The Man With The Golden Hat

November 7, 2016, in the wee hours of the morning with apologies to the late Terry Pratchett:

“The first interesting thing about angels, [Mr. Trump], is that sometimes, very rarely, at a point in a man’s career where he has made such a foul and tangled mess of his life that death appears to be the only sensible option, an angel appears to him, or, 1 should say, unto him, and offers him a chance to go back to the moment when it all went wrong, and this time do it right. Mr. Lipwig, I should like you to think of me as … an angel.”- all Terry Pratchett in Going Postal, save for the insertion.

Come on, tell me you haven’t thought of it.  The conman who gets one last chance.  The man who takes a dying institution and tries to turn it around (I think in this analogy Paul Ryan is Stanley.  I wonder who puts sulfur in his socks?)  The man who gets told it’s impossible and takes it one step higher. And the golden…. erm…. hat.

We were right to distrust him.  Everything in his past would lead us to distrust him.  Hell, I still distrust him, and every time he pulls his grand show man routine, I hold my breath, and I think “Is this the time he reverts to his roots?”

So, far… so far he hasn’t. But you know that’s the danger, right, that he’ll go back to his ways.  And it’s hair-raising never to be sure what part of this is Trump, and what part is showmanship.

And every time he’s told something is impossible he compulsively raises the stakes.  “I will ride to Genoa before a clacks gets there.”

EVERY time.

Are we to the “post office gets burned to the ground” o’clock, yet?  At what point does he get his temptation?  Is it now?  Will he succumb?

Did he get an angel just before the election?  And in this case I can’t even imagine who the angel would be.  (No, Putin doesn’t actually want the US to be more prosperous or stronger, guys.  Get a grip. That’s a lie so stupid only intellectuals would believe it.)  Perhaps his own inner self, someone he’d almost forgotten.  Did it say “I have a job for you.”

And will he remember that job?

It is only because I know the secret service aren’t likely to be Pratchett fans that I’m not sending him a gift basket of pineapples.


314 thoughts on “The Man With The Golden Hat

      1. Moist tends to win, benefiting everyone around him. Works for me.

        Of course, in this analogy, you would be an incarnation of William de Worde.

      2. Now, I will grant you that Trump rather lacks most of Moist’s glib charisma…but frankly, that was hardly the most important thing about Moist when it came to his, erm, more honest accomplishments.

  1. If Trump is faking it… he’s still doing a better job than the last several incumbents.

    Maybe more like The Great Lorenzo than Moist von Lipwig.

    1. If Trump is a patina of small government on a typical liberal….well, then that patina is a lot thicker than pretty much every GOP candidate from President in the primaries in my life time, and all but one of the general election candidates.

      As well as much of the GOP congressional leadership.

      Early this week I saw an article whose headline was along the lines of “If Trump is Crazy I Hope It Is Contagious.” Same for him being a fake.

    2. There’s a comment about “faking it” in Brandon Sanderson’s “The Way of Kings”. One of the characters does something absolutely insane from a practicality standpoint in order to keep his word. Another character, who’s been burned badly by a man who projects an honorable façade (but isn’t), ponders to himself whether the first character really is that honorable, or is just faking it.

      And then he realizes that it doesn’t really matter. Anyone who would go to the lengths that the first character went to in order to appear to be honorable is going to do the honorable thing in virtually every situation regardless of his reasons why.

      There’s a possibility that Trump is faking it. But given the lengths that he’s gone to in order to “fake it”, does it really matter?

  2. “I believe in freedom, Mr. Lipwig. Not many people do, although they will, of course, protest otherwise. And no practical definition of freedom would be complete without the freedom to take the consequences. Indeed, it is the freedom upon which all the others are based.” -Havelock Vetinari

    I hadn’t thought about Going Postal and Trump but it makes perfect sense. I hope he doesn’t revert. Much like that book, he’s working against even bigger con artists that people love. Which member of the Democratic Party is Reacher Gilt?

          1. Your mouth to G-d’s ear, sir.

            I keep hearing good things about the judicial appointments – if the Bench can be turned towards a Vimes-ish attitude, that will do a world of good.

            1. The trick would be to come up with the right appeal to Vimes.

              Of course, if he ran for the border, one wonders whether he’d get there before or after the city’s nobles who’d heard about his nomination.

    1. You don’t know how free you are. I live in the UK and I’ve been trying to kick up a fuss about reported plans to pass a law making it illegal for anybody (yes, including adults) to cycle without a bicycle helmet. I was prepared for people to say I am stupid to cycle without a helmet (arguably I am although I don’t race and I’ve never had a tumble bad enough to need medical attention). I was not prepared for the vast majority of people that took it almost for granted that the government had the right and the duty to stop me doing something that posed a risk only to me. I used to think that the greatest defense of our liberty here was people whose reaction to authority figures was “it’s a free country!” or had an ingrained belief that “the government can’t do that.” Now I worry that we have lost that protection.

      1. … duty to stop me doing something that posed a risk only to me.

        As they expect to pay for your medical care should you tumble, be grateful they allow you to ride a bike without being encased in bubble wrap.

        The anticipated law would allow them to refuse to pay for injuries incurred while in violation of regulations. Although they could harvest your organs without paying anything to your estate.

  3. I’m not going to be able to make any certain conclusions until after he leaves office.

    I think I haven’t read Raising Steam, and I have more interest in doing so than I’ve had in a long time.

    1. Quite a lot of early British trainspotting, not much Discworld.

      Frankly, it felt like it was originally written as a non-Disc story and the Disc stuff got bolted on after the fact.

  4. He’s doing a lot better than I expected him to, that’s for sure.

    He’s still in the garbage clean-up phase, taking an axe to the dead wood and setting fire to 70 years of accumulated socialist crap. Its been building up since FDR, there are mountains of it.

    He only has four years, he can’t clean it all that fast. But it might be interesting to see what he would build, given the chance.

      1. I can’t wait to see what happens once people actually start getting more money in their paychecks next month.

        For the elites an extra $50/week might be “insignificant”, but for real people that’s a couple of utility bills, yo.

        1. Add the many who got unexpected raises because of the corporate cuts as well and it will be more than $50. I got an unexpected cola. 2.8% ain’t much, unless you were expecting zero.

        2. Those headlines irritate the hell out of me.

          I’m a bankster FFS and even I see the value of an extra $200/month. Not to some other person but to me. That’s the gas bill plus some when we have a weird cold snap (you know, like the past two weeks) or $200 to the down payment on a house or most of what the cat cost us in his fight with the new gray cat across the street (Sable needed shots and cleaning, no stitches though which his opponent got) or or or.

          Perhaps it is because I didn’t grow up a bankster or become one until after 45 but I cannot imagine how your life has to be to sniff at another $2400/year because it is “not that much”.

        3. Heck, having a little extra wiggle-room is the difference between having
          tuna bake (4 cans tuna, bag of spinach, half a bag of macaroni, can of mushroom soup, 2-3 cups shredded cheddar mix, garlic salt and lemon pepper to taste)
          on a Friday, and having
          artichoke spinach salmon bake. (4 cans cheap salmon– it’s not like I WANT chunks, after all– bag of spinach, two cans artichoke hearts, 1-2 cup shredded Parmesan or mozzarella, 1cup powdered/spaghetti type Parmesan, block of cream cheese, cup sour cream, cup mayo, garlic salt and lemon pepper to taste)

          Which I just finished putting in the fridge to set before I bake it.

          Notice how much higher the ratio of filler to high-flavor ingredients is in the first one….this will have leftovers for a couple of days, and they’ll be enjoyable. Worth the price, if you’ve got the money to put into it.

          1. The Dems have been poor-mouthing Republican tax cuts since Reagan’s days, when they derided his cuts which, in their formulation, would have only amounted to a (large, though they never admitted it) pizza for a family of four once a week.

            There are plenty of families who would welcome that weekly pizza night! What they (deliberately) overlook is the compounding of such funds. What they never acknowledge is how many of their proposed economic proposals add up to little more than that weekly pizza.

            I figured it out
            I figured it out
            With a pencil and a pad I figured it out!
            Seven and a half cents doesn’t buy a hell of a lot,
            Seven and a half cents doesn’t mean a thing!
            But give it to me every hour,
            Forty hours every week,
            And that’s enough for me to be living like a king!
            I figured it out

        4. If it’s really insignificant to the elites, well, then, they can use that money to raise Manuel’s and Manuela’s wages. It will make a BIG difference to them.

  5. This is a prime example of why you should never draw your analogies from fiction. Trump would never see himself as Moist. He would never see himself as someone morally compromised given the chance at redemption. What the hell does he have to redeem himself for?

    Here’s what you’re missing: Trump’s enormous ego. It’s so big you can’t see it. He is determined to go down in history as America’s greatest president. He can probably see himself on Mount Rushmore. Everything he does is with a purpose.

    Of course, we’ve had great men of history before. I’m sure Lenin and Stalin thought they wanted to leave an impression on history. Unfortunately, they did it on the bodies of men and women.

    1. I’m not saying he sees himself that way. I’m saying it’s a good predictor. What does he have to redeem himself for? Do you need a list, including bribing and enabling the leviathan?

      1. He played the game. I am beginning to think that he hated it, but it was the only game in town and he is addicted to winning. Now he has a chance to take an axe to the scum he had to pay extortion to in order to win at the (rigged) game and he is loving it.
        I had thought he would be a disaster, but he isn’t. The above is the only explanation that I have for that.

        1. If you want to do construction and real estate in NJ, NY, and various places around the world, you have to play the game. 1) you may loathe it, but do it well so that you succeed or 2) you may not see it as too bad, but you hate how it cramps your ambitions and decide to “clean house” when you can so that in the future, it will be easier for you to profit.

          Either makes as much sense as other theories I’ve read.

        2. Go back and watch Trump’s old interviews. He’s been bitching about this for at least 30 years. But when you’re not in a position to change the rules, you play the game by the rules that are in place. Now he can change the rules, and he’s doing so as best he can — with a full understanding of what it’s like to play under those rules. That’s what most politicians lack — the vaguest comprehension of what their rules make people do.

          1. The thing I find most awesome is that he has mostly done it by ACTUALLY FOLLOWING THE RULES.

            Not trying to play by the same rules, not by changing the rules, but by actually enforcing the rules as written.

            1. actually following the rules makes his preferred changes actually stick harder than “I got a phone and a pen” and as one of his drivers is undoing Pan Man’s edicts out of spite, doing so via the actual rules makes his legacy as the undoer all the larger.
              And makes folks like the Clinton judge trying to block his legitimate reversals with illegitimate lawlessness look all the more corrupt.

            2. Modern legislators hate following the rules. They would much rather pass loosely worded feel-good laws and allow the regulators and administrators do the actual work of enacting the underlying rules.

              Note that three of the most hysteria inducing recent acts Trump has engaged in are:

              1) the demand that DACA beneficiaries be granted legal status instead of being held hostage in executive order limbo,

              2) that the temporary in “Temporary Protective Status” for people living here illegally has to have some kind of terminal date, and

              3) that if Congress doesn’t want people prosecuted for using marijuana in violation of laws enacted by Congress, then Congress should enact rescinding legislation.

              1. > 1) the demand that DACA beneficiaries be granted legal status

                I have no problem with that. Change their legal status to “illegal aliens” and deport them.

                1. Which is what Trump’s been doing, much to the consternation of the Democrats (who desperately need those votes). At the same time he’s repeatedly said that he’s willing to deal with the Democrats on this issue, but he isn’t going to be a sucker. Real border security first, then maybe there will be some kind of amnesty for those already here.

            3. The thing I find most awesome is that he has mostly done it by ACTUALLY FOLLOWING THE RULES.

              This. And doing it such a ways that everyone down the line has to play by they rules too, because when they don’t it makes it obvious how venal and incompetent they are.

    2. Lots of Presidents are ambitious and have big egos. That’s not particularly unique. Where they are also mad, the damage they can inflict has often been limited by the extent to which this is the United States.

      FDR’s concentration camps could’ve gone the Bergen-Belsen route had he carried them out in a different country.

      To raise the specter of history’s great mass murderers plausibly, you really need to show how the current circumstances more strongly resemble, say, the USSR than FDR’s did.

      1. *Every* president was ambitious. You don’t make it through the grueling primary process unless you’ve got ambition. Any serious candidate who tells you that they’re not ambitious is a liar.

      2. I’ve never understood why people criticize those running for President as having a huge ego. This is someone who thinks that he is the best possible person to govern a country of 300 million people, the most powerful country in history. The very act of deciding to run is a massive statement of ego.

    3. Nobody gets to be POTUS without an enormous ego. Look at Obama. Or Hillary. (shudder)

      The difference is that Trump, so far, is walking his talk. Obama never did.

      1. On a zero to ten, Trump is a four to six.

        Obama delivered much less, and his physically impossible promises were more outlandish.

        1. I would agree that Mr Trump is in the 4 – 6 range as well. The sad part is that that is a order of magnitude better than what we have had in the past. Will it keep up? Time will tell. I would really like to see another SC appointment or two.

              1. Fixing the Ninth Circus is likely to prove a generational, maybe even multi-generational, struggle. There’s just too many darn judges in it. Although if the Senate would stop letting Senators from the involved state(s) unilaterally veto judicial nominations it would help.

                1. No, it just takes thinking outside the box. You redefine the Ninth Circuit…as nothing. Or maybe the courthouse building. The areas formerly served by the Ninth Circuit are divided into two or three new Circuits, with fresh new judges. Most importantly, the physical courthouses are NOT in large cities.

                  As for the Ninth…they have no physical area of jurisdiction. No budget for clerks. Back in the age of sail, the Royal Navy would “yellow” unwanted Captains…promote them to Rear Admiral, but without assigning them to a squadron. Meaning half-pay ashore and a dignified retirement. This is the same thing.

                  1. While that’s possible, as is packing the court, neither are necessarily practical solutions, as they require major legislative support – you’d need a new Judicial Act.

                  2. The Catholic Church has a similar concept called a “titular see” (which has nothing to do with peepshows, guys… get your minds out of the gutter :-)). Basically, the pope transfers a troublesome bishop to a see that technically still exists, but was (for example) overrun by Muslims in the year 1187, or was swallowed up by the expanding Sahara Desert, or something of that nature.

                    > You redefine the Ninth Circuit…as nothing. Or maybe the courthouse building.

                    Or maybe the square mile of land surrounding Mary’s Igloo, Alaska (an actual place, by the way, though no longer inhabited).

                  1. I’d missed that, somehow. If that’s true, and the Republicans can maintain WH and Senate control at least half of the time over the next decade, then the problem of the Ninth may be resolved.

                  2. McConnell’s a squish, but he’s been a useful squish the last couple of years (starting with his refusal to allow Obama’s Scalia replacement to come up for a vote). Credit where it’s due.

                2. One could hope for a mega-quake, airline crash, Vandenberg missile test failure, Kim Jong Un attack, etc. to collapse the building when the court is in session.

          1. The thing is, Trump has gotten to the 4-6 range in one year. Yeah, the next three to seven could drag that down, but if he continues as he’s begin I think it could go higher.

            By contrast, this time in his first term, Obumbles had reached the 0-1 range and was digging. And so far as I was concerned Her Shrillness starting at 0 would include a lot of benefit of the doubt I didn’t think she deserved.

            1. Obama promised do be a feckless do nothing on the matter of letting the Iranians have the bomb, and he did. Obama promised to screw up our energy policy, and he did.

              Getting Mexico to pay for the wall seems to presume that whatever is extracted from Mexico could be worth what it takes to extract it.

              1. Oh, hell, if we conquered Mexico we could send down the nitwits who are currently misgoverning New Jersey and California to run it and improve the governance in all three territories.

                1. I’ve actually got a long-standing argument going with one of my best friends. He insists that the US should have annexed Mexico back in the late 1800’s. I think that doing that would have actually had a longer term negative impact because we wouldn’t have had the resources to bring them up to the rest of the US at that time.

                  1. Hell, we don’t have the resources to bring them up to the rest of the US now. It would require people who were ready to insist on clear lamd titles amd rule of law, and they’re in damned short supply.

    4. > Trump’s enormous ego. It’s so big you can’t see it.

      What part of this wasn’t true of Obama, Bush, Clinton, Reagan et. al.?

      What human without an enormous ego could look at the US and say “Hey, I can run that. I can be leader of the Freeish World”?

      1. And ego, when pointed in the proper direction can be a force for good. The proper direction, in my opinion, being in the direction of ‘enlightened self interest, or, what’s good for everyone is also good for me’ rather than simply ‘self interest, or, screw everyone else this is all about ME.’

        1. Besides the “direction of ego”, there’s the difference between “I know what I want and am willing to listen to advice on how to get it” and “Don’t tell me what I don’t want to hear”.

          Trump seems to have the first and Hillary definitely had the second.

          1. Well, and in all honesty ‘ego’ in the negative sense of the term is Hillary (or Obama, or anyone of any stripe who only wants ‘yes-men’), while the other says to me…”good business” (provided, of course, that what one wants isn’t something horrific, 😀 )

      2. Oh, I see the ego daily. Thing is, I understand that ego is precisely what he needs to counterbalance the tsunami of negativism from the Demon-ocrats and enemy Republicans. A lesser person, or lesser ego, probably would have blown their brains out months ago.

    5. The mere fact that he (or anybody) runs for President is indicative of an enormous ego. The humble don’t seek the highest office in the land. It’s neither here nor there as to what kind of President he would be as a result.

      1. Generally true, though there are some indications Taft was pushed toward that office by his wife and that he’d have preferred to be on the Supreme Court, back when Teddy Roosevelt was dangling opportunities before him.

            1. I would, but then I have a weird sense of duty. Doubt I’d enjoy it much, but the job would at least get more or less done.

              1. I would not. The temptation to say, oh, “Mister Secretary, I have a list, I have a list… of cities, counties, and states in open rebellion against the duly elected government. End this rebellion.” Followed by “If we come out of this with intact infrastructure- okay, mostly intact, we can rebuild- a citzenry reminded of civic pride and duties thereof, a border that actually works, and have shown the rest that we really mean it when we say ‘shall not be infringed,’ that would be nice,” would be a bit on the overwhelming side. Or, should Israel ask even once about the Palestinians, reply “Push them into the sea for all I care. They’re terrorists.” Or remove all funding for any college receiving federal dollars that gets uppity. Abolish departments wholesale (Education, I’m looking at you), investigate the three letter agencies with whomsoever I could find with the integrity and muleheaded stubbornness to do the job. Direct charges to be brought low and high for anyone breaking the law. Et cetera.

                Nope. I’d be a bad choice. I’ll not be on any ballot, and if elected won’t serve. I *know* what bad choices I’d make.

                1. I am reminded of the scene at the end of The Fall of the Roman Empire, Livius’ line when offered the throne:
                  “You would not find me very suitable, because my first official act would be to have you all crucified.”

                    1. This is a bad thing. The minute we find ourselves comfortable seeing our “enemies” swinging from lamp posts by hemp rope means we are almost too far gone.

                    2. I’m not that kind. I want them to see their policies being ended, thwarted, etc. and the success of the opposite resulting in everything they falsely promised. I really want it so blatant that a new generation asks them, “WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING? HELL, WERE YOU THINKING?!!”

                      Good thing I’m not evil. }:o)

    6. The nice bit is that his ego seems to be aligned with “success”, which in this context means “prosperous nation.”

      The biggest issue of government – since angels don’t apply, how do we incentivize the venal to do good for us?

      1. I could not ask for a better lead in to one of my favorite Milton Freidman expressions: “The way you change things is to create a climate where it’s politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right things.”

        1. Funny thing– making it easy and profitable to do the right thing is a really good rephrasing of the original meaning of “social justice.”

          1. Don’t rely on the other guy’s better nature. He may not have one. Appeal to his self interest. It works more of the time.

            What’s really, great, though, is appealing to both “Doing well by doing good” is an excellent goal.

          2. “Funny thing– making it easy and profitable to do the right thing is a really good rephrasing of the original meaning of “social justice.””
            * * *
            “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” sounds like Christian charity (or any kind of good-hearted willingness to help others), but the socialists / Communists managed to ruin it.

            1. Oh, it is a very Christian idea.

              You just can’t mechanize sacrificial love, self-giving love.

              So it fails, and their metrics don’t allow for the reason it fails– because humans are widgets, right?

      2. “How do we (motivate, I hate the word Incentivize) the venal to do good for us?”

        Capitalism. Capitalism is about tempting people to do what you want, not threatening them. Statism is about threats.

        1. That was Adam Smith’s argument in his first major book (on moral philosophy) and it also appears in _The Wealth of Nations_. An individual may be venal, greedy, and inclined to avarice, but if soceity can harness that, everyone benefits.

    7. Moist didn’t see himself as morally compromised when he got this speech. He saw himself as having gotten caught, and facing someone who could kill him.

      1. That’s correct at the time. But his encounters during his “probation” lead him to reevaluate his past actions.

  6. We were right to distrust him. Everything in his past would lead us to distrust him. Hell, I still distrust him, and every time he pulls his grand show man routine, I hold my breath, and I think “Is this the time he reverts to his roots?”

    Before the election, I was utterly convinced Trump would be at least as big a disaster as Hillary. His history was pretty strongly left wing. Even in the campaign he’d thrown five, arguably six, of the amendments in the Bill of Rights under the bus. And the only thing to counter that was his rhetoric–words from a man who wrote the book (literally) on “sell the fantasy”, in saying what you have to to make the deal, who had admitted that what he was saying was “just flexible suggestions. And once he started to govern from a left-wing position (as I fully expected) all of the results would be blamed on “the right” (which to the media means anybody not left-liberal-progressive, ignoring the actual complexities of people’s positions). And that would be all she wrote for the Republic.

    I was wrong. Praise Odin, I was wrong. I was wrong. I was wrong. I was wrong. I have never been so glad to be wrong in my entire life. That’s not hyperbole. I mean that with complete sincerity.

    Even now, if he were to revert to the left-wing kleptocrat that I expected, there are things that are done that won’t be undone. Goresuch on the Supreme Court (not perfect, but oh so much better than anyone Hillary would have nominated). Other judicial nominees.

    For the first time in more than a decade, I actually have hope.

    1. and he doesn’t combine Hillary’s delusions with Hillary’s influence over federal law enforcement and Hillary’s inability to walk away from a lost cause as a bad deal. (Okay, maybe he is a reckless investor. Maybe he’s feckless. I don’t know. I do know that if he was as bad as Hillary is about doubling down on bad deals, even he would have lost his shirt by now.)

        1. Except he hasn’t lost his shirt. He’s been very canny about where his personal wealth is kept separate from his corporate investments. Think of a gambler that takes 50% of his winnings off the table and stashes them away each time, only playing with what’s left.

        2. Too lazy to go find it again but a while back I saw some interesting stats on that: Seems the average big investor has about a 50% fail-and-go-bankrupt rate; this is considered normal. Trump’s fail-and-go-bankrupt rate is about 5%.

        3. You can’t succeed unless you’re willing to fail. How you deal with failure tells me more about your personality than how you deal with success.

          1. Yep. I saw a list of all the businesses the man set ups vs. the ones that failed. It was astonishing. Apparently the guy really believes in diversification and eggs in lots of baskets.

            Federalism 101. It was one of the reasons I thought the U.S. could survive a crony capitalist Democrat vs.a criminally corrupt and idiotically blind to her own liabilities one. And that was assuming, by the way, that he’d still govern as Democrat-lite.

      1. even he would have lost his shirt by now
        He has. On several occasions. But he never would have made it back. On several occasions.

      2. He doesn’t have the government agencies and the media on his side, either. They’re DEAD SET against him.

    2. “Before the election, I was utterly convinced Trump would be at least as big a disaster as Hillary. His history was pretty strongly left wing.”

      I thought he was there to insure Hilary’s win. That he was meant to loose and he knew it (or his handlers did). I was wrong. In retrospect his prior political donation/activities were just business.

      Where he, and his, are now, they don’t need “more” (money or power), so they can do what is “right” to rise everyone. YMMV on whether you believe what he is doing is “right” or not. Personally, some items, not so much. Some items, yes. Some that forces congress and senate to do their job, okay yes, but what a gamble (that 1. they will do their job; 2. that it will go the correct way, if it matters).

      1. He may have had a come to Jesus moment, courtesy of his wife.

        She seems pretty strong-willed, in the nice way. “I know what I know, I believe what I believe, I’m not going to be nasty but I am not going to change.”

        1. I hadn’t thought of that, but she did grow up in Slovenia (part of communist Yugoslavia in her childhood). It would make sense that she would remember where the Marxist path leads and why avoiding it is important.
          That could help explain what we’ve seen from the POTUS.

          1. Glad it makes sense when it’s not just in my head!

            I’ve mentioned elsewhere that the one part of his campaign that rang true to me was his story of how he became pro-life, or at least started having doubts about abortion. It wasn’t really the kind of…well, high quality storyteller thing he usually offers. But it is similar it is to other folks I’ve met who were very Dem Standard, and now…aren’t. They’re often still reflexively that way, but when they talk or think or get into it, they keep coming up with the “wrong” answers.

            See also, that poor guy who grew up as a New York Jew, came out of the closet at 20, and recently came out of the political closet as a Trump Supporter.

          2. Yeah, but her dad was a party official. Its not impossible that she drank the kool aid as mother’s milk.

            The four possibilities from that background seem to be a) commie b) anti-commie c) unprincipled mouth whatever is convenient d) determinedly apolitical. If she’s an anticommunist, she seems to be a quiet one.

            1. She seem to be a quiet one on everything, which I find a refreshing change.

              The custom of having the President’s wife use her position as The President’s Wife to champion some social cause or other is one better abandoned.

              1. Off Topic.

                The First Lady’s traditional (unwritten) role was to represent her husband in the “Social Realm” of the nation’s capital.

                This was part of the “job” of any upper-class woman (besides managing the home).

                As liberal society began to “downplay” that role for the wife of important men, it became “necessary” for the First Lady to take on this “supporting some social cause”.

                It’s possible that our current First Lady is more active in Washington DC’s “Social Realm” than the News Media reports.

            2. Key thing, there: He was a Slovene Communist Party official.

              Slovenia is a rather interesting country, and the ethnicity that calls itself “Slovenian” is equally so. They’re used to being the doormat/interface between the various flavors of Germanic hegemony to their north, and the insane mobs to the south. They’re a uniquely pragmatic and cynical folk, and I don’t doubt but if the Martians ever come and conquer the Balkans, the Slovenes are just gonna sigh heavily, deal, and do their best to survive until they can get rid of the idiots somehow.

              You’ll note that the only province of the former Yugoslavia that had its shit together for the corporate divestiture which was the collapse of Tito’s fantasy-land was Slovenia. They had the smarts to maintain control of the arsenals, play along with the Serbs until they had the potential for the upper hand, and then… Buh-bye, Serbia and the JNA. The actual “fight for Slovenia” lasted about a week, and the Serbs were heading south with their tails tucked between their legs. None of that happened by accident–The Slovene government had contingency plans in place, and were ready for anything. I’m only about half-joking about that Martian thing, too–They’re crazy-prepared, and approaching levels of “Switzerland”, in terms of contingency planning and preparation. With the money and resources of Switzerland, as well as the terrain? I seriously doubt that anyone would ever even have thought about playing games with them. Unfortunately, Slovenia is not that wealthy, positioned poorly, and pretty much Belgium in the Balkans…

              I’d be looking for them to play whatever cards they get dealt in the future fairly well, and with a good deal of pragmatism. On the other hand, you don’t want them going on a depressive drinking spree with slivovitz, either–Slovenians are just about as passionate and destructive as drunken Serbs, but the difference is, they keep thinking while they’re drunk.

                1. I know squat about Czechs. Austrians, I know from Slovene opinion, which is the Austrians are not quite as great as the Austrians think…

                  Slovenia I know from having grown up around a Slovene, and all of his many friends, family, and acquaintances. The country is amazingly beautiful, but burdened by poor geography and being in a lousy neighborhood. Out of all the former Yugoslavian slave nations, the Slovenes are probably the most rational, pragmatic, and likely to succeed. However, they’ve still got a healthy quantity of Balkan insanity bubbling along under the surface, so who knows how things will actually work out for them?

            3. She was a successful model, wasn’t she?

              Seems like one of those jobs where they don’t especially want you to have noisy politics, unless it’s stuff they like.

              1. There are a lot more of those kinds of occupations than there used to be. Of course, used to be they simply didn’t want you to have noisy politics whether they liked yours or not.

      2. There’s still the odd little tid-bit that the last people Trump called before announcing his candidacy were the Clintons. What did they talk about? So far as I know, it’s never been revealed. But it’s obvious now that he didn’t end up just playing a stalking horse to Hillary’s efforts.

    3. I never,lost hope, but I’ve seen the Left as losing/expending more political capitol than they have gained overall since they drove Nixon (who I loathe, btw) out. I think that’s why they have gotten so dad-blasted strident; they know their position is slipping.

      1. Indeed. The very shrillness of their cries is what tells us they *know* they are losing power. We’ve seen it many times over the years. I believe our host has written about “roll left and die” a time or two. *grin*

    4. We likely owe a great deal to the Liberal tantrum, the refusal to “normalize” him, the Resistance. Had the Left seen Trump as a man they could manipulate work with it is probable they could have replicated Teddy Kennedy’s pantsing of George W Bush on education reform, when the senator from Chappaquiddick achieved a twofer: gutting the actual reform and hanging a target round Bush’s neck.

      Instead they opted t piss Trump off. They chose poorly.

      1. It always worked before. There’s something about DC that changes Republican Men of Principle into spineless squishes, a reverse Bright Slap.
        And for some reason, the former Democrats turned Republican seen to be able to resist this- Regan, and now Trump.

          1. Funny you should mention that…


            Considering the party to which the candidate belongs, its policies, and the effects of such on places like Blatimore, Detroit, New York, Seattle, a whole mess of metro California, D.C., and so on, one might think the illusions would be rather thin on the ground. Unfortunately for us, and civilization in general, there is good money to be made in perpetuating the problem(s).

    5. His appointments have mostly been great (with Swampy Sessions being a notable exception). His willingness to stay the hell out of their way has been outstanding. I credit his long experience in business for this.

      In less than a year with Mattis at the DoD helm, ISIS has been reduced from a de facto national government to a few hunted men hiding out in the desert. Not that the media will ever give Trump any credit for that, any more than they give Reagan credit for defeating the Soviet Union.

      What a refreshing change from Mr. “I’m smarter than everyone, therefore I will micromanage all my appointees”.

      As the saying goes, before he was President, Obama never ran anything but his mouth.

      1. I wonder about Sessions. I listened to him and paid attention to his record before he ever went to the justice department. Both what he says and how he acts seem different. I am curious as to what happened to cause the change. Or perhaps, his earlier persona was a facade. This would sadden me.

        1. I wonder about blackmail and a lot of Republicans. I used to think I was paranoid, but it really does seem to fit some of them. (Of course, worldly respect is probably enough to ruin many people. But the timing of some of these things is suspicious.)

          1. Consider the FISA vote. That lead me to suspect that someone in the IC has put together Hoover’s blackmail file again.

        2. It may just be that he’s working on gathering iron-clad evidence against the miscreants and that’s taking a lot of time, because Deep State.

          If he hasn’t been fired yet, that suggests that he’s doing exactly what the President expects him to do.

  7. I kind of wonder how much he is doing is payback for all the stuff he had to endure as a New York builder. If that’s the case, the left hasn’t seen anything yet.

            1. Not many states have a museum to their political history. Not state history in general, but just political history, especially the more colorful members (of which there are many). The state general history museum’s not bad, either.

              1. My fave story about the politics there is “Vote For The Crook, It’s Important!” an actual republican financed bumper sticker in support of Democrat Edwin Edwards (heh typoed it as Demodrat, and it works well) when he ran against David Duke.
                followed by the voted out Lafourche Parish Sheriff arrested for attempting to murder the incoming Sheriff via a bomb in his desk.

            2. I think you’re saying that since it’s a coastal city it qualifies as a border state; whereas I was referring to those states where you could physically walk across the border from Canada or Mexico.

  8. I think if you believe that Trump’s policies are going to destroy the United States, then it’s not so big a step to believe that Putin would *want* him to do so. And my impression is that people on the left really do believe that. It wasn’t that many months ago that I had some of the people I know in San Diego explaining to me how precisely Trump fit the pattern of a fascist takeover (while I was more concerned that the Antifa crowd looked like the early stages of fascism!).

    1. I don’t think the Left really believes that….or if they do their conception of ‘destroying the US’ runs to bolstering the economy and national pride. They want us to be ‘more like Europe’ ; beleaguered by burraucrats and pettyfoggery, and inundated by aliens to our culture. Under Trump that seems to be receding.

      1. I think you’re mistaken. I believe that the left actually thinks that Europe is economically more successful than the United States, and that changing away from European-style policies will destroy an economy. Look, for example, at the many people who were confident that Brexit would be economically catastrophic for the UK. “Beleaguered by bureaucrats and pettifoggery” is many people’s idea of what a modern, prosperous economy looks like; they think that if you don’t have massive regulatory interference, businesses will be wasteful and inefficient.

        1. Europe is economically more successful
          For certain definitions of “successful”. Their desired end results are not our desired end results.

        2. I really wish somebody would take the political term ‘efficient’ out behind the barn and kill it with an axe. Good businesses are not necessarily efficient; they are profitable. Efficiency CAN improve profitability, but it can also kill it by causing failures in other fields, like customer satisfaction.

          Governments are not efficient. They can’t be. And the more they are asked to do, the less efficient they will be.

          1. Efficient government has no brakes. Brakes being the thing that might stop one from acting when it decides to kill off its population.

          2. *does a double-take*

            Wow, that is creepy, in a kind of cool way– I just had whiplash because I’ve been paging through GK Chesterton and the paragraph or two I’ve read today was him saying roughly the same thing.

            Although, being him, he says it prettier. I’ll see if I can find and link it.

            …oh, awesome, it’s online:
            When everything about a people is for the time growing weak and ineffective, it begins to talk about efficiency. So it is that when a man’s body is a wreck he begins, for the first time, to talk about health. Vigorous organisms talk not about their processes, but about their aims. There cannot be any better proof of the physical efficiency of a man than that he talks cheerfully of a journey to the end of the world. And there cannot be any better proof of the practical efficiency of a nation than that it talks constantly of a journey to the end of the world, a journey to the Judgment Day and the New Jerusalem. There can be no stronger sign of a coarse material health than the tendency to run after high and wild ideals; it is in the first exuberance of infancy that we cry for the moon. None of the strong men in the strong ages would have understood what you meant by working for efficiency. Hildebrand would have said that he was working not for efficiency, but for the Catholic Church. Danton would have said that he was working not for efficiency, but for liberty, equality, and fraternity. Even if the ideal of such men were simply the ideal of kicking a man downstairs, they thought of the end like men, not of the process like paralytics. They did not say, “Efficiently elevating my right leg, using, you will notice, the muscles of the thigh and calf, which are in excellent order, I–” Their feeling was quite different. They were so filled with the beautiful vision of the man lying flat at the foot of the staircase that in that ecstasy the rest followed in a flash. In practice, the habit of generalizing and idealizing did not by any means mean worldly weakness. The time of big theories was the time of big results. In the era of sentiment and fine words, at the end of the eighteenth century, men were really robust and effective. The sentimentalists conquered Napoleon. The cynics could not catch De Wet. A hundred years ago our affairs for good or evil were wielded triumphantly by rhetoricians. Now our affairs are hopelessly muddled by strong, silent men. And just as this repudiation of big words and big visions has brought forth a race of small men in politics, so it has brought forth a race of small men in the arts. Our modern politicians claim the colossal license of Caesar and the Superman, claim that they are too practical to be pure and too patriotic to be moral; but the upshot of it all is that a mediocrity is Chancellor of the Exchequer. Our new artistic philosophers call for the same moral license, for a freedom to wreck heaven and earth with their energy; but the upshot of it all is that a mediocrity is Poet Laureate. I do not say that there are no stronger men than these; but will any one say that there are any men stronger than those men of old who were dominated by their philosophy and steeped in their religion? Whether bondage be better than freedom may be discussed. But that their bondage came to more than our freedom it will be difficult for any one to deny.

      2. To the Left, destruction of the United States looks like the cessation of our imitation of the socialist countries of Europe. Seems like the Left looks to Sweden often as the next best thing to their vision of Heaven.

        1. In which case, should they actually go there or live under that system, may any deity they ever believed in have mercy on them, especially if they are women.

          1. But, the leaders are all wealthy enough to avoid the problems their policies induce. That’s even true in places like “so perfectly socialist” Sweden.

      3. I think the Left’s conception of ‘destroying the US’ is largely limited to “preventing our taking control of everything and exacting tolls for breathing.”

        But I may be being overly generous toward them.

    2. The Eighties called. They want their foreign policy back.

      I’ve listened to Democrats warn against undue paranoia about Russian intentions all my life, and am amazed at how they spun on that dime and left eleven cents change.

      1. I’m not that surprised. For the first time in decades, Russia seemed to be working against them specifically, rather than just the USA as a whole.

        1. It’s hilarious.

          I’m guessing that Putin has a stack of reports on the latest paranoid anti-Russian shrieks, and keeps them in a desk drawer for when he feels the need to laugh.

      2. “The Eighties called. They want their foreign policy back.”
        — History doesn’t repeat itself but it rhymes —
        .”am amazed at how they spun on that dime ”
        — Remember that some ** cough ** Democrats supported the USSR party line about being with Hitler before they were against him —
        Ooops – did I just go Godwin?

  9. I felt the change when he threw his hat in the ring. I don’t know if he will revert back to his roots. I do know that unlike the other politicians he likes America. Its the only thing I have to offer.

    1. Back when I was mostly anti-Trump, I would point out that he wasn’t a cosmopolitan internationalist with oikiphobia, ala most Democrats.

  10. My ultimate nightmare scenario in the last election was Trump takes the presidency but the Dems take congress. Trump would revert to his New Yorker instincts and have no problems working with Schumer, Pelosi, and crew (he was a major contributor to them, after all). The Dems dream agenda gets passed, but because Trump is nominally a Republican, the Rs take all the blame for the resulting mess.

    I still worry about that scenario, to be honest. If the 2018 elections are as much of a disaster for the Republicans as is being forecast, that could still happen. The one barrier against that is that I think enough of the Left has convinced itself that Trump = Hitler that it may be that the Dems CAN’T work with him, even to enact their own agenda, without being labeled the equivalent of Quislings.

    1. There may be a second barrier against that. Leading figures in the Democratic Party have spent the past two years insulting Trump in earnest, not just politically but personally as well. And they’ve insulted his family – they’ve said nasty things about his wife kids for little more reason than they they’re his family. I’m not saying Donald Trump wouldn’t find some common ground on some issues, but the Democrats have been going out of their way to poison the well and through grit in the works.

      1. Did you see the ridiculous way some of them were sucking up to the President at that DACA meeting? It wasn’t even good acting. They were perfectly willing to sound worshipful to the face of “Mr. President,” after spending weeks saying he was a crazy Nazi.

        It doesn’t take much of a nose to detect the BS levels in that room….

    2. I also wonder how much of the ‘things look grim for the republicans’ is smoke and mirrors. The way ‘Hillary is a shoe-in!’ was smoke and mirrors.

      1. The 2017 results weren’t good. Now, granted, the Alabama senate seat was because the Republicans had the worst possible candidate, but state legislature and governor races in purple states didn’t look good either.

        Believe me, I hope that it’s all smoke and mirrors and the MSM’s wishful thinking, but I think it’s worth seriously considering the possibility that it isn’t.

      2. I don’t know if it is more smoke and mirrors or self-delusion. I do expect GOP loses but the reality is the House is pretty stable, people will have more money in their pockets, and the Dems have nearly as many Senators up in states Trump won by double digits as the GOP has Senators up.

        Flipping both houses seems a lot harder than getting some seats. I honestly would say it is 50/50 on who gains in the Senate and can’t see the Dems retaking the House given Pelosi is now attacking her own #2.

        1. Pelosi is now attacking her own #2.

          I have been under the impression Pelosi had lost her [#2] some time ago.

          But you are right about how the MSM always wants to look in depth into divisions among Republican while deeming Democrat infighting as not fit for public consumption. Look at what they pulled in Alabama: “Roy Moore had once been a Democrat who chased young women, Doug Jones is a Democrat wants to kill babies. So let’s ignore Jones and only look at Moore.”

          1. I have been under the impression Pelosi had lost her [#2] some time ago.

            Well, she obviously got more, as she and the rest of the evil party are currently busy losing their #2 pretending that no countries anywhere should ever be described as #2-holes, and that observing that some may in fact be such is clearly raaaaacis.

            Perhaps if one is always able to lose it on demand, one could be judged full thereof.

            How the evil party thinks that they will have any time to get ready for what I am assured is their inevitable takeover of congress in the next election when they keep being forced, in a series of uncontrollable Pavlovian responses, to run in circles and scream and shout, is quite the puzzlement to me.

            I do wish that POTUS had the foresight to know that anything he says that could be embarrassing or controversial in any private meeting will be made public, and thus install a filter on his language choices. But the underlying question, basically “Why is it that we want to bring in more unskilled-labor-level immmigrants instead of more educated technically skilled immigrants again?”, is a valid and relevant question that has not been answered.

        2. Something’s wrong with Pelosi. I don’t know if it’s because she’s getting old, or because she’s cracked under some kind of strain. But there’s video showing her confused about such basic things as who is the current occupant of the Oval Office.

      3. And how grim for which Republicans? We may see more non-Beltway Republican challengers in the primaries, and then onto the nationals. AND they’ve seen the Left’s hand in Alabama, and should be able to use that to defuse those particular lines of attack.

    3. The thing is. . .I’m MORE motivated to go to the polls in November. (Not that it will actually matter since this state is about as red as you can get).

      I’m with everybody else in that Trump is doing better than I ever imagined. I have more issues with the GOPe that still infest Congress. I’m hoping it’s a bad year for them. . .as long as they don’t get replaced by ‘D’s.

      If they can use the momentum from tax reform I can see the possibility to gain ground in November. (It’s Friday, I have a 3 day weekend AND my homework is almost all done already! Forgive me for my optimism!)

    4. If the 2018 elections are as much of a disaster for the Republicans as is being forecast …

      Were these the same forecasters who were measuring the White House drapes for Hillary?

      I’m not saying the polls are wrong, I’m saying:

      1. You cannot trust the pollsters

      2. You cannot trust the reporting on polls

      3. In politics, eleven months is a very very long time. There are far too many things that could happen between now and election day for us to take polls seriously.

      4. Dems historically poll better in the aggregate than do Republicans, yet Republicans have held Congressional majorities after ten of the last twelve elections.

      5. Alabama is a one off – means nothing.

      6. Virginia is scarcely a purple state; it is home to the deep state and Northern Virginia consists of more government employees per acre than any other place in the country

      7. President Trump Earns the Highest Presidential Approval Level of All Time
      Today, a “presidential approval poll” is little more than taking attendance. If you’re a Democrat, you disapprove of President Trump as a lifestyle choice. If you voted for Trump, you probably still approve of him because you knew exactly what you were getting. And if you are an anti-Trump conservative, you allow cognitive dissonance to rule your brain and you say he’s doing a good job but you disapprove of him anyway. David Brooks accidentally described this phenomenon in this article.

      I contend that business optimism — and small business optimism in particular — are the new standard for presidential approval because “economics” captures most of what a president influences.

      8. You cannot trust the pollsters

      9. You cannot trust the reporting on polls

      1. I cannot lay hand to it now, but I saw a report the other day showing that Trump has doubled his support among African-American and Hispanic men. What this might presage for the November voting is difficult to predict, but it suggests that all might not go as anticipated by the Dems and their OWB (Operatives With Bylines.)

        Keep in mind that this will not be a national election but 471 separate plebiscites (435 House races, 36 Senate — of which 26 will find Democrats defending their resistance, 10 of them in states Trump carried.) Any polling of the national temperament is therefore casting a veil over the situation, allowing such states as California to cast a veil over districts where the races are more narrowly determined.

        1. of which 26 will find Democrats defending their resistance, 10 of them in states Trump carried

          Funny thing, I’d been wondering if there just weren’t any around, seeing as how the Dems needing to defend anything wasn’t being brought up…..

          1. Yeah, funny that.

            Other things to keep in mind:

            “Since World War II, again via NPR `the president’s party loses an average of 28 seats in his first midterm election.` In fact, only once – George W.’s first mid-term (about a year after 9/11) has the incumbent’s party gained seats. In that case eight.”

            That average is somewhat skewed by four elections:
            1946 -45 Truman
            1974 -48 Ford
            1994 -52 Clinton
            2010 -63 Obama
            Average: 52

            1954 -18 Eisenhower
            1962 -04 JFK
            1970 -12 Nixon
            1978 -15 Carter
            1982 -26 Reagan
            1990 -08 Bush `41
            2002 +08 Bush `43
            Average: 10.7

            Truman and Ford are obviously one-offs, as is arguably Reagan (probably the most comparable to Trump) in `82, so any predictions based on historic trends are highly suspect. But the MSM will make them, repeatedly, all the same.

            1. The big unknown for the 2018 election is the degree to which the Dems will be able to sell their “moderate” candidates in fly-over country. Will voters accept mod-Dems as their representatives or will they remember how the national Dems used and discarded the Blue Dogs and imposed the Obama-Reid/Schumer-Pelosi agenda?

              1. Depends on how drunk the Dems are on their own ink.
                If they run Antifa/Occupy/SJW types across the country, they’re going to lose.

        2. > I saw a report the other day showing that Trump has doubled his support among African-American and Hispanic men.

          They may like having jobs. African-American unemployment is at its lowest level in 40 years.

      2. If we could spawn off NoVA into it’s own (add it to Maryland?), then you’d see VA go largely red. Most of the commonwealth minus NoVA, Norfolk, Richmond, Charlottesville and a few of the smaller municipalities was skewed heavily to Trump (like 11%+). Those places are all the major urban population centers. NoVA has as almost much population as the others combine.

        1. So what you’re saying is that if Trump fired all the government workers in NoVa, forcing them to move somewhere else to find a job, he could turn Virginia red?


          1. “forcing them to move somewhere else to find a job, ”
            Sadly, when Dems move elsewhere, they start turning it Blue, being a homogeneous group who don’t recognize that their policies and ideologies are the source of the problems they claim they want to solve, and they don’t assimilate well with the principles of the people already in the state they move in to.
            Well, most of them don’t; some do — everything falls into a bell curve.
            But that does put NoVA on the list of “why do we want more people from those places?”

        2. This is why I call NoVa “Outer D.C.” Rural Virginia went *heavily* Trump, with a lot more folks getting to the polls than the usual. Hillary just didn’t get the response that Obama did from the cities, which is why it was closer than I’d expected.

            1. Helped a friend move to Manassas a few years back. Got the same impression from what I heard from her and her mother, and talking to people around Arlington.

        3. Don’t need to spawn off NoVA. Just either decentralize the FedGov and send them all back to where they came, or make it a requirement that you have to live in DC to work for the government in DC 😀

          1. I actually *really* like the idea of de-centralizing, simply on defensive arguments.

            Keep Congress and the Pentagon in DC, all the diplomat guys, and send everyone else FAR FAR AWAY.

    5. That scenario didn’t bother me as much, being an example of the way checks and balances of the Constitution should work; albeit not the idiocy of “let’s impeach Trump because we don’t like him and he’s not Democrat.”

      What I do find annoying is too many Republicans in Congress showing their true colors and siding with the Democrats against a Republican President.

  11. I’ve been following Trump for more than 30 years, since right around the USFL days (just before them, to be accurate). What you see is what you get. He’s been like this for as long as I’ve been paying attention to him and he isn’t having an epiphany any time soon, if ever. His “policies” aren’t the problem-he is. He’s temperamentally unsuited for the job. I didn’t vote him or her nibs either. That would have been like choosing between being beaten to death with a crowbar or a baseball bat. Dead is dead. We deserve what we get!

    1. Thing is, see, you were going to get one of them. Sometimes the choice is between bad and worse. That you’re unable to discern that says a lot.
      As for deserving what we get — raises eyebrow — that should be singular. Speak for yourself.

      1. Yes, one of the real problems with democracy (and all its cousins, like our republic) is that you get what 50%+1 of the voting public deserves! 😉

    2. “He’s temperamentally unsuited for the job. ”
      Kind of depends on the definition of “the job” and “unsuited” — since President Trump is checking off a lot of “to do” boxes on my list.

          1. and usually with several people around either working on something or waiting for him to hand off what it is he is working on so they can get to their part of it.

    1. What would be the best progression through his oeuvre?
      Should one start with the first Discworld novel and proceed linearly through them?

      1. No. I did that, and the recommendation to start a bit later is sound. The first book… plods some… it’s not terrible, no, but it is a bit slow to spin up and is pretty much Part One of a two-parter. Start in on the third book, or with the first of the Night Watch or Witches sub-series. I would also suggest not starting with Small Gods (while it is meant to mirror a certain/some religious text/s it feels rather cumbersome and slow (to me) for/because of that. And then come back and fill in any minor (and I expect they will be minor) gaps with the skipped over works.

        1. The first book is a very early product. As Orvan said, it is finished in book two. It also has a bunch of sections which are pastiches of various properties. It is not very much like the later Discworld books.

          I started with his Bromeliad.

        2. I would say that the third book is still not the place to start. Yes, it has Granny Weatherwax, but she’s not quite the same Granny Weatherwax as in the later books, and the Discworld isn’t quite the Discworld yet, either. The series really came into focus with the fourth book, Mort.

          There are actually three main subseries in the series. The witches stories are set in Lancre, for the most part. The Night Watch stories are set in Ankh-Morpork. The stories about Death and his granddaughter Susan are set all over. Later, much later, the Moist von Lipwig stories branch off from the Night Watch stories, and there are also a few novels that stand on their own.

          I would say, start with one of Wyrd Sisters (the first Lancre novel), Men at Arms (the second Night Watch novel—the first, Guards! Guards! isn’t bad, but it isn’t as quintessentially Pratchettian), or one of the Death ones, perhaps Reaper Man, the second (though I myself am partial to Susan Sto Helit, who showed up later on). Any one of those three will give you an authentic Discworld experience. At that point you’ll know if you like it.

        3. I started with “Small Gods.” Which was lucky, as it was pretty much a standalone, and covered much of the backstory of the Disc as part of its background. So when I read one of the more mainstream Discworld novels later, I already knew pretty much how things worked.

      2. I’d recommend either starting with Hogfather, which while one of the “Death” books does really well as a standalone (well, technically they all more or less can stand on their own), or Guards, Guards!, which is the first of the Watch books. (Which are my absolute favorites, and I reread them at least once a year.)

        Alternatively, you could start with the Tiffany Aching books. The first of those is The Wee Free Men.

        I love Pratchett, but his earlier works up until you get to Hogfather or Guards, Guards are, while highly entertaining, not as completely brilliant as the ones that came around with those two. (And I consider Night Watch to be the pinnacle, followed closely by Thud.)

          1. My favourite bar none is the one where death takes a holiday. And not just because of the shopping scene in the Ankh Morpork shopping district, or the Bonsai! Wizards…

    1. Maybe with a nice note across the front that says:
      “I didn’t name it! The main character seems like a more accurate caricature of the President than the media can manage in their straight-up reporting, thought he might like it.”

        1. Think about his public persona. The man has to have a sense of humour and knows when to laugh even at himself. “you magnificent bastard, I read your book”…..

        2. I was more worried about the Secret Service taking the slang of “going postal,” meaning “kill a bunch of people unexpectedly,” in entirely the wrong way.

  12. After a year, I still don’t know if his success was due to deliberate strategy, or because his opponents are sub-gamma morons who can’t capitalize on his weaknesses, or some combination of both.

    1. Some of it was the media working to get who they thought would be the weakest possible candidate. They played Trump up tremendously in the primaries. Then he ran against a sub-gamma moron.

    2. Combination, because that’s usually the safest bet.
      Realistically, I think his strategy is “Do stuff that I think will get me re-elected while my opponents run around like chickens with their heads cut off.”
      Meanwhile, if his opponents were smart they’d be doing their level best to A. get their hardcore activists types to keep their weirdness on the down-low and B. find another Joe Lieberman. Instead, unless the DNC is using the cover provided by the hysteria to do so, they are doing the exact opposite of that.

  13. the secret service aren’t likely to be Pratchett fans

    Come now, nobody‘s likely to be a Pratchett fan — until they are!

  14. One thing I do know is that I’m suffering from Trump fatigue. I don’t think he’s the Antichrist-Hitler-Voldemort: I’m just tired of the neverending hysteria that greets his every utterance every. Single. Day. For. Two. Years. Now.

    1. I hear you on that one. One of the main reasons that I took a break from fecesbook and only check in about once a week if that. Too many “friends” ranting about “OMGHITLERTRUMPENDTIMES”. And those are the ones I haven’t punted or muted.

    2. That’s NOT Trump-fatigue.; that’s media-fatigue (or enemedia-fatigue). Disregard them; they’re johhny-one-notes.

      1. This is my problem. Trump’s fine – I’m not on Twitter, I don’t follow his every move. But I am heartily tired of the media going bat-guano berserk* because of everything they think he said or thought, or implied, or intimated, or hinted at, or might say, or might do, or looked at sideways.

        *With apologies to true berserkers historical and modern.

        1. Even if they stuck to what he said, it’d be annoying but meh.

          Now we’re subjected to every rumor anybody wants to push out, about Trump or anybody else, and FREAKING NOBODY EVEN DEMANDS TO SEE THE SUPPOSED SOURCE.

          I’m getting so SICK of following a news story on something like “Mattis said that global warming is a military issue” and they all dead-end at ONE blog, which claims to be quoting a leaked document from an unnamed source interpreting the answers to unlisted questions answered after a questioning which wasn’t put on record….but they won’t even give the entire question and answer they claim to be quoting, much less upload the document.

          1. I find it amusing that so much of this hysteria comes from the folks who derided questions about Obama’s birth certificate. As the recent panic over an unidentified source claiming Trump called certain third world countries “sh**holes” demonstrates, they are forever setting their hair on fire and blaming Trump for it.

            And, for the record, calling some of those places **itholes is an insult to **itholes.

        2. I think what you’re complaining about is actually part of the point to Trump’s tweets. The tweets drive the Left absolutely *bonkers*, so all they do is complain about the tweets. If they weren’t complaining about the tweets, then they might instead be able to do things like mount an effective defense against Trump’s actions.

          But they’d rather go berserk about something that’s largely inconsequential.

    3. See, I’m getting fat on all the hot buttered popcorn the left induces me to eat daily.

      Guess I’m one of those “life is a comedy” kind of guys.

      1. Right there with you! I can’t take the hysterical ninnies seriously. They’ve had it cranked up to eleventy for over a year with no signs of slowing down.

          1. Eh. Quibble. I think they’re addicted to the outrage high. “OMGWTFITSBBQ!?!?!” Then they post it, all their freinds like it and join in, and so on. That’s not endurace, that’s junkie behavior.

    4. Oh, it’s tiresome, but most instructive. The Democrat Propaganda Machine pushed Russian dossier as a run-up to possible impeachment, and shifted to his mental state as a run-up to possible use of the 25th Amendment. Meanwhile, it’s making many of us feel it’s a deliberate attempt to overturn the 2016 election and to disenfranchise everyone who doesn’t live in a big city.

  15. Once a month I send an e-mail to President Trump.

    “Keep up the good work and don’t let the turkeys get you down.”

    Although one month I did suggest using illegal immigrants as labor to build the Wall as part of their punishment for breaking and entering.

    1. According to Dick Durbin and Lindsay Graham he called some countries ‘shitholes’. So of course the Left is having it’s every single f-ing day freakout. . .because Trump.

        1. From what I’ve seen they were both named in the initial story.

          Of course we have 2 Republicans claiming that ‘They do not recall’ Trump using that language.

          It’s Trump. I could see it either way and. . .don’t care.

          1. The one I saw said “two sources at a meeting.”

            Since this is just a few days after Trump asked the Dems to pass a “law of love”, I’m thinking smear attempt.

            1. There was another story (out this afternoon) that today Trump rejected a proposal from Graham and Durbin saying it wasn’t good enough.

              From a political point of view I don’t see that as being anything like a smart move. Why actively piss off a man you need to work with? His base is already against the kind of things in it so not like they are going to be upset he hit the ‘reject’ button. From that angle it’s going to increase his support, not draw away from it.

              1. Except that “shaming him” does tend to work for the bullies.

                And I JUST remembered why I remembered Graham’s name– Gang of 8, McCain’s shadow, etc.

                Booger him.

                1. That was my thought as well. ‘Grahmnasty’ I believe was the nickname after that debacle! That’s he’s buddied up with Durbin tells us the rest of what we need to know.

                  1. Graham has been working very very hard to be a Friend of Trump; I find it unlikely he would risk burning that bridge by leaking such phrasing. More probably the Democrat operative with a byline reporter cited Graham in the story as distraction from the real source.

              1. One of the more interesting commentaries I’ve seen on it made the point that, even if Trump had* used such language, it would be against America’s interests to report it to the public. Senator Dick Dustbin, peoples’ representative of the kleptocracy of Illinois, should have kept his big fat stupid mouth shut about it rather than being that girl who runs to teacher to report “Donald used a bad word!”

                *And contrary to Senator Dustbin, it would hardly have been the first time such language had been used by a president nor the worst such language

          2. I do wonder what they are outraged over. Is it that they think those nations aren’t sh**holes (in which case they need to take a closer look) or that Trump accurately described them as sh**holes (in which case they need to offer a preferred euphemism)?

            1. Well, the condottiere cons are deeply offended that the Republican President is the *kind of man* who would say that sort of thing in public.

              I’m generally pretty strict on the topic of proper language but even I find myself “talking like that” when I report on some aspect of the popular culture. Mi dispiace!

              That ship alas, has sailed. But I do look forward to holding VileProgs to it down the road 🙂

              1. Except that he didn’t say it in public.

                Really, they’re just offended on behalf of any of the nations that Trump might have been referring to. And because if any of those nations absolutely knew that Trump was referring to them, the leaders of those nations would be compelled to protest.

  16. The thing the media doesn’t get about us flyover deplorables is that we like the fact that President Trump fights back. Many of us spent the post Regan decades wishing that the Republican leadership- or W- would actually show backbone and fight for once. The way we normal types would.

    1. It’s there lack of fight that has gotten us to this point. (Well, the lack of fight, the lack of keeping promises. . .ok, there are lots of reasons).

  17. I never thought Trump would destroy the country. Leave it worse off than it was before, sure. (Of course, I also thought the same of Clinton.)
    Now–I’m not entirely sure if he will leave the country worse-off, by which I mean a Democratic POTUS, a Democratic filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, and a Democratic majority in the House. This might work out for us.

  18. Speaking of the upcoming 2018 mid-term clown shows elections, this just in:

    Chelsea Manning is running for Senate in Maryland: Filing
    Chelsea Manning has filed to run for U.S. Senate as a Democrat in Maryland, according to a Federal Election Commission filing.


    Manning has been an outspoken voice in politics specifically in regards to LGBT rights, free speech, and transparency.

    President Trump tweeted in January that Manning was a “traitor” who should never have been released from prison.

    Manning would be challenging incumbent Democrat Ben Cardin, who is up for re-election.

    1. I will predict this will go about as well as when Cindy Sheehan decided to run against Nan Pelosi.

      1. Give Casey’s mom her due, she continued protesting when 0bama took over, it just wasn’t convenient for the narrative to have leftoids in media to pay any attention (or supply money) to her any more.

        1. When the Dems threw Sheehan down the memory hole is when I really for real realized they did not actually believe in the principles they purported in public, but were only supportive of something as long as it was useful to the Agenda aka Defeat Republicans by Any Means.

        1. The sad thing is, should she win she won’t be the dumbest, nor craziest nor most entitled member on her side of the aisle. Probably not even in the top five.

  19. “The great (and toothsome) sinners are made out of the very same material as those horrible phenomena the great Saints. The virtual disappearance of such material may mean insipid meals for us. But is it not utter frustration and famine for the Enemy? ”

    ” The great sinners seem easier to catch. But then they are incalculable. After you have played them for seventy years, the Enemy may snatch them from your claws in the seventy-first. They are capable, you see, of real repentance. They are conscious of real guilt. They are, if things take the wrong turn, as ready to defy the social pressures around them for the Enemy’s sake as they were to defy them for ours. It is in some ways more troublesome to track and swat an evasive wasp than to shoot, at close range, a wild elephant. But the elephant is more troublesome if you miss.”

    — Screwtape

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