“Destabilization” comes home to roost.


"At a church in Washington, D.C., last weekend, dozens of federal workers attended a support group for civil servants seeking a forum to discuss their opposition to the Trump administration.  And 180 federal employees have signed up for a workshop next weekend, where experts will offer advice on workers’ rights and how they can express civil disobedience.

At the Justice Department, an employee in the division that administers grants to nonprofits fighting domestic violence and researching sex crimes said he and his colleagues have been planning to slow their work and to file complaints with the inspector general’s office if they are asked to shift grants away from their mission.

“You’re going to see the bureaucrats using time to their advantage,” said the employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. Through leaks to news organizations and internal complaints, he said, “people here will resist and push back against orders they find unconscionable.”"  post-gazette


 As Malcom X once said "the chickens have come home to roost." 

For decades now the various US administrations have made use of the facilities provided by USIA, CIA black ops, various party connected pro-democracy groups, NED, etc. to; interfere in other peoples' elections, political party structures and to tinker with history to give not so gentle shoves in the direction that Borgists have believed was in the interest of a utopian future for mankind and the creation of even more; massive egos, and wealth here in Washington and across Borgistan.  It should be stressed that all administrations of both parties have done that.  And guess what, pilgrims, I know  this because like other fairly senior denizens of the intelligence world I was often used by the government of the day to "leak" information to the oh, so clever press.  "Now you understand, this is on deep background just for you" because you are so special … Who leaked the "news" about the Australian phone call yesterday?  Is it not obvious that the WH "leaked" it to make the world and themselves think how bad-assed they are?

This kind of behavior has become reflexive and universal, but to carry out government  by slight of hand and other skullduggery requires the active cooperation of the senior members of the federal civil service.  Not the contractors, the contractor employees are seldom players, they are just money-makers for the contractor companies. 

So, when I read of political operatives, for that is what they are, seeking to organize the federal civil service against the present administration of the United States it gives me pause.  If they should succeed to some degree, the result would be paralysis for the government.  If you think that is a good thing you should consider that the damage to the functioning of all parts of the Executive Branch would be deep and long lasting.

A small example of the chaos that would ensue from a failure of function was provided by the ineptitude of the Trump Administration in not staffing and coordinating the "immigration" EO across the interagency last week

The federal civil service was created because of the murder of a president.  We live in parlous times.  People should not play with fire lest they be burnt.  pl 


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60 Responses to “Destabilization” comes home to roost.

  1. TV says:

    These civil servants are certainly proving one definition of the “civil service”:
    Neither civil nor providing any service.

  2. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Col. Lang, SST;
    I thought that “anonymity” did not exist in this day and age. Two questions:
    1-Can these folks who are “protesting” on the Web and “leaking” documents really remain anonymous?
    2-How should Trump & Co. respond?
    Ishmael Zechariah

  3. ked says:

    What is the responsibility / obligation of CS workers regarding the execution of orders that are unconstitutional? Are those obligations derived from the Constitution? Or in the Federal Code? What is the extent to which CS employees can or cannot take action regarding unconstitutional orders in a collective manner?
    In other news, is the Prez acting like a bully regarding his treatment of the Australian PM?

  4. elev8 says:

    ” Is it not obvious that the WH “leaked” it?”
    What is the motivation? I don’t get it at all. Trump reverses decades of immigration policy. He promised that and has the means, the people and the powers to do it. There is just no doubt about that. Polls show that this part of his agenda has popular support. But what are the theatrics good for? Why continue with the absurd insistence that Mexico should pay for the wall?
    There was a story about an Italian businessman who is close to Trump and serves as contact to all manner of hard-right politicians in Europe (with the single exception of Germany). I don’t see that Trump will be less interventionist than those before him. It is just a different kind of interventionism – as we already know, fiercely pro-Israel and anti-EU. Possibly it will also be radically pro-Russian and anti-Chinese, but we can’t be certain of that yet.
    As to the bureaucratic resistance: is that really a new phenomenon in transitions of power? And isn’t it doomed to fail?

  5. Norbert M Salamon says:

    I guess that these “non civil non servants” as above, needed for Congress [or whosoever authorized] to lower their wages to 1$ – as per statute law.

  6. Dave Schuler says:

    It was Malcolm X, not H. Rap Brown.

  7. turcopolier says:

    Dave Schuler
    Thanks. I am old. pl

  8. turcopolier says:

    sounds good to me. Another well used tactic is to abolish their positions in the department concerned in a reorganization. pl

  9. Jack says:

    The Borg in particular the hyper-ventilating media have not come to terms with their electoral loss, despite their best efforts in dragging the Borg Queen across the finish line. Instead of organizing politically to fight the next election they’re showing their petulance. IMO, these antics are driving even some of those who did not vote for Trump to his side.
    Trump is the duly elected president. Receiving a check from the federal government for their wages and then using their time to stymie lawful orders is clear insubordination. If they deem such orders “unconsciable” then they can resign. Trump should take the Reagan stance with NATCO and fire the lot. They should note that the shoe can drop on the other foot. Reid and the Democrats busted the filibuster for nominations creating both the ability for the GOP to push their nominees and setting the precedent that could be used now to get their SCOTUS nominee through in case the Dems filibuster.
    Trump’s personality is to hit back, as he did with Sally Yates. She should have resigned instead of the political grandstanding. The optics would have looked a lot better and she would have gained much more sympathy from the people. Instead she achieved the opposite with many considering her to be a whining political hack.
    Sir, you are right. The politicization of the federal government has gone deep. It’s now open partisan warfare inside the civil service. In one way the silver lining could be a drastic reduction in the federal workforce.

  10. turcopolier says:

    I told you. They think it frightens people and softens them up for “the deal.” pl

  11. turcopolier says:

    You sound like a schoolboy. These civil servants and Foreign Service people take an oath of office like a soldier to obey legal and constitutional orders. This obligation is based on the federal code. Their obligation is like that of a soldier. It is their responsibility and obligation to refuse an order on that basis and then fight the court action over their refusal. you think that trump gives illegal and unconstitutional decrees because you are unhappy with the fate of the world and country you thought was an inevitable march toward a brave new world. I would like to see YOU try to make that case in court. pl

  12. Valissa says:

    On a related note…
    Protesters Torch Free Speech At Berkeley In Latest Example of Mob Rule On America’s College Campuses https://jonathanturley.org/2017/02/02/protesters-torch-free-speech-at-berkeley-in-latest-example-of-mob-rule-on-americas-college-campuses/
    Berkeley has previously been a battleground over effective speech codes and an example of the crackdown on free speech on college campuses as administrators punish any speech deemed insensitive or the still ill-defined category of “microaggressions.” One of the greatest concerns is the double standard showed to different speakers based on their content. The University of California at Berkeley is the most recent example of this controversy. In columns for the Daily Californian titled “Speaking Out”, “Fucking White Boys,” and “Choosing Myself Over White People”, Maggie Lam mocked and ridiculed white people. A column using such language mocking people of color would instantly trigger demands for expulsion.
    Protesters not only succeeded in blocking others from hearing from this speaker but they then proceeded to riot and destroy property outside of campus. This is the result of years of academics declaring some speech as unworthy of protection and enabling students who believe that no one should be allowed to express views that they feel is discriminatory or demeaning or hateful.
    Yiannopoulos is a gay conservative who is a popular speaker with his “Dangerous Faggot” talks. Hours before his event, protesters began throwing fireworks and destroying property to stop him from speaking. People who came to see him were reportedly attacked — an ironic twist for protesters who said that they wanted to fight hate speech. Protesters chanted “Milo has got to go” in an effort to prevent people from hearing his views.
    Berkeley can yield to the mob and surrender free speech to a violent mob. Alternatively, it can reschedule the event and expel any students who engage in violence on campus. The choice is between being a place of learning and being a place of indoctrination. This is one of the truly great universities in the world and once the center of the fight for free speech in the 60s. At one time it was the students who stood bravely for free speech. Now it must be the faculty. I know little about this speaker and I have never read his work. I do not have to. There are those who want to hear from him. A college is a place where different voices should be heard. These protesters are the face of true intolerance.
    Instead of trying to “make the world a better place” a surprising number of liberals are turning into angry hatemongers. Acting like toddlers undergoing a group temper tantrum does not translate into effective political opposition. Instead it shows weakness and impotence.

  13. turcopolier says:

    You are right. there is no anonymity and they will be given an opportunity to defend the violation of their oaths in resisting what the government will say are constitutional and lawful instructions. pl

  14. Stumpy says:

    The term “soft riot” might apply to the inner beltway elite, or “swampies”, who are making a mockery of their own positions by boycotting or otherwise interfering with the business of government. The “medium strength” rioters we are seeing in Berkeley and elsewhere are 1) Disgruntled youth who see any opportunity to wreak havoc as a worthy cause in itself, 2) Subsidized by wealthy industrialists to put pressure on government or exact political vengeance, or, most interestingly 3) a traditional agit-prop mounted by enterprising dark factions who wish to relive the Weather Underground days of their forefathers. I’m sure there is a 4) somewhere in this, but the irony in the image of a hooded youth hitting Bank of America ATMs with a baseball bat is curiously satisfying.

  15. FB Ali says:

    My apologies for a somewhat O/T comment. But, this is the only ‘live’ thread on the Trump administration, and I think it is worthwhile bringing this new commentary to the notice of SST readers.
    In his weekly commentary (not yet posted on his website, Conflicts Froum), Alastair Crooke advances the following thesis:
    – Trump opposes the US policy on globalization. Because he believes that it is the root cause of the economic and financial problems facing the common people of the US.
    – This globalism comprises a globalist defence strategy, besides the globalist financial institutions, and global economic governance. He is opposed to all these, and seeks to dismantle them.
    – Central to the US globalist defence strategy is the long-standing hostility to Russia, and the belief in the ‘global threat’ posed by Russia.
    – Trump’s policy of moving away from globalism (and its globalist military posture) is being opposed by, among others, the military establishment. Flynn’s latest anti-Iran diatribe indicates that he also follows that ‘party line’.
    – “It is doubtful whether Generals Mattis and Flynn, or others in the team, fully appreciate or endorse the full scope of Trump’s intended revolution. True belief, perhaps, is confined to a small circle around the President, led by Steve Bannon”.
    Is that the reason Trump and Bannon have created the Strategic Initiatives Group and Bannon has been put on the NSC?

  16. A politicised Civil Service? When I read this extraordinary account of civil servants preparing for political action my first response was the standard “It couldn’t happen here.” My second was to stop and think a bit, and to realise how often it has. Yet another comfortable constitutional axiom bites the dust. The politically neutral civil service, responding dutifully to the wishes of the people as transmitted through the elected politicians, has never really existed outside the school text books and doesn’t exist today.
    How far is this going to go? Is “de-legitimisation” to be the new watchword? Obviously it’s quite proper to throw sand in the works of the new administration – a civic duty almost – if that new administration shouldn’t be there.
    And does this relate to other means of opposing Trump? Might that account for the behaviour of the European politicians?
    Domestic politics are one thing. Obama had to cope with often quite savage personal attacks during his time in office. That’ll be the same for Trump. But foreign politics aren’t usually done that way. There might be all hell let loose at home but appearances are kept up abroad.
    It’s not happening with Trump. Before he won the European politicians and press were mounting attacks. That got worse after the elections. Not so much attacks on his policies. Direct attacks on him personally. As if he were personally unsuited for the office and therefore shouldn’t be occupying it.
    That’s an odd way of treating a US President. In fact I haven’t seen it done before. Are these European politicians hoping that determined foreign opposition, combined with equally determined internal opposition, would have the effect of rendering Trump unable to carry through the policies he was elected on?

  17. ked says:

    I feel younger already, thanks.
    I do not know if Trump has or will give illegal orders (I’m not a lawyer, road not taken in the mid ’70s when I went into tech biz), I simply wanted to be sure that the CS is obligated similarly (exactly-like?) our Armed Forces.
    You project a lot towards me about my naive progressivism. I have my ideals but they are just that… decoupled from reality. In reality, I’m more pragmatic & cynical. The former has made me able to provide for my family, the later has kept me (relatively) sane.
    I’m all for Trump making America Great Again… I happen to believe that if successful, it will be an indirect consequence of his policies & personality – t’was ever thus in history. I don’t think the Dems have the spine to treat him they way the GOP treated Obama… heck, they don’t have the spine to look at themselves in the mirror & say “You’re Fired!”
    I suspect there will come a point in his presidency that someone(s) will refuse an order because they believe it is illegal, and that it might indeed be illegal. Given the nature of the CS “personality module” & the info-culture we live with, it will be a tiny event. The CS community (no monoculture, actually) operative attitude will be… “this is what they voted for… let ’em have it.”
    You pointed out years ago that if individuals are to be truly committed to their ideals, & it is a really big deal, then they should act & not care about legal ramifications… that’s the true nature of ideals & commitment… act bravely & face the consequences. Too many want their ass-covered in advance of action. I agree… it is the definition of bravery to risk in the absence of protection. This president’s policies may give rise to bravery among those untethered from the categories that so many of us are comfortable with. That’s fine by me – I’m pretty sick of ’em myself.

  18. Jackrabbit says:

    Is it possible that it was leaked by Oz govt in an attempt to force Trump to honor the deal?

  19. Jack says:

    “Instead it shows weakness and impotence.”
    The liberals want a PC world and Trump is not. That’s their primary beef. Now they’re acting out, incited by the hysterical media. Peggy Noonan’s column that you linked to earlier is very insightful. As she notes Trump is “norm breaking”. That’s the fundamental problem the Borgists have. Their groupthink world is being shattered and they can’t come to terms with how such a person could defeat their perfect Borg Queen.
    The Democrats should do some serious soul searching to understand why they rigged their primary. Sanders may very well have won the election. They should be getting behind someone like Tulsi Gabbard who is working across the aisle to introduce important legislation like the next Glass Steagall and Stop Arming Terrorists Act. Instead they back Borgists and trash Tulsi. Apparently they can’t let go of their Borg utopia.

  20. VietnamVet says:

    I fear an out of control President who yelled at and then hung up on Australia’s PM more than federal bureaucrats. Workers are constrained by their paychecks and families. The revolving door is for the political appointees. Many enforce laws passed by Congress and signed by the President. What is upsetting is seeing law breakers go unpunished. Civil Servants bend backward not disrespect their asshole bosses and pass on their best judgment and institutional history. A few have the courage to point out publicly what is in the America’s best interest no matter the consequences. Since the election, anything dirty has been picked up by corporate media and thrown at the President. What we are watching in real time are Globalist Insiders releasing incendiary material trying to force a soft coup and install Mike Pence.

  21. Jack says:

    FB Ali
    It looks like Trump may be attempting to test the waters of removing Russian sanctions.
    And the predictable response from another Borg Queen, Nancy Pelosi. Can’t wait for McCain and his office wife to get in on the act.

  22. Bobo says:

    That poor guy in Justice writing-giving Grants has not got a clue. Who has money for Grants, not the USA. Thus with his Grants gone a year from now what’s he going to do. Yes, the government will slow down a bit but by summer it will be humming along again once the start of the Gutting occurs as that will really scare them. How many times will they get away with making Trump look like a fool.
    The WH certainly leaked the drafts of the LGBTQ EO’s and others the old bait and switch game. Gotta keep the chaos going.
    A lot has occurred in the last couple of weeks with plenty more to go. Makes you ask what the professional politicians have been doing all these years.

  23. DC says:

    As acknowledged above, Trump could certainly Reduce in Force (“RIF”) large sections of the federal civil service (as well as US foreign service), but as the Colonel rightly points out, the country as we know it actually needs these people to man their posts throughout the year. They may not be productive every day, but they are productive enough to sustain important, permanent, functions. To what end would it be to erase these positions? After fewer weeks than you might imagine, the public (voters) would complain, and loudly, if these positions were gone. The congress responds to voters. Ergo, the more Trump rocks the boat, the more likely comes impeachment. One wonders if Trump’s people really have any clue how to stay around long enough to accomplish their goals…whatever those goals might be.

  24. trinlae says:

    “MO, these antics are driving even some of those who did not vote for Trump to his side.”
    So many independents, such as Bernie bros betrayed by dnc (and later Bernie himself in some not necessarily unforgivable sense) have felt so completely disenfranchised and unrepresented by any political or social economic process for so long that the idea of political or financial support from this enormous sector of society is almost meaningless. The calculus is more about who has insulted and harmed them the least, but like the serially traumatized, it is not enough to read that as any form garnished support.
    It would imo be a mistake for any rogue civil servants to count on any sympathies from the alienated. In other words, the bottom has dropped out of the old, partisan, ping pong duopoly dialectic for a huge sector of the population. Notice how convenient it is for the big money players that no one can see the flashing red lights emanating from the Pam Martens and Tyler Durdens among us pointing to the trillions of uncapitalized bank exposures in derivatives of the Wall St banks (http://wallstreetonparade.com/2017/01/donald-trump-has-a-goldman-sachs-problem-derivatives/)
    To those with nothing, there is nothing to lose and there is no stake in this war between oligarch titans and their middle class minions. After decades of being abused, all they can do is watch from the sidelines!

  25. paul says:

    he is a tv star, not a politician, the motivation is publicity, drama, and story, i would expect a constant and steady leak of “private conversation” through out his presidency.

  26. This organizing of federal employees to actively resist the Administration’s policies sounds like the classic definition of a resistance movement. Depending on the level of resistance undertaken, these employees should expect dismissal or imprisonment if caught by “forces loyal to the regime” executing acts of sabotage. If you are an active member of an underground resistance, you can’t expect mercy from the very authorities you are resisting.
    However, I don’t see anything undertaken or planned by the Trump Administration to make it an enemy of the Constitution and, thus, worthy of such a resistance movement. Unless the Supreme Court and/or Congress determines the Executive branch to be in violation of the Constitution and the Executive branch persists in that violation, I can’t support any resistance, armed or otherwise, designed to overthrow the Executive branch.
    On the other hand, undertaking a policy of doing anything possible to make the President fail in everything he tries was an acceptable policy of many Republicans and others on the right soon after Obama was elected. I remember an awful lot of calls for resistance to Obama, even armed resistance, over the years. I didn’t see it (armed resistance) happening then and I don’t see it happening now. Until things change drastically, we can expect dissent and resistance to continue. The country is evenly divided and neither side should expect the other to give up and lay down. We’ve just exchanged roles.

  27. Valissa says:

    Perfect example of why I left the left (and became a non-partisan). A fascinating blend of faux-tolerance and character assassination, deeply embedded in righteous indignation. Not even a passing mention of the actual policy disagreements involved… whether it’s limiting immigration or limiting free speech.
    The gist of the statement… Milo is very bad and he makes us very upset because we disagree with him so we have decided he is a bigot and a hater. People who live in glass houses, etc etc.
    I have only heard of him recently, but it appears his shtick is to play the bad boy who upsets people. Clearly he is effective at that. And effective at makings liberals look childish as they overreact to him.
    It appears that the left today is automatically conflating any discussion of immigration policy they don’t like as hate speech and bigotry. Do you believe that everyone who wants to limit immigration at a national level for economic or security reasons hates or even dislikes immigrants at a personal level? That’s a pretty nasty conflation. Australia has a very strict immigration policy… as do many other countries… does this make them all haters and bigots?

  28. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Colonel Lang wrote:

    A small example of the chaos that would ensue from a failure of function was provided by the ineptitude of the Trump Administration in not staffing and coordinating the “immigration” EO across the interagency last week.

    Politico has an explanation for that:
    “Distrust in Trump’s White House spurs leaks, confusion”
    From the Politico article:

    While reports have emerged in recent days about various officials blindsided by the orders, interviews with several people involved in the process reveal the extent of the secrecy and chaos.
    The highly controversial immigration and travel ban signed by Trump last Friday was so tightly held that White House aides, top Cabinet officials, Republican leaders on Capitol Hill and other Trump allies had no idea what was in it even when it was signed — and that was just how top advisers and aides wanted it.

    “Someone would have leaked it,” one administration official said.

  29. kooshy says:

    Colonel Lang, Borgistan? that’s a new one to me, once I made and used Likudestan for Israel I guess they are similar.

  30. Valissa says:

    Jack, when I try to tell my liberal friends about this amazing Democratic congresswoman from Hawaii they show no interest in knowing much about her. Only when she protested the pipeline did anyone acknowledge her at all. My Dem friends are clueless about the deep systemic problems that their party and their current ideology has… all they can do is go primal scream about Trump… it’s quite incredible.
    Blowback is a bitch.
    Berkeley Blowback: Milo Book Sales Soar 12,740% Overnight http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-02/berkeley-blowback-milo-book-sales-soar-12740-overnight
    Following the violent anti-free-speech protests in Berkeley, California last night – sparked by cal’s special snowflakes hurt feelings at the potential words that would come out of Milo Yiannopoulos’ mouth during a sold-out event – it appears America’s curiousity has been piqued.
    Sales of Milo’s book have increased 12,740% overnight sending it rocketing from 642nd to 5th ranked best-seller on Amazon. Pretty impressive considering the book is not even released until March 14th 2017.
    … So despite all the best efforts of the liberal intelligentsia to shut down his ‘free-speech’ last night – hurting the feelings of 600 conservatives who were looking forward to the event – we suspect a lot more than 600 Americans are now about to get a crash course in how Milo thinks.

  31. Sam Peralta says:

    Action speak louder than words. Lots of rhetoric and statements from different members of Team Trump with respect to Russia.
    The Treasury however took an action albeit small.

  32. turcopolier says:

    The leaking is not the issue. The issue is the ineptitude in not knowing that you have to coordinate a paper like this through the interagency is the issue. pl

  33. Ingolf says:

    Yes, you raise a critical point, perhaps the critical point, at least in foreign policy terms.
    I would think the reason for bringing Bannon onto the NSC is exactly as you suggest. Trump (and of course Bannon) are hoping to build and sustain some strategic consistency. Whether Trump realises how difficult that’s likely to be is one of the really interesting questions.

  34. Jack says:

    The focus in the media was all about the theatrics of the call. I could not easily find the issue with the refugees. Apparently some people from Bangladesh, Iraq and other countries have been trying to enter Australia illegally. They are caught and housed in detention camps in Nauru and PNG. Australia doesn’t want to take these illegals into their country. However for some reason we are expected to receive these people that the Aussies will not take. If this is correct I agree this is a dumb deal by Obama.

  35. optimax says:

    Malcolm Turnball says his call with Trump ended “courteously.” He could be lying or it’s fake news or a false leak. ABC news didn’t mention Turnball’s version but went with the report Trump hung up abruptly. As an added attraction they showed a clip of him making fun of Arnold’s ratings. Real news.

  36. Sam Peralta says:

    The media is focused on the theatrics of the call. The issue that Trump considered a DUMB deal by Obama was conveniently lost in the shuffle.
    Apparently there are 1,200 folks from Bangladesh, Iraq and other countries who tried to illegally get into Australia. They were interdicted and due to Australia’s strict immigration laws not allowed in. However, they were detained in detention camps on Nauru and Papua New Guinea. No idea why Obama thought it was such a good idea for the US to take these illegals.
    So, Australia has detained these people and will not take them but the US will. Why? Looks pretty dumb! Trump must have got pissed and told the Aussie PM to take a hike on the matter of the illegals.

  37. ToivoS says:

    That Daily Cal article specifically supports the right of the Campus Republicans to invite Milo to speak at Berkeley. The comments below the article were overwhelming in support.
    In addition, the protesters that were involved in the violence were mostly anarchist from off campus though a couple were identified as students. In short the overwhelming majority of the administration, students and faculty remained faithful to principles of free speech. It takes only a few dozen idiots to turn peaceful protest into a violent riot. I am an alumnus from Berkeley and remain in contact with that community. I fully expected them to act in a principled and honorable way and they did. In this unfortunate situation they were the victims of agent provocateurs.

  38. ToivoS says:

    In my little burg I have just witnessed an episode of anti-Trump hysteria that has left me appalled. We voted for Hillary by 85% though in our non-partisan city council races there is often a Republican that wins. Very liberal town and liberal Republicans. The county chairwomen of the Republican committee owns the only book store in town. She has spoken publicly in support of Trump. This has provoked a call for a boycott of her business that has attracted a dozen signatures in the last 8 hours. This is unprecedented for us.

  39. Haley, at the U.N., was reported to have spoken “forcefully” in condemning Russian atrocities and aggression in The Ukraine by the CNN morning crew. As far as I can tell, the Kievite Ukrainians have been ratcheting up their attacks and the Donbass folks are responding in kind. I’ve not heard of atrocities or attacks by Russia. Is Haley the reincarnation of Samantha Power?
    Is there any factual basis for the accusations?

  40. turcopolier says:

    William fitzgerald
    With more of the adults “in place” and listening to the career people the administration is learning how to drive the machine and manage PR. pl

  41. lally says:

    ToivoS, as a Cal alum, you may be interested in this post that sets the record straight:
    150 black-masked anarchists can do a lot of damage yet are somehow confused wit UCB students.

  42. FB Ali says:

    Frankly, I find it difficult to understand how Trump functions. Is he a very shrewd operator (as some say – for example, Scott Adams in http://tinyurl.com/znccfu9 )?
    Or, are he and his administration just improvising as they stumble along from moment to moment, as so many believe?
    For example, in an earlier comment above, I had quoted Alastair Crooke about Flynn’s “on notice” statement on Iran (repeated by Trump later). If ‘Dilbert’ is correct, this is just an opening bid in a process of bargaining and negotiation, rather than the statement of a policy position.

  43. Valissa says:

    Good points. But this problem of agent provocateurs is not going to go away without a challenge. How are the legitimately peaceful protestors going to keep them from ruining their message? Knowing Milo’s history in addition to current highly toxic anti-Trump protesting trends, the UCB folks (campus cops, community police, etc) should have been better prepared.
    Hopefully Berkeley will join this trend…
    The Fight For Free Speech: University of Chicago Leads Counter-Movement Against Speech Regulation https://jonathanturley.org/2016/09/02/the-fight-for-free-speech-university-of-chicago-leads-counter-movement-against-speech-regulation/
    The University of Chicago last week promised incoming students something that is increasingly rare in the United States: an unfettered and uncensored education. While most schools are actively curtailing free speech, its letter warned the students that they will not be protected against ideas or given “safe spaces.” Instead, they will be educated in an open and free environment where they will be challenged by a range of different views — ideas that will at times thrill and at times outrage them.
    Where a campus was once viewed as a free-speech zone by definition, many schools now designate isolated spaces for free speech while guaranteeing students “safety zones” to protect them against opposing views.
    When I attended the University of Chicago in the 1980s, I found myself in the midst of an intellectually vibrant community with a cacophony of voices, from Trotskyites to black nationalists to radical feminists to creationists. Then-President Hanna Gray told us that “education should not be intended to make people comfortable; it is meant to make them think.” And it did. Students thought a lot about where they fit in this world of ideas.
    Tragically, fewer and fewer students will experience such an awakening today as officials impose de facto speech codes. These ambiguous codes often define prohibited speech by how it is received by others — allowing the most sensitive or vocal members to define the permissible speech on campus. For example, the University of North Dakota bans student speech that “feels offensive” or “demeaning.” Many schools are also embracing the ill-defined notion of “microaggressions” — speech considered “negative” or “reinforcing” stereotypes. For example, saying that America is “the land of opportunity” is considered a microaggression at North Carolina State University, while “melting pot” is deemed such a violation at Berkeley.
    Some interesting follow up articles from people who were there…
    Another theory about the violence is that it was staged by Milo or his backers in order to promote his book sales and brand.
    No matter the source of the violent agitators, colleges and universities, while protecting the free speech of peaceful protestors, need to also protect those who are being protested, and from a position of strength and leadership. If the university made it clear ahead of time that police would be nearby if things turned violent and that violent protestors would go to jail, that would make a big difference. Then there wouldn’t be any victims of agent provocateurs to worry about.
    This trend of violence needs to be nipped in the bud. Somehow liberals need to transform and redirect their inchoate anger against Trump (which makes them look really lame) into positive political change for their own communities or the Democratic party at large.

  44. different clue says:

    If the Trump has any people reading these threads, here is my free-advice answer to your question in case Trump’s people might think it is worth more than every cent.
    The TrumpAdmin should focus on Trump’s own agenda FIRST and delay and deny action on every single thing that the mainstream Party Republicans want until they have helped him get his things through FIRST. Once his agenda items are so deeply entrenched that a successor Borg President cannot uproot them or even change them, THEN he can permit work on all the Party Republicans’ pet hobby horses.
    Because if he gives the Party Republicans everything they want FIRST, then they won’t need him around anymore, and they won’t want him around anymore. They will move to impeach so as to get their Borg President Pence. And the Clintobamacrats, including the Clintobamacrat Senators, would also prefer Borg President Pence in order to keep the Borg Game going.
    So . . . Trump’s people . . . if you are reading this, get the Trump stuff done first and promise the Party Republicans that Trump will turn to their issues AFTER they have helped Trump get all the Trump stuff done FIRST.

  45. turcopolier says:

    FB Ali
    IMO Crooke is right about the general MO but Trump is being affected by the ignorami (Flynn&Harvey) as well as his naiveté about Israel. pl

  46. different clue says:

    If those liberals are sooooo very liberal, why did they vote for Clinton?
    If any of the people of your town voted for Sanders in the primary, it would be interesting to see if those primary Sanders voters support that boycott or not. My guess is that at-the-very-least a lower percent of Sanders voters support that boycott than the percent of Clinton voters.
    Millions of Clintonites will be bitter for the rest of their lives that their beloved Cult Leader, her Imperial Majestic Royal Majesticness, was cheated out of the Throne which was so rightfully hers. I suspect Bitter Clintonism is behind some of this resisty-stuff. I wonder how many of the Pink Kitty Caps were knitted and then worn by Bitter Clinters.

  47. LondonBob says:

    Both can be true, Trump is learning, but he is very intelligent guy who picks thing up quickly.
    As with Obama I would look what he does, not what he says. Trump will talk tough but tread softly, whilst Obama talked softly but stomped all over the place.

  48. FourthAndLong says:

    I think the Colonel has nailed it.
    Most likely someone has a “theory of destabilization” and “fear of what I’ll do next” at work.

  49. FB Ali says:

    Col Lang,
    Thank you. That is reassuring. The world badly needs a US foreign policy that is based on the interests of the people of the country, rather than one controlled by various interests (the military-industrial complex, the neocon lobby, the Israeli lobby, the Displaced Iranians lobby, Saudi money, etc).
    However, that still leaves open the question of where Steve Bannon stands now. This issue arises because of his undoubted power, and influence over the President. As you know, his past views are being thrown about quite a lot these days by the MSM and other anti-Trumpers. They don’t seem to jive with the foreign policy views of Donald Trump. Has Bannon modified his positions? And, if not, how much influence is he likely to have on the President’s policies?
    Another issue that is up in the air (at least in my mind, even though largely of academic interest to me) is the domestic policy that Trump is likely to follow. He has talked a lot about looking after the interests of common folk, yet his policies (deregulation of Wall Street, repeal of Obamacare, etc) seem unlikely to achieve that aim.

  50. Sam Peralta says:

    Just to show that the recent brouhaha around the “muslim ban” is all politics and not morality or ethics or even principles – a look back at the stalwarts of PCness and the resettlement of Vietnamese refugees.

  51. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The “Displaced Iranian Lobby”, in my opinion, had nothing to do with Trump’s Executive Order banning entrance to US from 7 Muslim countries.
    Trump declared Shia Islam to be anathema to US – that is how it is perceived. In that, he is in good company – EU shares that view.
    Furthermore, the Fly-Over-America hates Iran and Islam – these are his core constituency that are now saying: “He is showing them…”
    Furthermore, Sunni Islam stands by Trump; Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia – to name a few – have not taken a stand against this ban.
    Specifically about Iran; the core state of Muslim civilization:
    Trump has taken a position that he is against the Iranian people – a position that not even Bush II took; Bush II actually stated that US is friend of the Iranian people.
    That is one thing.
    The other thing is that those Iranians who were well disposed to USA (and Europe) are now taunted by the officials as well as supporters of the Iranian government and establishment: “they (US) do not even want you in their country.”, or “They want slaves.”
    Lastly, this will not soften up Iranians, far from it. It is already resulting in “I told you so.” being heard all over the political landscape. It adds to the cohesion of Iran as well as the Shia Crescent.
    It certainly puts the re-election of Rouhani in doubt.

  52. Jack says:

    This may be off topic but it relates to the Trump electoral phenomenon now taking place in the Dutch elections. A fascinating article on the backlash in Holland of muslim immigration and the inability or unwillingness of many of these immigrants to assimilate into Dutch society.

  53. Keith Harbaugh says:

    [Trump’s] naiveté about Israel.

    Colonel, how on earth can Trump be naïve about Israel?
    Trump has spent his life living in New York,
    has business interests throughout the world,
    including some Arab countries of the Middle East.
    He obviously is a shrewd (but not necessarily moral) operator.
    I think the chances of Trump having “naiveté about Israel” are absolutely zero.
    You have made similar comments about Trump being “naïve about Israel” before.
    Again, I think the totality of evidence proves beyond a reasonable doubt that
    there is zero chance Trump is “naïve about Israel”.

  54. turcopolier says:

    I do not accept your premise. There are many people in the US who whatever their exposure to Israel or in this case the moneyed Zionists clique in New York who manage quite well to maintain their illusions concerning Israel as a country devoted to peace and justice for all rather than an example of rampant ethnic nationalism in the world. As a successful former clandestine case officer and commander of case officers I assure you that the creation and maintenance of delusions as to character is an easy thing if you work at the task, and the people we are talking about are devoted to the task. pl

  55. Keith Harbaugh says:

    I totally respect your experience and experiences,
    but still find it hard to believe that,
    with the broad experience and connections Trump undisputedly has,
    that he could not be acutely aware of the case against Israel.

    But this is just a matter of my opinion, nothing more.
    Perhaps future evidence will clarify the matter.

  56. turcopolier says:

    “the case against Israel.” People believe what they want to believe and objective evidence has little do with the process. Trump may be able to cling to a comfortable view of Israel that does not disturb his world view and environment. as you say it will be interesting to learn f that is true. pl

  57. Keith Harbaugh says:

    As to whom Trump is turning to for advice, the following is informative:
    Trump May Turn to Arab Allies for Help With Israeli-Palestinian Relations
    New York Times, 2017-02-10

    Jared Kushner, the senior White House adviser whom Mr. Trump has assigned a major role in negotiations,
    has been intrigued by this logic [of Israeli prime minister Netanyahu],
    according to people who have spoken with him.
    Mr. Kushner has grown close to Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador
    and a close confidant of Mr. Netanyahu’s.
    Mr. Trump and Mr. Kushner also had dinner at the White House on Thursday night with Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate, who is a key supporter of Mr. Netanyahu.

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