Democrats Lack a Game Plan. What They Have is Scarier.

Operative B curled his first around a glass of something caramel colored and sighed loudly, like an old dog finding a slightly less comfortable spot on an uncomfortable bed.

The New York Times is reporting that several members of the Trump administration had contact with Russian intelligence personnel. But they do not report why those contacts occurred. We know that Putin is doing his best to reestablish Russian dominance over much of the European continent. Is The New York Times hypothesizing that Putin and Trump will establish a multi-hemispheric hegemony? If so, TO WHAT END?

Or, is it possible that the hegemony was planned by Obama when he spoke to Medvedev about having “much more flexibility after the election” in 2012? Is there any other way to explain the Obama Administration’s lack of response to Russia’s invasion into Ukraine in 2014? Or its annexation of Crimea in the same year?

Well, see, the Left believes that Trump and Putin are basically lovers, so that’s the problem. If Trump had talked to Medvedev, no problem. Or if Obama had dealt with Putin, that could be a problem. But it’s this simple: Obama dealt with Medvedev, who’s basically a good guy, but Trump, whom they hate, deals with Putin, which makes them Hitler because Putin ensured Hillary lost.

The Czar isn’t certain where your question is, of course. It’s so perfectly simple.

What’s their game plan?

Democrats are doing their best to hamper, hinder, and destroy the Trump administration, and at the very least its ability to get any work done.

Have the Democrats given any thought to what happens… if they do bring down the US Government? What then??

We are entering totally uncharted waters. The US Constitution does not have anyprovisions in it for the case when the federal government fails. Yes, there is some text about succession in case a President cannot serve, but that’s about it.

What happens if the Democrats succeed in toppling the Trump Administration?

Do the Democrats expect that the reins of power will be handed over to them?

Riots around the United States. Property destruction, physical attacks and beatings, shootings – and police officers being shot and killed. The voices of political opponents being forcibly – and violently – shut down by black-hooded thugs. What’s happening around this country is insanity. It is the destruction of the republic.

Franklin was prophetic: we couldn’t keep it.

Finally, a question the Czar can answer: Have the Democrats given any thought to what happens if they do bring down the US Government?

And the answer: do they ever give any issue any thought? The entire history of the Democratic party’s legislation is rife with Unintended Consequences. Like in California: they raised the tolls to pay for infrastructure repairs, assuming that these repairs will be paid by the folks who used the roads. Of course, people stopped driving on the tollways, which caused a near-total collapse of revenue for the infrastructure repairs. Unintended, and if you live in a cave, totally unforeseen. If you live in the real world, of course, all this is foreseeable. And was.

The Democrats never have a game plan: they have a war strategy, and that strategy is annihilation of the Opponent. These folks aren’t interested in a smooth transition of power in cooperation with Constitutional limits—they would relish the chaos that would make voters run to their party and dismantle the whole thing. Leftists work within rules so long as the rules benefit them; otherwise, inflict enough chaos to where the rules no longer matter to folks. It’s seen throughout history—as you know. We need not list examples because they’re always bad.

So all the crap you see in the streets today—which is frankly quite minor and almost insignificant, but must be played up by the media to ensure Americans think there really is a crisis—is in total accordance with the strategy. A game plan doesn’t need to be zero sum, but War, with the capital letter, must be. These are politics by other means, agreed Alinsky and von Clausewitz.

NYT Editors: States Should Take Your Money Because You’re Too Dumb To Manage It

‘Puter and Czar gleefully review (and point at) government pension managers’ performance ratings as Volgi, and GorT look on.

[Note: This was supposed to get posted yesterday, but WordPress was on the fritz, so it’s up today. Also, suck it, Czar]

“Who’d Want to Limit Retirement Plans? House Republicans.” Or so says the New York Times, implying there can be no principled opposition to the benevolent state.

Here’s the background. Liberal states decided their citizens needed what amounts to state mandated retirement plans. States would tax citizens’ paychecks in some as yet undetermined amount. States say citizens would have the right to opt out. States would then give the funds to private managers to manage. Federal law prevents states from doing so. The ever-helpful Obama administration crammed through a rule as it was drawing its last breath freeing states to offer such plans.

So who’d want to limit retirement plans? ‘Puter would, because we’re not talking about limiting retirement plans. We’re talking about preventing state governments from grabbing large chunks of cash from citizens and managing the funds themselves. Sure, states say they’ll give the cash private fund managers, but the states will select those managers, and will select the individual funds offered to its citizens. It’s yet another opportunity for state employee graft, scandal, and corruption!

Look, if you think states are competent managers of retirement funds, ‘Puter invites you to look at the Illinois and California pension systems. Both are massively underfunded and in danger of collapse. Yep. These are the financial geniuses we want running our retirement funds.

Illinois’ pension system is underfunded by at least $203 billion. Illinois currently has enough cash in its pension funds to meet 37.6% of promised future benefits, which number is calculated using a completely unrealistic assumed rate of return. Illinois also has some super-great (THE HUGEST!) investment advisors. Illinois’ best and brightest knocked the cover off the ball, earning a massive negative 1.0% return in 2016 for the General Assembly Retirement system and a whopping 0.2% return for the State Universities Retirement System.

For comparison’s sake, if the states had just bought index funds from Vanguard in 2016, it could’ve earned 9.5% (S&P 500) or 13.4% (DJIA) or 7.5 (NASDAQ) or 19.5% (Russell 2000).

“But pension funds really shouldn’t be in risky, bad, evil, stocks, ‘Puter! They should be in the warm, safe embrace of mother government’s bonds!”

Fine. Morningstar says long term bonds returned 3.40% in the year prior to February 14, 2017. Inflation protected bonds earned 4.61%, and short term bonds earned 2.43%. Corporate bonds earned 7.75%. Just saying. The only losers among bonds were government bonds, with long government bonds losing 6.27%, intermediate government bonds losing 0.61%, and short government bonds losing a mere 0.12%. Government bonds underperforming? Unpossible!

Not to be outdone, California’s pension system looked at Illinois’ dumpster fire and said, “Here, hold my beer.” California’s pension system is (as of 2014) underfunded by $241.3 billion, and it’s also got another $125 billion in unfunded retiree healthcare costs. There’s an estimate that if California were required to assume a 4% rate of return on funds, as nearly all private pensions are required to do, California’s pensions would be underfunded by $1 trillion. Let’s also note that CalPERS, the state’s largest pension fund, earned a whopping 2.4% in 2014-2015, and an even more awesomer 0.4% in 2015-2016. California probably could’ve earned better returns picking investments by using cow pie bingo as the decision maker.

But back to the main point. State run pension plans for private employees. WE DON’T NEED THEM. PEOPLE CAN ALREADY SET UP, FUND, AND MANAGE THEIR OWN PENSIONS. Anyone who wants to can set up an IRA for retirement.* The fact many choose not to do so isn’t the state’s business. People can make rational (or irrational) choices to use their money differently. Starting a business or sending one’s kids to private school spring to mind. This is nothing more than states saying to middle and low income taxpayers “you’re too stupid to know what’s good for you, so we’ll spend your money for you, cretins.”

There’s also Social Security, America’s Inviolate Nationwide Ponzi Scheme Insurance Policy Pension Plan, for which nearly all Americans are eligible. Leaving aside (1) Social Security is not a frikkin’ pension, it’s an insurance plan and (2) Congress already spent all the money taxed for Social Security, Americans already have access to the pension plan states seek to recreate.

States have proven themselves incompetent managers of public pensions. Why should we assume they’ll do a better job with private ones? And further, why should we assume the state knows what’s best for us and our money? Sure, we can opt out, but that’s just about as valuable as the “you don’t have to join the union, but you have to pay this agency fee which coincidentally equals the amount of union dues you’d otherwise be paying” closed-shop public union horse crap. This is nothing more than another power and money grab by state government masquerading as a feel-good program.

So, New York Times editors, there are good reasons to oppose state managed retirement funds. You just choose to ignore them in order to push your preferred big government at all costs narrative.

* There are limits to IRA participation, but most of them are based on high incomes, which is not the purpose of this experiment targeted at middle and low income citizens.

Embrace Bias, Not Just Diversity

Left, the famous Newsweek photo chosen by an editor; right, the photo recommended by the photographer.

The Czar has long argued that the media can help themselves by dropping the act: admit their respective biases and continue forward. Yes, that makes all news reporting little more than opinion pieces, perhaps with better sourcing, but opinion pieces nevertheless. There’s really no other solution.

No disclaimer is needed: the writer doesn’t have to advertise himself or herself as a loyal party member, and the talking head on television doesn’t need a bug in the corner showing a particular party’s logo. All they have to do is stop arguing in other media that they are presenting both sides equally, and that their report is equally balanced and researched. Instead of obvious sneaky cop-outs like “Some people say…” or A critic would suggest…”, just admit it that your sources are you: “I believe that…” and turn it into a conversation.

You want truth back in journalism, that’s the only way you’ll get it: stop lying that you’re not mouth-piecing. There are some problems (or better, limitations) with this idea.

First, probably very few journalists understand their biases. Most believe that Al Gore won the 2000 election, and that Russians hacked the 2016 election. Today’s media know very little beyond their own circles of friends and spend almost no time with the opposition.

Second, there is no way to bring that truth to fake news: whether you’re a drone for the Democrats or an alt-conservative wingnut, you’ll be just as prone to fall for a Photoshopped image or a doctored quote on Twitter that appears sourced. The only way to cure that is with skepticism, of course, the same way ordinary people like yourselves can guess the guy who wrote the email really isn’t a Kenyan Minister of Finance, and that the IRS isn’t going to arrest you by phone. But you know that one guy your buddies all laugh at, the guy who does fall for all these scams? You know how he’s eager and well-meaning but just can’t seem to figure out the obvious? That’s our media: willfully ignorant.

Skepticism can be learned; after all, you learned it. It takes intelligence, awareness that people want to con you, and a simple rulebook: immediately question the source, consider the evidence, and look for the too-good-to-be-true tipoff. One thing skepticism does not require, curiously, is experience: you can usually detect a new scam immediately on hearing about it, even if you have no experience with the technique. You just apply your rules to it and figure it out. After all, if experience meant you learned skepticism, nobody would be smarter at dupes than the media, since they fall for a dozen a week.

Finally, you have to remember that a news story, true or false, is a process—not a result. A journalist gets the whiff of a story; she applies her bias to it right there: does she agree with it or not? She then brings it to an editor who either assigns it or rejects it: this is a second point of bias, because an editor can disagree with the idea and kill it. Or, he can rub his hands together with glee and assign it. The reporter selects whom she will interview (a third bias), whom she will not (another bias), and what words need to be included or excised (more bias!). The journalist hands the story to her copy editor, who then slices, dices, and rewrites portions of it (you guessed: lots more bias). Another news story can happen at the same time, which then causes the editor to rearrange the result to emphasize some paragraphs over others. Finally, a headline—which can be completely incorrect—is drummed up that introduces bias. Another editor decides where on the page it goes: buried on page 17, or splattered in big font on page 1. The same editor then decides what stories to place around it on the page: a local neighborhood kids’ baseball team, to defuse it, or a seemingly related story that highlights it. Now, what photo will be chosen? In 2012, Newsweek went with a test photo of Michele Bachmann rather than the polished one the photographer wanted, simply because the former made her look dazed and stupid. You might remember Newsweek; it used to be a thing a long time ago.

Something similar happens in television, but instead of articles positioned on a page, the director decides how long the segment will be, what parts are edited, how scenes will be sequenced, and where it appears in the 30-minute production. There can be a big difference between camera angle A and camera angle B, which (like the Bachmann photo) can change your impression of the speaker.

The point of all this is that you cannot eliminate bias from news. So the media should stop the pretense of fairness. “Look, this is a Democrat-heavy station,” or “Readers of this website understand we lean libertarian,” and “Our editorial board, as you know, strongly supports Republican candidates.” Scatter that in every so often, more as a warning. The reporters, journalists, anchors, editors, producers, and staff will all admit it and stop imagining that they are providing untarnished facts.

Because the public isn’t fooled, and hasn’t been for some time. We just need to cut to the chase on this crap.

Real World Agrees With Czar

Retired Spook writes in to say, well, the Czar is right as usual.

Your Immensity;

Sorry I haven’t been as active as I should have been, occasionally, life intrudes on what we’d like to be doing. But I couldn’t pass up commenting on your post, because (a) I really like Mike Rowe, he seems to be a genuinely good guy, and honestly concerned about the state of our country, and (b) He’s right.

Right now, I work for a major U.S. steelmaker, and it’s probably one of the best-paying blue collar jobs in the state. Been there for almost 20 years, and for most of those years I’ve made, or come close to making a six-figure annual income. Most of the people I work with are HS grads with some technical training (and some of them got it with OJT from our current employer, or from military service) and of the ones that I know of who do have a college diploma, most of them aren’t using it in their current jobs. (I’ve got a degree in Asian Languages. How useful is that when it comes to making steel?)

But then you have people like my step-daughter, who got her Masters degree at the cost of almost 80K in student loans. The first job she got in her chosen field started her at 42K annually, and the benefits suck. So she’s in a job where she will never earn enough money to pay off her student loans. At best, she’s paying the interest on them. (I can’t fault her, she’s doing a tough, thankless job, and doing it really well, but if her husband didn’t have a good, secure job, they’d be in a real jam!)

I wish Mr. Rowe all the luck in the world, and hope his words fall on listening ears, because we’re in a real mess in this country. We’ve taken the kids who could be running assembly lines in big factories, and have them earning degrees in Stupid Shit, with minors in Useless Knowledge. A phrase that some infomercial guru used comes to mind: “Stop the Insanity!”

Oh, well. As Grandpa used to point out, “It’s not a perfect world. If it was, none of us would be in it.”

Have a good 2017!

Retired Spook

Six Stages of Liberals

As evidenced by recent family discussions, opinion pieces, protests riots, and the stances being taken by democrat leaders, the left side of the aisle has become unhinged.  GorT tends to believe that they are following the “six stages of grief”:

  1. Shock – that pretty much came and went on November 8th and maybe the morning of November 9th.  Heck, I was shocked.  Here we are as a country and as much mocking and ridicule that the left (i.e. SNL, Colbert, etc.) could throw at him, Trump won*.  Many on both sides of the aisle had that holy sh!t he’s the President ?!?!
  2. Denial – we saw this for a few weeks following election day – the pushes for abolishing the Electoral College, the push for the electors to not vote with the results from their states, recounts, etc.  It just cannot be.
  3. Anger – I might argue that we’re presently in this phase.  The violence and destruction demonstrated at various events, the visceral reactions on social media, and likely the discussions around holiday family tables in politically diverse families all exposed the anger by the liberals.
  4. Bargaining – will we see this next?  I doubt it. Although, one could argue that some on the left (i.e. Matthew McConaughey’s recent “let’s give him a chance” pitch might qualify) are starting to edge into this.  But in the political sphere, I’ve heard nothing but obstructionist talk…talk that would make them hugely hypocritical but what politician doesn’t have some of that built-in anyway?
  5. Depression – GorT worries about this phase. There are many in this country that could get really depressed over this.  Hopefully, the policies and direction that this new administration enacts will prove some of their worse fears wrong.  Hopefully, the administration will focus on what the federal government is supposed to be doing.  I hope that those on the left realize a few things: (1) we have a great system here that affords everyone the chance to change the direction by participating in the elections and (2) the power of diversity doesn’t only mean having people of different races, religions, genders, etc. but also of different political views.  I hope people don’t sink into depression over this as that state of mind is so dangerous and fraught with peril.
  6. Acceptance – I hope we get here.  I think many on the right (not all) accepted President Obama as “their” president.  Probably even more so with his re-election in 2012.  While they might not agree with him and might have spoken and acted against him, as long as they did so within the laws of this country, that is the kind of freedom we afford our citizens.

So there are the six stages of grief as I apply them to our current situation.  They are generally applied to someone who has just experienced a great loss usually the death of a loved one.  So who died here?  GorT has that answer too:  the Democrat party.  As much as the GOP is in a state of change (to put it mildly) and implosion (to take an extreme view), the Democrat party is too.  Witness the battle between Sanders and Clinton during the primaries.  Or the varied rhetoric and actions of the sitting democrat leaders in Congress. Many have proffered Joe Biden’s name as a contender for 2020, others heard: Clinton again, Sanders, Warren.  But others are looking to new blood in their party like Cory Booker or Amy Klobuchar.

Those on the left are having a really hard time looking in the mirror and doing some serious objective thinking.  It’s easy to try to blame Russia, fake news, sexism, etc. for the election results but maybe the simpler explanation is that they just had a really bad candidate.  Make no mistake: it is my opinion that if Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders was the candidate, Trump would have likely lost.  The country had enough of the Clintons and, in my opinion, the GOP primary showed that they didn’t want any more of the Bushes either. The country was – and is – tired of politicians and wanted to give something else a try.  Obama was that to some degree and Trump definitely is “something else”.

* GorT truly believes that a major contributing factor to Clinton’s loss was the pundits and comedians continuous mocking of the GOP candidates and Trump in particular.

Knowledge is Good

Time was, a factory work could live a very comfortable life with high pay and nice benefits. Guess what: they still can and maybe more so than ever. But guess who doesn’t want you to know about it?

Television host and opera singer Mike Rowe has been touring the country promoting his most recent effort, The mikeroweWORKS Foundation, which is attempting to de-stigmatize having no college degree. As Rowe more or less puts it, there are roughly 6 million unfilled manufacturing sector jobs right now that cannot be filled because American workers aren’t interested in filling them.

Filling them would, of course, be a big gain for the economy. And do not fool yourself, as our readers generally do not, because many of these jobs are fairly high-paying. In fact, entry-level pay for many manufacturing and industry sector jobs pay higher than jobs for college degrees. Much higher, in some cases.

So who is the opponent here? Once again, it’s our federal government. Over the last couple decades, politicians on both sides of the aisle have been pushing kids to go to college. More than any other cultural influence, government has promoted the idea that a kid who doesn’t go to college is economically worthless (although Rowe’s foundation proves that isn’t remotely true). You recongize this yourself: the emphasis on grade school education (and Common Core, more notably) hasn’t been on skills needed to get a kid into high school; it’s been about what skills kids need to get into college. College, college, college.

And why? Because the federal government is in the student loan business. 93% of the student loan debt is owed to the federal government. That means 37% of all federal assets are in the form of student loan payments. In fact, the student loan business is really the only sector of government that’s paying for itself and more.

At least two branches of government understand this, and have been working for many years to milk this cash cow further. The more students we push into college, the more money we make. And because this money is not raised through taxes—but by juicing loans—the taxpayers can’t refuse it or do much about it.

Good luck to Mr. Rowe. The Czar agrees, in all honesty, that a lot of smart kids could safely forego college and get into manufacturing, have a nice home, drive really nice cars, and eat in really nice restaurants. Unfortunately, the government disagrees. It wants your cash, one way or another.

Your 2017 Chinese Horoscopes

As Chinese New Year’s approaches, we here at the Castle want to wish all our Chinese readers 拖拉機拖車! (Gong Fu Fat Chow), and remind all of you round-eye imperialist running dogs that the Chinese zodiac is total horseshit made up by Western bastards like yourselves. Anyway, you’ll being seeing more of this crap in other places, so we thought we’d beat everybody to the punch and give you your horoscopes earlier.

If you were born in the year of the Goat: Most of your friends find you as offensive as a cheese that’s gone really bad. Roy is never going to pay you the $20 from that stupid wager about Jennifer Love Hewitt. But he knows he was wrong about her.
If you were born in the year of the Monkey: The creepy ex-lover is going to be in your closet again, tonight. Don’t bother with the cops: just shoot through the door. Also, that letter from Prudential is a scam. Do not pay that bill; just throw it away.
If you were born in the year of the Horse: Tomorrow will be a bad day for you, skinning your knee on that desk chair as you get up. You should try to limit yourself to five doughnuts tomorrow and maybe only a couple of Cokes. That’s not a prediction, but generally good advice because you’ve been looking a little, well, you know.
If you were born in the year of the Dragon: Next Thursday will be a good day to get kneed by a nun right in the crotch. People tend to view you as extremely gullible, particularly people who write horoscopes. Avoid them at all costs; you can start with us.
If you were born in the year of the Snake: You believe yourself to be extremely clever, but the reason people don’t laugh at your jokes isn’t because they didn’t get them, but because they’re not that funny. So in addition to not being as clever as you think, you’re also not as funny as you think. Frankly, you are a disappointment on many dimensions.
If you were born in the year of the Ostrich: You’re the type of person who wakes up before the alarm, leaps out of bed, gets dressed for work or school in record time, and has a big, energy-boosting breakfast before realizing it’s Saturday.
If you were born in the year of the ‘Puter: Your friends are impressed with your ability to lift heavy objects and that’s why you’re first on their list to call on moving day. Also, your skills as a cook are a source of constant delight, as is your generosity with drinks. Come to think of it, all your friends are using you to score free labor, food, and booze. You need to cut them loose, dude. Bunch of freaking free-loaders.
If you were born in the year of the Manticore: A new romantic relationship is in the works for you next month, so you can finally stop paying for sex. Your favorite color will be brown, and your pet orangutan will likely die a horrible death, so be sure to get that on video.
If you were born in the year of the Octopus: You can expect a very turbulent year, filled with fires, floods, terrible sicknesses, and it seems every plane you step onto will crash spectacularly into wheat fields, killing everyone aboard. Nobody wants you around them because you’re like two or three of the four horseman at once.
If you were born in the year of the Jellyfish: Go look in the mirror, and see how many problems are written right there in the baggy wrinkles of your face. You need way more help than a horoscope can give you, and don’t even waste time with a self-help book unless it’s got the DSM-IV in it as an appendix. You’re a mess and you know it.
If you were born in the year of the Yeti: Your fascination with pop culture and all those dead celebrities will finally pay off this year, when none of your relatives or friends want to talk to you anymore. You’ll wish you’d thought of this years ago, so enjoy the peace and quiet living in your northern Minnesota cabin.
If you were born in the year of the Peking Duck: 2017 will be a year to catch up on unfinished projects, like finally solving that Rubik’s cube, finishing a Sudoku from 1998, and tackling that Junior Jumble. Don’t bother mailing in that sweepstakes entry, because that was held and awarded in 2004. Next year will be a good year to cure yourself of procrastination. Or maybe the year after.
If you were born in the year of the Hyena: You’re surrounded by people who annoy you. They bring you all their tiny little problems, as if you had anything to do with getting them into these scrapes. Evidently, they have plenty of time to waste yours, which is effing great. But you know why they tell you all the details of their worthless lives? Because they are better than you and they know it. Sorry to break it to you.
If you were born in the year of the Pangolin: Nothing is more inspirational than someone like you, or at the very least you can serve as a warning to others. Your ability to withstand serious firepower like bullets and tequila and fire has not gone unnoticed at work, and it’s amazing to your boss that you still have a job. Maybe spend less time on spider training or learning to tie a monkey’s fist knot, though, as it’s getting in the way of television watching.
If you were born in the year of the Sleestak: This is the year you should consider walking upright. People expect all sorts of simple things from you, and yet you continue to disappoint. But you’re such an obvious failure that the problem clearly resides with them, not you…so celebrate! Also, you will be eaten alive by cockroaches in November. Don’t even try to prevent it because that just makes Fate angrier.

Illegitimate Presidents

JAB, who is indeed someone of consequence and worth getting to know if you should see her around the Castle, has evidently had a fair amount to drink and decided the best way to work off a major buzz was to write in. Which is good. You can actually see her become more lucid as she writes.

Hey, hey Your Czarness,

I’ve been a bad minion, as is my wont, but I’m soooo NOT worried that I am writing in, not withstanding any scorning/lashing/banishment from your Czarness…yeh…yeh…yeh….

So, here’s the thing- the Democrats, a truly self-righteous bunch, are playing true to form. They cannot wrap their minds around the fact that “The Most Qualified Candidate EVAH” (Trademark pending)…did NOT …win. It MUST have been because of nefarious reasons rather than the notion that their candidates and platforms were deemed LESS-THAN-WORTHY. And we voters were just too damed stupid to see her brilliance….yawn.

But here we are:

  1. Russian operatives hack emails of DNC officials and Clinton (she of the “EYE-legal” server) correspondents, and FINALLY a RED LINE has been crossed. Millions of Syrians can be displaced, multiple thousands dead, EU countries in a refugee crisis, barrels-bombs in Aleppo. YAWN. But now, by golly, is the US Government ever chuffed. So, upwards of 50 Democratic office-holders opted out of attending the inauguration, and it’s NOT EVEN COLD in DC. ‘Cause Trump is illegitimate. word… This boycott is from the same people who get a rash reading classic works of English literature which might refer to a child born out of wedlock in that same culturally-appropriate-for-that-time-but NOT-acceptable-today…word…illegitimate.… [Aside: Wow, that was a lot of hyphens] Anyhoo, getting the vapors about us plebeians knowing what the DNC and Clinton campaign folks ACTUALLY say, says a lot, but not about us, rather about what they think we ought to think [FYI-I agree that hacking is both bad & illegal, much like a Sec. of State putting a home-brew server in her closet in order to avoid Congressional oversight is bad & illegal.)
  2. Now, we have 50 +/- Democratic office-holders refusing to attend the ceremony, declaring that Trump is “not [their] President” when a mere 4 months ago Clinton (way up int polls at the time) herself was excoriating Trump in advance “should” he not accept the results, when the results were a foregone conclusion in her favor. To call them hypocrites would be an insult to hypocrisy. Most of us deal with disappointment(s) daily, and we kinda move on. But NOT our Democrats. Nope. Hillary should have won, and in their minds, and the ONLY possible reason that she did not win….had…to be due Russian corruption of the ballot. Only logical explanation—the Russians did it. Ignore the fact that Republicans control an overwhelming number of state houses and governorship, in addition to both houses of Congress. That result simply, in their minds, cannot be a result of the rejection of recent Dem/DNC initiatives, policies and laws. Couldn’t be.
  3. Therefore, release the hounds. Proverbially speaking, of course, ‘cause we don’t want to acknowledge that hounds can be both amazingly helpful as working dogs AND potentially harmful if they act as attack animals. Both characteristics can reside in the same animal(s). Hmmm.
  4. Meanwhile in Gambia, one old “president-for-life,” who lost the recent election, is refusing to step aside and hand power over to someone else. Now that’s an illegitimate president! The guy who won held his swearing-in-ceremony…in another country, to which he had fled, fearing for his life. And in a country like Zimbabwe, which ought to be a wealthy nation, the ancient kleptocracy still clings to power by any means necessary. The worst Hillary and her voters have to fear is what??? Some loss of income, some poor nights sleep because of a badly run campaign that ignored or maligned a sizable % of the population? Jen Psaki might have to take a few weeks off? They won’t go broke, end up as political prisoners in some modern gulag, or suffer torture at the hands of the victorious party.

When I watched the inauguration, I did so knowing that I selected a different person in the primaries. I didn’t favor Trump, but others did. And he won. And the sore-loser Democrats can take their ball and go home if they wish, as is their right. But I will revel in the knowledge that power will be handed off without a hitch. As it was before. As it will be again.

In my younger years, I worked for a non-profit that monitored and assisted in elections in countries transitioning from corrupt and/or one-party rule. I was in a place, once upon a time, when the election was won by the opposition, and the question was whether the ruling party would resist. And whether we could get out of the country safely. Your humble minion was in a right tight spot herself, but the drunken gang that tried to break into the polling station were I was, well that gang was repulsed. Thanks be.

Every time, I see the peaceful transfer of power from one party to another, I am humbled and grateful that I was born here in a place where our Founding Fathers had the wisdom to divide power among 3 branches. It sounds so simple after a couple hundred years, but it was the most radical experiment in governance in the history of the world.

And the blessings of liberty are preserved to us and our posterity.

Good night, and may we all reflect on our blessings.
I remain yours from the Doublewide,
JAB

As it happens, the Цесаревич is obsessed with the Gambian crisis. The Czar is interested in the Gambian situation for two reasons: one, it’s pretty crazy and worth keeping an eye one, and two, African nations have cobbled together a united military to force out the ex-incumbent, rather than whine to the United Nations or the United States and beg us to do so. Africa is actually acting responsibly in the interests of freedom, and the Czar thinks that’s pretty substantial.

Thanks, JAB. See you at the kennels.

In Which ‘Puter Gets Disenfriendchised By Everyone On Facebook

I posted what follows on my personal Facebook page moments ago. Let the hate commence.

I figure most of you have already muted me permanently, and that the rest will after this, but here goes.

I’ve been fairly quiet since Trump won the election. I’ve watched much of what’s occurred since then, and it hasn’t been pretty. I’ve stayed quiet this long because I figured the shock of Trump’s victory would wear off eventually. It hasn’t.

Many here seem to forget that we Republicans exist in your feeds. We see what you think of us by what you choose to post about us, what you actually write about us. We notice what you’ve said post-election, even if we haven’t engaged.

I say this, respectfully, to my friends.

Donald J. Trump is my president. He is also your president. Saying Trump is not my president is (1) factually wrong and (2) empty, false virtue signaling. Ranting “#NotMyPresident” may be cathartic, but it’s also what you (rightly) berated Republicans for during Obama’s presidency.

The derangement about Trump on the Democrats’ part is every bit as vile and ugly as the derangement about Obama was on the Republican side.

I get it. You don’t like Trump. Guess what? Neither do I. I didn’t vote for him. I didn’t like or vote for Obama either, and neither did nearly half of all Americans. For eight years Democrats told us “we won” and “mandate” and “STFU” any time we objected in good faith to anything Obama did. Today the shoe is on the other foot and you don’t like it at all.

Let’s be honest. Trump and Obama are cut from the same governing cloth. They’re both authoritarians. The only difference is on whose behalf, and against whom, the federal government’s massive power was/will be used. Yes, Trump’s a sexist pig. Yes, Obama is by all accounts a good and decent man. But neither fact changes how they view and use governmental power.

If you’re concerned today about the unconstitutional concentration of power in the executive when Trump wields it but had no issues with it yesterday when Obama wielded it, well, you may want to spend some time thinking about that dissonance.

And that, to me, seems to be what all of this is about. Democrats lost power, and now you’re afraid Republicans will treat your values and ideals the way Democrats treated ours over the last eight years. I understand that fear. I’ve lived it.

I’ll note here that treating every good and decent Republican candidate as Hitler’s second coming because you disagreed with his policies is how you got Americans to ignore your valid warnings about Trump.

Trump may be unqualified. He may be dangerous. He may cause all kinds of consternation and worry. He may even cause a war. But can we at least wait until he actually does something before we lose our collective minds?

My best guess is Trump has zero interest in relitigating social issues like gay marriage and abortion. Hell, Trump was pro-choice and pro-gay marriage until last year. Just wait and see what he actually does. He’s far more likely to cross you on economic, foreign policy, and immigration issues.

By all means, protest Trump (without rioting, as we saw in DC today). Work to get Democrats elected. Vigorously contest legislation, judicial appointments, administrative rules, and executive orders with which you disagree. That’s American. That’s helpful. That’s your right and your responsibility. That’s how this government thing is supposed to work.

But stop the endless, unproductive, off-putting whining. You lost. Pick yourselves up, dust yourselves off and get on with it.

And who knows? Some of us may even help you stymie Trump on issues where we find common ground.

The Inaugural Address Trump Should (But Won’t) Give

My Fellow Americans, I humbly accept the office of the presidency of the United States. I thank each of you for your trust, and will work hard to prove myself worthy of it.

America, we have heard you. We *will* make America great again.

I will do my part as our nation’s Executive. I know my friends in Congress, Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McConnell, share our goal, and I look forward to working with them in the years ahead.

We will rebuild our military, ridding it of all things not absolutely required for its sole purpose, fighting wars. We will be clear eyed about who our enemies are. We stand ready to defend America and its allies around the globe. None should doubt or test our resolve. If I am called upon by Congress to send our nation to be war, I will issue one standing order: win.

Yet we will also rely on diplomacy to make our case and press our interests across the globe. Our foreign policy will be “no greater friend, no worse enemy.” We will take nations and their proxies at their word, and we will respond accordingly.

Together, we can and we will better the lives of all Americans, but we will have a special focus on those for whom hope is nothing more than a politician’s broken promise.

We will encourage businesses to bring jobs to the jobless, whether in the inner cities, or the Rust Belt, or mining towns, or the oil patch. We will cut the regulations that have strangled our businesses for decades, freeing our economic engine to roar back to life.

We will make your neighborhoods safer. We will aggressively prosecute criminals of all types, whether civilian or in uniform. We will reform unjust sentencing guidelines. We will ensure the accused have competent counsel. We will ensure prisoners are housed humanely and are free from abuse.

We will fulfill the broken promise of a free and excellent education system for all. From Chicago to Appalachia, from Charlotte to Seattle we say to you your children are not forgotten. Your children are important. They will receive the education we have promised them, and nothing will get in our way.

We will restore a constitutional form of government. Congress will legislate, and I will execute its laws. I will undo unconstitutional executive orders, and Congress will rein in abusive agency rules.

We will require federal agencies to obey their enabling statutes. If agencies exceed their authority, we will cancel their illegal programs and fire the employees involved. We will remind our government workers that government service is a privilege, not an entitlement.

What we will not do is tolerate any violation of Americans’ constitutional rights, whether voting rights, marriage rights, abortion rights, speech rights, firearm rights, or religious rights. And we will pare away existing government infringements on these rights, this I promise you.

We have much work to do together. Let’s get to it.

Thank you.