The Summit of Hysteria

Trying to sort through the hysteria pile concerning the Trump/Putin “summit”. This is a portion of conversation I had with a good friend:

 

  1. World leaders never upstage each other on the same stage; the idea that Trump would berate Putin in a press conference is idiotic and childish. Set your Wayback Machine to 1972 and recall that President Nixon met with and shared a stage with Mao Zedong, numerically the worst butcher of humans in history. No one expected Nixon to Mao, and it would have been a disaster had he done so. Event though Mao had the blood of some 60,000,000 people on his hands.

 

  1. Trump’s style, near as I can figure, is to co-opt his rivals. This is a classic business approach that we see every day on Wall Street. If you can’t beat them, join them or better yet, buy them. No, we won’t buy Russia but maybe instead of treating them like an enemy (they aren’t), try to get them on our side in terms of getting along. This may not work, but it has seemingly borne fruit in North Korea.

 

  1. The one fault I may have with Trump is publicly calling out the intelligence services, but it’s a minor quibble. From long before the 2016 elections, the alphabet soup of our “intelligence” agencies have seemingly embraced a unitary purpose: The downfall of candidate-now-President Trump. Should he be a “bigger person” than that? Perhaps. But as a shot against the “deep state (more on this in a minute) it was a darn effective shot precisely because it falls in the category of “you just don’t do that”. Kinda like with Air Force One flew direct from Riyadh to Israel. Trump was told that no one does that. He said, essentially, “hold my beer” and had it done. That is good in my eyes.

 

  1. Back to Russia quickly. At one point the Soviet Union was publicly on record as seeking to destroy the United States (and just about everyone else in the west). They were enemies then. Now, at best they are rivals, more like China but with the potential to be co-opted as if not an ally, a reasonable party. China is a much bigger concern to us and to Russia. It makes sense to see if we have mutual interest.

 

  1. (last one): Call it the “deep state”, call it Leviathan, call it the Elite. Whatever you call it, it is…not good for this nation. There was a great study performed a few years ago that got turned into a long-but-not-too-dry book. It’s called “What Washington Gets Wrong: The Unelected Officials Who Actually Run the Government and Their Misconceptions About the American People” by Jennifer Bachner and Benjamin Ginsberg. The Cliff’s Notes of the Cliff’s Notes: Laws are passed by elected representatives but regulations are written and implemented by a massive unelected bureaucracy that is not only unaccountable to the people, they statistically are at odds with the majority of people on most issues. Furthermore, many of these folks couldn’t possibly tell you what the average American thinks because they live, work and breathe in a bubble. This is the essence of that FBI agent saying that you can “smell the Trump support.” That dripping condescension runs deep in DC.

 

So along comes Trump, speaking out against Leviathan to great effect. Much of what you see on the news is the reaction of Leviathan to Trump and by extension the American people. The “deplorables”, as Hillary called many of us. In my view, the more the media screams, the more they are all scared that at some point enough people will decide “enough” and start electing battalions of Trumps. Not the most pleasant thought, I do understand that. But this $4 trillion per year blob sucks the life out of the nation and uses the media as its mouthpiece, constantly berates people like me as morons, racists and worse, and frankly goes on its way and does what it wants regardless of who we elect. It probably will never change. But I will enjoy it when Trump makes it squirm.

 

Deep state

Do these folks run the world????

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A Teachable Moment?

Considering the rabid left is already protesting President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court – regardless of who it is – the media maestro should try a novel approach to make a broader point. After taking the podium and engaging in a platitude laden speech about America, justice and the Supreme Court in general, President Trump should announce the following:

“I am this evening sending Merrick Garland to the Senate for conformation. I have no doubt that Judge Garland will excel in this role, and I expect swift confirmation.”

He should then retreat upstairs and watch the hysteria for about an hour, followed by the following (on Twitter of course): “Calm down people. I am nominating Judge Garland for the Ambassador of Nunavut. I have decided to reveal my SCOTUS nomination tomorrow morning at 8 am EST. Good night and God Bless America.”

The joke, of course, is that Merrick Garland was Barack Obama’s last Supreme Court nominee. The left loved him, but he never got a vote. Watching the hysterical street mobs – and their media enablers – protesting the same “nominee” would be priceless. And it would also provide a teachable moment for right wing reactionaries, some of whom would be on ledges if they failed to catch the subtlety of Trump not actually saying “Supreme Court”.

If there was ever a president who had the guts to pull this off, it’s Trump. Alas, I don’t see it happening. But it sure would be fun to watch.

 

ledge

Come off there. Really, it will be fine.

Non-Virtuous Signaling

There is a ghastly trend gaining strength today: The practice of “virtue signaling” or showing everyone else how totally awesome you are by performing a meaningless gesture that serves no other purpose. Indeed, it’s all the “rage” now.

To be fair, anyone who has even put a bumper sticker on their car, bought an article of clothing solely for the logo, or put a candidate’s sign in their yard has done this. After all, no one is going to decide to vote for someone because of your yard sign. And disarming our nuclear arsenal may be a good thing in certain circumstances, one of those is most certainly not because “You Can’t Hug Children with Nuclear Arms”. So, this is not new. But it seems we are taking it to new levels.

Social media causes some of this: Remember the “99% of people won’t post this” postings that ran rampant a few years ago on social media?  Yes, “99% of people” won’t post whatever it is because it’s (fill in the blank – religious, controversial, bold, whatever), and these people are (again, choose one or more – cowards, bigots, morons, whatever) but doggone it, I will post it and that makes me awesome! Sorry, you 99% losers, you suck compared to me.

Or take the recently minted “Just Be Kind” signs. Please. No one except the most naïve simpleton is going to think that a Bad Person – on their way to be a Very Bad Thing – is going to see this sign and change their minds. This sign – like the English, Spanish and Arabian language signs post-2016 election declaring strangers to be welcome – is all about the virtuousness of the person posting the sign. That person is kind; those without signs are hateful haters who hate.

If mere annoyance was the worst of it, the increase in virtue signaling would be bearable. Unfortunately, it takes on far more sinister – and frankly, deadly – forms. For example, let’s look at everyone’s favorite school policy, the “gun free zone”. This is virtue signaling at its most idiotic and dangerous. Like the Just Be Kind signs, only a fool thinks that making schools “gun free” will prevent a determined maniac from entering the school armed and to devastating effect. It’s a progressive fantasy of the highest order that an armed intruder, upon viewing a “gun free zone” sign, will turn around, drop their guns, and have a good hug and cry with the staff.

Let’s look at this another way. I design mechanical and electrical systems, some of which are outside. In these instances, we install fencing around the equipment. Why? For one, to keep vandals out. But also, to keep people and wildlife away from dangerous equipment. No one wants to have an accident where someone is killed by electrical shock.

But taking the logic of the gun free zones, why do we need a fence? Would not signs do? Why do we need fences around electrical substations? For that matter, why do we need x-ray machines at the airport? Or baggage screeners? Or security guards at banks? If mere signs are expected to do the trick at schools, why can’t signs be counted on everywhere?

And it’s now worse still. The left, in its latest fit of unhinged rage, is showing its “virtue” by berating those they disagree with in a bizarre form of “shaming”. This is truly ironic, since it’s the political left that for decades told us that “shame” has no place in society. Egged on by congresswoman Maxine Waters and others, people are encouraged to show how enlightened thy are by shouting, disrupting and otherwise making nuisances of themselves. In other words, their virtue is such that they are permitted – no, encouraged, even commanded – to engage in the most non-virtuous behaviors to make their point.

It will never work: Minds will never be changed by someone screaming at them. Nor are minds changed by violence or the threat thereof. Scream, threaten or throw your tantrums. No one will listen, and no one will change.

It’s like a Very Wise Man once said long ago of His day’s own virtue signalers, “they have their reward”. So be it with today’s.

 

virtue-signaling

Beware the wolves in sheep’s clothing…

Whose Funds?

Peruse the news for not a very long time and you will inevitably stumble upon one or more of the following lines:

“The project will be 80% paid for by a federal grant.”

“FEMA has pledged to help rebuild the community.”

“The governor plans to ask for federal funds to pay for the new program”.

Or this one, taken from the web site for the Indianapolis Bus Rapid Transit boondoggle:

“Construction of the Red Line is being funded primarily through a $75 million federal Small Starts grant. Additional federal resources are being provided through a federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant already in place.” (emphases mine)

These claims, and all other like them, work from the same basic premise: Federal funds are being used to offset local funds. The federal funds are presented as free, so what would have cost $100 million now “only” costs $20 million. It’s as if the federal government is a distant rich uncle who just writes checks from a large mountain of cash, saving the locals from horrible bills.

The reality is different. Yes, the federal government does have a large mountain of cash, but that cash comes from you and me in the form of taxes. In fact, because of our insane levels of debt and ongoing deficit spending, the cash comes from you, me, our children, our grandchildren, and likely their children and grandchildren. What is presented as free is anything but.

Without delving into the argument of whether the good citizens of Alaska should be forced to pay for Indy’s bus system, what would happen if the example paragraph above was rewritten as follows:

“Construction of the Red Line is being funded primarily through a $75 million of taxpayer-funded ‘Small Starts’ grant. Additional taxpayer resources are being provided through the taxpayer-provided Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant already in place.”

It reads a bit differently, doesn’t it? Would it make a difference? Maybe, maybe not. Probably not at first. But over time, as people look at everything that is being paid for by the federal government taxpayers, some will question why? Why are we paying for a bus system few will use? Or a new convention center? Or an arts center? Or surplus cheese? Or a glow-in-the-dark marijuana joint on a billboard?

Because proponents of massive government work in the media, don’t expect to see this anytime soon. But you, dear reader, can train your mind. When you see “federal program”, replace with “taxpayer” and see how you feel about paying for the program in question. You will find yourself questioning a great deal of that is being done for “free”.

 

shell-game-dog

There’s no free treat under there