What in the World is the Obama Administration Doing?

Soon-to-be-former President Barack Obama has been busy. He sprints through the final days of his term like a bargain basement, determined to have something significant Trump can’t undo. To that end, the president has devoted last week to bridge-burning with our allies.

It began when a UN resolution was passed that condemned Israeli settlements on the West Bank. The U.S. historically vetoed anti-Israeli bills like these but they didn’t this time. No explanation for the about-face on U.S. policy was given to the public, but Secretary of State John Kerry gave Israel a patronizing lecture that contained a few clues. “You can be Democratic or you can be Jewish, but you cannot be both,” he said. Note: This is the only documented instance of John Kerry saying anything interesting on record. Who cares if it’s nonsense?

Planned talks for a 2-state solution collapsed two years ago, and it didn’t trouble Obama until last week. His refusal to stand by Israel is more likely a byproduct of his icy relationship with Netanyahu.

netanyahu

No bromance here

Trump sent a tweet calling Kerry a traitor and inexplicably referring to him as “the worst import from Vietnam”. He appeared with Don King for a mini-press conference (because why not?), and the boxing promoter waved small U.S. and Israeli flags. Trump said relatively little about Kerry except his speech “spoke for itself.”

The Israeli government responded quickly: “We have ironclad information that the Obama administration really helped push this resolution and helped craft it.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Secretary Kerry of supporting terrorism, which was unfairly harsh. Kerry doesn’t originate ideas or map out strategies. His only skill is reading in grave, statesman-like tones; he probably thinks the West Bank settlement is a condo community in Georgetown. 

Seriously, I don't know anything. But I look just like Andrew Jackson, right?

Seriously, I don’t know anything, but I look a lot like Andrew Jackson.

Continue reading

Advertisements

‘Tis the Season to Judge Recent First Ladies

The long Obama farewell had begun. Donald Trump will be inaugurated one month from today. I saw a clip of Oprah’s interview with Michelle Obama about the transition, and the First Lady said something to the effect of, “This is what it’s like not to have hope.” On the day the Trumps move in, will the Obamas ceremonially hand them the keys? If so, I bet this clip will make things a bit awkward.

So here is my Christmas gift to you – a prediction of the Donald Trump/Michelle Obama interaction:

  • Donald Trump (sniffing): “Hey Michelle, we caught your interview on Oprah. I will tell you this: I’m good on TV. Everyone knows it, everyone says it. I’m great on TV. I’m terrific. You are not so great, and you showed up like a rookie, like someone wandering into Hollywood for the first time, okay? That’s what you did. How about we have a little decorum, okay? Can we have a little of that? Thanks a lot, Loser Michelle! That’s going to be your nickname, Loser Michelle.”
  • Michelle Obama (smiling brightly): “Oh, you caught my interview? I’m so glad you caught it. I was hoping you would catch it! Because I want to thank you for killing all my hope, until not a single ray of sunshine is left to say, ‘Michelle, don’t worry. It’s going to be okay.’ Because it won’t be, and that’s because of you. And yeah, I know my interview in the White House with Oprah was not as great as your Current Affairs interview on a bus with Billy Bush. Why don’t you go back to being a Prima Donna? Prima Donald, that’s your nickname.”
  • Melania Trump (stares right through them with icy cat eyes, says nothing)

Continue reading

Out of Election Anesthesia – The Era of Dishonest, Disreputable Media

If any factor that was external to either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton could be said to have swayed the election, it was the media. The media is overwhelmingly leftist in their thinking – except Fox News, which is overwhelmingly right-wing.

The absurd practice of newspapers endorsing candidates is an excellent example of how the modern-day media really has no idea why they have a 6% nationwide approval rating. They were unsurprisingly in the tank for Hillary Clinton, glossing over the negative stories (particularly the Wikileaks revelations) and harsh on Trump’s many mistakes and departures from political correctness.

But even Democrats, whose candidate received all the advantages the press could bestow, were uncomfortable. No one likes the sense that the wool is being pulled over their eyes and it was plain the press was carefully selecting stories to benefit Clinton, emphasizing or omitting details to her advantage, etc.

The media has done lasting damage to its reputation with its blatant dishonesty and politicking. In particular, the once-great reputations of Washington Post and New York Times are unlikely to recover. When they try to legitimately raise an alarm about Trump, who will listen? They’ve cried wolf too many times to be believed.

media

Conservatives, independents, and libertarians have distrusted the media forever. But liberals now have a genuine beef. New York Times had Hillary at a 92% chance of winning until the day of the election. Even Nate Silver, the formerly-beloved pollster, gave Hillary a 72% chance. Democrats argue these poor predictions made them overly complacent. Personally, I doubt that it would have made a significant difference in turnout.

The media highlighted all the post-election protests, with college kids wandering around with signs reading “Not My President”, etc. I’ll say upfront, I’ve never been to a protest. I don’t think they do any good, even when I’m sympathetic to the cause. In this case, I don’t understand why people are protesting. We had a legal election, and everyone had the opportunity to vote. The outcome was close but clear.

But I was curious about the protests and I happened to be in New York this week. One night, I walked over to Trump Tower. The streets were barricaded for one block each way and as I got closer, I saw lots of police vehicles and tons of media. But I had to look for the protesters. Finally, I saw them… all sixteen of them. It was cold, and they were standing close together, holding signs and chanting. There was literally nothing going on, so I went back to my hotel and flipped on the news, where the media was covering the massive protests at Trump Tower.

Final point on the media is the new concept they’ve put forward: “Should we normalize Donald Trump?” What does normalizing mean? Basically, talking about him the way they would discuss any other president, asking him questions and reporting on his answers as they would on any other candidate. There is a huge push in the media to not normalize him, which appears to mean focusing on what they see as unacceptable in Trump (e.g., his cordiality with Vladimir Putin, his push to rigidly enforce immigration laws, etc.), and treating his administration as illegitimate.

truthiness

truthiness – a concept way ahead of its time

I imagine the media will not ‘normalize’ Trump, and it won’t matter one bit. They’ve lost their credibility with Americans, and certainly have no fans in the upcoming Trump administration. This matters – as an example, the media kicked up a big fuss this week when Trump went out for dinner with his family, without notifying them. Apparently, other President Elects were cool with the media knowing the minutest of details about them. They were outraged that Trump neglected to inform them, and said it was evidence of his hostility toward the First Amendment (insert eye roll)

The media doesn’t seem to understand they are 100% reliant on Trump now. And that’s not good for them, as the Donald has shown himself to be someone who is resentful and holds grudges.