Information overload

It’s good that there’s so much discussion of “fake news,” but the problem is that the discussion isn’t focusing on the problem: a lack of discernment and desire to find truth.  Partisans of every stripe grasp onto every little rumor, leaping to conclusions as recklessly as one would leap over the Grand Canyon.  Meanwhile, there isn’t a single major news outlet that hasn’t sold its political soul to one faction or another.  We’ve developed two hermetically sealed echo chambers in this country and neither has the pursuit of truth as its top priority.  We’re told (incorrectly) the First Amendment has exceptions to defend people from being “uncomfortable” or “triggered.”  This is merely suppression of opposing ideas.  I’m concerned this is the first step in our cultural cold war becoming a hot one.  People are no longer “of a different opinion;” rather, they’re evil opponents.  Hostility is projected, received and internalized.  With all the careless talk about impeachment, or obstruction of Trump’s initiatives (which still have a sizable backing in the nation’s heartland), the ability of our political processes to address the issues is coming apart.

What happens after that step is likely going to be very ugly.  What are you doing to prepare?

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Should have been the first choice

After all the ado over the withdrawal of General Michael Flynn as National Security Adviser, Team Trump has named in his stead Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, who has been an influential, up-and-coming leader throughout the post-9/11 period, especially in Iraq.

I’ve heard McMaster give a public address on understanding the utility and limits of military force and the need for leaders to better understand the many human variables involved in that profession, and can vouch that his reputation for being a heavyweight military intellectual is well-deserved.  In an age where the military increasingly leans on impersonal technology and engineering, McMaster stands out with his PhD in History — and his emphasis on the many lessons a military leader can learn in that field. He is easily on par with the “Warrior Monk,” retired General James Mattis, who is now serving as the Secretary of Defense.

Flynn, on the other hand, is a documented loose cannon of sorts.  His is not the temperament you need in order to balance Trump’s tendency toward impulsiveness.  McMaster is far and away a better choice, and frankly should have been the original selection.

It’s my hope the current administration will stop involving the U.S. in an ever-increasing number of piddly half-hearted wars abroad.  But if the U.S. does have to face a major military challenge, or chooses to “go big” in the war on terror vice the constant inconclusive simmer of the last 15 years, two of the most qualified men available (Mattis and McMaster) will be at the helm.  Say what you will about Trump, but he’s not afraid to surround himself with smart, candid people.  To me, that’s the mark of a leader, whatever his personal flaws.

Quote of the week

“The law is on Donald Trump’s side. Doesn’t mean that the courts will follow it.”

I’ve noted on several occasions the increasing disregard for law, when it comes to seeking political advantage.  Now we have a judge in Washington who thinks he can set immigration policy for the nation (legislate from the bench much?), and the kooky 9th Circus Circuit Court backing him up.

Given that the Supreme Court is evenly divided, 4-4 with a vacant seat the Democrats will do all they can to keep vacant, it appears the pressure cooker has been turned on.

Despite the attempt to politicize even the Super Bowl to jerk emotions in favor of illegal immigration, a majority of Americans believe in what the Trump administration is trying to do.  That’s why he was elected.

The more the Democrats and their accessories in the judiciary attempt to stop Trump, the more people are going to realize we are anything BUT “one nation,” much less “under God.”  (I keep waiting for one of my students to realize when we say the pledge in the morning I never say the word “indivisible.”  Not only do I believe it’s inappropriate; it’s also factually wrong, even from the beginning of the country.)

As this pressure cooker continues to gain steam, it may be the best solution is to encourage the nascent secession movement in California (see… it’s only wrong when southern states try it…), and encourage them to take Washington and Oregon with them.  It should be clear by now this nation is headed for a divorce.  Better to do it peacefully than via bloody contest.  Once separate, we can see whose worldview leads to prosperity, and whose leads to poverty and bondage.

And maybe — just maybe — we can see the restoration of the rule of law.

Trump vs. the “slow roll”

These paragraphs are a very true statement:

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.

You think I exaggerate. But consider this: When a former Defense official who teaches at Georgetown Law School takes to Foreign Policy to propose “3 Ways to Get Rid of President Trump Before 2020,” and when one of those ways is “a military coup, or at least a refusal by military leaders to obey certain orders,” we are in unknown and extremely unsettling territory.

Up until now, the more powerful of those “two governments” has been the career Civil Service bureaucrats, who more than once have pretended to go along with a reformer’s agenda, all the while throwing logjams in the way.  Trump’s firing of acting Attorney General Sally Yates seems a positive indication he is unwilling to put up with that longtime practice.  The next question is what he will do with the hundreds of State Department employees who are publicly disagreeing with his policy.  They’ve cowered behind a whistleblower system that is meant to protect actual reporting of malpractice, so the House has warned Trump not to retaliate.  Fine, but I’d say the signatories now bear close watching.  If they are not complying with current policy, that’s grounds for firing with cause.

We are long overdue for civil service reform, and I say that from personal experience.  Whether it’s a twenty-year civilian careerist telling a military commander “that’s just not how we do things around here” or senior executives who don’t actually have the credentials they claimed in order to get hired, or longtime employees who are unable to contribute productively and yet are impossible to fire (I’ve seen all these cases, and more), the system is rife with dead wood and personal fiefdoms.  This is part of the “Deep State” that never really changes, no matter who’s in the White House or Congress.

If Trump can shake that up so that the ENTIRE government is responsive to the people, not just the figureheads, he will have accomplished more than most presidents in the past century.  Here’s hoping.

And as for the leftists who’ve lost their mind and are even entertaining the thought of a military coup to remove Trump before the end of his term, such statements are ***already illegal*** and should land you in jail.  Maybe there they would have time to come to their senses.  That’s one genie we don’t want out of the bottle in this country, so be careful what you wish for.  Political violence has already become far too acceptable to the Left, based on all the rioting before and since the election.  What’s sauce for the goose usually becomes sauce for the gander, and as they say: payback’s a *****.  These people don’t realize the forces they’re trying to conjure up and will later greatly regret.

Legal obstructionism

That’s the only term that can be applied to the decision by Judge Ann Donnelly of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to stay enforcement of Trump’s executive order blocking the entry to the U.S. of citizens of seven foreign nations.

As this overview demonstrates, she has no grounds for such an order.  The president clearly has the authority to deny entry to the United States to any class of people he believes poses a threat to the nation.  Those who hyperventilate that this is somehow a “Muslim ban” need to note it doesn’t include the most populous Muslim nation (Indonesia) or one of the wealthiest (Saudi Arabia).

In fact, what it does is built on Trump’s predecessor’s actionsObama was the first to list travelers from these seven nations as needing extra scrutiny before entry into the U.S.  All Trump has done is bar *any* entry from these turbulent areas until his administration can ensure screening procedures adequately protect the nation.  This would seem a reasonable precaution during a change in administration, when there are serious questions about the effectiveness of visa and refugee admittance procedures.

Having lost in an election, the liberals are doing what they always do: try to use the courts to overthrow the express will of the people.  This is an effort to further deligitimize Trump as a president and his actions as somehow being arbitrary.

On the contrary, he appears to be one of the few elected leaders in recent memory who has quickly set out to do exactly what he said he would do… and what a large number of Americans wanted.  This is what propelled him to the presidency in the first place.

Trump’s administration needs to push back hard and relentlessly on this judicial activism, placing his executive order into its proper context and showing this particular court as the partisan tool it is.  This period is a struggle for the hearts and minds of Americans, who are still trying to decide whether Trump was a mistake or represents the final chance to put several issues back into balance before they destroy the nation.  A coherent communication strategy (yes, including Twitter, which bypasses the media gatekeepers) is essential to this task of maintaining public support.

Buckle up.  The next few months are going to be quite the ride, I suspect.

Quote of the day

“… if Americans increasingly find it intolerable that their political opponents control the government, that’s because government controls too much.”  — Glenn Reynolds

Not only does government control too much; it’s been increasingly ‘weaponized’ by both parties while in power, such that it can bully and harass political opponents.  This dangerous process has been going on for some time.  Obama just dialed it up to 11.  That led to this observation on Twitter, regarding how Democrats must feel now that the IRS and other agencies have a history of “punching back twice as hard:”

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(Note: “TFW” is internet shorthand for “That feeling when…”)

The true measure of Donald Trump’s success will be if the next election doesn’t feel as if everything in life depends on it, or that one side can then flaunt the law at will.  This should never be the case.

This-n-that

A few scattered thoughts prompted by recent reading…

1)  Seen online: “Next time we have a peaceful transfer of power, can there be less of it to transfer, please?”  Hear, hear!

2)  God continues to have fun with the Goreacle:

Park City is bracing for a slew of snow at Sundance Film Festival.

The festival locale sank to below-freezing temperatures ahead of Thursday’s opening-night film An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, Al Gore’s climate-change follow-up to 2006’s An Inconvenient Truth.

It’s sure “inconvenient” to keep having all those cold-weather events show up every time he tries to peddle global warming (oh, wait: now it’s just called “climate change.” How… convenient.)

3)  The corporate media, led by CNN, continues its increasingly brazen lying in order to imply Trump has less support than he does.  Click this link, then this one.  This is just another petty and underhanded way to try to make Trump’s administration seem illegitimate.  So for the record:

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Hey, CNN: do you want to keep getting ignored at presidential news conferences?  Because this is how you keep getting ignored.  Here’s hoping this administration holds all press outlets accountable for every propaganda twist they try to pull.  This goes for Fox News as well, whose own narrative-pushing I have direct experience with.

4)  Remember when hundreds of protestors were arrested at Obama’s first inaugural, and how conservative activists smashed storefronts and generally made a destructive nuisance of themselves?  Yeah, me neither.  It occurs to me that if these people are so violently unhappy with the country they live in, it would be a simple matter after arresting them to revoke their citizenship and give them a one-way ticket to wherever they believe things are better.  Might be a rude wakeup.  These people are so stupid they don’t realize their antics are pushing many Americans (including me) to farther political extremes than they’d ordinarily go.  Polite society has tolerated this sort of thing for so long that I fear it will take a sustained, violent crackdown to re-establish civic norms.

These antics are a symptom of what got Trump elected.  If they continue, they’re simply helping his reelection campaign from Day One.