Saturday, August 26, 2017

Incorrectly Attributed Still Somewhat Credible. Will Obama, and Even Trump, Prove To Be America's Chamberlain? You Decide. Assaulting The Police.

A dear friend and fellow memo reader sent me this: "INCORRECTLY ATTRIBUTED
Origins:    In June 2015, an op-ed entitled “The Black Dilemma” was circulated online along with an attribution to the Baltimore Sun newspaper.
I acknowledge what he sent.  However, I believe the message has some credibility. You decide.
Bye bye Gorka. Too tough for the Tillerson crowd? Will "MAGA" prove an unfulfilled, winning  political slogan because, when the rubber hit the road, Trump caved and the swamp crowd won?

Gorka is an unflinching ideologue as is Bannon and therefore, neither were suited for a position in a compromising White House because hard and fast adherence to a purist viewpoint proved unacceptable along with their prickly personalities. Particularly is this so when you have allowed events to go too far and they have boxed you in by taking away /narrowing your options.

Have we limited ourselves by permitting matters to reach untenable/intractable positions and we no longer can respond in a winnable manner.  Will N Korea win because we have left ourselves no choice  and the same for Iran.  Has weakness turned us into a Gulliver nation.  All blustery talk, ie verba non acta?

Will evil triumph over timidity as so often happens? Will the bully win because we failed to challenge when the opportunity was within our grasp? Will Obama, and even Trump, prove to be America's equivalent of Chamberlain? Stay tuned. Time will tell. It always does.(See 1 below.)
Government is so complex, so distant and those who serve often so disingenuous that even those who seek to know just cannot fathom the truth. (See 2 below.)
Matt Taibbi, op ed writer for Rolling Stones, suggests the mass media created a world dumb enough to accept  Trump and are now finding him exceedingly profitable. Their bottom line trumps what is best for the nation.

In essence, Taibbi's article proves what I have said for years. Once public corporations acquired mass media organizations, entertainment would supplant what was news worthy. Add to that front page by-lines and voila! (See 3 below.)
Everything today is labeled a war.  War on Poverty, War on Cops, War on Free Speech, War On Public Statues.  Few wars are good ones and most particularly the one Obama helped create on police. (See 4 below.)

Gorka Is Out At The White 
House, Leaving Trump’s 
MAGA Team in the Hands of 
By Steve Berman
The Federalist is reporting that Sebastian Gorka, one of Steve Bannon’s acolytes, has
resigned his position as Deputy Assistant to President Trump.
In a blunt resignation letter, the national security and counter terrorism expert 
 expressed dissatisfaction with the current state of the Trump

“[G]iven recent events, it is clear to me that forces that do not support the
 MAGA promise are – for now – ascendant within the White House,” Gorka
 wrote. “As a result, the best and most effective way I can support you, Mr.

President, is from outside the People’s House.”
Apparently, Trump’s Afghanistan speech was the last straw for Gorka.

“The fact that those who drafted and approved the speech removed any 
mentionof Radical Islam or radical Islamic terrorism proves that a 
crucial element ofyour presidential campaign has been lost…
Gorka will live to fight for MAGA another day. But the MAGA he was fighting for
is more than a slogan. To President Trump, it was just a slogan–one that Reagan used
to win in 1980. In a turn of the Bannon knife, Gorka let Trump know who he thinks
put him in office.
“Your presidency will prove to be one of the most significant events in modern 
American politics. November the 8th was the result of decades 
during which the political and media elites felt that they knewbetter than the people 
who electthem into office. They do not, and the MAGA platform allowed their voices 
to be heard,” he wrote, adding, “Millions of people believe in, and have chosen, you
and your vision of Making America Great Again. They will help eventually
 rebalance this temporary reality.”

Yeah, Mr. Gorka. Keep believing that the “temporary reality” will be rebalanced. 
This isn’t The Force and Trump is not Anakin Skywalker.

The president is now surrounded by liberals (with Stephen Miller as the lone
holdout). He unfailingly attacks Republicans for not doing his bidding, but generally
leaves Democrats alone. Trump will hoist the debt ceiling, pump billions into his
wall, sign any health care act that crosses his desk (I’d wager he’d sign single payer),
and continue all the policies of his predecessor in relation to Iran and North Korea.
In the Middle East, Trump’s deal-making will likely end in failure. The cuts in the
administrative state will only last as long as he’s in office, and whatever bench
appointments he can get approved in four years will be far less than the last two
presidents–unless he works with the Democrats.
The only rebalancing we’re likely to see is one to the left. But we’ve been wrong
before, so we can hope.
2) 3 Ways Kathleen Sebelius Sabotaged The Rule 
Of Law

In her claims this week that the Trump administration ‘has 
consistently tried to 
undermine the law that is the law of the land,’ Kathleen 
Sebelius knows of 
which she speaks.

Christopher Jacobs
Of all the people crying “sabotage” when it comes to Obamacare, 
Kathleen Sebelius might be the most qualified on the subject. 
Presiding over the disastrous “launch” of in the 
fall of 2013, then-Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius 
famously testified before Congress: “Hold me accountable for the 
debacle—I’m responsible.”

Likewise, in her claims this week that the Trump administration “has consistently 
tried to undermine the law that is the law of the land,” Sebelius knows of which she 
speaks. She presided over numerous actions that violated the text of Obamacare, and
 the Constitution, to thwart the will of Congress and undermine “the law of the land”
—Obamacare as it was actually written, not as Democrats wished it were written—
and the rule of law in general.

1. Unconstitutional ‘Like Your Plan’ Fix

As Sebelius presided over the “debacle,” the Obama 
administration faced a serious political crisis. While the federally run exchange 
melted down, millions of Americans received cancellation notices in the mail, 
learning that because their plans did not meet Obamacare’s myriad new 
regulations, they would lose their coverage effective January 1, 2014.
The notices demonstrated the emptiness of Obama’s repeated promises that 
individuals who liked their plans could keep them—PolitiFact’s “Lie of the Year.” 
Moreover, the malfunctioning website created the possibility that millions of 
Americans could lose their existing coverage while having no way to purchase a 
replacement policy.
In response to the uproar, the Obama administration essentially decided to take 
the law into its own hands. Sebelius’ department issued a memo saying it would 
refuse to enforce the law for certain categories of insurance policies, allowing 
states and insurers the latitude to maintain individuals’ prior coverage. Even 
supporters of Obamacare like Nicholas Bagley said the administration’s actions 
violated the Constitution—the executive refusing to enforce provisions of a law 
it found politically inconvenient.
This space has previously argued that 
the Trump administration must enforce Obamacare’s individual mandate, 
despite any opposition to the mandate on policy grounds, given that the 
executive must faithfully execute the laws—all of them. But given that Sebelius 
failed to enforce parts of the law as written for political reasons, who is she to 
argue that Trump cannot do likewise?

2. Illegal Reinsurance Subsidies

The Government Accountability Office last year ruled that the Obama 
administration “undermined the law that is the law of the land,” as Sebelius 
alleges of the Trump administration. Specifically, GAO found that the Obama 
administration illegally prioritized health insurance companies over American 
taxpayers, funneling billions of reinsurance dollars that should have remained in 
the U.S. Treasury (to pay for a separate Obamacare program) to corporate 
welfare payments to insurance companies. After this rebuke from nonpartisan 
auditors, the Obama administration still made no attempt to comply with the law
 as interpreted by GAO.
If Sebelius is as concerned about “undermin[ing] the law that is the law of the 
land” as she claims, she should have publicly demanded that the Obama 
administration comply with the law, and the GAO ruling. She did no such thing 
then, and is unlikely to ask the Trump administration to claw back the corporate 
welfare payments to insurers now.

3. Unconstitutional Payments to Insurers

The Obama administration did not just violate the law in making payments to 
health insurers, it violated the Constitution as well. The text of Obamacare—“the 
law that is the law of the land,” in Sebelius’ words—included no appropriation 
making payments to insurers to reimburse them for cost-sharing reductions 
provided to individuals. The Obama administration made the payments anyway.
A federal judge ruled against the 
Obama administration’s actions last year, stating that they violated the 
Constitution for spending money without an appropriation. While the payments 
have continued pending an appeal, if Sebelius worries about preserving “the law
that is the law of the land,” then she would support implementing the law as 
written, and stopping the payments immediately, unless and until Congress 
approves an explicit appropriation.

Ends and Means

Sebelius’ comments show a fundamental disconnect between means and ends. 
The Obama administration’s actions suggest a concern largely, if not solely, 
about signing up as many individuals for taxpayer-funded coverage as possible. 
If achieving that object meant violating the law, or the Constitution, so be it—the 
ends justified the means.
Sebelius’ real disagreement therefore doesn’t lie with the Trump administration 
on “undermining the law.” She did plenty of that herself, likely with full 
knowledge she was doing so. Instead, her true objection lies in the fact that the 
Trump may have different policy ends than ones she supports.
If Sebelius wants to espouse different policy positions than the current 
administration, that is her right. But given the ways in which the last 
administration repeatedly violated Obamacare to suit its own purposes, 
conservatives should take no lessons from Sebelius on how to avoid “
undermining the law.” Physician, heal thyself.
Jacobs is founder and CEO of Juniper Research Group, a policy 
consulting firm based in Washington. He's on Twitter @

The Media Is 

the Villain – for Creating a 

World Dumb Enough for 


Yet another TV executive says Trump is "good for business." Is sudden good 
fortune of news media by accident or design?

By Matt Taibbi

The craziest part of Donald Trump's 77-minute loon-a-
thon in Phoenix earlier this week came when he 
rehashed his shtick about the networks turning off live 
coverage of his speech. Trump seemed to really believe 
they were shutting the cameras off because "the very 
dishonest media" was so terrified of his powerful words.
"They're turning those lights off so fast!" he said. "CNN doesn't want its 
failing viewership to see this!"

Trump is wrong about a lot of things, but it's hard to be 
more wrong about any one thing than he was about this 
particular point.
No news director would turn off the feed in the middle of a Trump-
meltdown. This presidency has become the ultimate ratings bonanza. 
Trump couldn't do better numbers if he jumped off Mount Kilimanjaro 
carrying a Kardashian.
This was confirmed this week by yet another shruggingly honest TV 
executive – in this case Tony Maddox, head of CNN International. 
Maddox said CNN is doing business at "record levels." He hinted also 
that the monster ratings they're getting have taken the sting out of being 
accused of promoting fake news.
"[Trump] is good for business," Maddox said. "It's a glib thing to say. But 
our performance has been enhanced during this news period." Maddox, 
speaking at the Edinburgh TV festival, added that most of the outlets that
have been singled out by Trump are doing a swimming business. "If you 
look at the groups that Trump has primarily targeted: CNN, The New York
TimesThe Washington PostSaturday Night Live, Stephen Colbert," he 
said, "every single one of those has seen a quite remarkable growth in 
their viewing figures, in their sales figures."
Everyone hisses whenever they hear quotes like these. They recall the 
infamous line from last year by CBS chief Les Moonves, about how 
Trump "may not be good for America, but he's damn good for CBS." 
Moonves was even cheekier than Maddox. He laughed and added, "The 
money's rolling in, and this is fun. They're not even talking about issues, 
they're throwing bombs at each other, and I think the advertising reflects 
For more than two years now, it's been obvious that Donald Trump is a 
disaster on almost every level except one – he's great for the media 
business. Most of us who do this work have already gone through the 
process of working out just how guilty we should or should not feel about 
Many execs and editors – and Maddox seems to fall into this category – 
have convinced themselves that the ratings and the money are a kind of 
cosmic reward for covering Trump responsibly. But deep down, most of 
us know that's a lie. Donald Trump gets awesome ratings for the same 
reason Fear Factor made money feeding people rat-hair tortilla chips
nothing sells like a freak show. If a meteor crashes into jello night at the 
Playboy mansion, it doesn't matter if you send Edward R. Murrow to do 
the standup. Some things sell themselves.
The Trump presidency is like a diabolical combination of every schlock 
eyeball-grabbing formula the networks have ever deployed. It's Battle of 
the Network Stars meets Wrestlemania meets Survivor meets the Kursk 
disaster. It's got the immediacy of a breaking news crash, with themes of 
impending doom, conflict, celebrity meltdown, anger, racism, gender war, 
Trump even sells on the level of those Outbrain click-addicting photos of 
plastic surgery failures. With his mystery comb-over and his great rolls of 
restrained blubber and the infamous tales of violent fights with his ex 
over a failed scalp-reduction procedure, Trump on top of being Hitler and 
Hulk Hogan from a ratings perspective is also a physical monster, the 
world's very own bearded-lady tent.
Trump's monstrousness is ironic, since the image of Trump as the 
media's very own Frankenstein's monster has been used and re-used in 
the last years. Many in the business are of the opinion that, having 
created Trump and let him loose in the village, we in the press now have a responsibility to hunt him down with aggressive investigative reporting, to make the world safe again.
That might indeed be a good idea. But that take also implies that slaying the monster will fix the problem. Are we sure that's true? 
Reporters seem to think so, and keep trying to find the magic formula. 
Just this week, staffers at the Wall Street Journal rebelled against editor-
in-chief Gerard Baker. Baker, who has long been accused of being too 
soft on Trump, blasted his people for going too negative on the president 
in their coverage of the Arizona speech. He sent around a letter asking 
staff to "stick to reporting what [Trump] said," rather than "packaging it in 
exegesis and selective criticism."
Reporters fought back by (apparently) leaking the memo to the rival New 
York Times. This followed an incident in which a transcript of Baker's 
recent interview with Trump was leaked to Politico earlier this month. In 
it, Baker mentions being glad to have seen Ivanka Trump in 
Southampton, and small-talks with Trump about travel and golf. The
implication here is that it's improper or unseemly for a newspaper editor 
to have a chummy relationship with this kind of a president.
And it is, sometimes. Reporters who should be challenging presidents 
and candidates are pretty much always cheating the public when they 
turn interviews into mutual back rub sessions
We learned long ago in this business that dumber and more alarmist 
always beats complex and nuanced. Big headlines, cartoonish morality, 
scary criminals at home and foreign menaces abroad, they all sell. We 
decimated attention spans, rewarded hot-takers over thinkers, and 
created in audiences powerful addictions to conflict, vitriol, fear, self-
righteousness, and race and gender resentment.But these intramural 
ethical wars within our business may just be deflections that keep us from
 facing bigger problems – like, for instance, the fact that we have been 
systematically making the entire country more stupid for decades.
There isn't a news executive alive low enough to deny that we use 
xenophobia and racism to sell ads. Black people on TV for decades were
almost always shirtless and chased by cops, and the "rock-throwing 
Arab" photo was a staple of international news sections even before 9/11.
 And when all else fails in the media world, just show more cleavage 
somewhere, and ratings go up, every time.
Donald Trump didn't just take advantage of these conditions. He was 
created in part by them. What's left of Trump's mind is like a parody of 
the average American media consumer: credulous, self-centered, manic, 
sex-obsessed, unfocused, and glued to stories that appeal to his sense 
of outrage and victimhood.
We've created a generation of people like this: anger addicts who can't 
read past the first page of a book. This is why the howls of outrage from 
within the ranks of the news media about Trump's election ring a little bit
 false. What the hell did we expect would happen? Who did we think 
would rise to prominence in our rage-filled, hyper-stimulated media 
environment? Sensitive geniuses?
We spent years selling the lowest common denominator. Now the lowest 
common denominator is president. How can it be anything but self-
deception to pretend this is an innocent coincidence?
4) Assault on the thin blue line
The campaign against the cops is leading to a very bad place
“Cops” is a cable-TV reality show and “Bad Boys” is its theme song. Now viewers in a 
growing number of places can get the street action watching bad boys take on the cops on 
the nightly news. The expansion of civil unrest across the American landscape is ominous 
enough, but the ferocity of the abuse of the nation’s men and women in blue is more 
alarming still, a precursor to anarchy. The truly deplorable who hold the upholders of the 
law in contempt must get a grip, or be restrained, before the violence crosses the line into a
 primitive land of no return.
The shooting of a total of six police officers last weekend in three different cities, including 
two dead in Kissimmee, Fla., erases all doubt that a badge is not the shield it once was. 
The gunman in Kissimmee who fired at the two officers who were making a night patrol in 
a high-crime neighborhood, will be charged with first-degree murder. Across Florida, in 
Jacksonville, two officers were shot with a high-powered rifle and are expected to survive. 
Two state troopers were hit by gunfire in western Pennsylvania; they, too, are expected to 
The assault on policemen can’t be measured simply by the numbers. The number of 
officers killed in the line of duty is actually down 17 percent so far this year over last year. 
But crime, including murder and rape, is up by 5.3 percent. The trend, whether cause and 
effect, nevertheless accompanies the leftists, usually dressed in black masks, who 
challenge the law as the police follow a strategy of avoiding confrontation.
Witnesses to the clashes in Charlottesville between alt-right protesters and alt-left agitators 
over a Confederate statue say the police, obviously under instructions from the top, did 
almost nothing to keep combatants apart, enabling and encouraging the violence. 
Charlottesville is the symptom of something deeper at work across the land. Says Alan 
Dershowitz, the distinguished Harvard law professor and sometime courtroom defense 
lawyer: “Do not glorify the violent people who are now tearing down the statues. Many of 
these people, not all of them, many of these people are trying to tear down America.”
In Boston, black-clad Antifa thugs hurled bottles of urine and chemicals at officers trying to 
control protesters. Thugs threw rocks and bottles at officers at a Trump rally in Phoenix this 
week. This metastasizing assault on the police first quickened when Michael Brown, 18, a 
petty thief, tried to take a policeman’s gun away from him and was killed in Ferguson, Mo., 
and that was followed by riots in Baltimore, the slaying of five officers protecting a Black 
Lives Matter march in Dallas, mob attacks on Trump supporters during the 2016 
presidential campaign, and the silencing of speakers on campuses in several states.
The line between civilization and anarchy is blue and thin, and left-wing radicals imagine 
they can achieve their goals by spilling blood, breaking bones and striking fear in the hearts
 of the innocent and the law-abiding. This will lead society into a new place in America, 
where nobody should want to go.

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