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02 February 2017


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These civil servants are certainly proving one definition of the "civil service":
Neither civil nor providing any service.

Ishmael Zechariah

Col. Lang, SST;
I thought that "anonymity" did not exist in this day and age. Two questions:
1-Can these folks who are "protesting" on the Web and "leaking" documents really remain anonymous?
2-How should Trump & Co. respond?
Ishmael Zechariah


What is the responsibility / obligation of CS workers regarding the execution of orders that are unconstitutional? Are those obligations derived from the Constitution? Or in the Federal Code? What is the extent to which CS employees can or cannot take action regarding unconstitutional orders in a collective manner?

In other news, is the Prez acting like a bully regarding his treatment of the Australian PM?


" Is it not obvious that the WH "leaked" it?"

What is the motivation? I don't get it at all. Trump reverses decades of immigration policy. He promised that and has the means, the people and the powers to do it. There is just no doubt about that. Polls show that this part of his agenda has popular support. But what are the theatrics good for? Why continue with the absurd insistence that Mexico should pay for the wall?
There was a story about an Italian businessman who is close to Trump and serves as contact to all manner of hard-right politicians in Europe (with the single exception of Germany). I don't see that Trump will be less interventionist than those before him. It is just a different kind of interventionism - as we already know, fiercely pro-Israel and anti-EU. Possibly it will also be radically pro-Russian and anti-Chinese, but we can't be certain of that yet.
As to the bureaucratic resistance: is that really a new phenomenon in transitions of power? And isn't it doomed to fail?

Norbert M Salamon

I guess that these "non civil non servants" as above, needed for Congress [or whosoever authorized] to lower their wages to 1$ - as per statute law.

Dave Schuler

It was Malcolm X, not H. Rap Brown.


Dave Schuler

Thanks. I am old. pl



sounds good to me. Another well used tactic is to abolish their positions in the department concerned in a reorganization. pl



The Borg in particular the hyper-ventilating media have not come to terms with their electoral loss, despite their best efforts in dragging the Borg Queen across the finish line. Instead of organizing politically to fight the next election they're showing their petulance. IMO, these antics are driving even some of those who did not vote for Trump to his side.

Trump is the duly elected president. Receiving a check from the federal government for their wages and then using their time to stymie lawful orders is clear insubordination. If they deem such orders "unconsciable" then they can resign. Trump should take the Reagan stance with NATCO and fire the lot. They should note that the shoe can drop on the other foot. Reid and the Democrats busted the filibuster for nominations creating both the ability for the GOP to push their nominees and setting the precedent that could be used now to get their SCOTUS nominee through in case the Dems filibuster.

Trump's personality is to hit back, as he did with Sally Yates. She should have resigned instead of the political grandstanding. The optics would have looked a lot better and she would have gained much more sympathy from the people. Instead she achieved the opposite with many considering her to be a whining political hack.

Sir, you are right. The politicization of the federal government has gone deep. It's now open partisan warfare inside the civil service. In one way the silver lining could be a drastic reduction in the federal workforce.



I told you. They think it frightens people and softens them up for "the deal." pl



You sound like a schoolboy. These civil servants and Foreign Service people take an oath of office like a soldier to obey legal and constitutional orders. This obligation is based on the federal code. Their obligation is like that of a soldier. It is their responsibility and obligation to refuse an order on that basis and then fight the court action over their refusal. you think that trump gives illegal and unconstitutional decrees because you are unhappy with the fate of the world and country you thought was an inevitable march toward a brave new world. I would like to see YOU try to make that case in court. pl


On a related note...

Protesters Torch Free Speech At Berkeley In Latest Example of Mob Rule On America’s College Campuses https://jonathanturley.org/2017/02/02/protesters-torch-free-speech-at-berkeley-in-latest-example-of-mob-rule-on-americas-college-campuses/
Berkeley has previously been a battleground over effective speech codes and an example of the crackdown on free speech on college campuses as administrators punish any speech deemed insensitive or the still ill-defined category of “microaggressions.” One of the greatest concerns is the double standard showed to different speakers based on their content. The University of California at Berkeley is the most recent example of this controversy. In columns for the Daily Californian titled “Speaking Out”, “Fucking White Boys,” and “Choosing Myself Over White People”, Maggie Lam mocked and ridiculed white people. A column using such language mocking people of color would instantly trigger demands for expulsion.

Protesters not only succeeded in blocking others from hearing from this speaker but they then proceeded to riot and destroy property outside of campus. This is the result of years of academics declaring some speech as unworthy of protection and enabling students who believe that no one should be allowed to express views that they feel is discriminatory or demeaning or hateful.

Yiannopoulos is a gay conservative who is a popular speaker with his “Dangerous Faggot” talks. Hours before his event, protesters began throwing fireworks and destroying property to stop him from speaking. People who came to see him were reportedly attacked — an ironic twist for protesters who said that they wanted to fight hate speech. Protesters chanted “Milo has got to go” in an effort to prevent people from hearing his views.

Berkeley can yield to the mob and surrender free speech to a violent mob. Alternatively, it can reschedule the event and expel any students who engage in violence on campus. The choice is between being a place of learning and being a place of indoctrination. This is one of the truly great universities in the world and once the center of the fight for free speech in the 60s. At one time it was the students who stood bravely for free speech. Now it must be the faculty. I know little about this speaker and I have never read his work. I do not have to. There are those who want to hear from him. A college is a place where different voices should be heard. These protesters are the face of true intolerance.

Instead of trying to "make the world a better place" a surprising number of liberals are turning into angry hatemongers. Acting like toddlers undergoing a group temper tantrum does not translate into effective political opposition. Instead it shows weakness and impotence.



You are right. there is no anonymity and they will be given an opportunity to defend the violation of their oaths in resisting what the government will say are constitutional and lawful instructions. pl


The term "soft riot" might apply to the inner beltway elite, or "swampies", who are making a mockery of their own positions by boycotting or otherwise interfering with the business of government. The "medium strength" rioters we are seeing in Berkeley and elsewhere are 1) Disgruntled youth who see any opportunity to wreak havoc as a worthy cause in itself, 2) Subsidized by wealthy industrialists to put pressure on government or exact political vengeance, or, most interestingly 3) a traditional agit-prop mounted by enterprising dark factions who wish to relive the Weather Underground days of their forefathers. I'm sure there is a 4) somewhere in this, but the irony in the image of a hooded youth hitting Bank of America ATMs with a baseball bat is curiously satisfying.

Dave Schuler

Me too. ;-)

FB Ali

My apologies for a somewhat O/T comment. But, this is the only 'live' thread on the Trump administration, and I think it is worthwhile bringing this new commentary to the notice of SST readers.

In his weekly commentary (not yet posted on his website, Conflicts Froum), Alastair Crooke advances the following thesis:

- Trump opposes the US policy on globalization. Because he believes that it is the root cause of the economic and financial problems facing the common people of the US.

- This globalism comprises a globalist defence strategy, besides the globalist financial institutions, and global economic governance. He is opposed to all these, and seeks to dismantle them.

- Central to the US globalist defence strategy is the long-standing hostility to Russia, and the belief in the ‘global threat’ posed by Russia.

- Trump’s policy of moving away from globalism (and its globalist military posture) is being opposed by, among others, the military establishment. Flynn’s latest anti-Iran diatribe indicates that he also follows that ‘party line’.

- “It is doubtful whether Generals Mattis and Flynn, or others in the team, fully appreciate or endorse the full scope of Trump’s intended revolution. True belief, perhaps, is confined to a small circle around the President, led by Steve Bannon”.

Is that the reason Trump and Bannon have created the Strategic Initiatives Group and Bannon has been put on the NSC?


College kids. Here is what the grown ups on the left say.



English Outsider

A politicised Civil Service? When I read this extraordinary account of civil servants preparing for political action my first response was the standard "It couldn't happen here." My second was to stop and think a bit, and to realise how often it has. Yet another comfortable constitutional axiom bites the dust. The politically neutral civil service, responding dutifully to the wishes of the people as transmitted through the elected politicians, has never really existed outside the school text books and doesn't exist today.

How far is this going to go? Is "de-legitimisation" to be the new watchword? Obviously it's quite proper to throw sand in the works of the new administration - a civic duty almost - if that new administration shouldn't be there.

And does this relate to other means of opposing Trump? Might that account for the behaviour of the European politicians?

Domestic politics are one thing. Obama had to cope with often quite savage personal attacks during his time in office. That'll be the same for Trump. But foreign politics aren't usually done that way. There might be all hell let loose at home but appearances are kept up abroad.

It's not happening with Trump. Before he won the European politicians and press were mounting attacks. That got worse after the elections. Not so much attacks on his policies. Direct attacks on him personally. As if he were personally unsuited for the office and therefore shouldn't be occupying it.

That's an odd way of treating a US President. In fact I haven't seen it done before. Are these European politicians hoping that determined foreign opposition, combined with equally determined internal opposition, would have the effect of rendering Trump unable to carry through the policies he was elected on?


I feel younger already, thanks.
I do not know if Trump has or will give illegal orders (I'm not a lawyer, road not taken in the mid '70s when I went into tech biz), I simply wanted to be sure that the CS is obligated similarly (exactly-like?) our Armed Forces.

You project a lot towards me about my naive progressivism. I have my ideals but they are just that... decoupled from reality. In reality, I'm more pragmatic & cynical. The former has made me able to provide for my family, the later has kept me (relatively) sane.

I'm all for Trump making America Great Again... I happen to believe that if successful, it will be an indirect consequence of his policies & personality - t'was ever thus in history. I don't think the Dems have the spine to treat him they way the GOP treated Obama... heck, they don't have the spine to look at themselves in the mirror & say "You're Fired!"

I suspect there will come a point in his presidency that someone(s) will refuse an order because they believe it is illegal, and that it might indeed be illegal. Given the nature of the CS "personality module" & the info-culture we live with, it will be a tiny event. The CS community (no monoculture, actually) operative attitude will be... "this is what they voted for... let 'em have it."

You pointed out years ago that if individuals are to be truly committed to their ideals, & it is a really big deal, then they should act & not care about legal ramifications... that's the true nature of ideals & commitment... act bravely & face the consequences. Too many want their ass-covered in advance of action. I agree... it is the definition of bravery to risk in the absence of protection. This president's policies may give rise to bravery among those untethered from the categories that so many of us are comfortable with. That's fine by me - I'm pretty sick of 'em myself.


Is it possible that it was leaked by Oz govt in an attempt to force Trump to honor the deal?



"Instead it shows weakness and impotence."


The liberals want a PC world and Trump is not. That's their primary beef. Now they're acting out, incited by the hysterical media. Peggy Noonan's column that you linked to earlier is very insightful. As she notes Trump is "norm breaking". That's the fundamental problem the Borgists have. Their groupthink world is being shattered and they can't come to terms with how such a person could defeat their perfect Borg Queen.

The Democrats should do some serious soul searching to understand why they rigged their primary. Sanders may very well have won the election. They should be getting behind someone like Tulsi Gabbard who is working across the aisle to introduce important legislation like the next Glass Steagall and Stop Arming Terrorists Act. Instead they back Borgists and trash Tulsi. Apparently they can't let go of their Borg utopia.



I fear an out of control President who yelled at and then hung up on Australia’s PM more than federal bureaucrats. Workers are constrained by their paychecks and families. The revolving door is for the political appointees. Many enforce laws passed by Congress and signed by the President. What is upsetting is seeing law breakers go unpunished. Civil Servants bend backward not disrespect their asshole bosses and pass on their best judgment and institutional history. A few have the courage to point out publicly what is in the America’s best interest no matter the consequences. Since the election, anything dirty has been picked up by corporate media and thrown at the President. What we are watching in real time are Globalist Insiders releasing incendiary material trying to force a soft coup and install Mike Pence.


FB Ali

It looks like Trump may be attempting to test the waters of removing Russian sanctions.


And the predictable response from another Borg Queen, Nancy Pelosi. Can't wait for McCain and his office wife to get in on the act.



That poor guy in Justice writing-giving Grants has not got a clue. Who has money for Grants, not the USA. Thus with his Grants gone a year from now what's he going to do. Yes, the government will slow down a bit but by summer it will be humming along again once the start of the Gutting occurs as that will really scare them. How many times will they get away with making Trump look like a fool.
The WH certainly leaked the drafts of the LGBTQ EO's and others the old bait and switch game. Gotta keep the chaos going.
A lot has occurred in the last couple of weeks with plenty more to go. Makes you ask what the professional politicians have been doing all these years.


As acknowledged above, Trump could certainly Reduce in Force ("RIF") large sections of the federal civil service (as well as US foreign service), but as the Colonel rightly points out, the country as we know it actually needs these people to man their posts throughout the year. They may not be productive every day, but they are productive enough to sustain important, permanent, functions. To what end would it be to erase these positions? After fewer weeks than you might imagine, the public (voters) would complain, and loudly, if these positions were gone. The congress responds to voters. Ergo, the more Trump rocks the boat, the more likely comes impeachment. One wonders if Trump's people really have any clue how to stay around long enough to accomplish their goals...whatever those goals might be.

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