Archive for November, 2019

Quid Pro Quo

Sunday, November 24th, 2019

Impeachment may or may not go forward from here, but this past week has not been a good one for the democrats who want it. It’s been bad enough for them, they would be well-served to go back and look for points-of-failure.

I suggest this hackneyed phrase. Not so much the words themselves, as their showmaster’s handling of it all.

At the beginning of this month, things really caught fire when word got out that this Gordon Sondland person confirmed there was a quid pro quo between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The democrats then wanted to know: What’s up with all these Republicans telling everyone there wasn’t one? Our side wins, right? We just caught those guys in a fib.

Yeah…I’ll get to that.

A little while later, for some reason, the democrats began a campaign-within-the-campaign to dump “quid pro quo” and change to “bribery.” This is a point of failure. There are limits to what “focus groups” should be affecting, there are times when they should or should not so affect. With the wisdom of hindsight, we can see the democrats would have been better off preserving inertia and staying the course. The invasive surgery cost them more than they gained here. The spotlight of the nation was already on them, and to the nation as a whole, the switch looked weird. This is why support for impeachment, particularly among independents, eroded in the days following. It’s all quite logical: If the defendant is so clearly guilty, a change in the verbiage describing his so-obvious crimes would be neither necessary nor desirable.

Add to that, the glee over the “confirmation of quid pro quo” was premature. Sondland’s knowledge that there was quid pro quo, was one of these group-consensus things, the “everybody knows” things we all saw in middle- and high-school. Everybody knows this guy’s cool and that other guy is a total dweeb. Everybody knows Hillary is gonna kick Trump’s behind, everybody knows the world is flat…I myself have been studying this awhile, for a very long time, since I’m among the very last ones in the room to know there’s any consensus forming at all, let alone what it is. I have yet to crack that nut. But I can tell you, after years of study, that it’s mostly guesswork. People make their calculations, then lunge for the next rung on the ladder of social status with some proclamation of “I speak for everyone here” — and occasionally get embarrassed. Some people get very good at this, and never get embarrassed. They stand an excellent chance of becoming “leaders” without actually knowing much of anything.

I could write a whole book on it. Someday maybe I will. For now my intent is merely to address the question of whether people should be able to “testify” about this, anywhere, and my answer is not in the affirmative. It’s not only no, it sails well past Aw Hell No, headlong into the territory of: Are You Nuts?? That would be like testifying this idea is a good one or that idea is a bad one…pineapple does or doesn’t belong on a pizza…the second husband on Bewitched was better than the first. Hey we all know it. Moore is clearly a better James Bond than Connery. Everybody knows.

But granting the absurd idea that it’s okay to testify about these feelings as if they’re facts. To these “lying” Republicans who said repeatedly “there was no quid pro quo.” They have to do a one-eighty now, right? Maybe even wear stripes and make license plates because they perjured themselves. Right?

Well now. Ukraine got the money. No quid.

Supposedly there was going to be an investigation, in the Ukraine, into these shenanigans with Joe Biden’s son. To the best of my understanding, there isn’t one. No quo.

So with no quid, and no quo, if you’re asked “Was there a quid pro quo?” what would the truthful answer be? There’s only one.

And we come now to another point of failure democrats would do well to inspect. I know they think it makes them look like shrewd devotees of logic and rational thinking for them to take the position of, Schrödinger’s cat can’t be both alive and dead so someone is clearly lying to us and we must investigate. And to people who are only skimming over this thing lightly, it likely does look that way…or did look that way. But the inconvenient question that arises is this. Should foreign aid be tied to an attempt to influence the receiving country’s behavior? If we accept that that’s not supposed to happen, it’s easy to make this whole thing look wrong, maybe even slimy, maybe even worthy of impeachment. But then — why do it at all? We spend billions of dollars on foreign aid so it’s not an insignificant question.

What if the “quo” is something the democrats want, hmmm? Country X may receive a billion dollars in foreign aid if, and only if, it agrees to cut carbon emissions by 25% by year 2025. Would that be impeachable?

Why are we giving money to countries if we can’t put conditions on it? Isn’t that the whole point?

If we accept that conditions are to be attached, we must necessarily accept that someone is to take on the job of negotiating. What sort of function would that be, now: legislative, or executive? Who’s in charge of the executive branch?

The democrats think they found a contradiction here. There wasn’t a quid pro quo, and yet there was one. You see a lot of apparent contradictions that don’t really exist as contradictions, when you fail to understand the basics. A three dimensional space appears to present contradictions to someone who can only comprehend two dimensions. A map seems to present contradictions to a man who doesn’t know how to read it. The kitty thinks the laser dot is a solid material thing he can catch.

The liberal democrats can push their heads-or-tails thing if they want, but in doing so they look like they can’t distinguish intent from outcome. That, you’ll recall, is their reputation. We here in California, struggling under their tutelage with our state chronically on fire and chronically without power, know full well that they deserve to have this rep. Unable to, or unwilling to, discern intent from ultimate effect.

These Last Five

Saturday, November 23rd, 2019

“If God did not exist,” Voltaire famously said, “it would be necessary to invent Him.” The same could be said of these last five marked occasions in our calendar year. They have disparate histories and they weren’t planned that way, but it is good for our spiritual health that they landed that way, juxtaposed the way they are.

It’s not like you need an extra day off work by the time Labor Day rolls around. That unstructured, flabby, weak middle of the year, where you’ve already taken time off to go camping with your kids, go to the beach, maybe jockey with your co-workers for the best dates to put on the calendar and punch out — all those days and weeks blend together. It’s good for fun and it’s good for catching some rays, enjoying the active outdoor lifestyle, but it’s not good for maintaining an awareness of the passage of time. We all become acutely aware of this when it’s over, I think. Depending on where you live, you need to mark a date on or about where you can enjoy it for the last time. And the kids go back to school, and life, thank goodness, starts to return to “normal.” But we have to return to our thoughts about obligations. This is a good time to think about life. What is your work-life balance. Are you pushing it too hard, or not hard enough. What is your purpose? How are you contributing?

On Halloween we get to celebrate childhood, even if our children are grown. There’s something magical about all these little kids getting together, playing dress-up, and going on their adventures. We get to participate in their fantasies. Kids are precious. They’re our window into the future. Some of us get to have a little tiny bit of influence into a future that is distant, that we won’t be able to see. And we also are inspired by all the dying vegetation to think about our own mortality. That’s important. Two to three months prior, reading a book in that beach chair and working on the tan, we don’t want to think about that. But eventually it will become necessary. Better to worry about putting one’s affairs in order early rather than late. This is a bit unpleasant, but it’s sobering, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s good that this comes up just a little after Labor Day. It’s a one-two punch that reminds us life, after all, is not a beach. We must enjoy what we can, while we’re here.

ThanksgivingAnd then there is Thanksgiving. This, liberals, is where we think about your favorite thing: We didn’t build it by ourselves, we had help. Others sacrificed and worked for us, and we had good luck…but that’s not an occasion to clamor for higher taxes and more regulation, that’s the occasion where we give thanks to God. And — this is after Halloween, remember — we place a premium value on the limited amount of time we get to spend together. That’s why we travel to go dine with relatives. The dinner “table” is where community was born. That’s why we do it that way. This Friendsgiving stuff is for the birds. Oh yes, for some there is no alternative to it; that’s all fine and good I suppose. But choosing friends over family brings on all sorts of messy questions. Are you choosing your friends, perhaps, because you haven’t known them as long? Have you got what it takes to maintain a relationship over a long period of time? Are those friends still going to be around in ten or twenty years, like family? If you haven’t got what it takes, you can learn anytime. If you have grudges, or someone else has them against you, as long as you’re both here there is the chance to cure it all and start again. That’s a blessing. And there are so many others.

There is a purposeful sequence to this. FIRST be thankful for what you have; THEN, think about giving, and receiving. It’s better to give than to get, as the old saying goes. But no, Christmas is not about material things. And it isn’t about charity, quite so much as celebrating that we’re all in this together. It’s the birthday of Jesus Christ who laid down His life for our sins, and we all have sinned. All of us, even those who don’t believe in Him, have sinned, and are in this. And everyone is struggling with something so try not to be a dick. Find out what you can do to help, in ways large and small. And then help.

After Christmas, comes the New Year. Now look forward, think about the year just closed out, what happened that you didn’t like, that you could have avoided, that you weren’t able to avoid. What life-changing events descended upon you, and how you are going to cope with them. What can you do to make things go better. And drink a toast to those who met their end, to absent friends. By this time, the days are short and so, once again, we celebrate the time we have together. With this fifth and final one, we look forward with open hearts and grateful minds to a future that challenges us to do our best, and gifts us with boundless opportunities, laced with just enough fear and foreboding to put us on alert, so that we value what we have and appreciate life for what it is, to the best that we are able.

And that is why you don’t play Christmas music before Thanksgiving.

“Participation Trophy” Crisis

Thursday, November 14th, 2019

“Impeachment” circusDark FateCalifornia taxing/regulating good honest people out of the state“woke” Tomb RaiderGillettebullet train…the pigtail climate change bratNikethe eleven thousand “scientists”MuellerDick’sObamaCaredemocrat candidates for President, including Ban-Them-All BloomieCommon CorePG&E’s power gridblaming the wildfires on “climate change”

It occurs to me that out of all the sources of misery we experience lately, there is a pattern of surprise, of lots of build-up before a payoff that falls short, and then a frenzy of scapegoating afterward. And this is all done by creative persons and creative groups who didn’t expect the disappointment, in fact who apparently hadn’t even factored in failure as a possibility. They weren’t particularly stupid or incompetent — they just never seriously considered that their delivery could bomb. That they’d ever be sent back to the drawing board. That there’d ever be a moment of judging or assessment at all. Their attitude seems to be “I worked really hard on this, so, ya know…uh, here. Now where’s my bonus?”

Participation TrophyIf it doesn’t work, they’re not the problem and their efforts are not the problem. The results were bad because you expected too much, or didn’t forget the right things. Devin Nunes summarized the circus, and in so doing provided a convenient snapshot-sample:

In the blink of an eye, we’re asked to simply:

• forget about Democrats on this committee falsely claiming they had “more than circumstantial evidence” of collusion between President Trump and the Russians;
• forget about them reading fabrications of Trump-Russia collusion from the Steele dossier into the congressional record;
• forget about them trying to obtain nude pictures of Trump from Russian pranksters who pretended to be Ukrainian officials;
• forget about them leaking a false story to CNN, while he was still testifying to our committee, claiming Donald Trump Jr. had colluded with Wikileaks;
• and forget about countless other deceptions, large and small, that make them the last people on earth with the credibility to hurl more preposterous accusations at their political opponents.

They can’t, or won’t, discuss any of this. They may not know how. Too many decades of “Stop arguing, there’s cheesecake” or “No politics allowed in this bar” have created generations of people who can’t present a coherent assertion, rebuttal or defense, so they lunge for these “ironic” brush-offs like “okay, boomer”. I wonder what it’s like to go through life this way, with this Last Jedi no-criticism mentality.

My observation has to do with how, and why, so many things that shouldn’t suck, do, and lately are doing it more often and harder. We are reaping the harvest of this steady procession of “participation trophy” people. It’s a bumper crop. It’s hard to notice, in politics, because we all know this is what politicians do. On both sides. They sit like vultures, and when something good happens they hog all the credit, if anything bad happens they blame their predecessors, or the opposition. And so that camouflages this other thing — which is recent. Both sides aren’t doing it quite the same way. Your idiot liberal nephew at Thanksgiving will put emphasis on the “both sides do it” thing, and xhe‘s not completely wrong. But it is also true that to succeed in life, you have to do a lot of failing, and it’s also true that in our political system there’s one side that is dedicated to avoiding any acknowledgment of that. They’re motivated by fear of failure, and refusal to acknowledge failure. They always have been. And they’ve always reached out to potential constituents, who share this fear of failure, and this drive to control all narratives so that failure never has to be acknowledged, or if it must be, the blame has to go somewhere else. This has always been harmful to the rest of us. But it’s getting worse.

They stick us with something — it founders — and then they gaslight us, tell us there’s something wrong with us if we don’t look past all the glaring deficits. Or they blame Republicans…yeah that’s right, for freakin’ Chicago.

It’s gonna get worse before it gets better…

Happy Fifteenth Birthday

Tuesday, November 12th, 2019

Still at it, although slowing way down last year or so. Dashboard says we’re up to 8,401 posts, 26,936 comments from 444 user accounts.

Fake Oppression For the Rest of Us

Monday, November 11th, 2019

Oppression — or more accurately, anything that could plausibly be presented under that enticing moniker — is more an asset than a liability, and it is in greater demand than its supply. Jussie Smollett proved that. He had to hire people to assault him so he could play victim.

“Global warming” actually is the same thing as “climate change”; it is the Jussie Smollett game for over-privileged, straight, white, guilty-feeling liberal people. Women can play like they can’t get dates because too many men are intimidated by strong, smart, self-assertive women; blacks can carry on like they’re owed reparations because they’re descended from slaves, which they may or may not be. Gays can pretend they’re still fighting for the right to marry, even though they’ve been over & done with that for awhile; they have the option of appealing to a broader audience capable of noticing this, by transforming the fight into transgender issues.

For everybody else, there is the climate change boogeyman. The fake-oppression for people who are having a tougher time than anybody else faking their oppression.

Veterans Day 2019

Monday, November 11th, 2019

Happy Birthday Marine Corps 2019

Sunday, November 10th, 2019