Category Archives: TENNESSEE

Bookworm Beat 10/25/19: Media still lies about the Russia hoax, plus more

Mueller’s report didn’t stop media lies about the Russia Hoax. As Bill Barr closes in on the culprits the lies get more extreme and desperate. Plus more.

(This is a companion post to the No. 28 Bookworm Podcast, which I uploaded early today.)

Lies from the Left about the Russia hoax. The second part of my podcast is a short rehash of my much longer post about the New York Times’ spin on the news that AG Barr has elevated to a criminal investigation John Durham’s look at the origins of the Russia hoax. I won’t repeat that here, but I urge you to check out my post if you haven’t already.

On MSNBC, a former Obama official spins an amazing web of lies about the Russia hoax. On his podcast today, Derek Hunter played a snippet of Andrea Mitchell’s Report, a daily MSNBC program I’d never heard of before. It isn’t a news report; it’s just Democrat spin.

The topic from this particular episode, broadcast on October 22, was AG Barr’s investigation (and this was before the news about it’s going criminal broke). I can’t find a copy of the video to embed, but you can see the video here.

What fascinated me was the opening statement from Mitchell’s guest, a woman named Wendy Sherman. For those who, like me, had never heard of Sherman, she was the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs in the State Department from 2011 to 2015. She was the lead negotiator for the Iran deal and also conducted nuclear negotiations with North Korea. This is a woman comfortable with selling out to dictators.

Here’s what she had to say about the investigation Barr is overseeing:

That short statement contains myriad lies, obfuscations, and misdirections, which I’ll address in a minute. The thing that most shocked me about it, though, was the opening sentence:

From the outside, this looks like a continuation of undermining the institutions of the United States government.

Why did that shock me? Because you need to understand what’s really been going on since 2016: The Left, using the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, the DOJ, the NSC, and the State Department, attempted a coup against a duly elected American president — after the Left’s attempt to fix the election failed.

Think about that.

Of the acts and institutions I mentioned, only the election is in the Constitution. The Constitution says who will be elected (the President) and prescribes a mechanism for the people to speak in a way that avoids mob rule and that assures a voice for everyone, not just for major population centers (i.e., the Electoral College). The alphabet soup agencies therefore attacked a core Constitutional function. That’s a big deal.

And what about those agencies? None of them show up in the Constitution. The State Department is old, having been established in 1789 to help the president carry out his constitutional foreign policy responsibilities, but it itself is not a core constitutional creation. The position of Attorney General also came into being in 1789, but it too is not mentioned in the Constitution. The Department of Justice itself didn’t come into being until 1870 and it too is not in the Constitution, neither the original or amended versions.

As for the alphabet soup agencies, here are their dates of origin and none of them have any Constitutional ties either:

  1. FBI – created in 1908, not in Constitution
  2. CIA – created in 1947, not in Constitution
  3. NSA – created in 1952, not in Constitution
  4. NSC – created in 1947, not in Constitution

So Sherman, in her opening sentence, is angry that bureaucracies are under attack, and not at all upset that the bureaucracies participated in a coup against a Constitutional election. She’s got it bass ackwards.

After getting everything wrong at a core, principled level, Sherman then swings into the obfuscation and lies:

The theory — it appears that Attorney General Barr is operating under is a debunked conspiracy that, I think, Ned can elaborate even more than I can.

You noticed, I’m sure, that while Sherman says “Ned can elaborate even more” she about the alleged “debunked conspiracy,” Sherman never explains it in the first place. The fact that she avoids is the Democrats horrible nightmare, which is Mueller’s reluctant admission that there was no Russian collusion. It was a fake.

Moreover, it was pursued by people who laundered information that tracked perfectly on a scheme first tried out on John McCain in 2008. (For more on that, I urge you to check out Dan Bongino’s books and podcasts.) In other words, there is no “debunked conspiracy theory.” There is just an actual conspiracy that’s slowly emerging from the darkness in which the actors hid it.

Then there’s this sentence:

It’s really crazy to be perfectly frank.

The sentence doesn’t have much substance, but I mention it for two reasons: First, it tracks the language of the whistle blower’s source (who I half-jokingly explained may be Triggly-Puff or someone similar considering his/her fragile sensibilities). That source, in trembling tones, called Trump’s perfectly ordinary conversation with Ukraine President Zelenskyy “crazy” and was completely “shaken” for that reason. Second, remember that the Democrats in the media have been pushing the argument that Trump is “crazy” and needs to be kicked out of office under the 25th Amendment. This word “crazy” has wormed its way into the Lefts’ collective psyche. Some would call it projection….

But here’s the really big lie Sherman utters:

Durham is a professional, but none the less it is quite concerning about what they’re doing and, indeed, I think it is raising questions among diplomats around the world who are being questioned about whether in fact Russia was responsible for interfering in our elections, of course they were, all of our agencies, all 17, of them have said they did and we need to really be on our toes about what will happen in the upcoming election.

That “17 agencies” claim is a hoax that started (surprise!) with Hillary Clinton in the final debate before the 2016 election. There, when she was talking about the hacked DNC server and John Podesta’s little phishing problem, she said,

We have 17, 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyber attacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin. And they are designed to influence our election. I find that deeply disturbing.

Here’s what really happened: The Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a joint statement saying they were confident that the attacks on the DNC and other sites came from Russia. It was an official statement from the top of a combination of 16 agencies (plus the DNI). These 16 agencies are:

  1. Air Force Intelligence
  2. Army Intelligence
  3. CIA
  4. Coast Guard Intelligence
  5. Defense Intelligence Agency
  6. Office of Intelligence and Counter Intelligence for Energy Affairs
  7. Office of Intelligence and Analysis
  8. Bureau of Intelligence and Research
  9. Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence out of the Treasure Department
  10. Office of National Security Intelligence
  11. The Intelligence Branch of the Justice Department
  12. The Marine Corps Intelligence Activity
  13. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
  14. National Reconnaissance Office
  15. The National Security Agency/Central Security Service
  16. Office of Naval Intelligence

No one can tell me that the Coast Guard or the Navy or the National Reconnaissance Office or the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency were looking into the hacked DNC server. And, indeed, you don’t have to try spinning those lies to me.

That’s because we know what happened. The FBI showed up at the DNC and asked to look at the hacked server. The DNC refused, telling the FBI that a private company called Crowdstrike had looked at the server and fingered Russia — and that the FBI would have to live with that. The FBI, usually so zealous about protecting its territory, meekly acquiesced.

Crowdstrike, of course, has Ukraine ties, which is why President Trump, when talking to Zelenskyy, the new President of Ukraine, about the incredibly corrupt administration before Zelenksyy came on board, asked for Ukraine to look into Crowdstrike to help determine its connection to the claimed Russian collusion issue that roiled the Dems for three years. In other words, Trump is doing the work the FBI never did but lied about, and that the intelligence community lied about, and that Hillary then exaggerated and lied about, and that Wendy Sherman now lies about.

You can see how easily Sherman voiced all her lies, misdirection, and misrepresentaion . . . and how tedious it is to unpack and explain things. The criminal investigation had better have loud and clear results or the American public will never understand what happened.

All of this reminded me that, when it comes to the Left, you must never trust, but you must verify. Just think of what Mary McCarthy, a former Communist, had to say about Lillian Hellman, a communist until the day she died: “Every word [Hellman] writes is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the’.” Hellman sued for defamation. That was a bad idea.

For a little color, here’s a quotation from Phyllis Jacobson’s March 21, 2010, New Politics’ review of Joan Mellen’s Hellman and Hammett. New Politics, it should be said, is a socialist publication:

McCarthy started producing evidence of some of Hellman’s lies, including her statements indicating that she knew nothing about the Moscow Trials. Hellman had, she pointed out, signed statements applauding the guilty verdict. But then she produced the most damaging of all Hellman’s lies, the chapter in Pentimento, the second volume of her memoirs (later made into the film, Julia with Jane Fonda playing Hellman (Julia) to Vanessa Redgrave’s anti-fascist activist), in which Hellman portrays herself heroically carrying money into Nazi Germany for her socialist activist friend. A complete fabrication. Hellman had appropriated the life of Muriel Gardiner who later told her own story in Code Name Mary, a story Hellman had learned from their mutual friend, lawyer Wolf Schwabacher. Told by London that she would have to produce evidence of the real Julia to proceed with her case against McCarthy, Hellman was frantic and became tangled in a web of additional lies. She actually had the chutzpah to plan to visit Muriel Gardiner to ask Gardiner to say that she was not Julia, a meeting that never came off. Hellman still hadn’t thought her way out of her dilemma when McCarthy’s attorneys’ motion to have the case dismissed on the basis that Hellman was a public figure was denied. The case was scheduled to proceed. But it never did. Hellman died before that could happen.

(I was a teenager when the movie Julia came out and I saw it on its first run. I was uninformed regarding just about everything in that movie, but I still hated it with every fiber of my being, for it was so obviously a self-serving lie. I never willingly watched another Fonda or Redgrave movie after that.)

Are you ready for President Michelle Obama? Mike McDaniel thinks that, as the Democrat candidates continue to implode, putting people off with their personalities, lies, and Leftism, the Democrat Party will begin casting about for a savior. I think so too.

Hillary clearly thinks she’s that savior, but she’s completely nutty. In the same interview in which she attacked Tulsi Gabbard as a Russian asset, Hillary had this to offer as one of the reasons she lost in 2016 (emphasis mine):

I think it’s going to be the same as 2016. Don’t vote for the other guy. You don’t like me. Don’t vote for the other guy, because the other guy is going to do X, Y, and Z. Or the other guy did such terrible things. I’m going to show you in these flashing videos that appear and then disappear and they’re on the dark web and nobody can find them, but you’re going to see them and you’re going to see that person doing these horrible things.

As an aside, don’t let Hillary’s attack on Tulsi lull you into thinking Tulsi’s one of the good guys. Tulsi’s not a Russian asset and she has moments of sanity, plus I’ve been told she looks good in a bikini, but do not mistake her for anything but a stone cold Leftist. This is not a case of the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Just because Hillary doesn’t like Tulsi doesn’t mean you should.

So if Hillary’s not the one, who is? As I said, both Mike and I worry that it might be Michelle. Michelle’s claims that she doesn’t want to run mean nothing. She’ll answer the call if drafted.

Leftists love Michelle unreservedly and they know that she’ll be the second coming of Barack Obama. Moreover, while the sexism charge didn’t stick when Trump debated Hillary, because Hillary is so unlikeable and hard and unwomanly, don’t think Trump will have an easy time debating Michelle. Despite her more manly attributes, she still comes across as more feminine than Hillary. While she’s not as smart as Trump is, the fact that she’s a black woman will create optics so bad that even Trump might have problems opposing her in a debate.

The homeless industrial complex. PowerLine noted that a local television station in the San Francisco Bay Area revealed that, at least in the Bay Area, little of the money allocated to the homeless actually makes it to them.

In San Jose, for example, of $14 million in taxpayer money allocated to homeless, only $2 mil goes to homeless with the remaining 86% going to rental subsidies (which is arguably for the homeless) but also admin and “crafting plans”

Homelessness is big business for bureaucracy and the parasites it attracts. Ending homelessness is the worst thing that could happen to them.

Finding my people in Tennessee. Back in 2008, when Obama was the Democrat candidate and McCain, with Sarah Palin at his side, the Republican candidate, I got into a discussion with a Democrat who could not believe that I would let Palin get within a heartbeat of the presidency. I pointed out that she had significantly more executive experience than Obama and that she had several significant political accomplishments to her name. I also pointed out that Obama’s only accomplishment by 2008 was self-promotion.

The Democrat, exasperated, huffed at me, “She’s not one of us.”

I knew what he meant. We lived in the True Blue San Francisco Bay Area. We and all our friends went to top public and private colleges. We and all our friends were members of the professional class. We and all our friends (well, except for me), were pro-abortion, anti-fossil fuels, pro-“climate change is real”, anti-war, anti-gun, etc. And Palin wasn’t.

Fast forward 11 years, and here in Tennessee I’ve finally found my people. I’ve started attending a local Toastmasters to help me get over my microphone fear with podcasting.

The people who attend the meeting are lovely — very friendly, very interesting. Also, unlike my past community, they make open references to God and the Bible, with no attendant embarrassment; they make open, unashamed references to guns and hunting; and they discuss core political issues, such as the Electoral College and the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact in an intelligent, non-partisan way. (Toastmasters is not meant to be partisan, something I highly respect.)

I’m home at last.

The post Bookworm Beat 10/25/19: Media still lies about the Russia hoax, plus more appeared first on Watcher of Weasels.

Bookworm Beat 8/26/19 — China versus the Aztecs and open thread

A fun, down-and-dirty post comparing China to the Aztec Empire and talking about the real economic difference between Red and Blue states.

Yes, China does have something in common with the Aztecs. One of the points I’ve been making for about a decade is that, contrary to what they teach in schools, 167 Spaniards (and their horses) did not destroy the mighty Aztec empire. What destroyed the mighty Aztec empire was that it had made a lot of enemies in the decades before the Spanish appeared. The Aztecs were indeed mighty warriors and mighty builders, skills they used to dominate completely every tribe for miles around — and by dominate I mean human sacrifice (in the tens of thousands), enslavement, and constant demands for tribute from those allowed to remain on their own lands.

When Cortez and his Conquistadors (and their horses, of course) came along, there’s no doubt that Montezuma II thought that they were gods and that it shook him. But what really made the difference when Cortez decided to take over the Aztec empire was the fact that all of those long-suffering regional tribes were thrilled finally to have a leader for their side. This means that what really destroyed Montezuma was Cortez, his Conquistadors, their horses, and several thousand other Native Americans all out for revenge.

What does this have to do with China?

This relates to China because China isn’t the just the purveyor of cheap goods to the world and, especially, to America. It’s also become a regional bully.

I first had an inkling of that a few years ago when I was touring through Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand. The people in those countries loath the Chinese. Chinese tourists descend on their countries like locusts. They are loud, rude, demanding, and destructive. They arrive in huge busloads and, lacking any respect for the countries they visit, literally destroy the historic sites they’ve come to view. They are the equivalent of the Europeans touring Egypt, Italy, and Greece back in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. They bring small amounts of money and large amounts of cheerfully acquisitive pillage and destruction. They have not made friends.

The Chinese also haven’t been making friends in the region with their little trick of building artificial islands to extend their reach into the South China Sea. That’s been an extremely sore point with countries along the Malayan peninsula (especially the Philippines), as well as with Japan.

In addition to regional activity, the Chinese have been offering ostensibly cheap money to all sorts of third world countries, only for those countries to discover that the Chinese somehow managed to end up owning their economies.  It was one of those things, like borrowing money from the neighborhood loan shark, that seemed like a good idea at the time.

Put another way, like the Aztecs, China’s been a bit of a bully. That’s why this story did not surprise me in the slightest:

President Trump got another big win on Sunday, as he announced that the U.S. and Japan had agreed “in principle” to a trade that will open Japan to $7 million of American agricultural products. Speaking to reporters at the G-7 summit, Trump stated, “We have been working on a deal with Japan for a long time. It involves agriculture. It involves e-commerce. It involves many things. We’ve agreed in principle.” Trump added, “We’ve agreed to every point, and now we’re papering it and we’ll be signing it at a formal ceremony,” according to The Hill.

Expect more stories like the one above to come soon, both from East Asian nations looking to take China down a peg and from nations across the world anxious to see their local loan shark weakened. Indeed, I think it’s pretty clear that the Chinese themselves expect more stories like this, which is why they’re suddenly making nice:

China signaled Monday it is now seeking a “calm” end to its ongoing trade war with the U.S. and President Trump voiced optimism about a deal, as Asian markets crumbled and China’s currency plummeted to an 11-year low following the latest tariffs on $550 billion in Chinese goods announced last Friday by the Trump administration.

“I think we’re going to have a deal,” Trump told reporters.

Trump said Monday that officials from China called U.S. officials and expressed interest to “get back to the table,” The Wall Street Journal reported. He called the discussions a “very positive development.”

“They want to make a deal. That’s a great thing,” he said.

News of the possible opening in negotiations came shortly after Trump threatened to declare a national emergency that would result in American businesses freezing their relationships with China. Trump’s tariff barrage on Friday was a response to China imposing its own retaliatory tariffs on $75 billion in U.S. goods.

Our very sane genius in the White House understood a few things that Leftists and NeverTrumpers didn’t. He understood that the Chinese economy needs the U.S. more than the U.S. needs the Chinese economy. And he understood that the Chinese, like the Aztecs, have been bullying people everywhere. For those people, when a Cortez, and his Conquistadors (and their horses) come along, they have suddenly found the leader they’ve been looking for to take down the regional bully.

By the way, I grew up in San Francisco surrounded by Chinese people. I think Chinese has an amazing culture, with wonderful people, and an awesome and awe-inspiring history. I spent a lovely day in Beijing being overwhelmed by the Great Wall and the Forbidden City. I just don’t want Communist China to be the most powerful country in the world or to control East Asia. I don’t like communism . . . at all.

Dear snotty Blue staters: Remember that wealth is relative. Back when I was living on the Blue Coast, one of the points Leftists loved to make was that Blue states are wealthier than Red states. Their point was that Blue state policies are obviously better than Red state policies because they generate more wealth. This means that Red staters, in addition to being poor, are insanely stupid to vote for conservative Red state policies.

My usual point in response was that in California, while there’s certainly wealth concentrated in the Bay Area and Los Angeles, most of California is in fact an extremely poor state. In other words, I argued that Blue states may be creating wealth, but they’re also creating horrific wealth inequality.

Although my point’s correct, I was overthinking. After all, the thing about money, something that I taught my kids starting when they were in elementary school, is that it has no fixed value. It’s only worth the value assigned to it by willing buyers and sellers — and, of course, in Blue states, that value is hopelessly perverted by government interference in the marketplace.

Now that I’m in Tennessee, I’m reminded that real value lies, not in money itself, but in what you get for the money. In that regard, I’d like to quote from a timeless article published in 2015, although it only came to my attention yesterday:

One of the great conundrums of the American political scene is why the poorer states, colloquially known as “red” states, tend to vote Republican or conservative, while the richer states, the “blue” ones (and let it be said that this is very confusing for this European, for over here the colours tend to work the other way around, red is Labour, or left wing) tend to vote Democrat. We would think that it should be the other way around, the poor people voting for more from that Great Big Pinata which is government. But it seems that there’s a simple solution to this: the red states aren’t actually poorer in terms of the way people live.

If we measure by consumption patterns then it’s the blue states that are poor, the red states that are rich:

Blue states, like California, New York and Illinois, whose economies turn on finance, trade and knowledge, are generally richer than red states. But red states, like Texas, Georgia and Utah, have done a better job over all of offering a higher standard of living relative to housing costs. That basic economic fact not only helps explain why the nation’s electoral map got so much redder in the November midterm elections, but also why America’s prosperity is in jeopardy.

Red state economies based on energy extraction, agriculture and suburban sprawl may have lower wages, higher poverty rates and lower levels of education on average than those of blue states — but their residents also benefit from much lower costs of living. For a middle-class person , the American dream of a big house with a backyard and a couple of cars is much more achievable in low-tax Arizona than in deep-blue Massachusetts. As Jed Kolko, chief economist of Trulia, recently noted, housing costs almost twice as much in deep-blue markets ($227 per square foot) than in red markets ($119).

That particular piece then goes on to chunter away about how appalling it is that people aren’t willing to vote for more blue state type of policies and how this will be the end of America. However, the really interesting part of it is that part quoted above. For it speaks to something that economists just keep trying to point out to people. Yes, sure, income inequality might be important in a way, wealth inequality should have a place in our thoughts. But what really matters to people about how life is lived is consumption.

If I’m on a fixed income (which you should assume I am, so donations to the blog are always welcome), I’m a much wealthier person in Tennessee than I am in California. Here in Tennessee, my apartment costs 1/5 of what it would in California, my gasoline costs 1/2 of what it would in California, and my utility bills are 1/3 what they are in California. Produce is more expensive here, but I can only eat so many apples. In addition, the roads throughout Tennessee are better maintained than those in California, the people are delightful, and Nature’s fecundity is glorious. I’m no longer living in an elite Blue community, but I feel I’m getting a lot of bang for my buck.

Where’s the podcast? I won’t do another podcast until September 1. It costs money to have an online service host podcasts, and I’ve already used up my month’s worth of hosting. If I want to do another podcast before August ends, I have to cough up more money to buy a bigger service and I’m not ready to do that.

What I’ll probably do once September starts, now that I’ve started to get a feel for this podcasting thing, is do a podcast every second day or so. Then, if I can get 20,000 listens per month (and that’s a lot of listens), I can get advertising going and, with that money, start buying more space for storing podcasts. I’ll also look into other ways to monetize the podcast. I do like talking and I’d sure love to make money doing something I like.

Image credit: The Great Wall at Jinshanling by Jakub Halun

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