Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game?

Posted on 2024-05-13
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When doing serious political work I used to spend a lot of time in busy diners in various locales, pretending to read a newspaper while actually listening to the random conversations around me. It gave me a candid snapshot of what people were saying to each other when not concerned with what they thought they should say. It was enough of a boost that when my take was dramatically different from conventional wisdom or the polls, eventually much of the state press corps and political leaders would hedge their bets. I still do it, though not as much and I don’t trust it as much anymore. I thought we were going to get a red wave in 2022 – and my diner “focus groups” confirmed that conclusion. I could have just been dead wrong – or fraud might have again been so rampant that an honest read does not matter anymore. There have always been outliers, but since 2018 I have been seriously wrong more than the entire 45 years prior to that. On the one hand, that is to be expected as society becomes more and more volatile – and old norms agreed to by all are routinely trashed. But it shakes you when the tools you have always used effectively are suddenly unreliable.

I have added a tool. I now like to go to lefty havens such as Starbucks and other trendy coffee shops to listen to what lefties say candidly to each other. It is bracing. They rarely ever actually talk to each other about anything substantive. Rather, they engage in dual monologues, seeking to attain the most virtue signal points. They are self-congratulatory, convinced that anyone who does not share their beliefs is a pathetic rube who will be swept away by the arc of history or some such. They never seriously discuss ideas other than their own substantively convinced that their righteousness is obvious on its face – like the color of their eyes or hair. To call their grasp of facts tenuous would be a vast overstatement

Occasionally I had a candidate who got irritated with me because I did not push the party line hard enough. I adamantly maintained that all an enforced party line accomplishes is to create an artificial consensus that blinds you to real dissent and concerns. When it blows (as it always will in an artificially enforced environment) it will catch you off guard and maybe derail your campaign. The delusions of the left are about to blow. When they do, the wailing and gnashing of teeth will be a sight for the ages.


Looking at the multitude of absurd cases against Donald Trump, one has to wonder, is there no authority that can look at this and say, “Enough already”? And then sanction the bad faith actors who have done this? For all the caterwauling of the left about “Orange Man Bad” everyone sees that this is a deep perversion of the legal system to get a person the left hates. Shoot, a growing number of leftists are coming up for enough air to see what a hideous spectacle this is. Regard for our legal system is in tatters; respect for the judiciary is plummeting; leaders of banana republics across the globe are laughing at the cover this gives them to railroad opponents. So does no one or no entity have the stature and the will to put a stop to this freak show?

The whole documents case looks like a set-up from the get-go. The General Services Administration (GSA) informed Trump they had six pallets of documents that he had to take off their hands, shipping two to Mar-A-Lago and four to a West Palm Beach storage unit. The two sent to Mar-A-Lago held some of the documents Trump is charged with “illegally” holding. Say what?! Tell him he HAD to take these documents then charge him with having them?! That does not even include the evidence tampering the prosecution engaged in.

If we really have no entity that can stop an enraged mob from trying to string someone up just because they don’t like him, that is a deep deformity of our system. Even as the system has devolved into nothing but deep deformities this stands out. “Our Democracy” ™ has reached the Salem witch hunt stage. I doubt it will recover. And terrorists and tyrants and unaccountable bureaucrats held illimitable dominion over all.


Well, well, well…even the New York Times has now noticed that the Covid shots were not quite as “safe and effective” as they were advertised to be. I love the headline, which asks if anyone is listening to the evidence – without mentioning that for several years the NY Times urged banning or imprisonment for anyone who dared mention the same evidence. Meantime Chris Cuomo now says he regularly takes Ivermectin, after smearing all those who touted it as dangerous rubes for so many years. He notes that the “science” was wrong, but shows little evidence of having learned anything about critical thinking from his errors.

File this as further evidence that the modern media – and their looney left handlers – have no story to tell, only a narrative to push. Even when one of their narratives backfires disastrously (as many do) they learn nothing and know nothing. And this is supposed to be the “elite” class. What does it say about the health of a republic when the most willful, unreflective louts hold the highest ramparts? Terrorists and tyrants and unaccountable bureaucrats hold illimitable dominion over all.

Even the most starry-eyed pundits are finally figuring out that the only path to peace in the Russian-Ukraine war is through a negotiated settlement along the lines of the terms discussed in Turkey two years ago before the United States ordered Ukraine to shut negotiations down. All that has been accomplished by American intransigence is to get half a billion Ukrainians killed on the way to a settlement that could have been had from the start. Several quick facts:

  • The Donbass and Crimea have historically been Russian territory Throughout the 90’s, public opinion surveys in these regions routinely reported about 70 percent wanting repatriation with Russia.
  • Ever since the color revolution pushed by Barack Obama to overthrow a Ukrainian government that had good relations with Russia, Ukrainian authorities have persecuted Russian minorities in these territories, even sending the neo-Nazi Azov Brigade to harass them.
  • Continually expanding NATO ever closer to Russia’s borders has been a provocation as offensive to Russia as putting nuclear missiles in Cuba was to the US. Russia was much more patient with our provocation than we were with theirs (and I think ours was the right response, though I am grateful for Russia’s long patience with ours).
  • Ukraine is and has been a command society ever since the color revolution Obama instigated. The difference between the tyranny in Russia and in Ukraine is a matter of calibration, not substance.
  • It was a fool’s game from the start to pretend that tiny Ukraine could decimate Russia. All such a contest could result in was a meat grinder – mainly for Ukraine. It was akin to convincing a middle school football team it could decimate the Super Bowl champions. Nice boasting point, but to actually promote such a game would be to send the kids into a meat grinder.

I have some friends who are Russian; I have more who are Ukrainian. Some of my Ukrainian friends got offended that I never bought into this particular narrative. I pray that they understand that the fellow who says, “Let’s you and him fight,” drawing you into mortal combat with an opponent more than five times your size is NOT your friend. I would not have been disturbed to have been wrong about this conflict, but I was not about to let triumphant jingoism blind me to sober analysis. May the negotiations begin forthwith, may the bloodshed stop, and may both historic Russia and historic Ukraine co-exist on more than a bumper sticker.


Gazing at the world and the pitiable state of American governance and diplomacy I am reminded of Casey Stengel’s plaintive lament about the 1962 NY Mets baseball team he managed: “Can’t anybody here play this game?”

If communication goes out for any length of time, meet outside your local Church at 9 a.m. on Saturday mornings. Tell friends at Church now in case you can’t then. CORAC teams will be out looking for people to gather in and work with.

Find me on Twitter at @JohnstonPilgrim

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