Tag Archives: Donald Trump

You Can’t Do That

donald-trump (1)American Media (no doubt to be followed by what is left of Canadian media) are having a collective meltdown about President Trump’s Tweets.

Reaction ranges from tsk, tsking “not Presidential” all the way through to “this is evidence that Trump should be removed from office via the 25th Amendment because he’s crackers.”

Of course Trump is having a whale of a time because a) he loses nothing, b) the media are making themselves look like precious idiots, c) his base loves his body slams on what is generally seen as a corrupt and partisan media elite. Where Ronald Reagan was a movie actor (used to taking direction), Donald Trump was a reality TV entertainer where a good deal of the fun is in the ad lib.

The nice ladies in pantsuits and the chaps in the bow ties and horn-rimmed spectacles are, of course, shocked and appalled at these goings on. Largely because they know that they have no one who can play the game at the same level. In fact, they really have no response at all other than running to the principal and demanding that this disruptive person be medicated or something.

The right response would be to mock and be funny while mocking. But the po-faced media and left in general simply don’t have the sense of humour necessary. So they bleat and eash time they bleat Trump, and legions of righty, 4-Chan, Twitter enabled, meme shapers take the piss out of the media bleaters.

For the media and the left generally Trump’s election is still beyond comprehension. My pal Dr. Dawg wrote a long and mighty screed on the Trumpian Ending of the American Dream. Well worth reading to get a picture of just how deeply adrift intelligent lefties are in the face of Trump.

All of which Trump seems instinctively aware of. Where other people might have stopped at a food fight with Morning Joe, Trump wades ever deeper into the swamp of the media’s lefty derangement. He is completely willing to keep pushing their buttons and yanking their chains until he reduces them to howling, gibbering caricatures. It isn’t hard to do. Trump’s great insight was that the media had no sense of humour or proportion at all. Which means that there will be an over the top reaction to even the tiniest taunt. And that reaction will make the media look even sillier and petty and Trump will take another trick.

At some point some media type will realize that to preserve a shred of credibility the MSM are going to have to stop responding to Trump’s taunts. Which will give them tons more time to objectively report the news. And if they get on with actually reporting the news – rather than breathlessly whinging on about Trump’s taunts – they will cease to be a laughingstock for much of the American electorate. As every parent has said to a child being teased by another child, “Just ignore him and he’ll stop.”

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SCOTUS is filled with lawyers, who knew?

After the absurdities of the lower divisions of the Federal Courts inventing new and better ways to ignore the law to thwart Trump, the Supreme Court rightly went back to, er, the law and the Constitution.

The merits of the case will be argued in the Fall but today’s decision suggests that the Justices take an expansive view of the President’s powers to make Executive Orders for national security purposes and a very dim view of claims to First Amendment protection advanced on behalf of unidentified foreign nationals.

The Court was, correctly in my view, silent on the question of what legal weight to give Trump’s campaign statements or tweets. I would hate to be the lawyer who has to argue before the SCOTUS that they need to be taken as determining the basis upon which the law and the Constitution should be applied.

Score another win for Trump and, hey, the rule of law.

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Corbyn = Trump

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As I write the British election is in the balance. What can be said pretty conclusively is that this election is not at all going as expected. Corbyn and Labour were supposed to lose. Bigly.

But they are not losing, er, right now they are winning. By 17 seats and 6% of the popular vote. Still early but this was not supposed to happen. The polling suggested a Conservative majority. The British MSM were pretty much either pro-Tory or deeply skeptical of Corbyn. But he’s winning.

Why? I suspect for many of the same reasons Trump won. Because people are fed up with business as usual. They don’t want to elect someone who will continue on in the same way. They want to shake up “the system”. In America the way to do that was to vote Trump and leave the “most qualified candidate in history” sitting in the weeds.

In the UK that same sentiment recognized that whatever else Corbyn is he is not “business as usual”. Exactly the opposite.

In the US the election of Trump horrified the political establishment and, as we saw in Comey’s testimony today, that establishment feels entitled to fight back. Comey felt entirely justified leaking his conversations with the United States President. In fact, he was willing to testify that he leaked them to forward the idea of the appointment of a special counsel to look into the nefarious Mr. Trump.

Corbyn’s people and Trump’s basket of deplorables are rather obviously different. The indications are that Corbyn had a very successful night with the young people: promising to end university tuition will do that for a man. Trump had virtually no support in colleges except for the boys who liked taunting SJWs with MAGA hats. No SJW voted for Trump except by mistake, every SJW in the UK – including many former Green supporters – lined up behind Corbyn. We’ll have to see how the rest of the tabs went but the argument that each man came from a radically, and oppositely, polarized base is likely to win out. People who like Corbyn really like him and he’s hated in the same measure. Rather like Trump.

If, by some chance, Corbyn wins we will see much the same sort of reaction from the British political establishment. Including the Parliamentary caucus of the Labour Party. He is not supposed to win and getting rid of him will become Job #1 for Westminster and Whitehall. The Blairites and the permanent secretaries will be on the job.

Like Trump, Corbyn has shown a rhinoceros hide to his detractors. He has survived the non-confidence of virtually his entire Parliamentary wing. He has the support of the militant left of the Labour Party and, so far as he seems to be concerned, that is more than enough.

[As I wrote this May closed within 15 seats and 1.5% of the popular vote…I’ll post this as a hostage to fortune because I think the same anger with the establishment which propelled Trump and Brexit is turning this election on its head.)

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Clive James on the failure of the Global Warming story

This article has been mentioned all over the conservative and climate sceptic blogosphere. Most of the links had it behind a paywall, this link is open.

James makes the point that even with Trump walking away from Paris and the science becoming less alarming by the minute, the climate change scam will take a while to fade into well-deserved obscurity. Too many scientists, policy wonks, journalists and politicians have nailed their reputations to the eternal truths of CO2 driven global warming. Too many huge companies stand to make too much money from “solving” this non-problem with all manner of pointless, but gratifyingly expensive, solutions – wind, solar…biomass. Wonderfully corrupt Third World governments and their enablers at the UN are not about to jump off the guilt driven gravy train.

By walking away from Paris and the unicorn fart economics of the “Green Fund”, Trump has killed climate change hysteria and its funding stone dead; but like a headless chicken, there may be a few circuits of the barnyard left in the beast.

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The Turn

With the announcement that he was pulling the US out of the Paris Agreement President Trump did three things: he enraged the great and the good all over the world by refusing to play along with a largely useless agreement, he deeply satisfied his base who see the science and economics of climate change as highly suspect, and he drove the media/Hollywood complex into full meltdown.

Now Trump could not have anticipated Kathy Griffin’s vile “art” piece. Nor could he have anticipated Hillary coming up with yet more reasons why other people were responsible for her losing to the human Cheeto. Those were simply random bits of luck.

What Trump could do, and did, was to take advantage of the bully pulpit his Paris announcement gave him, to tote up the accomplishments of his administration to date. Gorsuch, increased economic activity, a steep reduction in the number of illegals trying to enter, rollbacks of all manner of regulations: it is a relatively decent list. Not great, but also not wildly incompetent.

Killing the Paris Agreement sets up the next wave of the Trump Presidency. In the next six months, Trump has a better than even chance of getting both tax reform and a repeal of ObamaCare through Congress. His immigration moratorium has been referred to the Supreme Court which is unlikely to make the same partisan mistakes as the lower courts have. Which means Trump will get his halts.

Internationally, after the Europeans have had their climate hissy fit – “no renegotiation” says Macron walking right into the not very subtle trap Trump set in his speech – their essential reliance on the US in defence matters and international diplomacy will tend to restrain them. (That and the fact that most of the European countries are beginning to realize that they cannot afford to meet the targets they set for themselves in the Paris Agreement.) China, Japan, India and the Sunni Arab world might not like Trump very much but they will appreciate his realist understanding of international politics. And they will understand his willingness to be blunt rather than prevaricating when it comes to international matters. (Have we seen the Syrian regime use chemical weapons since Trump’s cruise missiles hit?)

Assuming for the moment that the “covfefe” tweets and the internal intrigues of the White House can be dampened down, Trump seems to have gained control of the narrative. To a degree, it is a negative control, but acting decisively is always a good move for a President. The media continues the “Russians” bleat and that might be damaging if there is any substance to the charge of collusion. However, to date there does not seem to be any actual evidence of collusion and, as the final days of the Obama Administration come under scrutiny, the actual fact of wholesale “unmasking” of American citizens for political purposes seems to be attracting attention.  Demands for investigation and impeachment, while they continue, are gradually being pushed to the margins.

Above all things, Trump is a showman. He has a showman’s sense of timing and plot. The chaos and confusion of his first hundred days had to be turned around. The constant leaks needed to be plugged. Most of all, Trump understood that his role as President had to be affirmed. By killing the Paris Agreement – and the withdrawal of the US kills it dead – Trump made it very clear he is the President. Now he needs to start racking up the successes he laid the foundations for in the first few months of his Presidency. It should be something to watch.

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Comey

So Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.

On the Left this is the “Saturday Night Massacre”, grounds for impeachment and an obvious cover up of Trump’s treason.  (I always thought David Frum was an idiot and the linked article confirms it.) On the right Trump is seen as taking out the trash and there is no evidence of any Russian links and, hey, the Democrats were calling for Comey’s head only yesterday.

I am delighted Comey was fired simply because he totally blew the Hillary Clinton email case. Not by talking to the press, several times, about an ongoing investigation but rather because, in the face of the law and the evidence, he decided a statute imposing strict liability should be read as if intent mattered. He was wrong. Worse, he was arrogating a decision which was not his to make. Now, admittedly, Loretta Lynch had managed to destroy her credibility as the Attorney General by having a little face time with the husband of the suspect to chat about golf and grand kids; but that does not excuse Comey’s usurpation of the prosecutorial function.

Meanwhile, Trump on advice of his Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General fired Comey. David Frum tweeted that this was a “coup”. Did I mention David Frum really is an idiot. (Needless to say, the Lying Jackal has the Saturday Night Massacre headline front and center at his unlinkable blog.)

The last person to fire an FBI Director was Bill Clinton. Was it a coup? Likely not as the Republic remains and, pace Hilly,  the House of Clinton is not still in office.

A lot of a President’s job is appointing and firing people at the very highest levels. It is routine. Trump, on advice, apparently did not think Comey did a very good job. That is his call and the Director of the FBI serves “at the pleasure of the President” and at the direction of the Attorney General. If they don’t like your style, your decisions or the colour of your socks, out you go.

Bye.

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How Trump Won

So this was Joe’s funeral. It was filled with Deplorables. They danced to Steve Earle.

No one who went to Princeton could do that…Well, except Kim, but she is very gifted indeed.

Most of elite thought is focused on the activities of other members of the elite. Dancing to Copperhead Road is not in the lexicon. More’s the pity.

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Doom and Disaster

The glee on the left at the defeat of the Republicans’s, and, more especially, Trump’s Obamacare reform package really knows no bounds. The human Cheeto stands exposed as incompetent and obviously unfit for office. And so on.

Realistically, the Paul Ryan inspired, three stage, series of rather lame changes to Obamacare deserved to die.  It is unfortunate for Trump that he aligned his White House with the bill and that is a mistake he’ll have to live down. But the fact is that the RyanCare version of ObamaCare was, at best, conceptually muddy.

With the withdrawal of this piece of legislation, the US is left with ObamaCare and it is a pretty good bet that this edifice will gradually collapse as its own contradictions and faulty assumptions are worked out in the marketplace. The ongoing collapse of the insurance exchanges, the rise in deductibles and the sheer expense of medical insurance for middle income families all suggest that the ObamaCare model is in increasing trouble. A fact not lost on Trump.

Now there are Panglossian interpretations of the defeat of RyanCare which cast it in terms of clever Trump suckering the establishment Republicans to make way for his own version of healthcare reform. While I suspect this sort of outcome may occur, it will be more an accident than a plan.

The underlying problem of healthcare in the US is the tension between free market principles and the desirability of people having decent healthcare at a price they can afford. Very smart people on both the left and the right have been arguing about this for decades. ObamaCare, for all of its flaws, was a solution which might have worked had the American economy expanded more rapidly. Coming up with a better plan build on the essential structure of ObamaCare, which is what RyanCare attempted to do, was always going to be conceptually muddy and very unattractive to the free markets end of the Republican world. RyanCare was not a better plan than ObamaCare and never aspired to be; rather it was an attempt at “less worse”.

At this point Trump can – as he has threatened – let ObamaCare explode simply by sitting on his hands and refusing to make the adjustments and spend the money needed to keep the exchanges functioning. Politically that might be smart or it might be incredibly short sighted as the voters will be deeply unimpressed when they lose their ObamaCare insurance.

A smarter approach is likely a complete re-conceptualization of healthcare in America and the government’s role in assisting people who need healthcare. There seems to be some consensus that the costs of  “catastrophic illness” should not be entirely borne by the individual and his or her family. And there seems to be a willingness to pay for the healthcare of the poorest people in the society which is, in fact, a welfare rather than healthcare question.

What would happen to the general insurance market if the costs of catastrophic illness was taken out of the mix to be covered by private insurance? The devil is in the details but, in principle, the cost of insurance which did not have to deal with catastrophic health events would go down. Likely quite significantly.

A TrumpCare package which “socialized” the catastrophic end of the risk pool would, in fact, be the thin end of the single payer wedge with some of the efficiencies such a system would create. Trump does not strike me as a free market ideologue and I doubt that thin end would worry him a bit. On the welfare/subsidy side it is not out of the question to essentially buy a set amount of insurance for the poorest people and ensure coverage.

Coming up with a simple, well costed, plan which deals with both expensive illness and poor people would be a huge step forward.

However, I would suggest a third element: a really serious look at how a) the incidence of catastrophic illness can be reduced, b) an initiative to create efficient best practices to deal with catastrophic illness and c) a drive to reduce the costs of treatment for catastrophic illness through everything from the use of single payer drug buying power to tort reform.

RyanCare, like ObamaCare, seemed to want to do far too many things all at once. Doing a few things very well might be a better model for Trump to follow as he cleans up the mess.

 

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Gotcha!

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The continuing farce of the deep state versus Trump took another turn with the “revelation” that Jeff Sessions, Trump’s AG and a former Senator, may have met twice with the Russian Ambassador. And then, when asked a question during his confirmation hearings which was, at a stretch, tangentially related to his possible meetings, said he had no meetings about the particular topic he was being questioned about.

This is pretty much politics as usual except for one important detail. The Washington Post which broke “the story” was a bit coy as to its sources for the news of Sessions meetings. I have seen “intelligence sources” mentioned but that could really mean just about anything.

The partisan spin machines came up to speed this morning with the Democrats claiming perjury and demanding a special prosecutor, recusal and resignation and the Republicans suggesting that this is a “nothing burger”.

The accusations themselves may be meritless but the fact they have been made at all based on information fed to the Washington Post by people inside the government is significant. So is the ongoing attempt to implicate the Russians in Trump’s victory.

It is more than a little unlikely that the two meetings Sessions had with the Russian Ambassador will do any great harm, nor will his answer to the Senate Committee, simply because there is very little wrong with either. But that is not, I don’t think, the intent of this attack.

The objective is longer range. Taking on Trump directly is beyond the capacity of the Democratic party at this stage. They can and will snipe at him. But creating a climate of suspicion around Trump officials has the potential for long-term payoffs while keeping the administration off balance.

No single “gotcha” will take down Trump. A series of minor scandals and embarrassments punctuated by the occasional full on investigation, might succeed in rendering the Trump Administration timid and gun shy. At this point, it is the best option deep state Democrats and their media minnions have.

When Hercules battled the hydra – pictured above – one of the ways he won was to have a friend hold a torch to the hydra’s neck as Hercules lopped off the head thereby prevent the traditional two heads from growing in place of the severed one. At the moment Trump and his people are lopping off the media serpents’ heads as fast as they can; but they are not cauterising the wounds they are inflicting and the serpent keeps fighting. What is needed is a more serious strategy, a long term strategy of marginalising the media and responding directly and forcefully to any allegations made. Some guy once said, “Punch back twice as hard.”

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The Reveal

05744777I have not written much about Trump post election. Quite honestly, up until he took the Oath of Office, I could not quite believe that the elites arrayed against him would not come up with something to avoid the accession of the Cheeto vulgarian. I guess they just don’t make elites like they used to and there it is, President Trump.

Smart people on the right have noted: 1) in his first week Trump has “flooded the zone” with Executive Orders, appointments, website changes and tweets, almost all of which producing outrage, apoplexy and scorn from lefties and liberals, 2) it turns out that the elite media have been successfully bypassed by the Trumpians by the simple expedient of largely ignoring it, 3) it appears that Trump proposes to keep most of his campaign promises, 4) perhaps most importantly, unlike his predecessor, Trump intuitively understands the real power of the White House is not about intelligence briefings and budget planning, it is about getting things done.

Getting things done, impressing his agenda on the United States and the world, is all about using the full tool kit of the White House. Probably the most powerful tool in that kit is the allure of the White House itself. An invitation to have a cup of coffee with the President of the United States is irresistible to almost anyone in the world, (except the President of Mexico, apparently, but I suspect this is mainly posturing). It is particularly attractive to members of official Washington on both sides of the aisle. For an incoming President, making time to shake hands with potentially useful Congressmen is a force multiplier. So is sitting down with the captains of industry and union leaders.

While the pussy capped ninnies paraded in the streets about just what an awful man Trump is, Trump was in the process of building his own bully pulpit. (“Bully” in the sense Teddy Roosevelt used that word.) He is also making it very clear, particularly to the press, that he is indifferent, if not actively hostile, towards negative opinions of his person or work. He and his staff are not even pretending to take the mainstream media seriously which seems to be resulting in ever shriller and therefore credibility destroying efforts on MSM’s part to demonise Trump and all his works.

After a week of President Trump a bit of an outline is emerging: “Do what you said you were going to do.” “Use the power of the White House to build up a bit of a favour bank.” “Ignore the media when not actively making fun of them.” “Behave seriously but enjoy the office.” If Trump can keep it up he may have a shot at being a genuinely great President.

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