Archive for the 'Politics' Category



Donald Trump On The North Carolina Bathroom Law

BY Herschel Smith
1 week, 2 days ago

CNN:

“Well look, North Carolina did something that was very strong, and they’re paying a big price, and there’s a lot of problems,” he said. But he then agreed with a commentator’s argument to “leave it the way it is.”
“You leave it the way it is,” Trump said. “There have been very few complaints the way it is. People go, they use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate. There has been so little trouble, and the problem with what happened in North Carolina is the strife and the economic punishment that they’re taking. So I would say that’s probably the best way.”

What?  Really, what?

What?

North Carolina did something very strong.  Okay, was that good or bad, being strong?    We’re paying a big price, and there’s a lot of problems.  Okay, what are those problems, Donald?

Leave it the way it is.  What way is that, Donald?  The way it was before Charlotte made the decision to do gender neutral bathrooms, or the way it was after the state passed a law against cities doing that on their own?  Which way is it you like, Donald?

So people use the bathroom where they “feel” it’s appropriate.  Is that what you want, Donald?  So is it the Charlotte regulation you like, or something else?  You want gender neutral bathrooms, or not, Donald?

Oh, okay I see, it’s the strife you don’t like.  That means that you’re unwilling to cause strife by your actions, right?  Is that what it means, Donald?  What way is best, Donald?  What do you mean when you say “So I would say that’s probably the best way?”

Listen, I think your tendency to random-speak is causing confusion as to where you stand.  But that’s the way you want it, is it?  You could speak more clearly, but then people would actually know where you stand.  Hey, you know, now that I think about it, your transition from anti-PC to the non-strife candidate didn’t take very long.

Notes From HPS

BY Herschel Smith
1 week, 6 days ago

It looks like Mike is coming down towards the end.  This is very sad news for me.  I have a deep regret, namely, not ever having personally met Mike.  But we will meet in the new heavens and the new earth.  Keep him in your prayers.

It looks like there is a change of command at SSI, and while it’s nice to see his son taking on his legacy, I’ll tell you what.  You’ve got big shoes to fill, son.  I’ll be watching.

David Codrea:

“[T]he documents reveal how senior Justice Department officials—including Attorney General Eric Holder—intensely followed and managed an effort to carefully limit and obstruct the information produced to Congress,” the memo notes, adding further cause for curiosity. “Justice Department officials in Washington impeded the congressional investigation in several ways…”

Well, he’s a criminal, but he worked for a criminal too.  So it all started at the top and worked its way down, one gigantic criminal enterprise.

Ben Carson: “You know, during the Jim Crow era, those were the rules, too,” Ben Carson told MSNBC today, while discussing the caucus rules of the Colorado Republican Party. “They were written. Everybody knew about them. Didn’t make them right.”

I like how he has begun to speak in pseudo-sentences just like Trump.  But hey, we did indeed learn something!  Who knew you could be so stupid and still be a neurosurgeon?

Donald Trump On Waterboarding

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 5 days ago

USA Today:

Donald Trump is taking on CIA Director John Brennan on torture, saying Brennan’s pledge not to allow waterboarding is “ridiculous.”

Brennan said on NBC News Sunday that he would not allow enhanced interrogation tactics, including waterboarding, even if a future president ordered it.

“I think his comments are ridiculous,” Trump said on Fox News Monday. “I mean, they chop off heads and they drown people in cages with 50 in a cage, in big, steel heavy cages, drop them right into the water drown people, and we can’t water-board and we can’t do anything,” Trump said.

“And you know we’re playing on different fields,’ he continued. “And we have a huge problem with ISIS, which we can’t beat, and the reason we can’t beat them is we won’t use strong tactics, whether it’s this or other things.”

So let me tell you how this really works, and this little note is to you, Trump, and any other presidential candidate who thinks he or she is going to bring back waterboarding.

It will never get to the level of having to have the director of the CIA tell anyone anything.  The president will give the order, and no one will carry it out.  It’s not that they won’t carry it out for reasons of morality, although some refusals will fall into that category.  It has to do with other, more pragmatic issues.

The things I am going to say to you can be found with research, so I’m not going to waste my time linking to things you should already know.  The original guys who did this for the CIA, working directly under the employ of the CIA or as contractors, are now retired, and some of them live in the Northern Virginia area.  Others live elsewhere, but the CIA knows where all of them are.  They want to be left alone, and some of them fear a knock at the door, with federal marshals waiting at the door to take them off to federal prison, never to be seen again.  I know these things because of my war and counterinsurgency coverage and commentary for so many years.  Again, go research it yourself if you want proof – I’m not going to waste my time proving this for you and your advisers should already know all of these things anyway.  For you to bring this up causes me to wonder about your advisers.

You see, even when a president tells them to do things, when another president comes into office and appoints his own attorney general, and the mood goes sour on what those men did, things change, and they can be held accountable not for what they did, but for what the people who came after them thought they should or shouldn’t have done.

This isn’t a commentary on waterboarding, per se.  I have no opinion since I’ve never been waterboarded.  The only man I know who has, a former Navy pilot who was waterboarded as part of his SERE training, says to me that it’s not torture.  I don’t know.  I don’t care.  That’s not the point.  The point is that in order for it to happen, you have to find people to make it happen.  And outsourcing this to other countries isn’t an option, because they can still retroactively charge you with war crimes for enabling it to happen.  So Mr. Trump, it isn’t ridiculous, and it isn’t going to happen, ever again.  Ever.  The only people Americans will ever waterboard from now on will be SERE training participants.

Richard Burr: My Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad U.S. Senator

BY Herschel Smith
2 weeks, 6 days ago

Wired: The Senate’s Draft Encryption Bill Is Ludicrous, Dangerous And Technically Illiterate.

As Apple battled the FBI for the last two months over the agency’s demands that Apple help crack its own encryption, both the tech community and law enforcement hoped that Congress would weigh in with some sort of compromise solution. Now Congress has spoken on crypto, and privacy advocates say its “solution” is the most extreme stance on encryption yet.

On Thursday evening, the draft text of a bill called the “Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016,” authored by offices of Senators Diane Feinstein and Richard Burr,  was published online by the Hill.1 It’s a nine-page piece of legislation that would require people to comply with any authorized court order for data—and if that data is “unintelligible,” the legislation would demand that it be rendered “intelligible.” In other words, the bill would make illegal the sort of user-controlled encryption that’s in every modern iPhone, in all billion devices that run Whatsapp’s messaging service, and in dozens of other tech products. “This basically outlaws end-to-end encryption,” says Joseph Lorenzo Hall, chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology. “It’s effectively the most anti-crypto bill of all anti-crypto bills.”

I just have a few comments.  First of all, it should be telling to you that a republican U.S. senator, Richard Burr, is aligned with a totalitarian like Feinstein.  That’s how desperate he is for a signature piece of legislation to go with his name.  He would sooner pick an awful piece of shit like this than simply turn government control on its head and give control back to the people in every way, something that would win him immediate loyalty by the voters.  Instead, he listens to his colleagues, that collection of gargoyles, demons, pit vipers and carnival barkers in Washington.

Second, remember what I said about the government’s desire for all of your information?

Soccer moms will do anything, give over any amount of privacy, give up virtually anything, in order to maintain a level of safety and security.  ISIS and nuclear power plants is the latest incarnation of the whole ISIS thing generically.  The government gets a chance to say, “Hey, listen to us, we’ll protect you if you’ll only give us access to your iPhone, all of your records, bank accounts, medical data, tell us whether you have any guns in the home, let us listen to and record your phone calls and all of your text messages, and in short be your protector.  We’ll take care of you, we promise!  We won’t let the mean bad men make the big bad thingy go BOOM and hurt your precious little babies!  Let me have the keys to your life, sweetie!”

Burr is taking advantage of ignorant soccer moms who believe that American national security will be better off if they give over their lives to the federal government and give up their constitutionally protected right to privacy.  Because Burr is just that kind of man.  Remember that he is the worm who said he would vote for Bernie Sanders before he would vote for Ted Cruz.  He is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad U.S. senator.

What Happens When WrestleMania And Gawker Have A Baby Together?

BY Herschel Smith
3 weeks, 4 days ago

PJM:

Trump is a master of the nihilist style of the web. His competitors speak in political jargon and soaring generalities. He speaks in rant. He attacks, insults, condemns, doubles down on misstatements, never takes a step back, never apologizes. Everyone he dislikes is a liar, “a bimbo,” “bought and paid for.” Without batting an eyelash, he will compare an opponent to a child molester. Such rhetorical aggression is shocking in mainstream American politics but an everyday occurrence on the political web, where death threats and rape threats against a writer are a measure of the potency of the message.

The “angry voter” Trump supposedly has connected with is really an avatar of the mutinous public: and this is its language. It too speaks in rant, inchoate expression of a desire to remake the world by smashing at it, common parlance of the political war-bands that populate Tumblr, Gawker, reddit, and so many other online platforms. By embracing Trump in significant numbers, the public has signaled that it is willing to impose the untrammeled relations of social media on the U.S. electoral process.

To be fair, I think this is right but I think there is more at play than this.  There are legitimate grievances, but voting for Trump to fix those grievances is sort of like placing your penis on an anvil and beating it bloody, shouting “you won’t do it to us again,”  while a Fascist does it again to them as he sings, “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”  Turning now to the other parent, pro wrestling.

He parlayed his appearances on Monday Night Raw into a prime-time WrestleMania 23 match. The mega event was billed as the “Battle of the Billionaires” and featured a showdown between a wrestler sponsored by Trump (Bobby Lashley) and a wrestler chosen by McMahon (Umaga) — and was refereed by none other than famous McMahon antagonist Stone Cold Steve Austin. Even the taunt-filled ringside contract-signing showcased Trump, prefiguring his insult-laced debate performances. At stake was a golden head of hair: The loser would be forcibly shorn of his famous locks in front of a record pay-per-view crowd.

I’ve been toying with the idea that Donald Trump isn’t a human, but an apparition of some sort, designed by evil forces to have an adverse impact on behavior.  My thoughts still need to be fully formed before laying that out there as a mature idea, but Trump is certainly having a bad affect on behavior.

The goal is to harden men.  It is to force them to bare their asses, pull their pants down in public, use foul language, discuss obscene things, hurl baseless insults towards other people, to be able to do or feel anything without shame, and manifest utterly narcissistic feelings in all things.

The target is to destroy all etiquette, kill the notion of love, grace and kindness towards others, and coarsen the discourse, both private and public.  Trump has no ideology beyond this, and the increase of Donald Trump.  His values are “without form and void.”  He is an empty vessel, into which anything can be poured that benefits Trump and humiliates, trashes, denigrates and dehumanizes others.

And America is enthralled with the shameless reality show that is Donald Trump.  It is a sick society, sick unto death.

Trump’s Lies And Triangulation

BY Herschel Smith
3 weeks, 6 days ago

I have said for a very long time to my family and others that the experience of parents having and raising children isn’t really about the children.  God will handle the children as He sees fit.  It’s about the parents, and there are two experiences that test your mettle more than any other: marriage and children.  It’s one of God’s way of sanctifying His own, but it has the opposite affect on others.

One reason I care about the election cycle isn’t because I think we can make a difference.  Oh, we can in some ways, we can’t in others.  We can make a difference in the medical care situation in the country, but we can’t in the global financial system.  This discussion is saved for another time.  But one thing the individual vote does at one and the same time is affect the soul and show the content of the soul of the voter.  It’s a deeply moral act that has eternal consequences for the one who is given stewardship of the vote.

Now let me turn for a moment to a recent commentary by Jonah Goldberg.  Sometimes I disagree vehemently with him, but other times he hits on all cylinders.  This day the engine was running to perfection on the dynamometer.

This week there have been some cracks in the façade. Trump’s attacks on Heidi Cruz unsettled even Ann Coulter. And his abortion remarks are still sending tremors through the granite foundations of Trump can-do-no-wrong-ism. Joe Scarborough and Breitbart’s John Nolte are talking about what a bad week he’s having and gravely warning Trump to get his act together. As Jim Geraghty has been writing, the problem with such second thoughts is the assumption that something is amiss with Trump or his campaign. This is Trump. This is his campaign. The Trump we see before us is the same Trump. It’s a bit like when Barack Obama said that the Jeremiah Wright he saw denouncing America wasn’t the man he knew. That was nonsense. Obama knew exactly who Wright was, having attended his church for 20 years. It was only when Wright’s act moved to a larger national stage that all of a sudden he became inconvenient to Obama.

The analogy isn’t perfect, of course. But the basic point is the same. The Donald Trump of the last week is the exact same Donald Trump many of us saw a year ago or five years ago. He’s always been full of sh*t. He’s always been a total ignoramus when it comes to public policy, lacking the simple sense of patriotic duty to do his homework on the issues. He’s always been a nasty and boorish cad. He’s always pretended to be a conservative while working on liberal assumptions of what conservatives want to hear.

His “punish the women” comments were of a piece with his refusal to condemn the Klan on CNN. It’s not that he wants to punish women who have abortions — I’d bet he’s paid more abortion bills than he will ever sign — it’s that he thinks that’s what pro-lifers want to hear. It’s not that he’s a Klansman or that the pillowcases at Mara Lago come with eyeholes cut out in advance. It’s that Trump thinks lots of his fans like the Klan and he wants to pander to them. I have heard first-hand stories from people who’ve worked with Trump about how he disparages women’s appearance routinely. That’s who he is. If you’re attacking him because he retweeted a bad picture of Heidi, that’s not you being principled, it’s you getting cold feet. Indeed, I am sure that the same opportunism that has caused so many supposedly principled conservatives to hitch their wagons to Trump is now causing some of them to question their choices, not because Trump has changed but because the climate might be changing around them. By all means, if Trump continues to unravel (a huge if), please abandon Trump. But don’t think for a moment that the rest of us will automatically take your word for it when you say this or that statement changed your mind about the man. He hasn’t changed, your calculations have.

[ … ]

Like all demagogues, he’s using his lies as a loyalty test for his followers. He’s exploiting his popularity and abusing the devotion of his fans to force them into going along with his fictions, until they are in so deep psychologically, they have no choice but to carry on. It’s an ancient psychological tactic of authoritarians, Mafia dons, and the like: Force your followers into sharing the blame for your misdeeds so that they can’t break ranks.

Jonah is right.  He thinks we want to see women who have gotten abortions in the town center in stocks and chains.  He’s pandering to the social right, but he missed on this, and he missed badly.  His other positions – support for the second amendment, advocacy for closed borders – can only be assumed to be pandering as well.

Not to worry, though.  Just about as soon as he said it, he triangulated his position again, to something like abortion laws are already set and we have to leave it that way.  Trumps views on abortion aren’t the topic here.  Trump is the topic.  He is a mirror in which everyone sees what he or she wants to see, its just that the mirror has to be adjusted based on the onlooker and Trump isn’t really as good a triangulator as he is made out to be.

And that brings me to the conservative voters who have already cast their votes for Trump in the primaries heretofore.  Do you remember when socialized medicine was the most important thing about the Obama administration, the holy grail of the progressives?  It still is.

And yet, you have jettisoned that most important piece of your world view to support a man who sees things far differently than you, who supports socialized medicine, and who has said that the only thing he would change about the current system is to allow it to cross state lines.

Trump has woven you into his deception, his lies, his evil.  And when socialized medicine is codified and solidified for you, your children, and your children’s children to the tenth generation of your progeny, when you see that your seed will hate you and this generation for what has been done to the country, it will be far too late.

Open wide, and suck it down.  This is what you voted for, whether in the end it’s Hillary or Trump, or some replacement for Hillary.  Own it.  It’s yours.  The Mafia don asked you to pull the trigger and do the deed.  It’s no longer about him.  Now it’s about you.

I Like Being An Establishment Republican

BY Herschel Smith
1 month ago

Says the jerk (via reader Mack):

Frankly, I don’t care if people call me an Establishment Republican. It used to bother me, but it doesn’t anymore. In fact, I’ve come to wear it as a badge of honor.

I’ve been working on my own definition of what it means to be an Establishment Republican. While my definition is still a work in progress, I would suggest that the following are some good factors to consider when deciding what kind of Republican you are:

First, an Establishment Republican is typically someone who was actively involved in the Republican Party prior to the advent of the Tea Party.

In my case, I have been a Republican since I worked on my first political campaign at the age of 15. I have been a member of the Republican Party of Virginia since 1987. And I held elected office as a Republican for more than 22 years.

Even though some of the GOP’s more recent members seem to think that they are the only ones who know what it means to be a Republican, I would remind them that there was a very successful Republican Party prior to the advent of the Tea Party. In fact, I would argue that the Republican Party was stronger, more cohesive, and more successful in days gone by than it is today.

Second, an Establishment Republican is someone who adheres to a conservative political philosophy, but understands that not everyone will agree with us on every issue; and we have respect for dissenting opinions, even if we don’t agree with them.

Or, as Ronald Reagan said, we understand that the person who agrees with us 80 percent of the time is an 80 percent friend, not a 20 percent traitor. This distinguishes us from those that take an ideologically rigid “my way or the highway” approach to politics and policy.

Third, an Establishment Republican is someone who understands that there is a difference between being conservative and being anti-government.

Okay, have you heard enough?  I’m sure Mr. Bolling and I aren’t going camping or shooting together.  I don’t think he’s my type.  Besides, I’ve grown weary of the whole tea party / establishment bifurcation and definition and advocate something much different.  Marco Rubio was a tea party candidate, and he’s a loser and liar.  In fact, Mark Levin and I think alike on this.

Mr. Bolling wants to know what you think about a “do something” republican.  I don’t think I like that idea very much.  You see, I think that the federal government has the right under the constitution to provide for the common defense, and that’s about it.  States only a little more, perhaps the construction of roads to enable commerce.  Gun control is evil in all of its forms, and I would much rather see the federal government completely shut down than anyone doing something about anything.

I want a constitutionalist, not an anti-establishment candidate.  Donald Trump is an anti-establishment candidate, and he’s blabbering about making all kinds of deals with just about everyone under the sun.  I don’t want that.  I don’t want the federal government to be empowered that way.  I don’t want somebody who pokes their thumb in the eye of the establishment, because that could very well be the devil, who happens to hate you and want to control you even more than the establishment.

I will not side with the establishment or the devil.  The Holy Scriptures contain examples of God using evil nations to judge Israel, and then turning on those evil nations and destroying them for what they did.  When God has two wicked enemies attacking each other, the best bet is to stay back rather than take sides in that dark war.  There will be no winners – only losers.

 

Ben Carson On Donald Trump And The GOP Convention

BY Herschel Smith
1 month ago

Politico:

If Republican establishment forces conspire to deny Donald Trump the party’s nomination, they will risk “absolute destruction” in November, Ben Carson said Monday.

“If there are shenanigans, if it’s not straightforward, all of those millions of people that Donald Trump has brought into the arena are not going to stay there, and the Republicans are going to lose and it’s going to be not only the presidency but it’s gonna be the Senate and it could even be the House,” the retired neurosurgeon who endorsed his former opponent earlier this month told “Fox and Friends,” adding, “It’s going to be absolute destruction.”

You pathetic whiner.  Is that supposed to scare me?  I’ve already pointed out that it isn’t just of Trump is not nominated.  It’s if Trump is in fact nominated too, or anything else happens, because the GOP is already dead.  So don’t come trying to engender the panic.  I’ve got a few gray hairs too.  Bring on the destruction.

Concerning ISIS, Nuclear Reactors And Privacy

BY Herschel Smith
1 month ago

In light of the murder of a security guard at a nuclear power plant allegedly by ISIS, I had a conversation with someone this weekend on that subject.  A brief synopsis of it follows.

Person A: So can ISIS do anything to a nuclear power plant?

Me: Do you really want to have this conversation?

Person A: Yes.

Me: Okay.  So be it.  No, ISIS can’t do anything.

Person A: But what about Chernobyl?

Me:  At Chernobyl, which is an RBMK-1000 design, it was neutronically a loosely couple reactor in order to allow refueling on line because it was producing weapons grade material.  It’s neutron moderator was graphite, not water.  The water was both the coolant and a neutron poison.  Thus, on lose of coolant, the neutron population rapidly increased.  That fateful night an electrical engineer was running a test on the reactor, and the reactor operators were operating under his procedure.  He put the plant in a condition in which safety systems and automatic reactor trips were bypassed, forced a plant transient, and voided the core of water.

When he did this, reactor power increased by a factor of 100 within one second.  Shortly after the accident a lot of multidimensional analysis work was performed to ascertain whether it was a nuclear explosion or a steam explosion.  The answer was pretty clear, it was a steam explosion.  Commercial nuclear reactors cannot explode like a bomb.  It’s impossible.  But it dispersed the coolant channels in such a manner that the core could no longer be cooled.  It melted.

This Russian design had what we call a positive void coefficient, leading to an overall positive power coefficient.  Reactor transients with increasing power further increase power.  In America, the code of federal regulations dictates that reactors be designed with overall negative power coefficients.  In Europe too, I believe.  The RBMK only exists in Russia and the Ukraine.

I’m sorry, I asked you if you really wanted to have this conversation.

Person A: So the plant is intrinsically safe, but can ISIS do anything with the security badge?

Me: No.  Entry into the plant requires biometric screening, like palm prints.  If someone tried to force their way into the plant, they would be shot within seconds (not to mention the fact that the turnstiles would never open).  The only real threat to safety and security would be an inside job, where engineers who had extensive knowledge of the safety analysis of the plant went into the plant to area terminal cabinets and opened sliding links, lifted leads, and so on, disabling safety systems.  In other words, malicious tampering.  Engineers are very non-fertile ground for that sort of thing, having worked their entire careers trying to baby the machine into working right to begin with.  No engineer wants to see his life’s work go away in ignominy.  Besides, engineers are boring people.

Person A: So why all the hype?

Me: Soccer moms will do anything, give over any amount of privacy, give up virtually anything, in order to maintain a level of safety and security.  ISIS and nuclear power plants is the latest incarnation of the whole ISIS thing generically.  The government gets a chance to say, “Hey, listen to us, we’ll protect you if you’ll only give us access to your iPhone, all of your records, bank accounts, medical data, tell us whether you have any guns in the home, let us listen to and record your phone calls and all of your text messages, and in short be your protector.  We’ll take care of you, we promise!  We won’t let the mean bad men make the big bad thingy go BOOM and hurt your precious little babies!  Let me have the keys to your life, sweetie!”

Hey Mitch McConnell, You Bottom Feeding Blowhole, I’d Sooner See You Tarred And Feathered

BY Herschel Smith
1 month ago

NYT:

Though Mr. Cruz has adjusted his public tone, calling for party harmony and appealing to “our better angels” in a moment of political discord, senior Republican officials say Mr. Cruz has made little effort to repair relationships, particularly in the Senate.

Senator John Cornyn, the second-ranking Republican senator and Mr. Cruz’s fellow Texan, privately lobbied Mr. Cruz to attend a Senate Republican luncheon in the Capitol and soothe feelings, according to a Republican strategist briefed on the request. But after a CNN report in which some Republican senators suggested that Mr. Cruz apologize to the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, whom Mr. Cruz called a liar on the Senate floor, Mr. Cruz’s campaign became irritated and backed off a peacemaking lunch.

Mr. Cruz and Mr. McConnell have still not spoken, according to an aide to Mr. McConnell.

“I’m not sure there’s anything to apologize for,” Jason Johnson, Mr. Cruz’s chief strategist, told reporters recently.

Hey Lindsey, you can cram your endorsement up your ass.  As for Mitch McConnell, apologizing to him would be akin to pledging fealty to a demon.  I would lose all respect for Ted.  I would rather see McConnell tarred and feathered.  Or perhaps hanged.  But a good old fashioned tarring and feathering would drag it out longer.


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