are foolish for harboring some concerns about the incrementalist goals of would-be liberal censors.
    And therein lies the problem. There are an equal number of left-wing extremists, conspiracy mongers (think: 9/11 was an inside job), and a bad guys generally who populate social media. They propose ideas that are truly extreme, they denigrate those who disagree with their world view using hateful labels like "racist" as if it was a description of eye color, they propose totalitarian/authoritarian solutions for everything from property rights to wealth transfer, they are objectionable by any reasonable standard. But that doesn't mean their speech should be banned.

    The interesting thing is that the speech of left-wing extremists is generally not banned. It appears that only those whose speech runs counter to the progressive narrative (championed by many of the founders and executives along with a majority of the employees of social media companies) become the targets of censorship.

    The danger is that voices that oppose the progressive narrative but are neither hateful or extreme (by any rational definition) will slowly fall under the "Alex Jones" label. And once that happens, censorship is the next step. Harsanyi continues:
    Every day, contemporary liberals run around accusing Trump supporters of being in league with white supremacists and social conservatives of being unrepentant bigots. Republicans are regularly charged with propagating fascist views or attempting to literally murder Americans.

    It’s implausible to imagine a future where liberal activists don’t demand Republican groups be deplatformed. We already see liberal groups targeting advertisers of popular conservative radio hosts and trying to have National Rifle Association, an organization regularly compared to terrorists, thrown off platforms on moral grounds. The slippery slope already exists ...

    People struggle—or, more likely, pretend to struggle—to make a distinction between defending the value of free expression and defending those who use it. Arguing that it’s preferable to err on the side of more speech on a giant user-generated website doesn’t make you an ally of Jones any more than defending the right of The New York Times editorial board to hire Sarah Jeong makes you a small-minded racist. What it might mean, though, is that you’re more troubled by the prospects of authoritarian ideologues who believe speech is tantamount to “terrorism” attempting to dictate what our discourse looks like than you are about some media-generated panic about Jones.
    Unless the speaker/writer directly advocates violence and murder against specific groups (think: ISIS), censorship is generally a bad idea. It turns bad guys into martyrs and forces their ideas underground, where robust debate and denunciation are more difficult to accomplish.

    It seems that the old aphorism, Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me, has been rejected by the social media power elite. They think that by banning "words" they'll eliminate those who might ultimately use "sticks and stones" to permanently silence ideas they don't like. They're wrong.


    Thursday, August 09, 2018

    The Media As Victim

    A significant majority of all members of the national main stream media took their masks off after the upset election of Donald Trump. It wouldn't be so bad if they were simply biased and partisan—they're surely that. But they also reject the basic tenets of their supposed profession—selectively reporting or ignoring stories based on their impact to the prevailing progressive narrative, omitting context and crucial facts that might help people better understand a story, and making "mistakes" in reporting (with resultant retractions) that always seem to benefit Democrats and hurt the GOP. As a consequence they are sometimes the purveyors of "fake news." They are also extremely thin-skinned.

    Let me explain.

    Over the past three or four decades, the main stream media became an extension of the Democratic party, attacking every GOP president and every GOP presidential candidate during election years. Often dishonestly. But in those days, the people who were attacked simply turned the other cheek—they were gentlemen and women and never punched back. That allowed the media to become bullies—they thought they could deliver their bias with impunity—that no one would notice and certainly, that no national politician would dare call them on it.

    Boy, has that changed.

    Donald Trump has decided to fight back—hard. He demonizes the media, He points out their errors publicly, notes their bias with reference to specific reporters, and has suggested that they are "the enemy of the American people." Wow ... that hit a nerve.

    The usual cast of trained hamsters were apoplectic. Proponents of an ideology that sees far too many groups as "victims," they decided to become victims themselves. They argued that any demonization of the media "was a threat to democracy" and a weapon employed only by nazis or fascists. They called Trump's attacks "dehumanizing." After all, they were the important forth estate—a group that was supposed to keep dishonest politicians in check, reign in the excesses of government, investigate scandals when they arose, and inform the people. Over the past decade, far too many "journalists" have done none of those things—so many, in fact, that the few true professionals are notable exceptions to the norm.

    Every day, important stories (that conflict with the prevailing Democrat narrative) go un- or under-reported; every week, breaking news that validates the existence of government scandals is ignored or buried on figurative page 37; every month the main stream media becomes less and less objective and more and more partisan. And as they do those things, they become a threat—not to all Americans, but to those that still believe that the media delivers objective, honest reporting. They become a threat because they enable corruption by failing to investigate it, they encourage dishonesty on one side of the aisle by refusing to identify it, they warp the notion of "objectivity" by thinking they deliver it, and then they whine about attacks on their integrity when they have no integrity to defend.

    Yeah, Trump is a brute when he calls out the media. Maybe he's callous when he ridicules their objectivity, and maybe he's hyperbolic when he calls them a "threat." But maybe, based on a decade or more of irresponsible actions, that's exactly what the media deserves.

    Wednesday, August 08, 2018

    Ohr

    For the past year, the Democrat's trained hamsters of the main stream media have hyperventilated over a meeting that Donald Trump Jr. and other campaign staff had with a Russian lawyer, titularly to gather dirt on Hillary Clinton. In what amounts to a breathtaking level of disingenuousness, they are shocked, absolutely shocked, that one political campaign would want to gather dirt on another. They, of course, have decided that a one-off, 20-minute meeting that yielded no dirt on anyone is prima facie evidence of "Russian collusion." The hamsters, oddly, are absolutely uninterested in another set of paid activities and meetings, conducted by the DNC and the Clinton Campaign through Fusion GPS, in cooperation, it now seems, with the Obama DoJ and with direct cooperation of the Russians. Those activities resulted in a phony dossier that was used to initiate a surveillance campaign by Obama-weaponized FBI and intelligence agencies against an opposition political party. But media interest in all of that is nil, because ... Democrats were the perpetrators.

    In a comprehensive analysis (read the whole thing), John Solomon comments on the latest revelations gleaned from just-released documents that the DoJ and FBI refused to release for over a year. He writes:
    Hundreds of pages of previously unreported emails and memos provide the clearest evidence yet that a research firm, hired by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to find dirt on and defeat Donald Trump, worked early and often with the FBI, a Department of Justice (DOJ) official and the intelligence community during the 2016 presidential election and the early days of Trump's presidency.

    Fusion GPS's work and its involvement with several FBI officials have been well reported.

    But a close review of these new documents shows just how closely Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, who reported to Obama-era Deputy AG Sally Yates, maintained contact with Fusion — and, in particular, its primary source, former British spy Christopher Steele — before, during and after the election.

    Yates was fired by President Trump over an unrelated political dispute. Ohr was demoted recently.

    Ohr’s own notes, emails and text messages show he communicated extensively with Steele and with Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson. Those documents have been turned over in recent weeks to investigative bodies in Congress and the DOJ, but not reviewed outside the investigative ranks until now.

    They show Ohr had contact with Steele in the days just before the FBI opened its Trump-Russia probe in summer 2016, and then engaged Steele as a “confidential human source” (CHS) assisting in that probe.

    They also confirm that Ohr later became a critical conduit of continuing information from Steele after the FBI ended the Brit's role as an informant.
    In January, 2017, the trained hamsters characterized Yates political grandstanding (she refused to resign her position at the end of the Obama administration) as a heroic form of political protest. What we now see is she was a blatant political operator who was actively involved in an effort to undermine Trump before he election and delegitimize him after his victory.

    Ever so slowly, despite obfuscation by the Democrats and an active campaign to bury this major scandal by the media, the truth comes out. Drip, drip, drip.

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

    Just this morning, GOP Representative Chris Collins was indicted by the DoJ for insider trading. I suspect the charges are legitimate. CNN gave over two hours of coverage to the story, including broadcasting the complete news conference conducted by the DoJ announcing the charges.

    Interesting that a relatively unimportant indictment of a Republican gets massive coverage, while new revelations that have a bearing on a major national scandal involving Democrats gets virtually none. Heh.

    Monday, August 06, 2018

    Mirage

    Day after day, week after week, month after month ... the figurative volume of the Trump Derangement Syndrome crowd escalates. They express their "outrage" in myriad ways, some simply comical, others rather more repugnant. A laughable example has Rosey O'Donnell and a group of Broadway singers performing songs of outrage on the streets outside the White House. A more repugnant example is an Antifa (a.k.a., leftist thugs) crowd that screamed at and threatened a black female, conservative writer as she ate breakfast. But I digress.

    Conservative historian Victor Davis Hansen eviscerates those progressives who have convinced themselves that they are morally, intellectually, and emotionally superior not only to Trump voters but to virtually everyone who resides in red states in the center and southern reaches of the country—about half the U.S population. He notes the example of Sarah Jeong, a recently hired NYT writer who has taken viciously anti-white positions on Twitter. Those positions are racist, except they can't be, because ... white privilege. Jeong claims her tweets were satire. Yeah, right, sort of like David Duke's racist comments were, what? Ironic?

    Hansen writes:
    Academic dogma postulates that white people cannot be the victims of racism, and such banal white demonization has now seeped into the larger liberal commentariat. With that bias comes the twin notion that one can smear the white working classes with impunity. [Politico reporter Marc Caputo [who referred to people at a Trump rally as toothless rubes], however, was not brave or stupid enough to visit a Trump rally and to suggest to the crowd around him to get to a Clear Smile clinic.

    If you are a non-white purveyor of such prejudice, venom like Jeong’s is contextualized through the lens of compensatory historical grievances. Someone’s grandfather mistreated your grandmother, so you can invert and then replay the roles with impunity. Or less charitably, life’s disappointments are always due to past cosmic injustice, not one’s own perceived tragic shortcomings or bad luck or just cruel fate.

    If you are an elite white liberal, you are a twofer: virtue signaling your identity politics bona fides, while psychologically squaring the circle of your own privilege. Those who ridicule less fortunate white others for their supposed racial privilege—themselves often the products of old boy networks, elite upbringings, inherited perks, prep schools and parental leveraging—end up as the privileged smearing the non-privileged for their privilege ...

    Is such ignorance of an entire class because of, or in spite of such, elite training?

    Does the university-bred cursus honorarium have room for real-world experience beyond the campus and laptop?

    Has Jeong ever worked welding alongside the grandchildren of Dust Bowl diaspora to adjudicate their actual skin-colored advantage? Did her class and gender studies work at Harvard Law constitute a tougher curriculum than a 12-hour shift at Denny’s? Is the soybean jack-of-all-trades farmer really denser than the Yale English major?

    A final irony. In answer to the now hackneyed question, who or what created Trump? All these purveyors of class and racial prejudice need only look in the mirror.
    As the volume of the TDS crowd increases, a single feeling permeates the atmosphere—contempt. As I've mentioned in an earlier post, people react poorly when they feel contempt. In fact, it's not at all unusual to feel anger, maybe even outrage. There's only one thing, though. The outrage by those who feel contempt is justified and real, but it hasn't yet surfaced. If it does, the faux-outrage TDS crowd will see their dreams of political power disappear like a mirage.

    Sunday, August 05, 2018

    Zero

    The vast majority of all Democrats and a significant number of Republicans have become obsessed over Russian interference in our elections. The Dems work hard at conflating factually-based evidence of Russian hacking and social media manipulation with evidence-free allegations of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. After all, it serves their political purposes in a futile effort to delegitimize Trump's upset victory over Hillary Clinton.

    The big question is what affect, if any, Russian interference had on voter attitudes and the election result. Common sense tells us that the effect would be very small, given the tsunami of 'legitimate' political adds and media commentary that washes over the electorate in the months before any election. But Dems and #Nevertrumpers are undaunted, clinging to the fantasy that were it not for the Russians, the election result would have been different.

    A major political study, out of the University of California and Stanford (certainly not bastions of pro-Trump sentiment), backs up common sense. Using typical academic jargon, the authors summarize their findings:
    Significant theories of democratic accountability hinge on how political campaigns affect Americans’ candidate choices. We argue that the best estimate of the effects of campaign contact and advertising on Americans’ candidates choices in general elections is zero. First, a systematic meta-analysis of 40 field experiments estimates an average effect of zero in general elections. Second, we present nine original field experiments that increase the statistical evidence in the literature about the persuasive effects of personal contact 10-fold. These experiments’ average effect is also zero. In both existing and our original experiments, persuasive effects only appear to emerge in two rare circumstances. First, when candidates take unusually unpopular positions and campaigns invest unusually heavily in identifying persuadable voters. Second, when campaigns contact voters long before election day and measure effects immediately — although this early persuasion decays. These findings contribute to ongoing debates about how political elites influence citizens’ judgments.
    Heh ... the best estimate for the effects of campaign contact (by far the most common contact with voters in the run-up to an election) is "zero." The implication is clear. Russian on-line mischief is a tiny percentage of all contact that a voter expereiences during an election season. It's difficult to stop and generally annoying, but if you are to believe the Standford-Berkeley study, it's quite likely that it had "zero" impact on the election. ZERO!

    Of course, ginning up a phony contoversy over "Russian Collusion," demanding a special prosecutor to "investigate," and providing months and months of fake news stories to buttress the irresponsible allegations of collusion have served to further divide the country, exposed high level corruption in our law enforcement and intelligence communities, and indicated that the DNC and Clinton did in fact work with the Russians in an attempt to discredit Trump. All of that didn't effect the election (although not for lack of trying) but did much to cause tens of millions of people to lose faith in our political discourse, the FBI and the Congress. That is substantially more that a zero effect, and it's not good.

    Saturday, August 04, 2018

    "un-American"

    I've had a lot to say about the reaction to the election of Donald Trump (e.g., recent examples can be found here, here, and here). With every passing week, that reaction gets more extreme. The Trump Derangement Syndrome crowd is blinded by outrage, wailing about "treason," "threats to Democracy," "fascism," and of course the old standbys—"racism and misogyny." Reaching new heights of hyperbole, they have compared Trump to Hitler, his policies to those of the Nazis, and his administration to the Gestapo. They seem unaware that those comparisons exhibit a level of epic historical ignorance, making them sound like fools. They seem unconcerned that normal folks, upon observing their historical ignorance, might consider them to be unhinged.

    Saritha Prabhu exemplifies the feelings of many people outside the TDS crowd when she writes:
    I don’t much like Donald Trump and didn’t vote for him (or Hillary) in 2016, but I’ve been feeling sorry for him for about 18 months now. It feels strange feeling sorry for someone who’s a boor, a narcissist, an egomaniac, and a serial philanderer, plus the 37 other negative traits usually used to describe him. But it has something to do with the fact that he has been treated in a grossly unfair manner by the mainstream media and the political and cultural left, on a scale we’ve never seen before.

    One story of the last two years is how this most alpha of alpha males has become an underdog of sorts in American politics today. Of course, you won’t find this narrative in any of the mainstream media outlets. This narrative merely exists in the minds of millions of voters who are outside the core Democratic base: those of us who are Republicans, moderates, independents, former Democrats like myself. We’ve been silently watching, listening, observing the opposition to Trump in the last eighteen months, and it’s been the most sickening thing to see, more appalling than what the right did to President Obama.

    As one voter put it in an article I read a while ago, the hatred shown toward Trump has been “un-American.” I agree with that sentiment, even as I simultaneously hold the thought that Trump is not someone whose character needs defending.

    Memo to the left: Know why Trump’s poll numbers have been steady or rising slightly in spite of the invective you’ve been pouring on him every minute of every day? It’s because the economy is booming, and also because most Americans are fair-minded and think that even a flawed sinner like Trump doesn’t deserve to be figuratively kicked every day in a manner that’s often dishonest, exaggerated or out-of-context.
    Something occurred to me as I read Prabhu's last sentence. Working people and minorities in this country often feel that they're "figuratively kicked every day in a manner that’s often dishonest, exaggerated or out-of-context." Could that be the reason why so many working people have gravitated to Trump and why recent polling indicates that an increasing number of African Americans and Latinos are pro-Trump? Sure, a lot of it has to do with a spectacularly good economy and job market, lower taxes and more opportunity—but what's wrong with that?

    In its unhinged rage, the Left is underestimating Donald Trump. The historical record indicates that they may very well take the House in November and will celebrate their "tsunami" along with all of their trained hamsters in the media. But if their outrage meter goes from 10 to 11 to 12 to 13 by the time 2020 comes around, and if they decide to enact impeachment proceedings over the next two years, they may get hit by another tsunami, and this one won't be the kind they'll celebrate.

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

    I suspect that another aspect of Trump's steady rise in the polls is the perceived unfairness of the Meuller investigation. Deep down, I also suspect that the TDS crowd knows nothing will come of it, that the accusations are both ridiculous and politically motivated, and that knowing that, their rage is amplified by their frustration in not having an impeachable offense to pin on the president. Chris Buskirk comments:
    The Mueller investigation is going nowhere because he has nothing and, deep down, Democrats and their anti-Trump Republican fellow travelers and enablers know that, too. If he did, he’d have produced it already. At a minimum, he would have leaked it to an eager, compliant press corps. But he doesn’t and he hasn’t.

    This strikes fear in the hearts of sober Democrat strategists who realize the party has spent nearly two years and all of its political capital investing in a fantasy. The spectacle of the independent counsel poring over the president’s twitter feed to see if they could use it to support a claim of obstruction of justice on an absurdly thin and utterly novel legal theory would be comic if the stakes were not so high.

    Mueller has been reduced to pursuing indictments for crimes wholly unrelated to President Trump. Paul Manafort, who briefly managed the president’s campaign, is being tried for some decade-old business deals. The 12 Russian nationals Mueller indicted in July are charged with hacking attacks against both the DNC and RNC email systems. And, by the way, since they are in Russia they will never come to trial. He also indicted 13 Russians earlier this year for their involvement in a Russian troll farm that produced some shockingly amateurish Facebook ads that at different times seemed to support every candidate running including Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein, and Trump. Why? Because the goal of the Russian operation wasn’t a Trump victory; it was to sow social and political discord. Score one for the Russians and their accomplices in American media.
    The Dems have been reduced to pin-balling, a term that implies bouncing off the walls, trying to find something—anything—that will make Donald Trump go away. If it isn't "collusion," or "obstruction, it must be that Trump is insane and should be removed from office under the 25th Amendment. None of that will work, but instead of backing off and finding policies and programs that actually might improve things for average Americans, they rage on. Oh ... BTW ... actually implementing policies and programs that improve things for average Americans is exactly what the insane colluder and obstructor in-chief has accomplished. And that reality along with irrefutable facts and metrics to back it up, makes the Dems rage even more.

    Friday, August 03, 2018

    Localism

    Much of what Big Intrusive Government (BIG) does is wasteful. Much of what it attempts to do is ineffective. Much of what it does accomplish is to limit the freedoms that we all should enjoy. Much of what it demands is more and more of the wealth earned by fewer and fewer of the people. And much of its strategy is self-perpetuation—creating laws and regulations by the thousands that require a bigger and bigger bureaucratic workforce to administer, enforce, and expand.

    Progressives worship at the alter of BIG, suggesting (via their increasingly socialist leanings) that BIG can solve all of society's problems, can lead to "equality," can provide "rights" (e/g. the right to comprehensive medical care at no cost) where none existed, and can magically eliminate things like racism or misogyny. They reject and long history of government failure because they believe.

    Conservative politicians talk a good show, suggesting the BIG is the source of many problems, not their cure, but don't have the political courage to cut the size and scope of government, even when they control the reigns of power. They suggest that it isn't politically viable to reign in spending, to reduce or means test entitlements, to challenge BIG whenever possible.

    Is there a solution?

    David Brookes (h/t: The Belmont Club) suggests that the solution might be in localism. He writes:
    Localism is the belief that power should be wielded as much as possible at the neighborhood, city and state levels. ... Politicians in Washington are miserable, hurling ideological abstractions at one another, but mayors and governors are fulfilled, producing tangible results ... many cities have more coherent identities than the nation as a whole. ... People really have faith only in the relationships right around them, the change agents who are right on the ground. ...

    Localism is not federal power wielded on a smaller scale. It’s a different kind of power. ... The federal person sees things that can be reduced to data. The local person sees things that can be reduced to data but also things that cannot. ...

    Federal change often means big shifts quickly ... Local change happens more gradually, more iteratively. ... As Leo Linbeck of the Center for Opportunity Urbanism describes, the new innovators “announce the availability of the upgrade and then allow users to choose when to make the switch.”
    It's a simple and intriguing notion. Instead of the hubris associated with developing possible solutions that will somehow work well for 300-plus million people, develop solutions that are local—that work at a town, city or state level. Those solutions can be tested locally, rejected if they fail and expanded geographically if they work. They can better reflect the "values" of the locality without the need to impose those values on another locality that doesn't like those values.

    Of course, there are dangers. Localism can balkanize the country, with small fiefdoms of ideology that often conflict with one another. And of course, there will always be a need for some forms of federal control—for defense, for international and interstate commerce, for trade, and for critical government services—the EPA, CDC, NOAA, DHS, air traffic control, etc.

    But if, say, a small town wants to try a more socialist approach, banning private enterprise and profit within the town and establishing a more Kibbutz-like economy, have at it. If people don't like it, they can vote with their feet and move to a locality that likes capitalism. If a state wants to provide universal health care, do it. If its citizens don't like the resultant draconian increase in taxes, they will put a stop to that idea pretty quickly. And if a city thinks that police are systemically racist, they can offer an alternative 'safety force.' If its citizens can achieve adequate protection and safety without the police, that's great.

    Localism allows for cultural and ideological experimentation without subjecting all of us to ideas that many might consider onerous. If mistakes happen—and they will—their impact is localized and correction is relatively easy. Localism is the antithesis of authoritarian BIG. I'm curious to see the Left's response to this idea.

    Thursday, August 02, 2018

    The Media and Trump

    The media and Trump. It's an overworked topic, for sure, but it continues to fascinate. Trump is the first president in my lifetime who is willing to battle the media directly, call them names, impugn their integrity and otherwise demonize them for their obvious bias and overwhelmingly negative coverage of his administration. Although Trump's hyperbolic comments are undoubtedly unpresidential, any objective observation of the media's behavior over the past two years indicates that his sometimes outrageous condemnation of the media has significant grains of truth in it.

    But what about the media? John Kass provides one of the best examinations of their attitude I've read recently:
    ... what is bothersome isn’t that reporters and many pundits don’t understand Trump. I really don’t know who does understand him. He wasn’t my choice for president.

    But what concerns me are his voters, our countrymen and women. That’s half of our nation. And what bothers me is that I really don’t think many in journalism want to understand them.

    Shame them? Yes. Understand them? No.

    But Trump’s voters know what put him in the White House. It wasn’t merely that Hillary Clinton was a lousy candidate. It was that Trump voters detested the crowd that backed her, loathed them; and those voters in turn were viewed as something to be stepped on, to be ridiculed for heresy.

    By not wanting to understand them, I worry that journalism blinds itself to something very real, critical and, in the long term, dangerous in our nation: A simmering resentment against the establishment in much of red state America.

    And it’s not going away even if Trump goes away.

    What’s clear from the anti-Trump punditry is that Trump supporters are still detested; the working class, the suburbanites in high-tax blue states; the families in rural America, all painted with a broad brush and dismissed regularly by the pundit class as hateful, xenophobic and worse.

    Because they think their country needs borders and that illegal immigration should have been stopped years ago? Because they like tax cuts? Because they like working after being without work for years?

    Or, is it that for eight years, as they were hurting, they watched a love affair between Obama and the media?

    They read the papers. They watch TV. They hear the late-night talk show comedians mocking them. They read pundits who ridicule them. They understand shame all too well. Cultural elites may have given up on old-fashioned concepts like honor. But shame? Shame is a useful lash.

    Think back on the ridicule that Hillary Clinton, the establishment Democrat of 2016, heaped on Trump voters when she called them “deplorables.”
    As I have noted in many posts, a significant component of the support that Donald Trump continues to get is not necessarily pro-Trump, the man. If that's the case, what are the components of his support? Why tens of millions cringe at Trump the man, but still support Trump the president.

    First, unlike his predecessor, he accomplishes stuff—fast. And that stuff translates into direct and obvious benefits, not for the so-called elites (who always benefit anyway) but for "deplorables." After all, despite Democrats' protestations, people (including minorities*) do have more money in their pockets and a choice of better jobs. They do have a president who eschews political correctness and (for all his faults) speaks in a refreshingly blunt and direct manner. They do have a man who is political, but he is not a typical politician.

    Second, his international stance, often crazy and disjointed, does project strength. Yeah, I know, the coastal elites are far too nuanced to think that strength comes from anything but an urbane understanding of "the issues" and a measured response to provocation and threat. That's not Trump. The NoKos and Iran threaten us ... Trump threatens right back. No nuance there, and half the country nods and smiles.

    Third, the ginned up Mueller probe (a.k.a. "witch hunt") is an attempt to undermine Trump's legitimacy. Half the country understands that Russian trolls, hacking, and other mischief are concerns, but they did not appreciably affect the outcome of the 2016 election. They understand that outrageous claims that Trump colluded with the Russkies are nonsense. "Where's the beef" has been replaced with "Where's the evidence?"

    Fourth, the media is so biased and so anti-Trump that they have destroyed their own credibility. When everything is an "outrage," when every action "threatens our democracy," when every tweet is "obstruction," then none are. The media has turned up the volume to 11, but half the country have turned off the device.

    The bottom line is this—half of the country supports Trump because their support represents a giant F.U. to the elites in politics, the media, entertainment, the arts, and the commentariat who despise Trump. As Kass points out, even with all his flaws (and they are many) half the country voted for Trump and still support him. He writes:
    Why? Because they loathed the other side more. They loathed the establishment. They loathed the media. And their reservations about Trump were washed away by the [elites'] laughter following Clinton’s “deplorables” line.
    People react to contempt viscerally. And they react to condescension in just about the same way. They resent being called "racist" or "xenophobic" when they know they are not those things. They see the hypocrisy when one side advocates confrontation and implicitly condones violent resistence (when's the last time you heard a Democrat criticize, much less condemn, the advocacy of anti-Trump violence) while at the same time criticizing "deplorables" for reacting to such threats or actions. They are pissed, but not unhinged. They are angry, but not violent. Their best response is the giant F.U.

    That's what we're seeing, and the media either doesn't care or doesn't have a clue.

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

    * If you were to believe the media, you'd be certain that Latinos would be 100 percent against Trump, given his position that our southern border must be protected, that illegal immigrants must be prosecuted or deported when they enter the country illegally, and that open borders are a very bad idea. From today's Washington Times:
    Are Hispanics shifting their allegiances to President Trump?

    A recent Harvard/Harris poll recorded a 10-point spike in Hispanic support for Mr. Trump. It hasn’t received much attention from the mainstream media, which is heavily invested in its portrait of the president as an unrepentant — and unpopular — “nativist.”

    Coming in the midst of the nationwide controversy over children and families at the U.S.-Mexico border, it suggests that Hispanics may not be the entrenched liberal voting constituency that Democrats so often imagine.

    And consider Florida’s hotly-contested Senate race. Republican Gov. Rick Scott is besting his Democratic opponent among Hispanics, according to a Mason-Dixon poll. Historically, a large and aging Cuban-American exile community has given Republicans a decided partisan edge in the Sunshine State.
    Interesting. #Walkaway

    UPDATE (8/3/2018):
    -----------------

    Andrew Clavin addresses the recent spate of media types who whine about Trump's unrelenting attacks on them. He uses Jim Accosta of CNN as the poster child for the whiners:
    Jim Acosta has the sadz. The untalented little man who rudely shouts unimportant questions at important people while in the employ of the ninth most trusted name in news out of ten, got heckled at a Trump rally in Tampa, Florida. Sad panda. The hecklers chanted "CNN sucks," which, okay, is true, but they were none too polite about it.

    Acosta didn't like it. He reported, "Honestly, it felt like we weren’t in America anymore."

    ... New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger says he told Trump his anti-press rhetoric could lead to violence. But the media's anti-Trump rhetoric already has led to violence: public officials rat-packed and bullied, Trump supporters harassed, White House spokes-lady Sarah Sanders having to live under guard. And yet when Sanders pointed this out to Look-At-Me-I'm-Jim Acosta, Acosta stormed out of the room. Hell, if he doesn't want to hear the truth, he could just stay home and watch CNN.

    Wednesday, August 01, 2018

    The Platform Economy

    One of the most damaging aspects of Big Intrusive Government (BIG) is over-regulation of ... everything. In order to maintain their power and control over businesses and individuals, proponents of BIG (that would be the Democratic party) have instituted a massive set of regulations developed by "agencies" that are populated by bureaucrats who sole job it is to perpetuate their employment by developing more regulations.

    Sure, we do need some regulations that help to keep us safe, to stop egregious forms of environmental pollution, to control predatory behaviors by large entities (including the feds), and the like. But those represent a relatively small percentage of all regulations. In fact, the majority of regs are developed to control one population at the expense of another.

    A perfect example is the Platform Economy. Wikipedia defines it this way:
    The platform economy is economic and social activity facilitated by platforms. Such platforms are typically online matchmakers or technology frameworks. By far the most common type are "transaction platforms", also known as "digital matchmakers". Examples of transaction platforms include Amazon, Airbnb, Uber and Baidu. A second type is the "innovation platform", which provides a common technology framework upon which others can build, such as the many independent developers who work on Microsoft's platform.

    Forerunners to contemporary digital economic platforms can be found throughout history, especially in the second half of the 20th century. Yet it was only in the year 2000 that the "platform" metaphor started to be widely used to describe digital matchmakers and innovation platforms. Especially after the financial crises of 2008, companies operating with the new "platform business model" have swiftly came to control an increasing share of the world's overall economic activity, sometimes by disrupting traditional business.

    Proponents of BIG have a love-hate relationship with the platform economy. Sure, most people love Uber or Lyft, but BIG government types find them difficult to control and that makes them nervous. BIG government types are often beholden to special interests (say, taxi cab companies) who provide large political donations and are threatened by various platform companies. Consider the following:



    It is interesting that the politicians who talk so much about their affinity to "working people" are the same politicians who support BIG (and now, "socialism") as some magical cure for all the ills facing "working people." Those politicians are the first to promote the power of the state as the primary driver of regulations as a means of control.

    The Platform Economy does exactly the opposite. It puts power in the hands of the worker, who uses the platform to run a business that provides some benefit to other working people. It's simple, it's effective, and it provides benefit to all who use it. It's capitalism at its finest.

    The only thing that can kill the platform economy is over-regulation, and BIG wants to do just that. The next time you hear a politician (think: Bernie Sanders) suggest that any major economic sector (think: Healthcare) should be centrally controlled , ask yourself whether innovative 21st century solutions using the platform economy just might be better, more cost effective, and most important of all, provide greater freedom for the worker and the consumer.

    Oh wait ... proponents of BIG are bound by tired mid-20th century ideas and have a hard time leaving them behind. Maybe that's the real threat of the platform economy—it demands a 21st century outlook that is beyond the grasp of proponents of BIG.