Flynn’s Sacking Explained Simply

Having read people’s reactions on social media to Trump’s press conference yesterday, it is amazing how few understand what Trump said regarding Mike Flynn:

No, I fired him because of what he said to Mike Pence. Very simple. Mike was doing his job. He was calling countries and his counterparts. So, it certainly would have been OK with me if he did it. I would have directed him to do it if I thought he wasn’t doing it.

Ben Shapiro’s response was not untypical:

I suspect so many commentators are struggling with this because so few of them have worked in a business environment before. Shapiro is a lawyer/writer/public speaker. The relationship he has enjoyed with his superiors in these professions, insofar as he has any, will be a lot different from the manager-employee relationship most ordinary people experience in the corporate world, especially towards the top when things get a lot more cut-throat.

For me, it is completely plausible that somebody could be doing his job as instructed but, for reasons unknown only to himself, decides to mislead his manager regarding some aspect of it which results in the manager making an arse of himself. In fact, I can’t believe there is anyone who has worked for more than a few years in a modern corporation that hasn’t seen this scenario crop up at least once.

An example. An Engineering Manager asks his Piping Designer if he has finished those drawings. The Designer says “Yes, they are done.” The Engineering Manager calls the Construction Manager and says “Yup, they’re done. We’ll send them to you first thing in the morning.” The next morning the Engineering Manager asks the Designer for the drawings. Turns out they are not completed after all, they’re only at 90% and they need another day’s work. For whatever reason, the Designer lied. The Engineering Manager now has to call the Construction Manager, who has a welder on standby ready to start fabricating, and tell him they drawings are not ready after all. The Engineering Manager looks like a dick who can’t run a department properly, and the Designer is going to get bawled at as an absolute minimum. He might even get fired. But that doesn’t mean that the Designer was doing something he wasn’t supposed to, far from it: he was doing his job just fine, even if the drawings weren’t ready it would have been no big deal. But he lied to his manager and put him in a very bad position. In any organisation, this is unacceptable.

The fact that most of our media commentators, even smart ones like Ben Shapiro, don’t understand this speaks volumes about how little real-world experience that sector has between them.

How Not To Teach Infants

The following was sent to me by a pal, who might be vying for the post of Secondary Research Assistant on this esteemed blog. It is a letter sent out to the parents of children in an infant school in Australia.

Hello Families

As part of our diversity programme at [School Name] we would love to celebrate the up-coming Mardi Gras. This comes at a perfect time following on from this week’s Valentines celebrations where we talked about “who we love”

We are planning to talk about some of the different types of families that people can belong to. Some people might have two Mum’s or just one parent. Others might be fostered or adopted for example.

In the Peeping Possums room, we will touch on this topic by looking at some stories and learning about the meaning behind the rainbow flag that children may be seeing in the community.

In the Jumping Jacks room we will challenge the children to think about some stereotypical gender assumptions such as “boys can’t wear skirts” or “Girls can’t play with cars”

As we know that this can be a sensitive topic for some families so if you do not wish for your child to participate in this topic, we respect it and are happy to cater for your child. However, we as educators believe that it is important for children to simply be exposed to different concepts like this so as they grow and meet other children, they are open-minded to where others may come from.

If you have any questions about this topic please don’t hesitate to talk to our educators.

Happy Mardi Gras

EARLY YEARS LEARNING FRAMEWORK (EXTENDED)
2.2: EYLF – Children respond to diversity with respect

I’m no prude, but what the fuck are these people doing talking about sexuality (of any kind) and gender issues with kids who can’t even read or write yet? They call themselves educators, but this is more like indoctrination.

I don’t have a problem with schools teaching teenagers about homosexuality and all the others in the alphabet soup once they reach the appropriate age to understand it. If I recall correctly, my generation started sex education classes around age 11 when we were just about mature enough to understand what it was all about (or at least, some of the class was). Kids younger than this won’t understand a damned thing about sexual preferences because they will have no concept of what it means: when kids see a naked person they start giggling. When they see a pornographic photo they look puzzled and then lose interest. This is why I think the panic over children watching porn on the internet is overblown (kids would rather play Minecraft) and why sexual crimes against children are so abhorrent: they have no capacity to understand what is being done to them and why.

But ramming gender politics down the throats of infants is fine, apparently. God forbid they should be allowed to be innocent kids and “educators” teach them to read, write, and count, something they seem to fail at miserably in Australia and the rest of the English-speaking world. I note that they give parents the option of removing their kid from these indoctrination sessions, but I wonder if there are any hidden consequences of that? I bet the decision “goes on file” and remains their permanently, to be wheeled out at some star chamber later on in the kid’s school life.

I also speculated to my pal that a good half of these “educators”will be overweight women with not a single chance of having a husband of kids of their own, hence their determination to wreck the lives of others’. My guess was “spot on”.

Parents, over to you.

UPDATE

As JuliaM points out in the comments, prompting me to look more closely, the letter is strewn with grammatical errors. Priorities, eh?

The Signs of Brittle Regimes

Some time ago, The Oilfield Expat posted an anecdote followed by an observation:

At one point in my career I was working in a Middle Eastern desert where there were giant posters of the rulers everywhere.  A grizzled American who was on my team made a comment on them:

“See, when you are in a country with pictures of the rulers everywhere, it means the place could go to rat-shit at any minute.  I was in Iran during the Revolution in 1979.  Before the Revolution there were posters of the Shah everywhere…everyone loved the Shah.   Then one morning we woke to find the Shah’s picture replaced by the Ayatollah’s, and now everyone loved the Ayatollah.  Guys were in the office, telling us we needed to leave, who a couple of days before were saying how much they loved the Shah.”

He wasn’t wrong.  If a ruler feels the need to plaster his mug over every building and his goons insist his portrait adorns every office wall, then his grip on power is weak (with one or two exceptions: Thailand’s king is genuinely popular, but then he doesn’t meddle in politics).

I was reminded of this when I read this over at The Dilettante’s place:

Vyacheslav Volodin, Putin’s former deputy chief of staff and current chairman of the state Duma, would support a law that protects the honor and dignity of the Russian president.

Like the giant posters displayed on buildings and ubiquitous portraits in offices, laws banning the mocking of the political leadership is a sign that the regime is brittle. It might be strong in one sense, as brittle things often are; but brittle regimes cannot survive shocks, and what follows a shock is usually absolute chaos.

Some people will look at Putin’s consolidation of power and proposals like the one above and conclude that he is becoming ever-more immovable and Russia’s stature growing. Personally, I think it shows the opposite. As Alex notes:

Back to May 1990:

The Soviet Parliament has given its approval to an ambiguous law making it a crime to “insult” President Mikhail S. Gorbachev. The measure recalls the infamous Stalin-era penal code, with its stiff prison terms for anyone convicted of “slandering” the state…

Supporters of the plan to silence critics offer the standard justifications. Marshal Sergei Akhromeyev, one of Gorbachev’s top military advisers, argues that insulting the president “weakens our society,” and so cannot go unpunished.

The Soviet Union would last for about 19 more months, until late December 1991. Marshal Akhromeyev killed himself after the failed coup in August 1991. Not that history repeats itself – it seldom does – but occasionally, improbably, it just might. Aren’t these people in high places superstitious?

If a country needs laws like this then it has deeper problems that probably aren’t going away any time soon.

Not the News but the Narrative

It wouldn’t be a day at the BBC without a front page article bashing Trump, would it? Their latest effort is entitled Will Trump’s Russia crisis be bigger than Watergate?

The answer, of course, is no. If you follow the link you find not a story about Trump’s alleged “crisis” but a story about former news anchor Dan Rather speculating with a desperate hopefulness that Flynn’s resignation is similar to Watergate.

Former CBS news anchor Dan Rather has compared the controversy over links between members of President Donald Trump’s team and Russia to the Watergate scandal.

This is what the British Broadcasting Corporation considers front page news.

Rather, who was for decades one of the best known and most trusted figures in US journalism, said in a Facebook post: “Watergate is the biggest political scandal of my lifetime, until maybe now.”

What the BBC doesn’t tell us is that this “most trusted figure” saw his career come to an abrupt end when he was fired by CBS for pushing a false story about George W. Bush’s service record which was based on forged documents.

The post has been shared more than 88,000 times and has generated nearly 200,000 reactions.

Rather also promoted his post on Twitter, generating more than 13,000 retweets and 22,000 likes.

Because volume of shares and likes on Facebook and Twitter is an excellent basis for promoting news to the front page.

This is not a political story at all: it is a non-story regarding the reaction on social media to speculative comments made by a former news anchor with a history of false reporting. But hey, let’s run it anyway because The Narrative.

Brother Husbands

I’ve written about polyamory, the practice of having more than one sexual partner in a relationship, on this blog before: here and here. The interest I have in this subject is mainly one of morbid curiosity triggered by my having inadvertently gotten to know a woman who spent most of her twenties in polyamorous relationships and I became fascinated by the mental gymnastics required to maintain one.

The other night I was flicking around through Sky looking for some rubbish to watch and I stumbled across a show called Brother Husbands on TLC. The show concerns an American woman who lives with two men, one of whom is her husband and the other her lover. The title of the show is a play on the term “sister wives” which Mormon polygamists use for their multiple wives. I decided to watch it to see if any of it married up (‘scuse the pun) with what I already knew about polyamorists.

The first, and probably only, surprising thing about the show is that the woman, who goes by the name of Amanda Liston, is quite attractive:

Although I keep reading articles explaining that women engaged in polyamory can be young and cute (and the woman I referred to earlier was not ugly), most of the time they look more like this:

I suspect the general attractiveness of the leading lady in Brother Husbands was the crucial factor in the programme being made. If she was a warpig, it is unlikely anyone would have watched it for long.

But that was about it in terms of surprises. Amanda’s two lovers look like this (the husband is the one in the middle):

It is almost a certainty that the men in a polyamorous relationship will be noodle-armed omegas of hipster persuasion (note the similarity with those in the other photo). On the odd occasion this rule doesn’t apply, he will be an astonishingly ugly, middle-aged man with a pot belly and wearing bad knitwear. As “The Inimitable Steve” once put it at Tim Worstall’s:

The males – “men” would be over-egging it – mostly look like they came straight out of central casting for a 1970’s Public Information Film warning kiddies about paedos.

The sleeping arrangements insofar as Amanda’s relationship is concerned is for her to sleep with one guy for three nights followed by the other for three nights, and then all three of them climb into the same bed for one night (Amanda goes in the middle). Amanda is in her mid to late twenties and has two children from the husband and triplets from the other fella. They live in a large house somewhere in what I guess is flyover country (I doubt they could afford to live on the coasts).

Both of the men were whiny as hell, and it was obvious that Amanda wore the trousers in that household. I speculated early on that the husband, Chad, was actually gay as he appeared about as straight as Graham Norton. Both he and Amanda mentioned a Christian upbringing, and I understand he was raised in a foster home (probably run along Christian lines). Sure enough, thanks to further investigation carried out by my research assistant who guffawed along with me while we watched the show, it turns out he is bisexual. My guess is that Chad is actually out-and-out gay but his Christian upbringing doesn’t allow him to express it, and so he got married to somebody from his church group. This is probably why he had few objections when this other chap called Jeremy entered their lives and announced one day that he was in love with Amanda. As far as Chad is concerned, having another man in his bed is all fine and dandy and probably what he wanted all along.

Jeremy looks as depressed as hell and is as whiny as Chad. I expect he entered into this relationship, also via this church group, because he has no chance whatsoever of getting laid any other way. He didn’t smile once during the entire show and if I read headlines in a few years saying he’s slaughtered the entire family with a large carving knife nobody will be less surprised than me. If part of the arrangement is an agreement to be Chad’s top for one night a week, we can bring this butchery forward by a few months.

The last non-surprise came yesterday when my research assistant uncovered this article, which reveals that Amanda and Chad got married on an MTV reality TV show, and she had been on another reality TV show called King of the Nerds. In other words, she’s an attention whore.

Back in June when I was trying to get my head around this polyamory lark I entered into some online discussions with people who had some experience in the practice, mainly via friends and relatives who’d gotten into it. They said the attractive people who enter into polyamorous relationships are generally Cluster B types, possibly with a history of mental illness and childhood sexual abuse. For the rest, a combination of their personalities, physical appearance, and low self-esteem means this is probably all they can get. One of the points mentioned was that polyamory can work, but those who make a success of it practice it in a very low-key, very individualistic manner to the degree that nobody other than their close friends and relatives would know about it. Baring all on a TV show, writing about polyamorous lifestyles in columns (see Laurie Penny, who fits the bill on almost every measure), joining polyamorous “communities”, and having weddings in Central Park with all the various lovers invited for group photos appear more like acts of desperate attention-seeking than an alternative to a normal, functioning relationship.

During some of my online discussions (which David Thompson generously hosted in his comment section) somebody mentioned a documentary made in 2002 called When Two Won’t Do about polyamorous relationships in Canada and the US. I haven’t yet seen it, but I am contemplating purchasing it from Vimeo (this discussion on polyamory forms part of the book I am writing, hence all of this is research in a way). The producer is a woman from Montreal who covers who own polyamorous relationships as well as others. Here is how I saw it described:

People in the poly community praise it as a realistic and positive treatment of the lifestyle. Normal people see it for what it is: a collection of deeply dysfunctional people with severe self-esteem issues desperately self-soothing with meaningless sex. One of the subjects commits suicide during the filming; that’s included in the film with virtually no impact or comment despite it being directly related to the stress of trying to maintain the fiction of the non-monogamous relationship.

Back in April I had barely heard of polyamory, but as I said, the subject was kind of forced on me one evening. Since then, nothing I have seen has convinced me that the following statement, offered by the same person who I quoted above, is untrue:

Broadly, the best way to describe polyamory is that it’s a coping mechanism, not a lifestyle choice.

Career Killers

From the BBC on the subject of David Patraeus potentially replacing Michael Flynn as National Security Adviser:

Once considered a rising star in the Republican Party after his success organising the 2007 US military troop “surge” in Iraq, he was forced to resign from the CIA in disgrace and charged with sharing top secret documents with a civilian reporter with whom he was having an extra-marital affair. He eventually pleaded guilty to mishandling classified information

That, it seems, has not been a career-killing event, however.

Didn’t Hillary running for President prove beyond all doubt that mishandling classified information isn’t a career-killer? Although granted, had she not been called Clinton it might have been. That name provides ample cover for extra-marital affairs, too.

Michael Flynn’s Resignation

There is a lot of talk at the moment about how the “intelligence community” brought down Michael Flynn, and how Trump’s opponents now smell blood in the water and will go after another of his cabinet as they attempt to destroy his entire administration and Presidency.

What surprised me about Flynn’s resignation was that Trump accepted it. Perhaps Trump is the sort of man who will see any resignation as a sign that the individual in question is no longer up to the job. I have certainly seen American managers of far lower stature than Trump refuse to waver over an employee’s resignation on the grounds that to enter into a negotiation after he or she has resigned is a sign of weakness on the part of the manager. Any negotiations must take place beforehand, with the resignation being a final decision. I know at least one person who submitted his resignation in the hope his management would beg him to stay and was most upset to find it promptly accepted and him being shuffled out the door. So that might be one reason why Trump accepted Flynn’s resignation.

But assuming this was not the case, why would Trump accept Flynn’s resignation when doing so would appear to be a victory for his opponents and give credibility to the claims that Flynn had done something wrong? My guess is that Flynn’s resignation was accepted, and possibly even encouraged, by Trump because he had breached some sort of internal disciplinary standard rather than because he has been compromised by the Russians and there is a baying mob outside the White House doors. In other words, somewhere along the line Flynn pissed off Trump, probably unintentionally, and for Trump maintaining discipline among the ranks is important. What Flynn actually did in relation to the Russians is likely to have nothing to do with the decision to remove him from the post, and nor are the “demands” of Trump’s opponents.

If Trump is the sort of person who can be pushed into firing members of his cabinet by media pressure, opportunistic Democrats and Republicans, and treacherous staff in the civil service then he might as well pack up and go home now. I suspect this isn’t the case, and Flynn was fired for reasons that have more to do with how Trump manages than what the media say he did. I doubt we’ll know for a few years exactly how Flynn transgressed, but Trump will have made it abundantly clear to the rest of his team and they’ll not be making the same mistake. If I’m right on this, next time the “intelligence community” or somebody else tries to force out one of Trump’s cabinet picks – which I think will be very soon the way things are going – they might find the target to be quite well protected. They might also find revenge to be swift.

Trump and Russia

The BBC is showing no signs of letting up on its anti-Trump propaganda campaign, perhaps believing that if enough middle class Brits get upset he will resign or something.

Today the topic of choice is Trump’s alleged links to Russia:

Throughout the confusion of Donald Trump’s campaign and the chaotic events of his early days in the White House, one controversy has clung to the Trump train like glue: Russia.

Except this isn’t quite true, is it? Russia only became the albatross of choice with which to hang around Trump’s neck when all others were laughed off: misogyny, racism, fake news, etc.

The sudden departure of Michael Flynn from his role as national security adviser on Monday was the latest in a string of controversies tying the administration to apparent Russian interests.

More accurately, it is possibly the one genuine story in a whole string of non-stories which the media has been peddling for all it’s worth since election day.

Mr Flynn resigned after misleading the president, and Vice-President Mike Pence, over whether he discussed sanctions with Russia’s ambassador in the weeks before Mr Trump took office – which would violate a law that prohibits private citizens from conducting diplomacy.

So Trump is maintaining discipline within the ranks. Why this merits front-page news at the BBC is anyone’s guess.

It was back in May 2016 that the first reports emerged of hackers targeting the Democratic Party. Over the next two months, the reports suggested US intelligence agencies had traced the breaches back to Russian hackers.

This was less of a hack than lapse security by dimwitted Democrats, and there was never any evidence provided that Russians were responsible nor that they specifically targetted the Democratic Party. But leaving all that aside: what has this got to do with Trump?!

In July, on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, Wikileaks published 20,000 internal emails stolen by the hackers. US intelligence officials said they believed with “high confidence” that Russia was behind the operation, but the Trump campaign publicly refused the accept the findings.

Most of the world publicly refused to accept the findings of US intelligence officials over WMDs in Iraq.  Does this mean they were in cahoots with Saddam Hussein?

Instead, at a press conference, Mr Trump caused outrage by inviting Russian hackers to target Hillary Clinton’s controversial personal email server, saying: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing”.

Erm, no. Hillary’s server had been compromised years before that remark. Trump was assuming the Russians, along with everyone else except seemingly Hillary and the FBI, already had the emails taken from the now-destroyed server. The outrage, insofar as there was any, was whipped up by Hillary’s supporters who didn’t like the subject rearing its head during her ill-fated campaign.

About the same time the hacking scandal was beginning to unfold, Mr Trump’s then campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was accused of accepting millions of dollars in cash for representing Russian interests in the Ukraine and US, including dealings with an oligarch with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

I have no idea whether Manafort actually did receive millions of dollars from people representing foreign interests, but we all know Hillary did via the Clinton Foundation. Why are unproven allegations of dodgy dealings by a campaign manager seen as worse than actual corruption by a serving Secretary of State?

While Mr Manafort was running the campaign, the Republican Party changed the language in its manifesto regarding the conflict in Ukraine, removing anti-Russian sentiment, allegedly at the behest of two Trump campaign representatives.

So Trump’s campaign disagreed with mainstream Republicans on Russia and Ukraine. Along with pretty much everything else.

Mr Manafort was investigated by the FBI and quit as Mr Trump’s campaign chairman. Like Mr Flynn, Mr Manafort, a political operative with more than 40 years’ experience, was supposed to marshal some of the chaos and controversy around Mr Trump, but ended up falling prey to it.

Yet Trump still won and Hillary lost.

In October, the US intelligence community released a unanimous statement formally accusing Russia of being the perpetrator behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

It would have been better if they’d released evidence. But again, what’s this got to do with Trump?

Mr Trump continued to argue against the finding, claiming in a presidential debate that it “could be Russia, but it could also be China, it could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds”.

Which happens to be true: the DNC security was so poor that John Podesta’s emails were hacked via a simple phishing operation.

The same day that the intelligence agencies released their finding, the explosive “Access Hollywood” recording emerged of Mr Trump’s obscene remarks about women in 2005. An hour later, Wikileaks began dumping thousands more leaked Clinton emails.

What the hell has Trump’s remarks about pussy-grabbing got to do with Russia?

Mr Trump continued to refuse to acknowledge the consensus that Russia was behind the hack.

Would that be “consensus” in the global warming sense?

In December, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security published a report of the US intelligence findings linking Russia to the hack.

Which, if memory serves, relied heavily on a Wikipedia article.

In response, President Barack Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats and levied new sanctions on Russia. The world awaited Mr Putin’s response but he chose not retaliate. Mr Trump, by then the president-elect, sided with the Russian president, tweeting: “Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!”

So Trump thinks Putin, who showed admirable restraint in the face of pure petulance by the outgoing Obama, did the right thing by not retaliating and doesn’t think Putin is stupid. Is this supposed to be controversial?

Mr Putin’s decision not to respond in kind struck many as a canny PR move, but reportedly set off suspicions among US intelligence officials that Russia was confident the sanctions would not last.

Or that he might finally get to deal with an adult in the White House in a few weeks.

The same month, Mr Trump picked Rex Tillerson as his nominee for secretary of state, arguably the most important job in the cabinet. The biggest hurdle for Mr Tillerson’s confirmation? Close ties to Mr Putin.

As CEO of the ExxonMobil oil company, Mr Tillerson cultivated a close personal relationship with the Russian leader, leading many to speculate on whether he was fit to serve as America’s most senior foreign diplomat.

There’s a lot of speculation in this piece, isn’t there? One would have thought with this spaghetti-like network of ties between Trump and Putin somebody would have been able to produce some evidence of one by now.

In January, Buzzfeed published a dossier compiled by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence official and Russia expert, which alleged that Moscow had compromising material on the then-president-elect, making him liable to blackmail.

Among the various memos in the dossier was an allegation that Mr Trump had been recorded by Russian security services consorting with prostitutes at a Moscow hotel.

Mr Trump dismissed the claims as fake news.

You mean the BBC thinks it is real?!!

CNN revealed that President Obama and President-elect Trump had been briefed on the existence of the dossier by intelligence officials, and Buzzfeed went one further, publishing the entire thing.

The document went off like a hand grenade tossed into the already febrile political scene and generated a backlash against Buzzfeed for publishing what were essentially unverified claims.

Which the BBC is nevertherless happy to include in an article on Trump’s supposed Russian connections.

In February, the most concrete and damaging Russia scandal finally surfaced, months after suspicions were raised among intelligence officials.

A Washington Post report said Mr Flynn had discussed the potential lifting of Mr Obama’s Russia sanctions with the Russian ambassador, Sergei Kislyak, before Mr Trump took office.

Mr Flynn, who had appeared regularly on Russian propaganda channel RT and once attended dinner with Mr Putin, resigned as Mr Trump’s national security adviser, saying he had “inadvertently briefed the vice-president-elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian ambassador” late last year.

It is illegal for private citizens to conduct US diplomacy.

It’s also illegal for the United State security services to conduct surveillance on a private citizen without a warrant.  See Streetwise Professor for more details on that. But either way, this looks more like a matter of internal discipline of the Trump administration than proof that Trump is a Russian puppet.

Mr Trump has made no secret of his regard for Mr Putin and his desire to establish closer ties with Russia. But the more pressing question, and one which the president just can’t seem to shake, is just how close those ties already go.

On the basis of what’s in this article, not very far at all.

Look, if Trump had a tower with his name on in Moscow or a casino in Vladivostok then one could raise legitimate questions over his connections to Putin. But he doesn’t, and nothing I have seen suggests Trump ever had any business or other interests in Russia aside from him having a quick look-see back in the 1990s or early ’00s and deciding, quite sensibly, that it wasn’t worth the hassle. Has Trump actually ever been to Russia in person? Has he met Putin? I’ve not seen any evidence he’s done either, and if it existed surely we’d have seen it by now. This whole obsession with Russia is nothing more than the latest in a line of pathetic attempts to cast doubts on the legitimacy of Trump’s Presidency and shore up the narrative that he is not acting in the interests of America. The media, including the BBC, needs to put up or shut up.

Game Rigged

I don’t agree with all of the ZMan’s post here, but this paragraph is spot on:

We have reached a point where it is heads they win, tails we lose. The game has been rigged to make reforming the system within the rules an impossibility. When a majority of the people favor a policy that the managerial class opposes, the policy gets hamstrung by the rules of the game. All of a sudden, the process is sacred. When the managerial class wants something for their masters, they change the rules so it either flies through or simply happens without anyone noticing. The process is not all that important.

And this, which I touched on in yesterday’s post:

All the blather about America being a nation of laws is just cover for the fact that ours is a lawless nation ruled by lawless men. An obvious example is the Ninth Circuit judges, who have fabricated a legal justification for throwing sand in the gears of a wildly popular executive order issued by President Trump. These are not men enforcing the law or respecting the laws. These are men who hold the law in contempt. All that matters to them is obedience to the weird secular cult we have come to call Progressivism.

Welcome to England, Klopp!

Liverpool managed to secure a decent win against their top four rivals Tottenham Hotspur last weekend, thus ending a 10-match run during which their only win came against Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup. Having lost in the Premiership to Swansea and Hull and drawn with Sunderland, by beating Spurs Liverpool continued a tradition that has been in place at least since I started watching football in the mid-nineties: beating those at the top of the table but struggling against clubs propping up the bottom and fighting relegation.

Despite this victory over Tottenham, I don’t think Liverpool’s troubles are behind them yet. Spurs have been notoriously rubbish against “big” clubs away from home, and Jamie Carragher was on Sky Sports last night making that very point. Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool’s charismatic German manager made his name at Borussia Dortmund where he played a pressing, hassling style of football played high up the pitch that journalists call “gegenpressen”. Under Klopp, Borussia Dortmund won the Bundesliga in 2010-11 and 2011-2012 and made the Champions League final in 2012-13.

The problem with making your name in German football is one that I mentioned in my post about Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola: the competition is dominated by Bayern Munich with the occasional appearance by an also-ran. When Dortmund were managed by Klopp they had two difficult domestic fixtures per season, and they were Bayern Munich home and away. Dortmund finished the Bundesliga in 2011-12 8 points ahead of Munich, and 17 points ahead of 3rd placed Schalke 04. They won the league in 2010-11 by a tighter margin of 7 points but one can hardly call it a hard-fought campaign that went down to the wire. Klopp’s success in the Champions League, particularly when they beat Real Madrid 4-3 on aggregate in the semi-finals, was in my opinion partly due to the fact that nobody had much experience with this gegenpressen style of play outside of Germany.

But as Guardiola is rapidly finding out, the English Premier League is an altogether different arena where you have five or six big, well-funded clubs all vying for the top spots plus another ten or twelve clubs who have plenty of money (thanks to the lucrative TV deals) to employ a squad of fit, motivated, highly-professional players who are paid handsomely. The EPL also seems to have attracted some of the top managers of the era: Mourinho and Guardiola have won several leagues and Champions League trophies between them, Conte and Klopp have won the league in Italy and Germany respectively, Wenger is no idiot and nor is Pochettino and the mid-table teams have solid managers like Koeman at Everton and Ranieri at Leicester. At the risk of repeating a football pundit’s favourite cliché, no game is easy at this level.

Klopp started well at Liverpool, winning 9 of their first 13 games which included beating Arsenal and Chelsea away from home. Burnley beat them in the second game of the season and Man Utd locked them out at Anfield for a 0-0 draw, but for a while Klopp and Liverpool were looking to take the Premier League by storm.

So what happened? I reckon teams simply learned how to play against Klopp’s genenpressen style. At the beginning nobody was familiar with it, but a combination of familiarity and injuries to Liverpool has meant the Premier League’s wily and experienced managers and fit, aggressive players have learned to neutralise it. The best managers adapt their style of play to counter the opposition, and the Wenger-Ferguson head-to-head matches were brilliant for this. It was like a game of rock-paper-scissors where each manager would try to neutralise the other’s game plan and somehow find a weakness so they could get their nose in front. Mourinho is another manager who historically has been able to change his tactics to best counter the threat the opposition poses, even if this has led to him being called boring at times.

By contrast, Klopp is a manager who made his name playing a particular style that proved very effective in a weak league and against strong opposition who were not familiar with it. Now he is up against strong, well-managed opposition who have learned his style and his side is struggling (even taking into account the injuries). If Klopp wants to succeed in the Premier League he is going to have to learn a new trick or two: 38 matches of gegenpressen are not going to cut it. Like his counterpart Pep Guardiola, the rest of this season could define Klopp as a manager.