Welcome to day twenty eight day of the U.S. Federal government shutdown.
Normally “Federal Government shut downs” are a game of “chicken” where Congressional (usually GOP) and Executive Branch (usually Democrat) politicians are playing a game of virtue signaling to their political base until the accumulated toxic waste of bad media and public protest let the Congress “compromise” on spending more money with limited blow back in their next partisan primary.
This time is very different, and it’s far more than just a matter of political parties changing sides in government.
President Trump is working to a “Xanatos Gambit” political-media strategy tree that looks whole lot like his 2015 GOP primary campaign from June 16, 2015 to week of December 2-8, 2015. Where he ran a high energy offensive political campaign of “free media by outrageous statements” that sucked all the political air time out of his GOP opponent’s political campaigns and established his ‘billionaire who cares more for the common man than D.C. politicians‘ street cred’ via populist anti-open borders immigration positions of protecting American citizens from illegal immigrant Mexican criminals and Muslim terrorists.
President Trump’s “Big Macs served at the White House” and grounding Speaker Pelosi’s Congressional Junkets on military transports during a government shut down over funding “The Wall” are both very much in that “Xanatos Gambit” frame work. President Trump is staying on the offensive so House Democrats and the media cannot “get off a shot” over the Government shut down. While at the same time defining the Democrats as being only interested in the perks of government power and not the public good they are supposed to serve.
DEFINING THE XANATOS GAMBIT
For those who are unfamiliar with the term, a ‘Xanatos Gambit’ is a plan for which all foreseeable outcomes benefit the creator — including ones that superficially appear to be failure. Such was the case when then Candidate Trump brought up — in the aftermath of the Nov. 14, 2015 Bataclan concert hall terrorist massacre on in Paris — the fact he remembered seeing that ‘thousands’ of Muslims in Paterson, New Jersey were seen celebrating the 9/11/2001 terrorist attack.
Candidate Trump was immediately attacked as a liar by the media saying that no such thing happened. This went on for several days. Then this video surfaced:
Sunday Sept. 16, 2001 CBS Report by Pablo Guzman on 9/11 Celebration in Jersey City
The reaction of the main stream media to the Guzman video generally followed this line:
Claim That Video Backs Donald Trump’s Assertion of Mass 9/11 Celebrations Is Debunked
…but the bottom line was that Candidate Trump’s ‘Street Cred’ and political brand as the “Anti-Political Correctness” presidential candidate were burnished and the media’s credibility was further damaged.
TRUMP’s 2015 MUSLIM TERRORISM XANATOS GAMBIT SET-UP
Does anyone really doubt for a single minute that Candidate for President Trump had -a lot- of copies of that Guzman video in his back pocket, ready to be surfaced by his media cut outs, before he mentioned the Paterson 9/11/2001 Muslim celebration?
And that his planning for it may have pre-dated his announcement of his candidacy?
I’ll point out that this kerfuffle came very shortly before the December 2, 2015, Muslim terrorist massacre at the Inland Regional Center Christmas party in San Bernardino, California that gunned down 36, killing 14.
Trump’s Xanatos Gambit set up with the Guzman video certainly paid off for his GOP campaign for Presidential nomination during the San Bernardino terrorist attack. Trump closed the deal with the American GOP primary voters in the week of December 2-8, 2015 because he was the ONLY American leader to state the bleeding obvious, that San Bernardino was Muslim Terrorism, and that we need to suspend Muslim immigration while devising more effective ways to keep out terrorist immigrants.
Trump moved out to a commanding lead in the GOP primaries that led to his eventual GOP Presidential nomination in Cleveland.
Before you scoff again that there was no way Candidate Trump could know ahead of time there would be several Muslim terrorist attacks inside the USA in 2015 and 2016, I’m going to point you to a former 15-year Homeland Security whistle blower named Philip Haney. He appeared on December 10, 2015 in an interview with then Fox New media star Megan Kelly.
Philip Haney told Megyn Kelly that as part of his investigation, he was looking into a collection of global networks that were infiltrating radical Islamists into the U.S.
But a year into the investigation, Haney said they got a visit from the State Department and the Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, who said that tracking these groups was problematic because they were Islamic.
Haney’s investigation was shut down and 67 of his records were deleted, including one into an organization with ties to the mosque in Riverside, Calif., that San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook attended. Those deleted files included information on an organization with ties to Farook’s mosque, San Bernardino’s Deobandi movement-affiliated Dar-al-Uloom al-Islamia.
And Farook’s wife and accomplice, Tashfeen Malik, went to school at Pakistan’s al-Huda, which also has ties to the Deobandi movement.
Philip Haney retired from Homeland Security in July 2015 and he was shopping a story that later became the book See Something, Say Nothing: A Homeland Security Officer Exposes the Government’s Submission to Jihad . All based on his whistle blowing experiences during the Obama Administration, investigative reports of which were published in Homeland Security Inspector General reports before Donald Trump announced his presidential candidacy in June 2015. This is why Fox News and BreitBart.com were able to put Haney on-air and on-line so quickly on Dec 10-11 2015. And why THE HILL posted an op-ed by Haney on December 16th 2015.
Given that Donald Trump’s political opposition research would have told him Hillary Clinton was the Secretary of State at the time Harney was whistle blowing about, and the Obama Administration domestic surveillance black out of “known wolf” potential Muslim terrorists was years old, Candidate Trump was playing by “Gambling Casino House Rules” with the Muslim terrorism — one of the perfect examples of the Xanatos Gambit in real life.
Philip Harney’s information on America’s intelligence black out of “Known Wolf” Muslim terrorist suspects made the American Mainstream Media and American political establishment’s bet against domestic Muslim Terrorist mass casualty attacks from November 2015 onward like a bet against a Casino by “House Rules.” It was a political bet that was doomed to lose given enough time, as both the November 2015 San Bernardino attack and the June 2016 ISIS Ramadan Massacre at the Pulse Night Club in Orlando by OMAR MIR SEDDIQUE MATEEN made clear.
ASSESSING HOW LONG A ‘XANATOS GAMBIT’ FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN
While I don’t know how long this current round of Federal government shutdown will last. I did know back in August 2018 that a long one was coming after the November 2018 mid-term elections. The reason why was President Trump caved on everything — including funding his wall — to get the first Defense Department appropriations bill passed and signed in more than a decade. More than that, it was the earliest that a DoD appropriations bill was passed in 40 years.
This means the previous two to four week — one to two federal pay periods — time limit regards paying the American military is off the table in this Federal Government shut down, as the troops are paid through 30 September 2019. And unlike past Presidents, Donald Trump is managing this shut down to minimize the pain to the public and maximize it for the D.C. political elites.
For example, Junketing is the Congressional leadership’s biggest and highest status perk. It is often used by Chairmen and senior party leaders as a way to buy a difficult House or Senate votes against the local interests of representatives and senators. President Trump — in the most visible and publicly humiliating a way possible — took away from the Speaker of the House her ability to junket at federal government expense. And he did it in a way that highlighted Democrats unwillingness to stop the decades long open border illegal immigration crisis that propelled Donald Trump into office.
It gets worse for the permanent party of government. While civil servants covered by the Defense Department appropriations bill are getting paid. None of the other civil servants are. This means many Federal government unions and non-government organizations dependent on Federal appropriations or funding grants are cut off. All of the people in this list are major sources of funding for the Democratic Party either directly or through warehousing of election year political operative talent inside government in the “off-season.”
This is “10% of government not working” you hear about in the newscasts.
The horrid news gets worse, from the Democrat Party point of view, because the ability of the Democrat dominated Federal government permanent bureaucracy to do rule making is frozen for the duration of the shut down. No new rule can be added, nor future rule can be published for comment, to the Federal Register. The longer the shut down goes on, the lower the cost of compliance of Federal rule making mandates to the private sector, state and local governments.
For the Democrat Party this is a highly dangerous development…and it is going from “horrid” to “horrific.”
President Trump may well use a federal employment furlough rules, if the government shut down lasts more than a month, to get rid the Federal government of Obama Administration Senior Executive Service (SES) permanent bureaucrats. See:
Trump Puts Schumer and Pelosi in a Brilliant Vise Grip
“… A high-ranking Trump administration official wrote four days ago in the Daily Caller that the shutdown enables Trump to get rid of people like this. As members of the Senior Executive Service, many of them can’t be fired unless they’re convicted of a felony, or of committing some flagrant misconduct.
This is indeed Trump’s chance to “smoke out the Resistance,” but he must do it carefully. Thomas Lifson has published two columns in the American Thinker, here and here, explaining that SES employees cannot be furloughed (laid off) under normal circumstances, but they can be removed during a Reduction in Force (RIF) when their positions are found to be unnecessary.
.… As Lifson explains, and Michael Roberts explains at The Balance Careers here, on Day 30 of the shutdown, a clause is triggered in these federal employment contracts that enables RIF. The Office of Personnel Management oversees the RIF process.”
While the OMB has come out this week saying that civil servants won’t be RIFed without a reorganization plan if the furlough lasts more than 30-days…the S.E.S. are not general series civil servants. There are very few of them and they are concentrated in Washington D.C. And Obama Administration S.E.S. “embeds” generally are the lowest seniority and least likely to have a military service veteran preference in the event of a “administrative reorganization” aimed at the S.E.S. during the shutdown.
As Thomas Lifeson writing at the American Thinker put it —
Of course, there would be a dispute on when the clock starts ticking on the 30 days – with the original “shutdown furlough” or from the date of the hypothetical downsizing plan I mention. If the latter – a delayed start of the clock ticking – then the pressure on the Democrats to cave in and end the shutdown would amp up. Imagine if Schumer and Pelosi started hearing from federal bureaucrats waiting to be RIFed if another 30 days go by. Would they be willing to say to them that it’s more important to have no border barriers than for their jobs to be preserved? They would have a time bomb of layoffs of government employees, a huge Democrat constituency, affecting many individual members of the House with large numbers of federal employee constituents. I can imagine quite a few House Democrats bolting from Pelosi if she persists in the shutdown, refusing to talk or compromise.
If this plan is followed and a downsizing proposal is officially revealed, Trump either gets an end to the shutdown or gets to downsize the federal bureaucracy.
A Trump Administration announcement of a preexisting administrative downsizing proposal affecting large swaths of the currently unfunded S.E.S. level Federal bureaucracy that comes Tuesday January 22nd 2019, the first “working day” after the 30-day furlough mark has passed would certainly confirm a “Xanatos Gambit Strategy In-Progress.”
WHERE THE XANATOS GAMBIT MEETS GAME OF THRONES
Now, I personally doubt this “Furlough R.I.F. Trap” will come to pass. But it is a good example of the many sorts of things you need to be on the look out for with President Trump during his “Xanatos Gambit Federal Government Shutdown” political offensive.
The bottom line here for the length of the Federal Government shutdown is that Senate Minority Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi are facing a major insurgency from the far left of their party, which will not brook any funding for the Wall. This is a “Game of Thrones head on a pike” identity issue for those far left Democrat politicians and activists. One which may result in the ouster of Schumer and Pelosi as Congressional leaders if they cave to Pres. Trump
And President Trump can last until 30 September 2019 — letting Democrats figure out which of their interest groups must be sacrificed in public to maintain Schumer and Pelosi’s political power — because that date is the outside limit for the “Xanatos Gambit Federal Government Shutdown.”
XANATOS GAMBIT P.S.