The Unshakable faith of the Trump-colluded conspiricists.

It is astonishing the degree to which seemingly intelligent people hold an unshakable belief the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to win the election. Blind to the trumped up narrative unraveling all around them, oblivious to the absence of any evidence or substantive claim of a deal between Trump and Russians, unmoved by every scandal and error the media makes trying to ram the story into public acceptance, they simply know it’s true. They smugly sneer and disdain anyone who points out the holes in the story.
Last week’s guilty plea by Trump’s short lived national security advisor Michael Flynn is a prime exhibit of the critics’ unshakable faith in The Narrative. Michael Flynn pled guilty to a single count of lying to the FBI. Instantly the Never Trump lynch mob was high fiving and laying bets how soon the trail would lead to Trump and cause his exit.
 
ABC’s Brian Ross breathlessly blurted that Flynn was cooperating with Muller, and would testify that, during the campaign, Candidate Trump had directed him to contact the Russians. The mob went wild. Smoking gun! Collusion! Treason!
 
By the next day, Ross and ABC had to backpedal in disgrace: The direction to Flynn came after the election, not before. That is, it was about transitional diplomacy on behalf of an incoming administration, not about hacking emails or rigging the vote for a candidate in an upcoming election.
 
In deed, the information released by Muller the next day was explicit: Flynn was to engage the Russians about improved relations, about considering opposing a UN resolution, and about cooperating to fight ISIS. There was simply nothing untoward about those contacts. Why Flynn would have lied to FBI investigators about having them is something of a mystery. But he pled to lying about things that were right and proper, not wrong and collusive
 
That didn’t stop CNN’s Errol Lewis from bleating: It’s time to start talking about impeachment.
 
What Lewis either didn’t understand or deliberately withheld from CNN’s readers is that Flynn’s plea had nothing to do with pre-election collusion. They probably wouldn’t believe him anyway. In the fever swamps of the Never Trump Zealots, there is no fact or information that shakes their conviction. Trump and Putin stole the election from Hillary Clinton.
 
They’re actually missing quite a bit of interesting news. They have probably forgotten that CNN had to fire three reporters for fabricating a Trump-Russia story. They probably have not heard that Muller had to fire one of his top aids from the investigation because the aide had exchanged anti-Trump and pro-Clinton texts with another FBI agent.
 
They almost certainly haven’t heard that the FBI is stonewalling Congress’s attempts to learn more about the aide’s involvement in the case, as well as the FBI’s role in procuring and distributing the infamous Russia Dossier, and that Committee Chair Devin Nunes is threatening to pursue contempt charges.
 
 
None of the drip drip drip of The Narrative leaking away soaks their sweet dreams of perp walks and impeachment and an orange president in an orange jumpsuit.They should probably pay a little more attention to the news.
 
 

Shootout at the Bureaucrat Corral

 
 
Western Gothic might be one way to describe the confrontation stretching out this week as two federal employees test the question: Who is the boss of us and this agency? The president or our own independent selves? The issue encompasses a duel between a presidential appointee to serve as acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau following the resignation of its Director, Richard Cordray, and the internal staffer Cordray presumed to tap as his temporary successor. It also involves competing interpretations of federal statues and constitutional provisions. It’s a perfect shootout for political geeks.
 

The clash is formally over who has authority to choose an acting director until a permanent replacement can be nominated and confirmed, which could take months. But, the context is more fraught. In designing the CFPB, Congress deliberately stretched, and some experts say broke, the limits of its power to create a truly independent regulator, free from direction of the president, and outside accountability to the purses strings and oversight of Congress.

 

How and why did we get here? Following the financial crash of 2008, the overwhelmingly Democrat Congress with Obama in the White House passed the sweeping Dodd Frank Act, ostensibly to prevent the kinds of errors, abuses, and conditions that precipitated the crisis. A key cog in the Act’s gears was the CFPB , intended to be an expert and aggressive financial regulator. The thinking of Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, and Elizabeth Warren was aimed at two problems. First, they believed financial hustlers are too clever, innovative, and quick for traditional regulation based on statutory direction. An agile, aggressive watchdog is needed to spot risky practices and danger signs and take action faster than Congress could come up to speed outlaw bad acts. Second, the big banks, the drafter felt, exercised too much influence with Congress and would, with lobbying and contributions, thwart necessary legislation.
 
Thus, Congress created the CFPB to operate free of presidential control and with an extremely long and flimsy statutory leash. Congress’s mandate to the agency essentially is: spot bad, risky, or unfair financial practices and stop them. Further, Congress freed the agency from traditional accountability based on Congress’s power of the purse. It made the agency self-funding from the fees and fines it collects from regulated financial institutions. The CFPB is truly the energizer financial regulator.
 

Setting up Monday’s clash was an extra bit of president-repellent: In the event of a vacancy in the director position, rather than a traditional nomination of an acting director pending confirmation of the replacement, the Dodd Frank Act provides that the deputy director becomes the acting director.

 

However, another federal statute, the Federal Vacancies Act, provides that the president has power to appoint a temporary head until a permanent nominee is replaced. Adding one more wrinkle, outgoing head Cordray’s choice to be his successor, Leandra English was his chief of staff, not the deputy director. So, the week before he exited, Cordray named English the Deputy Director, intending to plug her into the succession process outlined in the Dodd Frank law. Not so fast, said president Trump, who nominated his Budget Chief Mick Mulvaney to serve as acting director.
 
And so the showdown is shaping up. One imagines both “nominees” approaching the bureau office Monday with hands at the ready near their hips, poised for the fast draw. English was first to fire, filing a lawsuit in federal court arguing she is the rightful acting director. A judge rejected her motion and took the case under advisement. He is reading the parties’ briefs and preparing to issue a ruling. For now, the president’s choice is riding shotgun in this strange clash in a unique federal agency.

Trump And Indians

 

We all know at this point that, during a ceremony to honor World War II veterans who also happened to be Indians, Donald Trump referred to Senator Elizabeth Warren as ‘Pocahontas.’

On Elizabeth Warren – Her genealogy has been extensively researched by Cherokee and there is no Cherokee there – none. That is not the issue – no one debates if she is Cherokee or not or even if she is of Cherokee descent – the issue is that she falsely claimed to be Cherokee and took benefits reserved for actual Indians in order to advance her education and career. The issue is that she stole someone else’s future.

That being said – this event exposes the limitations of Donald Trump as President. Let me explain why this has exposed his limitations:

The net effect of the statement that Trump made in that room with the Navajo warriors is that it makes the efforts by his own administration to help Indians more difficult. It makes helping Indians more difficult because it is Trump adding fuel to a fire that he lit long ago. It is almost impossible to argue at this point that Trump does not view Indians as political props rather than as Americans with legal and constitutional rights. From his long ago comment that “they don’t look like Indians to me” to his mention of termination to his signing the approval for the Dakota Access Pipeline while the tribal leadership of Standing Rock was on an airplane to fulfill a commitment to meet Trump in order to discuss DAPL – Trump has long shown a disdain for Indians and the obligations he has as President in regard to Indians. Just the truth.

I get it – we do not electorally matter in Trump’s political equation so we make the ideal political prop.

From an electoral point of view what Trump does makes sense. We are 2.8% of the population and using us as political props plays to his base. It helps him get to 51%. Unfortunately it also forsakes his ability to do his job as President at the same time. I know Indians that work in the Federal government on Indian matters and who work for the White House as part of the administration. Trump is making their jobs horrifically difficult. Indian country is beset by countless problems and the overwhelming majority of those countless problems root to government policy. There are Indians who directly or indirectly work for Trump who are trying very hard to change those policies and fix those problems, or at least remove the Federally imposed obstacles to fixing those problems.

But it takes trust. It takes trust that the government will not screw us in the end as they have done every single time previous to this. That is the reality if you wish to acknowledge it or not. Trump has destroyed the trust necessary to fix these problems while simultaneously sending out people who work for him to solve these problems. Yes it is that thoughtless. Scoring political points matters more than actually getting the job done. That is the conclusion being drawn in Indian Country.

These Indians working for Trump who are attempting to solve these problems are smart, sincere and want to fix these issues. All too often they must start their conversations with statements such as “He didn’t mean it that way”, “He doesn’t have the power to do that”, “That won’t happen” – etc etc etc. Far too often these people are treated terribly by their own nations for simply being a part of Trump – though they are just trying to solve problems. No one who is sent on a business mission wants to start the conversation out by effectively saying, “Ignore my boss” but that is the reality.

You may not like Indians, you may care less about Indians – Trump may not like Indians, he may care less about Indians – but he took a job that has constitutional, treaty and legislative responsibilities to Indians. If he did not want to fulfill those obligations then he should not have taken the job. His need to play reality TV politics in order to rile up his base interferes with his administration fulfilling its’ constitutional, legal and treaty obligations and that is an issue regardless of his personal views – or yours.

It is beyond absurd that the same people who went ballistic when Obama said ‘clinging to their guns and religion’ tell Indians to grow ‘thicker skins’ in regard to Trump – who has openly spoken of violating the constitution in regard to Indians in the not-too-distant past. It demonstrates the degree of hypocrisy and obtuseness in a political system that is now centered in winning social media arguments rather than actually fulfilling constitutional duties or passing actual legislation. Obamacare anyone?

At some point we must decide if we want to actually fix our problems and have a government that fulfills it constitutional duties or if we simply want to be entertained. I understand that 90% of the people in this country have no knowledge of Indian issues. I do not blame them for not knowing – why would they? Beyond even knowing the issues, the politics internal to Indian nations are byzantine, often corrupt and typically based in a cultural and historical context that is difficult to grasp outside of that particular nation. I get it. However this is the environment as it is and that environment does not exempt Donald Trump from fulfilling his constitutional, legal and treaty duties in regard to Indians. “It was too hard, they didn’t vote for me and so I made them a political prop” is the not the correct answer to “Why did you not fulfill your constitutional, legal and treaty obligations?” It is beyond sad that many people on social media seem to believe that should be the correct answer.

It is increasingly obvious that Trump is betting that we just want to be entertained – why else would you torpedo your own people trying to execute your own policies in favor of gaining cheap political points?

Are you not entertained?

The Practical Application Of Socialism

Rather than exploring the theoretical or ideological fallacies of socialism let us look at the practical application of socialism everywhere it has been adopted for the last one hundred years.

The most common refrain I hear from the so-called ‘Democratic Socialist’ of today is that they are not proposing the abuses of the Soviet Union or these other socialist countries. As side notes, they all deny that Nazi Germany was socialist though Nazi is an acronym for National Socialist Workers Party and they often deny that the Soviet Union was socialist though USSR was Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. There is a degree of self-deception required in order to advocate for socialism.

That is not to say that there is not a degree of self-deception used in advocating for other systems, there often is. However other systems did not murder 150 million people in the 20th century, socialism did. The primary self-deception of the ‘Democratic Socialist’ of today is that what they are advocating for is different than what resulted in Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Chavez, Castro, Ho Chi Minh, Pol Pot – you get the picture.

Let me be abundantly clear with the blatant truth that ‘Democratic Socialist’ of today avoid like the plague: the people who advocated for Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Hitler, Chavez, Castro, Ho Chi Minh, Mao, and Pol Pot and those socialist systems did not advocate for those abuses anymore than Bernie Sanders supporters do – yet mass murder is what they got. If gulags and concentration camps and the Red Terror and mass murder on an unimaginable scale is not what the initial supporters of these dictators advocated for when they chose socialism – then why is that exactly what the results were? ‘Democratic Socialist’ of today simply cannot answer that question in an honest manner – they must obfuscate, dissemble and pretend.

The answer to why socialism always results in poverty, misery and death is quite simple – socialism is force. Socialism is unmitigated force wielded by the few with the promise of social and economic equality as the result of this force. At the end of the day that is all that socialism is, be it the ‘Democratic Socialist’ version of today or otherwise. There are inherent problems with that model – that power corrupts is part of the issue but the much bigger issue is that power attracts those we least wish to have wielding power. This is why many legitimate studies show that psychopaths are attracted to political and government employment and in fact psychopaths are vastly over-represented in government and politics in comparison to the general population. Socialism provides the means to power for psychopaths to wield that power in an unmitigated, unchecked manner. It is not a mystery that socialist governments always wish to disarm the general population – a universal trait of socialism. Psychopaths want compliant people who cannot defend themselves. One goes hand in hand with the other.

The common folks who supported Lenin in the fall of 1917 or Hitler in the late 1920’s or Ho Chi Minh in the late ’40’s or Castro in the late ’50’s or the Sandinista’s in the ’70’s were not wishing for gulags and mass murder and concentration camps and genocide – but that is what they received. The ‘Democratic Socialist’ of today do not wish for gulags and mass murder and concentration camps and genocide in the least – but they are advocating to put extraordinary power inevitably into the hands of psychopaths. Their argument is the same argument that Hitler and Castro and Ho Chi Minh and Pol Pot and Ortega and countless others made – “it is different this time, we aren’t ‘those’ people!”

However – it is never different because the power that socialism concentrates into the hands of the few attracts psychopaths in the same manner that apple pies attract ants at a picnic. Socialism, even the current ‘Democratic Socialist’ version, removes the checks and balances put into place to limit the power – and damage – of psychopaths.

The virtue and attraction of a limited republican form of government and a free market is to make government so powerless as to render the psychopaths impotent.

Often the ‘Democratic Socialist’ attempt to argue that the private sector is a much greater threat to them than a socialist government is – so let us look at that claim for a moment. In a free market, a truly free market and not what we have today, you can simply choose to stop doing business with a firm that you do not wish to do business with. The private sector is empowered to make you do nothing in a free market. The private sector cannot send you to a gulag, to a concentration camp, cannot send armed men to make you do as they wish, or imprison, kill or maim you without the complicity of government. A free market is the removal of all complicity of government in these matters – in other words a free market is freedom from violence, compulsion, coercion and force. Socialism is mandatory violence, compulsion, coercion and force – because socialism IS force and violence and the threat of violence is the only means they have of exercising that force.

Inevitably the mandatory violence, compulsion, coercion and force of socialism will be concentrated in the hands of psychopaths – inevitably. Unlike limited republican government, socialism contains no checks and balances to prevent that – in fact it invites that abuse. No one in Russia thought they were supporting gulags. No one in Germany thought they were supporting the utter destruction of Europe. No one in Cuba thought they were supporting going from the 5th highest per capita income in the western hemisphere when Castro took over to the 126th highest per capita income in the western hemisphere after 57 years of socialism. No one in Viet Nam thought they were supporting the murder of the eldest person in 15,000 hamlets for no other reason than they were the eldest person in the hamlet. No one in Venezuela thought they were supporting mass starvation.

But that is what they got.

Now ‘Democratic Socialist’ say that they do not support any of that and I believe them, they do not. However they do support Bernie Sanders who thirty years ago refused to condemn the Sandinista genocide of the Miskito Indians, saying it was ‘necessary to advance socialism.’ Let that sink in good and deep before you try to convince us that you would never support the historical abuses of socialism because to be frank – we do not believe you. We do believe, as with all of the other versions of socialism, that the fellow willing to slice the most throats will rise to the top and that all of the socialist who claim to believe in justice, equity and fairness will simply stand aside trembling when that happens and do nothing.

We believe that because it is always true.

This week in the basket of absurdities.

 
 
In a strange political time, this week was maybe stranger than most. Let’s survey some strangeness.
 
Hillary Clinton still has the presidential virus bad, her fever hasn’t peaked, and some nursemaids are caring for her tenderly and taking her vapors quite seriously.
 
 
The self-driving, autonomous financial regulation vehicle called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is in a headless stand-off with POTUS. The former agency head, Richard Cordray resigned and presumed to designate his chief of staff as Acting Director. The president of the United States has appointed someone else as Acting Director, pending confirmation of a replacement.What? The president is boss of the executive branch? Who knew? Confusion in the ant colony ensues.
 
 
Donald Trump tweets that Time was going to name him Man of the Year but he doesn’t want it. Neener neener. Time retorts it was not going to, so neener neener. Important national business.
 
 
Lois Lerner is asking the court to seal, burn, and bury her testimony in the civil lawsuit against the IRS for its predation of good Americans. She claims she and her family have received threats, and if the truth comes out, her life could be in danger. What a brilliant scheme for petty tyrants: The worse the abuse of citizens, the greater the need for permanent protective secrecy.
 
 
Democrats traditionally gathered in national and state events to celebrate annual Jefferson Jackson dinners. But, Jefferson and Jackson have become disreputable because of their unacceptable record on race and racism. So, searching for better lights to live by, the Democrats just observed the first annual Kennedy Clinton Dinner. Because those fellows’ records on sex and sexism is impeccable!
 
 
And then, from the superb crew at Powerline Blog, there’s this priceless photo of lout Charlie Rose interviewing louts Spacey, Franken, and Clinton. Wonder what they talked about.

It appears that the lefty paper the Guardian is shocked that Trump is trying to move the federal judiciary in a conservative direction.

And that’s only a bit of this week in absurdity.

 
 

The New York Times’ creepy crush on Communism: Global Warming edition.

The New York Times has struck again in its strange gushes of infatuation with communism. Its latest is a vacuous reflection titled The Climate Crisis? It’s Capitalism, Stupid. Before digging into the sterile soil of this small plot of desert of logic, it is useful for context to recall the Times’ recent valentines to the bloodiest, most brutal ideology yet known on earth.
 
The Gray Lady apparently has slipped into nostalgic dementia for the days when its erstwhile Pulitzer scribe Walter Duranty wrote home about the glories of communism and scientific state planning even while, right under his nose, there were mass famines and slaughters that were exterminating tens of millions. What else would explain its recent paean 100 years of Communism, a series of columns airbrushing and romanticizing Marx’s spawn in the 20th century?
 
The various columns have to be seen and savored to be fully appreciated. There’s the heartwarming When Communism Inspired Americans. Too, there’s the heart wrenching What Killed the Promise of Muslim Communism? If you’re looking for something upbeat and racy, the Times is eager to explain Why Women Had Better Sex Under Socialism. Continuing the theme of doing right by the ladies, the Times also analyzes how Mao’s China lifted and empowered women.
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There’s much more. The series includes primers on Bolshevism’s lessons for parenting as well as how early communists were models for future environmental activists. Which brings us up to November 2017 and capitalism’s sins against the mother planet.
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In declaring that capitalism is the fire that will burn us all, one Benjamin Fong, a lecturer at Arizona State University offers no intelligent argument on global warming. He presents no substantive discussion of warming trends, warming causes, or warming consequences. He offers no explanation of how capitalism—free exchange really—is the driver of those trends. And he offers no description of the political-economic system he believes will cool the fire we face. He simply quotes a single scientist who reports global carbon emissions are on the rise. Fong doesn’t bother to invoke the proverbial 97%, Al Gore, or Michael Mann. He simply takes it for granted that invoking the C word makes his case. Readers will accept the reality of our coming doom and pine for solutions.
 
Fong’s omissions are not surprising in light of his light credentials to address his heated topic. Fong is not a climate scientist. Fong is not a political scientist. He’s not any kind of scientist. Fong is not an economist either. What is this lecturer from ASU, to whom the nation’s most arrogant newspaper leased a prized piece of opinion real estate?
 
Well, Fong’s bio on the university website informs us:”[Fong was at Princeton] Affiliate Scholar at the Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. His interests lie at the intersections of philosophy, psychology, critical social theory, and the study of religion.”
 
It further informs that Fong’s first book is: “Death and Mastery: Psychoanalytic Drive Theory and the Subject of Late Capitalism, which seeks to strengthen the psychoanalytic dimension of first generation critical theory in the hopes of rejuvenating its conception of subjection in late capitalism.” I don’t know what any of that means. I fed it through Google translate, but it came back word for word, verbatim verbatim the same. So, there we have it. Benjamin Fong is a non-professor who is interested in the intersection of religion and psychology and who hates capitalism. Sounds perfect for the New York Times. It’s a wonder NPR or PBS didn’t gobble him up first.
 
In any event, Fong’s thesis comes at an inconvenient time for the religion of warming hysteria. Temperatures aren’t keeping up with the doctored models. Consumers of popular American media like the Times wouldn’t know it, but, in light of step backed IPCC observations and hedged projections, even the oracle of mainstream scientific thought Scientific American recently reported: “Climate Change Will Not Be Dangerous for a Long Time.
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That was no coldflash in the pan. The journal Nature GeoScience reported a recent study by several eminent climate scientists that concluded prominent models over-estimate the heat retaining effect of CO2 and underestimate the responsive dynamics of earth’s skies and oceans. Bottom line: Global warming is crawling to catch up with activists’ alarmism.
 
The Washington Post covered the Nature study with the headline: New climate change calculations could buy the Earth some time — if they’re right. The New York Times–America’s paper of record, that prints all the news that’s fit to print–evidently deems this study unfit to print. Instead, it cedes column inches to a religion/psychology-studying, capitalism-hating lecturer to inform us that the catastrophe of global warming is the fault of capitalism.
 
It’s a shame Fong’s enlightened thesis wasn’t available until after the Times ran its tribute to Red redistribution, tyranny, and massacre. It would have been a fitting addition.
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