Broken Brains

So at least two nominally intelligent people (and apparently this is not that uncommon) have the notion that there is a clear and present danger that Mr Trump may attempt a coup and try to wreck our democracy (republic more technically) and announce himself … as some sort of dictator. Mr Krauthamer had a column in the Tribune (Chicago) offering that opinion and a Chicago Boy(z) noted a historian I’ve read (like the linked author I’d found the book “Bloodlands” well worth reading). The point is both of these guys think this is a real and present threat.

Why? That remains a mystery. Neither person seems to put forth any reasoning behind the idea. There are lots of clues why this isn’t at all likely. Exhibit one is the repeated executive orders and moves by the President to relegate power to the states from federal control. A short perusal of history will show that the set of dictators prior their taking full control ever ever ever relegating authority and control is … empty.

Go figger. Why this hasn’t occurred to those who think this is a threat is beyond my ken.

Of Mr Matthews and the Wolf

CNN commetator and liberal (public) whip Chris Matthews it was noted was bragging about the headwind he and his fellow liberals in the media have been creating for the President. 

Apparently their loss of all credibilty with all but the very liberal hasn’t occurred to them.

To bad nobody told him the story about the boy who cried wolf before. By the time the next election occurs nothing the press will say about the right wing candidates will be be heard at all except by the died in the wool leftists. 

Will the Liberal (anti-Trump) Bubble Ever Snap

So a liberal commenter posted a comment on my post observing that the liberal aggression against conservative speakers which began to get bad (and rumor has it they were being paid/backed in doing so) during the election. That commenter posited the theory that the alt-right is being paid to, well, go to conservative rallies as both faux liberals and black mask wearing conservatives and attacking those alt-right who were pretending to be antifa liberals in the act of violently disrupting the event. This theory is notable only because it is so convoluted. He also claimed the term “antifa” was an invention by the alt-right to discredit the left. Apparently the blog Mother Jones is really an alt-right front (who knew?).

Take that as point one.

Point two, there is a consistent theme that Trump is a fascist. Trump has consistently when reversing Obama’s “Executive Orders” has consistently released federal control to the states. He has added a command to federal agencies that for every regulation added you need to remove two. What is fascism? Fascism is ” a political system headed by a dictator in which the government controls business and labor and opposition is not permitted.” Authoritarian governments do not relegate … anything. Is there any actual evidence that Trump favors and is even moving in that direction at all? No. Theories that continue at this point to hold to that idea have to use logic as twisted as alt-right guys being paid to spend years building a background story as a liberal to go to a conservative rally, disrupting it so other alt-right guys can beat you up.

Maintaining this bubble should be more and more difficult as time goes on. Question is, what will happen when it does?

The City of Big Shoulders and Really Dumb Mayor

Maaaahr Rahm (da Rahmfather) said today “Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) is pushing more gun control for Federal Firearms License holders (FFLs) in the city.” (cite)

How many FFL holders are the cause of the high level of gun violence in Chicago. Yah, about as much as the Concealed Carry holders I imagine, which is to say just about none. Oh, wait.

So what scandal is he trying to hide I wonder. Or was it a slow news day?

Reliability and the New York Times

So, today the New York Times offered a small article reporting the New England Patriots visited the White House as has been customary for the Super Bowl winners. That was about the only factually correct part of the article. In it they reported that “only” 34 players showed up and that this was a small number. They showed a picture of the last and current teams on the steps with a substantially larger number of people in the photo from the last time they one and far fewer than this year. Except that this was all untrue. 36 players showed up the last time. In the photo of the former visit to Mr Obama’s White House, the team + othe personel lined up on the stairs, in the current photo, 40 or more of the staff (non-players) were seated on the lawn … and *that* is why they aren’t in the photo, this is an intentional misleading comparison. 

You’d think (and you’d be wrong) that the NYTimes editors realizing they’d been accused of fake news would be especially careful to be not caught easily in fabrications and lies. 

So, now when the Times reports that polls are down for Mr Trump or other “bad” news about the administration … why would you believe them. They have showed their willingness to lie openly about easily checked matters. Would you expect them to be less or more trustworthy on matters that are less easy to verify. I’d offer … less.   

Which Is Worse?

Item 1. Judicial malpractice, some judge thinks Mr Trump can be “held liable” for incitement to violence. Not surprisingly the rhetoric cited is mild at best when compared to the former President and his cabinet. This post, same theme (bad judges) notes the “living Constitution crap-on-a-stick” and some likely consequences. Apparently as Mr Obama trampled on Constitutional protections as he was President (example not enforcing laws that didn’t suit him and his many questionable “executive orders”) those who thought his actions OK didn’t think that a President could be elected and use these same standards towards ends they didn’t actually agree with.

Item 2. This essay (missing the point slightly) … in which “aiming at the intelligence community” for allowing itself to be used to partisan ends “weakens the intelligence community”. Duh. And using the IRS for partisan ends does too, or should I say … the IRS allowing itself to be co-opted for partisan uses weakens it.

Item 3. This little snippet of a “reveal” by the left misses the point I think. And I’m not going to pretend this ass-hattery isn’t done on both sides of the aisle. Look. When you know something isn’t true or without basis and you are in position of influence then it is immoral and highly dishonest to push that lie for short term political gain. If you do that you lack integrity. If lacking integrity is common … then we’re screwed.

So. Which of these three items will do the most harm? The judiciary overstripping overstepping its bounds? Partisan corruption of essential government services and agencies? Or the loss of integrity being touted as a virtue?

Slightly related question. I searched but found no responses or hits on search terms. There are about a dozen to 20 (not including former Senators like Mr Obama and Ms Clinton) who voted unanimously for Mr Gorsuch for the federal bench. I have seen no answer to the question of why they all voted for him before but won’t now.

An Observation

Those who are outraged by a single county clerk in Kentucky might be reminded that those who put so much everyday power in the unelected governmental agencies and agents that are basically unstoppable and unchecked … should be feeling a little abashed right now.

Consequences of the fulfillment of your desires. You’ve got ’em in spades.

A Short Thought

A month or two back in a comment thread I had remarked on how then President Clinton had promised the Ukraine after their separation from the Soviet state that they didn’t need to keep the nuclear weapons stockpiled there. He, in short, promised that the US would insure their national boundary/security against Russian aggression. Well, we all know how that turned out. When I’d remarked on this, the reply was that nobody on either side of the aisle wanted to get involved in the Russian/Ukrainian dispute. And I don’t disagree with that.

But. (and ain’t their always that sort of thing cropping up). But that being said, the thing about keeping your word and those trusting you to hold to your word isn’t about when keeping your word is easy or in your best interest. It’s keeping it when it isn’t easy, fun, or affordable.

If you make a promise. Keep it. If you inherit a promise. Keep it. And remember that, so you don’t make promises you don’t plan to keep.

And you wonder why the current President whose main rhetorical method is the BS session comes off so so poorly.

Sundry and Vary

Snippets?

  1. A liberal ponders Baltimore, and while he professes to be optimistic certainly seems not to be. His optimism is founded on “hopefully we’ll have an exceptional leader” is his only hope having found that process and and representational liberal solutions have failed. This is hardly unsurprising as social destruction of the two atomic parent family and those discounted (by liberals) conservative values being lost trump process liberalism and representation.
  2. My thoughts on Baltimore mirror what has been said elsewhere (including perhaps badly by the President). Even though liberals and elites think terrorism on the other side of the globe doesn’t sully the message. They. Are. Wrong. In the Middle East and, say, the Chechen mountains murdering civilians rightly invalidates your message. Do you want people to respect your right to self govern in Palestine? Then stop killing women and children with bombs. Do you want police to take more care in their jobs? Then don’t riot, steal, and destroy. One of the complaints of inner city slums is that everything costs more locally than it does in the exurbs. Guess what? You just made it even more expensive. Good work. You just bought the Baltimore police free sympathy, after all, look at what they’ve been dealing with.
  3. The other thought on Baltimore is that this is a continuation of a retrogressive civilizing trend that’s been going on for quite some time. In the 19th century wars had a lot more conventions and rules. We’ve gone away from that and it’s not a good thing. It’s a sign of less order, less thought, and less honestly and honor. A fight between individuals (or nations) doesn’t have to be a “until you call uncle” affair, but could … if the combatants be civil decided at a stage significantly sooner. More akin to a duel, which is sometimes but less frequently, “to the death” but decided by an agreement to hold to the outcome of a symbolic struggle. Nations too could struggle via proxy, if they could honorably and honestly hold to the outcome of said proxy contest. Alas, men aren’t by and large honest anymore. Certainly not our world leaders at any rate.
  4. Well, the liberal elite certainly have no sympathy for it. And a law to be challenged I’d offer.
  5. In light of the NRO article about DA Chislom using his office to quash political opponents. He’s not backing down, but upping the ante. In the absence of any liberals coming to his defense, which seems to imply his position isn’t defensible, where are the cries from the left against him?
  6. Tasting the winds of change. Mr Fernandez is not optimistic about the crises in education as typified in the recent failure of a chain of colleges in California, which if Baltimore hadn’t irrupted we’d be talking about today.
  7. At least my kids did some free running. Those in authority which went against that Maryland couple who let their kids walk from parks to home … should be tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail.
  8. Actually I’d like to see more of this in general in the hospital systems, inviting friends and family to help in the care seems like a great idea.
  9. So. Get out of Jersey when you can, I guess.
  10. A great lady noted.
  11. What the climate models have demonstrated very well. A succinct way of putting it, is that these models all operate under the principle that CO2 is a driver of global warming. They they all fail, demonstrates the converse, CO2 is not the driver of climate.

Suitable President: Loyola and Napoleon

Bertrand de Jouvenel in his musings on authority and power suggests that in the executive there are two primary qualities needed. These qualities are not “either/or” type features but often one dominates over the other. Jouvenel is French, so his examples he draws from French history, and actually from one particular element of each of the titular men’s life. For Loyola he cites an (apparently) famous painting in which Loyala is seen under a spreading oak tree and with his words and example reconciling two opposing people. Reconciliation and bridging of differences is the feature that he cites for Loyola. This is one kind of leader. Napoleon he cites another painting, a heroic charge across a bridge. Napoleon (again apparently) through his charisma, leadership and bravura inspires his mean and leads a charge across a bridge capturing victory from defeat. Inspiring leadership is the second quality that we seek in our chief executive.

Neither alas, has been found in any measure in my lifetime in any executive elected in this great nation.

My suspicion is that the reason is how our electoral process has developed over the years. The qualities that are required to win the election in this country have little to nothing to do with the qualities that would serve us best in serving in that same office.

Fortunately we are in something like a democracy, which as noted is the worst sort of government … except for all the rest. Let’s hear it for representative democratic rule. Sucks less! What a wonderful slogan.

What Dread Thing

So. 50. In this day and age, turning fifty (which I did a few years ago, but … ) means you get your recommended endoscopy (colonoscopy?). So I did it today. People talking about it talk about the putative horrors of the day before, drinking and getting, err, emptied out. Turns out it really was no big deal. Not too bad tasting. Not too much. The after effects, not horrible, just kind of insistent. And the procedure itself? Well, the recommended “twilight” medicine basically prevents long term memory formation. So, afterwards, …. it’s kind a like nothing much happened. Scattered memories of the start of the procedure. Not much else.

So,  if you dread it. Don’t.

Oh, the other thing. In my case, the good news no polyps. No growths. Clean slate. Woo!

And another note, apparently routine endoscopy to check for growths and polyps is regarded as the “banana” of health care. Cheap and very good for you. Couple that with it not being at all a big deal, means … it shouldn’t be avoided.

Confusing Tactics

So, the Grey Lady has decided enough water has passed under the bridge to have an article pointing out that … indeed there were WMD in Iraq. I guess they figure the “lied/died” meme is entrenched.

I remain confused on two points. Why release this now? And, why did (apparently) the Bush admin hide information about the WMD during the last years of his Presidency?

Following Rome

So. As the Roman Empire got too large and complex they went to a Eastern/Western Empire situation. If you take as given that the job in front of today’s US executive is too complex to be handled by one man, would instead of a geographical a similar separation of responsibilities might help allow someone with who could be more expert in the area and a smaller contingent of responsibilities make sense? For the following take it as a given (as in we won’t argue that point) the job needs to be broken up and concentrate instead on how to do so.

This question it seems has two parts. The first is, wow to best break the job up. Foreign/domestic seems an obvious choice, but there may be other ways. Bertrand de Jouvenel suggested in his political philosophy that there were two types of leadership, one that drives forward toward a goal and one that can reconcile differences between people. Perhaps that would be another way to divide the two. Any other suggestions?

The second part is, how to implement this? Could this be done by dogmatic precedent (like the two term limit which followed Washington’s example for so long)? Could a President announce at his inauguration that he was doing this, and his vice President was going to, say, handle 100% of foreign affair issues and he would 100% concentrate on the domestic affairs.  The titular President would promise to rubber stamp any decisions made by his VP as if he were signing them as long as there were in the foreign affairs sphere and vice versa. Would this fly? If not, why no? Or would a full Constitutional amendment process be required to effect this?