Friday, October 13, 2017

Something to Ponder

We are almost a year from the election and 9 months since the inaugeral and I'm still perplexed why the media can't figure out Trump.  He seems to have their number.  They don't remotely recognize that he is unlike any other President, and really any other public figure.  He has figured out how to drive them crazy with Twitter.  He has figured out how to keep them off balance by the silliest little remark.  He has proven to be a huge enigma to them and they seem to be continually flumoxed by his actions.  They misunderstand and misinterpret the simplest of things.  They overblow stupid little issues and let things go by the wayside that could be big.  As I've said many, many times in this little blog, he wasn't my guy.  But I've got to admire how he plays the media like a tight drum.  It makes me wonder.  Are they really so caught up in how important they think they are?  Or are they just stupid?

Happy Birthday U.S. Navy

242 years old today.  Still doing extraordinary things and making them look easy!  Proud to have served for 25 years and would do it all again.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

"Boy" Scouts

We hear today that the Boy Scouts are now going to admit girls to their ranks.  This will be true for Cub Scouts all the way to Eagle Scout.   There are a lot of crazy, upside down things happening in society today, but this is, at least for me, pretty close to the top of the list. me Boy Scouts are by definition Boys.  And the ranks of Girl Scouts are made up of Girls.

The Boy Scouts have just come through a turbulent time while they grappled with their ban on homosexuals.  They were vilified for a few years until they decided to acquiesce to the pressure and agree to admit gay kids and leaders.  As they were going through it, I always thought that they would at some point to change their tune.  Because here's the deal.  In the last 20 or 30 years we've gone through what is perhaps the most rapid cultural shift in human history.  Across our culture, and this is only true in the Western world (and not even all of that), populations have come to accept gay people as just people who deserve equal rights.  Many, many organizations, including the Boy Scouts, came to the acceptance of that new paradigm at different times and in different ways.  They definitely studied the issue, had a conversation with their members and families, and came down on the side of equal rights.  Good for them.  

But I wonder what they are thinking here?  I checked their website and you can read the news release here

Personally, I thought it was sorta lame.  Upon reading their justification it comes down to there were a lot of requests, they studied the issue, recognized that families (especially minority families) are different and want to do things together, and they thought they could bring all the great qualities of Scouting to more people by doing this.  No mention of the dramatic changes and impacts this will have.

I wasn't a Boy Scout but my son was (and my daughter was a Girl Scout).  He started as a Cub, progressed to Webelo (where I was Den Leader), and went a few years into the Boy Scout world before giving it up for other things.  This seemed to be a natural progression as very few kids make it all the way to Eagle Scout, which is the pinnacle of Scouting.  But here's the thing about the Boy Scouts, no matter where you are in your progression through the program.  It provides a place for boys to come together and develop all the traits that boys need to become productive members of our society as men.  They see role models.  They interact with each other.  They learn life skills.  They can be goofy little boys.  They undergo (whether they know it or not) a metamorphosis in an environment that doesn't have the distractions or pressures of a mixed gender environment.   

And of course, the Girl Scouts are pissed.  They see this as poaching on their territory and I can't say that I blame them.  The Girl Scouts are a wonderful program for girls and, in a similar manner to the Boy Scouts, they get to learn and develop and grow in a safe environment that doesn't include boys.  Because the problem is that when boys and girls are mixed at a certain age, the boys will tend to dominate.  I don't say that as remotely any sort of discrimination against girls.  And in truth there would be some areas where the girls would be better.  But kids (and really all of us) can use places where they can be themselves, where they can be safe and silly and comfortable.   

So this decision isn't going to alter the global balance.  Life will go on.  But I don't think this is similar to the issue with homosexuality.  In that issue they were dealing with a difference among members.  In this one they are fundamentally changing the nature of the organization.   They say change is difficult and it is.  But in any change there is a fundamental question that must be asked.  Why?  I just don't think there's a good answer here and it's hard to see how this change is going to be positive.  The Scout's are a very entrenched part of our society and it's difficult to imagine them disappearing.  But...never say never.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


 I don't have any tattoos.  Just never found them that interesting and the permanence was always sort of a reason not to go that way.  But I have to admit that there are some great tattoo artists out there and if I were to indulge I'd want to find one of them.  This one is an example.  I think this is sort of cool.  Of course, maybe not on my forearm, but still sort of cool.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Columbus Day

Today is Columbus Day.  When I was a kid I didn't think much about it.  I'm pretty sure it was never a holiday in California (where I grew up) so we marked the day and moved on.  I did go to school with a lot of Italian kids and remember them having celebrations.  As I progressed through life I don't remember much, if anything, about celebrating Columbus Day.  I know that some enclaves of Italians have parades and celebrate.  I know that my Son and Grand kids in Boston have the day off because it's a holiday there.  But like I said, not much awareness.

But with a lot of things in the digital age, information becomes magnified by access.  I've become aware today that Columbus was a low-life European scum who brought disease and exploited the natives.  He also didn't set foot on the North American continent so celebrating his discovery is just factually wrong.  He sold his services to the highest bidder.  He opened the door to slave trading and oppressed everyone he came in contact with.  Even though thousands of Italians celebrate their heritage through his adventures, they are misguided.  And the wisdom of Government has shown through as many local and State governments have bravely ripped Columbus off his pedestal and replaced the day with "Indigenous Peoples Day".  And for God's sake get rid of the statues.  They are offensive and oppressive and conjure up a hostile environment that so many just can't deal with.

Or maybe, just maybe, he was a brave man who set sail across the Atlantic a little over 500 YEARS AGO to discover what was on the other side of the ocean.  Maybe he was a visionary who believed that there was something out there.  Maybe he wanted to not only find new lands and discover new people, but also seek economic gain for his home through trade and expansion.  Maybe he didn't know he was bringing disease and maybe he brought just as many problems back.  There is no doubt that he faced extraordinary dangers and potentially hostile natives but maybe he was brave enough to discount the dangers in favor of seeking the unknown.

I don't know...I think that as we go deeper into the information age, I think it is sometimes too easy to judge history by today's standards.  We know something to be true today (or think it's true), and decide that it should have been true for all history.  As for me, I sort of like honoring some dude who was living 500 years ago (think about what life was like back then) and decided he would set out to discover an unknown land with unknown people on the other side of the world.  Seems to me that's something worth celebrating.  It's easy to get cynical if we have information that holds that achievement or that man in new light.  But you know what the definition of a cynic is?  Someone who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.  But I guess I can appreciate all the information that sheds new light on history and our brilliant public servants who spend their time working on the protection of the feelings of our indigenous people.  As for me...Happy Columbus Day!

"The Human Stain"

The Harvey Weinstein implosion just keeps getting worse.  I had a post about this yesterday and didn't really think I'd mention it again.  But it's like a lot of things...peel the onion and it just stinks more and more.  As I said in the other post, this guy is a world class jackass.  But the depth of his oppression of all those who want to curry favor in the entertainment industry is pretty breathtaking.

The Weekly Standard has a story out today called "The Human Stain: Why the Harvey Weinstein Story is Worse Than You Think".  You can read it here.  It's a pretty shocking portrayal of the abuse and cover up that was perpetrated by this guy.  Read it all to get a good picture.

But there was one particular part that caught my attention.  Here's the quote:  "That’s why the story about Harvey Weinstein finally broke now. It’s because the media industry that once protected him has collapsed. The magazines that used to publish the stories Miramax optioned can’t afford to pay for the kind of reporting and storytelling that translates into screenplays. They’re broke because Facebook and Google have swallowed all the digital advertising money that was supposed to save the press as print advertising continued to tank."  Digital (or whatever you want to call it) is having such a huge impact in so many industries and this is just another example.  In this case, the house of cards collapsed as the money dried up.  This is happening in so many industries.  And those that figure it out early and adapt will survive.  Those that don't, won't.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Game of Thrones

For the last several years like anyone else I've heard about this series called Game of Thrones.  Strange name.  I knew it was some sort of fantasy story and that's about it.  Since I didn't have HBO and that's the only place to watch it, well then no sweat.  Since I couldn't watch it I wouldn't miss it.

About 3 weeks ago I got a text from AT&T telling me they were adding HBO to our TV package for no charge.  Sweet.  Of course, after reviewing some of the programming I didn't think I'd been missing much.  But with the state of network TV these days, I figured that having more options couldn't be a bad thing.  And then I remembered that Game of Thrones is on HBO and maybe I could watch it.  But I don't want to just pick up since it's been going for a while, so I did an 'on demand' search and went back to the first episode in the first season.  Turns out that is 2011!  Yikes.  I've got 6 years of programming to catch up on.  But not to worry, I've got time.

So earlier this week I started watching.  It's not something my wife would sit still for so I'm on my own here.  So far I've watch 5 episodes and I've got to admit, it's pretty addictive.  The dialog is such is that it's sometimes difficult to figure out what the hell is going on, who the good guys are and who the bad guys are, and where the thing is going, but it does grip you.  I'm starting to get why so many are gaa gaa over this show.  Since I've got so far to go it's going to take a while, but like I said, I've got time.  And I hope that as I go along I'll start to figure out all the characters in more depth.  I'm also sorta surprised at the sex.  I mean, there's a lot of it.  And there's not much left to the imagination.  So good story, lots of sex, plenty of violence and blood and gore, and set decoration that is pretty impressive.  What's not to like?

Motivation Monday

Cool Pic

Our Outside Fireplace

Great afternoon yesterday sitting around the outdoor fireplace for the first time this Fall.  It really wasn't cold enough, but I was in the mood.  

Harvey Weinstein

I don't know this guy from Adam.  But I've seen a lot of people in my time and from the reports coming from people who knew him, the stories of his personality and demeanor, and the accusations regarding his behavior paint a pretty bad picture.  In short, this guy is an asshole.  Don't know any better way to say it.  Even if I hadn't heard and read some things, just by looking at him you can tell he's a jackass.  Simple as that.

But all of his antics, abuse, slimy activities, and law breaking sort of pales in comparison to the silence from the left and Hollywood.   I don't know what else to say.  They are complicit hypocrites.

Something To Ponder

Today being Sunday and the season is the Fall, the NFL comes to mind.  So what are headlines?  Colin Kaepernick has decided that if someone lets him play, he'll stand for the National Anthem.  The Vice President of the United States goes to see the Colts-49ers game and after some of the thugs, er...players kneel for the National Anthem he and his wife walk out stating that they won't attend an event in which our flag and National Anthem is disrespected.  And all around the country we have players kneeling.  The word from the league office is...crickets.  Nada.

Meanwhile around the country athletic events are consumed with honoring police and first responders in the wake of the horrific shootings in Las Vegas.  So which is it?  Are the police oppressive white supremacists who are bent on beating up and killing blacks and minorities at every chance they get?  Or are they heroes who run to the action to prevent injuries and loss of life?  Of course, that's a rhetorical question.

But here's the bottom line.  The NFL is losing viewers and sponsors.  They need to exert some leadership.  One of their employees disrespecting the flag and national anthem is bothersome and should have been dealt with up front.  But hundreds doing it will impact the league monetarily.  If they don't get a handle on this, they will continue to be hurt.

Thursday, October 5, 2017


We all have acquaintances, neighbors, colleagues, workmates, golf buddy's, or myriad other categories of people we have relationships with.  But the familiar lament of so many people is that they don't have many good friends.  That it's really, really hard to know someone well enough and consistently enough to be true friends.  Someone who you can count on and they can count on you.  I think it's right that it's pretty rare.  And when it happens it's a great thing.

I was thinking about the nature of friendships when we went to dinner tonight with two couples that we've known for years and years and years.  We were all in the Navy together and we've all faced the trials and rewards that that life brings.  One are true and deep friends who we see regularly, know well, go to church with, know each other's kids and their trials and tribulations, socialize with, have traveled with, and can count on when things go down sideways.  They are vitally important to us as friends who we value tremendously!

The other is a couple who we go back with to our early days in the Navy.  We were in our first squadron together.  We were close then and developed a friendship based on a common lifestyle.  We both had kids, we both didn't have much money, and we both experienced all the hardships of the life that the Navy brings.  And all the great things.  As it happened this couple moved on.  And we moved on.  To other duty stations, to other locations, to other relationships.  We all lived our lives, raised our families, and progressed through careers.  And as it happens we came together again in our very last duty station as we worked just down the street from each other.  We were even in the same carpool.  And then we drifted again as they moved to another life as did we.  And then we all retired and socialized again, played golf again, remembered the good times again, and reconnected.  And once again they moved away to another life.  But a couple times a year they come back to SoCal and we get together.  And I swear to's just like we were young Navy couples again.  We laugh, we have fun, we tell lies that we all believe and we revel in the familiarity of a long, well entrenched friendship.  It's different than a continuous and deep friendship, but nonetheless it's pretty sublime.  

So the nature of friendship is wide and varied, but they are all valuable. Our relationships are perhaps the most important part of our lives.  Whether they be family, work, social, professional, or some other category, they are all important.  But some are special.  And I think tonight we all experienced something special.  And for that I'm grateful.

Friday Funnies

Dilbert is always good for a laugh.  This may be pretty applicable to someone I know...

Dogs Are Cool

Cool Pic

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Something To Ponder

It's all Las Vegas, all the time.  Which is okay.  If you want an update on injuries and/or fatalities you can get it within 30 minutes of turning on any cable station.  If you want to hear the latest theory about motive, tune in.  If you are interested in the latest human interest story, you can find it.  If you want confirmation that your views on gun control are correct, tune that dial to the station that will cater to your views.  

But there is an interesting phenomenon that I've noticed in watching the national news summaries on the major networks every night.  Maybe it's just me, I don't know.  But all of these talking heads seem so surprised that Americans of all types (everyone!) will do heroic things for each other.  They report on the people running into the action as if they are exhibiting characteristics that somehow they've never noticed.  They are shocked that people in extremis will look to help each other.  They can't believe the stories of the average American who will take risks and even sacrifice themselves for others.  For virtual strangers.  And they report this as if we, their viewers probably are shocked too.  That the average viewer will be amazed at these stories.  

And so this got me to thinking.  About them.  The talking heads.  The reporters.  The network executives.  You know, the people we listen to and are influenced by while we mindlessly sit and watch what is probably the most common information source that we all have.  They've been so busy making us all not like each other very much that I think they've really lost touch with the reality of who we are.  They have taken our environment, our society, our people and have segmented us all into stereotyped buckets so that we will all choose sides.  So that we will want to choose sides.  They want us to hunker down in our beliefs or thoughts and develop anger and distance and, yes hatred of those in other buckets.  They want us to forget our basic humanity.  And in doing this they've forgotten, or maybe they never knew, that people are basically good.  But they can't see it or don't want to see it.  They want us to keep fighting so they have stories to tell.  So they have ratings, advertisers, private jets, access, knowledge, power!  They absolutely don't want to give us facts and let us decide.  And in trying to influence us, they've forgotten who we are.  

I don't have any answers.  But I know one thing.  I'm not one bit surprised that when the chips are down, Americans will rally to help each other.  They will do what is required.  And they won't give up.  Ever.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Something to Ponder

Here's the mayor of San Juan Puerto Rico, a strident Democrat who has heaped praise on FALN terrorists, whining about lack of aid while being literally surrounded by pallets of aid and not addressing the reality of 10,000 Federal workers on the island trying to restore services.  I know it's tough and a devastating situation, but shit doesn't happen overnight.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

It's the Culture, Stupid

Remember the saying?  In the '90s when Bill Clinton was rolling to amazing popularity, his brilliant if snakelike consigliere, James Carville came up with the saying that proved to be the key to his wins.  "It's the economy, stupid" was tacked up on a wall by Carville and everything they did became focused on the economy.  And the rest is history.  Clinton was the master of triangulation and he could deftly flex to whichever the winds were blowing.  But his focus on the economy never waivered.  He worked hard to pump us his base by manipulating the economy in their favor.  And it worked.  He was hugely popular to his folks and acceptable to many others.  Of course, his deft abiltiy as a politician didn't hurt.  

That focus has diminished over the subsequent 16 years.  Of course GW Bush had 9/11 and a war to contend with.  Obama was very busy dividing the nation and reorienting many of our institutions.  And they both, because of different reasons, wound up accepting whatever the economy would give them.  We had the crash of 2008 and that interrupted a lot of growth.  Obama had to take some extreme measures to ensure that the crash didn't damage his image.  I don't think he was too concerned about the economic impact but more about how it impacted him.

And through all of this, there was a buildup of dissatisfaction throughout a broad swath of Americans.  That is undeniable.  President Trump is exhibit number one.  The fact that we have a President Trump is the ultimate 'fuck you' to the establishment.  I really think that there were a ton of people who voted for him simply because he was an outsider who would shake things up.  And they really didn't care if he accomplished much except to upset a lot of apple carts.  They thought 'what's the worst that could happen?'.  People had been suffering for a long time without anyone appearing to give a shit about their plight.  Why not throw a bomb in the middle of their comfortable, oh so insider lives.  And Trump is the ultimate bomb.  

I saw a pretty interesting article today that somewhat explains this phenomenon.  You can read it here.    Now I know what you're thinking.  David Brooks!  You've got to be kidding me.  But I have a love/hate relationship with Brooks.  Mostly hate.  But every once in a while he writes something that resonates.  I think his explanation of the impact that Trump is having and will have on the culture is pretty spot on.  Now if you've been reading you know I was never a Trump guy and didn't vote for him.  But I was 10,000% against criminal Hillary so I'm okay with him in the oval office.  He has done a few good things (Neil Gorsuch for one), some okay things, and a bunch of idiotic things.  As long as he doesn't go nuts and get us in a shooting war in Korea I'm pretty okay with his attacks on the media and elites.  As Brooks says, "Because of him, a new culture will have to be built, new values promulgated and a new social fabric will have to be woven, one that brings the different planets back into relation with one another.  That’s the work of the next 20 years."  At least if they're doing that, maybe they'll leave us alone.  It's the culture, stupid!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The First Amendment

I've been trying to not pay too much attention to the whole NFL protest issue.  You know, one jackass decides to kneel during the National Anthem, nothing comes of it except he loses his job, then a few more jackasses decide to emulate him, and it's mostly a distraction but not much else.  But then President Trump, in a way that only he can, steps in it and decides to call the guy out.  And not only call him out but declare to the world that "the son of a bitch should be fired".  So that causes the NFL players and owners to circle the wagons, do some further demonstrations of solidarity, and escalate the issue to heights that it should never have been escalated to.  It is beyond stupid.  A pox on all their houses.  And I'm mostly pissed because we have disasters to attend to, health care to fix, tax reform to pass, an infrastructure plan to create, and a ton of other things to get done.  But the MSM is focused on a bunch of millionaire jackasses who perceive that kneeling during the National Anthem will bring light on injustice.

I really, really find Trump's actions distateful.  I really, really find the NFL distateful.  I saw this video over on FB and it captures what I've thought pretty well.  Bottom line...the First Amendment trumps everything.  That doesn't mean I have to like those NFL idiots.  But by God they have the right to protest.  So Trump should just shup up.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Something to Ponder

Unless you're living under a rock you've seen all the hoopla about President Trump calling NFL players to task for not respecting the National Anthem.  Everyone seems to have an opinion.  As you would expect, I think they need to stand respectfully during the Anthem.  I won't regurgitate all the reasons on both sides because everyone thinks they are right.  So be it.  But I think Trump is playing to his base and they love it.  And if some primma donna NFL players get pissed, he doesn't care.  So we'll see where this goes but for now I think it's sort of a stalemate.  But more importantly he just came off a week in which the consensus was that it was a good week for him.  And now he stirs up a controversy where there didn't need to be one.  As President, he shouldn't be commenting on this issue.  It's beneath him.  But he just can't help himself.  So the cycle repeats itself.  He has a good stretch and then creates a controversy that is damaging.  Don't know how long this can last.

Motivation Monday

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Trump's Finest Moment (so far)

Today's speech at the UN was simply Trump's finest speech.  Talk about a Tour De Force!  Now I know that much of the media, his critics, and the apologist amateur diplomats will hate it.  They will say it was an embarrassment, too direct, too forefull, and that he shouldn't have called out countries and individuals in particular.  Bullshit.  It's high time that an American President tells it like it is.  I say bravo.  If you haven't heard it, here you go.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Friday Funnies

It's all in just good natured fun!


The hits just keep on coming!


Just read that Harvard's Kennedy School of Government is making Bradley Manning, oops...I meant Chelsea Manning a 'Visiting Fellow'.  Here's what they said:
“She speaks on the social, technological and economic ramifications of Artificial Intelligence,” the Harvard announcement said. “As a trans woman, she advocates for queer and transgender rights as @xychelsea on Twitter.”
Yikes!  "She" is a convicted spy.  "She" leaked over 700,000 classified documents and was convicted of 6 espionage charges.  "She" should be in jail for a very long time.  But you know what happened.  Yep. Obama pardoned "her".

So now she's a Visiting Fellow at Harvard.  I've heard of a lot of crazy bullshit in my life but this just about takes the cake.  The good news is that Mike Morrell, former acting Director of the CIA resigned his Fellowship in protest.  I hope others will take the same action.  I mean...this is just unbelievably outrageous!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Single Payer

So the worst kept secret has been that Crazy Bernie would come out with his single payer health care plan today.  It's a beauty.  And a lot of the useful idiots over on the left are wetting themselves over the prospects of this system.  As for me, I can't wait for the CBO to score it.  It should be a hoot.

Something To Ponder

I've been seeing Hillary make the news on her book tour.  Have you seen her on the talk shows and news programs and the like?  Me neither.  But it's difficult to miss her presence.  I had really hoped that she would just fade away.  But no.  She will never fade away.  She has got to be the most pathetic, naive, sniveling, lying, crooked, whining poor excuse for a person in the public eye that I've ever seen.  I mean...I thought she was awful before.  But now?  I just can't even describe how bad I think she is.  I know it's difficult because the fawning MSM is falling all over themselves to give her a platform and explain away her loss, but my advice is to steer clear whenever you hear her name.  It'll be good for your health.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Never Forget

Have been seeing a lot of posts on all the social media sites about remembering 9/11.  Happens every year.  And it's always appropriate.  When I was a kid that the Remember Pearl Harbor remembrences were strong every year.  There are just some things that should live on in the life of the country.  But it will fade.  A lot of the dates that were so important when they happened just fade.  Look at D-Day.  There are still some who remember, but it's fewer and fewer.  So while we can, we should remember the attack on the United States on September 11, 2001.  Most of us who were alive at the time remember it like it was yesterday.  Not only is it appropriate to remember the fallen and the heroes, but it's also appropriate to realize that life dramatically changed on that day.  It was really the birth of radical Islamic terrorism and the start of a long, torturous, bloody path to where we are today.  And the bad thing is that most can't see where it ends.  The most important thing though, at least from my perspective, is that we stay the course.  The threat is real and the challenge is continuing our resistence to those who would destroy our way of life.  So remember 9/11.  And at the same time remember that this experiment in Democracy we call America is fragile.  And we all need to work to maintain and protect it.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

An Angry Black Man

Have you heard of this guy, Ta-Nehisi Coates.  No?  He's an up and coming writer of I guess you'd call social commentary.  He's got an article out at The Atlantic called "Donald Trump is the First White President".  You can read it here.  It's a long read, but is very...I don't even know.  Disturbing?

I scarcely know what to say.  It is one of the most shocking, angry, outlandish, and sobering (from the perspective that a lot of people heap praise on him) articles I've read...ever.  I like to read all perspectives to keep abreast of all avenues of thought.  So I stumbled on this over at Real Clear Politics.  I guess there is a large segment of the population that resonates with his dubious rhetoric and poisonous theories.

That he is smart cannot be denied.  He is very adept at spinning the story of America as a despicable place filled with racists.  But it just made me sad.  I either am oblivious to what so many think is true, or a lot of our citizens are being led like sheep to believe the worst of each other.  I feel like screaming.  But maybe the best thing is resignation and retreat.  Don't know.  All I know is it makes me sad.

UPDATE:  As I've gone throught the day thinking a bit about this I've decided that I expressed the wrong emotion.  Although I do have an amount of sadness about this what I really am is mad.  I'm pissed that this guy who is obviously smart would use his intelligence to publish such drivel.  I'm pissed that The Atlantic would give him a platform.  And I'm infuriated at what crap like this has done to our nation.  But hey...that's just me.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Truth or Fiction?

A friend sent this to me and I thought I'd post the whole thing here.  Suffice to say, it's rather outlandish.  It may be a good fable.  Or wishful thinking.  Or someone trying to be a wee bit too clever for their own good. might just have some truth in it.  What do you think?
Say you are a business tycoon.
You just successfully completed a large-scale acquisition
and merger, bringing together multiple smaller companies
into one conglomerate. After the merger, you want to put
your own people in charge of everything. However, all those
smaller companies had their own executives - and, at least
for the short term - you need to keep many of them around
the keep things running. So, you keep many of those
executives around, and let them retain their own senior
staff. You even appoint one of them - the head of the
largest of the companies you acquired - to be the CEO of the
conglomerate, and he pledges to get all the departments
working together harmoniously.

After a transition period, some of them are doing fine in the new
conglomerate - but others are clearly causing trouble. In
fact, the one you appointed CEO is clearly a disaster. The
newly merged departments are working against each

Furthermore, you have good suspicion he is dealing in insider trading -
nothing you can take to a prosecutor, but there is a lot of
circumstantial evidence building up. Worse, he is not only
doing his own dirty dealing, but it appears he may even be
leaking intellectual property to your competitors, helping
them take market share from you.

Clearly, he has to go - and go now.

Problem is, many of the senior employees in your conglomerate are
loyal to him. If you just fire him and put in your own
chosen CEO, you know you could get a lot of backlash from
disgruntled employees. And in your business, there is such a
small profit-margin that you really can't afford
anything at all that threatens performance. So what do you

In comes the hatchet man.

The hatchet man is someone you bring in for sole purpose of
slashing the problems and shaking things up over a very
short period of time - but doing it in a way that deflects
any blame or blowback away from you. As soon as the problems
are hacked away, the hatchet man leaves - taking the ire and
resentment with him, and leaving you free to bring in your
new team for a fresh start.

This happens in the business world all the time. And Donald Trump
is a businessman. He knows this. He has lived this.
We've seen him do it on "The Apprentice."
We've read about it in his books. This is not a surprise
to anyone. Except for liberals and never-Trumpers.

Enter Scaramucci.

Liberals and never-Trumpers see the past two weeks as proof of a
Hitler-clown-circus spectacle, as evidence that Trump is
unhinged and our government is in the hands of madmen.
Anyone who understands the business world and Donald Trump
fully understands that what we just witnessed was a
perfectly executed hatchet man maneuver.

When Trump won the election, he essentially performed the
political equivalent of an acquisition and merger. He
brought together different political factions -
establishment Republicans, conservatives, tea party,
religious right, moderates, independents, cross-overs - into
one winning political coup. For some, it was a hostile
takeover - and if they were going to be dragged in against
their will, they would sure as hell resist.

This is where Reince Priebus came in.

Priebus, as the then-chairman of the Republican National Committee,
was hired as White House Chief of Staff to be a sort of
post-merger CEO. It was his job to bring all these political
factions together and get them to work harmoniously. But he
failed. Worse, there is ample evidence to suggest he not
only failed, but worked against Trump and the Trump agenda.
Look at the leaks. Look at all the chaos. Look at all the
bureaucracy continuing to work at odds with the president.
Priebus - and a number of other people around him - had to

Back to Scaramucci.
Donald Trump has known for some
time that Priebus was a disaster. He was going to give him
his six-month trial period - that's a fairly common
thing in the private sector. After that, heads were going to
roll. But Trump himself doesn't want to be the hatchet
man. He needs to be able to lead after the bloodbath. So
what does he do? He turns to an old friend he has known for
many years - someone with nothing to lose, someone who can
step in with a hatchet and hack away, someone who can then
just walk away from it all and leave the slate clean. He
turned to Scaramucci.

So what does Scaramucci do? He comes in swinging. He fires a
few people to make a quick example. He tells others they can
"resign" right now if they want to - but if not,
they will be fired. Others see what is going on and just up
and quit of their own accord.

That problem CEO, Priebus? Oh, the new "structure" of
the organization puts Scaramucci in direct competition with
Priebus - and Priebus throws up his hands and says
"fine, I'm out of here." And Scaramucci does
it all in a way that is spectacularly visible to draw all
the fire from Trump critics.

So how does it all end? It ends with Trump putting in his new
CEO - the one he probably wanted from day one, but held back
- and the new CEO says "OK, Scaramucci - you are
no longer needed here."

Gen.  Kelly now has a clean slate to start fresh - and Scaramucci
takes all the heat. Where the left and never-Trumpers see a
circus freak-show, realists from the business world see a
perfectly executed post-merger hatchet-man job.

political wonks see Kelly taking command as the first sane
thing to happen in this administration. They don't
realize they've been played, and played perfectly. And
soon we will likely see some other changes that move the
Executive Branch further towards what Trump has wanted from
day one. And then watch the real swamp-drainer get to work.
It sucks to be Hillary Clinton right now...

Oh, and Scaramucci? He gets a sweet deal out of all this - no
doubt, he and his friend Donald Trump talked it all out

Scaramucci was already facing a nasty divorce that would result in the
liquidation of his business to divide assets. A little-known
law allows people who are legally required to sell a
business as a condition of employment in the Executive
Branch (to prevent conflicts of interest) to defer the taxes
on their profits from the sale.

Scaramucci was going to have to sell his company anyway due to his
pending divorce. Now he and his soon-to-be ex-wife just
saved $80 million in taxes. So don't think for a moment
all this was an unplanned mess that went awry. Scaramucci
and Trump knew exactly what they were doing.

All of this was planned - and foreseen. Not just by me, but by
others as well.

Scott Adams wrote before Trump was inaugurated that, to his
critics, the first year of Trump would be a play in three

Act One - Trump is literally Hitler.
Act Two - Trump is not literally Hitler, but Trump is
Act Three - Trump is not incompetent, but we don't like his

We've seen this play out. From election night up through the first
100 days, the left was out rioting and acting as though
Trump taking office was literally the end of Western

after 100 days, when Trump had failed to do evil-dictator
things like round up all the brown people and put the gays
into camps and force women to stay home and have babies, it
became farcical to continue the "Trump is Hitler"

And so from that 100 day point up until now, it has been the
"Trump is incompetent" game. Look at all the
chaos. Look at all the leaking. Look at all the tweets. Now,
we begin Act Three. With Priebus out and Kelly in, things
will settle down. Pretty soon, all the left will have to say
is "we just don't like Trump's
policies."...Act Three.

once that happens, the left is dead. Because, Trump's
policies are policies that most Americans actually agree
with. We should put America first. Build back our economy.
Create jobs. Strengthen the military. Protect the border.
Outside a few densely-populated liberal strongholds like New
York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and - of
course - Washington, D.C., Americans in general agree with
all of this. So when all the left has to say is
"Trump's policies are wrong," the left will
literally be telling most of America, "you people are

Trump will win 47 states in 2020. The left will be scratching
their heads and wondering what the hell happened. And
you'll be able to look back and say, "Hey, some of
us told you all this back in 2017."

Friday Funnies

This one never gets old...

Monday, September 4, 2017

Something to Ponder

By all accounts President Trump will end the DACA or 'Dreamer' program tomorrow.  You know, the program that Obama created by Executive Order because he couldn't get anything done in Congress.  And the current speculation is that he'll give Congress 6 months to fix it.  Brilliant.  Throw it in their lap.  Expect massive whining by the MSM tomorrow.  Mostly it'll be about how they are all victims.  They are for the most part productive citizens who pay taxes and want to contribute to society.  They had no choice in being brought to the U.S.  But one thing that is sorta important will either be minimized or left out.  They're illegal.

Something to Ponder

So here's a new feature I'm going to try.  Sometimes there are issues that pop up that I want to make a comment on or are just idiotic enough that I want at least say something.  But then I think that I need to make a full blown post and decide not to take the time.  So I think I'll just put some things out there and let simmer.  No need for a long diatribe or rant, just consider the craziness and move on.

Here's the first.  San Diego has a terrible homeless problem in the downtown area.  They are everywhere.  Some could say they are ruining the city.  But the police and the local government do nothing.  They cowtow to the homeless advocates.  Of course, the homeless advocates usually leave for their homes in the suberbs so they don't have to deal with the threats, the filth, and the danger.  The local fishwrap had an article about it this morning that was pretty good.  Check this out and then ponder this.  Are homeless people really just bums?

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Tipping Point

I remember when Trump rode the escalator down to the lobby of Trump Tower and made the announcement that he was running for President.  I, like so many, didn't think he had a prayer of a chance.  I've been proven wrong over and over again when it comes to President Trump.

As a Californian who is a also a Republican, my vote doesn't really mean much and certainly doesn't count in recent Presidential races.  If you've been reading for any amount of time you know how much I loath Hillary.  Viscerally loath.  Not in a million years would I vote for Criminal Hillary, but I really didn't feel that Trump was the right guy for the job so I wrote in someone.  Doesn't matter who.  It was my little statement that didn't really matter in the scheme of things.

Since the election, Trump has done some things really well and some things really poorly from my perspective.  He frequently drives me crazy with his tweets, his antagonism, his brashness, etc.  But I think over all that for me he's earned about a B- or C+ as President.  Not bad for a non-politician.

But I've never been solidly in his camp.  I even took him to task a few weeks ago for his comments after the debacle that happened at Charlottesville.  You can read my thoughts at the time here.  But I'm having second thoughts on my comments on his luke-warm condemnation of the alt-right and Nazi's.  First, it is clear that he condemned them very harshly.  Second, the antifa jack offs have turned out to be much worse than I knew.  Did you see the story about them attacking free speech advocates in Berkeley this past weekend?  It was bad.  Real bad.  And there was no voice from the left calling them out.  There was no party luminary condenming them.  And that is just unsat.  So I was wrong.  He voiced equal condemnation for both sides and that is right.  Especially given the activities since that event.

So I've been thinking about all this stuff and all that happened since November and have come to a few conclusions.  First, Trump is who he is and isn't going to change.  And he's a fighter who will fight tooth and nail for what he beleives in.  And I beleive in a lot of that stuff too.  Second, he's not remotely getting a fair shake from the media or the elites.  They have descended to just an advocacy branch of his enemies.  All of them.  Third, the Democrats will obstruct everything he tries to accomplish and give even the most violent thugs a pass no matter what.  And therefore they are not acting as Americans.

What has really coalesced my thinking though is an article out today by Victor Davis Hanson.  He is one of the best analysts on the political scene today and can articulate matters better than almost anyone I've heard.  So I'm going to post the whole thing below for you to peruse.  It's long, but oh so good.

And what's the upshot of all this?  I'm done being on the fence. Trump has my full support unless and until he does something I just can't accept.  So far, he's not close to that.

Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers
by Victor Davis Hanson// National Review
Partisan conflict is not new, nor is GOP internal dissent. What’s new is in-fighting among the elites.
The Left-Wing Trump Haters
About a third of the Democratic party (15–20 percent perhaps of the electorate?) loathes Trump, from reasons of the trivial to the fundamental.
The hard-leftist hatred is visceral; it is multidimensional; and it is unalterable.
Trump is rich, crass, showy, a white male, and 70. As the anti-Obama, he punches every progressive button in existence. A candidate like Trump was not supposed to exist any longer in the 21st-Century Age of Obama, much less should he have ruined the anticipated progressive Obama-Clinton 16-year regnum. Trump’s accent is outer-borough and seems to exemplify for Trump haters the gaucheness of the golden trump name stamped all over New York. The Europeans have utter contempt for Trump, and that embarrasses leftists especially.
Unlike some Republican politicians who wished to be admired by cultural progressives, Trump prefers baiting the Left and its media appendages, as if to remind them that he prefers to overturn the entire progressive project of the last eight years — if not on ideological grounds (Trump not so long ago voiced a number of centrist and liberal views), at least out of tit-for-tat animosity. Unlike a restrained presidential Bush or a sober Romney, the president answers in kind — and trumps — the boilerplate leftist charge of “fascist!” and “Nazi!” leveled against him.
The Trump haters dominate our media and the universities, the entertainment industries, Silicon Valley, the billionaire green classes, the foundations and the brigades of professional foot-soldier activists, identity-politics operatives, and the Bernie Sanders shock troops. They are frenzied because they think their 1,000 cuts have finally hit arteries — only to see Trump revive in Nietzschean fashion, emerging stronger for the wounds. To come so close to ending this nightmare only to realize they are at the alpha and not the omega of their efforts intensifies their hatred.
Ritually cutting off Trump’s head, blowing him up, stabbing him to death, hanging him, beating him to a pulp — these all are the rhetorical bookends of the Left’s efforts to subvert the Electoral College, the Russian-collusion mythologies, the impeachment and 25th Amendments psychodramas, and Trump’s hoped-for physical collapse under the stress of pure hatred. The calls for Trump’s assassination or maiming, if, mutatis mutandis, aimed at Obama would have earned long jail time for dozens; now assassination porn becomes an object of emulation.
Yet Trump hatred only solidifies the Trump base. It also reminds independents and wavering centrist Republicans that in a Manichean fight (and the Trump haters seem to envision the current landscape as just that), one inevitably chooses sides. If the choice is reduced to a crude rant at a public Trump rally or the rioters at Claremont, Berkeley, and Middlebury, a screaming Madonna, the “pigs in blanket” chanters of Black Lives Matter, and the masked marauders of Antifa, the Trump haters probably lose.
The Loyal Opposition, Sort Of
Mainstream Democrats in politics are bewildered as much as repelled by Trump. They find him scary because their party that professes contempt for wacky Trump supporters somehow finds conservatives in control of all the traditional levers of political power, from the local to the state to the national level. There is no more Blue Wall, and Democrats know why.
Trumpism is insidiously predatory and picks off Democratic working constituencies like wolves do wandering sheep from the herd — with nocturnal howls to fair trade, reenergized industrialization, energy production, immigration enforcement, realism aboard, and infrastructure investment.
Likewise, savvy Democrats fear Trump because they had long preached that “demography is destiny” only to learn that lots of minority bloc voting in solidly red or blue states was not as electorally potent as a riled working white class in key swing states. The knowledge that the outsider and supposed fool Trump grasped that truth while both his Republican primary rivals and Hillary Clinton did not proves especially irritating. Hillary is now reduced to daydreaming about what a tougher Hillary might have said to Trump during the debate, incoherently bragging she was not intimidated as she proves that in fact she was.
What also scares mainstream Democrats is that Trumpism may have exposed an existential vulnerability of the contemporary Democratic party, heretofore known but rarely voiced: It is now a rich man’s, bifurcated party of the two coasts. It hates the culture of the middle classes (who lack both the romance of the poor and the refinement of the rich) and cynically relies on promises of never-ending entitlements for the underclass. It offers boutique issues for the affluent who, with winks and nods, are assured that they will have the clout and money to navigate around the messy ramifications of their own policy positions. In other words, it is tailor-made to empower a figure like Trump.
Progressives do not mind being called starry-eyed, utopian, impractical, or even socialist; they do fear being tagged as elitists by populists and economic nationalists, especially by a Manhattan billionaire. Trump has leveled that charge as no other Republican has since Ronald Reagan in 1984. Like addicts who know that their fix is both killing them and yet cannot be kicked, so too Democratic establishmentarians fear that their own identity politics are feeding Trump’s rise. Nevertheless, they would rather lose elections than forfeit a decade’s worth of race and gender investments. For now, they fool themselves into thinking that the latest Trump outrage is the longed-for final straw that crushes the presidential back.
Yes/No Trumpers
Ten to 15 percent of the electorate are pure pragmatists. In general, they like neither politics nor controversies. They have enough moral figures in their lives without requiring their president to be an ethical icon. Their idea of a good president is one rarely seen or heard, but evident on autopilot when we have a robust economy, quietude overseas, and unity at home. Independents liked Obama’s last year when he vanished from view and let candidates duke it out — as the abstract idea of Obama was always preferable to the reality.
Yet independents also notice that an incompetent and haughty Obama left havoc in his wake, though they nod that at least he was “presidential,” which means presentable to elites abroad. If American under Trump hits a 3 percent rate of GDP annual growth, unemployment dips below 4 percent, a soaring stock market does not crash, and the administration makes some progress on lowering the deficit, carefully raising interest rates, and reducing taxes, the fence-sitters become Trumpers. If not, they are loud anti-Trumpers repulsed by his tweets and Make American Great Again rallies. Right now, they sense — but are not quite convinced — that it is more likely for a while that Trump’s negatives will be overshadowed by good economic and foreign-policy news.
The Republican Never Trumpers
About 10 percent of Republicans — overrepresented among the coastal intellectual, political, and affluent strata — despise Trump every bit as much as do their hard-core progressive counterparts.
For some, to be fair, the loathing is entirely principled: After damning progressives for being uncouth, reckless in their personal lives, loose in speech and behavior, how can they now excuse Trump, the messenger, just because his message is often convenient?
This species of Never Trumpers sees support for Trump as abject ethical treason. They would even rather live with a Clinton Supreme Court for 30 years than be stained by Trumpian enablement and hypocrisy (“wrong with Hillary is preferable to right with Trump”). They prefer catharsis to governance with Trump and dream that they will be ready to rebuild the party of George H. W. Bush and Paul Ryan after the fires of such ritual cleansing have incinerated the Trump yahoos.
Other sorts of Never Trumpers are schizophrenic and even somewhat remorseful. After a bad Trump week, they exuberantly brag to friends or write “I told you so” columns. When good Trump news lingers for a few days or so, they grow sullen in fear not merely that others are fooled by Trump and amoral in their utilitarianism, but that they might be fooled as well: They hate Trump the man, in the abstract, while they’re relieved that Trump the message, alongside his concrete actions, is almost what they wanted.
A final Never Trump cadre is neither ideological nor political, but more careerist. They had bet that the outrageous Trump candidacy was a joke that had no chance of winning
When that prognosis proved flawed, they overworked their thesauruses, and rewrote or rephrased the same “I despise Trump” mantra for the thousandth time. They are invested career-wise in Trump’s failure, and at this juncture, apparently nothing short of it will redeem them (at least in their own eyes) and restore them to the grandees who not long ago sought out their guidance and advice. They are wandering Odysseuses, but without either a ten-year limit to their meanderings or a home to return to.
For this small subset of Never Trumpers, Hell is not eight 16 years of Obama-Clinton, but rather being ignored by television, shut out of White House councils, and relegated to D-list dinners. The more admirable of this subset of Never Trumpers ask no quarter and voice no regrets as they flit in the shadows. In contrast, the more opportunistic cannot hide their own motivations, glimpsed in inadvertent written and verbal tics about lost speaking engagements and White House snubs.
The Bluestockings
Republican establishmentarians logically might thank Trump’s movement, given that they now control the majorities of the state legislatures, governorships, and all the branches of the federal government. Yet they still feel that saying “I voted for and support Donald J. Trump” is almost not worth the political price. They believe that Trump is unsteady and dangerous (and they may be right), but they concede that 90 percent of Republicans (no less than in 2008 and 2016) voted for the Republican nominee.
For all their skepticism of Trump, they are quietly relieved by the excellence of his appointments, the boldness of his proposals, and (so far) the obvious conservativism of most of his agenda items. They wish only that he would cease tweeting, stop attacking Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, cancel campaign rallies, and end the impromptu news conferences.
And yet they are not quite sure that Trump’s in-your-face aggression is not the source of his support, and so they worry that if he were more like they are, he might lose his ability to empower them. They are more plentiful than, but not unlike, the few old congressional Democratic blue dogs who were not so silly as to deny that Obama’s obnoxious but winning radicalism was to their own political benefit.
The Trump Base
About 20–25 percent of voters will not abandon Trump for two reasons — but they would for one.
First, his conservatism is populist and aimed at the working rather than managerial, professional, and intellectual classes.
Two, to paraphrase Lincoln’s assessment of the rumored drinking of Grant (akin to Trump’s tweeting) during the Shiloh ordeal: “He fights.” For his base, Trump’s rants and impromptu attacks are not proof that he is unhinged but reassurance that he would eye-gouge and bite off the ear of the Left to the bitter end — and do it authentically and passionately, the same way that they do too in their own workplace or at the bowling alley. They feel that the real obscenity is not Trump’s howling in Phoenix, but the suited commentators whose intellectual dishonesty and overt bias cannot be hidden by a thin veneer of journalese and blown-dry snark.
Had Trump been nominated in 2008, the Reverend Wright would have been front and center of the case against a divisive Obama (who had told the Chicago Sun-Times that he had regularly attended Wright’s unpalatable services). Or, in 2012, Trump might have grabbed moderator Candy Crawley’s mic and cut her off for subverting a presidential debate by her own rank partisanship.
Trump’s appeal to his base is predicated not just on a reaction to Obama’s radicalism, but also to Obama’s past sermonizing and his condescension — the high-horse lectures on race, religion, and values that targeted globalization’s losers as if they were somehow privileged in rural Pennsylvania or southern Ohio in the way they are in Chevy Chase, Menlo Park, or the Upper West Side.
What would collapse the Trump base would be not just a Trump move to the center, but adoption of a conciliatory comportment and measured speech akin to other politicians’ — proof, in other words, of a mushy Republicanism in which success is defined as being tolerated by the intellectual Left and slowing down, now and then, the fated progressive trajectory.
Trump’s base does not see Trump’s rants or rhetorical meanderings as proof of being unfit, but at the worst as a very natural human response to a stacked media deck, and at best as a nihilism that takes hits in order to score wins against a corrupt coastal liberal establishment.
It is said that Trump’s base is white and thus static. But reports that Trump may have exceeded McCain’s and Romney’s percentage of the minority vote suggest that that his earthiness and chain-saw manner of addressing problems have some wider appeal, especially to minorities who are increasingly irritated by the nasal-sounding pajama boys who claim they are their political saviors.
Trump’s base is as loyal as was Obama’s. Obama’s puerile cluelessness (the Malvinas are the Falklands, 57 states, corpse-men), his divisiveness (get in their faces, take a gun to a knife fight, punish our enemies), and his venom (high-horse Christians, stereotyping police, bitter clingers, etc.) could never erode the Obama foundation, as long as he offered his faux-southern-accent act, quoted arc-of-history banalities, talked Final Four, and caricatured the rich, the businessman, and the successful. So too the Trump voter will stay to the bitter end with Trump — if he stays with them.
Finally, it is said that that the Never Trump group of conservatives marks a novel development. Perhaps that is accurate if it’s defined in the sense that a Republican president is struggling to find conservative editorial support, seasoned Republican appointees, and kitchen cabinets. But in terms of fratricide, 2008 and 2012 saw lots of Never McCain and Never Romney blue-collar Republicans and Reagan Democrats who stayed home. Unlike in 2016, both absent groups cost Republican nominees the elections.
What is new is not party civil war, but rather elite in-fighting, whose importance is calibrated by noise rather than numbers and votes.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Friday Funnies

I am sooooo glad I'm retired!

The Six Phases of Any Program

Saw this the other day and memories of my time in the Pentagon came flooding back.  I had this little ditty on the bulletin board by my desk and it never failed to get a chuckle when someone new saw it.  And it never failed to get a wise nod from someone who had maybe seen it and could relate to it.  There's some humor involved...but also a strong dose of reality!

  1. Confidence and enthusiasm
  2. Dispair and disillusion
  3. Panic
  4. Search for the guilty
  5. Punishment of the innocent
  6. Awards and medals for non-participants
  7. Lessons learned by the uninitiated

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Friday, August 18, 2017

Unintended Consequences

I like to think of myself as an optimist.  You know, the glass half full and all that.  I try to look at the best in people and look for positive outcomes in any situation.  At least I try to do that.  I'm not always successful, but I try.  I'm also pretty good at looking for 2nd and 3rd order effects.  If this happens, then what is the outcome and, maybe even more importantly, what will be the effect down the line.  It's really taking the "if/then" problem to the next level.

So with the events of the last week, I'm heartened to see some of the impacts and outcomes.  I wrote about it just a few days ago here.  At the end of that rant, I hoped for the dismissal of Steve Bannon and that President Trump would come before the American people and apologize or at least explain himself.  Well...lo and behold, Bannon is out.  Now he's just the latest in what is becoming a list of folks leaving, but from I can tell, he's a bit of an odious character.  At minimum he is an arrogant and controlling functionary who is not particularly prone to bringing people together.  So he's out.  Now we'll see what impact that has.  What public role does he take?  Whatever it is, it will show his true character.

There are come other positive impacts that I think have started to emerge.  The best one is the pretty dramatic and across the board condemnation of the various white supremacist groups.  Not there was very much support in the past, but these knuckleheads have now become real pariahs.  People are starting to realize that their numbers are small and insignificant in the scheme of things.  That they can be made irrelevant by shining a light on them.

There has also been increased dialog across the board about the issue of monuments and memorials that are related to the Confederacy and the Civil War.  There have been a number of loud voices providing an almost hysterical demand to tear them all down.  But thankfully, those voices seem to be in the minority.  And really a small minority.  Polls show and I think it's true that most folks don't want to erase history.  I've said previously that I'm for ensuring that they are displayed in context and with correct historical descriptions as well as ensuring that local authorities make decisions based on a thorough discussion with the community.  I think that will happen.

The antifa is another odious group that have been outed for the despicable anarchists that they are.  I'm hoping (remember, I'm an optimist) that law enforcement now realize that if these guys are involved in any sort of demonstration or event, there is a need for overwhelming force and a structure to control them at all times.  One thing for sure, if there is another event in which the antifa thugs do their normal violence, law enforcement will be clearly to blame.

So there's a bit of light coming from the end of the tunnel.  But there is still one big issue.  Trump has to moderate his voice if he's going to be successful.  He's got to reach out to minorities and other groups and bring people together.  Or at least try to do that.  Because if he doesn't he'll be increasingly isolated and rendered ineffective.  And it will be a long three and half years!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Epic Fail II

I wrote about the epic failure of Congress to get the new health care bill that they had been promising for 7 years passed last month.  You can read it here.

Now there is another epic failure that the Trump administration is dealing with and it is arguably worse by several magnitudes.  And this one is entirely self-inflicted.  Unless you're living under a rock, you've seen all the stories, analysis and outrage coming out of Charlottesville, VA.  The Reader's Digest version is that a disparate group of white supremacist assholes had a two day rally in a park where there was a statue of Gen Robert E. Lee to protest the removal of the statue.  I'm sure you've seen all the hubbub about removing statues, memorials and really traces of the Civil War from everyday life.  I also wrote about that here and here.

So predictably there was a big backlash and an effort by "antifa" groups to disrupt this event.  Now make no mistake, the antifa are a group of violent, anti-government thugs who aim to disrupt and in many cases do harm.  But on this side of the aisle there were also a lot of peaceful protesters who abhor the Nazis, neo-Nazis, KKK, and all ther other groups purporting to be only preserving the white race.  And also predictably, there was violence and in an ultimate tragedy, the loss of life.  One of the white supremacists drove a car through the protesters, injuring many and killing one.

And let's not forget the role (or absence) of law enforcement.  This was the first epic fail of this whole sordid mess.  They stood by and did very little to stem the violence.  It's no secret that Charlottesville is a bastion of the Democrats and is certainly a hub for anti-Trumpism.  So it is natural to speculate that there was a method in their madness.  Who knows.  All I know is that they could have prevented it.  They could have taken action.  And that they didn't resulted in a death.

But then we come to the epic failure.  Trump came out relatively soon and condemned violence "on all sides".  And of course this was met with scorn and outrage from the media, politicians from both sides of the aisle, and a large number of the populace.  A few days later he had clearly been schooled by his staff on what to say and came out (on teleprompter) and condemned the KKK, white supremacists, Nazis, etc.  But is sorta didn't seem sincere.  And then yesterday during a confrontational and rambling press conference he reverted to his original statement that there was violence on all sides.  He said there were peaceful people on both sides trying to protest or support the issue.

And then it went nuclear.  CEOs resigned from his Industry Board.  Politicians are moving away from him as fast as possible.  His staff is in perpetual spin mode.  Talk radio is exploding.  Long time conservative voices are now wondering what they got themselves into.  Check out this article by a very respected conservative journalist.  Of course, he is digging in.  He is railing about fake news and despicable journalists.  He is disparaging the CEOs.  He is trying to change the subject.  In other words, he's being Trump.

So here's my take, for what it's worth.  The white supremacist, neo-nazi, KKK, alt-right bigots don't deserve the time of day.  They deserve to be shunned and vilified.  They need to be made a pariah of decent society and ridiculed into the ash bin of history.  Full stop. Some want to make this about protesting the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee in a park in Charlottesville.  That is a smoke screen.  If you have any doubt, check out this poster advertising the event.  This has little to do with the right.  This has to do with neo-nazi scum and perpetuating their sick views.  If you're a normal American and you wanted to attend an event that would include a rational discussion regarding the idea of removing Civil War memorials, you would not choose this event as one in which there would be any reasonable discussion.  Because this is about hate and oppression.  The other issue that is a smoke screen the issue of the First Amendment.  Everyone has a right to speak.  Well, I agree.  But the city doesn't need to give them a platform and a place that is ultimately volatile.  Don't let them spew their hate where it will instigate violence or is a place that is hard to control.  Put them in a box.  Let them talk, but put them someplace that can be controlled.  I don't know how to say it any stronger, these people are abhorrent and need to be shunned.  And when a light is shined upon them and they are shunned, no one would show up to their event and it would become irrelevant.  As I've said previously, we have examples of how to do it.  Martin Luther King jr, Nelson Mandela, etc, etc, etc.  It can be done.

Now what about the antifa?  Well, they are a bunch of thugs who use violence to achieve their goals.  The ends clearly don't justify the means.  If you don't really know what the antifa is, there is a pretty good article here.  I'm all for stomping out fascism.  I just finished a biography of Churchill and it was clear that if English leaders had listened to him in the 1930's, Hitler wouldn't have wreaked the havoc that he did.  But these antifa assholes are beyond the pale.  No decent citizen would support their activities.

I've already mentioned the failure of law enforcement, but that can't be mentioned enough.  When these violent groups come together, there has to be a controlling agent that provides structure to ensure safety.  That is fundamental.  They didn't do that.  In fact, it could be argued that they let it happen.  That is unsat.

So the white supremacists are terrible and the antifa are terrible.  So what's wrong with Trump's language?  What's wrong is that by saying both sides had violence he making a moral equivalence between an abhorrent and fundamentally anti-human (and certainly anti-American) group and a group of protesters that most likely did include some who were there to protest peacefully.  To most people, as bad as antifa is, there is no moral equivalence.

There is an expectation that our President will inspire us and will uphold the values that most Americans find vital.  He didn't do that.  He has been confrontational and unequivable in his belief that he was right.  He's not.  Many have said that things he's done could doom his Presidency.  I didn't believe that before this episode.  But this could mushroom out of control, if it hasn't already.  He needs to correct this wrong and put it behind him.  In my view he should do two things.  First is that he should come before the American people from the Oval Office and in a clear and calm manner condemn the alt right in no uncertain terms.  There can be no equivocation.  Second, he needs to dump Steve Bannon.  As long as Bannon is around, this issue isn't going away.  I fear it might already  be too late, but this is a time for a huge mea culpa if ever there was one.