The true nature of things likes to conceal itself

The proper title of this article is, In defence of Donald Trump, a man of character among a pack of dogs. This is how it ends with much of good sense before the end is reached.

I don’t know anyone who voted for Donald Trump, or who later came to support him, because he thought the president was a candidate for sainthood.

On the contrary, people supported him, first, because of what he promised to do and, second, because of what, over the past two years, he has accomplished. These accomplishments, from rolling back the regulatory state and scores of conservative judicial appointments, from moving our Israeli embassy to Jerusalem to resuscitating our military, working to end Obamacare, and fighting to keep our borders secure, are not morally neutral data points. They are evidences of a political vision and of promises made and kept. They are, in short, evidences of what sort of character Donald Trump is.

Add them up and I think they go a long way towards a definition of good character that Donald Trump can clear.

Voltaire, writing against Rousseau and his self-intoxicated paeans to “virtue,” occupied a similar semantic neighborhood: “What is virtue, my friend?” Voltaire asked. “It is to do good: let us do it, and that’s enough. We won’t look into your motives.”

Character is not destiny. The future is not fixed. We have a right to hope.

And in this spirit, the best to you all for the New Year.

This entry was posted in American politics, Philosophy. Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to The true nature of things likes to conceal itself

  1. Sentinel Man

    Would that we had a Donald Trump in Australia.

  2. Rafe Champion

    And the best to you Steve!

  3. bespoke

    Happy new year Steve.

    There is denying Trumps Character isn’t what we are used to. But you only have to look just below the professional class veneer and see a much disturbing picture of contempt, pettiness and distain for the people they serve.

  4. Mak Siccar

    A happy and healthy 2019 to Profs Sinc and Steve, to Rafe and the other contributors, and to the Cats and Kittehs who lurk on this excellent blog.

  5. JohnL

    Steve, I read the full article and comments. Here is one of the comments:
    Thirty years from now when Jonah is sitting around the fireside with his grandson on his knee, and the grandson asks him, what he did in the great Civil War of 2017 to 2024? – he will be compelled to confess, “Well, I shoveled shit at The National Review.”

  6. egg_

    But you only have to look just below the professional class veneer and see a much disturbing picture of contempt, pettiness and distain for the people they serve.

    Turkeys have a tendency to smear eagles with their turkey sh1t.

  7. JohnL

    https://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/in-the-news/farrell-how-the-fbi-ran-an-illegal-counterintelligence-masquerade-in-plot-to-get-trump/?utm_source=deployer&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=tipsheet&utm_term=members&utm_content=20181231220216

    Farrell: How the FBI Ran an Illegal Counterintelligence Masquerade in Plot to Get Trump
    DECEMBER 20, 2018
    In examining the cast of FBI and senior Department of Justice (DOJ) officials fired, retired, resigned and under investigation since May 2017, the breathtaking scope of the FBI’s unprecedented criminal efforts to steer a presidential election and frame a newly elected president serves as Exhibit A for the organization’s disbandment. The “leadership” that willfully and corruptly ignored Hillary Clinton’s criminal mishandling of highly classified information had no problem faking a counterintelligence investigation to smear and destroy President Trump.

    A recitation of the FBI/DOJ Litany of Shame is called for: Comey, McCabe, Strzok, Page, Baker, Ohr, Yates, Priestap, Rybicki, Kortan, Campbell, Turgal, Bower, Steinbach, Giacalone, Laufman, Carlin, McCord — there are more, and eventually we’ll learn their names. Some took unlawful action draped in the American flag and smarmy self-righteousness. Some were careerists craving a retirement paycheck and a strong resume, standing by and doing nothing — negligent or complicit with guilty knowledge

    The group dubbed the “Secret Society” by FBI lawyer Lisa Page in a text to self-anointed FBI “Super Agent” Peter Strzok had a clear goal: Stop Trump. But how to do that “legally”? How does one manufacture a phony Russia hoax and hang it around Trump’s neck when you’re constrained from going after his campaign, organization and staff?

    The FBI is specifically prohibited from penetrating and subverting U.S. organizations under the provisions of Executive Order 12333, Section 2.9: “No one acting on behalf of agencies within the Intelligence Community may join or otherwise participate in any organization in the United States on behalf of any agency within the intelligence community without disclosing his intelligence affiliation to appropriate officials of the organization, except in accordance with procedures established by the head of the agency concerned and approved by the attorney general.” That’s tough for the “secret society.”

    Could they — would they — rely on Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and have her office generate a legal finding memo? An actual, discoverable, legal record detailing and authorizing an operation against a presidential candidate? Too risky on a few levels.

    But there’s more to Section 2.9: “Such participation shall be authorized only if it is essential to achieving lawful purposes as determined by the agency head or designee. No such participation may be undertaken for the purpose of influencing the activity of the organization or its members except in cases where: (a) The participation is undertaken on behalf of the FBI in the course of a lawful investigation; or (b) The organization concerned is composed primarily of individuals who are not United States persons and is reasonably believed to be acting on behalf of a foreign power.”

    That second portion of Section 2.9 was exploited by Strzok & Co to create the predicate for a foreign counterintelligence investigation overseas that would then be “imported” back into the United States — circumventing the prohibition on “Undisclosed Participation in Organizations Within the United States.” Using this technique, Strzok & Co wouldn’t be offensively targeting the Trump operation to subvert his election and presidency. The FBI would now be “reacting” to a foreign intelligence threat.

    Hence, we have the widely reported (FBI designed and orchestrated) events surrounding Carter Page, George Papadopolous, Stef Halper, Joseph Mifsud, Alexander Downer, et al. Super Agent Strzok even traveled to the United Kingdom (the safest “Outside the Continental United States” [OCONUS] operating environment for the FBI) to grease the skids for a counterintelligence “dangle” operation. The reader will recall Lisa Page’s December 2015 text message: “You get all our oconus lures approved? ;),” to Strzok.

    Having personally run double-agent operations as a counterintelligence case officer, I’m not guessing at this language and intelligence tradecraft.

    Thrilled with the initiation of their foreign counterintelligence investigation implicating Trump “associates,” (and laundering the criminality of their end-run of “undisclosed participation”) the secret society could launch full-bore with an array of techniques and tradecraft. Keep in mind that the FBI/DOJ never gave Trump a “defensive security briefing” that is standard when FBI/DOJ comes upon a foreign counterintelligence threat to a U.S. organization or corporation. Never.

    Not coincidentally, the “Trump Dossier” appears on the scene — thanks to Hillary Clinton and Democratic National Committee funding, via a couple of cut-outs, to actual Russians (a crime actually worth investigating). Next come the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants, predicated on Hillary’s mercenary’s lies. Now we know the FBI went so far as to phony-up investigative reports (“302s”) in the related framing of LTG Mike Flynn. Is there anything the FBI/DOJ leadership wouldn’t do to stop Trump?

    Here’s the big picture: there are the crimes described above — and there are the crimes to facilitate and then cover-up the underlying activity. That’s where the FBI got lost. It’s gone. No sensible American believes in the organization anymore. The DOJ is right there with them. Compromised, arrogant, ruthless, vindictive, detached, self-righteous, hypersensitive to criticism and largely immune. A fish rots from the head down. Go back and read the FBI/DOJ Litany of Shame. Review Comey’s arrogant, smug, Flynn-interview statement: “something I probably wouldn’t have done or maybe gotten away with in a more … organized administration.”

    The answer is to create an investigative division within the U.S. Marshals Service and laterally transfer over vetted, honest FBI agents. Collapse the decayed wreck of the FBI within six months and hope the American public can once again believe in “Equal Justice Under the Law.”

  8. Tintarella di Luna

    A very happy New Year Steve and to your delightful family. Best wishes that hopes are realised in this New Year. Divine Providence gives us a new day each day and a new year each year to start again – nunc ceopi – now I being.

    This will be an exciting year for our family, a first grandchild is due very soon, and there is a little more certainty for the future for our child with serious disabilities, while there are health storms brewing, hope springs eternal.

    Happy New Year to Cats and Kittehs

  9. Chris M

    Terrific article Steve – in the context of being a leader and politician President Trump is one of outstanding character. I would have to think back to childhood to recall another politician who actually implements his promises and means what he says during the campaign phase. Everyone – left, right, whatever – benefits from a leader who speak the plain truth, means what they say and implements their promises. In the West it’s a whole new standard being set.

    Have a great New year 2019 Steve!

  10. Tel

    I don’t know anyone who voted for Donald Trump, or who later came to support him, because he thought the president was a candidate for sainthood.

    I’d just like to quickly remind everyone that the other choice was Hillary Clinton.

    They voted for Trump because of Hillary.

  11. Tintarella di Luna

    I’d just like to quickly remind everyone that the other choice was Hillary Clinton.

    They voted for Trump because of Hillary.

    And some voted for Trump instead of Hilary because of her bag of same-ol’, same-ol’ policies.

  12. Mark M

    Chang: 2018 is the Year Beijing Realized President Trump Was Outwitting Them….

    https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2018/12/31/chang-2018-is-the-year-beijing-realized-president-trump-was-outwitting-them/

    A good discussion between Charles Payne and Gordon Chang on Fox Business over the U.S. -vs- China trade confrontation. Mr. Chang makes a good point about 2018 being the year where Beijing realized they underestimated the cunning of President Trump.

    h/t comments @jonova

  13. candy

    “It is to do good: let us do it, and that’s enough. We won’t look into your motives.”
    “Character is not destiny. The future is not fixed. We have a right to hope”

    I tend to quite disagree with this.

    Motives do matter. It can cast a pall over a “good deed”.
    I also think character is nearly always destiny. An changes, modifies, refines but in the end is what he is. D. Trump was always going to be the successful unorthodox President he is.

  14. Dr Fred Lenin

    Thanks to Sinclair ,Steve,Rafe and the other contributors to the best blog in Australia ,the seat of Truth created by the productive in society . I predict we are going to have a lot to talk about in 2019 as the global fadcist left moves inexorably to their goal of world domination . The fourth Reich is trembling in Europe and the globalists are getting desparate as glimmers of rebellion against them ,we will see what happens.

  15. Tim Neilson

    “It is to do good: let us do it, and that’s enough. We won’t look into your motives.”

    Interestingly Trump himself said in “The Art of the Deal”:

    “I’ve never been terribly interested in why people give, because their motivation is rarely what it seems to be, and it’s almost never pure altruism. To me, what matters is the doing…”.

  16. candy

    To me, what matters is the doing…”.

    I’m not sure on that. It’s like the bikers riding with stuffed toys to give to sick kids at the hospital but on other days they are dealing drugs that kill people. Just as an example.

  17. Cynic of Ayr

    So, Trump is of suspect Character.
    Jack Kennedy, the God of US Politics, and Presidents, was a womaniser. Not poor character, but not angelic.
    His brother abandoned a girl to die, because of politics, and his poor character.
    Clinton was a womaniser – abundant photos still prove it today. Exhibit the photo of his look at Malania Trump at Trump’s inauguration. (Hill was not happy!) Poor character. Poorly hidden.
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4141526/Video-appears-Bill-Clinton-ogling-Ivanka-Trump.html
    https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2017/01/trump-inaugural-bill-clinton-ogles-melania-trump-hillary-looks-video/
    Obama was a thief, and I don’t doubt, a liar. Treason is possible. Stupidity is certain, as is poor character.
    Mrs Clinton didn’t make it to the WH, but if she had, her character was revealed by her tantrums when she lost. Poor character.
    Lesser beings like, FeinStein (pronuced “fine-stine.” In German, the second of the e or the i is dominant.); Schumer, Waters, too many to list, have good character? Their character is poor to appalling!
    None of the above achieved anything like what Trump has achieved! In fact, the US is lesser for them.
    I guess the disappointed can find nothing wrong with Trump, other than, “He’s a bad person!”

  18. Howard Hill

    Happy new year to all the cats may you all keep in good health.

    I’m not sure on that. It’s like the bikers riding with stuffed toys to give to sick kids at the hospital but on other days they are dealing drugs that kill people. Just as an example.

    It’s a free market and people are completely free not to buy drugs that kill them.

  19. Rafe Champion

    This is a piece about the reason most rightwing intellectuals hate Trump. I don’t have time to read it so I pass on without comment.

  20. Makka

    They voted for Trump because of Hillary.

    That alone wasn’t enough. People sensed in Trump someone who would do something. Something that would not be status quo, elitism. At the time they didn’t know what that would look like. Now they do. Ignorance now is no excuse, either way.

  21. egg_

    Happy Deplorable New Year!

  22. struth

    I’d just like to quickly remind everyone that the other choice was Hillary Clinton.

    Bullshit.
    They have primaries over there.

  23. The Donald has just received an excellent New Year gift: Elizabeth Warren has announced she’s running for President. All we need now is for Hillary to decide to call US citizens ‘Deplorables’ again and decide to run as well.

  24. Confused Old Misfit

    Rafe Champion
    #2896280, posted on January 1, 2019 at 2:07 pm

    This is a piece about the reason most rightwing intellectuals hate Trump. I don’t have time to read it so I pass on without comment.

    Just finished reading it.
    I’ve read the same ideas and conclusions, expressed more cogently, here, at the Cat.

  25. Confused Old Misfit

    This is worth a read.

    The unlikely 2016 election of Donald Trump—the first president without either prior political or military office—was a repudiation of the American “aristocracy.” By “rule of the best” I mean the ancien régime was no longer understood to suggest wealth and birth (alone), but instead envisioned itself as a supposed national meritocracy of those with proper degrees, and long service in the top hierarchies of government, media, blue-chip law firms, Wall Street, high tech, and academia.

    The 2016 election and refutation of the ruling class did not signal that those without such educations and qualifications were de facto better suited to direct the country. Instead, the lesson was that the past record of governance and the current stature of our assumed best and brightest certainly did not justify their reputations or authority, much less their outsized self-regard. In short, instead of being a meritocracy, they amount to a mediocracy, neither great nor awful, but mostly mediocre.

    Victor Davis Hanson

    RTWT here.

  26. Crossie

    Terrific article Steve – in the context of being a leader and politician President Trump is one of outstanding character. I would have to think back to childhood to recall another politician who actually implements his promises and means what he says during the campaign phase.

    Trump could be favourably compared to the outgoing Speaker Paul Ryan who makes conservative promises at election time and then completely disregards those promises in office. He could have assured funding for the border wall but refused to do so yet he had no compunction as a self-proclaimed Catholic in funding the abortion performing Planned Parenthood. Reprehensible.

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