“First, I recently confirmed that on numerous occasions, the intelligence community incidentally collected information about U.S. citizens involved in the Trump transition. Second, details about U.S. persons associated with the incoming administration, details with little or no apparent foreign intelligence value, were widely disseminated in intelligence community reporting. Third, I have confirmed that additional names of Trump transition team members were unmasked. Fourth and finally, I want to be clear, none of this surveillance was related to Russia or the investigation of Russian activities or of the Trump team.”
One wonders if his data collection was as “incidentally” as the IRS auditing conservatives…
London: “You are entering a Sharia controlled zone. Islamic rules enforced.” Also this: “According to the Association of Chief Police Officers, every year 17,000 Muslim women in Britain become victims of forced marriages, are raped by their husbands or subjected to female genital mutilation.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
“Italians used to look to Europe as a kind of savior: the Italian state was corrupt and inept, but Brussels would set a higher standard, and by loyal support for the EU, Italy could rise above its own problems. These days, the EU looks more like an anchor than a lifejacket.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
“I would argue that Pakistan’s history teaches at least three lessons. The first: Elections alone do not produce democracy. The second: Majority rule without minority rights leads to egregious illiberalism. Third: A state committed to the pursuit of religious ‘purity’ will always find some of its subjects in need of ‘cleansing.’ Down that path despotism lies.” (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
Karl Rehn on beyond the 1%. “93% of the 3.2 million adult gun owners in Texas likely do not train. 4% of them take the mandatory new permit course, at best 3% of them take some kind of NRA course, and only 1%, less than 30K, take any kind of post-CHL level course or shoot any kind of match, including all kinds of pistol, NRA high power, and all the shotgun sports.”
Welcome to Friday! (And welcome Instapundit readers coming in off Stephen Green’s link to yesterday’s border security roundup.)
First up: Liberalism’s continued idée fixe on the “Russians hacked the election” fantasy.
If Trump had actually been in the pay of the Russians, Wayne Barrett, who worked the Trump beat for the Village Voice for 40 years, would have known about it. “Wayne Barrett had this file for 40 years, and if neither he nor the reporters he trained got this story, it’s not a story.”
This obsession with Russia conspiracy tales is poisoning all aspects of U.S. political discourse and weakening any chance for resisting Trump’s actual abuses and excesses. Those who wake up every day to hype the latest episode of this Russia/Trump spy drama tell themselves that they’re bravely undermining and subverting Trump, but they’re doing exactly the opposite.
This crazed conspiracy mongering is further discrediting U.S. media outlets, making Washington seem even more distant from and irrelevant to the lives of millions of Americans, degrading discourse to the lowliest Trumpian circus level on which he thrives, and is misdirecting huge portions of opposition energy and thought into an exciting but fictitious spy novel – all of which directly redounds to Trump’s benefit.
Above all else, it’s because it’s an offensive assault on reason. This kind of deranged discourse is an attack on basic journalistic integrity, on any minimal obligation to ensure that one’s claims are based in evidence rather than desire, fantasy, and herd-enforced delusions. And it’s emanating from the most established and mainstream precincts of U.S. political and media elites, who have processed the severe disorientation and loss of position they feel from Trump’s shock election not by doing the work to patiently formulate cogent, effective strategies against him, but rather by desperately latching onto online “dot-connecting” charlatans and spewing the most unhinged Birther-level conspiracies that require a complete abandonment of basic principles of rationality and skepticism.
Nate Silver at 538: “There Really Was A Liberal Media Bubble.” Silver comes to many of the same conclusions about MSM blinders that conservatives have been making for years. A few samples:
“Much of The New York Times’s coverage, for instance, implied that Clinton’s odds were close to 100 percent.”
“In a country where educational attainment is an increasingly important predictor of cultural and political behavior, some 92 percent of journalists have college degrees. A degree didn’t used to be a de facto prerequisite7 for a reporting job; just 70 percent of journalists had college degrees in 1982 and only 58 percent did in 1971.”
“The political diversity of journalists is not very strong, either. As of 2013, only 7 percent of them identified as Republicans.”
“All things considered, then, the conditions of political journalism are poor for crowd wisdom and ripe for groupthink.”
The headline is “Battle for Manbij shows Syria’s civil war is almost over – and it looks like Bashar Assad has won.” And that’s part of it. But there’s a lot of information on just how complex the Syrian-Iraqi battlespace is:
Winners and losers are emerging in what may be the final phase of the Syrian civil war as anti-Isis forces prepare for an attack aimed at capturing Raqqa, the de facto Isis capital in Syria. Kurdish-led Syrian fighters say they have seized part of the road south of Raqqa, cutting Isis off from its other territory further east.
Isis is confronting an array of enemies approaching Raqqa, but these are divided, with competing agendas and ambitions. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), whose main fighting force is the Syrian Kurdish Popular Mobilisation Units (YPG), backed by the devastating firepower of the US-led air coalition, are now getting close to Raqqa and are likely to receive additional US support. The US currently has 500 Special Operations troops in north-east Syria and may move in American-operated heavy artillery to reinforce the attack on Raqqa.
This is bad news for Turkey, whose military foray into northern Syria called Operation Euphrates Shield began last August, as it is being squeezed from all sides. In particular, an elaborate political and military chess game is being played around the town of Manbij, captured by the SDF last year, with the aim of excluding Turkey, which had declared it to be its next target. The Turkish priority in Syria is to contain and if possible reduce or eliminate the power of Syrian Kurds whom Ankara sees as supporting the Kurdish insurrection in Turkey.
“The U.S. military is sending an additional 2,500 ground combat troops to a staging base in Kuwait from which they could be called upon to back up coalition forces battling the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.” So instead of following Obama’s strategy of losing slowly and expensively, President Trump’s goal appears to be to crush the Islamic State entirely.
“Marine Le Pen: ‘France Isn’t Burkinis on the Beach, France is Brigitte Bardot.'” France is a lot of things, but they could certainly do worse than Brigitte Bardot…
School restages Trump-Clinton debates, but with a woman playing Trump and a man playing Hillary. Result: Hillary loses even more badly than before. “It seems to me that Hillary’s gender actually covered up her flaws, such as inauthenticity, scriptedness, recitations of pablum, and fake-smiling, while, when she was played by a male actor, those flaws were suddenly very visible to the people who think of themselves as ‘gender-woke’ but maybe should just think of themselves as gender partisans.”
“100 of the 544 Women’s March partners received a total of $246,637,217 from [George] Soros between 2000 and 2014. Soros gave more than $1 million to 36 of those partners, including the Center for Reproductive Rights, MoveOn.org, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.” (Hat tip: The Other McCain.)
Washington Examiner writer finds the perfect place to visit on the “Day Without Women”: Hooters. I guess that’s an excuse to break out this classic:
Lawsuit of man wrongly expelled from Amherst for a “rape” that consisted of him receiving a blowjob while he was passed out can move forward after a judge’s ruling.
“Defense contracting firm owners Jeffrey Harrington and Michael Mayer, and employee sisters Kimberlee Hewitt and Natalee Hewitt, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in California to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and file false claims for using their companies — Veteran Logistics, Inc., Industrial Xchange, Inc., and Boston Laser Technology, Inc. — to sell the government $45 million worth of mostly incorrect and overpriced products.” As far as I can tell, this naval contracting scandal is unrelated to the Fat Leonard naval contracting scandal. Did the Navy just forget to hire auditors?
For many Democrats, President Trump’s joint address was the first time they actual heard and saw him unfiltered. “He just crushed the Drive-By [Media] last night. He just crushed them. He just blew up every narrative they’ve established on the guy. And they don’t even realize it.”
“As one might imagine given the Democrats’ breathtaking electoral collapse, there is basically nothing but bad news for Democrats across the board. The data showed that the voting patterns of key demographic groups shifted dramatically downward from 2008 through 2016.” More: “Contrary to the emerging Democratic majority thesis, there does not seem to be any demographic category with which Democrats are progressively improving.” (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
“The Congressional Review Act of 1996 is a ‘sleeper statute’ (aka, a secret weapon) in that its practical application took 20 years to enter the realm of viable possibility. The CRA allows Congress to overturn executive regulations by a simple majority—and this is the moment it’s been waiting for.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
Members of an elite Baltimore Police Department squad charged with getting guns off the streets gets hit with federal racketeering charges and held for trial without bail. More: “In one case, four of the officers are alleged to have stolen $200,000 from a safe and bags and a watch valued at $4,000. In July 2016, three officers conspired to impersonate a federal officer in order to steal $20,000 in cash.” (Hat tip: Dwight.)
The NYT and the Washington Post have a motivation to ally with the Democratic Party in its last-ditch effort to Watergatize Trump after Trump’s endless criticisms of them. And this anti-Trump approach may get them a spike in readership, even as it repels some readers like me.
I’m missing the sense that I’m getting the normal news. It seems unfair and shoddy not to cover the President the way you’d cover any President. What looks like an effort to stigmatize Trump as not normal has — to my eyes — made the media abnormal.
The more seemingly normal Trump becomes — as with his speech to Congress the other day — the more the anti-Trump approach of the news media feels like a hackish alliance with the Democratic Party in its sad, negative, backward-looking effort to disrupt the President the people elected.
Austin police have charged Matthew Bartlett, 21, and Catronn Hewitt, 36, with felony possession of marijuana, police said in a news release.
Ja’Quan Johnson, 25, was charged with federal charges in connection with the thefts. Johnson is a contract baggage handler at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and is believed to have been behind the thefts, according to police and the Justice Department.
Buying pot? Likely misdemeanor charge. But stealing guns from airport luggage is likely an interstate federal gun trafficking felony. Also: Our airport security is in the best of hands!
Houston Chronicle to move its call center from the Philippines to Dallas. 1. Who thought it was a good idea to move it to the Philippines in the first place? 2. “The move will result in 130 new jobs for Texas.” Why does the Chronicle need 130 people in its call center? 3. Dallas? Really? Because it’s evidently impossible to locate a call center in the 4th largest city in America…
SEC charges against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton dismissed. A state felony trail is pending, but given that the state charges are based on the same issue as the SEC case just dismissed, chances of a conviction would appear to be very slim. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
No one should have expected Democrats to like Trump’s speech, but even I didn’t expect the irrational ire expressed over Trump’s tribute to Senior Chief William “Ryan” Owens and his widow. After all, tributes to fallen American soldiers have long been a staple for state of the union/joint addresses for Presidents of both parties.
But one particular Tweeter, a former Hillary Clinton campaign volunteer and “Principle” of the Liberty Advisor Group named Dan Grilo, took it even farther:
After receiving a tweetstorm of criticism, Grilo seemed to realize just how badly he had screwed up. First he set his Twitter account to private, then deleted it altogether. But by then the damage had been done.
Liberty Advisor Group at 8 AM this morning: "Wow, our social media mentions are through the roof! 8:01 AM: "Oh." #DanGrilo
Last night during President Trump’s speech, a Liberty Advisor Group employee sent out an offensive and inappropriate tweet regarding the Gold Star family that was being rightly honored before Congress and the Nation. The personal views of this individual do not represent Liberty and we vigorously disavow them.
Although the message and subsequent apologies were sent from an individual’s personal account, and bore no connection to his work with Liberty, his comments were inconsistent with the Company’s values and the unyielding respect it has for the members of our Nation’s Armed Forces. Regardless of whether the comments in the tweet were intended to cause the hurt and anger that they ultimately generated, they were unacceptable to us, and the individual who issued the tweet is no longer affiliated with Liberty.
Liberty’s culture places a high value on the men and women of America’s military who fight to defend us and our families. We honor them. We want to express our sincere condolences to Mrs. Owens. We also apologize to all those who have served this nation, including those Liberty employees who have themselves served, and anyone else who was offended by these comments.
Ryan died as he lived — a warrior, a hero, battling against terrorism, and securing our nation. I just spoke to our great General Mattis just now who reconfirmed that, and I quote, Ryan was a part of a highly successful raid that generated large amounts of vital intelligence that will lead to many more victories in the future against our enemy. Ryan’s legacy is etched into eternity. Thank you.
It was clearly the emotional highlight of President Trump’s speech, and arguable of any joint address/state of the union address in recent memory. And Trump’s gentle quip “I think he just broke a record” was a masterful way to bring the moment to a satisfying denouement and continue the speech.
Died Jan. 29, 2017 Supporting U.S. Central Command operations
36, of Peoria, Illinois; assigned to a special warfare unit based on the U.S. East Coast; died of wounds sustained in a raid against al-Qaida.
The Department of Defense today has identified Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens as the first American war casualty of the President Donald Trump era.
Owens, 36, of Peoria, Ill., died Jan.29 of wounds received during a raid conducted in Yemen. Three other service members were wounded in the raid.
Nava Special Warfare Command confirmed Owens was assigned to an “East Coast-based Special Warfare unit.” While multiple news outlets are reporting the unit as Seal Team Six, the Navy would not confirm.
An estimated 14 al-Qaida terrorists were killed during the raid, according to a release by the U.S. Central Command.
“Americans are saddened this morning with news that a life of a heroic service member has been taken in our fight against the evil of radical Islamic terrorism,” Trump said in a White House press release on Jan. 29. “My deepest thoughts and humblest prayers are with the family of this fallen service member.
A fifth service member was injured when “a U.S. military aircraft assisting in the operation experienced a hard landing at a nearby location,” according to the CENTCOM release.
That aircraft was unable to fly after the landing and was intentionally destroyed.
Owens enlisted in the Navy in Aug. 24, 1998. After initially training as a cryptologic technician (communications), he served his initial tour of duty at the Office of Naval Intelligence in Suitland, Maryland, before attending basic and advanced SEAL training in Coronado, California, completing training in December 2002.
His first tour as a SEAL was at a West Coast unit, followed by three consecutive East Coast unit tours. He was on his fifth team tour when he was killed. He’d been with that unit just over two years.
He was selected for chief petty officer in 2009.
Along with his SEAL Trident and Basic Parachutist wings, he is qualified to wear the following awards:
Navy/Marine Corps Medal
Bronze Star w/Combat “V” (2 awards)
Joint Service Commendation Medal w/Combat “V” (2 awards)
Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal (2 awards)
Joint Service Achievement Medal
Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal (3 awards)
Combat Action Ribbon
Joint Meritorious Unit Award (2 awards)
Good Conduct Medal (6 awards)
Presidential Unit Citation (3 awards)
National Defense Service Medal
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (8 awards)
The Navy doesn’t hand out Navy/Marine Corps Medals or Bronze Stars (with or without the Combat V) to just anyone. Senior Chief Owens was clearly an American hero, which makes it all the more inexplicable that prominent Democrats would fail to stand for the ovation to him and his widow.
Here’s a video of French Special Forces operating against the Islamic State, including some mopping up operations in Mosul:
A few points of interest:
In the first few minutes there’s a glimpse of the tunnel systems that have become common in urban warfare where the defenders have had time to dig in.
I’m assuming that boxy weapon the French are shown setting up at 5:27 is a grenade launcher, but I’m not sure I’ve seen that make before. The closest would be the Heckler & Koch GMG, but it doesn’t quite look like it.
French drones (6:13) look like funky kit planes, and get launched with a tether assist. Whatever works…
It’s been a weird, busy week here at BattleSwarm World Headquarters, including a bunch of job interviews and having my iMac in the shop most of the week. Now I’m back up and running, and even have that OS upgrade (to El Capitan) I’ve been putting off for longer than you would believe (I was running Mac OS 10.6.8).
All of which explains why today’s LinkSwarm is somewhat abbreviated.
“Real people” are what the Democratic Party is sorely missing. By real I do not mean the members of a specific ethnic or religious or cultural or regional group but simply those men and women who are uninterested in the latest trend embraced by the left. For the Democratic Party to win again, it would need to recapture voters in the Midwest and Appalachia who supported Barack Obama twice but felt so disillusioned and dejected by the end of his second term, so utterly unenthused by the bland and corrupt technological illiterate the party nominated to replace him, that they embraced an outsider who promised to upend the system. The Trump era is just beginning, but so far Democrats have been much more willing to retreat into their ideological cubbyholes, or ascribe the election results to (take your pick) James Comey, fake news, or Russian subversion, than to acknowledge the power of nationalism and populism. It’s their loss.
3) The race/class/gender agenda so favored by coastal elites and promulgated by media, Hollywood, and popular culture is an anathema to Middle America, especially its strange disconnect between affluence and the mandate for purportedly progressive equality. Moralistic lectures from wealthy people are not a way to win over the working classes. Rants by Hollywood celebrities and racialist sermons by would-be DNC chairs will not win over 51 percent of the voters in swing states. The twin agents of progressive dogma, the media and the university, are themselves under financial duress, must recalibrate, and have lost support from half the country.
Over at Ace of Spades Open Blogger helps articulate what I call the “How my liberal Facebook friends helped elect Trump” theory:
Let me start by saying that Donald Trump is a reactionary phenomenon and most of us who voted for him are, by definition, reactionaries. And I would argue that most of this is due to social media.
When one looks at the left wing, you can basically separate the institutional left from what I call the soft left. The institutional left consists of the political players and their lackeys, media, academics, street agitators and the like. These are the people that shape the direction, agenda, strategy and tactics of the left.
The soft left are the voters. They don’t give much thought to anything other than their preferences, which the Democrat party caters to very effectively. They are, traditionally, passive players.
Now I’ve understood since the Clinton years that the institutional left was actively seeking to harm me. Historically they’ve primarily done this through policy while other tactics such as demonization, othering, character assassination and lawfare were generally reserved for powerful political players and institutions on the right.
During the Obama years, we saw a radical shift. No longer were the Tom Delays and the Rush Limbaughs of the world the exclusive targets of what Bill Clinton labeled “the politics of personal destruction.” Your average citizen was now in the cross hairs as well.
I first became aware of this during the Joe the Plumber episode when the media relentlessly attacked a citizen simply for asking, on his own property where Barack Obama was a guest, a question that happened to make their Boy-King look silly.
I thought it was a one-off due to the threat that Plumber’s inquiry posed, but soon after the examples piled up–the slandering of the Tea Party movement, targeting of Christian wedding photographers, the harassment of the Memories Pizza owners, etc…
Which leads me to social media, Facebook specifically.
As this dramatic shift occurred, we began to see another shift within social media, one that reached its apex during the 2016 presidential election. That was the politicization of everything, not just by the institutional left, but by the soft left as well.
Where before the voters on the left were mostly passive receivers of Cultural Marxism, they had now become active participants via propaganda, slander, social shaming, and otherizing. This meant that conservatives were now being assaulted on two fronts, both from the institutional left and the soft left.
Every conservative who is active on Facebook knows what I’m talking about. After decades of Americans keeping their politics mostly to themselves, suddenly our feeds were jammed up with political invective.
It wasn’t just directed at politicians. It was personal–a relentless litany of insults and abuse, first at the Tea Party and then Trump supporters. Most of it was generalized, but the message was clear. They held our kind in contempt and didn’t care who knew it. In fact, they seemed to be in a contest to see who could broadcast it the loudest.
Most conservatives were hurt by this. We tend to keep our politics relatively private, both out of decorum and respect for our relationships with people whose politics differ from ours. The message that these public posts sent to us was that our “friends” on the left didn’t respect or value us enough to avoid giving offense.
As someone who has been following politics since high school, I tend not to trust my own instincts what the average voter thinks. I’m simply to close to the subject. My wife, however, is a fairly low-key traditionalist who doesn’t care to immerse herself in that world and so I use her as my political weather vane.
And so I knew that there was a storm brewing when she snapped down her phone over breakfast one day after reading Facebook and told me how sick and tired she was of her friends’ political posts.
“When they say those things,” she fumed, “they’re talking about our family.”
“I’m so sick and tired of being told that I’m a bad person because I disagree with someone’s position on abortion or transgender bathrooms. Who do they think they are to tell everyone what they’re required to believe?”
The hurt had turned to anger and quiet resolve.
The left sought to reprimand the right. What they did was alienate it. Their social media echo chamber only served to steel conservative misgivings about Donald Trump, if for no other reason than we simply couldn’t abide by being pushed around for another 4-8 years.
It’s one thing to know that your friends disagree with you. It’s another to realize that they think you’re stupid, uneducated, a bigot, bully, sexist, jerk and everything that’s wrong with the world.
It’s then that you realize that it’s not just the institutional left that yearns to place its boot on your neck, it’s your left-wing neighbors, friends, coworkers and even family. When you see attacks on regular citizens cheered and reinforced by people on Facebook, your worldview changes radically.
You can no longer believe that they don’t really understand what they’re voting for. It becomes clear that they do–they’re voting to turn you into a second class citizen, an “other” who is not due the same rights and courtesies as their exhalted tribe of Right Thinkers.
We loathed Obama and all the Marxist cockroaches surrounding him. Now we were beginning to loathe his supporters.
Donald Trump had exposed the press for the lying, shameless partisan hacks that they are. But social media exposed the soft left, the formerly passive Democrat party support.
This is why the left never saw it coming. They took over public spaces and shouted down the opposition with personal attacks. Horrified conservatives withdrew from engagement, but we didn’t disappear.
We seethed with resentment and contempt.
And it drove us to the polls, quietly and without fanfare, like assassins in the night.
The left still doesn’t know what hit him. They’re still too busy screeching, insulting, protesting, rioting, and trying to manipulate the rules to ask the simple question: Why?
I’ll tell you why. We see you. We see what you’ve become. And we’re not having what you’ve been dishing out any longer.
The rise of the alt-left intifada. “Just like ISIS and Hamas have found the use of unique hashtags on social media to recruit and radicalize, unique hashtags are now being used by groups here in the U.S. that call for violence, protest, resistance and anarchy. By the use of these unique hashtags with a call to action to a specified group and location, the online mob becomes a real world-mob that can cause damage, disruption and violence, like we just witnessed in Berkeley.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
I believe it stems from the inability of many Democrats to accept their defeat in November, or to understand that the people of mainland America — that heartland between California and New York — overwhelmingly rejected their elitist vision and collectivist values.
During the campaign, Donald Trump made a number of specific promises to the American people. Over the past 10 days, he has been fulfilling them one by one and the Democrats are tearing out their hair, because they know what this means for 2018.
The war between President Trump and the bureaucracy. “Not only are there two Americas. There are two governments: one elected and one not, one that alternates between Republicans and Democrats and one that remains, decade after decade, stubbornly liberal, contemptuous of Congress, and resistant to change. It is this second government and its allies in the media and the Democratic Party that are after President Trump, that want him driven from office before his term is complete.” (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
Sarah Silverman, the comedienne who starred in such big hit movies as….
Sorry, that was the wrong way to start that sentence. My bad. Let’s try again.
Sarah Silverman, winner of the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics for “I’m Fucking Matt Damon” and the second voice actress to play Fry’s ex-girlfriend Michelle on Futurama, called for a military coup against President Trump:
WAKE UP & JOIN THE RESISTANCE. ONCE THE MILITARY IS W US FASCISTS GET OVERTHROWN. MAD KING & HIS HANDLERS GO BYE BYE❤❤❤❤ https://t.co/Y2WZbL012A
Welcome to the Friday LinkSwarm! The first week of President Trump’s administration has been incredibly active and consequential! Not everything will be covered here (and I have a few posts on various issues and executive orders at various stages of assembly), but it touches on a lot.
Mr. Trump’s version of stray voltage has a number of effects beyond just causing chaos and distracting his opponents. When everything is an outrage, nothing is an outrage. And when everything is an outrage, you expose yourself as a purely partisan actor, turning off large swaths of the American public.
Trump’s lack of fear of touching politically incorrect third rails that millions of Americans felt, but which had not been articulated so bluntly by a national politician, served him well. Incidentally, it also allowed him to shift the Overton Window on critical issues like immigration and Islamic supremacism.
When attacked for taking these positions, unlike those to come before him, Trump did not avoid the fray. Rather, he jumped into it, counterpunching.
Lulled into a false sense of security by Republicans who fought with their hands tied behind their backs, constrained by suicidal rules of political engagement for decades, the Left did not know how to react when hit.
Leftists could not believe that a political opponent had the gall to actually fight tooth and nail.
Trump does not give an inch to his critics, and neither should any other Republican. He defines the rules of engagement, and so should all on the Right.
Watching the confirmation hearings to date, we see many on the Left jabbing as if we are in a pre-Trump world. Their questions all hew to the same old narrative that if you are not a racist, sexist, or bigot, then you are an out-of-touch plutocrat or a shill for some special interest or other.
Like Trump, Republicans should challenge these charges head on. They should take issue with the Left’s premises from the start, showing that it is the Left who is projecting when it tries to discredit those who believe in capitalism, the power of the individual, and the sanctity of the individual’s rights, the rule of law, national sovereignty, federalism, and the Judeo-Christian morality on which the country is based.
Donald Trump isn’t the bully; he only insults and abuses people in power who have attacked him. They’re the fucking bullies. The left, with their smears, their witch hunts, their slanders, their insults and their weaponizing of the federal bureaucracy.
There aren’t any rules anymore because the left only applies them one way. And in doing so, they’ve left what once was a civil compact between the two parties in smoldering ruins.
I have no personal investment in Donald Trump. He is a tool to punish the left and roll back their ill-gotten gains, no more and no less. If he succeeds even partially in those two things, then I’ll consider his election a win.
Further, I no longer have any investment in any particular political values, save one: The rules created by the left will be applied to the left as equally and punitively as they have applied them to the right. And when they beg for mercy, I’ll begin to reconsider. Or maybe not. Because fuck these people.
This new philosophy has freed me of more emotional angst that I can describe. Literally nothing the left says or does matters to me anymore. I don’t care about their tantrums. I don’t care about their accusations. I don’t care if they say Trump is lying. I don’t care if Trump is lying.
They created this Frankenstein. They own it. I am free of all obligation. I will never play defense again. I will attack, attack, attack, attack using their own tactics against them until they learn their lesson.
What I will not do is let them play my values against me ever again. I don’t need to prove that I’m better than them. I already know it.
President Trump had barely entered the White House, and yet the mainstream media was already falling all over themselves to prove what biased, lying partisan hacks they were. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
Scott Adams says that President Trump is flooding the field with so much activity that his critics can’t focus their outrage on any one thing.
A better than usual example of one of those “How could those inbred redneck freaks of JesusLand possibly vote against their enlightened betters” thumbsuckers, this time about Wisconsin. Some quotes:
“I think they thought the liberal elite was looking down on them, and I guess, in some ways, we were.”
“They got this picture that we’re all country bumpkins, the locals are, that we’re not educated. The people who move in talk down to the natives. I don’t know how you want to word that, but that’s the persona given off.”
“I didn’t want to deal with these people. I didn’t want to be a part of what they were a part of. You’re talking about people from the Cities who are very progressive. I call them tree-huggers, a bunch of tree-huggers. They referred to us, meaning the people who’ve lived here and worked here all our lives, as a bunch of hicks. They just think they’re a little bit better than everybody else, and that we’re not as smart.” (And that’s from a former Democratic Party county chairman who switched to the Republicans.)
“The bastards out here in the country are sick of the bullshit.”
Alas, it also includes that sturdy modern liberal journalism cliche, The Single Confederate Flag Mentioned To Suggest All Trump Voters Are Secret Racists.
You know all that talk of how Democrats own America’s emerging majority? Not so fast. “An electoral strategy that starts by assuming you’ve lost a plurality of the country is a rough ticket to victory.”
Why are the relations between Donald Trump and the press so bad? There are two reasons. One is that Trump is a Republican, and the press consists overwhelmingly of Democrats. But the other reason is that Trump likes it this way, because when the press is constantly attacking him over trivialities, it strengthens his position and weakens the press. Trump’s “outrageous” statements and tweets aren’t the product of impulsiveness, but part of a carefully maintained strategy that the press is too impulsive to resist.
The killer counter-move for the press isn’t to double down on anti-Trump messaging. The counter-move is to bolster its own trustworthiness by acting (and being) more neutral and sober, and by being more trustworthy. If the news media actually focused on reporting facts accurately and straightforwardly, on leaving opinion to the pundits, and on giving Trump a clearly fair shake, then Trump’s tactics wouldn’t work, and any actual dirt they found on him would do actual damage. He’s betting on the press being insufficiently mature and self-controlled to manage that. So far, his bet is paying off.
If it comes to the press reforming to ensure their own institutional survival, or clinging to their liberal bias, my guess is that the current press will choose the way of the dodo…
“The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for awhile,” Mr. Bannon said during a telephone call. “I want you to quote this,” Mr. Bannon added. “The media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States.”
“The elite media got it dead wrong, 100 percent dead wrong,” Mr. Bannon said of the election, calling it “a humiliating defeat that they will never wash away, that will always be there.”
“The mainstream media has not fired or terminated anyone associated with following our campaign,” Mr. Bannon said. “Look at the Twitter feeds of those people: they were outright activists of the Clinton campaign.” (He did not name specific reporters or editors.) “That’s why you have no power,” Mr. Bannon added. “You were humiliated.”
“You’re the opposition party,” Mr. Bannon said. “Not the Democratic Party. You’re the opposition party. The media’s the opposition party.”
Is President Trump the good cop on Russia with congress playing the bad cop? Problem: The Henry Ford anecdote is a Just So Story masquerading as a serious analogy.
Is the British Army’s actual army fighting force down to a single brigade? “The last time the fighting division was sent to war was in 2003 during the Iraq War but according to experts if they were to be deployed now, at best they would only be able to deploy a brigade of 10,000 troops.” I thought this might be some Daily Mail exaggeration, but Wikipedia states the British Army now consists of just 87,610 regulars. Keep in mind the British Army contributed 46,000 troops to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
President Trump announces plans to announce his Supreme Court pick February 2nd:
I will be making my Supreme Court pick on Thursday of next week.Thank you!
Given the name of my blog, you wouldn’t expect this development to escape my eye:
The Pentagon may soon be unleashing a 21st-century version of locusts on its adversaries after officials on Monday said it had successfully tested a swarm of 103 micro-drones.
The important step in the development of new autonomous weapon systems was made possible by improvements in artificial intelligence, holding open the possibility that groups of small robots could act together under human direction.
Military strategists have high hopes for such drone swarms that would be cheap to produce and able to overwhelm opponents’ defenses with their great numbers.
The test of the world’s largest micro-drone swarm in California in October included 103 Perdix micro-drones measuring around six inches (16 centimeters) launched from three F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets, the Pentagon said in a statement.
“The micro-drones demonstrated advanced swarm behaviors such as collective decision-making, adaptive formation flying and self-healing,” it said.
“Perdix are not pre-programmed synchronized individuals, they are a collective organism, sharing one distributed brain for decision-making and adapting to each other like swarms in nature,” said William Roper, director of the Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office. “Because every Perdix communicates and collaborates with every other Perdix, the swarm has no leader and can gracefully adapt to drones entering or exiting the team.”
And I tracked down video of the test:
Of course, there are all sorts of military and ethical considerations to truly autonomous drones. Like what theaters do you deploy them in, and under what conditions. And what do the first time they decide to dismantle a schoolhouse, or kill one of your own guys…