Good Monday morning.
Here is what's on the president's agenda today:
- The president participates in a credentialing ceremony for newly appointed ambassadors to Washington, D.C.
- President Trump has lunch with the vice president
- The president receives his intelligence briefing
- President Trump meets with the secretary of State
Must read for the day: All the Progressive Plotters
When that did not work, celebrities and politicians hit social media and the airwaves to so demonize Trump that culturally it would become taboo even to voice prior support for the elected president. Their chief tool was a strange new sort of presidential assassination chic, as Madonna, David Crosby, Robert de Niro, Johnny Depp, Snoop Dogg, Peter Fonda, Kathy Griffin, and a host of others linguistically vied with one another in finding the most appropriately violent end of Trump—blowing him up, burning him up, beating him up, shooting him up, caging him up, or decapitating him. Apparently, the aim—aside from careerist chest-thumping among the entertainment elite—was to lower the bar of Trump disparagement and insidiously delegitimize his presidency.
VDH is always worth the read.
The big news over the weekend was the Department of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen is out. "Its been an honor of a lifetime to serve with the brave men and women of @DHSgov. I could not be prouder of and more humbled by their service, dedication, and commitment to keep our country safe from all threats and hazards," Nielsen posted on Twitter.
Kevin McAleenan, the current U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner, will serve as acting DHS secretary.
Nielsen was set to meet with Trump at the WH yesterday to talk about the border crisis at 5 p.m. but the conversation turned into a chat about her future. A "source" said that Trump held Nielsen responsible for many of the troubles at the border, which "led to intense clashes, angry phone calls, and frustration between her and the president."
Nielsen did not resign willingly, a person close to her told CNN, but was under pressure to do so. Nielsen did not fight nor grovel to keep her job, the source said. Nielsen should be staying for a week of transition, another White House official said.
Another "senior administration official" said Nielsen "believed the situation was becoming untenable with the president becoming increasingly unhinged about the border crisis and making unreasonable and even impossible requests."
It's Stephen Miller's fault
Politico wants you to know that this is Trump aide Stephen Miller's doing.
Frustrated by the lack of headway on a signature Trump campaign issue, the senior White House adviser has been arguing for personnel changes to bring in more like-minded hardliners, according to three people familiar with the situation — including the ouster of a key immigration official at the Department of Homeland Security, whose secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, announced on Sunday that she is resigning.
“It’s intimidation,” one of the people who was briefed on the calls told Politico. “Anytime you get a call like this from the White House it’s intimidation ... Under normal circumstances, if you were a deputy in one of these agencies, it would be very unusual.”
It's intimidation? Aren't these folks part of the executive branch? When Obama people called up executive branch agencies with policy directives, was that also problematic?
“There’s definitely a larger shakeup abreast being led by Stephen Miller and the staunch right wing within the administration,” said a person close to Nielsen. “They failed with the courts and with Congress and now they’re eating their own.”
Nunes making some criminal referrals to the DOJ
Let's hope something happens with this.
On Sunday, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said he will send eight criminal referrals to the DOJ "related to the Obama administration’s handling of the Trump-Russia investigation." Nunes did not identify who is on his list. Anyone want to take a guess?
“We believe there is a conspiracy to lie to the FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] court, mislead the FISA court, by numerous individuals that all need to be investigated and looked at,” said Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee.
“The second conspiracy is one involving manipulation of intelligence,” said Nunes, adding that “we’ve had a lot of concerns with the way intelligence was used.”
“There are about a dozen highly sensitive, classified information leaks that were given to only a few reporters over the last two and a half plus years,” he said.
“We do believe that we’ve got pretty good information and a pretty good idea of who could be behind these leaks,” Nunes continued.
Hopefully, AG Barr will follow through with these referrals.
Historical picture of the day:
And that's all I've got, now go beat back the angry mob!
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How's that for perspective?
The changing (not to mention, challenging) economics are largely to blame for what's happened to the news industry, but I can't help but think there's a lot of "Get Woke, Go Broke" going on here, too.
From the mid-'80s through the early 2000s, I subscribed to and read all three major newsweeklies -- Time, Newsweek, USN&WR -- cover to cover, every week. Back then, Time was fairly liberal, Newsweek tried to straddle the fence, and USN&WR leaned right at least some of the time. I didn't read them because I agreed with their editorial stances, but because they usually provided solid news with more perspective than the newspapers could or would.
Same thing with newspapers. I got the NYT, the WSJ, and whatever the local daily morning paper was.
I didn't let my subscriptions drop because of the web; I let my subscriptions drop because in most cases, mere leftwing bias degenerated into shrill progressive cheerleading. And as the newsrooms shrank, so did the content I still thought might be worth paying for.
As a huge consumer of news going back to my mid-teens, it's been a sad thing to watch.
I began writing this last week and it took some time because I ended up going down a rabbit hole of research. I didn't include most of the research in the post, because it's mostly about my feelings as the father of a female college athlete.
Best news of the day.
I bet the beer industry is happy with Trump's America:
Part of the boom, of course, is the result of the exponential growth of craft breweries in the U.S., currently 13.2 percent of the market (up from 6.5 percent in 2012). To those of you who sacrifice day and night to contribute to the growth of the brewing industry: American thanks you.
What is Christianity?
Many have rightly attacked South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg for his decision to lecture Mike Pence on Christianity and sexual ethics. The fact of the matter is, Buttigieg's Episcopal Church is far off from the Bible's teaching. I was baptized Episcopal and now attend an Anglican Church that broke away from the Episcopal denomination because the Episcopal Church was adopting statements that people can be saved without Jesus and that the Bible's sexual ethics does not apply today.
When Washington Post reporters like Eugene Scott slam critiques of Buttigieg, they are aiding anti-Christian animus. In the tweet below, Erick Erickson is right and Scott is wrong.
Lede of the day courtesy of Washington Monthly:
Chuck Schumer, one of the most powerful people in Washington, uses a flip phone. The kind of phone with a tiny screen and real buttons, designed for making actual phone calls, not writing emails. But then, the Senate minority leader rarely emails, telling the New York Times a few years ago that he sends about one every four months. In case manufacturers stop making his favorite flip phone, Schumer has stockpiled ten of them.
The article goes on to make the larger point that the people making decisions about high-tech issues like social media algorithms, cryptocurrency, AI, and cybersecurity are mostly, like Schumer, Luddites:
Schumer’s practically a techie compared to Lindsey Graham, though. The chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee told NBC’s Meet the Press in 2015, “I don’t email . . . I’ve never sent one.” The Luddite tendencies extend to other members of Congress. When Senator Richard Shelby needs to write to his staff, he favors handwritten notes. “I’ve been here a while; I’m a little older than y’all,” he told Politico,by way of justification. When Paul Ryan paid a visit in 2014 to Jim Sensenbrenner, who at the time was a senior member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, he found the congressman tapping out letters on an IBM Selectric II.
Some are suggesting it's time to bring back the Office of Technological Assessment (OTA) a program that was disbanded during the Gingrich era:
Part of the problem was that members and staff didn’t have enough in-house knowledge even to choose which outside experts to consult—a role the OTA used to play. “Staff can get any number of industry lobbyists, or think tanks, or advocacy groups, or even academics to come in and give them opinions, and I think that’s not sufficient,” said Zach Graves, an associate fellow at the right-of-center think tank R Street and the head of policy at Lincoln Network, a conservative tech nonprofit. “A lot of these experts have other motives. Think tanks have donors and ideologies, and having worked in that space for a while, the quality of work is very inconsistent.” The result is a war of experts, each with their own data and diagnosis of the problem.
Another option is to do away with salary caps for congressional staffers in some cases. When a tech professional can make 2-3 times more in the private sector, you're not going to get the best people working for the government at a time when tech expertise is critical. Relying on lobbyists to help form tech policy seems like the worst possible path, though it is most surely the path of least resistance.
Steve: Jazz Shaw over at Hot Air made the case that Buttigieg could be a threat to Trump should he win the nomination. He offers as evidence this fluff piece from WaPo:
Pete Buttigieg was sitting in the back of a black SUV with a couple of staffers, sipping a still-steeping cup of tea to ease the fatigue from his suddenly frenetic schedule, when he looked out the window and interrupted himself.
“Man,” said Buttigieg, taking in the rainbow-hued signs and colorfully dressed passersby that signaled he had entered West Hollywood, Los Angeles’s de facto gay neighborhood. “It got real gay real quick out there.”
Few Democratic presidential candidates could assess their surroundings so bluntly without seeming painfully out of line. But Buttigieg is not like any other Democratic presidential candidate — in part, if not exclusively, because he is gay.
He's the gay Beto and the media is absolutely swooning over him. Moreover, his nice guy image might appeal to voters in the middle who don't know how radical he is. Jazz writes:
Republicans will have to walk a fine line in going after him, even if there’s some hot oppo out there. The public seems focused on all the stories about what a nice guy he is. You probably already heard about how he rushed out of the house to gather paperwork, round up witnesses and marry a couple only minutes before the wife gave birth to their child, just so the baby wouldn’t be born out of wedlock. There are others describing how he’s shown up at the scene of local problems in South Bend and just jumped in to lend a hand without announcing his presence. For all I know the guy has been rescuing cats out of trees and helping put our fires.
The point is, I’m hearing more people, including close personal friends, talking about how much they admire him. If he gets up at a lectern in a debate against the President and Trump starts swinging haymakers at him, viewers are going to start asking why the mean orange man is picking on nice Mayor Pete so much. It’s a potential trap.
Even though he's a white male, his gayness earns him a spot near the top of the intersectional pyramid, so watch for the media to be all-in for Buttigieg. Heck, even Matt Drudge seems to be on Mayor Pete's team.
We've been warned.