A Consequential President

Winston Churchill wrote that in Edwardian times (around the First World War) there were “great events and small men”. Seems to me that now, a full century later, it has come around again. I have never seen so many apparatchiks in the Washington establishment. (Note that this applies full force to all of Europe (including Great Britain) as well as Washington. They are so busy trying to blame each other, or especially anybody trying to accomplish anything, that government has pretty much stalled. Except of course, for the social causes that no rational person could ever support.

So much of this reminds me of the death throes of the Soviet Union. The gravy train is off the rails but those living on it are managing to believe it is not, and will continue forever. And they will do their best to destroy anybody who tells any part of the truth. Clarice Feldman brings her talent to bear on this.

Once when my son was about 6 or 7 I took him to the circus with some of his friends. The acrobats, clowns, and lion tamer in the center ring enthralled the other kids. Not him. He turned to me and said, “How do you think they make money producing a circus? I think it’s the concessions.” It struck me then that among the people in the world, there are some — too few, actually — who are not distracted by spectacles, but, instead, keep their eyes on the bottom line.

That’s how I see the President. His stated goals have always been to make us safe, get the economy booming, enable a job-creation economy, and make life better and safer for all Americans.

As the news is filled with tittle-tattle about the phony baloney Russian collusion story and moronic punditry, the president keeps plowing on with his agenda. American Digest lists 220 things the President has achieved while in office, despite the vitriolic attacks on him and what appears to be a silent coup by the press, bureaucrats, and entrenched officeholders.

The thing that is most apparent here is that not a single one of the cretins is honorable enough to openly state what they believe. Instead, they sneak around doing their damage to the country, simply to preserve for a few more months their rice bowl, and then they’ll do it again. We’ve always (all countries do) had these useless mouths to feed, so do corporations, in fact. In fact, anytime in my lifetime, at least, when you see court cases or legislation, that favors one group over another, whether it is ‘affirmative action’, the feminist movement, public workers unions, even (since the sixties) the traditional unions, you are seeing the incompetent band together to steal the fruits of the competent. Thing is, it always damages the country, and this time because they are perfectly willing to leak national security material, they damage it more severely and directly than normal. Clarice again.

The stock market is booming although the NYT twists itself into a pretzel to deny the President’s role in this, per Tom Maguire:

Just imagine how different the tone of The Resistance would be if the stock market were in hideous retreat, as per Nobel Laureate Krugman’s infamous early prediction in response to Trump’s election.

But that pesky stock market keeps going up! So the Times explains why, doing their Very Bestest to keep Trump out of it. Spoiler Alert: They nearly succeed.

‘Wall Street, Climbing Sharply, Skips Washington’s ‘Soap Opera’

By Nelson D. Schwartz Aug 2, 2017

Despite the disorder in Washington — with a revolving door at the White House and roadblocks on Capitol Hill — Wall Street and corporate America are booming.

The disconnect was evident Wednesday, as the Dow Jones industrial average passed the 22,000 mark, a new high. At the same time, blue chips like Apple, Caterpillar and U.S. Steel have all reported strong earnings in recent weeks that surpassed analysts’ forecasts.

“None of the soap opera in Washington matters,” said Frank Sullivan, chief executive of RPM International, a Cleveland-based maker of specialty coatings and sealants like Rust-Oleum. “Nobody in business cares about who talked to who in Russia.”’

[snip]

But a market surge based on political hopes has been replaced by one more firmly grounded in the financial realm.

Besides steady economic growth or less regulation, investors also have been encouraged by the loose reins of central banks like the Federal Reserve, which have helped keep interest rates not far above their historic lows. Inflation, too, remains tame, with price increases in recent months actually falling short of the Fed’s targets.’

[snip]

Well. Presidents often get more credit for the economy than they deserve, but I think Trump deserves some credit for being Trump and a lot of credit for not being Hillary.

Then there is the Russian nonsense…

Another longtime investigative reporter, Seymour Hersh in salty language edited out here, claims insider knowledge that Seth Rich downloaded the DNC emails. They were not hacked, but leaked.

He had submitted a series of documents, of emails. Some juicy emails from the DNC, and you know, by the way all this sh*t about the DNC, um, you know, whether it was hacked or wasn’t hacked, whatever happened, the democrats themselves wrote this sh*t, you know what I mean? All I know is that he (Seth) offered a sample, an extensive sample, you know I’m sure dozens of email and said “I want money”. Then later Wikileaks did get the password, he had a Dropbox, a protected Dropbox, which isn’t hard to do, I mean you don’t have to be a wizard IT, you know, he was certainly not a dumb kid. They got access to the Dropbox. He also, and this is also in the FBI report, he also let people know, with whom he was dealing, and I don’t know how he dealt, I’ll tell you about Wikileaks in a second. I don’t know how he dealt with the Wikileaks and the mechanism but he also, the word was passed according to the NSA report, “I’ve also shared this box with a couple of friends so if anything happens to me it’s not going to solve your problem”. Ok. I don’t know what that means.

[snip]

I have somebody on the inside, you know I’ve been around a long time, and I write a lot of stuff. I have somebody on the inside who will go and read a file for me. This person is unbelievably accurate and careful, he’s a very high-level guy and he’ll do a favor. You’re just going to have to trust me. I have what they call in my business a long-form journalism, I have a narrative of how that whole [%^&$] thing began, it’s a Brennan operation, it was an American disinformation and [*(&]ing the [*(&]ing President, at one point when they, they even started telling the press, they were back briefing the press, the head of the NSA was going and telling the press, [%^&]ing c Rogers, was telling the press that we even know who in the GRU, the Russian Military Intelligence Service, who leaked it. I mean all [nonsense]… I worked at the New York Times for [*(&^]ing years, and the trouble with the f[%^&*]ng New York Times is they have smart guys, but they’re totally beholden on sources. If the president or the head of the (???) to actually believe it. I was actually hired at the time to write, to go after the war in Vietnam War in 72 because they were just locked in. So that’s what the Times did. These guys run the [*(&^]ing Times, and Trump’s not wrong. But I mean I wish he would calm down and had a better a better press secretary, I mean you don’t have to be so. Trump’s not wrong to think they all [*(&)]ing lie about him.

Clarice goes on to deal with Comey and Mueller and you should read it, it’s just as important.

You know, Trump’s swamp meme is quite appropriate, if you’ve ever tried to walk in a swamp, well, it can be done, often more effectively than a boat, but progress is difficult, as you’re walking through waist (or deeper) water while standing in mud, and sometimes sinking knee-deep in that. It’s exhausting and quickly so. I give Trump a lot of credit for keeping on, not many men would. You get to a certain age, rocking chairs have their appeal.

Will he succeed? I don’t know. But I suspect something is moving in that swamp, and it’s ugly. The American people have after about 20 years (or more) of this nonsense had just about all they are going to take. If Trump loses, especially in the wrong way, say to this so-called ‘slow coup’ – well I have a feeling that there could well be a counter coup, which will be neither quiet nor slow.

Interesting times, indeed! I think we’ll give T.S. Elliot the last word today

                   I

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us-if at all-not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.

II

Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death’s dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind’s singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.

Let me be no nearer
In death’s dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer-

Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom

III

This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man’s hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.

Is it like this
In death’s other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.

IV

The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death’s twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.

V

Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o’clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

Week in Pictures, Single Payer Edition

A sad start to the week for pictures this week, Charlie Gard died yesterday, a week short of his first birthday.

Farewell Charlie, and Rest in Peace.

He will be long remembered, and both he and his valiant parents remembered in many prayers.

On the other hand, the feckless GOP in the Senate seems to want an American equivalent. Or perhaps they are simply greedy enough to forget who they work for

Apparently, Hillary wrote a book, not that anyone really cares.

In other news…

Look closely, I swear she has a gun! 🙂

As usual, mostly from PowerLine

Have a better week!

The New and Improved Sausage Factory

This is interesting, especially if you are like me, and believe almost nothing you hear, and well less than half as much of what you read. Yeah, I know, hell of a way to run a railroad, but then again Lee Smith, writing in The Tablet magazine does, I think, shed some light on the new and improved sausage factory. See what you think.

Donald Trump, Jr. appears to be the latest figure in President Donald Trump’s inner circle to be caught in the giant web of the Great Kremlin Conspiracy. Trump the younger said he was promised dirt on Hillary Clinton, but that all he got in his June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer was an earful about dropping the Magnitsky Act, which sanctions Russian officials involved in the death of a Russian lawyer who was killed in detention.

If the Trump, Jr. meeting is just another chapter in the Beltway telenovela about Trump selling out America to the Russians through an ever-changing cast of supposed intermediaries—come back, Mike Flynn and Carter Page, we hardly knew ye—it sheds valuable light on the ways and means by which the news that fills our iPhone screens and Facebook feeds is now produced. You see, the Russian lawyer—often carelessly presented as a “Russian government lawyer” with “close ties to Putin”—Natalia Veselnitskaya, who met with Trump, also worked recently with a Washington, D.C. “commercial research and strategic intelligence firm” that is also believed to have lobbied against the Magnitsky Act. That firm, which also doubles as an opposition research shop, is called Fusion GPS—famous for producing the Russia dossier distributed under the byline of Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence agent for hire.

Steele’s report, a collection of anonymously-sourced allegations, many of which were said to come from “high-ranking former Russian government officials”—i.e. not exactly the kinds of people who seem likely to randomly shoot the shit with ex-British spooks—detailed Trump’s ties to Russian officials and strange sexual obsessions. Originally ordered up by one of Trump’s Republican challengers, the dossier circulated widely in D.C. in the months before the 2016 election, pushed by the Clinton campaign, but no credible press organization was able to verify its claims. After Clinton’s surprise loss, the dossier became public, and it’s claims—while still unverified—have shaped the American public sphere ever since.

If you haven’t noticed, there is almost no substance to any of this bullshit. I don’t carry water for Trump, but this is ridiculous, if you are going to attack the President, one should at least have him acting as the getaway driver for a two-bit robbery, but most of this seems made out of the whole cloth. And the main loom operator seems to be Fusion GPS.

Fusion GPS was founded in 2009—before the social media wave destroyed most of the remaining structures of 20th-century American journalism—by two Wall Street Journal reporters, Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch. They picked up former colleagues from the Journal, Tom Catan, and Neil King, Jr., who were also well-respected by their peers. When the social media wave hit two years later, print media’s last hopes for profitability vanished, and Facebook became the actual publisher of most of the news that Americans consumed. Opposition research and comms shops like Fusion GPS became the news-rooms—with investigative teams and foreign bureaus—that newspapers could no longer afford.

As top reporters themselves, the principals of Fusion GPS knew exactly what their former colleagues needed in order to package and sell stories to their editors and bosses. “Simpson was one of the top terror-finance investigative reporters in the field,” says one Washington-based journalist, who knows Simpson professionally and personally, and who asked for anonymity in discussing a former reporter. “He got disillusioned when Rupert Murdoch took over the Journal because there was less room for the kind of long-form investigative journalism he thrived on.”

And now, says the journalist, “they’re guns for hire. They were hired to dig up dirt on donors to Mitt Romney’s campaign, they were hired by Planned Parenthood after a video exposing some of the organization’s controversial practices.”

Besides Russia, Fusion GPS has also worked with other foreign countries, organizing campaigns and creating news that furthers the aims of the people who pay for their services—using the fractured playing field of “news” to extend old-fashioned lobbying efforts in a way that news consumers have been slow to understand.

Fusion GPS, according to the company’s website, offers “a cross-disciplinary approach with expertise in media, politics, regulation, national security, and global markets.” What does that mean, exactly? “They were hired by a sheikh in the UAE after he was toppled in a coup and waged an information war against his brother,” one well-respected reporter who has had dealings with the company told me. “I believe they seeded the New Yorker story about the Trump Hotel in Azerbaijan with alleged connections to the IRGC. They may have been hired to look into Carlos Slim. It’s amazing how much copy they generate. They’re really effective.” (About the former example, New Yorker editor David Remnick said this was not true.)

Yet it is rare to read stories about comms shops like Fusion GPS because traditional news organizations are reluctant to bite the hands that feed them.

There’s lots more at the link above. I think you should read it, and attempt to understand it. I think it explains quite a lot of what we see in the legacy media, often well and truly called #Fakenews, not least because it is bought and paid for by actors who have an agenda, which may or may not be compatible with the Administration, or for that matter what the people want. In any case, it is advocacy, not reporting as any of us understand it. And that is very bad for a free country or even one that is trying to hang on to its citizen’s freedom.

The answer? I have no idea, and doubt anyone else does either. But the first step to solving anything is to recognize and define the problem. This goes some distance in doing that. In the meantime, Distrust and verify.

 

Week In Pictures

Steve over at PowerLine, as always our source for most of these, comments that American politics increasingly resembles a kitchen blender running on high with the lid off. He’s got a point, and whatever was in that blender seems rather nasty. Still, we made it through another week.

I haven’t had a lot to say about Obamacare this week, seems like we’ve said it all so many times, doesn’t it? Still, it clarified that the GOP is not interested in doing what the country wants them to, so there’s that.

 

 

Does make me feel a bit sorry for the Capitol Police

 

In other news

 

But Hillary will never be President, so there is that.

 

 

 

 

Yep!

Doesn’t look like a winner to me, but maybe London is different.

Well, you decide

A really tough decision

Hmmm, Nope, leave this alone, Neo.

Charlie Gard: The Saga Continues

Time to speak again about Charlie Gard, that brain damaged British child whom the British health care system thinks needs to die, against his parents’ wishes, and in the face of possible treatment. We’ve spoken of this before, here, here, and here. The hearing has happened, and his parents left appearing rather distraught.

No surprise there. From the Catholic Herald.

They said that Judge Nicholas Francis had misquoted their earlier statements

The parents of a baby with a rare disease stormed out of a London court hearing in an emotional outburst Thursday, as the couple tried to convince a judge to let them take their critically ill child to the United States for medical treatment.

Charlie Gard’s parents are challenging the view of the Great Ormond Street Hospital, arguing that treatment abroad is in the best interest of the 11-month-old suffering from a rare genetic condition.

A succession of judges has backed specialists at the hospital who argue experimental treatment in America won’t help and may cause suffering for Charlie. The parents hoped to present fresh evidence to alter that view.

Two hours into the High Court hearing, questions from Judge Nicholas Francis prompted tensions to boil over. Charlie’s mother, Connie Yates, accused Francis of misquoting her earlier statements about Charlie’s quality of life.

In other words, they think they are being railroaded, and it’s quite likely they are. Catholicism Pure and Simple adds this.

The case of 11-month old Charlie Gard is bringing out the worst in the “Death with Dignity Movement.” By appointing Victoria Butler-Cole, a death with dignity advocate, as the lawyer representing Charlie in court against his parents, the death with dignity movement has crossed the line from advocating for individuals’ wishes to projecting its views onto innocent children who are too young to have indicated that “death with dignity” is something they want.

Charlie Gard, an 11-month-old living in the UK, has an extremely rare mitochondrial disorder. An experimental treatment exists that has a chance—although a small chance—at recovering his muscle function and allowing him to have a happy life. His parents will be in court Thursday asking the court to allow him to receive this experimental treatment. His hospital and others argue that the treatment is too experimental—that it has only been tested in a lab—but the same hospital has used equally-experimental treatment before.

From the CH article:

“Unlike the US, English law is focused on the protection of children’s rights,” said Jonathan Montgomery, professor of health care law at University College London. “The US is the only country in the world that is not party to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child; it does not recognise that children have rights independent of their parents.”

Yeah, and maybe there is a reason the United States hasn’t signed on to that convention. It avoids having the state appoint a pro death attorney to oppose the parents’ wishes.

Look, none of us, most especially those of us without expertise, and full knowledge have a complete understanding here. It’s quite possible that, objectively, it would be better for the parents to let him go. But you know, it’s not my decision, it’s not your decision, most assuredly it is none of the state’s business, especially a state like the UK that encourages mothers to commit abortion for almost no reason at all. It is, as it has always been, the parents’ responsibility. And they want to continue treatment.

In an article on The Conservative Woman yesterday about this matter, a friend of mine commented.

A source close to the parents told The Daily Telegraph: “The family find it astonishing that the quango that appointed the barrister to act in the interests of Charlie Gard is the chairman of Compassion in Dying, the sister body of Dignity in Dying, formerly known as the Voluntary Euthanasia Society. The implication is obvious. It looks like a profound conflict of interest.”

This is part of a comment I made on that same article. I can’t improve on what I said there.

But the real point here is this. Whose child is it? Is he the parent’s child? Or is he the property of the state? That is the real determination to be made. If he belongs to his parent’s, they have a right to have him treated, at their own expense. If he is the property of the state, it has the right to deprive him of his life. It’s a very simple question, really, and a very serious one, for us all. Because it applies to us all.

Culture of Death, indeed.

Do also understand that in large measure, this case has been driven by the American right-to-life groups, who have done so much to point out the horrors of abortion as well. The British groups are getting on board, especially the truly conservative groups and Catholic ones, but the support for these parents has come overwhelmingly from the States. It is still another mainfestation of the healthy distrust of government that Americans feel, something our British cousins largely lack, to their detriment. They are learning, Brexit was a sign of that, but it will take time. Time Magazine, of all places, said this:

The twist in the legal case comes as a movement to bring Charlie to the U.S. has become an international campaign, bolstered by the involvement of conservative groups from the United States led by Catholics and evangelicals . Major attention on the case first picked up outside the U.K. when Pope Francis said in a Vatican statement that he was following the case “with affection and sadness” and prayed that Charlie’s parents’ “wish to accompany and treat their child until the end isn’t neglected.”

The following day President Donald Trump tweeted to his 33.7 million followers that he would be “delighted” to help Charlie, and the saga reached an entirely new audience. Suddenly, the case of Charlie Gard was being discussed in churches and by socially conservative groups across the U.S. On July 6, the Susan B. Anthony List, March for Life, Concerned Women of America and Americans United for Life — all socially conservative groups active in opposition to abortion — held a joint press conference in Washington D.C., where they announced the launch of a campaign to ‘Save Charlie Gard,’ including a petition and a “social media push” to raise awareness and support for Charlie and his parents.

“Who do we think we are [to] decide who gets to live and who doesn’t, whose life is valuable and whose is not?” Penny Nance, CEO and president of Concerned Women for America, told attendees during the event. “This is way above our pay grade. This is a matter for God.”

And so it is.

 

Cartoon and maybe Video Week in Review

Time to summarise the week again, in cartoons and perhaps videos. From Warsclerotic

This seems right!

Funny, not exactly how I remember it!

 

Your tourism Euros at work

And from PowerLine, of course. Steve is also right that the news is turning into Groundhog day. Can’t speak for you, but I find the same BS day after day to be boring.

Hmmm.

I always love these, those drunken architects!

A bear in the woods.

Some Bill Whittle

And, of course, a reminder

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