Democracy Dies In Emergency

On the one hand? If you recall when Harry Reid torched the filibuster for judicial nominees, we limited government conservatives warned that “You folks may not control the Senate forever, so you might wanna be careful”. Trump’s use of a “National Emergency” to get more border funding is kinda the same idea. A future Democrat president could declare “non-living wages” a national emergency.

On the other hand? It kind of already a response like that. Obama outran Congress like Walter Payton outrunning the ’85 Vikings using a raft of Executive Orders. Is the border wall any worse than DACA?

On the other, other hand? I don’t think Trump necessarily intended to provoke a frenzied overreach on the Dems’ part – but it’d be hard to imagine how he could have done it better than he did:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said President Trump’s plan to use a national emergency declaration to unilaterally provide federal funding for a border wall would set a precedent Republicans may come to regret.
Democrats, she said, could use it later to enact their own priorities, such as increasing gun control.
“Why don’t you declare that a national emergency? I wish you would,” Pelosi during a press conference Thursday, noting it was the one-year anniversary of the high school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that killed 17 students and staff. “But a Democratic president can do that.”

The NRA is going to need to rent more phone lines to take the membership calls, now.

When “Progs” Call Trump A “Nazi”…

…remind them that he’s the kind of “Nazi” who sings “Happy Birthday” to a Jewish camp survivor:

House and Senate members broke into a rendition of “Happy Birthday” during Tuesday’s State of the Union address to celebrate a survivor of the Holocaust and last year’s Tree of Life synagogue shooting.

Judah Samet attended the address as a guest of the White House. President Trump acknowledged him in the crowd, prompting a standing ovation, and noted it was Samet’s 81st birthday.ADVERTISEMENT

Attendees then broke into song, with Trump mock-conducting from the dais.

“Thank you!” Samet shouted.

Wonder if Ilhan Omar joined in?

Not a rhetorical question. I’m seriously curious.

State Of Disunion

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Article 2, Section 3 of the Constitution provides:  “He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”  The State of the Union originally was a letter the Present sent to Congress.  Later, the President went in person to speak to Congress, which turned into a silly partisan event where half the chamber leaps to applaud every time he takes a breath. 
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi won’t let President Trump deliver the State of the Union address to Congress while the government is shut down so it’s postponed, or maybe not, now that we’re open for three weeks.  Nobody knows. 
Actually, nobody cares.  It’s grandstanding.  It’s silly.  Instead of delivering a speech or mailing a letter, Trump ought to break new ground: give the State of the Union by Twitter.  Hey, it’s his signature medium.  Why not? 
 “The Constitution requires me to advise Congress on the State of the Union.  Democrats won’t let me speak to Congress in person so I’m tweeting it to you, the American people.  Pass along this message to your elected representative, will you?”
 “The union is in a sorry state.  We owe more than we can repay.  Deep state saboteurs within our own government are undermining the principles of representative democracy.  The nation is flooded with illegal immigrants who suck up welfare, commit crimes and vote in elections for policies that further weaken the nation.”
 “We can’t stem the violence in our own cities but we’re wasting lives and tax dollars protecting Europe from Russia and most of North Africa from themselves.  We’ve barely recovered from a decade-long economic slump but influential people are already demanding we saddle the economy with higher taxes and more regulations.”
 “I call on Congress to end deficit spending, cut government spending, lower taxes, reduce regulations, cease subsidizing other nations, defend our own borders, and then step out of the way.  Give us half a chance and ordinary Americans will make America great again.”
 “If Congress remains deadlocked, all is not lost.  Elections have consequences.  I have a pen and I’ve got a phone.  I can use that pen to sign executive orders and administrative actions that will move the ball forward.” 
 “Good night, and may God bless America.”
That ought to set the cat among the pigeons. 
Joe Doakes

It’s got my vote.

Don’t Mess With Fergus Falls

German “journalist” Claas Relotius spent many years on the European and world journalistic fast track, until it was realized he’d spent years falsifying stories.

One of those stories was about the xenophobic misanthropic fascist racists in…

…Fergus Falls, MN.

And he didn’t just make up the little stuff. Two local residents combed through the story:

There are so many lies here, that my friend Jake and I had to narrow them down to top 11 most absurd lies (we couldn’t do just 10) for the purpose of this article. We’ve been working on it since the article came out in spring of 2017, but had to set it aside to attend to our lives (raising a family, managing a nonprofit organization, etc.) before coming back to it this fall, and finally wrapped things up a few weeks ago, just in time to hear today that Relotius was fired when he was exposed for fabricating many of his articles.

The following was neither the dumbest nor the most extravagant of Relotius’ lies:

6. The view from the Viking Cafe
“You can see the power plant where he works when you look out the window of the Diner, six tall, gray towers, from which rise white steam clouds.”
The Viking Cafe is Fergus Falls’ most treasured downtown establishment — over 60 years old. One of the reasons we Minnesotans all like it so much is that it has a cozy, underground feeling. Why? Because there are literally NO WINDOWS in the interior of this restaurant. Sure, you can see a little bit out the small front windows, but nothing beyond the shops across the street. The power plant Relotius refers to is almost 2 miles away on the northeast edge of town, blocked from view by a neighborhood on a large hill, and sports a single smokestack. Relotius’ imaginings are dramatic for the movie version of Trump’s America someday, but is it accurate and true? Not in the least.

Further proof that if you read it in the mainstream media, and it’s even a little bit political, distrust first. Then verify.

Then, almost invariably, distrust some more.

Bouncing Society’s Rubble

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Headed toward another government shutdown because Democrats won’t defend the border.

I’d be more concerned about a government shutdown – women and children hardest hit – except everybody is already dead from the end of net neutrality, or soon to be dead from global climate change, so at this point, what difference does it make?

Small bit of comedy in the article: “The House and Senate used to pass annual appropriation bills, and the president signed them into law.”  Yeah, that was when we had a thing called “budgets.”  Democrats did away with them: too confining, too oppressive, and they never liked math anyway.

True.

But since most government spending is on autopilot, really, what difference does it make at this point?

Standards

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

A friend complains that the Republican Congress has accomplished nothing worthwhile in the last two years and as Democrats take the House, gridlock is the best we can hope for.  He blames Trump Derangement Syndrome and says it truly is disgusting that a boorish, childish, selfish egomaniac is the best example of conservative leadership we have.

First, he’s judging the President by the wrong standard.  A wise, mature, gracious statesman was not on offer in the last election.  The alternative to Trump was Hillary. The correct standard to apply is: “Has Trump become Hillary yet?”  No?  Then he’s good to go.  Carry on.  

But he’s right about Congress.  We can’t have a border wall, we can’t confirm conservative judges, we can’t fill executive branch positions, because of people like Senator Never Trump And To Hell With The Nation Flake, to name just one.  

If Trump announced today he’s not running in 2020, which nationally prominent Republican would you pick to replace him?

Sorry to say, with Scott walker out of office and never nationally problem to begin with, I’m already out of ideas…

A Bullish Wind

The President’s party always loses seats in the midterms.

Trump is a polarizing figure who will drive Democrat turnout like nothing since Obama’s first election.

The GOP is doomed, and Triump will be a lame duck starting in January.

We’ve all heard it.  Truth be told, while I think the GOP has a great chance to pick up congressional seats in Minnesota this fall, I  – as naturally pessimistic as any other Scandinavian-American and urban Conservative – have been mentally buckling myself in for a brutal, 2006-like night on election night.

Much as I was about this time two years ago.

We know how that went.

And while I don’t get sanguine over much of anything, Conrad Black says there’s room for hope in the wake of the Democrats’ Kavenaugh show trial and Trump’s canny, intensive campaigning:

Just as he calculated that by speaking for all those who despised the entire incumbent political system he could win the Republican nomination, and that he could win by designing a campaign to exploit the possibilities of gaining a majority in the Electoral College rather than the popular vote (as five of his predecessors did, by design or otherwise), he is now exploiting the fact that there is no leader of the opposition in the American system, and between presidential elections he has no rival. The likely outcome is the most favorable midterm result since Franklin D. Roosevelt won nine additional congressional districts and gained nine senators in 1934. Even now, though the bunk about impeachment has subsided, Trump’s enemies have little idea of how profoundly hated the OBushinton era, 1989 to 2017, had become, as a time of sleaze and incompetence and stagnation. Now, in what is practically a full-employment economy, wages for the least well-paid are rising. Amazon and other retailers grumble about $15 an hour for unskilled work, but it is the first time people in that economic bracket have had real increases of purchasing power and the lack of fear of joblessness in more than 20 years.

Time will tell — and not much time, as luck would have it.

Derangement

It would perhaps be in bad taste to suggest that more leftist protesters try this style of demonstration:

A professor accused of creating a campus-wide alert by shooting himself in a toilet on the second day of classes last month reportedly did so in order to protest President Trump.

report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal said that Mark Bird, a sociology professor at the College of Southern Nevada (CSN), has been charged with discharging a gun within a prohibited structure, carrying a concealed weapon without a permit and possessing a dangerous weapon on school property.

Yep.  Poor taste  Not me.

State Of Things

A longtime friend of the blog writes :

First off, if Minneapolis were really serious about saving gas mileage, they’d make the streets drivable by stopping so many bike lanes that have forced cars onto more and more dismal main arteries that are clogged with traffic while the bike lanes are empty (especially from November through March.  This is something that the city council could actually have an effect on fuel mileage.  Quit whining about things out of their jurisdiction.  Could you imagine the fuel savings if we could actually get from point a to point b without total traffic congestion in my fair city?

Second let me paraphrase the section on Ellison with italics indicating what I changed.

Could also be said by Dave Orrick in the PiPress, “Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump. It’s all about Donald Trump, at least according a Democratic narrative as part of the every wave of what promises to be a tide of political attack ads coming to Minnesota’s 2018 election season. Even in races where Trump isn’t running, from the U.S. Senate high on the ballot down to state House races, he’s under attack. … The ads and social media messages basically say this: Republican candidate (insert name) has refused to condemn Donald Trump for (insert issue here). He/she should be ashamed.”

Sheesh Mitch.  Such a world we live in.

Trump is something the Left can deflect to – or so it thinks – forever.

Distractions

A friend of the blog writes:

I have friends on all political sides. Most have always focused on tabloid style topics rather than policy, but these days the tabloid talk is even more hyped.

Currently, my liberal friends are busy talking about Nike, and how they pay “slave labor” and that is where the outrage should be. (Nike’s wages in developing countries is not new, so why the outrage now versus three days ago?)

On the other hand, my conservative friends aren’t really talking about politics right now, but those that are fierce supporters of Trump are continuing to sing his praises for his skill of distracting the media.

To both, I try to point to the recent NAFTA negotiations.

Part of the current deal includes regulations that would require 40-45% of auto parts to be made by workers earning $16 per hour. Another part of the deal requires 75% of auto content to be made in NAFTA region. This is up from 62% under the old deal. Both of these changes, if adopted, will have real impact on labor and consumer markets. I can see positives and negatives.

I ask my liberal friends, is this what bipartisanship can look like? I mean, they are constantly campaigning for $15 per hour minimum wages.

I ask my Trump supporting friends if this will actually have the effect of bringing back jobs to the US, as Trump promised? I mean, most countries that are currently producing auto parts may not be able to guarantee $16 per hour wages. But, if auto makers move plants back here, who will buy the new cars at the prices sold needed to support those wages? Seems like used car sales will go up, at least in the short term.

I have always been a believer in businesses operating efficiently, and when they do, it helps the consumer, which in turn keeps the economy going. I am not convinced the government knows how to keep business efficient and positively affect the consumer at the same time.

My liberal friends certainly aren’t going to note anything about Trump is positive or that he may be close to them ideologically at times, so they won’t comment. My Trump friends see him as a businessman who gets things done, so they don’t have a problem. But, some of his foreign policy ideas give me pause. But, by all means, let’s get back to Nike and other distractions.

On the one hand, there are a lot of very substantial things going on under the Trump administration.

The obsessive focus on tabloid news is giving a cover to an off a lot of that. Some of it’s good, and some of it is probably stuff that deserve some attention. And it’s not getting it. Again, for better or worse.

The problem with the government is, even if you like the way things start out, if you don’t pay attention to it for long enough, bad things start to happen.

Question For The Ages

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

This is the photo from Drudge Report. Why is Sarah Silverman sitting behind the nominee?

Heh.

But to to paraphrase the last Billy Maze, “But wait!  There’s more!”

The woman Joe’s referring to is named Zina Bash – and she got fifteen minutes of fame from the deranged left yesterday:

It’s going to be a long couple months, here.

Chefs On The Battlefield, Generals In The Kitchen

[SCENE:  Mitch BERG is at his county elections office getting an early primary voting packet.  He looks around and notices Avery LIBRELLE walking in.  He briefly considers fleeing out the fire exit, but just tries to make himself look small and inconspicuous.  It doesn’t work.]

LIBRELLE:  Merg!  Donald Trump is a traitor!

BERG:  No he’s not.   We’re not at war with Russia.

LIBRELLE:  Yes we are!

BERG:  How do you figure?  Be specific.

LIBRELLE:  They’ve been attacking our society and election system.

BERG:  They’ve been attacking our society and election system since the 1930’s – ours and every one in Western Europe, with a brief break during the early nineties, maybe.

LIBRELLE:  Espionage is a form of war.

BERG:   Then we’re “at war” with every nation on earth, including all of our putative allies.

LIBRELLE:  Merg!  Merg!  Trump’s performance in Helsinki was a threat to national security!

BERG:  His press conference was a fairly awkward display of ego over common sense.  But since you brought up national security, if you favor open borders…

LIBRELLE:  STOP BREAKING UP FAMILIES!  ABOLISH ICE!

BERG:  …or ignoring the perils of untrammeled migration from Wahhabi-dominated regions…

LIBRELLE:  RACIST XENOPHOBE!

BERG:  …or getting real about China’s ambitions…

LIBRELLE:  MCCARTHYITE!

BERG:  …while obsessing about the Russians…

LIBRELLE:  Dire threat to our security!!!!!

BERG:  …but only in re Trump, and not Obama’s fairly shameful upsucking to the Russians

LIBRELLE:  RACIST!

BERG:  Naturally.  But when it comes to Trump…

LIBRELLE:  LITERALLY HITLER!

BERG:  …you all turn into George Patton?

LIBRELLE:  Who?

BERG:  [theatrically snaps fingers] Wait – this is Ramsey county?  I’ve got the wrong election.  Gotta go!

BERG leaves. 

And SCENE.  

Silence Is Golden

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Strzok testified that he can’t testify because FBI lawyer told him not to.

I’ve looked everywhere but can’t find the name of the FBI lawyer who told him not to answer questions.

Was it his mistress, the FBI lawyer he was having an affair with, the one who refused to appear to answer questions?

The name of a lawyer’s client is privileged, but the name of a client’s lawyer is not.   Who told him to clam up?

Joe Doakes

The Russians.

(Blaming the Russians is de regeur these days, isn’t it?)

 

 

The Headline…

…that is being reported is “A Record Percentage Are Proud To Be American”.   That’s the headline that you’re seeing everywhere.

Buried deep in the story:

Currently, 32% of Democrats — down from 43% in 2017 and 56% in 2013 — are extremely proud. The decline preceded the election of Donald Trump but has accelerated in the past year.

Less than half of independents, 42%, are also extremely proud. That is down slightly from 48% a year ago, and 50% in 2013.

As has typically been the case, Republicans are more inclined to say they are extremely proud to be Americans than are Democrats and independents. Seventy-four percent of Republicans are extremely proud, which is numerically the highest over the last five years.

The actual title of the piece should have been “Democrats Continue Pouting About The 2016 Election”.

Uncharted Mental Territory

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

People who don’t understand Trump, don’t understand what he’s doing with Korea. There’s no written agreement. There’s no procedure for verification. We gave away too much and received too little. It’s a disaster!

Calm down. Trump is a real estate developer. This is standard operating procedure. Say anything, promise anything, to get the customer committed to the deal. After that, we hammer out the details. The final agreement may look nothing at all like the initial offer, but it’ll fly because we’re all committed to the deal.

Same technique as selling a used car. Go ahead, sit in it. Drive it around the block. Look at the great tread left on the tires. Feel the cushy seats. You look good in that car. You want it, don’t you? Why not, you deserve it. And the payments, so affordable. Can we do this? Sure, we can.

Trump took the first step at getting North and South committed to a deal, some deal, any deal, something to break the stalemate, something to take to their own people and claim as a victory. Hey Kim, maybe you’d like to own a hotel on the beach? Put your name up in lights? Sure, we can do that, as part of the deal. Ever eaten at McDonalds? Come on, every major city has a McDonalds. We’ve got to get your city into World Class, we’ve got to get you a McDonalds. Can we do this? Sure we can. All part of the deal . . . .

Give the man time to do his thing.

Joe Doakes

The left calls Trump “not presidential”.  And they’re not wrong.

But the big problem seems to be that he’s “not like a politician”.

Which can be both a feature and a bug, of course.

Square Pegs

I’ve been pondering how to address this for a while – what it’s liek to be an actual conservative in the Trump era.

John Hawkins takes a run at it with the five werdest things about being a conservative Trump non-fan.

Here’s one that some of my liberal friends have a hard time wrapping their brains around:

I can understand Democrats writing off a conservative like me because even if Alex Jones is duking it out with Todd Akin one day, I still won’t vote for whoever the latest socialist is that they run. That being said, there are roughly 8 million Americans who voted for Obama AND Trump and the general attitude Democrats have toward them seems to be, “Rot in Hell with your orange god.” No political party can appeal to everyone, but it’s so strange to see a political party that treats millions of voters they are going to want support from in the next election like pariahs simply because they voted for the other side. This would be like an NBA team saying, “If you didn’t show up to support us at yesterday’s game, then we better never see you again! Oh, and if we catch you wearing our merch, we will MURDER YOU.”

It’s part and parcel of the Democrats becoming an extremist cult.

The Part Big Left Missed…

While I’ve  been a Trump skeptic and non-fan for, literally, 60% of my life, and am lukewarm on many aspects of his presidency (and especially of the personality cult that’s built up around him), I’ll give him points for a bunch of things:  Gorsuch, rattling the Norks, his cabinet, his deregulatory frenzy, his initiatives in the Middle East…

…and the big kahuna of ’em all, his appeal to the sense that America is a good, not bad, thing.

To Big Left, that’s a bug, not a feature.

Robert “Not the Population Bomb Guy” Ehrlich writes:

Recall a lifetime ago (actually it was 2008), when a certified dove won the presidency in a landslide. One of his first official acts was to undertake a trip to a number of Muslim countries, wherein apologies were offered for America’s “imperialist” past. Assurances were also made: The cowboy Bush and his warmongering neocons were gone. Mr. Obama would now inform the world that America had learned its lesson. The U.S. would no longer manifest its arrogance on the world stage. We would henceforth strive to have the world like us — especially our charismatic but unthreatening young president, who was counterintuitive himself, seeming to act on the premise that if the United States was ostentatiously embarrassed about its dominance and power, we would be better liked. And we were better liked, but much more endangered and much less intimidating…And then one day the unlikeliest of political leaders appeared. Many voters (including some who ended up voting for him) saw Mr. Trump as unprepared to tackle the world’s most intractable problems…But there was one aspect to the Trump phenomena that all of his supporters firmly believed: that the “kick me” sign that had hung around America’s neck for eight years would be gone. Good riddance.

I’ve found Progs’ antipathy toward the US – one of few countries in the world that’d indulge their fripperies, legally or economically – curious and, at one point in my life, off-putting enough to give me one of the many little shoves it took to move me from left to right.

In my mind, it’s yet another reason to think about an amicable national divorce, splitting the nation into a country that doesn’t care about itself very miuch, and one that does.

It Must Be Summer

One of the most evergreen topics for any out-of-power party is the gas prices this time of year.

Here’s a hint – the sitting president has almost nothing to do with fluctuations in spot gas prices (and no, I said pretty much the same thing when gas prices rose to $4, twice, during the Obama years; long-term prices are another matter, but the fracking boom blunted Obama’s efforts there).

Anyway – it‘s a new administration, and a new minority party,  and it’s baaaack:

Now it’s evidently Democrats’ turn again. The Daily Beast reports Monday that they plan to make rising gas prices the centerpiece of their summer election-year attacks against President Donald Trump. Already Chuck Schumer has taken to the Senate floor to attack Trump on the issue, blaming the price increases on his decision to pull out of the Iran deal (an Iran deal Schumer supposedly opposes, but good luck figuring that one out).

But as with the attacks against Bush and Obama, the attack on Trump lacks teeth. Economists widely accept that presidents have only minimal control over gas prices. As University of Chicago economist and Obama advisor Richard H. Thaler noted in 2012, while most Americans think presidents can control gas prices, “any respectable economist” will tell you they cannot.

It’s not like there’s no real news out there, I mean…

Squirrel!

I caught a few seconds of the Today show for the first time in five years this morning (I don’t spend a lot of time in front of the TV – I literally haven’t watched a network prime-time show since the finale of The Office in July of 2013).  The “Top Story” on “Today” was the President’s statements on NFL players kneeling during the anthem.

Trump’s greatest genius may be his flair for distracting our idiot media, and people who take it seriously.