Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Michelle Obama’s ‘Hopelessness’ Shows it Sucks to Be a Liberal

Townhall.com ^ | December 20, 2016 | Susan Stamper Brown 

It’s a shame that Michelle Obama says she’s feeling hopeless this Christmas, especially after all the wonderful opportunities she’s had as America’s first lady. It goes to show you that liberalism is like a disease that won’t be satisfied until it devours all of you. Undoubtedly, all the designer gown-wearing, Hollywood hobnobbing, $100-per-serving wagyu steak indulging and taxpayer-funded globetrotting won’t fix the hopelessness which ails her. It’s hard to be hope-filled when you tangle yourself in a web of bitterness and resentment over America’s past.
Just last year, Mrs. Obama shared how she really feels during a racially-divisive commencement speech at Tuskegee University that would have made its founder, Booker T. Washington, grieve. In fact, in his book, “My Larger Education,” Washington warned readers about people like her, calling them “problem profiteers.”
Washington wrote: “There is another class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs – partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.”
Michelle’s “problem profiteering” came across loud and clear with her admission of hopelessness during the recent Oprah Winfrey interview. She came across like a spoiled brat when she said, “We are feeling what not having hope feels like” -- although her husband, Mr. Hope-and-Change himself, had eight years to propagate hope had he not been so preoccupied with change.
Mrs. Obama is leaving the White House with the same negative attitude about America she’s had most of her adult life. Apparently, it changed temporarily, when her husband became the 2008 Democratic Party nominee. “For the first time in my adult life,” she said, “I am really proud of my country, because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.”
But, now that President Obama’s on his way out the door, hope is too.
It’s as if she sincerely believes that hope rises and falls based on her husband. It is enormously arrogant to suggest that any human being has that much power, let alone someone whose policies: wrecked healthcare and made it unaffordable, hurt manufacturing and downgraded the job market, lowered household incomes and added millions to food stamp rolls, weakened the military and made us less safe, played class politics and eviscerated racial unity – to name a few.
With “hope” like that, no wonder Americans voted for change.
Obviously, Michelle won’t be happy until everyone feels as hopeless as she does about America.
But, that’s not going to happen.
In fact, the Electoral College just met and did its job to seal the deal for Trump, who won more counties that any candidate since Ronald Reagan. The U.S. Constitution worked, despite the obnoxious temper tantrums, death threats and harassment hurled at the electors by crazy, crybaby leftists who refuse to accept the fact that if Americans had wanted to give Obama a third term, Hillary Clinton would’ve handily won.
Instead, voters sent the leftist, totalitarian agenda packing. And stocks rose and poll after poll reflect that Americans have a growing and glowing optimism about the direction America is headed.
If that is Michelle Obama’s definition of hopelessness, then it sucks to be a liberal.

Butter Sticks

Townhall.com ^ | December 20, 2016 | Mike Adams 


A conservative professor decrying the corrosive effects of political correctness on the larger society wrote a recent Letter to the Editor in our local paper. In the letter, the professor compared young people to butter sticks who melt at the slightest rise in temperature. The professor’s brief letter suggested that parents are raising their kids to be hypersensitive and that the universities are making the situation worse, not better. I agree with everything the professor wrote but I believe the situation is much more ominous than that. So I am writing to supplement, rather than contradict, the professor’s astute observations.
Teaching students that they have a right to be unoffended does have an effect I refer to as “reverse Darwinism.” Teaching weak and chronically offended people that they can negate the ideas of other people simply by shouting “I’m offended” does tend to result in weak people suppressing the ideas of stronger people who are unafraid to speak. This results in a phenomenon I also refer to as the “survival of the least emotionally fit.” When the weak silence the strong, weak arguments tend to overtake stronger ones. But this also teaches a valuable lesson to some of the stronger participants in the marketplace of ideas.
Think about it for moment. If you were a strong and aggressive proponent of left wing ideas (and you believed that the ends justify the means) then how would you respond to seeing someone suppress the ideas of others by claiming to be offended? There is a pretty good chance that you would try to manipulate the process by pretending to be offended.
Take the modern social justice warrior/feminist as an example. She stars in The Vagina Monologues one day – talking about her sex organs in public in the most graphic terms imaginable. The next day she is charging someone with sexual harassment for telling a joke - or at Davidson College for simply asking her out on a date. (No, I’m not kidding. At Davidson College “comments or inquiries about dating” are actually defined as sexual harassment).
So which one is it? Is the modern social warrior supposed to be classified as an adult or as a child? The answer depends on who is talking. If she is talking, she is an adult with full First Amendment protection. If someone else is talking, she is a wilting lily in need of protection.
Thus considered, the result of political correctness is twofold: It produces a lot of nominal adults unable to function in the marketplace of ideas without special protection. But it also produces a lot of manipulative sociopaths that seriously threaten the future of our nation.
Do you think I am exaggerating? Well, just take a few minutes to Google the words “students demand” and see what comes up. Here is what you will find:
*George Washington University Students Demand Creation of Sanctuary Campus.
*Berkeley Protestors Demand Spaces of Color.
*Wisconsin Students Demand Ban on Conservative Group.
*Mississippi State Students Demand Removal of State Flag.
And so on.
It is hard to read the endless demands of these students without remembering what happened just over a year ago when all hell broke loose at Yale and Mizzou. At Yale, a student was caught on camera screaming at an administrator while simultaneously demanding “safety.” Students at Mizzou were captured on camera as they were goaded by a professor into using physical intimidation in order to remove members of the press from “safe spaces” located on public university property.
Now we are no longer shocked. This is the new normal. Gone are the days when college administrators tried to pull one over on college students by enforcing policies that violated their rights. Now the students are demanding these policies because they help facilitate a litany of other demands advanced in their endless crusade to control those that they cannot persuade.
Of course, most, though not all, of those demands involve the willful suppression of free speech protected by the First Amendment. But they will keep kicking and screaming until someone gives in to them. They will continue their tirades even if it means scrapping the First Amendment altogether. Force, rather than reasoned argument, is their new means of communication.
It is certainly true that our culture of faux outrage and victimhood is producing a lot of Butters. Unfortunately, it is also producing a lot of Cartmans.

Obama Family’s 2015 Hawaii Vacation Cost Taxpayers $4,823,206.88 (over $85M on vacations to date)

Judicial Watch ^ | DECEMBER 05, 2016 

Secret Service Lodging Cost Over $1 Million Alone!

(Washington DC)—Judicial Watch announced today that it obtained records from the U.S. Secret Service revealing that its travel expenses for the First Family’s 2015 Hawaiian vacation cost taxpayers $1.2 million, which brings the total cost of the vacation trip to at least $4.8 million. This was the Obamas’ eighth Hawaiian family vacation. The trip has become an annual event for the Obamas. To date, Obama’s and his family’s travel expenses total at least $85,029,819.
The records obtained by Judicial Watch for Obama’s Secret Service travel to Hawaii reveal the following expenses totaling $1,234,316.67:
Hotel and lodging costs totaled $1,000,458.63 The Secret Service spent $165,893.88 on car rentals. Air and rail expenses totaled $67,964.16.
Although the vacation officially lasted from December 18, 2015, to January 3, 2016, the Secret Service rented several Kailua homes for 19 nights, starting from December 16. The total for the rentals, located near the Marine Corps base at Kaneohe Bay was $245,993.12. According to bills obtained by Judicial Watch through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the Secret Service also paid for rooms at the Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki and Golf Club. The Secret Service also reserved rooms at the Moana Surfrider resort on Waikiki Beach, and the Ala Moana Hotel, which cost a total of $40,249.48 and $671,895.99, respectively.
The Secret Service rented cars from Avis, Alamo, and Hertz – 103 cars for the two-week vacation, totaling $165,893.88 in taxpayer money.
Reportedly, the Obamas stayed at the Hale Reena Estate, which “rents for anywhere between $5,000 to $10,000 a night, depending on the season.”
According to other news sources, the Obamas dined out frequently (and were guarded) at Hawaii’s finest restaurants:
On Sunday, December 20, the Obamas had dinner at Morimoto, a celebrity chef-owned Asian-fusion restaurant, On Christmas Eve, they dined at MW Restaurant in Honolulu, On December 27, the first family took their dinner at “one of Hawaii’s finest restaurants,” Hoku’s at the Kahala Hotel and Resort, The next day, the Obamas dined at Alan Wong’s with friends, And on New Year’s Day, the Obamas dined at Halekulani, billed as one of the “top restaurants on Oahu.”
The president played seven rounds of golf, went hiking and snorkeling.
Judicial Watch filed a FOIA request for these documents in January 2016. The records were released in response to a FOIA lawsuit filed on May 6, 2016, (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (No. 1:16-cv-00863)). The lawsuit was filed after the Secret Service ignored a series of separate FOIA requests for costs associated with the president’s travel.
“The Secret Service and the Air Force are being abused by unnecessary travel,” said Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton. “Unnecessary presidential travel for fundraising and luxury vacations on the taxpayers’ dime would be a good target for reform for the incoming Trump administration.”

On the Contrary, Hope Has Been Restored

Townhall.com ^ | December 20, 2016 | D.W. Wilber 


According to William Shakespeare, “The miserable have no other medicine, but only hope”. During her recent conversation with television icon Oprah Winfrey, soon-to-be-former First Lady Michelle Obama remarked that all hope was lost for America with the departure of her husband Barack Obama from office, and the election of Republican Donald Trump as the next President of the United States. Based on her comments, it would seem that she isn’t very proud of her country anymore.
The subtle racism implied by her comments aside considering that a large majority of white working-class Americans voted against her husband’s party, the First Lady conveniently overlooked the tens of millions of Americans of all races and walks of life, at least half the country who have been miserable to the point of despair over the two terms of her husband’s presidency.
We all watched with grave concern for the country we love and cherish as her husband appointed misfits and outcasts to positions as “czars” and ambassadors, and as cabinet secretaries and other senior level posts in his administration. Amateurs and ideologues all of them.
Many Americans were genuinely fearful that our nation might not even survive its eight year flirtation with Barack Obama’s version of socialism and wealth redistribution. Not to mention his “leading from behind” brand of foreign policy that has weakened our national security, baffled and concerned our allies, and emboldened our enemies.
During the eight years of Obama the United States limped along on the world scene as a “once great power”. Whether by design or by accident, Barack Obama and his administration’s main accomplishments were to do nothing but to weaken and divide the nation.
When Islamic radical terrorists attacked our historic European ally France, Obama dispatched a has-been folk singer to serenade them, instead of helping them to hunt down the bad guys and exact justice. With this most recent attack in Berlin one can only wonder if Barack Obama will be dispatching a Polka band to assuage the German’s collective national grief over the plague of ISIS that was created by Obama’s own timidity and misguided foreign policy.
Many Hillary Clinton supporters, including some Hollywood notables who apparently believe that they hold some sway over average Americans, are despondent over her loss in November’s election. Despairing to the point of making a pointless video imploring Electoral College voters to ignore their legal commitments and “vote their conscience” in a pathetic, last ditch effort to deny Donald Trump the office that he legitimately won on November 8th.
Others have taken to the streets demonstrating, rioting, and demanding that the election be overturned. And prior to actually casting their Electoral College votes, many of the Electors received hundreds, even thousands of letters, e-mails, and phone calls, many threatening them and their families if they cast their vote for Donald Trump, the candidate who won their state, and as they were required to do by law. All of the anti-Trump protesters are perfect examples of the whiny, childish, and petulant individuals one has come to expect from the liberal “snowflakes” and supporters of the Democratic Party.
Resorting to any argument they can think of to try to overturn the will of the people that was spoken loudly and clearly back in November, Hillary Clinton’s campaign led by John Podesta are now trying to undercut Trump’s presidency by claiming the Russians interfered in the election.
While conveniently not denying that the supposed “interference” by the Russians simply revealed very embarrassing information disclosed in e-mails, including the Clinton campaign’s collusion with the Democratic National Committee to deny Bernie Sanders any chance at the nomination.
Can you imagine if Republicans had acted similarly? The hyper-partisan “fraudulent news media” would be attacking them as sore losers, spoil-sports, and cry babies. Unworthy of any attention, and certainly not to be taken seriously.
Thank God the grownups will be back in charge in Washington, D.C. on January 20, 2017. The reality is that with the election of Donald Trump, along with his excellent cabinet nominations and national security appointees, hope for the future has indeed been restored. The world will again see the United States of America once more leading from the front and assuming our rightful place as the world’s only super-power. Bold and unafraid to face any and all challenges head-on.
Hope does indeed spring eternal

Newspaper: Gee, Our Subscriptions Are Down Ever Since We Endorsed Hillary

Townhall.com ^ | December 19, 2016 | Matt Vespa

The Dallas Morning News has endorsed a Republican in every presidential election, but decided to buck the trend and endorse two-time presidential loser Hillary Clinton. That appears to have hit the publication’s bottom line, as scores of customers have decided to scrap their subscriptions. T. Becket Adams at The Washington Examiner had more:

"[S]ome people have cancelled their subscriptions, so we lost some customers at a time when it's tough to lose customers," editor Mike Wilson told the Washington Examiner Tuesday evening.
Earlier, in an interview with Poynter, Wilson said the Dallas Morning News experienced some unpleasant pushback after it announced its support for Clinton, breaking its more than 75-year-old tradition of endorsing GOP candidates for president.
"Certainly we've paid a price for our presidential recommendation, but then, we write our editorials based on principle, and sometimes principle comes at a cost," he said. "I've had a lot of conversations with readers lately, and I respect their views and their right to disagree with us. The most important thing to us is that they vote, even if it's not for our favorite candidate, because democracy doesn't work if people don't vote."
Dallas Morning News made their decision and they’re willing to accept the consequences, yet wasn’t denying Hillary Clinton the presidency the Right’s overriding principle for the 2016? Granted, I was not a Trump supporter - you all know this from my past blogs. I even said that he wouldn’t be the nominee, let alone the next president. But then he won the 2016 primary, he clinched the nomination, and now he’s going to be the next president of the United States. My guys, Rubio and Walker, had their shot. They lost. Trump won, he was the best shot we had to defeat Clinton, and so I had to fall in line. Given how things turned out, I’ve never been happier to be wrong. Clinton will never be president. That’s the best Christmas gift of all for the country. As for principle, it’s pretty clear that his cabinet isn’t filled with soft left-wingers. He’s made sound choices that have garnered the approval of ardent liberals, like John Kerry, to experienced Republicans in foreign policy, like former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Let’s see what he does—and I’m sure The Dallas Morning News will do the same. The era of Obama is over. The Trump presidency is about to begin.

The United States of Crybabies

Frontpage Mag ^ | December 20, 2016 | Bruce Thornton 

The hyper-emotional reactions to Donald Trump’s election occasioned much commentary about the state of America’s millennials. On college campuses across the country there were “cry-ins,” group “primal screams,” and designated “healing spaces.” The general mood was captured in a tweet from the student body president at American University: “For those who viewed [the election outcome] as unfavorable, anger, sadness, grief, and frustration were brought to the fore. It’s important to note that those feelings are valid and justified. People are scared and people are worried about their futures and their lives.”
Critics derided these displays as the childish outbursts of pampered “snowflakes.” But such traumatized responses to the outcome of an election reflect a much larger cultural shift that has happened over many decades: the change from a tragic view of human life to a therapeutic one. This shift has troubling implications for our political and economic order.
Until the nineteenth century, the tragic understanding of existence was dominant. The ancient Greeks invented a literary genre to express this belief. Like the flawed heroes of Greek tragedy, humans are defined by the permanent, unchanging conditions of life. They are hostages to time, sickness, want, and death; to unforeseen changes and disasters; to a capricious, harsh natural world; and, most importantly, to their own destructive impulses and passions that their minds can only sporadically control.
A classic expression of the tragic vision can be found in Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War. Describing the horrors of the revolutions the war sparked throughout the Greek world, he writes, “The sufferings which revolution entailed upon the cities were many and terrible, such as have occurred and always will occur as long as the nature of mankind remains the same,” for war confronts people with “imperious necessities” and “so proves a rough master that brings most men’s characters to a level with their fortunes.”
Similarly, Christianity put a flawed humanity at the center of its theology. Because of the Fall, we are all born prone to sin, incapable on our own of renewing our lost spiritual connection to God. As the most influential theologian of eighteenth-century America, Jonathan Edwards, put it, “the innate sinful depravity of the heart” and the “state of man’s nature, that disposition of the mind, is to be looked upon as evil and pernicious” and “tends to extremely pernicious consequences.” Only salvation through Christ can create true happiness, that of the soul reunited with God. In the fallen world, however, the same tragic conditions of existence will continue until the second coming of Christ and the final judgment.
This belief began to weaken with the rise of science and the spectacular improvements of human life it occasioned, beginning in the nineteenth century. Advances in medicine, transportation, sanitation, and the production of food lessened and in some cases eliminated the perennial physical miseries of human existence like disease and malnutrition. This encouraged a belief that new knowledge and technologies could likewise be discovered to improve minds and social institutions as well. Human misery was now believed to spring not from our flawed human nature and choices, but from harmful beliefs embedded in religion, tradition, and unjust social and political orders.
Thus the therapeutic view was born, nurtured by the “human sciences” such as psychology and sociology, and confident that progress would eventually eliminate even our private psychic traumas and subjective discontents, the causes of which lay in the social environment and could there be uprooted. The philosopher and Social Darwinist Herbert Spencer articulated this optimism at the end of the nineteenth century: “Progress is not an accident, but a necessity. Surely must evil and immorality disappear; surely must men become perfect.”
In contrast, however, our political order as enshrined in the Constitution was built on the older tragic understanding of human nature. The Founders particularly feared how power might further corrupt an already flawed human nature. John Adams, in his influential 1787 study Defense of the Constitutions, acknowledged the possibility of generosity and kindness in men, “yet every moral theorist will admit the selfish passions in the generality of men to be the strongest. There are few who love the public better than themselves . . . Self-interest, private avidity, ambition, and avarice will exist in every state of society, and under every form of government.”
Nor could man’s depraved nature be permanently improved. Driven by their flaws, people will always form what James Madison in Federalist 10 called “factions” based on mutual “passions and interests,” and thus will always strive to acquire more power at the expense of other factions. This tendency to aggrandize power, Madison says, is “sown in the nature of man,” never to be eliminated, but only controlled and limited by dividing, checking, and balancing the three branches of the federal government. In this way the freedom of the citizens­­ could be preserved and tyranny avoided, the Founders’ most important goal.
Our free-market capitalist economic order likewise is grounded in a tragic view of life. Economist Joseph Schumpeter said the “essential fact” of capitalism was “creative destruction.” Economist historians W. Michael Cox and Richard Alm describe this process and its costs: “lost jobs, ruined companies, and vanishing industries are inherent parts of the growth system.” However, “A society cannot reap the rewards of creative destruction,” they continue, “without accepting that some individuals might be worse off, not just in the short term, but perhaps forever . . . Capitalism’s gain and pain are inextricably linked.” As Cox and Alm point out, the improvements in transportation sparked by the internal-combustion engine, for example, destroyed whole industries such as carriage and harness manufacturers and blacksmiths.
Capitalism, then, reveals how inequalities in talent, brains, virtue, and luck lead to economic winners and losers. But a dynamic capitalism gives people the freedom and opportunity to rise as far as their abilities can take them, rather than being stymied by static castes, guilds, and classes.
In contrast, the rise of progressivism and collectivist economies in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries reflected the therapeutic vision of a world free of the tragic constants acknowledged by the Founders and free-market economies. In the late nineteenth century, the creation of human sciences persuaded the first progressives that human nature could be improved. In 1914, the progressive journalist Walter Lippmann discarded the idea that human nature is fixed. Rather, we must “devise its social organizations, alter its tools, formulate its method, educate and control it.” Such progress is now possible, Lippmann continues, because of “the great triumph of modern psychology and its growing capacity for penetrating to the desires that govern human thought.” The influential progressive theorist Herbert Croly likewise asserted that a “better future would derive from the beneficent activities of expert social engineers who would bring to the service of social ideals all the technical resources which research could discover.”
The practical means for achieving this transformation were set out by Woodrow Wilson, who felt the Constitution’s balance of powers was made obsolete by this new knowledge. Government must now follow the “Darwinian principle,” he wrote, of organic development guided by the rationally organized improvement of people and society. This requires a more powerful executive branch overseeing a centralized network of bureaus and agencies “of skilled, economical administration” comprising the “hundreds who are wise” who will guide the thousands who are “selfish, ignorant, timid, stubborn, or foolish,” wrote Wilson. Technocrats will replace the diverse people and the sovereign states as the primary determiners of public policy and action. Discarded was the Founders’ distrust of concentrated power whether wielded by the majority or by an elite no less vulnerable to the “encroaching nature” of power that necessarily diminishes political freedom.
Similarly, the idea that all problems can be solved by knowledge and technology would not accept as inevitable the necessary costs of capitalism’s “creative destruction.” In Marxist, socialist, and progressive economic theories, equality of opportunity was inadequate. Now equality of outcome was demanded, for no one should be left to feel inadequate or inferior to those of greater talent or luck who unfairly monopolize wealth. Government began to interfere in the market, attempting to control its workings through laws and regulations in order to create more egalitarian outcomes and eliminate the “various and unequal distribution of property,” as Madison described what we call “income inequality.” But our complaints about income inequality spring not from the tragic reality that some people are not as smart, hard-working, or lucky as others, but from unjust economic and social structures. These need to be corrected by the technocratic elite through coercive federal agencies and their rules.
The trend over the last century has been away from the Constitutional order and the free-market economy. Ironically, despite greater regulations and dirigiste policies that have inhibited growth, enormous wealth has still been created and distributed, and new technologies developed. Unfortunately, this improvement fosters the illusion that we have transcended the tragic constants of human history, and now can afford to believe that even greater improvement should take place. Today, being well-fed, entertained, healthy, and free to an extent unprecedented in history is not enough. We must always be happy and pleased with ourselves, our lives free from challenge and strife and anything, including the consequences of our own free actions, that disturbs our self-regard. If we aren’t, then we look to government power or psychological interventions to correct this injustice.
The “snowflake” phenomenon on our college campuses is just one example of this widespread belief, the malign effects of which extend far beyond the millennial generation. Apart from the damage to our characters, autonomy, freedom, and sense of responsibility for our actions, the therapeutic vision runs counter to the foundations of our political and economic order. We can see the cost to the former in the reduction of our freedoms caused by political correctness and the laws defending the sensibilities and feelings of “protected” classes. The anxiety not to cause offense leads to censorship both formal and internalized, which compromises our First Amendment right to free speech without which a democracy cannot function. And the demand to meet ever escalating standards of well-being and comfort by redistributing wealth has contributed to sluggish economic growth, the unsustainable expense of social welfare entitlements, and the $20 trillion in debt on track to bankrupt the country.
The question we all face is whether the people and their elected leaders can turn back from a failing therapeutic utopianism, and accept once again the tragic limits to human existence that the foundations of our political and economic structures once acknowledged.

The Animal Cunning and Instinct of Donald Trump

The National Review ^ | December 20, 2016 | Victor Davis Hanson 

He grasped that what voters cared about were the very issues politicos were disdainfully ignoring.


The American middle classes, the Chinese, and Vladimir Putin have never been convinced that Ivy League degrees, vast Washington experience, and cultural sophistication necessarily translate into national wisdom. Trump instead relies more on instinct and operates from cunning — and we will soon see whether we should redefine “wisdom.” But for now, for example, we have never heard a presidential candidate say such a thing as “We love our miners” — not “we like” miners, but “we love” them. And not just any miners, but “our” miners, as if, like “our vets,” the working people of our moribund economic regions were unique and exceptional people, neither clingers nor irredeemables. In Trump’s gut formulation, miners certainly did not deserve “to be put out of business” by Hillary Clinton, as if they were little more than the necessary casualties of the war against global warming. For Trump, miners were not the human equivalent of the 4,200 bald eagles that the Obama administration recently assured the wind turbine industry can be shredded for the greater good of alternate energy and green profiteering.
In other words, Trump instinctively saw the miners of West Virginia — and by extension the working-class populations of states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Ohio — as emblematic of the forgotten man, in a way few of his Republican rivals, much less Hilary Clinton, grasped. No other candidate talked as constantly about jobs, “fair” trade, illegal immigration, and political correctness — dead issues to most other pollsters and politicos. Rivals, Democratic and Republican alike, had bought into the electoral matrix of Barack Obama: slicing the electorate into identity-politics groups and arousing them to register and vote in record numbers against “them” — a fossilized, supposedly crude, illiberal, and soon-to-be-displaced white working class.
For Democrats that meant transferring intact Obama’s record numbers of minority voters to a 68-year-old multimillionaire white woman; for Republicans, it meant pandering with a kinder, softer but still divisive identity-politics message. Trump instinctively saw a different demographic. And even among minority groups, he detected a rising distaste for being patronized, especially by white, nasal-droning, elite pajama-boy nerds whose loud progressivism did not disguise their grating condescension.
Trump Dismissed as a Joke
Yet even after destroying the Clinton Dynasty, the Bush-family aristocracy, the Obama legacy, and 16 more-seasoned primary rivals, Trump was dismissed by observers as being mostly a joke, idiotic and reckless. Such a dismissal is a serious mistake, because what Trump lacks in traditionally defined sophistication and awareness, he more than makes up for in shrewd political cunning of a sort not seen since the regnum of Franklin Roosevelt. Take a few recent examples. Candidate Donald Trump was roundly hounded by the political and media establishment for suggesting that the election might be “rigged.” Trump was apparently reacting to old rumors of voting-machine irregularities. (In fact, in about a third of blue Detroit’s precincts, to take just one example, more votes this election were recorded than there were registered voters.) Or perhaps Trump channeled reports that there was an epidemic of invalid or out-of-date voter registrations. (Controversially, the normally staid Pew Charitable Trust found that 2.4 million voter registrations were no longer accurate or were significantly inaccurate.) Or maybe he fanned fears that illegal aliens were voting. (Another controversial study from two professors at Old Dominion suggested that over 6 percent of non-citizens may have voted in 2008; and the president on the eve of the election, in his usual wink-and-nod fashion, assured the illegal-alien community that there would be no federal interest in examining immigration status in connection with voting status.)
Or perhaps Trump was convinced that the media and the Democratic establishment worked hand in hand to warp elections and media coverage. (The WikiLeaks trove revealed that media operatives leaked primary debate questions and sent their stories to the Clinton campaign for fact-checking before publication, as two successive DNC chairpersons resigned in disgrace for purportedly sabotaging the primary-challenge efforts of Bernie Sanders.) For all this and more, Trump was roundly denounced by the status quo as a buffoon who cherry-picked scholarly work to offer puerile distortions. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both expressed outrage at Trump’s supposedly incendiary suggestions of voter irregularity, alleging that Trump was either delusional or insurrectionary or both. But was he? Or did he sense that his candidacy was touching off an “any means necessary” effort of unethical progressives to warp the law and custom for purportedly noble ends?
After the election, that supposition was more than confirmed. The Joke’s on Them Trump’s enemies have now proved him a Nostradamus. Fourth-party candidate Jill Stein, joined by the remains of the Clinton campaign, asked for a recount of the 2016 election, but only in those states that provided Trump his electoral majority and only on the assumption that there was zero chance that Stein’s candidacy would be affected by any conceivable new vote figure. Though perhaps, Trump’s critics wished, the recount would resurrect the candidacy of Stein’s stalking horse Hillary Clinton.
Then members of the Clinton campaign and powerful Democrats joined an effort to pressure electors of the Electoral College to defy their state-mandated duty to reflect the vote totals of their states and instead refrain from voting for Donald Trump. That was all but a neo-Confederate, insurrectionary act that sought to nullify the spirit of the Constitution and the legal statues of many states — part and parcel of new surreal progressive embrace of states’-rights nullification that we have not seen since the days of George Wallace. Trump then earned greater outrage when he questioned the CIA’s sudden announcement, via leaks, that the Russians had hacked Clinton-campaign communication. When Trump said that the newfound post-election “consensus” on Russian hacking was improper, unreliable, and suggestive of an overly politicized intelligence apparatus, he once again drew universal ire — proof positive that he lacked a “presidential” temperament. Yet our intelligence agencies do have a history of politicization. The 2006 national intelligence assessment at the height of the Iraq insurgency and of George W. Bush’s unpopularity oddly claimed that Iran had stopped nuclear-weapons work as early as 2003 — a finding that, if plausible, would probably have rendered irrelevant all of Obama’s frantic efforts just three years later to conclude an Iran deal. And our intelligence agencies’ record at assessment is not exactly stellar, given that it missed the Pakistan and Indian nuclear-bomb programs, Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait, and the status of Saddam’s WMD program. There is still no solid proof of deliberate Russian cyber interference intended to aid Donald Trump. Loretta Lynch is skeptical that Russia tried to help the Trump campaign. A Washington Post story alleging that the RNC was hacked was based on myth. WikiLeaks, for what it is worth, insists its source was not Russian. And we now learn that intelligence authorities are refusing to testify in closed session to the House Intelligence Committee about the evidence that prompted their odd post-election announcements — announcements that contradict their earlier pre-election suggestions that Russian hacking was not affecting the election. One possibility is that the likelihood of a Clinton victory spurred the administration and the likely president-elect to suggest that the election process remained sacrosanct and immune from all tampering — while the completely unforeseen loss to Trump abruptly motivated them to readjust such assessments.
Trump has a habit of offering off-the-cuff unconventional observations — often unsubstantiated by verbal footnotes and in hyperbolic fashion. Then he is blasted for ignorance and recklessness by bipartisan grandees. Only later, and quietly, he is often taken seriously, but without commensurate public acknowledgement. A few more examples. Candidate Trump blasted the “free-loading” nature of NATO, wondered out loud why it was not fighting ISIS or at least Islamic terrorism, and lamented the inordinate American contribution and the paucity of commensurate allied involvement. Pundits called that out as heresy, at least for a few weeks — until scholars, analysts, and politicos offered measured support for Trump’s charges. Europeans, shocked by gambling in Casablanca, scrambled to assure that they were upping their defense contributions and drawing the NATO line at the Baltic States. President-elect Trump generated even greater outrage in the aftermath of the election when he took a call from the Taiwanese president. Pundits exploded. Foreign policy hands were aghast. Did this faker understand the dimensions of his blunder? Was he courting nuclear war? Trump shrugged, as reality again intruded: Why sell billions of dollars in weaponry to Taiwan if you cannot talk to its president? Are arms shipments less provocative than receiving a single phone call? Why talk “reset” to the thuggish murderous Castro brothers but not to a democratically elected president? Why worry what China thinks, given that it has swallowed Tibet and now created artificial islands in the South China Sea, in defiance of all maritime custom, law, and tradition? Two weeks later after the call, analysts — true to the pattern — meekly agreed that such a phone call was hardly incendiary. Perhaps, they mused, it was overdue and had a certain logic. Perhaps it had, after all, sent a valuable message to China that the U.S. may now appear as unpredictable to China as China has appeared to the U.S.
More recently, Trump asked in a tweet why we should take back a sea drone stolen by China from under the nose of a U.S. ship. Aside from questions of whether the drone is now compromised, damaged, or bugged, would anyone be happy that a thief appeared days later at the door, offering back the living room’s stolen loot, on the condition to just let bygones be bygones — at least until the next heist? On most issues, Trump sensed what was verbiage and what was doable — and what was the indefensible position of his opponents. Prune away Trump’s hyperbole, and we see that his use of the illegal immigration issue is another good example. Finishing the existing southern border wall is sane and sober. “Making Mexico pay for it” can quietly be accomplished, at least in part, by simply taxing the over $50 billion in remittances sent to Mexico and Latin America by those in the U.S. who cannot prove legal residence or citizenship. Ending sanctuary cities will win majority support: Who wants to make the neo-Confederate argument that local jurisdictions can override U.S. law — and, indeed, who would make that secessionist case on behalf of violent criminal aliens? Deporting illegal-alien law-breakers — or those who are fit and able but without any history of work — is likewise the sort of position that the Left cannot, for political reasons, easily oppose. As for the rest, after closing off the border, Trump will likely shrug and allow illegal aliens who are working, who have established a few years of residence, and who are non-criminal to pay a fine, learn English, and get a green card — perhaps relegating the entire quagmire of illegal immigration to a one-time American aberration that has diminishing demographic and political relevance. Trump the Brawler Finally, Trump sensed that the proverbial base was itching for a bare-knuckles fighter. They wanted any kind of brawler who would not play by the Marquess of Queensberry rules of 2008 and 2012 that had doomed Romney and McCain, who, fairly or not, seemed to wish to lose nobly rather than win in black-and-blue fashion, and who were sometimes more embarrassed than proud of their base. Trump again foresaw that talking trash in crude tones would appeal to middle Americans as much as Obama’s snarky and ego-driven, but otherwise crude trash-talking delighted his coastal elites. So Trump said the same kinds of things to Hillary Clinton that she, in barely more measured tones, had often said to others but never expected anyone to say out loud to her. And the more the media cried foul, the more Trump knew that voters would cry “long overdue.”
We can expect that Trump’s impulsiveness and electronically fed braggadocio will often get him into trouble. No doubt his tweets will continue to offend. But lost amid the left-wing hatred of Trump and the conservative Never Trump condescension is that so far he has shattered American political precedents by displaying much more political cunning and prescience than have his political opponents and most observers. Key is his emperor-has-no-clothes instinct that what is normal and customary in Washington was long ago neither sane nor necessary. And so far, his candidacy has not only redefined American politics but also recalibrated the nature of insight itself — leaving the wise to privately wonder whether they were ever all that wise after all.

The never learn!

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Group Pic

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Face it!

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" I built that"

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Meddling?

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Save the tears!

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What do you want?

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Exposed!

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Who's your daddy?

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We're worried!

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Uninstalling

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Who are these people?

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The Prozac Pipeline!

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Close the blinds

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Another Czar?

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Welcome!

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