Streetwise Professor

September 29, 2019

It’s Time to Go to the Mattresses to Take on The Blob

Filed under: Politics — cpirrong @ 7:50 am

I’ve been in France and Switzerland for a week lecturing and teaching. And what a stupid week it was. Arguably the most stupid week of my life.

Not with my trip–that was great. What was cosmically stupid went on in the US during it.

It started with the Greta Thunberg circus at the UN. Sorry, but “for the children” was well past its sell-by date when Hillary wretched it up decades ago. It is putrid beyond belief now. Teenagers have no moral or intellectual authority to harangue and hector about things they cannot remotely comprehend. Greta and the other muppets are just that . . . puppets being manipulated by cynical, power-seeking adults.

But that was just the hors d’ouevres. The cosmic stupidity was the impeachment farce sparked by a “whistleblower.”

The entire affair screams setup. The Dossier, Part Deux: Whistleblower.

To begin with, the stampede to impeachment began, and was affirmed by Nancy Pelosi, based on news reports about a whistleblower complaint, rather than the complaint itself or primary sources documenting the events at issue. And this despite the fact that the administration promised that it would release both within days–and did.

But the rush to judgment wasn’t a bug: it was a feature. No waiting for the actual facts to come out. Verdict first! Trial after!

And the administration’s release of the transcript of the call that allegedly so shocked the whistleblower and his multiple as yet anonymous sources demonstrates exactly why: the transcript refutes many aspects of the pre-release news reports, and contains crucial details that the whistleblowing complaint left out.

They make you swear to tell the whole truth when you testify, because leaving out facts is as dishonest as telling outright lies: the news reports were clearly not the whole truth, and as such represented a vile lie. Given this, the impeachment train definitely had to leave the station before the facts came out.

The hypocrisy is also beyond belief, even by current DC standards. The first favor Trump asked Ukrainian president Zelensky for was help in investigating . . . wait for it . . . foreign interference (or more accurately, foreign assistance in American i.e., Democratic interference) in the 2016 election. (This is the part left out of the original news reports.)

You see, foreign interference with American democracy is the worst thing ever, and no stone must go unturned investigating it . . . except when American Democrats are involved in it. But you are a traitor for trying to bring that to light, especially with the assistance of foreigners.

Trump also asked Zelensky about a Ukrainian prosecutor whom Joe Biden bragged about using–what’s that term?–oh yeah, “a quid pro quo” (the withholding of American aid) to get fired. A prosecutor who was investigating Biden’s son.

But Trump supposedly went beyond the pale at even hinting at a quid pro quo with Zelensky.

And how dare you–or Trump–connect dots!, you traitors you! Never mind that many of the people denying a possible connection between Biden’s demand to have the prosecutor fired and the firing of the prosecutor want you to believe that because Carter Page was in Moscow Trump was on the take and had models peeing on him in a Moscow hotel room.

Like I say. The hypocrisy is beyond belief.

The whole Biden affair is appalling on its face. Biden’s son Hunter–an admitted crackhead who was canned from the Navy for being a crackhead–couldn’t get any job that required him to piss in a cup (which is nowadays most jobs other than those that require you to say “do you want fries with that?”), and has zero experience in energy or Ukraine, yet miraculously wound up with a $50K/month no work job advising a Ukrainian energy company. (There’s also the issue of the lifelong loser’s ability to play rainmaker in China.)

Silly me. I though we were supposed to be deeply, deeply concerned about the Emoluments Clause. Another one-way DC street, apparently.

Then we get to the issue of the fact that the whistleblower complaint was–by his/her admission–hearsay. Funny, given credible whistleblowing complaints are supposed to be based on first-hand knowledge.

Sorry. “Were supposed to be.” Sometime between the date of the call and the filing of the complaint, the rules were changed by “the intelligence community” (AKA The Blob) to permit second- and third-hand information to serve as the basis for these complaints.

When this lot is involved, there are no coincidences, comrade. The fix was in, from the inside.

Since the substance of the call did not support the initial hysteria, the ground has now shifted to “coverup” because the White House ordered the call (along with some earlier ones) to be stored on a highly classified code word access system.

The chutzpah meter pegs on that one. Presidential calls with foreign leaders are supposed to be confidential, and open discourse is possible only if all involved believe that confidence will be respected. But from virtually day one in the Trump administration, details of confidential calls were leaked–presumably by someone in The Blob.

So it makes sense for Trump to attempt to lock down his calls. The leaking of (false and misleadingly incomplete) details of a call under the guise of “whistleblowing” is proof positive of his suspicions, and justification of his precautions, for all the good it did. Where there’s a will to leak, there’s a way. But there’s no reason to make it easy.

And boil the argument down to its essence. Trump has abused power by attempting to prevent leaks that interfere with his ability to perform his duties as chief executive.

Obama is no doubt laughing his ass off now.

And The Blob is the real abuser of power. It has no authority to leak, and the audacity of claiming that attempts of the legitimate, elected authorities to curb its leaking are an abuse of power is something to behold.

Operation Dossier and Operation Mueller failed. But the Deep State is nothing if persistent. Operation Ukraine is yet another attempt to interfere in the US political process, and indeed in the US elections.

And to be honest, I get far more furious at Americans doing it than foreigners.

The panicky haste with which the Democrats are proceeding with impeachment speaks volumes. It betrays their belief that the array of lunatic buffoons and buffoonish lunatics that comprise the party’s presidential candidates would lose, and lose badly, in 2020. So they need to resort to extra-electoral mechanisms to destroy whom they do not believe they can defeat. And in this effort, they have the full support of arrogant and unaccountable apparatchiks up and down the bureaucracy of the federal government.

This is war to the knife.

It’s time to go to the mattresses, and to take on and take out the mob–The Blob–that is arrogating to itself powers far beyond those conferred on it by the law.

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  1. Thank you for perfect description of total madness and hypocrisy,which dominate current American politics.Herewith I’m very concerned,that lunacy of leftist conspiracy theories involving Russia will lead many good people in America to belief that current Russia is actually a good and peaceful country,unjustly smeared.That’s why I very much appreciate your writings about Russia too and hope more people read them.

    Comment by mmt — September 29, 2019 @ 10:08 am

  2. I agree 100%

    Your term “arrogating to itself powers far beyond those conferred on it by the law” is coincidentally a perfect summation of recent events in the UK. Firstly we have a rogue speaker of the house allowing the opposition, as opposed to the lawful government, to direct and set the business of the house. Then we have our unelected and only recently introduced “supreme court” ruling that the governments action in temporarily shutting down parliament was somehow unlawful.

    Note the term “unlawful” as there was no indication in their judgement of precisely which law had been broken, merely that in the opinion of all 11 wise men and women the governmental behaviour was unlawful. They have at a stroke reset our constitutional position so that unelected judges can now overturn the actions of an elected government despite the latter not have broken any laws.

    Truly worrying times over here as well.

    Comment by John — September 29, 2019 @ 10:11 am

  3. The key argument – perhaps the only serious argument – for democracy is that it lets you change government without bloodshed. The only requirement is not onerous: you accept the decision of elections even when you lose. Once one side refuses to accept loss then bloody changes of rulers will presumably result. I only hope that in the bloodshed the right people die. It’s far from guaranteed.

    Comment by dearieme — September 29, 2019 @ 1:22 pm

  4. The wrecking ball is about the swing Prof, don’t worry.

    Comment by TomHend — September 29, 2019 @ 6:46 pm

  5. I voted for Trump because I thought he might fire government employees. I’m pretty disappointed so far.

    Comment by Dave — September 29, 2019 @ 10:35 pm

  6. @John-I’ve been following the Brexit farce pretty closely. There are clear parallels between what is transpiring in the US and the UK. Indeed, in one of my early posts on Trump’s election, I explicitly made the comparison between the factors that drove his election and drove the Brexit vote. Similarly, the factors driving the insane opposition to Brexit and Trump are virtually identical.

    Comment by cpirrong — September 30, 2019 @ 7:51 am

  7. @mmt. Thanks. I’ll keep plugging 😉

    Comment by cpirrong — September 30, 2019 @ 7:51 am

  8. @dearieme–That’s exactly right. It is the refusal to accept loss that is putting the US (and the UK) in a pre-revolutionary state.

    Comment by cpirrong — September 30, 2019 @ 7:52 am

  9. @John – I guess you were incensed at the supreme court’s earlier decision to grant Parliament a vote on May’s deal, per Gina Miller’s first success? You only moan when their decisions don’t work in your favour.

    Comment by David Mercer — September 30, 2019 @ 8:48 am

  10. Proof that if you have the Media and the Courts (or most of them) stuffed with your supporters you can say and do anything you like.

    Comment by Rob — September 30, 2019 @ 9:39 am

  11. Great idea! How?

    Comment by Thomas Jefferson — September 30, 2019 @ 10:37 am

  12. I don’t share the Prof’s pessimism about the extreme polarisation of the American public – I think that come voting day, the silent majority that are sick of the antics of the apparatus of state (of which this Ukranian non-story is just one) will re-elect Trump just to make a point. What is worrying is who comes after Trump, who, despite being a fairly unpleasant character (find me a presidential candidate who doesn’t have some skeletons in their closet…), has not tanked the economy nor engaged in any foreign wars. Right now, it seems that the Republicans are closer to the political centre than the Democrats, but in the current environment, who might succeed in replicating/replacing Trump… I think that is the real worry.

    @John: “somehow unlawful”?! A government which no longer held a majority in parliament (and led by a Prime Minister who was not chosen as PM by the electorate) decided to suspend that parliament because the elected representatives of the people were being inconvenient? You think that is democratic? That can only be the case if you make two assumptions:
    – A majority of MPs are acting in a way that their constituents would disapprove of. This seems unlikely, since those same MPs need to get re-elected, and I doubt very much that you can possibly know better than them about what their constituents want.
    – That the Brexit referendum result implies that a majority of referendum voters (nevermind the general public) are in favour of a hard brexit. If you are opposed to a 2nd referendum, then you don’t get to simply assume whether the people are in favour of a soft or hard Brexit – you can’t possibly know that. Ergo, the question has to be referred to parliament (i.e. not just to a minority Tory government) for discussion. Cynically suspending that discussion by using procedures in a way they were not intended is hardly democratic.

    Comment by HibernoFrog — October 1, 2019 @ 2:29 am

  13. “led by a Prime Minister who was not chosen as PM by the electorate”: are you being stupid or dishonest? We don’t have a Presidential system – the PM is never chosen by the electorate.

    Comment by dearieme — October 1, 2019 @ 4:09 am

  14. It is odd that the Dems have pushed the nuclear button now and on this after all their bluster during Mueller. So far so good though – given the strength of Trump’s denials, perhaps they’re finally onto something. What’s heartening is that the US public at large (followers of Craig’s blog aside…) finally appear to be getting weary of his antics. As one of them said on a UK news prog, its been a long ol’ 4 years.

    Still, odds on the Dems snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, what with Schiff’s behaviour etc etc?

    Anyone Stateside care to explain the ongoing fascination amongst the rich and powerful with all things Ukraine? What is it with this country?

    Comment by David Mercer — October 1, 2019 @ 4:10 am

  15. As for “So it makes sense for Trump to attempt to lock down his calls”, I’d contend the application of Occam’s Razor would lead to a very different conclusion. I’d love to know what Trump discussed with MBS after the Khashoggi murder, after all his comments about journalists (you know he’d just be aching to say it…)

    Comment by David Mercer — October 1, 2019 @ 4:18 am

  16. @David Mercer: My guess is that Ukraine is just advanced enough to have interesting amounts of money swirling around it, but is in a chaotic enough state that certain “opportunities” can be taken advantage of. Plus the Russian invasion has put it on the radar of high-level establishmentarians all over the world, so it’s to be expected that these “opportunities” come to the attention of the American elite. Just my guess though.

    @dearieme: Boris claims to speak on behalf of the people in targeting a hard Brexit. My argument is that he has no particular moral claim to it, on account of not having been presented to the electorate as PM at the last election, not having a majority in parliament and the fact the referendum question did not specify what kind of Brexit was to be sought. I didn’t say he’s illegitimate as PM, I just don’t feel that he has much moral authority on the subject. I don’t see how that is dishonest or stupid.
    My turn: “the PM is never chosen by the electorate”. Nonsense – the electorate gets to choose a PM at EVERY SINGLE ELECTION! And when there is a change of PM in the interim, it is extremely common for that new PM to organise an election in order to get a mandate. It is considered normal in UK politics that a PM who does not get such a mandate will have little power. I suspect you know this very well. Sure, the letter of the law does not require Boris to face an election, but UK governance is largely determined by precedent, and this is definitely the case here.

    Comment by HibernoFrog — October 1, 2019 @ 5:03 am

  17. “It is considered normal in UK politics that a PM who does not get such a mandate will have little power” Sheer invention – shame on you.

    Comment by dearieme — October 1, 2019 @ 9:15 am

  18. @David. Watch out. People might get the idea that you do crack with Hunter.

    Comment by cpirrong — October 1, 2019 @ 9:46 am

  19. Currently the UK political class is congratulating itself on defending the sovereignty of the Queen-in-Parliament.
    If that was the case, the Commons could (and arguably should) have voted against prorogation.
    They didn’t. They left it to some obsessive millionairess and eleven jumped up kangaroos.
    Sovereignty of parliament my ares. That is a naked lie to serve their undemocratic cause.

    Comment by philip — October 1, 2019 @ 12:11 pm

  20. @Craig – alas not. Lots of Kool-Aid addicts hereabouts though 😉

    Comment by David Mercer — October 1, 2019 @ 12:31 pm

  21. On the British situation, the appeal to democracy by the Remainer die-hards would be more credible if they were not simultaneously trying to block new elections.

    Comment by srp — October 1, 2019 @ 8:06 pm

  22. @srp–Their hypocrisy is off the charts. Attack Johnson relentlessly, but won’t hold a vote of no confidence. Bleat about democracy, but (a) flout a referendum passed by a majority, and (b) refuse to call new elections and face the voters.

    They deserved the Cromwellian excoriation that the attorney general gave them.

    After getting the Supreme Court to overturn the queen’s proroguing of Parliament, they are now allegedly scheming to get the queen to fire Johnson.

    What a loathsome bunch. Though I can understand their reluctance to face the voters. They would be crushed.

    Comment by cpirrong — October 1, 2019 @ 8:27 pm

  23. @dearieme: “Sheer invention – shame on you”. You seem to be unfamiliar with UK history. A quick visit to Wikipedia reveals the following PMs who were not directly elected to the post:
    • Boris Johnson – Not currently exercising a great deal of control over parliament or country.
    • Theresa May – Held a snap election because “Our opponents believe because the government’s majority is so small, that our resolve will weaken and that they can force us to change course”. What did I say about having little power? Ultimately, election did not go well.
    • Gordon Brown – Resoundingly defeated at the next election.
    • John Major – Our first successful example of an unelected PM, but he got his own mandate at the next election after just 16 months, so it doesn’t really count.
    • James Callaghan – Defeated by Thatacher, who accused him of being too “chicken” to face the electorate.
    • Alec Douglas-Home – Didn’t even last a year (by a single day) and was defeated in election.
    • Harold Macmillan – Same as Major, got his own mandate shortly after becoming PM. Fair enough.
    • Winston Churchill – And this is how far back we have to find a PM who makes your point. Churchill went for 5 years, didn’t face an election and will quite rightly be remembered as one of the UKs greatest PMs. But as you see, he is (by a wide margin), the exception.
    As for your suggestion that I should feel shame: I respectfully suggest that such honour be reserved for those of you who make disparaging comments about the commenter, rather than the comment itself (Hint: That would be you).

    – The Queen delegates her decision-making power to parliament, which is elected by the people. So your comment could accurately be translated as “the UK political class is congratulating itself on defending the sovereignty of the elected representatives of the people”. I fail to see how this is bad for democracy.
    – Also, if parliament is suspended, I don’t see how they could possibly vote against that suspension. You are setting out an impossible standard for them to meet to gain your approval (unless you wanted them to pre-emptively vote against it, which would simply have caused more cries of treachary and obstruction).

    @srp and The Prof:
    The opposition has no choice but to wait for a deadline-extension from the EU before agreeing to an election, otherwise there will be a near-guaranteed hard Brexit before the election is finished and they’ll be powerless to do anything about it. Their entire reason for declaring no-confidence in the government was over Brexit, so it would be ridiculous in the extreme to agree to a new election without securing the deadline extension first. You can paint that as cowardice all you want, but that won’t make it true. In fact, Corbyn will have his best ever shot at power in the coming election if he can agree an alliance with the SNP, Greens and Lib Dems… The Conservatives might have to make an alliance with the Brexit Party to counter. I believe the Conservatives will win, but it is far from guaranteed. The idea that either of the two main parties would be crushed is fanciful, and not supported by current poling.

    Comment by HibernoFrog — October 2, 2019 @ 2:34 am

  24. I’m afraid the left is currently demented beyond reason, Prof. First, they have talked themselves into a frenzy over race and racism, and have found a convenient scapegoat for all of society’s evils in the relatively diminishing group of white people in American society. Then, having also talked themselves into believing that immigration had given them a permanent political super-majority, they convinced themselves that, to continue with your idea of ‘pre-revolutionary’ conditions, ‘tomorrow belongs to me’. So the crazy was already running strong when many of those white people managed to do the unthinkable and elect to the presidency a person whom the left had been telling everyone for over a year was an unelectable abomination.

    Hence we get the current level of psychosis, manifesting in repeated attempts to remove the president on the flimsiest of grounds, the ‘adults’ condoning the violence of the antifa yoof, the demented attacks on supreme court nominees, etc. Don’t accept the outcome? You bet. But they’ve responded by doubling down, if not tripling down, on the crazy and the violence.

    Just as with Greta Thunberg and the striking schoolkids, the adults have both created a monster and lost control of it. The heated rhetoric about Trump, as with anthropogenic global warming, was meant to break through the apathy and busy lives of the majority of voters, raise awareness and encourage support. I don’t think the ‘adults’ ever meant it to be believed. But the kids and some of those older don’t have the ability to see through propaganda – they actually think the planet will become uninhabitable within their lifetimes, and that Trump is an unspeakable abomination – as are his supporters! They’ve successfully bullied the ‘adults’ into acting on the threat that they have outlined – hence impeachment, hence the Kavanaugh spectacle.

    Pre-revolutionary. It’s hard to back down from positions adopted on the basis of morality. There’s something to be said for bloodless political deal-making. But we’re beyond that now. It’s all, as you say, ‘war to the knife’, all the time. And the people who thought about things, elected a president and just want to be left alone, are now being provoked into responding by the 24/7 demented attacks and screeching of the woke left, which, because it has talked itself into a frenzy and believes that US politics is a manichaean struggle, simply cannot leave anyone alone.

    Following your recommendation, I’ve been reading Douglass North’s ‘Violence and Social Orders’ to get a better understanding of what is happening. North makes the point that the open-access order which you and I live in and which both us and your readers want to continue, really evolved when governments stopped pursuing their critics and rivals into exile, bankruptcy and imprisonment, and allowed them to compete for political power within the framework of elections. These governments allowed rivals to speak, organise and compete free of interference – the concept of a ‘loyal opposition’ emerged. What worries me is that the woke left, in its demented frenzy, is impinging on these freedoms – see Kalama Harris’ call yesterday for the President – the President! – to be banned from Twitter, or the shrieking over the emergence of the ‘Alt Right’, including the panic over a cartoon frog, and resulting calls for censorship here there and everywhere.

    Are we returning to some form of limited-access order? I get the feeling that this is exactly what the left wants and is anticipating – especially when that permanent super-majority that they so much want to see emerge becomes a reality.

    Add to that – and this is where things become really murky – add to that the fact that ‘The BLOB’ is playing an active part in all of this. What on earth are the intelligence agencies involved in this for? Why are they actively seeking to generate certain political outcomes that would in effect subvert electoral outcomes? That the Democratic Party and the left want Trump gone by any means necessary – regrettable but understandable. But the Blob?

    My only hypothesis is:

    – public choice theory tells us that the intel agencies, and in particular their executive staff – have been and are pursuing their own goals and interests, independent of and most likely in competition with their public service roles;

    – this has meant using their covert and special abilities to conduct operations not sanctioned by the elected government;

    – they want 1. to keep doing this, and 2. to prevent anyone from knowing about it.

    Think W. Mark Felt, but on a much larger scale.

    Trump, for whatever reason, is perceived as being either hostile and/or a danger to the Blob and their operations. And so they want to get rid of him. They have very powerful means for getting at him (‘six ways from Sunday’) and a receptive audience of powerful people – the Democratic machine – who will happily work with them to get rid of Trump (‘by any means necessary’).

    What has saved Trump so far is that the Blob, like any other government agency is, as you pointed out in your latest post, incompetent. So what we have is something like ‘Rosie’s Walk’, where Rosie-Trump wanders hither and yon through the farmyard while the fox-blob’s attempts to snap her-him-‘they’ up see him land on rakes, knock his head against hard objects, etc.

    Rosie made it to the end of the book. How many more times can Trump stay lucky?

    Meanwhile, the actions of the Democrats, their ‘woke’ allies, and the Blob all erode the institutional foundations of representative democracy under the rule of law.

    Pre-revolutionary – indeed. Wait till the constant mindless provocation one day awakens the deplorables. ‘Guerra y cuchillo’.

    I sincerely hope not. But hope is not expectation.

    /end rant

    Comment by EX-Global Super-Regulator on Lunch Break — October 2, 2019 @ 3:18 am

  25. @Ex-GSRoLB. Thanks for your thoughtful comment. Re North et al. I originally started to blog about Russia as a cautionary tale of the dangers of closed access orders. In part, because I sensed that the US was trending in that direction. That trend has become unmistakeable now. I often say that the US is converging to Russia from above.

    As with any broad social phenomenon, there are multiple causes. But ultimately it comes down to the increasing power of the administrative state, which is largely unaccountable, and can dispense favors, which together therefore encourages corruption and clientelism. The rise of credentialism is related, as both a cause and an effect. Increasingly access to the administrative state, and to careers that are oriented towards influencing/gaming it depends on going to the right schools and knowing the right people. Closed orders are highly personalized, and the who you know/where you went to school system is such a personalized system.

    Journalists are the pilot fish to the administrative state’s shark. Whereas journalism was once an outsider’s profession, it is now yet another credentialed class tied into the same social networks of school and class. It considers Trump as much of a threat as its patron (the administrative state) does.

    I think your public choice analysis is correct. The question is then: why does The Blob hate him so, and deem him such a threat? Short answer: the administrative state despises democracy, and being accountable to anyone, least of all the citizenry. Trump’s populist, anti-elite fervor, and the fervor of his base, inchoate as it is, is an anathema to them. Indeed, the inchoate nature of the opposition is particularly frightening to them. Further, it deems itself an elite and cannot countenance answering to someone it considers a gauche, louche, boob.

    The contrast between its self image as an elite and its true bumbling, stumbling nature is really something to witness, isn’t it?

    Trump is Jacksonian America, with a little of Jeffersonian America mixed in. The Blob is an amalgam of Hamiltonian (“your people, sir, your people is a great beast”) and Wilsonian (progressive rule by experts scornful of democracy) America. These are mortal enemies.

    The empowerment of the state and the consequent encouragement of rent seeking has greatly increased the stakes, which accounts for the intensity of the current struggle.

    In my mind, this raises the question of whether an open order is compatible with a powerful administrative state. I seriously doubt it.

    Comment by cpirrong — October 8, 2019 @ 6:50 pm

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