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Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Kelly: The danger of competence

I've been reading up on the new Chief of Staff, John Kelly. The news is disturbing. I am disturbed by anything which threatens to right the course of an administration on the fast lane to Impeachment City.
Fresh off a stinging health-care defeat and with internal chaos embroiling the Trump administration, White House aides are signaling newfound openness to working with congressional Democrats—or, at least, to alleviating some of the toxic partisan differences that have marked their tenure.

Sources in the administration say an outreach campaign by newly minted Chief of Staff John Kelly is in the works to rebuild some bridges and, potentially, chip away at the unified Democratic opposition to President Donald Trump’s agenda. Even before he formally started the job, Kelly was reaching out to top Capitol Hill Democrats in hopes of regaining political capital ahead of what is expected to be a bruising fight over tax reform and other administration priorities.

“Tax reform is gonna be a heavy lift,” a senior White House official told The Daily Beast. “No reason to write off/alienate [Democrats] any more than we already have.”
Betcha that official is Kelly himself. God DAMN it. Trump finally did something right: He called in the Marines.

As I said in the previous post, Trump's only hope is to allow Kelly to become the de facto President. This is not a given, since Trump is an impulsive manchild who cannot do even the ceremonial/speechmaking part of the job competently. As John Podesta has written today:
The most difficult discipline problem for Kelly, though, will not be the staff but Trump himself. Early signs are not auspicious. The day after appointing Kelly, Trump ranted on Twitter against Senate Republicans for failure to pass their horrific health-care bill, which would have denied care to millions of Americans and raised costs for millions more. I have no doubt that Kelly, unlike Priebus, can say no to power, but whether power will listen is another matter.
The only way to make power listen to competence is for competence to threaten to walk away. This threat will be made. Such confrontations may not become known to journalists or even to historians, but I have not doubt that, in private, dramatic moments will occur. Podesta is right: Trump needs Kelly; Kelly doesn't really need Trump.

Will Trump finally learn to squelch his petulance and egomania? Can the world's most arrogant man learn the virtue of humility? As unlikely as that outcome may seem, Trump's military school background suggests that he had a respect for rank beaten into his system.

Kurt Einchwald is in a gloomy mood. Allow me to translate his tweets into conventional prose:
This is why America is over. We cannot agree to governance by fiction, governance by games playing. But we are too uninformed to even know the most basic facts about the issues everyone screams about, relying on information from whatever propaganda source reinforces their belief that their said is ALWAYS right and the other side is evil. It's POLICY for god's sake. It's not about "My team won! YAY!!"

We live in a stupid country. Living, breathing proof of Dunning Kruger effect. The American era deserves to be over, and we killed it.

Until the legitimate conservatives separate themselves from the RIPOs (Republican in Psychosis Only), they will never recover credibility. People misunderstand. America is not over because of Trump. Trump is simply the symptom of America being over. We are an idiocracy.

The day boring machinations of government were first transformed into exciting TV political dramas for ratings was the beginning of America's end. For those who disagree with my pessimism: A democrat is elected with a platform you support. What will Fox News do? And half of US believe?
Long ago, when this blog was more widely read, I suggested a constitutional amendment which would solve most of our problems: We should disenfranchise everyone who does not understand the meaning of the word "disenfranchise" in this sentence.

In that previous post, I linked to a video in which a young American woman was asked (by a British interviewer) "How many sides does a triangle have?" She answered "None. No, wait. INFINITY!" Under the current system, her vote counts as much as yours or mine. Under my proposed system, she would not be able to vote at all.

You can guess how readers reacted to this suggestion. Everyone was reminded of the scurrilous tricks once used by southern states to squash what was then called "the negro vote." I understand the concern, but if this proposed amendment were administered fairly, the people hit hardest would be conspiracy-crazed rednecks who think that they are the hippest of the hip, even though they are the most easily-manipulated people on earth.
Should the people in the know or the people in general rule? In a democracy the people in general rule; in a republic the people in general can choose the people in the know to represent them. It can be the best of both worlds if the choose the right people.
I probably reacted negatively to your idea back when you mentioned it previously. I'm starting to lean toward your stance now though, thanks to events of the past few years. How far we have fallen, and how far we still have to go.
A triangle is a two-dimensional theoretical construct, a useful perceptual fiction. How many parallel lines can be drawn between a triangle's base line and the triangle's apex? How many sides will there be among those parallel lines? In another sense, a triangle has three lines and three angles but two sides, front and back, or obverse and reverse sides. Rotate a triangle so that only one line is visible. How many sides or lines do you see? Bucky Fuller pointed out that triangles are impossible fictions, that their so-called sides do not in fact touch, as they must in a triangle, since no two points can occupy the same space. So the responses "None" and "Infinity" should not be deemed outright stupid.
Meanwhile Sanders declared war on democrats via a tweet. Why do trump even bother to bring in the marine?
"the people hit hardest would be conspiracy-crazed rednecks who think that they are the hippest of the hip, even though they are the most easily-manipulated people on earth."

Man, have I not learned this lesson 1000 times over this election. Except this is an insult to rednecks as it extends well beyond them i.e. BernieBros. In politics, the most gullible are those who are the most cynical who think everything is rigged and nothing matters. Easiest marks in the world. To understand that government matters and actually effects people make you a stone-cold realist.
Amelie, lotsa blather there. Fuller never denied that there are three sodes to a triangle. Hed did think that they were entirely two dimensional due his notion that while a line could bend to form two of the angles However, at one angle, the line could not occupy the same point as the line already there, so it would lie atop that beginning part of that side at the first point.

Fuller went on with a three dimensional construction based on the reasoning above. Two triangles can be taken and each partially opened up by raising the side, the end of which is atop. Then align these two together to form a tetrahedron. It's fun to do with paper clips. This Fuller said was a demonstration that 1+1=4. If irony was present, it was so desiccated as to be undetectable.

My HS math teacher, Sister Joan, was willing to watch the construction and allowed a small smile. "Well, that would be a different geometry," she correctly and kindly observed.
Very sorry for typos in previous comment; writing on a tablet has drawbacks.

To fix:
Fuller never denied that there are three sides to a triangle. He did not think that triangles are entirely two dimensional.

Yes, Kelly as de facto President is terrifying. If that happened, America would rapidly slide towards a Pinochet-style dictatorship.

But ... as mentioned elsewhere, the four military branches hate each other, and an obvious national takeover by a Marine general would NOT be appreciated by the Army, Navy, or Air Force. They each have their own axes to grind, and I suspect would actively resist.

Most significantly, there's Donald himself. Unlike GW Bush, he's not an amiable dunce that's drunk half the time. The GW Bush arrangement worked out perfectly for Dick Cheney, but Donald and Kelly are very different. Donald expects to give the orders. That's what he's done for all his adult life, in his family-owned business. A staff of lawyers have always been at his beck and call, and he's always been surrounded by yes-men of basest sort. It's the only world he knows ... and he's 71, not about to learn anything new, and not willing to follow anyone's well-intended advice.
Confrontations have already taken place, so it is reported. A slanging match in the White House, and Trump acceding to the demand to dismiss the Mooch. A pity. Mooch was both incompetent and amusing, a winning combination.

Addendum: Re: Colorado Guy, does anyone else remember reading about Lee Harvey Oswald giving a speech in which he said a coup in America would most likely be by the Marine Corps rather than the rest of the armed forces?

re OP: It is also the case that there is a video on youtube of people being gulled into called for an "end to women's suffrage", obviously mistaking it for suffering.
Joseph, a like mind:

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