With Sarah Jeong’s Tweets, the Left embraces Tribalism

The New York Times provided several days of amusement this week after hiring racist technology writer Sarah Jeong, with full knowledge of her twitter history.  That history?  Here’s a small sample:

The Times was in full bore defense mode of their pick:

On Thursday, The Times released a statement saying that it knew about the tweets before hiring Ms. Jeong, 30, and that she would stay on the editorial board.

“Her journalism and the fact that she is a young Asian woman have made her a subject of frequent online harassment,” The Times said in its statement. “For a period of time she responded to that harassment by imitating the rhetoric of her harassers. She sees now that this approach only served to feed the vitriol that we too often see on social media.”

So virulent racism is OK as long as it’s used as a counter attack against trolls?  It’s a brand new argument which isn’t even remotely intellectually defensible, but it’s one I’ve seen copied across forums and message boards throughout the week.  Of course at this point I fully expected a defense of her hiring, I was just curious as to what form it would take.  It’s almost disappointing that they put such little effort in mounting a defense.  What makes Jeong’s tweets perfectly acceptable compared to say, Roseanne Barr’s comes down to, “it’s just different OK?”

Just a couple of observations…

In a political sense, this is good news for the GOP. The Democrats have really been driven off the rails this year with the party being pushed into indefensible positions on abolishing ICE and embracing socialism (whatever that means, and I suppose that most have no clue).  This is all in a year when the Democrats should have expected some Congressional gains. Instead, it’s turning into the “I don’t believe in borders, #CancelWhitePeople” party.  If Trump and the GOP have any wit about them, they’ll capitalize on this.  Every Democratic Congressional candidate should be asked about Jeong’s tweets, whether they are acceptable, is the New York Times supporting #CancelWhitePeople? “Candidate A, do you believe that white men are bullshit?”  They need to be made to own their crazy.

Also in a political sense, but in a more long run view, how does being the anti-white party influence Democratic Party prospects?  During the 2016 election, I observed that some of these guys really were serious about having a case of the ass for white people. Key to the Democrat’s “Demography is Destiny” voter replacement plan is that at least for the short run (the next two decades) white voters will continue to vote for the Democrats at about the same percentages.  But how much comparison to white people as “groveling goblins” can Democrat white voters handle?  I’ve no doubt that a certain type of NPR listening, sweater wearing, herbal tea drinking white person, reading Jeong’s tweets, could chuckle and say, “Yes we are the worst!”  Nor would this be anything but catnip to your typical white college radical; but what about families? Does the typical white Democratic voter with children really want to support a party that targets their children and see them as a problem?  I’m not so sure.

And that brings me to my final observation, that the lack of even a pretense of intellectual evenhandedness in the defense of Jeong shows that the left has gone full tribalism.  They are defending Jeong, not because she’s misunderstood, or there is merit to her tweets, but simply because they are in the same tribe and are defending one of their own. We live in an age when intellectual and political arguments are passé. The only thing that matters is which side you are one.

So how will this play out in the midterm elections?  I’ve already made my predictions, but hopefully at least through October Trump should be reminding voters what the “failing New York Times” thinks of them.

 

 

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Reuter’s Fake News on the Mueller Indictment

In a busy news week (but aren’t they all these days?) I can barely keep up to read what’s going on, never mind look more deeply into an issue and analyze it.  However, certain things stick out.  And with the latest Mueller indictment of 12 Russian GRU Cyber warriors, a couple of things stuck out.

The Reuters headline to the story, “U.S. indictments show technical evidence for Russian hacking accusations,” was eye popping because I’m not familiar with indictments actually containing evidence, but it wasn’t just a headline blurb that some editor pasted on someone else’s story, it was in the body of the story too:

“SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – U.S. indictments against a dozen Russian intelligence officers on Friday provided detailed technical evidence to back up allegations of Russian hacking and leaking of information to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”

The indictment tells a compelling and detailed story, but no evidence.  But such is the strength of Reuter’s reputation that I had a weekend long online argument about whether the indictment consists of “evidence” or not.  But the story in the indictment is good that I didn’t believe that Mueller’s team could have gotten this information.  It had to come from US intelligence sources.  If there is any “evidence’ it resides there, as the article seemed to admit further down:

“Some researchers said the indictment might have depended on U.S. signals intelligence, the fruits of which are rarely revealed, because it quotes electronic messages sent to an unidentified organization presumed to be London-based WikiLeaks.”

Signals Intelligence from the NSA or some other agency makes more sense, but how in the world would that end up in a Justice Department Independent Counsel indictment?  Was it declassified?  Where did it come from?

Well according to Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House select committee on intelligence, in a Daily Caller article:

“…an Intelligence Committee report released to the public on April 27 contained “almost everything” laid out in Mueller’s indictment, which was handed down Friday.

The indictment accuses military intelligence officers with Russia’s GRU of hacking into the DNC and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton campaign’s computer networks and releasing stolen documents through the fake online personas, Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks.

Nunes said in an interview on “Fox Sunday Futures” that much of the information was included in Chapter 2 of the House Intelligence Committee’s report, but it was heavily redacted in response to requests from the Department of Justice and intelligence community.”

Hmm.

“Nunes said that the committee’s investigators have had information on the Russian spies for over a year. The committee began investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign back in January 2017. Committee Republicans ended their investigation on March 12, saying that they found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.

Nunes said that if the information in the Intelligence Committee’s report had been declassified, “the American people would have known we basically wrote the indictment for Mueller.””

So Nunes is claiming that virtually the entire indictment was lifted from the classified portion of his committee’s report.  A couple of questions come to mind.

Did Mueller get those portions of the report declassified so he could include it on his indictment?

If so, why couldn’t the House Intelligence Committee release these portions of their report?

If Mueller didn’t get the story of the indictment from the House report, where did he get it from?  An intelligence community leak?

If this information wasn’t declassified, didn’t someone or multiple someone’s release that information illegally?

In any case, whether the release was legal or not, it seems the only place this could have come from was the intelligence community, meaning the actual evidence, sources and methods and classified reports, would NEVER be used in an open court.  There is no way to actually prosecute these 12 Russians, even if you get them in the United States and standing before a judge.

It’s Concord Management all over again.

So this is not only fake news, it’s a fake indictment as well.  It’s a good thing that I no longer concentrate on every detail of these investigations in the same way I used to do.  It seems every time I do, I discover I’ve wasted my time on fake news and fake investigations.

 

In SCOTUS Wars, the Dems Main Attack is Fake News

Last night, President Trump barely had the name “Kavanaugh” escape his lips when the MSM started ginning up their smear mill.  This article, deceptively titled Supreme Court nominee has argued Presidents should not be distracted by investigations or lawsuits, was posted on The Washington Post website at 9:01 pm; a minute before Trump had even declared his pick.

So the online commentary started immediately, with this article as the source to declare that Kavanaugh doesn’t believe that the President has to comply with subpoena. The truth is all right there, you just have to sift for it.  The way the Post article described it is thus:

“U.S. Circuit Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, a former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy who was nominated replace him, has argued that presidents should not be distracted by civil lawsuits, criminal investigations or even questions from a prosecutor or defense attorney while in office.

Kavanaugh had direct personal experience that informed his 2009 article for the Minnesota Law Review: He helped investigate President Bill Clinton as part of independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr’s team and then served for five years as a close aide to President George W. Bush.

Having observed the weighty issues that can consume a president, Kavanaugh wrote, the nation’s chief executive should be exempt from “time-consuming and distracting” lawsuits and investigations, which “would ill serve the public interest, especially in times of financial or national security crisis.””

But what did Kavanaugh actually write in the Minnesota Law Review?

“…With that in mind, it would be appropriate for Congress to

enact a statute providing that any personal civil suits against

presidents, like certain members of the military, be deferred

while the President is in office. The result the Supreme Court

reached in Clinton v. Jones—that presidents are not constitutionally

entitled to deferral of civil suits—may well have been

entirely correct; that is beyond the scope of this inquiry. But

the Court in Jones stated that Congress is free to provide a

temporary deferral of civil suits while the President is in office.

Congress may be wise to do so, just as it has done for certain

members of the military. Deferral would allow the President

to focus on the vital duties he was elected to perform.”

So what Kavanaugh actually said was that although he thinks it would be a good thing if a President had relief from suits while in office, he agreed with the Court decision in Clinton v. Jones that said he didn’t, and that relief could only come from the legislature.  So Kavanaugh isn’t going to rule that Trump can ignore any subpoenas from the Muller investigation (which is why the left has gone so crazy about this).

It took me all of about 5 minutes to research this and figure it out, but then, I’m not part of the journalist community, who were reporting the left wing blogosphere’s version all day today.

These reporters would really make me feel smart; if I wasn’t so sure they knew exactly what they were doing and were purposefully crafting phony attack lines to feed to an unaware public.

The Morning Joe Prediction Challenge

Amidst the usual freak-outs and hair pulling about Trump, North Korea, Trump, Mueller, Trump, the RUSSIANS, and of course Trump, Joe Scarborough had time to be fumed at Trump for yet another reason: This time it’s personal.  Joe’s good personal friend Mark Sanford lost his House seat primary to pro-Trumper Katie Arrington.  Whether or not Trump’s tweet calling Sanford “unhelpful” and saying he was better off in Argentina had anything to do with it is hard to say, but it sure wasn’t helpful to Sanford.  This of course led to another amusing unhinged rant by Joe.  Check this out!

There is a lot to unpack in this ten minute segment, too much in fact!  But what I wanted to focus on starts at around the 8:30 mark, when Joe declares his prediction, that there will be a “massive Democratic wave this fall.”

You heard it here first folks (because few people other than me watch the show).

I’ve also made a prediction, noted here, that there will NOT be a “massive Democratic wave” and that the GOP will keep control of the House. So who is the better political analyst, Joe Scarborough or me? Time will tell, but if I’m right, Joe should fly me to New York and feed me, and if I’m wrong, I’ll write a mea culpa on my inaccurate prediction.

Gentlemen, place your bets.

Trump Flips the G-7 Script

Trade has been a large component of the weekend news blather due to the G-7 Comedy Revue hosted by Canada with President Trump leading the charge against America’s allies.  After being lambasted by the leaders of the G-7 countries for increasing tariffs against them, Trump dropped a couple of bombs.  The first was the suggestion that maybe Russia should rejoin the group, causing spasms in anti-Trump Muellerites (“I knew it!  Got ‘em!”). And the second was that maybe the G-7 shouldn’t have any tariffs or subsidies between them at all.  With that, Trump drops the mic, says peace out losers, I’m going to Singapore to bring global peace…later.

That

Is

Hilarious!

Somehow, Trump manages to turn it around, after being criticized as a protectionist; he leaves the G-7 meeting dropping the most free trade friendly proposal ever, leaving it to the establishment class to explain why Trump’s protectionism is bad, but that Trump’s free trade ideas are also bad because…TRUMP!

Although the Singapore summit may drown out a lot of the usual media backlash to Trump’s G-7 smack down, it’s hard to not be in awe of how Trump turned the criticism of him on trade right back on the other members of the G-7, demanding they liberalize their economies.  Something of course, they have no intention of doing, thereby illustrating Trump’s point that free trade isn’t free trade if it only runs one way.

And in a related trade note, that standard bearer of the conventional wisdom, The Atlantic, ran a piece Friday called, Normalizing Trade Relations with China Was a Mistake. Admittedly, it was written by Reihan Salam, The Atlantic’s one of two token conservatives remaining (after giving Kevin Williamson the boot), but I thought it was interesting that Atlantic Editor in Chief Jeffery Goldberg retweeted the article, calling it “bracing.” Goldberg is as conventional wisdom as conventional wisdom gets, and if he’s willing to take another look at a position that he’s slavishly supported for years, that may signal the beginning of the establishment looking at trade Trump’s way, rather than K Street’s way.

That would be big.  More winning?

Why a Balanced Budget Amendment Should be a GOP Priority

Fiscal Discipline was struck another blow this week when Rand Paul’s balanced budget plan was voted down in the senate after gaining the support of only 20 senators.  It’s no surprise that fiscal restraint isn’t popular, but that’s an embarrassingly low number of allegedly Republican senators (obviously no Democrats voted for it).

Rand’s version of the “Penny Plan” would have capped federal spending and restrict spending growth to 1% annually.  In DC terms, that’s an austere cut. No one can really claim to be shocked that the GOP would be against it.  It has virtually no history of the kind of fiscal discipline that it claims to espouse.   But I’m not really grieving about this plan going down.  A plan to promise cuts in the future is about as useless as a Paul Ryan show vote on a theoretical budget that will never be implemented.  It’s simply theater.

Far more serious was the loss in the House back in April of the Balanced Budget Amendment.  This hardy perennial was defeated by failing to get a two thirds vote, 233 in favor to 184 against.  Interestingly the House was able to rally to pass a 1.3 Trillion Omnibus spending bill only a few weeks prior to that vote.  I guess they can agree on some things.  Just not on some of the most important things.

If you want to see who voted yea or nay, check it out here.

If you are a fiscal conservative or even someone who doesn’t want the country to collapse in fiscal disaster, there is no greater priority than a Balanced Budget Amendment.  Unfortunately there are many factions on the right who oppose a Balanced Budget Amendment, such as the Club for Growth and The Heritage Foundation.  These groups oppose anything that might lead to an increase in taxes.  Better deficit spending as far as the eye can see than an extra penny for taxes.

This is extremely shortsighted.

If in fact, Demography is Destiny (the working hypothesis I’ve been going by for years), at some point the Republicans as they are currently configured will be untenable as a national party.  Once they lose control of national power for good, then here comes the California model of governance for the rest of the nation.  California, in its plan to be the next Venezuela, seemingly has no stop sticks from preventing it from going off the rails, yet they put a stop on a plan to provide single payer healthcare for the entire state, an idea that the majority of people and politicians in the state support.

Why is that?

The reason obviously is that they couldn’t pay for it.  It would have doubled the state budget, requiring massive tax increases in a state that already pays high taxes.

And that’s the rub.  The trick to keeping Democrats from fiscally destroying the country after all the GOP brakes are gone is making them pay for it by raising taxes; something that ultimately, they are as loath to do as any cigar chomping, monocle wearing, GOP banker type.

One of the few long term priorities that can outlast the GOP of the Bushes, Ryan, and McConnell is a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution.  It actually forces the difficult choices that we’ve been avoiding for decades.  A super majority of Democrats running the Intersectional States of America decades from now would still be constrained in funding Single Payer, UBI, and assorted other fantasies if there were a Balanced Budget Amendment.  Taxes might be high and the economy might stink, but that’s better than the currency being worthless.

 

 

The Trumpification of Homeland

Homeland is not the only show that’s been thrown for a loop (still!) by the 2016 elections.  I’ve mentioned a few others previously, and this television season, even Mayor Oliver Queen from Arrow is being impeached.  It’s an epidemic I tell ya…

But the King and Queen of all Trump-tastrophes is Showtime’s Homeland.  Its two season #resist has finally, mercifully, ended.  It’s a sad detour for what had been one of the better quality shows on television, or at least premium cable.  For those not familiar with the show, it’s a national security thriller starring Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison, a crack CIA analyst who is (was) secretly bipolar.  Her mentor Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) treats her like a daughter, and constantly puts his career at risk for Carrie’s crazy analytical hunches, which often enough, turn out to be dead right.  After several seasons of fighting Islamic terror, Iranian terror, finally, show goes after the greatest threat of all, Carrie takes on the Trumpian patriarchy.

To summarize last year’s season 6 quickly (spoilers!), Carrie is out of the CIA and is working for an NGO in New York.  This takes place after the US presidential election in which the woman candidate, Elizabeth Keane, defeats whoever the old white male was.  Keane is all for downsizing the US presence in the Middle East; a position she is guided to by Carrie, who is secretly an advisor to the transition team.  But the evil neocon patriarchy isn’t done yet, and launches a false flag terrorist bombing in NYC, with one of Carrie’s Muslim clients as the patsy.

This was around episode 5 or 6 when the producer’s world collapsed, Donald Trump won the election.

“At one point each season, we are writing scripts contemporaneously with real events happening. That occurred this season around episode five or six when the election happened, and we realized that we were gonna have to change the narrative a little bit. The first thing we wanted to address was this idea that our election was influenced by another force; by fake news, which struck us as a very right topic to construct a story around. Sock puppets were actually already part of the story, then we introduced O’Keefe in episode five instead of eight, which we’d planned originally.”

So enter an Alex Jones like figure, Brett O’Keefe, who is involved with the sinister deep state forces trying to keep a sister down, and engages in a social media war against President-elect Keane, using fake twitter accounts and doctored video.

It’s pretty clear at this point where the producers originally intended to go and where they made changes.  The deep state and its social media fake news allies go after Keane, and eventually decide to launch an assassination attempt, which is thwarted, and Keane takes the oath of office and becomes President.  At this point, Keane morphs into Donald Trump, reeking with authoritarian paranoia, begins mass arrests of national security, defense, and intelligence officials (including Saul).  Carrie is shut out from the White House and democracy dies in darkness…

My wife and I couldn’t believe what an abortion season 6 had turned into. The Homeland writers’ room actually took their post-election breakdown and wrecked their TV show with it.

To me, it was so bad that I thought the only logical recourse was to have Carrie step out of the shower with the entire season having been just a dream, and then back overseas for some international intrigue.  No such luck.  Instead we got season 7, the pussyhat season.  I knew it was going to be bad when the opening credits showed rebel flag waving rednecks and Klansmen in full KKK regalia.  Did that have anything to do with season 7?  Nope, but the show did shine a spotlight on its greatest fear, flyover country rural whites, armed and angry.  Were rural whites the big bad for the season?  Close but no cigar, and it’s not even a spoiler to tell you who the real big bad of the season is:

THE RUSSIANS!

If you couldn’t have figured that out before the season even started, you haven’t been paying attention.

In the rush to un-Trump President Keane, the show decides to put all the previous deep state blame on one General, who is sentenced to prison and promptly assassinated.  Whoa, what luck!  So Keane releases the 200 plus conspirators and maybe conspirators, including Saul, and makes him National Security Advisor.  So the deep state enemies are now the good guys, and the bad President is now good again.

So after a season fighting poor whites, the Russians, and a Congressional plot to 25th Amendment President Keane out of office, Keane ends up resigning anyway because half the country already thinks she’s a liar.  I suppose this was to be the writer’s suggestion for Trump: Resign now.

Oh and Carrie is crazy again.

I’ve no doubt Showtime, the producers, writers and actors are all very smug about how they’ve wrecked their show, but it seems a sad end even though the show is getting another season.  Alas poor Homeland, Hollywood wrecked you…