Fuzzy little things that I find interesting.

Political musings from someone who thinks the S-D curve is more important to politics than politicians.

Category: Uncategorized

Do none of these guys remember Muhammad Ali?

Byron York: Former top spy rethinks: Maybe we shouldn’t have attacked a new president

“Let’s put ourselves in Donald Trump’s shoes,” Morell said to Glasser. “So what does he see? Right? He sees a former director of CIA and a former director of NSA, Mike Hayden … criticizing him and his policies. Right? And he would rightfully have said, ‘Huh, what’s going on with the intelligence guys?'”

“And then he sees a former acting director and deputy director of CIA criticizing him and endorsing his opponent,” Morell continued. “And then he gets his first intelligence briefing, after becoming the Republican nominee, and within 24 to 48 hours, there are leaks out of that that are critical of him and his then-national security adviser Mike Flynn.”

“And so, this stuff starts to build, right? And he must have said to himself, ‘What is it with these intelligence guys? Are they political?'”

The answer to that was simple: Yes, they were political. But the astonishing part of the Morell interview is his admission that at the time he did not stop to consider what was happening from Trump’s perspective, even as the leaks continued when Trump took office. “He must have thought, ‘Who are these guys?'” Morell said. “Are these guys out to get me? Is this a political organization?”

Apparently the entire Federal bureaucratic apparatus–at least high level executives who nominally answer to the President of the United States–never considered what their overtly political actions (and subvertly political behavior, think the IRS targeting scandals)–never considered the results of their actions targeting President Trump as part of the #resistance movement, especially from President Trump’s point of view, and from the point of view of those who voted for President Trump.

Don’t any of those people remember Muhammad Ali’s Rope-a-dope tactic?

To quote Wikipedia:

In many competitive situations, rope-a-dope is used to describe strategies in which one contender lets their opponent fatigue themself by drawing non-injuring offensive actions. This then gives the contender an advantage towards the end of the competition or before, as the opponent becomes tired, allowing the contender to execute devastating offensive maneuvers and thereby winning.

I mean, hasn’t this been exactly what President Trump been doing, to the detriment of nearly all those who have been attacking President Trump?

Isn’t this what we’re seeing in the Mueller investigation of the Trump Administration, as we seen various FBI agents and investigators quietly demoted for their #resistance ties, lack of impartiality, and apparent connections with the Fusion GPS dossier? I mean, things have gotten so bad for Mueller that the Wall Street Journal (not known for it’s pro-Trump stance) has called for Mueller to resign, as Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein continues to resist calls for congressional oversight.

Isn’t that what we saw with FBI Director James Comey, who eventually was dismissed by President Trump after members of both parties called for his head?

Aren’t we seeing that with CNN, who recently perpetrated a non-story by getting a date wrong, and triumphing the non-story as evidence of a crime as a result? Sadly for much of the major media, the “fake news” label (formerly reserved for those marginal fly-by-night web sites which publish what appears to be credible news stories “for entertainment purposes only”) has increasingly started to stick as various real news outlets have allowed their editorial bias color their fact checking.

And we’re only one year into Trump’s Administration. We have at least 3, possibly 7 more years of this.

… And now, Morell admits he went after the new president without even considering what that might mean. “I think there was a significant downside to those of us who became political,” he told Glasser. “So, if I could have thought of that, would I have ended up in a different place? I don’t know. But it’s something I didn’t think about.”

And I think this is the downfall of the entire #resistence movement, as well as the downfall of much of the federal apparatus and the downfall of the major media: in believing President Trump represents an existential threat if he is permitted to continue being President of the United States, they are, in a real sense, committing suicide.

After all, most of our country relies on Trust. We trust our universities to be impartial intellectual educators of our best and brightest. We trust our news outlets to report the news in an impartial way. We trust our federal bureaucracy to operate in an impartial way. We trust FBI agents to investigate and find the truth and enforce the laws in an impartial manner. We trust our intelligence agencies to gather intelligence and present it in an impartial and unbiased manner.

We trust those around us will be impartial.

And when they prove themselves to be biased, not impartial, and disdainful of half of the country–well, that trust evaporates.

Hard earned trust which is hard to gain but easy to lose.

And without that trust, what is left of those institutions?

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President Obama: I call Godwin’s Law.

Obama Insults Trump With Thinly Veiled Reference to Hitler

Two notes about the article:

First, in the past, Presidents have been self-restrained about commenting on (or acting on) their successors.

Obama has shown no restraint.

But remember, boys and girls: Trump will someday be an ex-President. And Obama is setting the precedent for Trump’s post-Presidential actions here.

And I think the Left will miss the civility they set out to destroy, once the Right no longer feels compelled to be constrained by that same civility.

Second, Hitler rose to power on the Enabling Act of 1933, passed in order to help “get things done more efficiently.”

Thus far, of two Presidents, Obama passed a series of executive orders which greatly expanded the power of the Presidency. Trump, on the other hand, has been kicking things back to their constitutionally appointed branches; DACA being kicked back to Congress, for example.

And of the two sides: the right and the left, thus far, of the two, I can see the left–lost in a spasm of hate for Trump and for all the horrible things he did–asking for an “enabling act” of their own so they can “undo Trump’s terrible legacy.”

After all, was it a Democrat or a Republican who set aside George Washington’s two term tradition–causing us to pass a constitutional amendment? Of the two, which has sought to reshape society along centrally planned lines with grand-sounding schemes–twice. And of the two, which Presidents have been vocal in public? Did you hear former President Bush start a “resist” movement to stop Obama?

No, President Obama, of the two sides here: liberals who believe in Thomas Sowell’s “unconstrained man”, and conservatives who believe in a “constrained” vision where as a whole will always be fallen and imperfect–I see a hell of a lot more similarities between Hitler’s Third Reich and Democrats.

Of course on the whole we are anti-authoritarian to the core, so any comparison to Hitler will be inherently flawed.

But if I were to bet on a future president demanding plenary powers, I’d bet it would be a Democrat. Not a Republican.

So he can implement a better version of a “Great Society” without those pesky Republicans standing in the way, of course.

New Zealand

I don’t really know what I expected when we came to New Zealand; besides the fact that The Lord of the Rings was shot here, and the Waitomo Glowworm Caves where located here (featured in a National Geographic magazine which led us to come here), I thought of New Zealand as a tiny two-island version of Australia.

Nope. Wrong. Boy was I wrong.

New Zealand was apparently one of the last land masses to be settled by humans–only 800 years ago–and settled by the same Polynesians who also made their way up to Hawai’i. The Maori people make up a significant percentage of the population, such that the Maori language is a second official language of New Zealand. And Maori carvings, greetings, road signs and the rest are everywhere, giving the place an almost “United Kingdom meets Tahiti” sort of feel.

Auckland is a working port. Unlike Sydney (were enough money turned the entire harbor into a playground for rich sailors and yacht owners), Auckland’s port is definitely a working port with shipping container vessels sharing the waters with tour boats and ferries.

Waiheke Island is a very large and picturesque island off the shore of Auckland; it can be reached by a 45 minute ferry ride, and is just amazingly beautiful. Almost reminds me of Capri, but with less money–and more natural beauty.

And the part of New Zealand we’re now in (near the Waitomo Caves) is rural, quaint, and full of cows. I can understand why Peter Jackson picked this location for his “Shire” set in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings; all you need to do is dig a hole in the exposed limestone faces of these gently rolling hills just outside the steeper mountains that frame the area, and put a door on it, and instant Hobbit hole.

I’m not sure the UK is exactly in a position of strength here…

Donald Trump’s ‘working visit’ to UK dropped as tensions with Theresa May grow over president’s far-Right retweets

Yes, I know, the tweet Donald Trump sent out purportedly showing a muslim assaulting someone was fake. But that’s not the point here.

US diplomats have dropped plans for Donald Trump to conduct a visit to Britain in January amid a war of words between the two countries’ leaders.

Mr Trump, the US president, had been pencilled in for a ‘working visit’ in the first month of 2018 to formally open America’s new London embassy.

The trip, a scaled down version of a state visit with no meeting with the Queen, was intended to allow Mr Trump to come to the UK while avoiding the mass protests a full state visit would likely trigger.

However, The Telegraph can reveal that the trip has been pushed into the long grass, with no new date in the diary picked.

Now if I were the leadership of the UK and acting from a position of economic and political strength, I certainly would feel free to flip the US the finger. Because, well, economic and political strength.

But that’s not the situation in the UK, is it?

Brussels may include ‘punishment clause’ in post-Brexit trade deal

The EU is exploring the inclusion of a “punishment clause” in any future trade deal with the UK to allow Brussels to slap tariffs on key British exports to the bloc if the UK government seeks to gain a commercial advantage by lowering regulatory standards.

In a move that would torpedo the post-Brexit plans of the British cabinet’s key Brexiters, any significant attempts by Whitehall to lower regulatory costs to British businesses in one part of the economy could be met by tariffs from Brussels on another.

An attempt to grab a larger share of the world market in aluminium, for example, by loosening regulation and reducing production costs in the UK could provoke a punitive tariff on British beef sales to the EU, a sector on which thousands of jobs rely.

Of course the out here is to strengthen ties with the United States, whose markets are as large as the remainder of the EU, and whose citizens have a strong affinity for England.

Which means the first step would be to… well, have a “working visit” with the President of the United States to explore opportunities for a closer economic and political working relationship to offset the punishments being offered by Brussels.

But no. That “tiny little rock in the Atlantic” has decided to stand on principals or something.

Good luck writing that £50 Billion check.

Melbourne

Melbourne is what San Francisco, Portland and Seattle think they are, and wish they were–but are not.

It is hip, cool, the food scene is crazy and ranges all the way from some really good street food to experimental stuff that boggles the mind. Melbourne is not the surf city Sydney is; instead, it is all about the graffiti filled little alleyways with organic locally produced dishes below skyscrapers with experimental modernist cooking overlooking the city.

So if you want a very hip, cool and awesome city to visit, try Melbourne in Australia. Don’t bother with Seattle or Portland, and San Francisco? Meh.

A perfect example of liberalisms “it’s okay to break a few eggs” theory.

In Thomas Sowell’s A Conflict of Visions, he theorizes modern liberalism, descended from “The Unconstrained Vision” of mankind, believes that human nature, being essentially good, can be elevated as a species to a higher level of moral development.

And, along that path, since we’re talking about the species rather than the individual, collateral damage is merely the price on the road to perfection.

Keep that in mind–that individuals don’t matter, even if they are crushed under the wheels of the carriage carrying our Superiors, our Bodhisattvas, that we are to follow to collective salvation–as you read this:

‘Embarrassed’ Franken Won’t Resign, Apologizes for Groping Females

“I know that there are no magic words I can say to regain your trust,” the Minnesota Democrat said during a brief news conference outside his Senate office.

“I’m going to try to learn from my mistakes,” he added. “I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting and I want to be someone who adds something to this conversation.”

If you think the feelings of four women who all claim to have been forcefully groped by Senator Franken matters here, or that liberals will try to hold Senator Franken to the same standard they demand of Senate Candidate Roy Moore, you haven’t been following along.

Senator Frankin is a liberal Bodhisattva.

And he could rape and murder a path from Minnesota to Washington D.C., and it wouldn’t matter. Collateral damage–in this case, a handful of women whose dignity were stripped by Senator Frankin–is merely the price to pay for perfection.

What do you mean, “of all Presidents?” It’s the platform on which he ran!

Is Donald Trump, of All Presidents, Devolving Power Back to the Legislative Branch?

Donald Trump did not campaign for president as the guy who would reverse the mostly unbroken, century-old trend of the executive power assuming more and more power in the face of an increasingly self-marginalizing Congress. If anything, the imperial presidency looked set to increase given Trump’s braggadocious personality and cavalier approach to constitutional restraints. “Nobody knows the system better than me,” he famously said during his worryingly authoritarian Republican National Convention speech, “which is why I alone can fix it.”

You wouldn’t know it from viewing policy through the prism of the president’s Twitter feed, which is filled with cajoling and insult toward the legislative branch, but Trump has on multiple occasions taken an executive-branch power-grab and kicked the issue back to Congress, where it belongs.

The problem is that most people were focusing on the wrong Trump statements. And the press is focusing on outcomes, not on process.

And sadly, even today they’re still focusing on the wrong things. Take, for example, the debate over DACA–which paints Trump’s unraveling of Obama’s unilateral (and potentially unconstitutional) action and kicking it back to Congress to properly pass as a law as some sort of “power grab.”

Uh, it was Congress’s damned job in the first place–and the prerogative of the Presidency was not to unilaterally pass laws, as was done routinely by the Obama Administration.

I mean, next thing you know, President Trump will stop offering budgetary recommendations and tell Congress to pass spending bills, as called out in Article I, Section 8, Section 1 of the United States Constitution. And that act will be called “fascist” by our press.

A comment left elsewhere

A comment left in response to Things That Male Academics Have Said To Me:

I’ve come to the conclusion people of both genders say shitty things. “Do you know X” is pretty common, as is “As a X you can never understand Y.” I’m a guy and guys often say shitty things to other guys: my favorite being the “of course you should know X” line.

(Auto mechanics are the worst here: my wife will often get “oh, honey; I don’t expect you to understand that”–um, I met my wife when she was in the Ph.D. program at Caltech in theoretical physics, I think she can understand. But me, I get a bunch of technical mumbo-jumbo: baffling me with bullshit–and sometimes it is complete bullshit. And the “but of course you know that” capper, which is supposed to intimidate me by forcing me to confess my ignorance.)

But women can also be pretty mean. I have a leather satchel I bought from Saddleback Leather, and I’ve had more than one woman come up to me and say “wow, what a great purse, you’re so brave to carry one.” (Um, it’s a laptop bag. See the laptop? Yes, a man can spend more than 30 bucks for a bag.) Any guy who spends more than two cents on personal care products is “vain”, get your hair cut anywhere other than a cheap hair cut chain and “wow, you’re just like one of the girls!” And yes, I’ve had one woman ask if I had a vagina. (I’m a 5’10 250 pound man with a beard. What the hell?)

And I’m ignoring the general comments classified in the original article as “micro-agressions”, such as “you seem happy all the time,” and “you’re always smiling.” I take those comments (given to me at various times) as a complement, mostly because I try very hard to be pleasant around people. (It’s in part a defense mechanism, working as a software developer but being built like a night club bouncer. Because I’ve noticed the moment I stop smiling people seem intimidated by me, even though I would never hurt a fly.)

Unlike the original article, written by someone who is clearly upset by every possible slight offered, none of these things really bother me anymore.

They used to.

They don’t bother me anymore because I’ve come to expect very little of strangers. In fact, at this point in my life all I expect of strangers is for them not to hit me and for them not to steal from me. Shitty comments–about who you are, about what you’re wearing, about the car you drive or the bag you carry or your profession or your beliefs or where you live or your physicality–they’re just par for the course.

And on some days I’m often pleasantly surprised when I don’t get a catty comment from someone of either gender.

Do you want to know the future of housing? Look at how royalty lives.

The future of America’s suburbs looks infinite

Just a decade ago, in the midst of the financial crisis, suburbia’s future seemed perilous, with experts claiming that many suburban tracks were about to become “the next slums.” The head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development proclaimed that “sprawl” was now doomed, and people were “headed back to the city.”

“Experts.” (Eye roll.)

Most so-called “experts” are mother-fucking morons who are more interested in imposing their vision onto our lives, rather than allowing us to choose for ourselves. I have no patience for them, especially the ones who look backwards to history, picking and choosing the lessons they want to project on us, without considering the “why” of history, and without using a calculator to calculate the costs of their proposals.

This story reflected strong revivals of many core cities, and deep-seated pain in many suburban markets. Yet today, less than a decade later, as we argue in the new book that we co-edited, “Infinite Suburbia,” the periphery remains the dominant, and fastest growing, part of the American landscape.

Well, that’s just the stupidity of Americans, right? Um, no…

This is not just occurring in the United States. In many other countries, as NYU’s Solly Angel has pointed out, growth inevitably means “spreading out” toward the periphery, with lower densities, where housing is often cheaper, and, in many cases, families find a better option than those presented by even the most dynamic core cities.

So, do you want to know the future of housing, and to understand how people would choose to live if they could?

Easy. Look to the rich. Look to those who, throughout history, had access to the resources necessary in order to live the lifestyle they want, without the limits of economics or politics or logistics.

So, do the rich live in tiny little apartments in the center of town?

Do the rich forgo cars in favor of sitting alongside their fellow man on the subway?

Do the rich spend their time walking along crowded city streets?

No.

The legacy of the Vanderbilts billions (adjusted for inflation) was not a one bedroom apartment in the downtown region of Raleigh. It was a 200 room sprawling estate on an 8,000 acre estate in the rolling Blue Ridge Mountains. The “Mad King” Ludwig II of Bavaria did not live in a 2 bedroom apartment in Fussen next store to the public Opera House. He built Castle Neuschwanstein, within eyeshot of Castle Hohenschwangau.

Look anywhere in the world and at any time in history, and Kings and Emperors and the incredibly wealthy never chose to live in apartments. Some did maintain penthouse apartments in major cities–but as a second home convenient for performing business. Their main homes were estates; gigantic homes on rolling landscapes, away from their fellow man.

To suggest somehow that these impulses–to live in relative isolation, away from others, in a home of your own, on chunk of land, enjoying relative privacy even in exchange of relative convenience–are somehow limited to the rich: that having money makes these impulses sane, while not having money makes them ill-thought out or crazy: that’s just classist.

And fucking crazy.

Suburbs represent the urge of everyone to satisfy that impulse of relative isolation and relative comfort; to have some privacy in a space you call your own. Of course not everyone can have a 200 room mansion on 8,000 acres of rolling forests. But a lot of people can afford a 3 bedroom house on a quarter acre with a cute little backyard, perhaps with an outdoor barbecue.

The only reason why home ownership rates have declined with Millennials is not because they’re “woke.”

It’s because they’re “broke.”

And the moment they are no longer broke, thanks to sky-high student debt, you’ll see home ownership rates with Millennials increase. Not because of any sort of failure or brainwashing. But because they can, and because it’s what people really want.

I think this is the point.

Question asked: Is Hollywood Support Now a Liability for Democrats?

Hollywood has long been a safe and secure stronghold for Democrats. It was where they could safely raise a great deal of money while still pretending to care about the little guy. After all, these aren’t your typical rich people: they make movies! That means they’re regular folks who understand the people, despite never associating with any regular folks ever.

The Hollywood elite always lined up to endorse the latest Democrat darling. They’d stump for them: the allure of a celebrity in the flesh would lure potential voters out to rallies, then convince them to vote Dem on the strength of the actor’s charisma.

But then the world learned about Harvey Weinstein.

But here’s the thing. All this sexual hanky-panky, involving casting couches and starlettes (and young stars) being sexually abused by older, more powerful people in the business: this has been a well known “secret” for decades. And let’s be honest: if the gatekeeper standing between you and stardom that involves making millions (rather than being a washed-up D-lister who appears on a handful of TV shows in one-off roles) wants you to strip naked and do a little priouette on their genitals–well, a lot of people are more than happy to take one for the team regardless of how gross. Especially when they are the “I” in team.

So the fact that Hollywood is a moral cesspool has been known pretty much forever.

So why now?

My thinking: part of it was driven to drive this “open secret” out into the open, to force Hollywood to “live up to its own book of rules,” rule 4 in Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals.” Notice the attack started with Harvey Weinstein, reportedly one of the largest Hollywood fundraisers for the Democratic Party.

And then it all snowballed.


As it is oft noted on Instapundit, the left will miss civility when it’s gone. Because there are a lot of people on the Left who will become fair game.

And, as my wife noted, we’ll get 9 more seasons of “The Orville”, which got an 18% on Rotten Tomatoes and was panned hard by reviewers–because no-one else will be left in Hollywood to make TV shows.