Misunderestimated

As one who underestimated Donald Trump’s campaign until the moment Wisconsin got called, I’m doing a lot of retroactive learning.

And there are sources to a lot of that in this piece.

Long pullquote:

Some have argued that President Trump’s recent State of the Union speech was designed primarily to troll Democrats. I disagree. The trolling effect (e.g., a steady stream of bad optics televised in prime time—and subsequently easily turned around into an RNC ad—showing Democrats behaving disrespectfully, rolling their eyes, shaking their heads, groaning, looking down at their cell phones, and even walking out in a huff) is real, but was a fully expected side-benefit of the address. No, the President is on something of a John Boyd “Destruction and Creation” mission.

Operating like a general giving the command for his massive political army to advance on the adversary, the State of the Union speech was the best political oration of my lifetime. I’ll try to quickly detail why  by quoting a personal favorite, Richard Fernandez of the Belmont Club. In a piece he wrote in December 2016, just prior to Trump’s inauguration as our 45th President and in the context of Trump’s signaling with respect to what should be our posture with China, Fernandez wrote that:

The Democratic Party should stop underestimating Donald Trump. The good news is that he moves at nongovernment speed. The bad news is that, due to his outsider status, nobody knows exactly where he is going.

Fernandez, like McLaughlin the year before, was noting the uptempo speed of Trump. McLaughlin’s discussion of Trump’s use of the OODA Loop, correctly noted that speed lies at the core of Boyd’s theory of conflict, and has been the most influential element of Boyd’s strategic thinking. Further, “Boyd’s core insight was about the interactive and disruptive nature of speed on human decision-making: success in conflict can be rapid and dramatic if one can “operate inside the OODA Loop” of the opponent.”

When you begin to understand this, you’re well on your way to understanding our 45th president.

The whole thing is worth a read.

Proportion

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The Dow dropped the most points ever!  Trump should stay away!
Rubbish. The Dow dropped 666 points to close at 25,520.   An article from Obama’s time, 2015, shows the 10 worst drops in history.  His was number 10.
The analysts are using points instead of percentages which makes it sound scary but is it really?  If the Dow was at 10,000 points and dropped 1,000, that’s a 10% drop but if it’s at 20,000 points and drops 1,000, that’s a 5% drop, only half as bad.  Trump’s drop of 666 on 26,000 is 2.5%, not the worst in history, doesn’t even make in the top 10.   It’s a blip.
Why do you suppose an English major can figure that out, but all the sophisticated market analysts in the media cannot?
Joe Doakes

Make no mistake – they can figure it out.

But the Demorat messaging plan is “Say whatever we need to; our audience is either in on the line, or isn’t smart enough to bother”.

Cognitive Assonance

When Donald Trump was elected, Big Thinkers with Bylines predicted that he – and the BREXIT movement often associated with him and his rise – would gut US markets.

Apparently not.

They also said that his intransigence would make American foreign policy even more fraught than it had been.

I’n not exactly “tired of winning” yet, but it’s interesting how turning foreign policy and defense over to grownups – people who’ve read enough non-intersectional history to know that coddling bullies just gives you more bullies – is slowly moving some of the world’s needles in the right direction.

 

 

Much Ado About S______es.

News flash: President Trump said something offensive.

Maybe.

The is sure, but can’t confirm it beyond Dick Durbin – a man with a long record of practicing the ethics of convenience – and repeated by the Dems’ stenographers in the media, which only stops them when the subject is a Democrat, but whatever, but whatever; it’s one of the reasons I trust a used car salesman with an untreated gambling addiction more than the institution of the media.

Anyhoo, the President ostensibly referred to certain nations – as distinct from people – as “S***h**es”.

My dislike of Trump goes back, uninterrupted, to the mid-eighties – but let me break this down for you:

If you are referring to a society where the vast majority of the people are short of basic necessities like food, water and jobs because the “government” runs things for the benefit of a kleptocratic ruling “elite” (in the same sense that the Crips, MS13 or the Mafia are “ruled by an elite”) – as in much of subsaharan Africa, and a fair part of Asia and Central and South America – the President may have had a point.

If you are talking about a society that brags about having a culture hundreds or thousands of years old – but all of that cultural history is marked by feudal warlordism, systematic devaluation of the individual, mass murder, indentured servitude and serfdom, systematic ignorance of human rights and endless cycles of variations on single-person or single-party rule, the President isn’t that far off.

If you’re talking about a culture that we’ve had to teach how to stop herding people into death camps at bayonet-point in living memory, or a country where very significant numbers of people were perfectly happy to send their neighbors of an inconvenient ethnicity to their deaths for 13 pieces of silver, or one where millions of people long for the return of the most bloodthirsty tyrant of all time? The President may have been wrong in the literal sense, but not moral or metaphorical ones. `

And if you live in an American city where the achievement gap and the gap between the gentrified “haves” and the ghettoized “have nots” is approaching third-world levels, crime is rising even as the national crime rate is plummeting, and the public debt bubble is growing to catastrophic levels, and the leadership’s response is to virtue-signal about minimum wages and police shootings?

The President wasn’t referring to you, but to foreign countries. So far. But he’s not far off.

I didn’t vote for Trump. But some of the people howling about his (alleged) remarks really need to broaden their focus. All humans are created equal before God and the Law (whether their rulers acknowledge it or not), but all governments and nations are not.

Anyone who disagrees is invited to live in Venezuela until further notice. Which isn’t saying “America – love it or leave it”; it’s saying “History: learn it or end up on the wrong side of it”.

The Art Of The Possible

I’ve been saying it on my blog for a couple of years now; I’m not a Donald Trump fan.  Never have been.

Like a lot of mainstream conservatives, I’ve found bits and pieces of peace to make with Trump’s presidency; his SCOTUS nomination, the most conservative cabinet of my adult lifetime, a belated but intense confrontation with mindless identity politics, among others.

But Scott Adams – who, two years ago, was the only pundit that actually got Trump and his phenomenon right – adds another, more-human-than-strictly-conservative reason to be happy after a year of Trump; he‘s pushing back the limits of what is ‘possible”:

Do you remember when it was common wisdom that if the U.S. recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel it would be a huge problem? President Trump did it anyway. So far, it looks like a minor problem at most.

Do you remember when experts said President Trump shouldn’t mess with the Iran nuclear deal because it could cause a huge problem for the United States and its allies? He did it anyway, and it is likely a supporting variable for the Iranian protestors who don’t like how their government is creating problems that don’t need to be problems.

Do you remember when experts said China will never help squeeze the economy of North Korea because China fears a refugee crisis? President Trump encouraged China to squeeze anyway. Then he helpfully provided satellite photos of tankers cheating on the high seas. After South Korea grabbed and held a second cheating tanker, the economics of smuggling oil have turned negative, or will soon. And North Korea is sounding — at least to my ears — more flexible than ever.

Adams actually lists many more examples; feel free to read ’em.  Of course, the fat lady has yet to sing; will the tax reform gamble pay off with Reagan-era-level growth?  We don’t know.   Only politicians think policy = destiny.

But…:

The meta-impact of President Trump routinely doing the “impossible” is that it changes how all of us view our world. If Trump can keep doing the impossible, time and time again, why can’t we?

Sometimes things are literally impossible. But much of the time we are only limited by our imaginations. Many of us simply couldn’t imagine that a number of the things President Trump has done would work out well. These were not simple surprises; these were failures of our imagination.

And after the eight years of deadening, Carter-like malaise that Obama left (outside the activist class, anyway), that alone is a wonderful thing.

Kicking Out The Key Log

The Obama economy stayed sluggish, despite an avalanche of taxpayer and deficit cash, because businesses sat on their money; with cheap credit via “quantitative easing”, their cash on hand zoomed upward (leading to record high stock indices) – but job growth and productivity remained sluggish.   With regulations metastasizing and Obamacare lurking over everything like a that friend from high school who stopped by and you just know is going to hit you up for a loan, business played it very very safe.

No more, it seems – or at least that seems to be written between the lines of this curiously schizophrenic NYTimes piece that seems to make a little room for every possible angle in re Trump, economic or not:

Mr. Trump bragged in a news conference last month that he has rolled back 22 regulations for every new one — 67 deregulatory actions, versus three new regulations. Often in conjunction with the Republican Congress, his administration has canceled several rules approved at the end of the President Barack Obama’s term, including a regulation on limiting mining debris in streams, a requirement that broadband providers obtain permission from customers to collect and use online information, and a ban on plastic bottles in national parks.

Administration officials said last month that, since January 2017, federal agencies have delayed, withdrawn or made inactive nearly 1,600 planned regulatory actions. Further rollbacks will affect financial services as well as energy and labor rules, among others.

And Mr. Trump has appointed outspoken critics of regulation to lead several federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

All of which, to the Times, are troubling.

 

 

Lions Lying Down With Lambs

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

58 Democrats in House vote to impeach Trump for bigotry, racism, and generally being deplorable.  Nancy Pelosi says no, they should wait until they have evidence of an impeachable offense.

When Nancy Pelosi is your party’s voice of reason . . . .

Joe Doakes

Pretty sure it’s more red meat for the left’s gullible hordes – but Joe’s right.

I Fought The Swamp And The Swamp Won

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I’d be worried if the State Department had a string of success stories, which the cuts threaten to end.  Does it?

These are the guys who stood around while our consulate in Benghazi burned, who sent pallets of cash to Iran, who got special privileges for Cuba.  These are the guys who stood around while the North Koreans developed nuclear weapons and intercontinental missiles.

A Trump critic quoted in the article:  “These people either do not believe the U.S. should be a world leader, or they’re utterly incompetent,” she said. “Either way, having so many vacancies in essential places is a disaster waiting to happen.”

Considering what they accomplished while they were in office, how much worse can it get?

Joe Doakes

Funny how Democrats want to be a world leader, after the eight years of national self-abnegation we just went through.

Stage IV Pauline Kael Syndrome

Katha Pollitt is sort of a gender affirmative action project; Big Leftymedia has Jonathan Chait, so the need a female version (pardon the redundancy).

She never disappoints, which is another way of saying if you have any hope that our coastal elite can be salvaged, she disappoints intensely.

In this case, Pollitt “writes” about the rage that’s been buiding in her since…well, that day last November:

Unlike my friend’s, my life has changed a lot in the year since Trump was elected. Not materially, except for the fact that my stepson and daughter-in-law moved to Canada partly because, as non-citizens, they worried for their futures here in the US.

Er, right.  That’s why they moved.  Not to be rid of their ninny mother in law. Nosirreebob.

I mean psychologically. I sometimes feel like I’m a different person now. I’m fidgety and irritable and have trouble concentrating.

I have little doubt that the affliction is real; she hands out straight lines like after-dinner mints; either she’s so addled by her rage, or so secure in never being challenged by her audience:

My work seems trivial: Given what we are facing, what difference does one more Nation column make? I might as well be an ancient Egyptian scribe logging production figures for cat mummies.

Katha:  your work is trivial.  Even when your guy was in power, you were a joyless scold who served only to fluff your social class’s sense of self-importance.

Today, you are the same thing, plus depression born of unrequited entitlement.  Mazel tov.

In the old days, the days before Trump, it bothered me that so many people loved things I thought were stupid. Now I just think, Go ahead, enjoy yourself. Maybe your Batman DVDs will comfort you when we’re wandering around in the ashen hellscape of whatever apocalypse Trump will bring down upon us.

Katha:  Sylvia Plath called.  She told you to buck up and quit being such a downer.

But the main difference is that I hate people now. Well, not all people, of course. Just people who voted for Trump.

Of course you hate people “now”, Katha.

People who do their own “research” on the Internet and discover there that President Obama is a Muslim and Michelle Obama is a man. People who use the n-word and can’t even spell it right, because—have you noticed?—Trump supporters can’t spell. Well-off people who only care about lowering their taxes. People who said they couldn’t vote for Hillary because of her emails. Excuse me, sir or madam, can you explain to me what an email server even is?

The real question, Katha, is can you?

No.  You can’t.

If you want to see example 25,695 on why Trump/Pence are going to win re-election in 2020, look no further.

Moral Footnote

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

This article is an example of the Right trying to manufacture a victory.  The courts shut down the travel ban, repeatedly, until it expired.  If Trump attempts to resurrect it, we can bet they’ll shut it down again.  A victory would have been a ruling that he was right and the lower courts were wrong.

On the other hand, this is an accurate summation of the Left’s tactics: “In essence, elements of the “nonpolitical” branch are trying to reverse the result of the 2016 vote by denying the duly elected president the powers of his office.”  And they’re continuing to do so as Liberal judges issue nation-wide rulings that clearly stomp on Presidential prerogatives for the flimsiest of reasons. This ruling doesn’t change that but it does highlight the hypocrisy.  That never hurts.

Joe Doakes

Assuming anyone’s listening.

Marketplace Of Dumb Ideas

A longtime friend of this blog writes:

With all the talk of Trump being too impulsive to have his proverbial finger on nuclear weapons, Trump hasn’t really done anything rash. He says some annoying things, getting the goat of many people in this country. But, despite all the uproar, he has pretty much stuck to not doing anything to us.

However, the constant focus on his brash style of speaking has me most concerned about what the Democrats are going to produce next Presidential election to counter this. It has been speculated that Franken may run. He has already written a book, which usually signals interest. Last night, I had a nightmare that he announced. His pen will likely be a little more impulsive in doing to us.

Yeah, that thought’s crossed my mind.  I can just see the meeting at the DNC:  “So the people want loudmouthed, brash and incorrigible?  Let’s give ’em really loudmouthed, brash and incorrigible!”

If Franken doesn’t run, they might go with Dennis Rodman.

“Too Cynical”, Or Just Sufficiently Informed?

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

 

All that hype about the wonderful Obama economy turns out to have been . . . hype.  It’s not wonderful at all.

The solution chosen by the Federal Reserve – raising interest rates to throw the brakes on rampant inflation – turns out to have been the wrong solution.

Was the wrong solution chosen because the economic numbers were wrong?  Because their analysis was wrong?  Or because the President who got elected was the wrong person and Lord knows, we can’t allow That Guy to have a robust economy?

Yes, I am that cynical.

Joe Doakes

No action on that bet.

The Deal, Redux

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Democrats ran to the microphone to claim Trump made a deal, he says he didn’t.
This sounds familiar but I can’t find a link.
Didn’t Minnesota democrats do that? Maybe to Pawlenty? Leave a meeting, run out to claim a deal, then when it’s denied, shame Republicans for failing to honor the deal they never made?
Joe Doakes

Marketing

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

President Trump got skunked in the Spring continuing resolution – no money for The Wall.  He was busy with the Supreme Court nominee so okay, let that one go.  But in this next deal, he absolutely must get some money for The Wall or he’s never going to get it.  If the Resisters beat him on his signature issue, his presidency will be lame duck all the way down.

Trump should start tweeting now, warning citizens to prepare for a shut-down if the money’s not in the resolution.  The people who elected him want that, first and foremost.  He’s got to deliver.

Doesn’t have to be much money. It could be a symbolic $1.00, just as long as Congress votes for it. Trump must make them cry “Uncle” because after that, we’ve established the principle and we’re only arguing over the amount.

Frankly, Democrats are not the problem. They continue to serve the interests of the dead people and illegals who elected them.  But the Never-Trump RINOs have no excuse so why not go after them?  Because we need them.  We need every one of their votes and as tempting as it might be to name names while kicking behinds, a different tactic is warranted on this side of the aisle.  On that side, we know Democrats will never break ranks so there’s no harm in savaging them.

Of course, Liberals will complain that funding The Wall is a budget-buster.  We can’t afford it.  There are higher priorities.  Get out in front of that argument early.  Start by proposing to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and shift that funding to The Wall.  Trump gave up his salary this year, but he could offer to redirect his salary as President toward The Wall next year.  Divert federal aid from sanctuary cities to The Wall.  Revenue neutral, no additional funding required, completely affordable if we would only make national security a higher priority than frivolities.

And blame Democrats for the shutdown, starting now.   Send a tweet every day. “Democrats make Grandma eat dog food; shut down!”

“Democrats end school lunch: shut down!” “Democrats squander dollars, pinch pennies: shut down!”

This is not a political problem or fiscal problem, it’s a marketing problem.  Trump has to rally the troops to swing the polls so finger-licking moderates can feel the change in the wind and cast a vote to fund The Wall. There will never be a better time.

Joe Doakes

Electoral fear is both sides’ best weapon.  Trump has the initiative.  Will he use it?

Projection

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

New York Times headline: Republicans are worried White House disarray undermines Trump.  But read the article and you find Republicans are placing the blame squarely on Congress where it belongs, except John Kasich who hates Trump and a lobbyist for immigration amnesty who hates Trump’s immigration stance.  The rest of us still aren’t tired of all the winning, we wish the rest of the GOP would get their act together and start winning some, too.

Fake headline.

Joe Doakes

The conservative activists who – correctly – ask us to reject Triump on the basis of principle would do well to present a GOP alternative that practices ’em too.

Narrative Check

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Trump claims John Podesta barred the FBI from looking at the DNC computer.

You remember that computer – not the one in Hillary’s bathroom that she wiped with a cloth, this is the DNC server that supposedly got “hacked” by the Russians to steal the Democrats’ emails, which the Russians then released to the public through their shill, Wikileaks, in an effort to make Hillary look bad so voters wouldn’t like her, all the while colluding with the Trump campaign to steal the election from Hillary.   Trump claims the FBI never saw it.

Naturally, the Liberal media is covering for the Democrats.  Politifact rated Trump’s claim a LIE:  John Podesta did NOT bar the FBI from looking at the DNC computer.  Somebody else did that.

Missing the point, people!  The essence of the claim remains true: the feds never saw the computer.

The only evidence the Russians had anything to do with the massive leak of embarrassing emails comes from the private IT firm hired by the Democrats.  The leak could just as easily have come from a disgruntled DNC employee, perhaps an IT specialist who downloaded the emails and offered them to Wikileaks right before he was murdered in a ‘robbery gone bad’ in which nothing was stolen, that the D.C. cops refuse to investigate.

Since when does the FBI out-source criminal investigations or national security breaches?  But the Democrats assured James Comey the Russians did it, and that’s good enough for old Jimbo. And the rest of the nation blindly follows the false trail down the rabbit hole.

Joe Doakes

If Democrats defended this nation like they defend their narrative, ISIS would be hiding under a rock in the Hejdaz.

I’m Not Sure…

…what struck me the most about President Trump’s speech in Warsaw.    The fact that it was an excellent speech – presidential, inspirational – but that showed he’s got an interest in Making Western Civilization Great Again…

…or the fact that Big Left found a way to poo-poo the value of Western Civilization:

In his speech in Poland on Thursday, Donald Trump referred 10 times to “the West” and five times to “our civilization.” His white nationalist supporters will understand exactly what he means. It’s important that other Americans do, too.

… The West is a racial and religious term. To be considered Western, a country must be largely Christian (preferably Protestant or Catholic) and largely white.

And here we go.

Yep. The society that first recognized the value of the individual, that figured rights were endowed to us by our creator and not government, that decided every government rules by consent of the governed, happened to be caucasoid and Christian; elements of western history and Christian faith make both amendable to those ideas.

What do critics like Peter Beinart want?  To make Western civilization more like all those non-western, non-Christian civilizations?

Have the left learned nothing?

We Tried It The Easy Way

I posted this link last week – Glenn Reynolds in USAToday on how David Brooks and establishment-y pundits like him led to Donald Trump.

This passage caught my attention; the Tea Party preceded  Trump by a good 6-7 years.  We were civil, orderly, and we left the world a much better place than we found it, even in little ways, as shown in this story from a San Francisco counterprotest:

In San Francisco, too, tea party protesters met pro-Obama activists and picked up their trash. “John,” author of The City Square blog wrote: “As Obama supporters moved along in the line to get into the fundraiser, they left behind an impressive amount of trash … Tea Partiers shouted ‘pick up your garbage’ and ‘this is San Francisco, what about recycling?’ There was no response. They chanted ‘Obama leaves a mess.’ Still no response. Eventually, a tea partier (wearing the black cowboy hat) crosses over and starts to pick up the trash on his own. Other tea partiers join him. Another manages to find a trash bag. Soon the trash is being collected.”

It’s true. I was there.  It was an amazing outpouring of motivation, passion, and equanimity.

But it was spontaneous and from the right, so it had to be destroyed.  And between the media and the establishment GOP, it was.

Yet the tea party movement was smeared as racist, denounced as fascist, harassed with impunity by the IRS and generally treated with contempt by the political establishment — and by pundits like Brooks, who declared “I’m not a fan of this movement.” After handing the GOP big legislative victories in 2010 and 2014, it was largely betrayed by the Republicans in Congress, who broke their promises to shrink government and block Obama’s initiatives.

So when you shut down peoples’ peaceful, reasonable assembly for redress of grievances, what do you expect is going to happen?

So now we have Trump instead, who tells people to punch counterprotesters instead of picking up their trash.

When politeness and orderliness are met with contempt and betrayal, do not be surprised if the response is something less polite, and less orderly. Brooks closes his Trump column with Psalm 73, but a more appropriate verse is Hosea 8:7 “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” Trump’s ascendance is a symptom of a colossal failure among America’s political leaders, of which Brooks’ mean-spirited insularity is only a tiny part. God help us all.

The whole thing is worth a read.