FREEDOM OR ANARCHY,Campaign of Conscience.

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The Free Thought Project,The Daily Sheeple & FREEDOM OR ANARCHY Campaign of Conscience are dedicated to holding those who claim authority over our lives accountable. “Each of us has a unique part to play in the healing of the world.”
“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” - George Orwell, 1984

"Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned, everywhere is war and until there are no longer first-class and second-class citizens of any nation, until the color of a man's skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes. And until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race, there is war. And until that day, the dream of lasting peace, world citizenship, rule of international morality, will remain but a fleeting illusion to be pursued, but never attained... now everywhere is war." - - Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia - Popularized by Bob Marley in the song War

Monday, April 30, 2018

Resistance

Resistance


I was taking my dog for his morning run at the state park near our house the other day. I pulled into the parking lot behind a Prius with a very large “Resist” bumper sticker just as a couple was getting out with their dog. I decided to break my golden rule of never discussing religion or politics at the park. After all, the odds were good that the couple were dog lovers, so I figured I’d take my chances.

I opted for a tippy-toe approach; something like, “Hey, that’s a really cute dog. May I ask you something? I noticed your ‘Resist’ bumper sticker and was just curious what it is exactly that you want to resist. I’ve got nothing against resisting, just trying to understand.” I actually got a less hysterical response than I normally do when asking liberals simple “why” questions. Usually there’s lots of screaming that concludes with a declaration that I just don’t get it. The Prius owners both said, “It’s all about Donald Trump; he’s just so awful.” I pushed my luck and asked why they though he was so awful. The reply focused on how he acts, his tweets, his crude bluster and other personal attributes.

But after pressing a bit more, the only policy issue that emerged was his disregard for the environment; after all, he pulled out of the Paris accords! Their dog was bigger than mine, so I decided to end it there, but it caused me to ponder who exactly the “resisters” were, what exactly did they want, and why. Of course, they don’t want the current president to be president, but that’s true of half the country in every election. What is so different now?

The tone of the reaction to losing a presidential election is usually set by the losing party’s figureheads. But even in the George Bush/Al Gore punch-up, once the dust settled, the losers recognized the legitimacy of the process and accepted the results. This time, in spite of the irony of Hillary Clinton during the campaign having questioned whether Trump would accept the results of a Hillary victory, Team Hillary immediately launched into an effort to delegitimize Trump because “the Russians did it” — ironic because Russian interference was fully known to Obama and Clinton long before election day, but it was only after Trump won that it became a problem because no one wanted to taint the likely Clinton win. That set off a series of attempts to undo the election, which, lest we forget, started with efforts to encourage delegates to the Electoral College to “vote their conscience” and continuing with Russian collusion, obstruction of justice, 25th Amendment accusations of mental instability, and more.

The media had already made their choice, subsidized by The New York Times’ get-out-of-jail-free card that was played early in the election year when the Times officially gave its reporters free rein to play op-ed writers and perform their civic duty to defeat Trump because he was such a danger to the country. That bias has continued with the full blessing of the Times and has resulted in 90% negative Trump coverage. Basically, nothing he does has any merit. But when you trash everything, you trash nothing, and the credibility of the media has sunk.

I could give hundreds of examples, but the coverage of the impending Trump/North Korea summit will suffice. Rather than take a balanced view of the pros and cons and potential outcomes, the media themes have ranged from “Kim is just playing Trump” to “Trump will cave to get a deal” to “Trump’s bluster leaves no out for failed negotiations but war” to “Trump is ticking off China by leaving it out.” (That last one really gets me because no one really knows. It’s just as likely that China is part of the solution by pressuring Kim on trade behind the scenes.) The media has said anything to undermine the negotiations that have the potential of giving Trump a huge win, regardless of the impact on national security.

Back to the Democrats. They have made a tactical decision that their base is so upset by the idea of Trump that pure resistance to everything will play better with the base than trying to compete with ideas and policy. This includes such winners as tax cuts being crumbs, protection of illegal immigrants over the safety of U.S. citizens, obstruction to every Cabinet nominee regardless of qualifications, and a potential platform that is built around a guaranteed minimum income for all — basically out Bernie-ing Bernie Sanders. All of these are losers with the majority of voters. But instead of at least trying to compete on the plateau of ideas, the DNC instead files a lawsuit against the Trump campaign and Russia for stealing DNC data and rigging the election. Even David Axelrod can’t believe that one.

The courts have also chimed in. Again, I could give you dozens of examples, but the travel ban will do as Exhibit A. In spite of crystal clear constitutional language that gives the president the right to do what Trump did, some isolated courts cited Trump’s campaign rhetoric to make the claim that the ban was the equivalent of religious bias and therefore unconstitutional. The actual language of the order seemed to be irrelevant, certainly compared to some vague speech a year ago in which Trump took a swipe at lax immigration laws that might allow Muslim terrorist freer rein to jump the border. Yet one court in one state seems to have the power to set law for the country and delay the implementation of a legitimate order until it works its way through a Supreme Court overturn. The district judges may have earned the accolades of the Resistance movement, but at the cost of risking the justice system turning into a joke.

And let’s not give Robert Mueller a pass. Don’t shoot the messenger, but I am still in the category which believes that, while there are senior career officials at the FBI and Justice Department who are card-carrying Resistance members, Mueller is an honest broker trying to thread a needle. He knows he has no obstruction of justice case, and even less of a Trump/Russian collusion one, but he needs to play out the string, use process crimes and the inspector general’s report to give him his scalps while trying to protect the image of his former organization. I think he is aiming toward an off ramp, and I view the hiring of Rudy Giuliani as a major step in that direction.

There was an op-ed a few days ago by Byron York who cited the purported need to “disprove” the contents of the “Steele dossier” as turning the justice truism of “innocent until proven guilty” on its head. It’s hard to prove a negative, but that may be where Mueller is going — no further indictments of anyone (sadly, that includes Team Hillary, James Comey and Andrew McCabe); censuring of FBI/Justice officials who are cited by the inspector general; and the presentation of a report in which he notes that, while he can’t disprove all the innuendo, there is not enough evidence to bring charges and will leave it for the voters and Congress to decide. That’s where Giuliani’s statements seem to be heading, and, if true, could wrap this up sooner than expected. Okay, call me an optimist…

This is not the way the Founders intended things to run. And while I don’t see things changing before November, there are some positives to latch onto. Losing the House and/or Senate would put the Resistance’s efforts on steroids and bring the Trump agenda to a halt while impeachment proceedings take front and center, so that’s the main event. But it’s still way early. The quality of the local candidates will be far more important than the resistance overlay, and it’s not at all clear where the parties stack up yet on that front. But I have faith in voters. Relying primarily on a negative resistance platform is a losing strategy — particularly if Trump and the GOP can stay disciplined enough to stress their economic and national security successes.

Democrats seem to have locked themselves into a resistance platform. You can’t beat something with nothing. When their differences get front and center as we get closer to November, the prospects for continued GOP majorities will improve. “Trump is just so awful” and “You just don’t get it” are not winning platforms. Folks are not really paying attention yet, so the “generic ballot,” while still favoring Democrats but moving in the GOP’s direction, is not terribly relevant. There is a lot more potential positive news on the horizon (the economy, North Korea, Iran, immigration, security, regulation, even Mueller) that resistance will not overcome. So as much as I would like to see engagement with the Resistance on issues, I’ll take the Resistance doing more of the same.


Bill Wagner · 

Resistance


I was taking my dog for his morning run at the state park near our house the other day. I pulled into the parking lot behind a Prius with a very large “Resist” bumper sticker just as a couple was getting out with their dog. I decided to break my golden rule of never discussing religion or politics at the park. After all, the odds were good that the couple were dog lovers, so I figured I’d take my chances.

I opted for a tippy-toe approach; something like, “Hey, that’s a really cute dog. May I ask you something? I noticed your ‘Resist’ bumper sticker and was just curious what it is exactly that you want to resist. I’ve got nothing against resisting, just trying to understand.” I actually got a less hysterical response than I normally do when asking liberals simple “why” questions. Usually there’s lots of screaming that concludes with a declaration that I just don’t get it. The Prius owners both said, “It’s all about Donald Trump; he’s just so awful.” I pushed my luck and asked why they though he was so awful. The reply focused on how he acts, his tweets, his crude bluster and other personal attributes.

But after pressing a bit more, the only policy issue that emerged was his disregard for the environment; after all, he pulled out of the Paris accords! Their dog was bigger than mine, so I decided to end it there, but it caused me to ponder who exactly the “resisters” were, what exactly did they want, and why. Of course, they don’t want the current president to be president, but that’s true of half the country in every election. What is so different now?

The tone of the reaction to losing a presidential election is usually set by the losing party’s figureheads. But even in the George Bush/Al Gore punch-up, once the dust settled, the losers recognized the legitimacy of the process and accepted the results. This time, in spite of the irony of Hillary Clinton during the campaign having questioned whether Trump would accept the results of a Hillary victory, Team Hillary immediately launched into an effort to delegitimize Trump because “the Russians did it” — ironic because Russian interference was fully known to Obama and Clinton long before election day, but it was only after Trump won that it became a problem because no one wanted to taint the likely Clinton win. That set off a series of attempts to undo the election, which, lest we forget, started with efforts to encourage delegates to the Electoral College to “vote their conscience” and continuing with Russian collusion, obstruction of justice, 25th Amendment accusations of mental instability, and more.

The media had already made their choice, subsidized by The New York Times’ get-out-of-jail-free card that was played early in the election year when the Times officially gave its reporters free rein to play op-ed writers and perform their civic duty to defeat Trump because he was such a danger to the country. That bias has continued with the full blessing of the Times and has resulted in 90% negative Trump coverage. Basically, nothing he does has any merit. But when you trash everything, you trash nothing, and the credibility of the media has sunk.

I could give hundreds of examples, but the coverage of the impending Trump/North Korea summit will suffice. Rather than take a balanced view of the pros and cons and potential outcomes, the media themes have ranged from “Kim is just playing Trump” to “Trump will cave to get a deal” to “Trump’s bluster leaves no out for failed negotiations but war” to “Trump is ticking off China by leaving it out.” (That last one really gets me because no one really knows. It’s just as likely that China is part of the solution by pressuring Kim on trade behind the scenes.) The media has said anything to undermine the negotiations that have the potential of giving Trump a huge win, regardless of the impact on national security.

Back to the Democrats. They have made a tactical decision that their base is so upset by the idea of Trump that pure resistance to everything will play better with the base than trying to compete with ideas and policy. This includes such winners as tax cuts being crumbs, protection of illegal immigrants over the safety of U.S. citizens, obstruction to every Cabinet nominee regardless of qualifications, and a potential platform that is built around a guaranteed minimum income for all — basically out Bernie-ing Bernie Sanders. All of these are losers with the majority of voters. But instead of at least trying to compete on the plateau of ideas, the DNC instead files a lawsuit against the Trump campaign and Russia for stealing DNC data and rigging the election. Even David Axelrod can’t believe that one.

The courts have also chimed in. Again, I could give you dozens of examples, but the travel ban will do as Exhibit A. In spite of crystal clear constitutional language that gives the president the right to do what Trump did, some isolated courts cited Trump’s campaign rhetoric to make the claim that the ban was the equivalent of religious bias and therefore unconstitutional. The actual language of the order seemed to be irrelevant, certainly compared to some vague speech a year ago in which Trump took a swipe at lax immigration laws that might allow Muslim terrorist freer rein to jump the border. Yet one court in one state seems to have the power to set law for the country and delay the implementation of a legitimate order until it works its way through a Supreme Court overturn. The district judges may have earned the accolades of the Resistance movement, but at the cost of risking the justice system turning into a joke.

And let’s not give Robert Mueller a pass. Don’t shoot the messenger, but I am still in the category which believes that, while there are senior career officials at the FBI and Justice Department who are card-carrying Resistance members, Mueller is an honest broker trying to thread a needle. He knows he has no obstruction of justice case, and even less of a Trump/Russian collusion one, but he needs to play out the string, use process crimes and the inspector general’s report to give him his scalps while trying to protect the image of his former organization. I think he is aiming toward an off ramp, and I view the hiring of Rudy Giuliani as a major step in that direction.

There was an op-ed a few days ago by Byron York who cited the purported need to “disprove” the contents of the “Steele dossier” as turning the justice truism of “innocent until proven guilty” on its head. It’s hard to prove a negative, but that may be where Mueller is going — no further indictments of anyone (sadly, that includes Team Hillary, James Comey and Andrew McCabe); censuring of FBI/Justice officials who are cited by the inspector general; and the presentation of a report in which he notes that, while he can’t disprove all the innuendo, there is not enough evidence to bring charges and will leave it for the voters and Congress to decide. That’s where Giuliani’s statements seem to be heading, and, if true, could wrap this up sooner than expected. Okay, call me an optimist…

This is not the way the Founders intended things to run. And while I don’t see things changing before November, there are some positives to latch onto. Losing the House and/or Senate would put the Resistance’s efforts on steroids and bring the Trump agenda to a halt while impeachment proceedings take front and center, so that’s the main event. But it’s still way early. The quality of the local candidates will be far more important than the resistance overlay, and it’s not at all clear where the parties stack up yet on that front. But I have faith in voters. Relying primarily on a negative resistance platform is a losing strategy — particularly if Trump and the GOP can stay disciplined enough to stress their economic and national security successes.

Democrats seem to have locked themselves into a resistance platform. You can’t beat something with nothing. When their differences get front and center as we get closer to November, the prospects for continued GOP majorities will improve. “Trump is just so awful” and “You just don’t get it” are not winning platforms. Folks are not really paying attention yet, so the “generic ballot,” while still favoring Democrats but moving in the GOP’s direction, is not terribly relevant. There is a lot more potential positive news on the horizon (the economy, North Korea, Iran, immigration, security, regulation, even Mueller) that resistance will not overcome. So as much as I would like to see engagement with the Resistance on issues, I’ll take the Resistance doing more of the same.


Bill Wagner ·