Trump’s Budget A ‘Historic Contraction’ Of Washington Bureaucracy

For the first time in the past six decades, Washington D.C. is preparing for a deep round of federal workforce cuts, in what the Washington Post called a “historic contraction.”

This would be the first time the government has executed cuts of this magnitude — and all at once — since the drawdown following World War II, economists and budget analysts said.

President Trump aims to peel back regulation in great sheaths, executing Stephen Bannon’s plan to “deconstruct the administrative state” while building up the military and homeland security.

Erick wrote just before the inauguration, the most honest benchmark for measuring Trump’s success is property values inside the Washington beltway.

If that area’s real estate market collapses and the area heads into recession, we will know that Donald Trump is successful. As Washington’s power has grown, that region has grown with it. As Washington lets go of power and the states rebound in strength and clout, that area should correspondingly grow weaker.

We’re talking mass layoffs.

According to an economic analysis by Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics, the reductions outlined so far by Trump’s advisers would reduce employment in the region by 1.8 percent and personal income by 3.5 percent, and lower home prices by 1.9 percent.

While defense spending and employment decreased through the Clinton years, it bounced back slightly during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Meanwhile, the rest of the federal workforce–especially regulators in Washington, D.C., continued to grow.

Time Magazine‘s March 20th issue cover screamed “Trump’s War on Washington,” focusing mostly on the “deep state,” tweets and conspiracies. But the real war, and the real political power, is in the purse and executive discretion.

He has embraced a budget that would slash nondefense government-agency spending by $54 billion. He has delayed, suspended or reversed 90 regulations imposing government controls on everything from Wall Street to telecoms to hunters, according to an analysis by the New York Times. He has frozen federal hiring, and his allies on Capitol Hill have proposed reducing federal employees’ pensions. He says many of the nearly 2,000 open executive federal positions might be “unnecessary.”

What the establishment initially saw as Trump’s slowness and incompetence at filling more than 4,000 federal political appointments, they are now beginning to see as the opening shots of a war of attrition against the administrative state.

With Republicans controlling both houses of Congress, and budget reconciliation immune from Senate Democratic filibuster, Trump may get everything he wants in giving Washington bureaucrats a haircut.

To whom would voters complain? Both of Virginia’s senators are Democrats, as are Maryland’s. Reps Bob Goolatte (R-Va. 6 CD) and Dave Brat (R-Va. 7 CD) might suffer the wrath of laid-off voters in northern Virginia, but their votes are not enough to stop the assault against the federal bureaucracy.

Democrats are desperate for any issue to resonate with the public, that they can stage a “shut down the government” standoff.  Right now, that issue the the border wall. That probably won’t work. But it would be beyond ironic if the Democrats held the debt ceiling hostage–the agreement to suspend the debt ceiling expires on April 28.

The bad news is that the price of all this cutting is likely to be funding Planned Parenthood, the left’s sacred cow. From POLITICO:

The Democrats also drew a line at including anything in the funding bill that would “roll back protections for our veterans, environment, consumers, and workers and prohibit funds for critical healthcare services for women through Planned Parenthood. We strongly oppose the inclusion of such riders in any of the must-pass appropriations bills that fund the government.”

So far, so good however. What I’ve seen coming out of Congress is bill after bill shoved down the Democrats’ throats. Every amendment they’ve proposed has been defeated on party lines. Every call for reopening debate has been met with a steamroller of Republicans.

If that trend continues, small government Republicans might get the budget of our dreams–at least until we see the trillion dollar bill for infrastructure programs and the increases in mandatory benefits.

Honestly, I’ll take a one-time “stimulus” and infrastructure spending package to win a permanent cut of federal regulatory state discretionary spending. You can’t overestimate the drag the regulatory economy exerts on businesses and capital investment. Once the business environment and capital spigot opens, the benefits become clear and intoxicating. I find myself, for the first time in a long time, looking forward to a federal budget.

Unfortunately, Washington, D.C. bureaucrats are not so optimistic.

Liberal Media Engages In Full Bannon Character Assassination

Grab your cup of coffee and then go to nytimes.com and search for “Bannon.” Settle in and read the articles.

A musical about Rasputin is tied to Trump chief of strategy Stephen Bannon. “(It’s a comparison neither Mr. Bannon nor Rasputin would probably find flattering.)” Nice.

“Steve Bannon Cited Italian Thinker Who Inspired Fascists.” John Fund over at National Review noted that the NYT’s Sunday print edition headlined this “Fascists Too Lax for a Philosopher Cited by Bannon.” The piece is a study in bias and pretext without context. Bannon mentioned–once, at a Vatican conference in 2014–Julius Evola, the practically unknown Italian philosopher who supported Mussolini and the Fascists.

Bannon’s sole reference to Evola came when he mentioned that a leading influence on Vladimir Putin was Aleksandr Dugin, an ultranationalist writer “who harkens back to Julius Evola and different writers of the early 20th century who are really the supporters of what’s called the traditionalist movement, which really eventually metastasized into Italian Fascism.” The dictionary definition of “metastasize” is “to transform, especially into a dangerous form.” So Bannon’s mention of Evola is hardly an endorsement of fascism on Bannon’s part.

They’re digging. They’ve been digging, and putting literally scores of reporters on assignment to track down everyone who’s ever associated with Bannon.

Last November, the Boston Globe spoke to all of his Harvard Business School classmates they could find from 1983. Most of what they found was positive, but they also published this.

“There was some anger there. He was wound really tightly,” said one former classmate, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “I’ve lost sleep around the fact that he’s so close to the president of the United States. . . . The women in my section have as well.”

The Washington Post went back even further, to Bannon’s service in the U.S. Navy.

A review by The Washington Post of Bannon’s naval career, based on interviews with more than 25 shipmates and an examination of deck logs stored at the National Archives, found that his service was steady but unremarkable.

They tracked down his shipmates from 37 years ago. They scoured 40-year-old ship’s logs from the National Archives. Did they expect to find The Da Vinci Code hidden there? On the USS Paul F. Foster, the sonar dome was damaged during a storm, when Bannon was on the bridge as navigator. The Foster was part of the convoy of ships supporting the USS Nimitz in the botched “Desert One” hostage rescue mission to Iran.

Then, suddenly, the Foster was ordered back to Pearl Harbor.

What happened next is unclear because all of the deck logs for April 1980 are missing from the National Archives. (Officials said that records for that month were not among the documents it originally received.) It was on April 24 that the rescue mission was launched and resulted in the eight deaths in the desert.

A scandal? A coverup? A YouTube video! The Post suggests that Trump agents went back in time to remove the evidence before it got to the archives. Bring in Tom Cruise as Lt. Daniel Kaffee to investigate!

“I want the truth!”

You can’t handle the truth.”

All this digging, and there’s nothing there. Hundreds of man-hours of investigative reporting into the background of a man the media clearly despises with the heat of 10,000 suns, but they’ve found nothing with which to accuse him–other than he speaks his mind, and they don’t like what he says.

Bannon is not the lightweight political dilettante the press has suggested for months. He’s got a Masters in National Security Studies from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service. He’s got 7 years as an officer in the Navy, separating with the rank of Lieutenant. He’s got a Harvard MBA. He worked for Goldman Sachs, a firm with the reputation of hiring the cream of the crop and then retaining only top performers.

He’s got money. He funded and shaped Breitbart News, and ran it after Andrew Breitbart died.

The only thing the press can hold against Bannon is that he’s not a liberal. If he were a liberal, they’d tout all his accomplishments, education and stellar resume as proof of rock-solid competence. Stephen Bannon is competent–just not in what liberals want as an outcome.

So now they’re going after Bannon as a manipulator, a Wormtongue, a Rasputin. The NY Times painted Chief of Staff Reince Priebus as “over his head,” with Bannon being the real power behind President Trump. Maybe he is.

Priebus is an excellent administrator with a penchant for details and getting the nitty-gritty right. He’s not a “grand vision” guy, but he is a well-respected, nice guy. Bannon is the opposite of a nice guy, and he doesn’t care. But the press is going to keep combing through Bannon’s life, day by day, looking for the knife with which to stab him.

If they find it, they might see Bannon reply in the manner of Marcus Tullius Cicero, who told the assassins dispatched by Mark Antony to murder him “There is nothing proper about what you are doing, soldier, but do try to kill me properly.”

Arguing Other Presidents Appointed Political Advisers to NSC Holds No Water

President Trump has done something no other previous president has done. He elevated a political adviser–Assistant to the President and Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon–to a permanent, standing principal position on the National Security Council.

Yet Trump defenders argue that it’s been done before. Press Secretary Sean Spicer specifically mentioned David Axelrod, one of former President Obama’s advisers, as being part of Obama’s NSC.

“David Axelrod walked in and out of NSC meetings quite frequently,” Spicer said. And that’s true. But he wasn’t one of the principals. Bannon is.

NPR fact-checked the source documents for Trump, Obama (2009), and Bush 43 (2001). It turns out that Axelrod was in fact not one of the principals. Trump included 9 people as “regular attendees,” Secretaries of State, Treasury, Defense, Homeland Security, the Attorney General, plus Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Bannon, and Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert.

In comparison, Obama had 12 on his NSC Principals Committee, and Bush had only five. In practice there were many more regular attendees to Bush’s meetings, post 9/11. Neither Bush nor Obama had a chief strategist position, but neither appointed a purely political adviser to the NSC core group (Chief of Staff is an operational position within the Executive Office of the President).

Maybe we’re splitting hairs here, because we really don’t know who will and who won’t be at most meetings. But it’s certainly not a “normal” procedure to place a political strategist on the NSC’s standing members. I stand by my original take that this is dangerous from a groupthink perspective.

Bannon may have been instrumental in winning the election for Trump, giving him a direct line to the pulse of his core supporters. But national security issues aren’t a matter of listening to supporters and doing whatever is popular. We shouldn’t (I certainly hope we won’t) see Trump go on television and ask “America, should we bomb Syria? Should we?” like candidate Trump did regarding his medical records on Dr. Oz. Bannon simply feeds into Trump’s worst attribute–his ginormous ego.

As arguments go, I haven’t heard a single persuasive one on why Bannon should be a standing principal on Trump’s NSC. Citing David Axelrod or other presidents as an example doesn’t hold any water at all.

For Trump to Succeed, Bannon Must Go

Stephen Bannon – White House “Svengali” – probably doesn’t even know my name anymore but we’ve traveled in the same circles for years and I was even once informed by a Breitbart insider that I was put on a “private” list banning my name from coverage at the website, presumably for some less-than-complimentary comments I’ve made in the past regarding their direction. I only mention this to say that while I’ve never been a fan of Bannon’s the last thing I’ve ever thought he was is racist and I reject this alt-right nonsense whole-heartedly. I think the charges are hysterical and ridiculous and without proof. Those getting their panties in a bunch over his presence in the White House lending legitimacy to the “alt-right” are making much ado about nothing.

He might be a jerk. He’s no racist.

That being said, Bannon is not only not a racist, he’s also not a politician, lawyer or experienced leader at the national level. His qualifications for running anything inside the White House are spotty at best. I recognize that we elected President Trump on the strength of his “outsider” qualities, but as the head of a national blog outlet, Bannon’s qualifications for a seat on the National Security Council (NSC) go way beyond “outsider” status.

He’s downright unqualified.

Still, a case can be made by his biggest fans that his “outsider” status is what is most desirable and he is a good candidate for the position because he is not influenced by Capitol Hill mindsets. I disagree, but I understand the argument.

However, qualified or not, raging maniac or misunderstood aide, for the sake of the presidency and the peace of mind of Americans Bannon needs to be ousted from any official White House position. Yes, much of the media coverage of him has been unfair. It is sadly reminiscent of how the media viewed Dick Cheney, as if George Bush hadn’t one thought in his head that was his own. That is insulting and ridiculous and certainly applies to Trump and Bannon no less than it applied to Bush and Cheney. You don’t get to be the President of the United States by being a total dolt. I don’t care what you think of the president…it can’t happen. There is too much involved in getting to the highest office in the land. An idiot cannot be propelled there by staff alone.

Bannon has no experience on the international scene. Sure, he knows what he wants to see as an American, but international relations are delicate and nuanced. Bannon has neither the background nor the sensitivity to effectively navigate these waters. Worse, most of America understands that. People are scared. If I believed every single word the mainstream media printed about Trump and Bannon I’d be scared too. Luckily it’s my job to know more than my own point of view and I understand 90% of this mass hysteria is due to media malpractice. It is dangerous and irresponsible of them to call these new temporary travel restrictions a “Muslim ban” and yet they are still happy to light the match and walk away from the inferno.

Regardless, Bannon isn’t just dangerously inexperienced, he engenders a sense of unease across a wide swath of the American public.

Since the night of his historic election, President Trump has repeatedly said that he is the president for all Americans, and that now is a time to unite. I applaud his desire to take swift action on our unsettling immigration issues, but putting a guy like Stephen Bannon in a position of authority on national security is the wrong move to unite a country that is on very shaky ground right now when it comes to unity.

I urge the President to continue to move forward with his promises on immigration reform, but to remove Bannon from the equation. This would go a long way to ease the fears of the American citizenry (as much as possible in the face of a hostile mainstream media, anyway). It will signal that he is willing to compromise in ways that don’t necessarily compromise his agenda while at the same time symbolizing his willingness to represent all Americans.

Taking Bannon off the NSC and out of the White House might not even change much in the way of Trump’s plans, but it would go a long way to alleviate some legitimate concerns about the hasty executions of his immigration orders.

Bannon’s place is in the media, fighting against the tide of mainstream bias. He should be commended for helping to propel Trump to the Oval Office. Now his place should be back among the media, mining his White House connections for advantage in coverage and access and ushering in a new era of the press.

Trump will never quell the outrage of those determined to hate him no matter what he does, but he can prove he’s the President he promised to be by making a small concession here and there that doesn’t affect his overall mandate. Dropping Bannon from the NSC would be a great place to start.

Correction: Stephen Bannon’s educational and service experience includes a master’s in National Security Studies from Georgetown University. While the author stands by the assertion of this op-ed, Mr. Bannon’s missing qualifications should be noted.

 

This Is Why They Are So Ineffective

For hundreds of years, people have listened to the message. Struggling for relevance, they’ve moved from simple printing and speaking to radio, television, and now online. They’ve morphed from seriousness to entertainment at times. They’ve captured the young, documented acts of incredible grace and sacrifice, then lost whole generations to cynical rebellion.

They have their own language that most outsiders don’t understand. Their ethical rules and traditions are foreign to the untrained. People just don’t get it, so they don’t trust the message. The forthright and righteous among them are lumped in with the charlatans who just want money.

They are frequently at odds with what Americans really care about. They are tone-deaf to large swaths of Americans who have to march in large groups to be heard. And when those marches happen, they’re minimized and ridiculed for their opinions and cares.

They are an insular group with its own admission requirements. They stick together when attacked and get defensive to outsiders at the slightest implication that they’re insular. But internally, they’re all over the map, fighting on small things, calling each other out, moving around in consumerist cat-fights. It’s really a revolving door of factions and sects.

They continue to struggle to maintain even a patina of gravity when the world has moved past them and their pet issues. Yet they keep preaching, day-in, and day-out. They do this despite polls and evidence that people have long ceased to care, and even respond with cynicism, mockery and mistrust.

I am, of course, talking about the American press. (You thought it was the church?)

They are liberal as all hell, and in most groups of Americans gathered around the dinner table or at the bar to watch a game, they’re treated as clowns or liars.

When the press gets upset because someone has the temerity to ask if they know anyone in their office who is pro-life or who owns a pick-up truck, they are exposing themselves as insular, irrelevant, and thin-skinned.

In fact, a giant supermajority (like 80 to 90 percent) of the main stream media don’t know any active, church-going, Bible-believing Christians. They don’t know people who personally believe in the sanctity of life above all things. They don’t know people who raise large families and women who prefer to raise children at home versus pursue a career. They’ve heard of these people, and might be related to some, but they don’t understand them.

They don’t take the time to listen because they’re too busy preaching their message to an echo chamber.

Stephen Bannon broke his silence since election day Thursday to say this to the New York Times.

“The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while,” Mr. Bannon said in an interview on Wednesday.

“I want you to quote this,” Mr. Bannon added. “The media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States.”

Bannon is right. The media will interpret this as proof that they are defending democracy and Bannon (and by extension, President Trump) is a fascist dictator putting together a junta. And in fact, they did just that.

You’re the opposition party,” [Bannon] said. “Not the Democratic Party. You’re the opposition party. The media’s the opposition party.”

Journalists reacted with alarm and defiance to Mr. Bannon’s comments. “What country are we living in?” Christiane Amanpour, the CNN correspondent, wrote on Twitter.

“We are not the opposition,’’ Stephen Engelberg, editor in chief of the nonprofit news organization ProPublica, wrote in an email. “We are part of an essential function in any democracy.” He added that ProPublica had no intention of “shutting up in response to this or any other president’s demand.”

“We are here to tell the truth and we intend to continue doing so, regardless of how badly some might want us to parrot ‘alternative facts,’” Mr. Engelberg said.

This is why they are so ineffective.

Trump’s Transition Is The Muppet Show And It’s Absolutely Brilliant

We’ve seen this show before. In fact, it’s so familiar, I can’t believe the media still falls for this gag. President-elect Donald Trump floats the idea of Mitt Romney for Secretary of State, and the press goes student body left.

Then Kellyanne Conway tells the media how upset she is that her boss would betray his “loyalists” with his chief critic in such a high profile role.

Then MSNBC gets wind through “sources at the top” of how Trump is “furious” with Conway for her comments. Then Conway denied the reports in a statement: “It is all false. And it is sexist.”

I don’t think a better reality script could have been developed by Mark Burnett. (Oh, don’t you know that reality shows are micro-produced and basically scripted, although the “actors” can say what they want.*)

This entire sequence has the air of a set-piece, designed to throw the media off balance, keep the public guessing as to what Trump will do, and incite interest, trust, and belief in Trump’s team.

While the media is reporting that this is a circus, Trump goes on with his business. “Look, over there! A recount!”

“Wait! Over here, three million illegal votes!”

Now Trump is going to meet with Mitt Romney again. And Bob Corker. On Monday, Trump met with no less than four corporate chairmen/CEOs, an energy public policy wonk, Pennsylvania Rep. Lou Barletta, and Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee County.

Those of us who have been following Trump for 16-plus months get it, because we’ve seen this plot unfold before. It’s not a circus. It’s the Muppet Show, and the media is being controlled like Jim Hensen and Frank Oz controlled Kermit and Miss Piggy. He moves his hand, they open their mouths, and they speak his words.

Does anyone really think that Kellyanne Conway has gone rogue? Does anyone really believe that Stephen Bannon is twisting knives over Mitt Romney? Seriously? Bannon really was the sharpest tool in the shed at Harvard Business School, and he knows how to manipulate the media, almost as well as Trump himself.

Like all things in the Trump-universe, this is a hall of mirrors, where only a few people are inside on the entire illusion. The rest of us (and the media) get to see what they want us to see. And the media dutifully turn the cameras exactly where Trump directs. It’s a marvelous reality show unfolding right before our eyes.

It’s very possible that Mitt Romney will get the nod for secretary of state. Or retired Gen. David Petraeus. Or Corker, or Rudy Giuliani. Or even California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher?

The link on the tweet above will take you to an email archive which reads: “I have been told that I am under consideration to join President Trump’s team as Secretary of State.” It then implores you to take an online poll through Breitbart of various candidates for the job.

Talk about clickbait! This is the mother of all clickbait!

Just for fun, as of Monday night, the results are as follows:

John Bolton: 25.17%
Mitt Romney: 9.26%
Rudy Giuliani: 36.55%
Dana Rohrabacher: 6.14%
David Petraeus: 19.43%
Other: 3.45%

Keep in mind that this is made up of Breitbart viewers, so the poll is somewhat skewed. Even so, Romney is doing quite respectably among the “loyalists.” I expected him to be around 0.5 percent.

But it’s all a show. I can’t tell you that Trump has made up his mind, but I can tell you that he’s not really listening to the noise around him. He’s probably listening to Vice President-elect Mike Pence, Reince Priebus, Stephen Bannon, and most of all Jared Kushner. These are the people who get and keep Trump’s ear.

The rest of his mouthpieces are just doing their assigned tasks. They are reading from a script, albeit a reality show script, so they get to make up their own words as long as the plot advances.

I am continually impressed at Trump’s preternatural ability to freeze the press like Magic Johnson used to freeze defensive guards at the top of the key. It’s really fascinating to watch.

But don’t get too hung up on the drama. Remember: it’s a show. It’s for entertainment, just like The Apprentice. We can only hope that Trump makes the right appointments and nominations so real work can get done while he keeps churning out fresh drama every day.

I keep waiting for him to borrow the scene at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. “I’ve chosen my cabinet. We have top men working on it right now.”

“Who?”

“Top. Men.”


*I am fairly well acquainted with a former reality show contestant who told me the ongoing interviews are grueling. The producers ask questions, and you’re free to not answer, but then they ask you a different way again and again until you say what they want you to say. You might spend seven hours doing one of those 3 minute “private” segments. The shows are micro-produced, and essentially scripted, although the outcome isn’t known. Trump knows the ropes here, he’s done it for years.

 

The MSM Has No Moral Authority To Condemn The Alt-Right

The fourth estate believes itself to be the pinnacle of truth, integrity, and ethics. They shamelessly and without irony lecture President-elect Donald Trump about “press protocol” in failing to kowtow to the media’s demands for Trump’s schedule and whereabouts at every moment.

The one thing I’ve always liked about Trump is that he doesn’t buy it, because he’s been around the other side of the camera lens, where the deals are cut, ratings are worshipped, and personal bias is the rule rather than the exception. (Note that I didn’t use the term “one thing” as an idiom. It literally is the one thing I’ve always liked.)

They lecture America about Stephen Bannon, Breitbart and the “alt-right.” They lecture about racial prejudice, anti-Semitism, “fake news” and the rise of conservative talk radio. And America doesn’t buy it. Surely they know this because Donald Trump was elected president. But they believe their own lectures, and claim that the country was misled by Facebook memes and conservative websites.

The main stream media has misled America over and over again. From Dan Rather to Brian Williams, to George Stephanopoulos, to editorial boards of liberal newspapers across the nation, Americans know when they’re being fed a heap of bullsh*t. And when Americans would rather believe the memes and Breitbart hagiographic pieces, who should blame them? The main stream media has looked down its collective noses at Americans outside the big cities for a very long time, and they’ve traded their moral authority for partisan access to Democratic leaders.

Trump should snub them. He has every right to do so. In July, the Washington Post called Trump a “unique threat to American democracy.” They characterized his policies as “disastrous.” In October, they condemned Trump’s talk of “election-rigging,” and said he posts “an unprecedented threat to the peaceful transition of power.” Now they sympathize with anti-Trump protesters, writing how “nationwide protests are ‘just a taste of things to come.'” Who is the threat to the peaceful transition of power now?

During the campaign, a stunning 91 percent of coverage on evening newscasts was negative to Trump, according to a study by the Media Research Center. USA Today, in the first time in its 34-year history, took sides in a presidential race. They didn’t endorse a candidate–they published a screed lambasting Trump as “unfit for the presidency.” On Monday they wrote that “Bannon could darken Trump White House.”

What Stephen Bannon did at Breitbart was not different than what the Huffington Post has done. He gave extremist race identity opinions a voice. The main difference is that Breitbart’s extremist race identity opinions were from white people. Therefore, Bannon is a monster, but Huffington (which relegated Trump coverage to the “entertainment” section for a month when he first entered the race) is being politically correct.

It’s politically correct to suggest that the definition of racism is white people discriminating against non-white people, and not the other way around. For far too long, the “alt-left” has had its way as legitimate media while the “alt-right” was tucked in a dark, cobwebby corner of the web called “4chan.” Don’t get me wrong: both views are reprehensible and detestable. But we cannot even say that Rev. Jeremiah Wright or Al Sharpton is detestable without being labeled a bigot, while Wright is himself a bigot.

The main stream media has shimmed the levers of “news,” put its thumb, fingers, and fist on the scales of bias, and then wonders why conservative websites slant stories toward right-wing world views. They cry “fake news!” even when Rolling Stone has lost a defamation lawsuit (with actual malice) for publishing a fabricated story about a rape at U-Va. They would never even consider that their world view is irretrievably tilted toward an extreme minority of Americans.

HUGH HEWITT: 90% plus of Manhattan/Beltway media elites will vote for Hillary Clinton and will applaud her election. That seeps into coverage. It’s what Dan Rather said: news is where you look. Those elites look for news in places other than, for example, the Obamacare premium hikes or the problems at the FBI.

. . .

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Do you know anybody, Yamiche, at the New York Times who’s pro-life?

YAMICHE ALCINDOR: [laughs] That’s not a question I’m going to answer. I have no idea.

MATTHEWS: Do you know anybody? You don’t have to name names. Do you know anybody at the Times who’s pro-life.

ALCINDOR: I have not asked, I have not asked my coworkers that question I should say.

MATTHEWS: Oh, that’s cute. Hugh, you’re making your point. Go ahead. That’s the way you make your point.

Actually, Manhattan only went for Clinton 87.2 percent. Washington, D.C. went 92.8 percent, but Fairfax County, Virginia only had Clinton at 65.3 percent. Trump took better than 75 percent of Virginia’s counties, and lost by under 5 percent. It’s the media who only know people who voted for Clinton, and don’t care so much about Obamacare, the FBI, or Dan Rather’s lies about George W. Bush.

To condemn racism, a class of citizens has to have the moral authority to do so. One group of racists condemning another has no moral weight. The main stream media has given a pass to one group of racists, while condemning Donald Trump by association. I wish that Trump didn’t have those associations–and opposed him as a candidate in part because he had them and has not fully repudiated them.

Now that Trump is going to be president, the main stream media thinks they can merrily go about their business giving a pass to one set of racists and their fellow travelers while calling those who give a pass to the other set of racists bigots for doing so. They have no moral authority to do that, and Americans can see right through their vitreous hypocrisy.

The truth is, that the main stream media deserves to have a Breitbart at the table. They deserve it when Stephen Bannon is in the White House, and Breitbart gets prime press interviews, administration news morsels and special access to power. They’ve been playing that game for decades and they expect to be fed, not just the table scraps, but the main course. They even want to choose from the menu. Now that Trump is exercising his complete moral and ethical right to snub them at every opportunity (whether he even realizes he’s snubbing them isn’t important), they will take upon themselves the character and emotional maturity of a two-year-old whose ice cream cone has fallen to the ground.

As much as I detest the “alt-right” for their racialism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and populist authoritarian nightmare-dreams, I am happy to see that finally the left’s hegemony on promoting racist views is being challenged while their utter lack of moral authority on the matter is being nakedly exposed for all to see.

For that one thing, I thank President-elect Trump and Stephen Bannon. Gentlemen, rub their collective noses in it for the next four years.

7 Takeaways From Trump’s First Week As President-Elect

It’s been a week since Donald Trump won the election. Here are some key takeaways that can lend us some clues as to what we can expect moving forward, and some we can extrapolate for the next four years.

Actually, it’s mostly good news.

Trump is really trying

You might think that’s either too obvious or not pertinent, but it’s important. That first visit to the Oval Office seems to have had an effect. There he learned the scope of what the President of the United States does, and it may have humbled him a bit. The fact that a thousand people will need to be ready to start work on January 20 is sinking in, and Trump is working hard to play catch up.

Trying is 80 percent of the job. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to have someone with very little conception of the actual duties and pressures learn the position. As long as he tries.

It’s true, he has no ties to manipulate him

One of Trump’s first acts was to can Chris Christie as head of the transition team. The reason: Christie loaded the team with lobbyists and some political hacks. Were they “bad people?” No. But they were like vultures circling waiting for a meal. If Trump wants to #DrainTheSwamp, he had to start there.

The people who get transition team, adviser, and cabinet positions will be those Trump personally feels he can rely on. There will be no quid-pro-quo in the Trump administration. Loyalty and protecting the boss will be the rewarded behavior.

Infighting is healthy

What everyone else thinks is a “knife fight” is a natural process for Trump. If Giuliani wants the secretary of state job, he’s going to have to fight for it. He truly wants some level of conflict in his administration, because that will give him a gauge for how certain groups will react to any given decision.

It’s not like Trump is going to listen to his advisers, not as a group anyway. He’s just as likely to go with what the last person he talked to said, but with a balance of Vice President-elect Mike Pence, the ever-steady Reince Priebus as chief of staff and the permanent middle-finger of Stephen Bannon, he’ll have a range of opinions from which to choose.

Fearless of failure

Trump dismissed substantially his entire transition team after demoting Christie and handing it over to Pence. That put a huge dent in what needs to be complete in just over 60 days. The transition team will have to work harder, and still probably won’t get where they need to be by January 20th. But Trump’s transition will be free of lobbyists and cronies.

How many political leaders could pull a switch like that and live through the inevitable storm that follows? Trump simply doesn’t care. A thousand people will get political appointments, and if I had to guess, 25 to 50 percent of them will end up fired during Trump’s term.

The rule is: disappoint POTUS or make him look bad, and you’re fired. It’s Sun Tzu all the way down. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work in the true civil service sphere where it’s nigh impossible to fire anyone. But it’s not hard for Congress to cut funding, which makes everyone’s job tied to a particular budget line-item a game of musical chairs. At some point in his tenure, Trump will figure out that he gets to call the tune, and then things could change quickly.

The biggest pushback Trump will get is from individual representatives and senators up for election in 2018. People in a district who lose their jobs tend to remember that at the voting booth. But again, Trump won’t care. He may be able to make that “penny plan” work for him. The only way to do it is to be fearless of failure.

Trump can take on untouchable issues

If you were looking for Trump to roll back same-sex marriage, you’ll be disappointed. (Although President Obama was pro-traditional marriage during his campaign and changed his mind in office. So there’s hope.) If you’re looking for Trump to tackle campaign finance, the influence of lobbyists, and term limits, you’ve found your man.

This is the one (and only) reason I’m happy that Bannon is in the White House along with Trump. Bannon is toxic to the Washington establishment and acts like garlic to vampires, or wolfsbane to werewolves. Trump will need to whip up massive public support for efforts like this–and even (gasp!) collaborate with Democrats like Sen. Bernie Sanders to ram it through.

The public support part isn’t hard, but only someone like Trump can do this since he isn’t dependent on his government job or keeping it.

The love/hate relationship with the press is now only hate

The press will use anything–and I mean anything–to try to embarrass, discredit, or otherwise hinder Trump. I mean look at this headline: “As Trump Leaves Press Behind for Steak Dinner, Incoming Admin Already Showing Lack of Transparency” (NBC News). Seriously, a private family dinner is being used to create a “snub” of the press corps.

Imagine how they are going to feel when Trump revokes their press credentials. This is something Obama tried and failed to do with Fox News. But now there’s a precedent for trying. I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump succeeds, especially with jackass headlines like that.

Trump has spent most of his Twitter time attacking the press–nothing surprising here. But he has shown good restraint on posting random and damaging rants. There’s nothing more terrifying than being singled out by the President-elect.

That last story…there’s an element of truth to it, in that Trump isn’t trying to make his kids into super spies. But they are closely tied to his campaign and his transition. It’s not unreasonable for some of them to obtain security clearances to access some of the information they’ll surely need. So yes, security clearance was requested for Trump kids, but no, it’s not nefarious.

Keep the main thing the main thing

The press and Trump’s detractors would like to make his entire presidency about the “alt-right.” Yes, neo-Nazis, white nationalists, and their antisocial friends are a stain and a blot on Trump’s campaign. He deserves much of the protest (not the violence) he’s getting because he brought it on himself. It will mostly pass.

But Trump ignores the protests for the most part. In George W. Bush’s presidency, and in Barack Obama’s, various groups have focused on the most negative aspects and sought to hang it around their necks. It’s always “the most divided we’ve ever been.”

Once in the White House, Trump will do well (and it appears he can do this) to avoid getting sucked into every personal attack and keep the main thing, the main thing. That was everyone’s biggest fear of Trump, since he was so easy to bait in the campaign. He still responds to press stories, but we probably won’t see him tweeting about Lena Dunham or Rosie O’Donnell as much–hopefully not at all.

Maybe the biggest thing Bannon can do in the White House is to be the lightning rod. Bannon deserves his detractors’ venom, because in many ways he’s a horrible, terrifying person. I have more faith in America than the people out in the streets who think Bannon is going to put on a Hugo Boss suit with twin lightning bolts on the lapels, and proclaim Trump fuhrer. That’s not going to happen.

Trump has shown in a few short days that he can keep the main thing front and center, while keeping a rabid press who loathe him at bay. That’s no small accomplishment for him.

The best I can do as a minor pundit is to keep praying for him and hoping he keeps trying, learning, and getting better. As President Obama encouraged, we should be rooting for him, because Trump is what we’ve got, as Americans, come Jan. 20th.