February 15th, 2017

Where is it all heading?

A commenter here used to say quite often that the left had a lot more tricks up its sleeve than we knew, and that we were only seeing a small percentage of their power, maybe 5%. That person also said that if the left really wanted to sink a president or a person, we’d be seeing a good deal more.

I was thinking about that yesterday, and wondered what percentage we’re seeing now unleashed against Trump. In this case, of course, it’s not just the left; it’s everyone whose interests are threatened by him. I almost added “everyone who has reason to dislike him,” but that’s not true, because some of that group of people seem more alarmed by the forces arrayed against Trump right now and the extent to which they will go than they are by Trump himself and anything he or his aides have done.

John Podhoretz, who is not a Trump supporter, writes:

I can’t believe I’m writing this after the administration has been in office for 26 days, but here goes. The idea that Donald Trump is now inexorably on a path to impeachment has taken almost gleeful hold in the wake of the Michael Flynn resignation among liberal elites and anti-Trumpers generally—and everybody better stop and take a deep breath and consider what might arise from this. This isn’t fire we’re playing with, it’s a nuclear war.

Podhoretz goes on to explain the realities of impeachment of a GOP president by a Congress controlled by Republicans and concludes that it is highly unlikely. He also goes on to equally blame the anti-Trump and the Trump forces for the current situation, and predicts the possibility of real violence. I don’t agree with everything Podhoretz says about all of this, but his alarm is real (and unusual for him, I think). And I don’t think it is misplaced.

Polling continues to report the majority of people being at odds with ideas that are being promulgated by the press—for example, polls show general approval of Trump’s travel halt—and higher levels of distrust of the press than of Trump. My question is: how many people understand what the current “Trump’s aides spoke to Russia” flap is about, and how many see talking to Russia as some sort of terrible terrible outrage? I’m not at all sure the number is high, except of course among those who already hate Trump.

Trump weathered many storms during his candidacy, but I don’t think anything even remotely compared to this full court press. His ability to weather this one depends in part on whether there really is a smoking gun, and I confess I haven’t a clue. But a gun may not be necessary if enough smoke is generated, and the anti-Trump world (which is large, and composed of many disparate elements) is trying very very hard to create that smoke.

So far they are trying with propaganda and innuendo, as described by Scott Johnson here:

Here are the bullet points that Mike Allen extracts from [today’s NY Times story about Trump’s aides’ contacts with Russia] in his Axios AM summary this morning:

• “Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of … Trump’s … campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election.”

• “American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering” that Russia was hacking the DNC.

• “[T]he intercepts alarmed American intelligence and law enforcement agencies, in part because of the amount of contact that was occurring while Mr. Trump was speaking glowingly about the Russian president.”

Allen misses this slight qualification of the innuendo: “The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election. The officials interviewed in recent weeks said that, so far, they had seen no evidence of such cooperation.”

And this one: “The officials would not disclose many details, including what was discussed on the calls, the identity of the Russian intelligence officials who participated, and how many of Mr. Trump’s advisers were talking to the Russians. It is also unclear whether the conversations had anything to do with Mr. Trump himself.”

Even putting the innuendo to one side, the story’s three reporters are what literary critics call unreliable narrators.

(Johnson goes on to explain a lie the reporters had previously told about something Trump said.)

So, that’s the way it goes, and that’s just one article we’re talking about. We have no idea whether the contact with Russia was innocuous or not, or whether the surveillance was legal or not, and the Times doesn’t care if we never find out, as long as we come to the proper conclusion: get rid of Trump and/or get rid of everyone who might be willing to work with him. That latter bit would have a very chilling effect, even without Trump removal—make it hard for him to function by striking fear and paralysis into him and everyone around him. Or provoke him into a really stupid explosion on Twitter or otherwise in public (or in private, and then report the leaks about that).

Lastly, stir up people into physical violence, or at least into demands that Trump go. Hey, maybe enough GOP members of Congress can be persuaded to impeach and even convict him. Of course, then you would have a lot of angry Trump voters—very angry—and even some people who didn’t vote for him but who don’t like what they’re seeing from the deep state and the MSM right now might be angry, too.

Hypothetical: would all of this still be happening with a President Cruz, for example? I don’t believe that Cruz would be making the same kind of errors as Trump and his people, so he wouldn’t be as vulnerable. But I do think there would be almost as many anti-Cruz people around. And I do think they’d be trying the same tools to bring him down, with the same tenacity. Everyone makes errors, and if you’re looking for them hard enough and ruthlessly enough, and especially if you’re willing to spin and even manufacture them, they can be used against that person.

“Interesting times” are not necessarily fun. But they are interesting.

43 Responses to “Where is it all heading?”

  1. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “We have no idea whether the contact with Russia was innocuous or not” neo

    Since we can be certain that if there was any damning evidence, it would have been leaked by now, that alone is a strong indication that the contact was in fact innocuous.

  2. neo-neocon Says:

    Geoffrey Britain:

    True. But they may not have the content. They may just know calls were made but there may not have been wiretaps.

  3. ScottJ Says:

    Level One Poo Flinging didn’t seem to work. Escalating to Level Two.

    Someone needs to authorize about a billion dollars worth of travel expenses and send half of DC on working assignments somewhere else for a month or so. Let those places be very cold and wet or very hot and dry.

  4. donkatsu Says:

    Neo,
    NSA did not put up that storage center in Utah just to warehouse origin-destination information (metadata). Storage capacity is estimated to fall into the yottabyte range (10^24 bytes), more than one trillion multi terabyte hard drives. Pretty sure they need that much data storage capacity to record all the calls, not just the metadata. They can then go back and review if there is someone/thing of interest.

  5. neo-neocon Says:

    donkatsu:

    I’m aware that they might have the content by means other than a traditional wiretap. However, we don’t know. That’s my point; not that it’s impossible that they know. It’s certainly possible. But I repeat: we don’t know. Therefore I can’t with assurance agree with Geoffrey. All I can say is that he might be correct or he might not.

  6. Kentucky Packrat Says:

    My father is sure that “something must be done about Trump”. Had I said anything resembling that remark during Obama’s administration, I think he would have turned me into the Secret Service.

    I am VERY afraid of this attitude. It didn’t get significant traction during the first part of the Obama administration, and I don’t think it will get traction now, but it still scares me. The German left had this feeling just before you-know-who, as did the Russians and the Italians. I don’t think the US would fall to it, but it doesn’t bode well. That attitude is how the authoritarian powers (“right” or “left”) set themselves up to take control.

  7. John Guilfoyle Says:

    “Hypothetical: would all of this still be happening with a President Cruz, for example?”

    Nope…Cruz would have lost bigly to granny.
    I appreciate the word “hypothetical,” but my answer is real world. We’d have the Clinton crime family back in the White House and we would be screwed in historic epic apocalyptic proportions.

    And the in-country shooting war that is in the offing…won’t screw us nearly so bad…badly? bigly? I hate grammar.

  8. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    neo,

    It’s possible but IMO highly unlikely.

    “Surprise: At the End, Obama Administration Gave NSA Broad New Powers”

    from the Jan. 12, 2017, edition of the New York Times

    “In its final days, the Obama administration has expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections.

    The new rules significantly relax longstanding limits on what the N.S.A. may do with the information gathered by its most powerful surveillance operations, which are largely unregulated by American wiretapping laws. These include collecting satellite transmissions, phone calls and emails that cross network switches abroad, and messages between people abroad that cross domestic network switches.”

    It’s also highly probable that much of the leaks are originating out of the NSA.

  9. Cornhead Says:

    One problem. What in the world could the “high crime” be in order to impeach Trump? The Dems think it would be something with Russia. But what?

    Trump didn’t need any campaign money from the Russians. He is also not an idiot and knows that it is illegal.

    A deal to hack the DNC and get Podesta’s emails out? They told us what we already knew about those creeps and didn’t swing any votes.

    Trump is a deal guy. If he was to do such a dangerous deal he would require a big payoff. The real payoff was Hillary’s deleted emails setting out her bribe taking, but that never happened.

    The Dems make allegations that Trump (the real estate owner) borrowed money from the Russians. Not illegal, even if true. And if Russians did lend money to Trump, it would be secured by a recorded mortgage. Zero proof there.

    And what would the Russians get with Trump in office? Nothing, as far as I can see. Russia walked all over Hillary at State and would see more of the same if she would have won.

    This whole Russia thing is just innuendo and guilt by association. Russia = bad. Trump talks to Russia. Ergo, impeachment.

  10. Griffin Says:

    Where Is It All Heading?

    To answer your question in a slightly different way I think people are getting tired of all the constant hysteria. I have heard more people in the last couple of weeks say that they are disengaging from Facebook and not paying attention to the news than I ever remember. People from both sides of the divide, by the way.

    So I fear we are heading to an area where this nonsense will just go on and on and a large portion of the people (mostly the middle I would surmise) pay even less attention to it.

    The question becomes is this good or bad? It’s safe to say that the left will never stop but if the people tune them out does it matter?

  11. neo-neocon Says:

    Cornhead:

    It’s been pretty well established that a “high crime” is whatever Congress wants to say it is, for impeachment purposes.

  12. neo-neocon Says:

    John Guilfoyle:

    Arguing that Cruz would have lost is futile, because we don’t know.

    I think that any of the major GOP candidates would probably have won against Hillary, she was that hated. But we don’t know. I used Cruz as a hypothetical, an example of another candidate hated by the MSM, the left, and part of the right. That’s why I picked him. I could just as easily have said Rubio, but he wouldn’t have been as good an analogy, because he probably would not have bucked the system in the way that I suspect Cruz (and Trump, of course) would.

    I believe Rubio would have won by a wide margin, by the way.

    If you believe polls (and I doubt you do), Rubio always did best of all the candidates against Hillary. Cruz did better than Trump generally, as well. But it’s moot now. My point is, had Cruz won, what would have happened to him. It’s more a statement about the extent of the war on any GOP candidate than it is a statement about Cruz’s actual chances of winning, although I think they weren’t bad at all.

    But as I already stated, you or I can say whatever we want. It’s alternate history, and we can never know.

  13. Cornhead Says:

    Neo

    The phrase “high crimes and misdemeanors” is what it was understood to mean at the time of adoption of the constitution. Raoul Berger wrote a book on the topic. Yes, it doesn’t have to be a crime (as we know it) but the political offense has to be BIG.

  14. parker Says:

    I think Cruz (who would have been attacked more vigerously than djt), Rubio, and perhaps Kasich would have had a good shot at winning the general. Of those 3, Cruz would now be dealing with just as much, if not more #resistence because he would be a more YUGE threat to the DC establishment.

    I give credit to Trump for his victory and most of his cabinet picks. But his execution so far has been a bit sloppy. Cruz as POTUS would have hit the ground running with a well oiled game plan. But then, I have not been as excited about any gop POTUS candidate since Reagan as I was excited by Cruz so I am biased.

    Trump needs better advisors and he needs to listen to them. Otherwise, expect more SNAFU and FUBAR. The axis of evil (msm-dnc-soros) will not let up the campaign of destruction. Get smart or get nothing much done.

  15. Griffin Says:

    I wonder if some of these people really understand what would happen if they tried to impeach Trump on some dodgy thing. I have a hard time seeing how the country could survive it in it’s current form. I can’t even believe I have to consider that.

  16. M Williams Says:

    I often like to imagine concentric circles around a person that are like lines of defense. A strong person has weakly held lines, a weak person strongly held lines.

    When threatened, the weak persons outermost CC springs into action, because the threat becomes looms larger if it gets past that one, and so on.

    I think we’re seeing this in general. There are an awful lot of people who are right in sync with the progressive state, with what this country has become, and profit from it, ie., they have it made. In general these are not people who make things, but people who trade in ideas and words.

    Trump is their enemy. He is not a man of measured, nuanced words. But the people of this country handed him power. So many people sense with Trump that their gravy train may be coming to an end.

    The MSM is the absolute perfect example of these overpaid weaklings.

    My own opinion is that the gravy train is coming to an end no matter who is in office. It’s just that Trump has a way of doing the opposite of obfuscating and kicking the can down the road.

  17. Brian E Says:

    I agree with John G. While I supported Cruz early on, and always admired the work Kasich did when he was in Congress, I had come to the conclusion that neither of them could have defeated Clinton.
    Trump was appealing to a coalition of rust belt democrats and disaffected conservatives who were ready to support anyone that was an outsider.
    Much of the electorate only trust Republicans slightly more than Democrats, but see both as the problem.

    The left is taking a multi-pronged approach. One tack is that he is mentally unstable and needs to be removed via the 25th amendment. That’s a long shot, but it also undermines everything else he tries to do.

    He ran on a platform of economic renewal. Job growth, bringing back jobs. If he doesn’t deliver to a measurable extent, those democrats who supported him, might not translate to Republican voters in 2018– especially if they aren’t on board with his populist agenda.

    If he’s going to implement “fair trade” legislation (tariffs of some kind) he’s going to need Democrat support, since all the Republican free-traders certainly aren’t going to. The Democrats will be bullied into opposing him, even on legislation they would normally favor.

    If the Republicans walk back Obamacare repeal, how will that play out in the 2018 elections? I suspect we’re going to end up with Obamacare lite without the mandate– but then you lose some of the funding sources.

    Immigration. We have foreign governments meddling in domestic policy, with Mexico promising $50 million to fight deportations in court.

    When Obamacare was passed, it took the votes of Democrats who knew they would likely lose the next election over their vote. That’s the discipline the Democrat party demands. Will Republicans be willing to risk their office to advance a conservative agenda (the conservative parts of Trump’s agenda)? The parts that they are going to be beat up by the MSM over? Which is pretty much everything.

  18. Cornhead Says:

    Report on Fox. Ben Rhodes at the center of the Flynn leak. As I predicted!

  19. T Says:

    “[Podhoretz] also goes on to equally blame the anti-Trump and the Trump forces for the current situation, . . . “

    Podhoretz is correct. In response, the following Tweet from Bill Kristol which could equally well be submitted at Neo’s preceding post:

    “Obviously strongly prefer normal democratic and constitutional politics. But if it comes to it prefer the deep state to the Trump state.”

    First, Kristol fails to realize that by using “But” he pretty much negates everything he writes before it. Secondly, anyone who could in any way, shape, or form ever admit to preferring rule by unelected bureaucrats over an elected administration is fooling no one by referring to himself as a conservative.

    The power that Trump has to make opponents drop their masks of respectability and self-identify as tools of the left is absolutely amazing!

  20. Griffin Says:

    Trump was far from my first choice and I still wish he could soften some of the ragged edges but what he has really done is expose some of the so called respectable people for who they are.

    That shameful tweet by Bill Kristol is beyond ridiculous and automatically disqualifies anything he has to say in my opinion.

  21. John Guilfoyle Says:

    “Trump was appealing to a coalition of rust belt democrats and disaffected conservatives who were ready to support anyone that was an outsider.” (Brian E)

    BANG! Spot on! Key key word “outsider.”
    Would any of the 16 dwarves been able to pull that off? Nope. AND…he marched headlong into the fusillade of artillery from both wings of the globalist uniparty & won.

    Poll my aunt fanny. Wildly jiggered by the pollsters & MSM. Not a damn one of them had a clue. I forget the final numbers…but in WI, MI, FL, PA…What… 100,000 votes would have thrown the election the other way? No one but Trump could have done that. No one. Call it alternative history if you like…I’ll stand by it because it IS what happened.

    “It’s more a statement about the extent of the war on any GOP candidate…” ask Bill Kristol about “any GOP candidate.” He prefers the “deep state” to a legally elected president who doesn’t fit the uniparty mold.

    Ask folks outside your bubble about immigration. Ask them about stagnant incomes. Ask them about Black Terrorists Matter. Ask them how they like being mocked by Kristol & the globalists like Soros & most of Hollywood. You’ll find a wider & deeper stream of folks who agree with President Trump than don’t.

    This is not heading to a happy place. I pray I’m wrong on that last bit…but I don’t see good signs.

  22. neo-neocon Says:

    John Guilfoyle:

    Go on arguing about the chances of the “16 dwarves,” (a very telling phrase about where you’re coming from). You’re missing the point, and of course there’s no way to prove or disprove what you say about their chances.

    I think it’s unquestionable that Rubio would have done better than Trump. But it’s nothing something I’m going to waste a lot more time arguing about, since it’s both unprovable and moot. I repeat, though, that none of this was the point I was making about Cruz—the point was about the ubiquity of the attacks on whoever might have been the GOP president.

    As far as “my bubble” goes—you obviously haven’t been paying attention here. I mostly defended Trump on immigration, just not his most stupid remarks like the Muslim ban (which I immediately said ought to be a ban on people from certain countries and of certain ideologies—and, funny thing, that’s what Trump ended up changing it to). And Cruz was every bit as tough on illegal immigration and FAR smarter about it, as I documented here also.

    You may recall that Kristol was not a fan of Cruz, either. Cruz has been an outsider ever since he’s been a senator (2010). Before Trump entered the race, he was the one the establishment loved to hate.

  23. neo-neocon Says:

    Griffin:

    I agree that the Kristol tweet is disturbing. I know he is quite anti-Trump and has been right along, but that tweet seemed like his most extreme statement of all. Even many people who don’t like Trump have expressed at least as much alarm at the “deep state” aspects of what’s happening right now as about Trump. Kristol indicates the opposite.

  24. parker Says:

    Cruz was and is more of an outsider than Trump. If that is not obvious you have not been paying attention. Trump for decades has worn the skin of a NYC liberal, even his children could not vote for him in the NY primary because they were registered D. Once djt won the nomination the gope fell into lock step. Does anyone seriously believe that would have been true if Cruz won the nomination, I mean really?

    I now support djt, as so far I see a bit more good than bad with the rollout. Trump has the potential to tarnish or exult the conservative agenda. Its a 50-50 proposition. I will defend him, but verify comes before trust.

  25. neo-neocon Says:

    Cornhead:

    I disagree.

    I’ve read a great deal about this as well, and I agree with the camp that say that the reality is that impeachment/conviction is a political act. You can’t appeal it to SCOTUS, either, as far as I know (although the Chief Justice presides). If the votes are there to impeach and then to convict, it will happen. If people want to, they can easily find an offense committed by any president and it will pass muster in the political sense, which is all that counts.

    That does not mean I approve of that, by the way. Actually, I don’t.

    The definition of high crimes and misdemeanors:

    “High” in the legal and common parlance of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries of “high crimes” signifies activity by or against those who have special duties acquired by taking an oath of office that are not shared with common persons. A high crime is one that can only be done by someone in a unique position of authority, which is political in character, who does things to circumvent justice. The phrase “high crimes and misdemeanors” when used together was a common phrase at the time the U.S. Constitution was written and did not mean any stringent or difficult criteria for determining guilt. It meant the opposite. The phrase was historically used to cover a very broad range of crimes…

    [Historically]…some of these charges [for which people were impeached] were crimes. Others were not. The one common denominator in all these accusations was that the official had somehow abused the power of his office and was unfit to serve…

    As can be found in historical references of the period, the phrase in its original meaning is interpreted as “for whatever reason whatsoever”. This phrase covers all or any crime that abuses office. Benjamin Franklin asserted that the power of impeachment and removal was necessary for those times when the Executive “rendered himself obnoxious,” and the Constitution should provide for the “regular punishment of the Executive when his conduct should deserve it, and for his honorable acquittal when he should be unjustly accused.”…

    As can be seen from all these references to the term “high crimes and misdemeanors”, there is no concrete definition for the term, except to allow people to remove an official for office for subjective reasons entirely.

    The check against more frivolous charges is the high bar for conviction in terms of number of votes. There is no high bar for the charges, though.

  26. Yankee Says:

    There’s no need to get too carried away. I’ve come across some analysis on other blogs, where the consensus seems to be that Mike Flynn did fine as an advisor during the campaign, but once in place, he was not a good fit for the National Security Advisor job. That happens. Mr. Trump also went through several campaign managers, and he still won the election.

    Looking back, on March 9th, 1989, Bush-41’s first choice for Secretary of Defense, former Senator John Tower, was rejected by the Senate by a vote of 53-47. His second choice ended up being some Congressman from Wyoming named Dick Cheney. And even when Mr. Obama first came into office, on a big wave of popularity, and with Democratic majorities, he still had trouble getting some of his nominees through, with a few of them having to withdraw.

    As for Mr. Trump, he is a President unlike others (although one can see similarities to Andrew Jackson and maybe Ulysses S. Grant in him). But Trump has a solid core of popular support, and all he has to do to maintain that is to just do what he promised on the campaign trail and in his inauguration speech.

  27. Oldflyer Says:

    Speculation about what would have happened if someone else had won may be entertaining, but it is also irrelevant.

    I read the Kristol tweet; and I was appalled. What is his motive? I have no further interest in him, or his crowd. They are worse than Democrats as far as I am concerned.

    I keep reading about Trump’s mistakes; not sure what exactly they are. I wish he would not tweet about what I consider minutia, but that is hardly a national issue. He seems to be on top of the issues as much as one could possibly expect at the 3.5 week mark.

    My concern is the bureaucracy, and the so-called “deep state”. He needs his full team; and they need to be dedicated and ruthless to bring this slimy monster under control.

    The Democrats and the Media are “peeing into the wind” as far as I am concerned. The mid-level guys, hidden in the bowels of government are the ones who can hurt him.

    Talk of impeachment is laughable. Would Ryan ever let that get out of the house? One would hope not. Even then, surely not even the likes of McCain, Graham, or Susan Collins would go along with that. If you can’t get the dingbats, who do you get?

    I will say that I don’t think Podhoretz is too far afield. If this does not abate; if it gets more heated, there is a concept called spontaneous combustion–and it applies to politics as well as physics. Trump won 30 plus states; I don’t think people would sit idly and let him be taken down.

  28. neo-neocon Says:

    Oldflyer:

    I see two major errors from Trump, and they are not a surprise.

    One is that he can only sustain his “presidential” persona intermittently.

    The other is that the EO was rushed, and drafted poorly, in particular the lack of clarity on green card holders. That was a no-brainer and should have been corrected. Some of the courts that issued TROs against the EO relied heavily on the green-card confusion, because the idea that he included green-card holders (and the back and forth on this from his advisors, too, and confusion of message) was considered a tremendous flaw.

  29. John Guilfoyle Says:

    “I think it’s unquestionable that Rubio would have done better than Trump.”

    But he couldn’t do that in the primary…so you believe what was going to be different?

    You are correct…can’t re-rack history. But Trump won the primaries going away & then won the general. Your point is a good one…things are heading off in a bad direction if there’s deliberate subterfuge among those who are supposed to be working for the CiC and his administration. And yes…there will be some fighting mad folks if this stuff keeps going the way it’s going. It will not be pretty.

  30. Vanderleun Says:

    Violence? Here’s an excerpt from today’s reading that addresses that in fictional form:

    “Gene was recovering his drone; he closed the sliding side door as he made the call.
    “Weapons free. Weapons free.”
    Inside the two vans, the shooters began plinking through their 25-round magazines. The rounds might kill, maim, or just leave a painful but survivable wound, but in less than half a minute, they were all on their way. Inside the vans, the rounds tick-tick-ticked off, and the brass went into catch-pouches.

    The mob was careening around the intersection now. Panic set in with a vengeance as people started to go down. The herd started to stampede back the way they’d come when the first vehicle’s gas tank went up with a “Whoompph!”, and sent them in new directions. The third package ignited across the street, just as the last of three molotovs landed in the confusion and screaming terror, amplifying it.”

    At the end the author notes:

    “This is entirely a piece of fiction. And a cautionary tale. Hopefully it stays that way, but I wouldn’t put chips on that square. If it gets your panties all twisted, too fucking bad. Get over it.
    It took about twenty minutes to type out, and I haven’t even been thinking about this much.
    If I can come up with this off the cuff, so can five hundred thousand other people. Some already have.
    Bet your ass on that.
    And if you’re one of the erstwhile protesters, many of them wouldn’t be as merciful towards you and yours as I was in this little tale. You ARE betting your ass on that, every time you show up for another piece of street theatre. And when it actually happens, 100:1 they’ll see that YOU get the blame for it. Win-win.

    So, contrary to all experience thus far, you all could grow the fuck up, knock your silly shit off, and just suck it.

    Or keep pushing your luck.

    Call the toss in the air, kids.
    -A.”

    From — Raconteur Report: Tomorrow

    But once it starts where it goes?
    Nobody knows.
    Nobody knows.

  31. Bill Says:

    Vanderleun,

    It’s immoral and un-American to want to quash peaceful protest with vigilante violence.

    It seems like everyone’s losing their mind.

  32. OM Says:

    Bii:

    Some just want to burn it all down. Some are of the left, others are not, but they all want it all to burn.

  33. Kyndyll G Says:

    “Some just want to burn it all down. Some are of the left, others are not, but they all want it all to burn.”

    I hope we’re not back to that. Burning it all down – especially at a time when the population is sharply and violently split – results in a giant pile of rubble, not a miraculous emergence of Exactly What I(*) Want.

    (* “I” being defined as “the speaker expressing a desire to burn it all down” … unless, of course, said speaker actually desires years of chaos, violent anarchy and rubble.)

  34. Bill Says:

    OM,

    Yeah. We talk so much about the evils of terrorism. Then hint at people performing what can only be described as heinous acts of terrorism against crowds of protesters as a warning to those who disagree with us politically.

    Head spinning.

  35. Eric J. Says:

    Anyone remember back when Democrats castigated Republicans for refusing to talk to Russia and treating them like an enemy, instead of a potential friend?

  36. Kyndyll G Says:

    The more self-aware among us lament our tendency to live up to our standards while in a battle with people who have no standards. I agree that there are times and places where we don’t have to be the only ones to follow the rules. However, I still cling to a conviction that we have to stay on the side of right, or we’re no longer defending a defensible position.

    I’m all for meeting violence with violence when there’s no other choice, and for advising the other side that force will be met force, but I’m just not OK with initiating violence.

  37. neo-neocon Says:

    Eric J.:

    That was BT.

    Before Trump.

  38. Aesop Says:

    @Bill

    If you would call the riot at Berkeley where hooligans, with the tacit consent of the police present – committed serial arson and vandalism against public and private property, aggravated assaults and batteries, and carried out a rehearsed conspiracy to deprive a person (in this case Milo Yiannopoulos) of his constitutional rights to free speech and an actual peaceable assembly at a public institution – that last still both a CA state and federal felony, BTW – a “peaceful” protest, you’re quite simply either delusional, or willfully stupid. There is no third option.

    I wish I could say being delusional or willfully stupid was immoral and un-American, but alas, the news daily confirms it’s a vast host.

    And if you think average folks will continue to sit back and depend on the clearly worthless authorities to make examples of such rampant acts of brigandry and public terrorism, without themselves taking exactly the sort of action I imagined in that short piece of fiction, you need to get out more.

    The left-wing organizers of the Berkeley riot, both there and afterwards, have unapologetically called for far worse to be done, on a wide scale, and tried to cloak their justification in a vacuous appeal to non-existent imperatives, continuing to exhort their followers to attack similarly or even more harshly pretty much everyone in this country to the political right of Mao Zedong. And one of the most outspoken leaders headlines their philosophy as “By Any Means Necessary.”

    So maybe unclutch your pearls, put down your smelling salts, and open your eyes. Currently, our government drops missiles on terrorists, and they are not coincidentally named “Hellfire”. If you can’t see the proportionality involved between that and the tale I spun, you’re really going to be surprised when push actually comes to shove in this country. I hope you have a deep hole in a distant land to hide your eyes from what’s already been unleashed unilaterally on the organizers and attendees of a truly non-violent speaking engagement, as well as the innocent bystanders and shopkeepers in the adjoining town, and what will inevitably be returned with gusto by the former targets of same.

    When similar rioters burn your downtown in a fit of pique, and real people have to bear the burden afterwards of lost savings, lost wages, lost jobs, lost businesses, personal injuries or worse, and being terrorized in their own town, come and lecture me on morality and un-American activities in response.

    We just finished eight years of a president famously not raised here, who spent the bulk of his time either apologizing for us, or lecturing us “that’s not who we are.”

    Find me one person on the left, from Obama or Hillary Clinton down to the dogcatcher in Detroit, who has stepped forward since Berkeley and publicly scolded the rioters that “that’s not who we are”.
    Even. Just. One.

    I won’t hold my breath waiting for you to find one.

    If you can’t grasp the current situation any other way, you might wish to acquaint yourself with Newton’s Third Law of Physics.

    The pendulum of political action is always in motion, and if the thugs at Berkeley, and their cheerleaders on all quarters, think they’ll be the only ones to push it where they will, nature will have a harsh lesson in due course, coming with the predictability of planetary rotation.

    What’s sauce for the goose is good for the gander.

  39. neo-neocon Says:

    Bill:

    Who is this “we,” kimosabe?

    The vast vast majority of those on the right “talk so much about the evils of terrorism.” A tiny tiny minority advocate performing “heinous acts of terrorism against crowds of protestors as a warning.”

    Is the author of that excerpt Vanderleun posted in his comment above describing something—a possible citizen backlash against the sort of orchestrated leftist mob violence that happened recently at Berkeley, with the police refusing to arrest people? Or is the author advocating that backlash, meeting violence with vigilante violence?

    I have read the excerpt Vanderleun posted and in it the author (“A” or I guess “Aesop,” since that seems to be the person commenting above under that name) seems to mostly be presenting his work of fiction as something that could happen if the protestors don’t cease and desist. So it’s a sort of threatening warning.

    I agree that such violence could happen. Of course it could happen. It has already happened in small ways (right wing terrorism does exist, too, and has for a long long time). People get frustrated and angry, particularly if the authorities tasked with keeping order and protecting property fail to keep it. In Berkeley, the protestors were peaceful, but then another group of organized leftist and/or anarchist “protestors” came to stir up trouble and destroy property as well as to commit some violent acts against persons.

    I don’t advocate vigilante violence in retaliation. For many reasons, including the threat to innocent people that it represents, and the spiraling out of control that Vanderleun alluded to at the end of his comment. Vigilante justice should be a last last last resort only when all else has failed, and presently we do not have a situation even remotely like that. IMHO it is hyperbole to think we do, and dangerous hyperbole at that. But there is no shortage of dangerous hyperbole all over the place these days.

    In addition, most communities are not Berkeley. Berkeley is a leftist stronghold where just about everyone is on the left, and the police are functioning in that environment. I don’t think such a thing would be happening in most places in the US excerpt for leftist communities, or riots in the ghettos of enormously liberal cities (for example, what happened in Baltimore recently after Freddie Gray’s death). In most communities, it would be harder to marshal the rioting forces, and the police would not be as delicate in their response.

    So who is this “we” of which you speak? I have been blogging a long, long time, and reading blogs even longer. Nor only that, I also read the comments sections quite often (or at least skim them). And although I have no doubt there are some people on the right—and/or the neo-Nazi “right” (which I don’t really see as the right)—who would advocate gunning down protestors, it is a tiny percentage of the whole.

    So the “we” you’re referring to is something very fringe. That does not mean they will not act, and it does not mean they couldn’t do a lot of damage if they do. And of course, if the police everywhere become more like the police in Berkeley, and riots start destroying people’s homes and livelihood around the country, you will see a more violent reaction to it. I have little doubt about that.

    However, I did not see Vanderleun’s comment as advocating firing on protestors such as in Berkeley. He was quoting A. at the raconteur site), and then Vanderleun wrote his own addition, which was: “But once it starts where it goes?
    Nobody knows.
    Nobody knows.”

    I took Vanderleun’s addition there to be a cautionary note, saying that there are people out there who are willing to commit violence on the protesters (or who at least fantasize it), and that it is a dangerous possibility.

    So I repeat: who is this “we”?

    Aesop suggests that people upset about all of this should “unclutch your pearls, put down your smelling salts.” I, for one, will continue to clutch those pearls I don’t wear, and cling to those smelling salts I’ve never used, because I think it is an extremely proper and valid response to be tremendously concerned about the prospect of escalating violence and even civil war.

  40. Aesop Says:

    neo-neocon,

    I am indeed the author of the blogpost.

    The entire piece was a cautionary tale.

    Bear in mind, exactly such conflict, whether unilateral on their part, or bilateral, is exactly what the Left has been and is actively agitating for, out loud, in public, 24/7/365, and shamelessly, ever since the election results upset their applecart, and they found out the media had been lying to them.

    Escalating violence isn’t a prospect, it’s a reality.
    Day before yesterday they beat a staffer (in her 70s, IIRC) at Rep. Rohrbacher’s office.

    The only thing prospective is whether this triggers a crackdown by the authorities, or failing any such thing, unleashes a widespread backlash, and/or which happens first.

    The fact that once it gets going, the toothpaste can no longer be squeezed back into the tube, is precisely the problem once the argument goes from free speech to a punch in the mouth to a gun.

    Then it’s Sarajevo.

    (And please, spare the nonsense that the Berkeley riot was “subverted” by “outside agitators”. It was accomplished by the exact same mob from start to finish, and did exactly what it set out to do, by the admissions of the leadership all around. They have been anything but shy about confirming all of that since it happened, and spent not a second lamenting what happened nor disassociating themselves from it. In fact, just the opposite, they’ve doubled down, on national broadcasts readily located on YouTube.)

  41. Big Maq Says:

    “I had come to the conclusion that neither of them could have defeated Clinton.” – Brian

    Free to conclude that, but it is rather questionable conclusion when trump had one of the lowest turnouts as a percentage of eligible voters of any GOP candidate since WWII, and skated by with the slimmest of majorities in a few swing states.

    IOW a significant percentage of GOP voters stayed home or voted third party, and a last minute unfavorable turn in the news cycle would have sunk him, it was that thin a win.

    clinton was such a bad candidate, also with an historically low turnout of eligible voters, and the country was so predisposed to a change, that I’m convinced that most of the other GOP candidates would have won anyway.

    They’d have brought home those expected GOP voters and maybe made inroads on the dems who were dead set against trump for a variety of reasons.

    This is further reinforced by the lack of “coattails” trump had for down ticket races, where most of the key ones outperformed trump as a percentage of the votes cast.

    To believe that only trump could win, one would have to ignore the above facts, and think turnout would be even lower with another candidate.

    Please look up my several other comments on this if you’d like to dig further into the data links.
    .

    To say it would definitely be one way or the other is pure speculation now, as there would be a completely different scenario that would have unfolded.

    For instance, the controversies from the left would have been far more contrived (e.g. “binders full of women”) vs real and far more politically harmful (e.g. “grab her p*ssy”), the latter probably playing a large role in why folks stayed home or voted third party.

    There’s plenty more, but if all the above is not sufficient to put some doubt in the proposition that only trump could have won, adding more won’t help make the case.
    .

    trump’s “platform” was a Rorschach test for the most part, in a campaign filled with mutable statements from himself.

    Yes, he came out in October with a “contract” (strangely, he asked voters to sign it), rather late in the campaign. However, a great deal rides on the “how”.

    So far, mixed bag – good cabinet picks, colossal EO eff up.

    What matters much more is what trump will do when the going gets tough, say, under a crisis, and, overall, how he is going to govern on the things NOT articulated, given his newly acquired powers.

    The jury is out.

    The remainder of his 1st 100 days should give us a pattern of sorts.

    We have many hopes tied up in this speculation.

  42. Big Maq Says:

    It’s purely speculative, but there is reason to believe that the attacks from the left on Cruz would be FAR less effective because:

    1) Cruz would be FAR more disciplined
    2) Cruz would have been FAR more strategic and organized
    3) Cruz would have FAR less tangible to aim an attack on

    Look, there are legitimate concerns that trump may be up to no good. It is NOT just about ideology.

    Good article by Megan McArdle that outlines some of the real concerns and the consequences of turning a red team blind eye to it all.

    It “normalizes” what shouldn’t be, creating a permission structure as prelude to potential gross abuse of power
    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-02-10/we-are-already-struggling-to-keep-outrage-alive-in-the-age-of-trump.

  43. Tim Turner Says:

    Trump may be a particularly strong flavor of obnoxious, but make no mistake, what the Liberal machine is protesting is that they’re not in charge.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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