covid-19 – Notes on Trump 52 – “platitudes matter”

After predicting a landslide against Trump and getting a 10% increase in his vote as well as a reduction in the Demcrat majority in the House, the mainstream media has now officially given up on Trump voters.

Trump disputing the election and challenging it in the Courts (as announced in advance and expected) is being described as a fundamental assault on democracy.

In fact it is so outrageous for a candidate to dispute the results of an election and go to Court that his “baseless” claims must not even be reported.

This stuff should not be surprising from the people that reacted to Trump’s original election by denouncing him as a Kremlin agent and demanding that the intelligence agencies summarily remove him in a coup d’etat.

That went on for literally years, but the same clowns seem to imagine soothing platitudes about “healing” are going to prevent large numbers of people who voted against the swamp remaining hostile to it.

Here’s an explanation of the grave responsibility the media has taken on itself to protect the American people from Trump’s “baseless claims”.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-11-07/conversation-to-stay-or-cut-away-as-trump-makes-baseless-claims/12859062

Here’s a good rendition of the way the adoring media has portrayed the new healer:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-11-09/joe-biden-us-election-donald-trump-reality-check-stan-grant/12862038

[…]

And with that, Donald Trump suddenly seemed like yesterday’s news.

The appearance of Joe Biden as president-elect flanked by his vice-president Kamala Harris has immediately swept away the Trump years.

Not that Trump disappears or that his followers no longer matter — they do as much as ever — but the spell has been broken.

Donald Trump alone with his petulance and lies now looks small, like the Wizard of Oz — just a little man behind a big microphone.

Biden, dismissed by many — the man who had failed in two previous presidential campaigns — now looked and sounded presidential.

In Kamala Harris — the first female vice-president, African-American and the daughter of an Indian immigrant — Biden announces the next generation of the Democratic Party.

Moments matter and this was a moment: an historic moment.

Words matter, and these were words of healing and unity.

They are just platitudes but they are what a battered country needs to hear right now.

Stan Grant goes on to say that the platitudes the media thinks “a battered country needs to hear right now” are unlikely to work.

Another surprisingly perceptive article from the same ABC journalist is here:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-11-08/us-presidential-election-trump-biden-divided-democracy-in-action/12855936

Both are well worth reading in full.

So is the full text of the platitudes from Biden and Harris.

The 76 million who voted Democrat are congratulated because:

“You chose hope and unity, decency, science and, yes, truth”.

As for the 70 million hopeless, disruptive, indecent, irrational liars who did not make that choice, it seems unlikely that they will be as impressed by the healing platitudes about unity.

We are again at a turning point that makes it impossible to predict how things will develop.

I still see no signs of a left emerging. But there is an opening for a movement that really does unite people against the populist demagogues on both sides.

I don’t claim to have much understanding of how things are developing in Australia, let alone America.

I won’t try to respond in detail to the points made here.

https://c21stleft.com/2020/10/31/understanding-america/

I don’t believe either the Universities or media were ever oriented towards telling the truth, nor that they have recently been taken over by some alien force antithetical to their previous orientation.

I think corporate liberals are just continuing to be corporate liberals.

Its just that this is becoming increasingly ridiculous.

A movement that expressed the same disgust that corporate liberals have for celebrity con artists like Trump and that Trumpists have for the corporate liberals should be able to form a very broad united front.

What’s still missing though is an actual program as to how things should be changed.

There are pressing issues in the USA that will come to a head quickly.

Biden has announced a task force to prepare an action plan to deal with both covid-19 and its economic consequences immediately on taking office on 20 January.

The epidemic will be much worse by 20 January. It would make sense to start implementing that plan immediately in Democrat States willing to accept his leadership and declare martial law and a national lockdown on taking office. But I would be surprised if that happened. I haven’t seen any sign of Biden proposing a lockdown at all.

Instead I expect that Trump will not be a “lame duck” President until January 20, but more like a “wounded bull”.

Majority control of the Senate will be determined by the outcome of two runoff Senate elections in Georgia, on January 5. The next day a joint session of both Houses presided over by Vice-President Pence meets to count and finalize the Electoral College results. That is the day the election results get finalized, not when the media “calls” them. If any disputes have not been settled by December 8 they may end up fought over then, during the height of an epidemic wave.

If all goes unexpectedly smoothly we will either be back to the usual Washington gridlock in which President Biden can blame the Senate for his inability to do anything just as Obama did for 8 years with Biden as his Vice-President. Or else Democrats do get both Houses and the Republicans and pseudo-left Democrats can blame Biden for his inability to do anything despite having control of both Houses and the Executive.

I would expect either of those to be an optimum situation for Trump, who will do far better posturing against the swamp from opposition than as President. I expect that Trumpists will still dominate the Republican primaries and could be swept back to a majority in the mid-terms if the platitudes continue as I expect they will.

It is all far too complex and murky to predict as opposed to just having vague “expectations”.

But for the record, I do predict that the Supreme Court will declare the Pennsylvania ballots that arrived after election day invalid. I haven’t seen any evidence either supporting or rebutting media claims that this won’t effect the result. If the numbers are as small as they say and if they were kept separate from the other ballots as ordered and as claimed, the court would not have an excuse to invalidate enough Democrat votes to affect the result.

But I would not assume the media claims are correct about that any more than I would be surprised at the rather notorious party machines in Democrat run cities encouraging voters dead or alive to vote often as well as early.

It is after all the plain duty of every red blooded American to do whatever it takes to prevent the monstrous Trump from continuing to pollute the White House. So why on earth would Democrat officials faced with the danger of a racist, fascist Kremlin stooge again disrupting national unity NOT rig the election, if they could?

The judgment I expect will be based on the Supreme Court reaffirming the well established principle that State legislatures have plenary power over Federal elections.

I do not expect that the Republican legislatures and Governors in Arizona and Georgia might take the opportunity to exercise that plenary power and decide to choose the State’s electors themselves and so reverse the results.

But the monotonous bleating from the media about how unpatriotic and undemocratic it is to dispute the media’s announcement of who won, suggests they are very worried indeed about something.

They are usually wrong but one cannot assume that they are always wrong.

Notes on Trump 50 – Final Debate

I haven’t been following US elections closely but I did watch both debates and both competing “town halls”.

Moderator was vastly more competent in final debate.

Biden again did not collapse in a heap, which is about all he needs to do to beat Trump at this stage

But this time Trump, with the help of the mute button, did avoid actively undermining himself. He again came over as running against the political establishment, which was easy given that the Democrats picked Biden.

I would say Trump’s position slightly improved (as it has been doing for the past week with Rasmussen polls before the debate showing nearly even approval and disapproval among likely voters, peaking at 52% approval on October 22). The election is still about Trump and neither the pro nor anti-Trump sides have much hope of, nor interest in winning over people on the other side. Nor are there many genuinely undecided to win over.

https://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/trump_administration/trump_approval_index_history

What really matters is who actually votes in the swing states. That is much harder to predict.

I would guess that Trump’s aim was to reduce the number of Republicans who don’t bother to vote because they despise his “character” and increase the number of black and latino Democrats who don’t bother to vote because they know the Democrat establishment politicians don’t actually deliver.

Buried underneath irrelevant data about what others think, this poll suggests Trump succeeded in that:

https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/trump-biden-debate-poll/

Slightly more Trump supporters indicated that their likelihood of voting had increased and slightly more Trump opponents indicated that their likelihood of voting had decreased.

The outcome is now less certain than it was before the debate. While it is reasonable to assume a majority vote against Trump and the polls up to now indicate swing States will deliver a substantial Electoral College majority as well, the details matter in each State and it would be hard to be certain even if following very closely.

One interesting feature is shown by articles at above Rasmussen site. In swing States Democrats are overwhelmingly more likely to vote early than Republicans and a very large proportion of registered voters are voting early.

That makes it less likely that an apparent victory for Trump on election day could be subsequently reversed as results of disputed postal voting come in later. Assuming Trump loses, he will still dominate the Republican primaries and the USA will still have a large, mass based mainstream far right party claiming the election was stolen from them. But that claim will be far more intensely believed by Trump supporters if their defeat was not confirmed on the night, but only after postal votes.

If on the other hand Trump wins a majority in the Electoral College, or more dramatically in an election thrown by Republican State legislatures and Supreme Court to the House of Representatives voting by State delegations, the Democrat implosion would be even more spectacular than four years ago when they started ranting about the Kremlin.

Notes on Trump 49 – And the winner is — President Pelosi or President Pompeo?

As explained in Notes 48, Trump’s strategy is to keep disputing postal votes until the December 8 deadline so that Biden has less than 270 electoral college votes. With some help from Republican State legislatures and governors as well as Vice-President Pence presiding in the joint session counting the votes, this could end up throwing the election to the House of Representatives voting by State delegations. If Republicans still have a majority of representatives in 26 States then Trump wins.

See also the links in comments to Notes 48 and also the complex legal details:

https://lawecommons.luc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2719&context=luclj

A plausible outcome would be a Democrat majority in the House of Representatives withdrawing from the joint session in protest at Pence rejecting disputed votes from Democrat Electors in a swing State and preventing the vote by State delegations occurring at all, so no new President could be inaugurated when the terms of Trump and Pence expire at noon on January 20.

Under Congressional legislation for Presidential succession, the next in line as Acting President would automatically be the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, or her replacement elected by the Democratic majority that take their seats on January 6.

So of course we now have an article in the Wall Street Journal explaining that the legislation on Presidential succession is unconstitutional as the Constitution requires succession by an “Officer”, implicitly an officer of the United States Executive Branch, while the Speaker of the House is an officer of the legislative branch. Consequently the next in line turns out to be the Secretary of State, Republican Pompeo who is, as required, an officer of the Executive branch.

Equally naturally the article is by a Republican.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-winding-constitutional-path-from-trump-to-pence-to-pompeo-11601677891

OPINION COMMENTARY
A Winding Constitutional Path From Trump to Pence to Pompeo
The president is sick, so here’s a review of the laws governing succession.

Although presented as about succession in the event of Trump dying from covid-19, it is actually about the planned disputed election battles in the Supreme Court.

Less naturally, the Republican author is John Yoo, best kown for his legal memos in support of torture in the “War on Terror”:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Yoo

An opposing analysis, with links to earlier legal arguments is here:

Do Professors Akhil and Vikram Amar Still Think the Presidential Succession Act is Unconstitutional?

The indications may just be aimed at giving the Democrats and the liberal media something to get hysterical about, and/or to keep up morale amongs Trumpists that they still have some hope.

The level of dysfunctionality involved in this stuff is quite spectacular. A notorious war criminal would not have been chosen to write the legal analysis if the Wall Street Journal had somebody more credible available.

But unless Biden gets a big enough landslide for the result to be clear without postal votes on November 3, it looks like there will be a protracted battle.

It seems unlikely that the fight would be just among lawyers.

Notes on Trump 48 – unknown unknowns

I posted my first “Notes on Trump” when he was first inaugurated, January 20, 2017

https://c21stleft.com/2017/01/20/notes-on-trump-by-arthur-dent/

That had this important caveat:

“Even if I had a deep understanding of US and world politics and economics I could not hope to figure out what’s happening at the moment. We are at an important turning point in multiple processes, many of them dependent on unknowable contingencies.”

One of those unknowable contigencies turned out to be covid-19. A second has been Trump catching it.

While I got many things wrong, my central analysis has held up well for nearly four years:

“Trump’s focus is on building his own party. If he had lost the primaries he looked like running as a third party (which he tried to do decades ago). If he had won the primaries but lost the election he would still have been at war with the Republican establishment, who could reasonably be accused of having treacherously helped the Democrats to win by attacking their own candidate. Having won, without any help from most of the Republican establishment he is now in a much stronger position to actually take over their party. If he doesn’t, they will find a way to get rid of him.”

“Assuming the Democrats get their act together and stop carrying on the way they are at the moment, they should be able to mount a serious campaign to win back majorities in the House and Senate at the midterm elections. But to do so they would presumably go with Trump’s trade policies, denouncing him for having not gone far enough. After all Bernie Sanders was a serious challenger to Hilary Clinton with protectionist policies (and against open borders) and Clinton actually announced opposition to the TPP [Trans Pacific Partnership] in response. Arguably he could have defeated Trump. So the result in two years could be that the US has shifted from a two party system in which both parties support globalism to a two party system in which both parties oppose globalism. If there was a Democratic majority their obstruction could be blamed for any economic decline that set in after two years.”

In a comment to that first post, on March 25, 2017 I wrote:

“66. BTW the saga doesn’t end if Democrats get a House majority in 2018. Trump would still end up with a large party in the House of Representatives and it would be very hard for Democrats to get a majority in the Senate because most of the vacancies are for seats currently held by Democrats (and in States won by Trump). By 2020 it would not be unreasonable to expect a 3 or 4 way contest for President with splits in at least one and probably both of the current two parties. If, as seems plausible, no candidate gets an absolute majority in the Electoral College the election gets thrown to the House of Representatives. Even if Trump opponents have a large majority in both the Electoral College and the House, the House votes by State delegations in electing a President (1 vote for each State decided by the majority among Reps from that State). In 2016 Trump won in 30 states. If the Electoral College is deadlocked he only needs 26 States in 2020. I see no reason to assume that opponents would defeat his candidates for a majority of seats in the House in enough of the States that he won in 2016.”

The Democrats never did recover from their heads exploding with insane conspiracy theories about the Kremlin and contemptible pleas for the intelligence agencies to mount a coup d’etat. Trump still looked set to win until covid-19.

I was wrong about the splits. The GoP just capitulated completely to Trumpists and the Democrats “united” behind a zombie candidate from the party establishment, despised by most of their base.

But there is still a way Trump could win, and it is still about the House of Representatives voting by State delegations. Here’s today’s ABC report on it:

After the vote on November 3, the states have until December 14 to settle any disputes over the election result.

That’s when the state “electors” meet to report their results. If the result is still in dispute in any state at that time, the electoral college votes for that state aren’t allocated and the rest are counted up.

The magic number of electoral college votes is 270.

If neither candidate hits that number, the matter goes to Congress for a vote in the House of Representatives, with one vote per state.

There are 50 states, so someone needs to get to 26 votes in the House to win.

This is not really a time when holding the majority of seats in the House of Representatives matters.

The sole Congressman for Alaska — who happens to be a Republican — would get to cast one vote. The entire delegation from California — which has 45 Democrats — would also have to combine for a single vote.

Currently, there are 26 states where Republicans have more members of Congress than Democrats.

In other words, if enough electoral college votes are disputed for long enough, the President is almost certain to retain power.

I don’t know whether that scenario could actually work out, or what impact the second unknowable contigency of Trump getting covid-19 will have. But if Trump survives he will certainly have achieved his goal of being leader of a large far right party in militant opposition to a corrupt and bankrupt liberal establishment that has already capitulated to his isolationist populism and has no credible policies.

Whether he is President or not, the absence of any left makes that dangerous.

Notes on Trump 47 and liberals lessons from Brexit

My last post in this series:

https://c21stleft.com/category/trump/

was number 46 on 2019-04-19:

https://c21stleft.com/2019/04/19/notes-on-trump-46-breaking-news-flash-on-mueller-report-liberals-outraged/

I got absorbed in following Brexit around then and have not followed US news on Trump in any detail since. I am not planning to resume following Trump again now.

This note is mainly to suggest a possible solution to the puzzle of why Pelosi agreed to an absurd impeachment of Trump after successfully resisting the Democrat clamour for so long.

Given the alternatives of a conspiracy or a stuff up its usually safe to bet on a stuff up. But this one seems unusually absurd.

The official Republican theory is that the Democrats are trying to reverse the results of losing the last elections. That is obviously absurd. Not even the most deranged Democrat could possibly imagine that the result would be a two-third majority of a Republican dominated Senate to replace Trump, even if they would actually prefer to hand Trup that ammunition for re-election, just to enjoy a year or so under Commander in Chief Pence.

Here’s Biden’s theory, answering the following question:

Q. “Isn’t the President going to be stronger and harder to beat if (!) he survives this?”
A. “Yes, probably. But congress has no choice.”

That absurdity is also the official Democrat position. Trump’s high crimes and misdemeanours so threaten the Constitution that they had no choice but to help make him stronger and harder to beat.

Given the extremes to which Democrats appear to be willing to go to help Trump win, perhaps such grotesque stupidity really is the explanation.

But here’s another one (purely speculative) suggested by the emergence of Bloomberg as a potential candidate to replace Biden as the candidate of Pelosi’s wing of the Democrats. What if Pelosi’s target is Biden, just as Trump’s target was Biden?

As far as I can make out the Democrat tactics have set things up for Biden to be called as a witness by the Republican majority in the Senate. That could be just more Democrat blundering. Impeaching Trump for obstructing them for trying to impeach him is what they were rather more than merely itching to do over “the Russia thing”. That desperate obsession still needs scratching. But they didn’t even try to issue an arrest warrant, or persuade a Court to do so, for the witnesses that Trump prevented from testifying by claiming the usual Executive privilege.

Here’s the official argument for demanding that the Senate call witnesses from Senate Democrat leader Chuck Schumer:

“this is not a fair trial … because there are no witnesses and documents”

One might expect that argument from the defence rather than the prosecution, if there was some dispute about the facts. Only an idiot could regard the prosecution’s lack of witnesses or documents as a point to be highlighted by the prosecutor.

Is Chuck Schumer really that stupid? Quite possibly. But it does set things up for Republicans to allow witnesses on both sides, with Democrats neither surprising nor impressing anybody by indignantly demanding that the only witnesses called be hostile Republican witnesses called by Democrats and no hostile Democrat witnesses called by Republicans since that would be even more unfair than acquitting Trump in the absence of witnesses or documentary evidence.

Even succeeding in preventing Biden being cross examined damages Biden as a candidate by helping Trump hammer home that he got impeached for trying to get Biden’s corruption investigated. Failing to prevent Biden’s cross examination won’t shed any light on his or his son’s corruption or corruption in the Ukraine or on Trump, but it will spotlight Biden’s inability to defeat Trump.

Biden does badly in debates, let alone under cross examination. That could be the point.

Warren is already playing the loser’s card by pretending Sanders had told her privately that “no woman can win”. That echoes exactly what the Clinton camp did say publicly about the impossibility of a black candidate winning in 2016. It backfired because Obama’s threat that blacks would stop turning out to vote Democrat was very real and serious from a real and serious contender. Warren has no such stature and had to pitch her lack of credibility against Sanders who is now well ahead. Once she drops out there is a very real chance Sanders could beat Biden in the primaries.

Bloomberg could be the only realistic hope for Pelosi’s wing of the Democrats. Openly buying a primary does not strike me as a very promising hope. But I still prefer speculating about possible rational motives rather than simply accepting they are all utterly clueless.

The end of last year seemed an appropriate time to summarize a couple of conclusions after a very quick glance. I gave up, but here are the notes I made then.

  1. Trump is still polling very well at nearly 50% among those believed likely to vote:

https://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/trump_administration/trump_approval_index_history

The bias towards smaller states in the US electoral college means Trump needs far less than that to win another 4 years. The campaign has not yet started and the Democrats have not yet picked a candidate and anything could happen with the economy, but I see no reason not to expect another four years of Trump.

  1. In particular I see no sign that liberals/Democrats have learnt anything. In number 46 I thought Pelosi had successfully avoided the impeachment trap after the Mueller report spectacularly demonstrated the bankruptcy of their “Russia” conspiracy theories. Impeaching Trump for trying to get Ukraine to investigate Biden may be the best she could do to get the obsession dealt with as soon as possible rather than dragging on into the election. It could also be the result of tactical maneuvers either to rally the party around Biden as the one Trump wanted to stop, or highlighting his vulnerability to Trump’s accusations of corruption (or, perhaps, since both wings of the party have united on the current idiocy, each wing supports it for the opposite idiotic reason). I wouldn’t know and could not even guess. (But have now speculated above).
  2. What everybody does know is that the Democrats are reduced to purely symbolic gesturing against Trump, knowing full well that they are only uniting the Republican party around him and that the Senate trial will not help them win any votes. The idea that is it is an impeachable “high crime” for the President to conduct foreign policy with a view to maximizing his chance of re-election appeals only to the US foreign policy establishment which is no more popular in the US than elsewhere. The US constitution explicitly puts foreign policy under the direction of an elected President, precisely so that it will be conducted that way, and it always has been.

4When I say “everybody knows”, I do not mean the liberal media. Here’s a quick sample of today’s (December) Google news items on “Trump”.

  1. Here’s CNN comforting its readers with the thought that the absolutely certain outcome of a resounding acquittal by the Senate is bothering Trump:

“(CNN)President Donald Trump is showing signs of increasing frustration with the uncertainty surrounding his Senate trial …”

  1. WAPO actually has some serious analysis:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/12/27/trumps-quest-shatter-gop-economics-reached-its-culmination/

Explaining that Trump has basically reversed traditional GOP economic poliy to win voters away from Democrats.

On trade protectionism and isolationism Trump still cannot outdo the Democratsin bad populist policies except that he actually does what they only posture about. But on anything to create a temporary economic climate suitable for winning the 2020 election he has surpassed Democrat demands (which they chalk up as victories for their policies).

  1. Bret Stephens also has an opinion piece at the NYT with some insight:

“In a contest between the unapologetic jerk in the White House and the self-styled saints seeking to unseat him, the jerk might just win….

… Too much of today’s left is too busy pointing out the ugliness of the Trumpian right to notice its own ugliness: its censoriousness, nastiness and complacent self-righteousness. But millions of ordinary Americans see it, and they won’t vote for a candidate who emboldens and empowers woke culture.”

But of course the bizarre antidote proposed is a return to the old Democrat establishment with a candidate like Bloomberg or Biden – exactly what Trump demolished last time.

  1. Here’s a psychiatrist explaining that Peolosi should get rid of Trump by compulsory psychiatric examination:

” In this context, almost anyone who actively takes the side of the president is likely to have some degree of the “shared psychosis.” If you were unaffected, you would be repelled. And this is why we often see a clear split, much like the binary division in our country.”

https://www.salon.com/2019/12/27/pelosi-has-the-right-to-submit-trump-to-an-involuntary-evaluation-yale-psychiatrist-bandy-lee/

8. If a third party candidate was going to emerge from the GOP that could cost Trump victory I think there would have been some sign of it by now. There is likewise no sign of a split on the Democrat side. The electoral college is unlikely to be deadlocked. But if it was, the House would resolve the deadlock voting by state delegations and that would also be likely to favour Trump due to the concentration of Democrats in larger States.

9. I take comfort that in the US as in Britain the collapse is in illusions about “progressives”. Voters are staying home rather than backing them against the other side. It isn’t a right-wing resurgence so much as a collapse of the fake left. That still has bad consequences as the fake left merely postured against globalism while their opponents actually have the capacity to raise barriers against developing global solidarity. Nevertheless “the future is bright, the road is tortuous”.

Here’s a series of items from just one issue of The Guardian confirming that the complete inability of liberals to learn anything is not confined to the USA.

“The Guardian Weekly” v201 n2 2019-12-20

(p3) Introduces “The big story page 10” on UK general election:

“Two months ago Boris Johnson was penned in … and didn’t even have the numbers to call an election. Then, after three attempts, Johnson won out – with Labour and the Liberal Democrats confident they could do the PM more damage. Instead Johnson won the Tories their biggest majority since the Thatcher era…”

Simon Tisdall’s year in review has part 1 “Reasons to be fearful” (chaos everywhere, situation dreadful) and part 2 “Reasons to be cheerful”. (Greta Thunberg, Denmark did not sell Greenland, surge to far-right in Europe did not happen, Finland elected a 34 year old PM). By p25 we had a sub-head “America resists Trump” with this gem:

“…. the most serious damage was inflicted in Washington. First came the highly critical, albeit inconclusive, report by Robert Mueller into an alleged Trump campaign conspiracy with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election. Mueller refused to exonerate Trump and later testified the president had told untruths to his investigation.

“Then came the impeachment inquiry … suggested Trump tried to induce a foreign state, Ukraine, to help smear Biden, a potential re-election rival. House Democrats advanced articles of impeachment alleging abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. With the public divided and the Senate unlikely to convict, it remains unclear how badly Trump has been hurt.

“The year was encouraging for what did not happen as well as what did… (No US war with Iran, John Bolton sacked for opposing Trump’s “irresponsible” Afghanistan peace deal (!). No war with North Korea. No war between India and Pakistan.)

p9 “Reach ‘peak meat’ by 2030 to tackle crisis, say scientists”

“The world’s scientists agree… Production of meat, milk and eggs has increased from 758m tonnes in 1990 to 1,247, tonnes in 2017, research shows.”

This is so obviously a VERY BAD THING THAT MUST BE STOPPED that there is no need to even provide a citation to the “scientists” who have “warned” about it.

p10-19 cover the election


p32 “Less than an hour after she accused Trump of ‘high crimes and misdemeanours’, Pelosi said that congressional negotiators had reached a trade agreement with the administration, a top campaign promise for the President…..’If [Trump] has collateral benefits, so be it’.

Privately, she crowed to her caucus ; ‘We ate their lunch'”.

p33 “The climate crisis is the most urgent threat of our time”. “Planting and protecting trees is a positive way that we can help…..give generously and help protect the planet we share.”

p58 An opinion piece from columnist Aditya Chakrabotty:

what “made me almost sure Labour was going to lose, … and in precise those areas … called its heartlands”. Briefly trends streched back decades, inherited not not created by Corbyn. Working class in heartlands marginalised politically and destroyed economically while patronised into apathy by careerist bureaucrats. “Meanwhile the big gap in the electoral market that opened up was for a party offering a welfare state with reactionary social policy. That was Nigel Farage; now it’s Boris Johnson. Some in Labour might well think they can win back seats by beating up on immigrants and tacking to the right: Johnson’s party can do both with far more gusto.”

“Corbynism … started as an anti-austerity movement… is now a melange of ideas, most of which look and sound utterly absurd on a doorstep on a rainy morning… Corbyn offered yet more direction from Westminster, with utilities run from the centre and hundreds of billions disbursed from remove state institutions…”

But solution offered is the classic Labourism that failed and died many decades ago:

“… providing advice to those whose benefits are being slashed, legal support to tenants under the cosh from their landlords. haggling with the utilities to provide better deals. Add to that: teaching political and economic literacy to voters, not just activists, and asking constituents what issues Labour should be battling on…. Labout needs to renew its contract with its base. The big question is whether it wants to.”

A more typical columnist is Rebecca Solnit from the US on “The young will save us”:

“We must expand our imaginations and act on that bigger understanding of our place in the world and our impact on the future. That means making radical changes like [wait for it!]

our homes and transit being powered by renewables, our governments not plotting more extractivism. It means leaving fossil fuels in the ground. We need to remind ourselves why these changes are necessary: that the earth is finite ;;;

“We must make sweeping changes by the end of the coming decade, (by all bowing down before the very Reverand Parson Malthus and joining in prayer to the almighty).

Ok I made up the last bit. The youth will indeed eventual rise up against this reactionary bilge but at present it is driving them into the arms of conservatives less virulently hostile to all human progress, such as Trump.

p60-1 Andrew Rawnsley considers what Johnson will do in power and wisely decides not to even hazard a guess.

p61 “The existential crisis that confronts Labour has no simple solution” (no byline).

“The coalition between middle-class professionals, often working in the public sector, and the traditional working-class communities fell apart last Thursday. Without it, the party has no route to power.”

“A rush to premature conclusions should be avoided at all costs.”

Conclusion (rushed and randomly inserted in the last para):

“A more subtle politics of place, in which the revival of local democracy is championed, will help Labour begin to reconnect in the years to come… This was once Labour’s natural terrain. It can be so again.”

Not sure what that means. Best guess is running for local councils since nothing to say about national, let alone global politics.

10. So much for the Guardian weekly. Back to other random items.

11. Cartoon John Spooner, The Australian 2019-12-24 p11 “Unimpeachable” shows Speaker Pelosi having tea with another Democrat politician in a suit:

“We funded a fake dossier so that we could fool the FISA court so that we could spy on Americans so that we could…”

Pelosi “Uphold our values…”

12. https://www.politico.com/news/2019/12/24/trump-liberal-snowflake-relatives-089714

With families coming together at the end of one of the most divisive years in recent memory, President Donald Trump‘s campaign has created what is intended to be a gift for supporters who might talk politics with a “snowflake” relative this Christmas.

Trump’s reelection campaign launched a new website Christmas Eve designed to help the president’s backers “win an argument” with liberal friends and family members.

“Nothing says Merry Christmas like hurling insults at relatives,” responded former DNC spokesman Mo Elleithee.

A 2018 Pew Research Center study found that more than half — 53 percent — of Americans thought it was “stressful and frustrating” to discuss politics with people they don’t agree with. That number was up from 46 percent in 2016.

Specifically:

“The change in opinions has come largely among Democrats: 57% now say that talking about politics with people they disagree with is stressful and frustrating, up from 45% two years ago.

By contrast, Republicans’ feelings about political conversations with people they disagree have changed very little. About half (49%) continue to find such conversations stressful and frustrating.”

The more liberal you are, the more stressful and frustrating it is to converse with people you disagree with.

“Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, 63% of liberals say such conversations are stressful and frustrating, compared with 51% of conservatives and moderates.”

“As was the case in late 2016, Trump is a more frequent topic of conversation for liberal Democrats than for other Democrats or among Republicans. Currently, 42% of liberal Democrats say Trump’s presidency comes up in conversations very often; that is double the share of conservatives and moderates who say this.

Among Republicans, Trump comes up more in conversation among conservatives (23% very often) than among GOP moderates and liberals (15%). The share of conservative Republicans who say Trump comes up very often in conversation has slipped since 2016, from 30% then to 23% now.”

More Now Say It’s ‘Stressful’ to Discuss Politics With People They Disagree With

https://www.snowflakevictory.com/

13. China signing a trade deal now rather than after November might indicate they don’t hope for Trump to lose. More likely they don’t expect anybody else to be any less protectionist. They could be wrong either way if Bloomberg can buy the Democrat nomination. But I suspect that would drive large numbers of Democrat voters to stay home.

In short last year defies caricature, let alone summary or analysis.

Notes on Trump 46 – breaking news flash on Mueller report liberals outraged

It isn’t entirely clear what they are outraged about but the liberal media is heavily covering Democrat outrage about the Mueller report.

As far as I can make out they are particularly outraged that they won’t be able to convince even themselves that impeaching Trump would be a good idea so they are left spluttering about more Congressional investigations. It looks like Pelosi and the rest of the leadership will successfully avoid the impeachment trap but the sense of total deflation must be quite devastating despite the mutli-stage build down from peak Trump delusion syndrome.

The report is over 400 pages so I won’t be scanning it for any hints on whether Mueller’s team considered my theory that Trump was deliberately encouraging the lunacy. There are certainly no such hints in the two annotated guides I did read on what right minded people should think about the report but I don’t expect the media to be capable of noticing such an outlandish idea. I would be interested if anybody else has time to look for hints although it is only of historic interest now.

Here is a link to searchable pdf (via politico):

Above broken by WordPress. Here’s a working to download from CNN:

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/04/18/politics/full-mueller-report-pdf/index.html

Democrats look likely to switch to a focus on persecution of harmless intelligence agency officials for doing their party duty by trying to bring down a completely unacceptable President who could not possibly have won an election. That plus saving the climate by printing money looks almost as good an election strategy as Hilary Clinton saying it was her turn.

I won’t bother linking to the usual outrage.

Here’s politico’s key findings which pretty much confirm what has been known for many months and was announced in the four page summary by the U.S. Attorney-General a few weeks ago:

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/04/18/mueller-report-summary-key-findings-1280879

Here’s the New York Times moaning about the same:

[forgot link – fixed]

Even NYT does not seem to be complaining about the redactions that Democrats have been outraged about for several weeks now. Focus is on “obstruction” with not even an ongoing attempt to pretend that there was a crime to investigate in the first place other than the crimes of corrupt intelligence agency officials in leaking conspiracy theories to a corrupt media.

But the tone is one of defeat with lots of reminders about what a wonderful story they had told so many times that it really ought to have been proved true by now.

Notes on Trump 45 – now at 51% approval to 47% disapproval among voters

While following Brexit closely, I’ve only been scanning the headlines on Trump without reading the articles in the couple of weeks since the Mueller report confirmed “no collusion”, which coincided with the Brexit end game.

The headlines look like just a continuous stream of why people ought to hate Trump more. No sign of shifting to actual policy issues or aiming to communicate with people who don’t already agree with the liberal media. Basically unreadable.

Latest Rasmussen daily poll has Trump on 51% approval to 47% disapproval among likely voters. That may be an outlier but he needs much less than that to win in 2020.

Biggest danger for Trump is that the damage done by Democrat and media tactics is now so obvious that it would cause them to think again. He cannot reasonably expect to succeed in persuading them to just keep on ranting about Russia so his ongoing tweets about “Witchunt!” ought to be rather ineffectual with Democrats switching from conspiracy theory back to normal bourgeois politics.

But even though the focus seems to now be on some other “exposure” (sex with porn star, corruption etc), a lot of the conspiracy theorists are still so fixated on “Russiagate” that they just cannot let go and are hoping to keep it going when they get the “real” Mueller report.

I’ve only looked at this example but I assume it is a genre similar to the sects predicting end of the world on a specific date and then just revising the date with firmer conviction:

https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-from-trumps-washington/the-witch-hunt-lives-trump-and-the-investigation-that-just-wont-end

Here’s an initial defence of the media lunacy immediately after it fell to bits:

https://newrepublic.com/article/153408/russia-skeptics-committing-sins-despise

It took less than a couple of weeks for the New Yorker to fully return to the theme as above.

But its interesting the initial response actually links to a couple of dissident journalists it was responding to.

Both are well worth reading (even though their rejection of the mainstream enthusiasm for believing US intelligence agencies and authority figures is closely linked to their view of the Iraq war).

Here’s Matt Taibi:

https://taibbi.substack.com/p/russiagate-is-wmd-times-a-million

Nothing Trump is accused of from now on by the press will be believed by huge chunks of the population, a group that (perhaps thanks to this story) is now larger than his original base. As Baker notes, a full 50.3% of respondents in a poll conducted this month said they agree with Trump the Mueller probe is a “witch hunt.”

Stories have been coming out for some time now hinting Mueller’s final report might leave audiences “disappointed,” as if a President not being a foreign spy could somehow be bad news.

Openly using such language has, all along, been an indictment. Imagine how tone-deaf you’d have to be to not realize it makes you look bad, when news does not match audience expectations you raised. To be unaware of this is mind-boggling, the journalistic equivalent of walking outside without pants.

There will be people protesting: the Mueller report doesn’t prove anything! What about the 37 indictments? The convictions? The Trump tower revelations? The lies! The meeting with Don, Jr.? The financial matters! There’s an ongoing grand jury investigation, and possible sealed indictments, and the House will still investigate, and…

Stop. Just stop. Any journalist who goes there is making it worse.

For years, every pundit and Democratic pol in Washington hyped every new Russia headline like the Watergate break-in. Now, even Nancy Pelosi has said impeachment is out, unless something “so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan” against Trump is uncovered it would be worth their political trouble to prosecute.

The biggest thing this affair has uncovered so far is Donald Trump paying off a porn star. That’s a hell of a long way from what this business was supposedly about at the beginning, and shame on any reporter who tries to pretend this isn’t so.

The story hyped from the start was espionage: a secret relationship between the Trump campaign and Russian spooks who’d helped him win the election.

The betrayal narrative was not reported as metaphor. It was not “Trump likes the Russians so much, he might as well be a spy for them.” It was literal spying, treason, and election-fixing – crimes so severe, former NSA employee John Schindler told reporters, Trump “will die in jail.”

In the early months of this scandal, the New York Times said Trump’s campaign had “repeated contacts” with Russian intelligence; the Wall Street Journal told us our spy agencies were withholding intelligence from the new President out of fear he was compromised; news leaked out our spy chiefs had even told other countries like Israel not to share their intel with us, because the Russians might have “leverages of pressure” on Trump.

CNN told us Trump officials had been in “constant contact” with “Russians known to U.S. intelligence,” and the former director of the CIA, who’d helped kick-start the investigation that led to Mueller’s probe, said the President was guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” committing acts “nothing short of treasonous.”

Hillary Clinton insisted Russians “could not have known how to weaponize” political ads unless they’d been “guided” by Americans. Asked if she meant Trump, she said, “It’s pretty hard not to.” Harry Reid similarly said he had “no doubt” that the Trump campaign was “in on the deal” to help Russians with the leak.

None of this has been walked back. To be clear, if Trump were being blackmailed by Russian agencies like the FSB or the GRU, if he had any kind of relationship with Russian intelligence, that would soar over the “overwhelming and bipartisan” standard, and Nancy Pelosi would be damning torpedoes for impeachment right now.

There was never real gray area here. Either Trump is a compromised foreign agent, or he isn’t. If he isn’t, news outlets once again swallowed a massive disinformation campaign, only this error is many orders of magnitude more stupid than any in the recent past, WMD included. Honest reporters like ABC’s Terry Moran understand: Mueller coming back empty-handed on collusion means a “reckoning for the media.”

Of course, there won’t be such a reckoning. (There never is). But there should be. We broke every written and unwritten rule in pursuit of this story, starting with the prohibition on reporting things we can’t confirm.

There’s more and its worth reading to understand just how big a favour the media has done for Trump.

Here’s Glenn Greenwald debating one of the journos in denial, also worth reading to understand their complete inability to face the situation:

https://www.democracynow.org/2019/3/25/as_mueller_finds_no_collusion_did

I don’t watch TV but the brain rot suffered by liberal Americans who do must exceed the impact of the press. Here’s a random account of the main liberal cable channel MSNBC:

https://newrepublic.com/article/153435/msnbcs-wild-ride

This is far worse than the notorious Fox news channel and closer to “Infowars” whose anchor recently defended itself from a defamation suit by admitting he was “psychotic”.

Most of the media may shift focus to other “investigations” of corruption etc which is less lunatic than “Russia”. But it still looks like the Democrats will be running a campaign to change the climate by printing money, in which case we’ll be stuck with Trump for another four years.

Hopefully some of the damage will be mitigated by the collapse of Brexit.

Notes on Trump 44 – No collusion but keep ranting about obstruction

Here’s the four page summary of the Mueller report from US Attorney-General Barr:

https://www.apnews.com/f4f1ea3c16884b49ae853e12e78e42ad

Despite massive efforts the inquiry did not find that anybody in the Trump campaign either tacitly or explicitly agreed to coordinate with Russian interference in the election.

Despite continuous public attacks on the investigation by Trump, the inquiry could not come up with a plausible theory for “obstruction” and left that issue for Attorney-General Barr to resolve.

Barr notoriously did so before becoming A-G. Here is his 19 page memo dismissing any “obstruction” theory from 2018-06-18:

Click to access full.pdf

He and Deputy A-G Rosenstein, who initiated the inquiry, have already agreed and announced in the summary – no obstruction.

It’s “all over bar the shouting”.

The shouting may well intensify given the media and Democrat track record.

It would be hard for Trump to keep them on track blithering about this if they came to their senses.

But it looks like he will be able to easily keep them going on “obstruction”, especially if DOJ starts prosecutions of people like Comey, Clapper et al as it should.

Pelosi has wisely opposed impeachment by insisting that they wait for Mueller report.

But there’s no way to stop them from keeping on about sex with porn stars etc instead of actually developing saner policies than changing the climate by printing money.

Notes on Trump 43, Nazis and Brexit both sides losing

1   Brexit dramatization is still being scripted despite outcome having been done and dusted during the Ides of March. Current scheduling seems to be a pointless request for a delay till end of June on the basis of hypothetical successful third attempt at getting deal through Parliament that didn’t happen today. That seems to be intended to be postponed by the EU until an emergency meeting around the day before deadline expiry so as to maximize the number of Tory Brexiteers who might humiliate themselves by voting for BRINO in fear of the obvious alternative. That alternative seems to have been scheduled for April Fools day when  the UK gets offered a choice between spending the next two months actually preparing for “no deal” or agreeing to a referendum.

The EU will have been maximally cooperative with the UK Government seeking to get the deal approved. Only the usual suspects will keep claiming failure of Brexit is their fault rather than a British decision. May will have kept her promise to fight till the bitter end and will be able to blame the hard Brexiteers for forcing the long delay followed by no Brexit. Corbyn will have fought against a “Tory Brexit” still valiantly holding open some hypothetical unspecified alternative and only reluctantly accepted the referendum for no Brexit. But there will, as has been obvious for a long time, be no Brexit.

Here is quite a good analysis on the eventual referendum:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/mar/19/brexit-tensions-referendum

Key point is that the parliamentary maneuvering does not include a positive campaign to convince people in favour of European Union.

Opponents have been out-maneuvered but Corbyn would not fight in the first referendum and won’t fight now. It is tactically smart party politicking for him to let things drag out while the Tories discredit themselves without alienating Labour supporters that voted to leave or the large majority of Labour members who want to remain. Likewise Therese May is being denounced as hopelessly incompetent by the people she has been very competently isolating in the Tory party. But both sides are unprincipled. Resentment could still do long term damage even when Remain gets a large majority as a result of their opponents not bothering to vote for BRINO.

2. CNN has acknowledged that Trump’s tactics on the wall have worked out for him:

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/03/19/politics/trump-approval-rating-national-emergency-analysis/index.html

Also they have started paying attention to voters rather than polls counting everyone.

Their polling confirms Trump lost no support and is back to 43% approval among voters (42% including non-voters).

The preference for Democrats among non-voters is actually much more than the 1% they have noticed.

Rasmussen polls voters daily and is still running closer to 50% (today’s 47% approval, 52% disapproval)

3. This is also a good analysis on Democrat tactics against Trump from a right-winger helpfully explaininng Trump voters to CNN:

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/03/19/opinions/what-progressives-should-know-about-trump-voters-hanson/index.html

Fascinating that they are so far gone Trumpists feel no hesitation about telling them how to do better.

They are still rabbiting on about Trump’s imminent doom from the Mueller inquiry but my morbid fascination that led me to read past the headlines of “explosive” new revelations has faded.

4. This book has some useful background on neo-Nazi fringe lunatics in Australia and how they repeatedly promoted and encouraged terrorist acts with exactly the same mealy mouthed denials of doing it and the same liberal defence of their “free speech” right to keep doing it as we are seeing now.

https://nonstateactorblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/01/everyone-wants-to-be-fuhrer/ (58MB pdf book)

After a series of violent attacks on Vietnam and anti-apartheid protestors, and Communist bookshops – actively encouraged by the Special Branch of the police, and attacks on Jewish businesses permitted for recreation, they were forcibly shutdown in Melbourne in the early 1970s by joint action of the Worker Student Alliance and Jewish ex-servicemen. Their HQ was destroyed and subscription lists captured. Their sponsors were visited personally and advised that “we know where you live”. They left town.

The account in the book above is very garbled, and omits most of the facts about them being shut down. But it accurately quotes the denunciations in favour of “Free Speech” from “The Age” and hostility to the protests from Zionist dominated Jewish Board of Deputies.

Does not mention that the police started committal proceedings for riot. Eventually abandoned when they realized a jury would be unlikely to convict.

The terrorist violence nearly half a century ago did not extend to mass murder. It would have if they had been tolerated and “censured” as similar elements are being tolerated and “censured” today.

Twilight Zone Trump

Politics today frequently makes me think I’m in the Twilight Zone. The words were made famous by a television anthology series that I loved in the 1960s and continue to re-watch today (on DVD). It dealt with bizarre and fantastic themes, often in a social realist setting and with a twist at the end.

Rod Serling, the show’s creator and main writer, was a small ‘l’ liberal. He was progressive on some key issues in the 1950s and 1960s, such as civil liberties and opposition to racism, and opposition to the US war in Vietnam. I’ve read a few biographies about him and he was an internationalist, cosmopolitan, opponent of tyrants and supporter of basic democracy: all values that Trump opposes. Serling would be in the globalist camp today.

This meme is too good not to share…

Serling on Trump meme