Monday, December 05, 2016

Trump's Chumps

The Fourth Estate, but last in the hearts of their countrymen.

Among the many offenses that modern architecture has committed against Pennsylvania Avenue in downtown Washington—America's main street, we like to call it—is a glass 'n' stone 'n' steel box that houses a museum about news gathering called, unfortunately, the Newseum. Funded by the New York Times, Hearst, ABC News, Comcast, CBS News, Time Warner, and every worthy journalism nonprofit in the land, the Newseum is the establishment press's monument to itself—a mirror into which every mainstream reporter and editor can peer with an admiring gaze.

From the front of the building hangs a five-story-high sheet of marble inscribed with the First Amendment, in letters that are easily as tall as an early hominid. You can't miss it. You're not supposed to miss it. The display reflects the premise of the museum: that the "free press" mentioned in and protected by the Constitution is identical to the kind of corporate entities that paid for the museum.

It's a silly conceit, and only a business as powerful and unavoidable as national journalism could get away with it for so long. But has the journalistic establishment at last met its match in the buffoonish figure of Donald Trump? Consciously or not, Trump has used the interregnum between Election Day and Inauguration Day to subvert and, in some cases, even deal a death blow to many of the standard conventions of political journalism.

His most famous weapon is the tweet, those midnight brain belches that suddenly erupt from Trump Tower and are turned into instant news by a panting press corps.
Politico's press critic, Jack Shafer, suspects that Trump's tweets, even the strange ones, are strategically provocative, designed to throw reporters off the scent of real Trump stories (his business entanglements, the settlement of the Trump University lawsuit) by giving them something more immediate, sensational, and easier to cover. Shafer is probably giving Trump too much credit, but there's no doubting that our president-elect provokes a response from his intended audience.

And who is that? The common thought is that Trump uses Twitter to go over the heads of the reporters who cover him to reach the public unfiltered. Just as often, though, the reporters are his primary audience; the secondary audience is the general public, few of whom obsessively check a Twitter account the way reporters do. But the public can distinguish between a tweet and the reaction to it. For an ordinary person, the news isn't merely what Trump tweets, it's also the hyperventilation he provokes from the press. The second is usually crazier than the first.

Remember when a cast member of the musical Hamilton gave a pompous lecture to Vice President-elect Pence from a Broadway stage? If you've forgotten the lecture you probably remember the tweet that Trump fired off when he learned about it ("Our wonderful future V.P. Mike Pence was harassed last night at the theater by the cast of Hamilton, cameras blazing. This should not happen!"). And then you might remember the reaction of the press to Trump's reaction.

The New Yorker's Washington correspondent called Trump's tweet "unhinged and bizarre." News readers on NPR nearly choked with indignation. When Trump briefly appeared in public the next day, the questions from the press pen were all about the tweet. (Aleppo was crumbling, children's hospitals in Syria were bombed to rubble .  .  . but Mr. President-elect, what about Broadway?) CNN said Trump had "lashed out" at "Americans exercising their constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of expression." The political correspondent for New York magazine stilled his trembling fingers long enough to tweet that Trump had offered "a terrifying glimpse of how he could attempt to suppress free speech."

My guess is that most people took Trump's tweet for what it was—an unnecessary but well-meaning rebuke aimed at the bad manners of a sanctimonious showbiz fop. The reaction from the press, on the other hand, offered a terrifying glimpse into how bizarre and unhinged the press can be when Donald Trump mouths off.

Then Trump saw a Fox News story (he evidently sees no other kind) about an otherwise obscure incident of flag burning. Flag burning should be illegal, he tweeted, and should be punished with perhaps a penalty of a year in jail and "loss of citizenship," however the hell that would work. Details to come: Twitter only gives you 140 characters, after all.

The reaction of mainstream reporters and commentators was an unlikely mix of sputtering rage and sniffy pedantry. They couldn't have been angrier if Trump burned the flag himself. Didn't Trump know the Supreme Court had ruled flag burning constitutionally protected speech? Didn't he know his hero Antonin Scalia supported that decision? Didn't Trump know the president can't unilaterally render an action illegal?

Let's assume Trump didn't know these things—doubtful but possible. The press's corrective was appropriate on the merits. But it was comically overheated. "Donald Trump v. The First Amendment," headlined the Washington Post. New York magazine: "Donald Trump Wants You to Burn the Flag While He Burns the Constitution." The New York Times could barely contain its condescension: "Mr. Trump, Meet the Constitution."

Missing in all this was what the modern press prides itself on providing its lumbering readers: context. Few of the horrified reporters and editorialists seemed to recognize that a large majority of Americans almost certainly share Trump's revulsion at flag burning and would like to see it sanctioned—and probably regret that the Supreme Court has foreclosed the option. The public saw an offensive and unpatriotic act and the president-elect's righteous reaction to it; the press saw the stirrings of authoritarianism. One view was moralistic. The other was a paranoid fantasy. And just as moralistic.

With a tweet here and a tweet there, and with a reliably hair-trigger hysteria from the press only 140 characters away, Trump is happily driving a wedge between the news media and their intended customers. As if they weren't already unpopular enough! The dawning Trump era is pushing the mainstream press further and further to the margins of the conversation Americans think is worth paying attention to.

And Trump can be pretty cruel about this denigration of the press—and subtler than you'd expect. Since the election dozens of reporters and camera crews have been corralled behind rope lines in the gleaming, hideous lobby of Trump Tower. There they are treated to a daily parade of office-seekers, from David Petraeus to Rudy Giuliani, supplicants willing to humiliate themselves in a perp walk so they can gaze meaningfully into the eyes of the president-elect.

The Trump Tower perp walks make for a textbook case of the pseudo-event: an ostensibly naturally occurring episode that in fact is being staged to create what appears to be a real news story. A fire is a news story; a press conference called by firefighters to discuss fire prevention is a pseudo-event. It's the same in Trump Tower: When Mr. X or Ms. Y is appointed to a real job, that's a real news story. When Mr. X is "being mentioned" for a job and the press reports the mentioning as if it were news, that is a pseudo-event.

In the 50 years since the historian Daniel Boorstin coined the phrase, the news media have become connoisseurs of pseudo-events, promoting empty occasions manipulated by marketers and corporate flacks and political activists and sometimes by the news media themselves. On any given day the bulk of published news is a dog's breakfast of pseudo-events. The continuous elevation of non-news into news, the confusion of the trivial with the important, is one reason why American news reporting is so boring and its practitioners so often ridiculous.

Trump has staged this pseudo-event in his own lobby, and the dutiful reporters, who must pretend the perp walk and the "mentioning" are news, don't know they are being mocked. Over two generations the press have gone from defining news as "what happened yesterday" to "what we think might happen later" to "what other unnamed people tell us they think might happen tomorrow"—in other words, from concrete reporting to "analysis and context" to blue-sky speculation. With very little real news coming from Trump Tower, the public gets to see the press forced into its weakest posture, getting excited over nothing. They look even more desperate than usual. Thanks, Trump!

Or consider another great convention of political news reporting: the postelection rapprochement. After the heat of the campaign, the victor calls in members of the press, singly or in groups, to show there are no hard feelings and pledge a shining future of mutual cooperation. By their own testimony, this is what the TV news readers, personalities, and executives expected when Trump summoned the whole flock of peacocks to an audience in Trump Tower on November 21. In keeping with the hypocrisy of the establishment media—transparency for thee but not for me—the meeting was off the record. But we do know that the peacocks, prepared for the usual sucking up, got a dressing down.

An anonymous source described the meeting to Daniel Halper of the New York Post. The peacocks tried to ask about press arrangements at the Trump White House, as well as typically vacuous questions ("How are you going to cope with living in D.C. while your family is in New York?" asked David Muir, ABC's Doctor of Thinkology). The president-elect had other things on his mind. "Trump kept saying, 'We're in a room of liars, the deceitful, dishonest media who got it all wrong.' He addressed everyone in the room, calling the media dishonest, deceitful liars." And then the peacocks had to drag their tail feathers back through the lobby with everybody watching.

Getting tagged as liars isn't the most unnerving thing reporters have heard from Trump. That prize goes to his declaration that as president he would "open up" libel laws and make them more like libel law in England where, as Trump put it, "they have a system where you can actually sue if someone says something wrong. Our press is allowed to say whatever they want and get away with it." Again, it's not clear that Trump realizes he can't do any such thing on his own, even as president, but—also again—the reaction from the press to his fond fantasy has swung between dudgeon and delirium. Trump, we're told, wants to "repeal the First Amendment."

There are lots of differences between libel laws in England and in the United States. The chief distinction, very simplified, is that when a famous person sues over a libelous statement published in England, the news outlet has to prove in court that the statement is true; when a similar libel is published here, the famous person has to show the news outlet knew it was false—a much harder claim to prove. The effect, thanks to a series of Supreme Court decisions, is to declare famous people fair game for pretty much any kind of journalism. As "public figures," they seldom sue even over a blatantly false report because they're unlikely to win in court.

It's a dogma of the national press that this distinction is an essential element of the First Amendment. Yet the country had a remarkably busy and freewheeling press before 1964, when the Supreme Court invented the new arrangement through a piece of judicial legislation called New York Times Co. v. Sullivan. Indeed, then and now, both England and the United States have a long history of a robust, competitive, and lively press. And you could easily argue that their press is livelier than ours, precisely because British hacks lack the stuffy self-importance of the average American newsman, which is encouraged by, among other things, the protection offered by our libel laws.

In the elevated stature it claims, the corporate press in the United States is supported by the deference public figures show it, by a daisy chain of self-flattery, and by a web of dubious conventions that Trump hopes to subvert. Mostly these are artifacts contrived for the convenience of the press and for its aggrandizement. Trump hasn't held a formal press conference since summer, for example. The longer the president-elect goes without giving a full-dress press conference, the more obvious it will become that these stylized spectacles are unnecessary except under the rarest circumstances.

A president cocooned from skeptical and even disrespectful questioning would be intolerable—an affront to the country. But an East Room theatrical, with the correspondents done up in their dress-for-TV best, is not the only alternative. There's no reason why a president's obligation to explain himself couldn't be met with a series of town halls or, better, a weekly sitdown with a rotation of intelligent and knowledgeable interviewers like John Dickerson, Chris Wallace, and a bunch of people we've never heard of. As it is, the presidential press conference serves mostly as certification ceremony: The reporters get camera time, a chance to show off their expertise—some questions last more than a minute—and an accreditation as a personage to be reckoned with. They may even get recognized while weighing their fresh kale at Whole Foods. It's not the president's job to make the press corps feel important.

A Washington without presidential press conferences is a Washington in which the grip of the establishment press has at last begun to loosen. The same goes for the equally worthless daily briefing held in the White House press room by a political appointee whose most important job is not to answer serious questions. Anyone who has sat through these interminable exercises knows that whatever information they transmit could better be explained at a lower bureaucratic level—let the flack for the Bureau of Labor Statistics release the unemployment numbers to labor reporters, who know more about the matter anyway. (President Trump would still think the numbers were rigged, but that's another story.)

And then, after the White House briefings and news conferences are done away with, here's what could go next: the State of the Union address, a televised pseudo-event, beneficial (and interesting) only to the reporters who cover it. SOTU, as it's cloyingly called, could vanish for a century with no discernible damage to the functioning of self-government.

To borrow a tag from the 18th century, Trump has the chance to govern as a disestablishmentarian—trying to decertify the establishment media by extricating them from the exalted position they have claimed and occupied. Very few reporters think of themselves as partisan or ideological. But they do think of themselves as indispensable. Disabusing them of this idea would be the ultimate subversion.

Perhaps the most promising moment came in an interview Trump gave to reporters and editors of the New York Times. The president-elect came to their offices—an unaccustomed act of deference. And he went out of his way to praise the self-satisfied tradesmen arrayed before him. "The Times is," Trump said, "it's a great, great American jewel. A world jewel."

Which is true. But then he also said this, when asked about the right-wing website and its relationship to the far right: "Breitbart cover things, I mean like the New York Times covers things." You can imagine Trump's shrug of indifference. "And you know, they have covered some of these things, but the New York Times covers a lot of these things also. It's just a newspaper, essentially."

Just a newspaper? Like the Times? I wonder whether in that room, at that moment, a terrible revelation began to dawn among the Timesfolk, soon to spread among their colleagues in the mainstream press: Maybe we are no longer who we think we are!


Andrew Ferguson is a senior editor at The Weekly Standard.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Trump Announces Defense Department Pick To The People, Not The Press

I Served With James Mattis. Here’s What I Learned From Him

To Marines, Gen. James Mattis is the finest of our tribal elders. The rest of the world, very soon, will know how truly gifted he is.
America knows Gen. James Mattis as a character, Mad Dog Mattis, the font of funny quotes and Chuck Norris-caliber memes.
Those of us who served with him know that he is a caring, erudite, warfighting general. We also know that there is a reason he uses the call-sign Chaos: he is a lifelong student of his profession, a devotee of maneuver warfare and Sun Tzu, the sort of guy who wants to win without fighting—to cause chaos among those he would oppose.
To Marines, he is the finest of our tribal elders. The rest of the world, very soon, will know how truly gifted he is. Our friends and allies will be happy he is our new secretary of war; our enemies will soon wish he weren’t.
I worked for Mattis three times: when he was a colonel, a major general, and a lieutenant general. I very much want to work for him again. Here is why.
One: July 1994
I checked into Third Battalion, Seventh Marines in Twentynine Palms, California in 1994. It was 125 degrees in July in the high desert; everyone was in the field. This was a hard place, for hard men training for the hardest of jobs.
Then-Colonel Mattis, the Seventh Marines regimental commander, called for me to come see him. I was not only just a brand-new captain, but an aviator in an infantry regiment. I was a minor light in the Seventh Marines firmament: I was not in any measure a key player.
I arrived early, as a captain does when reporting to a colonel, and waited in his anteroom. There, I convinced myself what this would be: a quick handshake, a stern few sentences on what I was to do while there, and then a slap on the back with a “Go get ‘em, Tiger!” as he turned to the next task at hand. This was a busy guy. Five minutes, tops.
Colonel Mattis called for me. He stood to greet me, and offered to get coffee for me. He put a hand on my shoulder; gave me, over my protestations, his own seat behind his desk; and pulled up a chair to the side. He actually took his phone off the hook—something I had thought was just a figure of speech—closed his office door, and spent more than an hour knee-to-knee with me.
Mattis laid out his warfighting philosophy, vision, goals, and expectations. He told me how he saw us fighting and where, and how he was getting us ready to do just that. He laid out history, culture, religion, and politics, and he saw very clearly not only where we would fight, but how Seventh Marines, a desert battalion, fit into that fight.
Many years later, when Seventh Marines got into that fight, he was proven precisely right. It would not be the last time.
Two: February 2003
Major Gen. Mattis was commanding general of First Marine Division, in charge of the riflemen who were going to bear the brunt of President George W. Bush’s decision to go to war. He was small, wiry, and feisty, energy cooking off of him, the sort of guy who walks into a room of Alpha males and is instantly the leader. Mattis was a lifelong bachelor married to the Marine Corps, with a reputation as an ass-kicking, ferocious leader, an officer who took shit from no man and would do anything for his Marines.
Mattis had led First Battalion, Seventh Marines as part of Task Force Ripper during Desert Storm, and had cemented his reputation as a man on the way up. This reputation, well-earned even then, was solidified when he took Task Force 58, pulled together from two Marine Expeditionary Unit afloat, 400 miles over Pakistan and into Afghanistan late in 2001 to retaliate on behalf of us all against al-Qaeda’s attacks on September 11. He was a blunt, smart warfighter, just the sort of man our bulldog savior, Gen. Al Gray, had started pulling up the ladder behind him when he was commandant in the late 1980s.
I felt very confident with these two major generals—Mattis of the infantry and Amos of the air wing—in charge. And I felt even more confident as I looked around the room.
The metal folding chairs held hundreds of men. Pilots were in tan flight suits, pistols hanging on their chests in shoulder holsters. Infantry officers sat farther back; these were battalion fire support coordinators, seasoned majors who commanded a rifle battalion’s weapons company (heavy guns, 81 mm mortars, rockets, and TOW missiles) and were therefore the key men in a battalion’s fire support planning.
These guys were firsts among equals, and were almost always the best and often most senior of the young officers in a battalion. Most had with him his battalion air officer, an aviator serving with a rifle battalion (as I had with 3/7 under Col. Mattis) responsible for coordinating air strikes with the infantry’s scheme of maneuver and the indirect fire of both mortars and artillery.
The senior aviators, squadron and group commanders, sat near the front, with their counterpart battalion and regimental infantry commanders. Lieutenant colonels and colonels sat in front, captains and majors filling in the rear: hair atop heads grew noticeably more sparse the further forward you looked. Heads shined, and jaws firmly set. Showtime.
The discussions began with an intel brief. The first bad guys we were going to come across, and those we were therefore most concerned about, were the Iraqi 51st Mechanized Division. They were not the Republican Guard, but had a reputation as having some tough fighters who could shoot straight. The word was that officers were taking all civilian clothes from their men and having them burned, to prevent the conscripts from stripping off their uniforms and fleeing the war, trying to blend back into the civilian population.
On our side, they were expecting Seventh Marines to be ready to go on 10 March, Fifth Marines ready to go on 20 March, and First Marines ready to go in a month: 1 March. A-day and G-Day would go simultaneously. My ears perked up at this. No pre-invasion bombing? I was expecting the air war to start up any day, to soften the bad guys up for at least month as we did the first time we kicked this Iraqi Army’s ass in 1991.
No air war? Wow. The briefer didn’t come out and say “You grunts are screwed,” but rather used intelspeak: “We anticipate at this time that there will be no formalized shaping of the battlefield.” Rules of engagement would be fairly relaxed: kill people if they need killin’. Maps were flashed up, showing the initial Battlespace Coordination Line (BCL): we were given permission to kill anything beyond that line. This was going to be a huge, high-stakes shooting gallery.
Logistics was going to be an issue. It was a long way to Baghdad from there, and there were a hell of a lot of guys massing on the border. When Mattis took the boys into Afghanistan, it took 0.5 short tons (a “short ton” is 2,000 pounds even, versus a “ton,” which is closer to 2,200 pounds) per Marine deployed. They were expecting that it would be five times that effort—2.5 short tons per Marine—to get a guy to Baghdad. I remembered that Gen. Krulak, our commandant in the late 1990s, had made his reputation as a logistics wizard in Desert Storm.
Good officers study military history, great officers study logistics. Mattis was a great officer.
Good officers study military history, great officers study logistics. Mattis was a great officer. His “Log Light” configuration for the division was meant to get people north fast, and not try to shoot our way through every little town on the way. As only he could do, he described it thus: “If you can’t eat it, shoot it, or wear it, don’t bring it.”
Mattis stood. As always, he spoke without notes, having long ago memorized everything.
“Gentlemen, this is going to be the most air-centric division in the history of warfare. Don’t you worry about the lack of shaping; if we need to kill something, it is going to get killed. I would storm the gates of Hell if Third Marine Air Wing was overhead.”
He looked toward the back of the cavernous room, and spoke loud, clear, and confident, hands on his hips.
“There is one way to have a short but exciting conversation with me,” he continued, “and that is to move too slow. Gentlemen, this is not a marathon, this is a sprint. In about a month, I am going to go forward of our Marines up to the border between Iraq and Kuwait. And when I get there, one of two things is going to happen. Either the commander of the Fifty-First Mechanized Division is going to surrender his army in the field to me, or he and all his guys are going to die.”
Nothing much else needed to be said after that.
Three: March 2003
Early in the afternoon, every British and American officer loaded up and headed across the desert to the marvelously named Camp Matilda, one of the Marine Corps base camps farther north towards Iraq. This was my first foray out into the open desert, and it was a National Geographic special come to life.
Camels ambled along next to the road or stood and stared stupidly at the cars whizzing by mere feet away. I assumed they would be herded by men in flowing robes on camels, like in “Lawrence of Arabia.” The men indeed wore robes and flowing headdresses, but herded their beasts in pickup trucks. Wealthier Kuwaitis zoomed by in red-checked caftans driving the ubiquitous Mercedes sedan.
Without referencing a single piece of paper, he discussed what each unit would do and in what sequence, and outlined his end state for each phase of the early war.
First Marine Division was holding their first ROC Drill, the rehearsal of concept of what we were about to do. I had never seen a walk-through like this before. Marines had spent days building an enormous reproduction of southern Iraq in a bowl formed by a huge, semicircular sand dune. Each road, each river, each canal, each oil field was built to scale and even in proper color (water was blue dye poured into a sand ditch, and so on.)
Each Marine unit wore football jerseys in different colors, and with proper numbers. First Battalion, Fifth Marines, known as one-five, wore blue jerseys with “15” on the back, and other units were similarly identified. Principal staff from those units stood on the “border” drawn in the sand. About 300 officers stood and sat on the dune above. It was the perfect way to visualize what was about to happen.
General Mattis stood up and took a handheld microphone. Without referencing a single piece of paper, he discussed what each unit would do and in what sequence, and outlined his end state for each phase of the early war. He spoke for nearly 30 minutes, and his complete mastery of every nuance of the battle forthcoming was truly impressive.
A narrator then took over and picked up the narrative, the rest of the first week of the early war in sequence. As he described each movement, the officers from that unit walked to the proper place on their terrain model, and by the end of an hour the colored jerseys were spread over nearly a football field’s worth of sand. What a show.
At the end of the drill, questions were answered and then Mattis dismissed everyone. No messing around with this guy. Mike Murdoch, one of the British company commanders, leaned over to me, his eyes wide. “Mate, are all your generals that good?”
I looked at him.
“No. He is the best we have.”
As everyone rose to leave, Mattis fired one last directive over the microphone: “You’ve got about 30 days.”
Stanton S. Coerr was a Marine officer and is a veteran of the war in Iraq. He holds degrees from Duke, Harvard, and the Naval War College, and now lives and works in Washington DC.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Thoughts from the ammo line


Posted by Scott Johnson
Ammo Grrrll rubs it in with great dexterity as she wonders IF A CELEBRITY THREATENS TO LEAVE, AND NOBODY CARES, IS SHE STILL A CELEBRITY?

She writes:

One time, maybe 25 years ago, a male client whose workforce was mostly female was wearing a gag t-shirt at the holiday party where I entertained. He explained that it had been a gift from his wife and four daughters and his employees enjoyed it, too. It said, “If a man speaks in the forest, and there’s not a female there to correct him, is he still wrong?”

Sadly, with careful selective breeding of terrified men with bitter feminists, we have genetically modified the current generation of snowflakes to be not just humor-free, but humor-intolerant. So I’m pretty sure that he would be forced to resign from his own company today, but it was very funny at the time. We commiserated about being “odd gender out” because I was living with one male husband, 3 teenage sons, a house perpetually filled with dozens of their hungry friends, and a male cat (well, technically, a neutered, formerly-male cat who served as an example to the others).

Which brings me to the titular premise we tackle today, a paraphrase of the old “If a tree falls in the forest…” conundrum referenced on the t-shirt: if almost all the celebrities in America were With Her and Trump still won, what does it mean for the star power of these celebrities?

Beyonce, LeBron, Whoopi, Jay-Z — or was it Lay-Z or Cray-Z? –The N-word Spewing Racist Rapper, could not bestir the 2012 black vote to mobilize for the Old White Lady. Despite the wailing about misogyny, the truth is that racial identity politics is a two-edged sword, like “Prevent Defense” in football. Sometimes the only thing you prevent is winning! Old White Hillary, alas, was too pale to support, even though she was in a sham marriage with Bubba, The First Black President, and pointedly refused to agree that All Lives Matter.

All but a handful of pop stars, fading actors, media celebs, and sports figures lent their names and meager talents to Her, though many prominent ones forgot to vote or even register. LOL.

Oh, sure, our side had Mike Tyson, Kid Rock, Jon Voight and Dennis Rodman, freelance ambassador to North Korea, bless his heart, but we couldn’t compete in the star assemblage. Even the COUNTRY stars, for Pete’s sake, took their shots at Trump, and only Trump, on the CMA awards show. There were some funny things to say about The Donald, but was there NOTHING amusing to say about Hillary for balance? Mr. Paisley, I am disappointed in you, and your last CD sucked, too.

Millions of evangelical Christians who have never in their lives uttered the word “pussy” except to call their pet flocked to the polls because they believed that the right to practice their religion was way, way, more important than the potty-mouth of the only candidate who would defend that right.

Millions of blue collar workers voted for a billionaire real estate mogul in the apparent belief that he “cared about people like me,” a trait they refused to attribute to Mitt Romney just four years earlier. I think they were mistaken then, particularly if they thought that Obama DID care about anything but himself and his handicap. But that ship has sailed and while gentlemanly Mitt failed to connect. Trump won their hearts probably in part BECAUSE of his bull-like romp through the china shop of political correctness.

I do not for a minute believe that celebrityhood is dead with a stake through its heart. When I see the celebrity-filled magazines in the checkout line, damned if I can identify more than 10% of the scrawny women and androgynous men, or have any idea why they are celebrated. But they multiply like fruit flies. So they aren’t going away any time soon. But I think their endorsement impact may be somewhat muted from now on.

I used to work night shift in a print shop. Two “motivational” placards hung in my work area. One said “The beatings will continue until morale improves.” The other said “When you’re up to your ass in alligators, it’s hard to remember that your original goal was to drain the swamp.”

The white working class, indeed the middle classes of every color and gender, have had it up to here with the morale-crushing insults and psychological beatings by our snotty, politically correct elites in academia, government, Hollywood and the media. This election said, “No! The beatings will NOT continue. Hit me again at your own risk. Call me vile names and I will see that the other guy wins.” And it was so.

We have taken a giant first step in the Herculean task of draining the swamp. There are already many old bull alligators getting in the way of the task. Political gators, like the real ones in the wild, are smart, sneaky predators who have been in their Beltway habitat for a long time. Gator-fighters say that most methods of self-defense are useless in escaping from a gator that is clamped on to you and there’s a good chance you are going to die horribly but quickly. But if you can possibly find the little flap in their throat that keeps water out, you can fill their maws with water and potentially drown them or at least make them let you go.

I think the contemptuous, bigoted Democrat “hater gators” who agreed with Her that half their fellow citizens are Deplorable Irredeemables drowned on their own vicious bile in this election. Since Hillary was certified fit as a fiddle by her doctor, swearsies, her cough was probably just from choking on her resentment and rage. The left is absolutely incapable of learning anything, however, so they will continue to call everyone in Trump’s administration a Nazi, without ever looking at themselves in a mirror. And who could blame them? Have you seen these losers up close? Worse than celebrities without their makeup!

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Full Event: President-Elect Donald Trump Rally in Cincinnati, Ohio

View the Video of President-elect Donald J. Trump’s inspirational December 1, 2016 Thank You Rally in Ohio. It’s inspirational and will put a smile on your face—worth multiple viewings!

Trump’s A-Team

The Wall Street Journal

President-elect Trump named the respected schools reformer Betsy DeVos from Michigan as Secretary of Education

The president-elect is assembling a who’s who of conservatives for his cabinet.

By Daniel Henninger

The day before Thanksgiving in New York, I bumped into a Trump adviser who actually knows what is going on inside Trump Tower, as opposed to rumors inhabiting the media such as this Tuesday headline: “Trump’s Team Frays Over Romney.” The message I got was different: “It’s going to be fine. It’s going to be just fine.”

In the seven days since Thanksgiving, President-elect Trump has named the respected schools reformer Betsy DeVos from Michigan as Secretary of Education. Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, the chairman of the House Budget Committee and a committed reformer of ObamaCare, is Secretary of Health and Human Services. Elaine Chao, who was George W. Bush’s reformist Labor Secretary for eight years, is the new Secretary of Transportation.

Two businessmen will enter the cabinet. Former Goldman Sachs banker Steven Mnuchin is Treasury Secretary and Wilbur Ross, an investor in distressed industries, will be Commerce Secretary.

Retired Marine Gen. Jim Mattis, one of the most able officers to serve in Iraq and later head of the U.S. Central Command, is within a hair of being Secretary of Defense.

Going deeper into the policy weeds, Mr. Trump selected Indiana Medicaid reformer Seema Verma to run the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. The main Supreme Court adviser visiting Trump Tower has been Leonard Leo, executive vice president of the Federalist Society.

Bob Woodson, one of this generation’s smartest and most productive black conservatives, has been in to discuss with Mr. Trump how to make good on his campaign promise to champion the inner cities.

If instead of these individuals, the visitors to Trump Tower had been the alt-right activists of so many progressive night sweats, it would have been reported across the New York Times’ front page and on CNN round the clock, as if Godzilla and Mothra were trundling up Fifth Avenue.

Instead, the Trump transition has been talking to and appointing some of the most accomplished and serious individuals in Republican and conservative politics. Donald Trump isn’t pulling rabbits out of a hat. Somebody at team Trump has a first-rate Rolodex.

By now, it should be obvious that the Trump operation exists in two parts. One half is the operation’s face, Donald Trump. The other half is the operation behind the face. Mr. Trump’s persona has often made it difficult to take the entire Trump phenomenon seriously. That, we learned, is a mistake.

Months ago, Mr. Trump’s small team got hold of what is essentially a transition textbook—“Presidential Transition Guide” published earlier this year by the Partnership for Public Service. Its contributors worked on pre-election transitions for John McCain,Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. The Trump preparatory group began to come together in Washington last spring.

In fact, both the Trump and Clinton transition teams were in the same building at 1717 Pennsylvania Avenue, a few blocks from the White House. Hillary’s people were on the 17th floor and the Trump planners were on the eighth. They rode the elevators together—and understood that one of them would fold up shop. Life is full of surprises.

This Trump transition operation is filled with specialists and veterans extending back to Ronald Reagan’s transition, such as Ed Meese. While New York conducts auditions for the cabinet’s speaking parts, the Washington policy shop is now recruiting the under-, deputy- and assistant secretaryships.

I’m told calls are arriving from solid people in the private sector who want to work on the Trump project, without pay, and then get out. That is the private-to-public expertise model created by Gov. Mitch Daniels in Indiana and followed by Govs. John Kasich in Ohio and Bill Haslam in Tennessee.

Presumably this is the intention in naming Messrs. Mnuchin and Ross. I would have preferred seeing House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling get Treasury, on the assumption that his ability to get tax reform and the overhaul of Dodd-Frank through Congress would have all but guaranteed a revived economy and a successful first Trump term. Mr. Mnuchin will benefit from having Chairman Hensarling as a lodestar in the House.

If Mr. Trump’s foreign-policy goal is to “kill ISIS,” it would be hard to design a more effective partnership than Jim Mattis at Defense and David Petraeus at State. They know what to do and how to do it, but that’s not the most important thing.

As former commanders in Iraq, Gens. Mattis and Petraeus have seen enough sacrifice from American troops in the Middle East for two lifetimes. These are men who will not argue for committing ground troops unless the U.S. is going to win and then secure the durability of its dear investment there.

As for Kellyanne Conway’s supposed anti-Romney rampage Sunday morning, I’m more inclined to see it as Thomas Cromwell going on television to explain the requirements of loyalty to Henry VIII’s associates.

VIDEO: Newsweek Didn’t Even Read Its Own Recalled President Hillary Commemorative Issue

 By Blake Neff

Newsweek's Matt Cooper on Tucker Carlson Tonight

Before the actual election, Newsweek printed and delivered 125,000 copies of the special commemorative edition in anticipation of a Hillary Clinton victory. Tucker takes on Newsweek's anti-Trump bias.

An editor at Newsweek magazine admitted on Tucker Carlson Tonight that the magazine hadn’t even proofread a commemorative issue honoring Hillary Clinton before having it distributed in anticipation of her winning the 2016 presidential election.
Like many others, Newsweek believed Clinton was a strong favorite to defeat Donald Trump in November’s election. Seeking to take advantage of her win, the company printed out 125,000 copies of a commemorative issue honoring the triumph of “Madam President,” and even had Clinton sign some of them.
Though the issue was hastily recalled after Trump’s victory, the issue has still leaked out, and its contents have made Newsweek the subject of ridicule. Coming in for particular derision was the magazine’s introduction, which bashes Trump’s “deplorable” supporters and their “fear and hate-based conservatism” while praising Clinton for her “issue-based campaign” and status as allegedly the most experienced president-elect ever.
On Wednesday’s night’s episode of Tucker Carlson Tonight, Newsweek political editor Matt Cooper appeared to defend the issue’s content. But during the appearance, Cooper admitted that he and other Newsweek editors hadn’t read its content in advance, and didn’t know who wrote it.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Trump Reaches Deal With Carrier to Keep 1,000 Jobs in US

By Leah Barkoukis
President-elect Donald Trump seems to already be making good on his campaign promise to work to keep manufacturing jobs in the United States.

His incoming administration and United Technologies (UTX) reached an agreement that will keep roughly 1,000 jobs at Carrier Corporation in Indiana.
Carrier, owned by UTX, had plans to move production from a main factory in Indiana to Mexico, costing nearly 1,400 Hoosiers their jobs.
Under a deal negotiated by Vice President-elect Mike Pence and UTX CEO Greg Hayes, the company will now keep most of those jobs in Indiana, sources close to the matter told CNBC.
While terms of the deal are not yet clear, the sources indicated there were new incentives on offer from the state of Indiana, where Pence is governor, that helped clear a path for the agreement.
While UTX was seeking the savings that would come from moving some production to Mexico, people familiar with the situation indicated that the savings were not worth incurring the wrath of the incoming administration, including the potential threat to the significant business that UTX currently conducts with the U.S. government, largely in the form of orders for jet engines and other defense-related equipment.
Trump had made the expected departure of the Carrier jobs a key theme in his campaign to capture the White House, using it as an example of the type of trade relationship that hurt U.S. workers.
The incoming Trump administration likely reiterated their pledge to ease regulations and overhaul the tax code in exchange for keeping the jobs in the state, making the lost savings worth it in the end.
Trump and Pence will be at Carrier’s Indianapolis factory to announce the deal on Thursday.

Carrier Tweet


We are pleased to have reached a deal with President-elect Trump & VP-elect Pence to keep close to 1,000 jobs in Indy. More details soon.

7:54 PM - 29 Nov 2016