“I followed my heart, not my head. As I reflect, my loyalty to his grandfather Earle Bruce, who was my mentor, likely impacted how I treated Zach over the years.”
That was how Ohio State University football coach Urban Meyer attempted to do a little self-reflection during a press conference on Wednesday evening. He was addressing his failure to fire Zach Smith, his assistant coach and the grandson of his mentor, until July 23rd of this year despite a track record of poor behavior spanning nearly a decade.
The most egregious entanglements Smith got himself in were in regards to domestic violence allegations, the most recent of which cost him his job. If you pay attention to sportsball in any capacity, you’ve heard of this story; if you haven’t here is a nice summary of what happened:
The saga began in earnest on July 23, when Zach Smith was fired after the independent journalist Brett McMurphy reported on Facebook that Courtney Smith had requested a protection order against him. He also reported that Zach Smith had been accused of domestic violence in 2009, when he was an assistant to Meyer at Florida, and in 2015, when they were both at Ohio State.
Courtney Smith, who is now divorced from Zach Smith, had said that Shelley Meyer had extensive knowledge of the abuse allegations in 2015, McMurphy reported. Courtney Smith’s story was supported by text messages, according to the report.
A week earlier, at a news conference for the Big Ten Conference, Urban Meyer said that he had known of the 2009 accusations and that he and his wife had talked with the Smiths after a police investigation. But when confronted with questions about the 2015 allegations during the news conference, Meyer said he had learned of the accusations only the night before.
The next week, he retracted that denial, saying in his statement that he had failed to be “clear, compassionate and, most of all, completely accurate” in his previous comments.
At this point, the media frenzy went into overdrive, prompting Ohio State to put Meyer on administrative leave pending an investigation. That investigation concluded this past Wednesday, and the final conclusion was to give Meyer a 3 game suspension. The university released an independent, 23 page report about its findings:
It began by stating the relevant question:
In the hiring, retaining, supervising and firing of former Assistant Coach Zach Smith, did Head Coach Urban Meyer (“Coach Meyer”) violate any Ohio State University (“OSU”) policies or rules, Title IX, NCAA rules, Big Ten Rules, Ohio State Ethics laws, any other state or federal laws, or his contractual obligations to OSU in connection with Zach Smith’s alleged commission of domestic violence against his former wife, including any obligations to report the alleged domestic violence?
In 2009, while Smith and Meyer were at the University of Florida, Smith was arrested for aggravated battery of his wife, who was pregnant at the time. Despite this, no formal charges were ever filed by Smith’s wife, Courtney. The relevance to his hiring at Ohio State is discussed in the report as follows:
OSU performed a standard background check on Zach Smith prior to his being hired as an Assistant Coach at OSU in December 2011 by Coach Meyer; the background check did not call for or return arrest information, and Zach Smith’s arrest in 2009 was therefore unknown to others at OSU at the time he was hired.
Coach Meyer did not inform others at OSU about Zach Smith’s 2009 arrest. Coach Meyer has explained that he did not do so because no charges were filed and because he believed Zach Smith had not engaged in domestic violence in 2009.
In other words, because no charges were ever filed, Meyer felt no need to bring it up. After his hiring, Smith was involved with other conduct which is, at the very least, questionable. The report goes into detail, but here I will merely list the events, and whether Meyer knew about them, according to the report:
In 2013 Smith was Arrested for DUI – Meyer was not made aware
In May 2014 ran up a large strip club bill while on a recruiting trip – Meyer was made aware, and he reprimanded the coach, warning him that further behavior of this sort was a terminable offense. Meyer inserted a morality clause into the team Coaching Manual to reflect this.
From 2014-2016, Smith had multiple occasions in which his credit card was declined and in which he was delinquent in paying for travel and other expenses. The OSU travel office and higher ups in the administration were involved. The report says Meyer had a vague recollection of the incidents
In 2015, a domestic violence investigation into Smith was initiated by local police. Meyer noted that if it was discovered that Smith hit his wife, or that charges were filed, he would be fired.
In 2015-2016, Smith is described to have shown diminished job performance, being late to practices and other team functions, among other things. Meyer warned him that such continued behavior would lead to termination
During the 2015-2016 period, Smith was involved in a sexual affair with a member of the staff. Meyer was not made aware of this
In 2016, Smith was advised by Meyer to seek treatment and rehab for an addiction to ADHD mediation
In December 2017, Smith was given a trespass warning by local police for entering the premises of his now ex-wife. Meyer did not know about this
In May of 2018, Smith was charged with criminal trespass. Meyer did not know about this until July 20th, after a further civil protection order was made against Smith. Meyer found out about this through media reports.
On July 23rd, Meyer fired Smith.
On first glance, Meyer’s failure to act after this laundry list of problematic behavior is damning. It is much less damning when one considers the fact that Meyer was not made aware of everything. What Meyer did know in real time was about Smith’s hanky panky in the strip club, his financial issues, an apparent medication addiction affecting his job performance and an official suspicion of domestic violence by authorities.
Taking account of the sentimental nature of his relationship with Smith, the fact Meyer kept giving Smith a pass is understandable. Call it nepotism, preferential treatment or whatever, but that’s just what people do for their own. And excuse me for trying to read Meyer’s thinking here, but it’s entirely possible that knowing that Smith was in a trainwreck of a marriage, Meyer viewed all of Smith’s issues as interrelated, and as such he was perhaps more inclined to cut him a few extra breaks.
Poor judgment? Sure. But was any of this in violation of OSU policy, or indeed federal, state or local law? The investigation answers with the following:
Under his employment contract with OSU, Urban Meyer had at all relevant times an obligation to “immediately report to the [Athletic] Director and to the Department’s Office of Compliance Services in writing if any person or entity, including without limitation, representatives of Ohio State’s athletic interests, has violated or is likely to violate or may potentially have violated any [applicable] laws,” including all federal, state and local laws. (Meyer Employment Contract §4.1.d)
Because they believed Zach Smith’s denials and because there was no charge or arrest in connection with the 2015-2016 events, neither Coach Meyer nor AD Smith believed that there had been a violation or a potential violation of the law and therefore neither had reporting obligations regarding what they knew about the law enforcement investigation of Zach Smith. In addition, Coach Meyer, because he was first informed of the investigation by AD Smith, believed that he had no further reporting obligations.
In assessing their reporting obligations, both Coach Meyer and AD Smith placed heavy reliance on the absence of formal law enforcement or court action. Neither made any report of the matter to Athletic Compliance or University Compliance for consideration of whether an internal investigation should be conducted. Under the broad language of their contracts, reporting obligations can be triggered in the absence of formal, external action.
Reporting requirements are intended to be both broad and redundant – in the case of Coach Meyer, they require reporting (in writing) to two places (to the AD and to Athletic Compliance) and the obligation to report is placed on each individual, an obligation not relieved by the knowledge or reporting by another individual. While we find that both Coach Meyer and AD Smith believed in good faith that they did not have sufficient information to trigger any reporting obligation, we believe that they viewed the issue too narrowly through the lens of law enforcement action.
Here’s where things start to get interesting. The investigative team ruled that Meyer had done nothing wrong based on the narrowest interpretation of his contractual obligations. Recall that Smith had not been formally charged with anything until May of 2018. So despite Meyer’s knowledge of Smith’s domestic issues going as far back as 2009, the lack of formal charges meant Meyer was technically not required to report anything to Ohio State compliance. Note that when Meyer did find out about the formal charges of May 2018 through the media two months later, he did fire Smith – which is consistent with the warning he gave to Smith during the 2015 period.
The investigators insert what can only be described as their personal lament that Meyer did not take the broadest interpretation of his obligations. Under that interpretation, Meyer should never even have hired Smith at Ohio State because of his 2009 arrest, but having done so, Smith should have been fired on several occasions because of the mere accusations against him. The lack of any charges, let alone convictions, are irrelevant. This is consistent with the moral attitude of the current day which places the outrage of the mob above fundamental conventions such as due process.
With this in mind, consider the following from the investigation about other obligations Meyer had:
Termination for cause is permitted based on the “Commission of or participation in by Coach of any act, situation, or occurrence which, in Ohio State’s judgment, brings Coach and/or Ohio State into public disrepute, embarrassment, contempt, scandal or ridicule or failure by Coach to conform Coach’s personal conduct to conventional and contemporary standards of good citizenship, with such conduct offending prevailing social mores and values and/or reflecting unfavorably upon Ohio State’s reputation and overall primary mission and objectives, including but not limited to, acts of dishonesty [or] misrepresentation . . . .”
Based on this, Ohio State easily could have fired Meyer, on two counts. First, the aforementioned failure to adhere to the modern day convention that allegations are functionally equivalent to convictions flouted the requirement to conform to such “prevailing social mores and values.” Beyond this, Meyer unquestionably lied to the media when he was asked the proverbial What did You Know and When Did You Know It question at Big Ten Media Day, after he had fired Smith. Meyer also deleted all of his text messages older than a year on his cell phone.
That OSU did not fire Meyer was ultimately a giant double barreled middle finger raised at both the media and the social mores and values it champions. Of course in the immediate sense, the decision was not made because of a principled opposition to mob outrage, but rather because Meyer is one of the best coaches in college football history and his departure would likely cause a loss of tens of millions of dollars over the next several years. The mere existence of requirements to adhere to whatever ephemeral values the Social Justice set would foist upon the rest of us shows Ohio State’s core belief in these concepts. But the fact Meyer got off with a slap on the wrist suspension is absolutely just.
The media engaged in its usual mob vigilantism when it charged, tried, convicted and sentenced Meyer, starting within hours after the first reports of the allegations against Smith, and his subsequent firing surfaced. It ballooned into a full scale crisis after it was shown that Meyer had lied about his knowledge of the situation.
Mind you, Meyer’s actions in this matter boil down to not firing a guy who hadn’t been charged with anything, until he had been formally charged with something. From observing the avalanche of outrage, impassioned sports radio rantings and grand proclamations about how this of all things, shows how broken society is, one would be forgiven for thinking it was Urban Meyer who had been battering his wife.
Indeed it is not even clear that anyone was being battered at all. Courtney Smith’s own mother has cast some doubt on the matter with her comments regarding her daughter’s marriage. The only thing we really know for sure is that Zach and Courtney had an extremely bad marriage. We’ll find out the rest definitively after it plays out in court, and only then.
For completeness, beating your wife is wrong. It should go without saying, but judging by all the sanctimonious finger wagging going on, it seems that men across the land have not learned that being among the Accused is a grave sin. We must teach them.
Silliness aside, the modern rush to judgment in social matters does no one any good, apart from those who seek power for the purposes of lording it over others at will. What do those vilifying Meyer wish to see? With his Bad Personhood confirmed by the press, was he never to coach again, anywhere? If his judgment now precludes him from coaching young football players, what profession do these media adjudicators, in their infinite wisdom, deem acceptable for a Bad Person like Meyer to participate in? Or is he simply unfit to contribute to society, period?
The reality of it all is that the only thing Meyer did wrong was to brazenly lie to the press. Naturally, the media, highlighting its unbelievable arrogance, behaved as though Big Ten Media Day was some sort of Federal Court setting, and that Meyer had raised his right hand while placing his left on the Bible before answering questions.
It was wrong, yes. But no one in this Clown World age should be begrudged for attempting to head off an outrage mob at the pass. Particularly when one is in the right. In retrospect Meyer should have told the truth – that he didn’t, and thus intensified a media storm unnecessarily – renders his suspension just about fair.
If you’ve been taking the various legacy media reports regarding John Brennan’s security revocation by President Trump last week to be good faith reporting, the one thing you got from them was that Trump was engaging in a direct attack on the First Amendment. The argument holds that by revoking Brennan’s security clearance, Trump was punishing him for making extremely critical remarks about the President on television. The knock on effect is to signal to all government officials that maintaining one’s clearance comes with an obligation not to criticize Trump.
In order to make this argument, one has to hold the following things as true – first that John Brennan had done nothing but express a political opinion, and that security clearances are some sort of proxy for a constitutional right to free speech.
Regarding the first, the reality is that John Brennan has done a lot more to warrant the revocation of a security clearance than just bloviating in the media. At the very least, his lying to Congress, twice, about very damning behavior from the CIA is more than enough justification. In fact, much of the media had called for Brennan’s resignation and/or firing at the time of these incidents.
More pertinent to Trump, Brennan leveled a charge of treason at the President after his meeting with Vladamir Putin. That has serious implications when it comes with the gravitas of an ex-CIA director potentially having intimate knowledge of incriminating, but classified matters. Indeed there are various investigations ongoing, and Brennan’s comments are at the very least irresponsible in light of that.
The bottom line is that, were Brennan attempting to apply for a security clearance today, with all of that on his record, he would be rejected instantly. Therefore it is no big deal that he does not have his clearance.
Which leads us to another angle the legacy media Is running with – namely that these clearances are some sort of stand-in for first amendment political speech. In addition, they represent a layer of national security maintenance, given that former officials with clearances may be needed in short bursts for their expertise in dealing with the intelligence and/or national security matters of the present.
A much less noted consequence of a security clearance revocation is the subsequent inability to land roles with private sector contractors and consulting firms which deal in information requiring such clearances. Brennan himself confirmed as much over the weekend with Chuck Todd, after Todd asked what the ramifications of losing a clearance were generally:
Well for me, it probably does mean that, that I just can’t go into the agency and have conversations with people who may call me up and ask me for my thoughts and views, and that has happened in the last couple of months. But for others, former officials who are on that list, some of them serve on boards of directors that require security clearances because the companies involved deal with classified information, and this can have a very punitive, very financial hit against them, and so now if I was asked to be on a board that requires a security clearance, I couldn’t.
Here, Brennan gets at the crux of the matter. The US government spends roughly $500 billion annually on contracts to the private sector, which in turn hires career government officials who have developed security clearances to handle the sensitive information that is dealt with. This explains how “career public servants” like James Comey can end up multimillionaires. In his case he went from the DOJ to Lockheed Martin and Bridgewater and made vast sums serving as counsel to those firms. Undoubtedly his clearances were of great value in securing these roles.
The issue underpinned the viral exchange between Phil Mudd and Paris Dennard on CNN earlier this week. A visibly unhinged Mudd scoffed at the argument that his security clearance served as a golden ticket. A look at his bio suggests otherwise:
Mr. Mudd is the President of Mudd Management, a company specializing in security consulting; analytic training; and public speaking about security issues. He is a senior fellow at the New America Foundation and The George Washington University’s Homeland Security Policy Institute. He now serves as Senior Global Adviser to Oxford Analytica, a British-based firm specializing in advising multinational companies. He sits on the advisory board for the National Counterterrorism Center and for the Director of National Intelligence, and he serves on the Aspen Institute’s Homeland Security Group.
The idea that Mudd’s security clearance status affects absolutely none of those roles is difficult to believe, to put it mildly. Indeed, his inability to remain cool and his over the top defensiveness in the face of Dennard’s simple acknowledgement of the monetary benefits to holding a security clearance is telling. But more generally, his indignation is perfectly representative of how The Swamp must feel at this moment.
Those government officials who are particularly vexed by this, along with their mouthpeices in the media are ultimately less angered about Brennan specifically than they are about the sunlight now being directed on the revolving door between the government and private contractors and consultants.
Trump’s actions are alarming to the Swap because they are a disruption of a bipartisan feeding trough for some government officials. In the good old days, these individuals could put in their time in the Institutions, and then have the option to cash out at a cushy consulting gig, with a contractor, or as a media contributor. The game was largely kept outside of political squabbling because both Democrats and Republicans benefited handsomely from it.
In this regard, to refer to Trump as attacking the First Amendment is to effectively declare that these exalted career government officials have a Constitutional right to high paying sinecures once their time in government is up. It is just as well, given the legacy media is itself part of that Swamp.
That stance is incorrect, of course, and insidious to boot given the actual threat to free speech currently being posed by social media companies, mostly at the behest of the very legacy media which defends Brennan – and indeed the other government officials who are potentially set to lose their security clearances – from Trump.
In those other cases, the rumored revocations are tied to the conduct of the individuals in question with respect to prior and current FBI investigations. The recently fired Peter Stzrok, for example, is under review for likely manipulating and/or withholding 302s, which are essentially FBI transcripts of subject interviews. The media has framed any and all censure of Stzok however, as being a result of his anti-Trump text messages, painting a picture of political retribution by Trump. This is not accurate.
In the end, this piece of the saga highlights the entrenched nature of The Swamp, and its inability to let go of the status quo. It is also confirmation of President Trump’s effectiveness. He was elected to take these fights head on, and his mere engagement in them reveals to the public, bit by bit, the reality of the corrupted system in which we find ourselves.
Last week, Michael D. Shear, Katie Benner and Nicholas Fandos wrote a piece for The New York Times titled “Embracing Conspiracy Theory, Trump Escalates Attack on Bruce Ohr.” It is presented as a stone cold, sober news story, yet even before the byline, the article has engaged in editorializing. This has become a go-to tactic of our “objective” news media of late, which cannot seem to report on anything without first framing it in a way that meshes with a preconceived narrative.
In this case, the narrative is that President Trump is using his power to silence political critics in government, as well as those who are or were involved in the investigation surrounding the 2016 election.
The New York Times piece starts as follows:
WASHINGTON — President Trump threatened on Friday to quickly revoke the security clearance of Bruce Ohr, a little-known Justice Department official, for the first time seeking to apply his power to cut access to sensitive information to a midlevel government worker rather than a prominent former national security official.
In mentioning the fact that Ohr is a “little-known Justice Department official” and even more crudely, describing him as “a midlevel government worker,” the authors of the piece are attempting to paint an image of an average stiff. We are to believe that Ohr was a hapless cog in a machine, thus framing the subsequent scrutiny levied against him by Trump as that of an out of control bully.
The reality is that as of his demotion in December 2017, Ohr was an Associate Deputy Attorney General – a position which is just subordinate to the Associate Attorney General, who is the third ranked official at the DOJ. (Later in the piece, it is noted that the DOJ is a body with 113,000 employees). Nowhere in the article is Ohr’s former lofty rank at the DOJ mentioned.
In addition, he held (and still holds) the role of director of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces. Indeed, Ohr would probably take exception at being described as “midlevel” and a mere “worker” by Shear, Benner and Fandos because he was nothing of the sort.
But, for the sake of the narrative, Ohr’s pedigree was severely downplayed. A few paragraphs later, Shear, Benner and Fandos write:
Mr. Trump began this week to use his power to void security clearances to punish perceived adversaries in the Russia investigation. His revocation of the clearance of John O. Brennan, a former C.I.A. director who has emerged as an outspoken critic of Mr. Trump, drew condemnation from former national security officials.
But by targeting Mr. Ohr, the president moved beyond his bitter clash with high-profile antagonists like Mr. Brennan and reached deep into the bureaucracy. Mr. Trump also forced a difficult choice on Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general: accept the actions of the president or defend a public employee’s right to the normal process of appeals.
Again, the narrative the Newspaper of Record is trying to promulgate is one of an Authoritarian President Trump wielding his power in facilitating the destruction of all of his political enemies, big and small. In Brennan, a former CIA director, we are given an example of a big enemy. In Ohr, the “little known,” “midlevel government worker,” we must take as a small enemy. The description of Trump having to reach “deep into the bureaucracy” to get to Ohr adds further color to the narrative being spun.
So too does the minimization of Brennan’s actions play into the narrative. The Times authors encapsulate the totality of Brennan’s behavior in this saga in the benign label “outspoken critic.” To describe Trump’s actions, they note his “power” and willingness to “punish perceived adversaries,” thereby creating a sense that the President is at the very least abusing his power.
However, as Andrew McCarthy wrote over the weekend, the President’s revocation of Brennan’s security clearance was indeed justified. This is because Brennan, in his new role as a media pundit, frequently went beyond mere political criticism and spoke with the insinuation that law enforcement has President Trump dead to rights, and his impeachment is imminent. He merely cannot be explicit because, you know, the pertinent information is classified.
Furthermore, Brennan does this with the gravitas of an ex-CIA director, specifically the one who was in charge during the time covered by the multiple, ongoing investigations into the events of the 2016 election and beyond. At the very least his comments are irresponsible.
Beyond this, there is the issue of Brennan’s history of lying to Congress about spying on US Senate staffers in 2014. On that basis alone, Brennan would not be granted clearance if he were to apply for it today from scratch. That he even remained in the job beyond 2014 was absurd. Indeed, many of the same left leaning outlets now championing this poor little “outspoken critic” had called for his resignation or firing back then (here, here, and here). However, in service of The Narrative, a little hypocrisy is no bother.
Mr. Ohr, a career law enforcement official who has worked on antidrug and antigang initiatives at the Justice Department, has been targeted by conservative allies of Mr. Trump who have seized on the fact that Mr. Ohr was at the department at the same time that his wife, Nellie, was a contractor for Fusion GPS, a research firm that participated in compiling a dossier of damaging information about Mr. Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Ohr is portrayed again as some sort of stiff just working on drug and gang cases, who just happened to be married to a contractor for the firm which helped to produce the infamous Trump Dossier. That this ‘coincidence’ has been “seized on” by “conservative allies” is supposed to inform the reader that Ohr is a victim of a right wing conspiracy theory. Furthering that idea, Shear, Benner and Fandos write:
Conservatives have pointed out that emails show that in 2016, Mr. Ohr was in contact with Christopher Steele, the British former spy who compiled the dossier, in part by relying on Russian sources, and with Glenn R. Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS. Democrats have called the accusations ridiculous and overblown.
The phrase “conservatives have pointed out” deliberately muddies the waters, drenching plain fact in insinuations of politically motivated spin.
Mr. Ohr was in touch with Mr. Steele, a professional acquaintance whom he had known before Mr. Steele began working for Fusion GPS, through summer and fall 2016, including one conversation in which Mr. Steele said that he “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.”
Mr. Ohr eventually told the F.B.I. about his wife’s work and about his conversations with Mr. Steele, passing along information given to him by Mr. Steele that the F.B.I. had already received directly from the former spy. Mr. Steele had worked with the bureau on past cases.
Shear, Benner and Fandos paint an innocuous picture here, but leave out a crucial detail. Steele had indeed worked with the FBI, but had those ties severed for leaking information to the media. Therefore, the FBI could no longer credibly use Steele’s information in its investigation. Given that Steele was essentially the only source of information, it would have left the investigation at a dead end.
Enter Bruce Ohr, whose wife Nellie worked with the same firm that Steele had been working with, Fusion GPS. Steele’s information passed through Nellie and Bruce Ohr to the FBI. The FBI was thus getting laundered information from Ohr, a “source” untainted by a leaking offense.
Now comes the obfuscation, lest the reader begins to veer towards the truth:
And no evidence has emerged showing that Mr. Ohr or his wife played a role in starting the F.B.I.’s Russia investigation. Rather, it was contacts between a former Trump foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos, and Russian intermediaries that prompted the bureau to open the inquiry in late July 2016.
But Mr. Trump has embraced the theory, casting Mr. Ohr and his wife as central players in what he calls the “rigged witch hunt” and accusing the couple of having what he claims are indirect contacts with Russians — apparently a reference to Mr. Steele’s research.
And a few paragraphs later:
Republican lawmakers who strongly support Mr. Trump, mostly in the House, have circled Mr. Ohr and his wife for months, alleging connections to Mr. Steele and the Democrat-funded dossier they argue formed the basis for a politically motivated investigation into the Trump campaign.
No one is alleging that the Ohr’s were the reason the FBI started the Russia investigation, as the Times writes. What is suggested is that the Ohr’s played a role in ‘cleansing’ the Steele dossier for the purposes of presenting it to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, in pursuit of a FISA warrant which allowed for the monitoring of one-time Trump campaign participant Carter Page.
The scandal stems from the fact that Steele’s information was unverified, and furthermore his credibility as a source was damaged by his leaking to the press. The Ohrs facilitated the rehabilitation of the Steele information by presenting it to the FBI as though it was coming from the DOJ, thus providing a more credible source.
This is not “theory.” This comes from sworn testimony, as well as newly released evidence of contacts between Steele and Bruce Ohr. Yet the Times wants us to believe that it is Trump who is waging a politically motivated assault on dutiful government workers over political differences. Towards the end, Shear, Benner and Fados write:
Republicans who control Congress have shown little interest in directly challenging Mr. Trump on security clearances or his broadsides against investigators.
And in a letter released Friday, 60 former C.I.A. officials said they objected to Mr. Trump’s threats to remove clearances of former security officials, adding their names to the chorus of senior intelligence officers condemning the revocation of Mr. Brennan’s clearance. The letter argued that “the country will be weakened if there is a political litmus test applied before seasoned experts are allowed to share their view.”
Trump’s critical views of the actions of Bruce Ohr, and indeed John Brennan, are couched as “broadsides against investigators,” continuing the theme of ascribing to Trump’s actions a negative connotation and the implication that these actions are that of an authoritarian. It implicates Republicans as well, describing them as unwilling to challenge Trump, before quoting former officials lamenting the supposed weakening of the country thanks to Trump’s ‘tyranny.’
The reality is that Trump’s “broadsides” have been levied against people who have, at the very least acted unethically, if not criminally. They have not been mere political critics as has been implied.
Peter Stzrok was not fired for anti-Trump text messages but for likely manipulating and/or withholding information in the 302s (written memos of FBI interviews with subjects) of Hillary Clinton and Michael Flynn. Bruce Ohr was not fired for his political views. Indeed, the Times goes to great lengths to state how “little known” Ohr was, which suggests that logically the only way he could have made a name for himself was by doing something very severe. The Times own reporting mentions those severe actions actions, Ohr’s role in the information laundering effort, but tries to gloss over it. The Times then tries to reframe any criticism of Ohr on these very legitimate grounds as politically motived conspiracy theories, even using the title of the piece to hammer the idea home.
However one can hardly be accused of peddling conspiracy theories given that all of the criticism stems from on the record evidence disseminated in reporting on investigations by Congress and other internal government bodies, as well as sworn testimony by principle witnesses.
And with that, Michael D. Shear, Katie Benner and Nicholas Fandos completed an exercise in obfuscation, lying by omission and plain dishonesty in the service of the narrative that President Trump is a dictator using his power to silence his political enemies. The charge is patently false; Trump has not placed any restriction upon any individual or organization critical of him. That is an important thing to note in light of his battles with the Press, culminating in a coordinated, simultaneous attack by some 300+ news organizations against the President last week.
What Trump has done, in spades, is to be critical of his critics, in a particularly sharp and stinging manner to boot. There is nothing wrong with this, particularly when his critics engage in the tactics on display in the Shear, Benner and Fandos piece. Very little of what is written in the piece is an outright lie, which is to say factually incorrect.
What the piece does do is augment factual information with clever qualifiers and negative connotations to nudge the reader towrard the worst possible interpretation of events.
As mentioned, this process begins straight from the headline, leading by accusing President Trump of “embracing conspiracy theory,” yet burying the factual evidence which contradicts that accusation in the 8th and 9th paragraphs.
Its mischaracterization of Ohr and the omission of pertinent information regarding his situation lead the reader to believe the drastic moves the President makes are that of a petty tyrant, or alternatively, an act of desperation in saving his own skin.
The omission of Brennan’s catalog of bad behavior and portrayal as a mere political observer similarly leads one to the conclusion that Trump is being heavy handed in his response. So too does the mention of a letter released by dozens of ex-CIA officials, the purpose of which is to add a perceived layer of sober authority.
And with all of this done under the masthead of the New York Times, what is naked political propaganda is recast as objective news. It is this sort of thing that President Trump has raged against, and rightly so. The pushing of bias and opinion as down the middle factual reporting is the essence of “fake news” in the Trump era. The public at large still sees the NYT masthead and assumes objectivity, even if they are increasingly wary. In a bygone age, organizations like the Times had a monopoly on such objectivity.
In the age of the internet, and more specifically social media, this monopoly is gone. Articles such as the Shear, Bonner and Fandos piece which are supposed to form the public’s understanding can be taken apart and ridiculed for what they are. The president regularly does this from his Twitter bully pulpit, and on a smaller scale, conservatives on Twitter, YouTube, blogs and discussion forums are doing the same.
The press doesn’t like this, and true to form, label critiques of their offerings as “attacks on the Free Press.” They are nothing of the sort, merely necessary corrections to the record. It is my aim that the techniques dissected here will jump off the page the next time the reader should encounter such “reporting,” and armed with such knowledge, the reader will better understand it for what it is.
Unfortunately, the more frequently the reader consumes legacy media, the more frequently such skills will be required.
As I write this, President Trump is in the United Kingdom concluding talks with Prime Minister May, after having spent some time together in Brussels earlier in the week as a part of the NATO summit. Much has been made of the political standings of the two domestically in light of the events of the past week. I’d like to focus on Theresa May for now.
The tenuous nature of May’s Premiership was put on display a few days ago with the resignation of her Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson. This followed the resignation of David Davis, the now-former Secretary of State of Exiting the European Union, some 24 hours earlier. The departures represent an internal vote of no confidence in May’s handling of Britain’s exit from the EU. The impetus for this rejection came from May’s first concrete Brexit plan, hatched over the weekend, and released yesterday, in full. Earlier in the week, the Financial Times provided a rough summary of what May’s plan entails:
The UK position crucially “evolves” in two ways that would allow for a Norway-style Brexit deal covering at least part of the EU single market.
The first is Britain’s proposal for a “free trade area for goods” involving the UK and the EU that in effect continues existing regulatory and customs arrangements for manufacturing and agricultural products after Brexit. This is achieved by the UK becoming a rule-taker, with a treaty-based commitment to “ongoing harmonisation with EU rules on goods”.
Just as important is Britain’s concession on enforcement. UK courts would pay “due regard” to European rulings in cases relating to EU-set rules. In other words, while Britain is a separate legal jurisdiction after Brexit, the European Court of Justice would be supreme in interpreting the UK-EU goods rule book.
There are caveats — for example the British parliament could veto changes to the rule book if it accepts the “consequences for market access”. But taken together, the safeguards offer no more freedom than Norway enjoys as a member of the European Economic Area.
This has widely been described as a ‘Soft Brexit,’ and thus not a proper Brexit. More generally, the entire Brexit ordeal which has led to this point is incredibly instructive for highlighting the still-vast chasm between what is affectionately dubbed as ‘The People’ and those who they employ to lead them – and even beyond this – the mockery which has been made of the oft-lauded democratic values which are supposed to shape the relationship between the rulers and the ruled.
Indeed, the political establishment, comprised of career bureaucrats, most politicians, foreign policy experts and mainstream political pundits did not want Brexit. The previous Prime Minister, David Cameron, the man who put the referendum to vote, did not want Brexit. Nor did President Obama, who was the US president at the time. Big business did not want Brexit. May herself did not back Brexit prior to the vote.
But The People did, and made its collective voice heard on 23 June 2016. Note that this date was over two years ago, yet it is just now that the PM has put forth a wishy washy exit plan that, despite technically removing Britain from the EU, effectively maintains the EU stranglehold by vowing to abide by whatever rulings EU courts come up with.
In other words, May’s version of Brexit says “we’re leaving the EU to stand on our own, but we are going to choose to agree with whatever the EU says in regards to regulations and prior agreements.” It is pure politics as usual. May’s proposal is reminiscent of the various legislations, regulations and even entire government bodies here in the United States which have positive sounding names or acronyms (the Patriot Act, Affordable Care act, Consumer Protection Agency, etc) which signal a bureaucracy doing right by the people, but conceals the much longer fine print which generally betrays them.
These comfy sounding titles also allow politicians to proclaim loudly about all the good they’ve done while simultaneously making very legitimate criticisms extremely difficult. When ‘consumer protection’ is redefined as ‘public funding for exclusively leftist causes,’ it’s not hard to have concerns. However, all the sophistic bureaucrat has to do is declare “how could one be against Consumer Protection?” and rely on the base persuasion of such a sentence to do the rest in quashing those concerns. After decades of the establishment engaging in this sort of exercise in cloaking failures through language manipulation, the public has grown weary and demanded concrete change.
One great irony of the Soft Brexit proposal is that it is the precise sort of thing that contributed to the victory of the Leave campaign in the first place. For years, EU-related referenda in countries like Ireland, Denmark, The Netherlands, Greece and even France had either been outright ignored by their respective governments or repackaged and presented as new referenda later. In the latter cases, The People were made to vote again until the establishment got what it wanted.
These instances shone a light upon the farce of bureaucratic respect for ‘the will of the people.’ And with a Soft Brexit proposal, the light shines again. As President Trump stated in a post NATO press conference, ‘Brexit means Brexit.’ That means any attempt at a deal which maintains the status quo, but is sold as ‘Brexit’ simply because the word itself appears in the header somewhere is in league with the aforementioned referenda in other EU countries. It is indicative of the establishment yet again ignoring the will of the people. Indeed, Trump signaled as much in a much publicized interview with The Sun, when he remarked that should the Soft Brexit idea go through as outlined, it would mean the US couldn’t deal with the UK in a favorable manner.
And rightly so, given that a Soft Brexit is really No Brexit. Prime Minister May can go on all she wants about the 29th of March 2019 being the day that Britain leaves the EU, but if all they’ve really done is to essentially agree to EU rules and regulations, just informally and of their own volition – so as to signal outwardly a maintaining of sovereignty – from the perspective of the US there will be no functional difference. The US would be effectively be trading with an Anglo Division of the EU as opposed to the United Kingdom. That’s all President Trump was really saying.
Given the high profile of the fight, any flouting of Brexit has very serious potential long run consequences. Here, there are parallels with the US election, also in 2016, of Donald Trump. The President, like Brexit, was not favored by the establishment, yet The People did favor him in a democratic election. Much like the British establishment and Brexit, the US establishment has not accepted Trump’s electoral victory, and has sought to neuter the Trump administration through a de-legitimization campaign centered on alleged collusion by the Trump team with the Russian government in order to rig that 2016 election.
This campaign has been waged through a feedback loop of constant disparaging aimed at Trump and his associates by the media, running constant headlines filled with insinuations of this or that nefarious connection to nebulous Russians. These are buttressed by a bureaucratically driven Special Council formally investigating these matters as it relates to the 2016 election, headed by Robert Mueller.
The goal of all of this is to at the very least hang a cloud of shadiness over every action President Trump takes, particularly in the foreign policy realm. In this sense, the foreign policy establishment, which Trump disagrees with at every turn, redefines these disagreements as treason, given its declaration that Trump is really an agent of Russia. Thus, the actions that Trump takes – actions which the voters specifically backed him to do – are to be seen as illegitimate.
At most, the establishment seeks to impeach President Trump on the back of those same disagreements, and seeks to do so through the re-taking of Congress from the Republicans this fall. All in all, the establishment has actively worked to undermine the democratically elected Trump. And as with Brexit, the extent to which the establishment is successful further undermines the rosy textbook idea of the civic role played by The People in a constitutional republic, or indeed in a democratic referendum.
That would lead to a further backlash from The People against the establishment, which would put the latter in a position of needing to exert even more naked aggression in displaying the contempt it has for the former’s wishes. At that point, things would undoubtedly get hairy.
We are at this moment in time because the era of globalism, neoliberalism and neo-conservatism that came before had simply run its course, its severe flaws exposed for all to see. It simply wasn’t working for the masses, and the twin events of Brexit and Trump’s election signified a concrete rejection of that paradigm. We are shifting to a new paradigm, and our betters would do well to accept that. The demise of the old order is inevitable. Better to take it gracefully.
I finally got around to watching Big Little Lies, the much talked about HBO series. I didn’t go into the series with any expectations, nor had I read the book. I had no dispositions other than it was a popular show getting critical acclaim.
Ultimately, what seemed like a murder mystery set in a wealthy, picturesque Monterrey, California ended up being a tale about the modern societal themes of feminism and disdain for patriarchy. The murder mystery only served to provide catharsis for the commentary on female victimization that spanned the mini-series.
I don’t say that in a snide or dismissive way; virtually every major female character was cast out as a victim of some sort. The most obvious victim is Celeste (Nicole Kidman) who is the victim of regular physical assault at the hand of her husband Perry (Alexsander Sarsgard), who promises that he’ll change after every violent episode. We learn that Jane (Shailene Woodley) was the victim of a rape, which resulted in her becoming pregnant with her son Ziggy, whom she is raising as a single mom.
She becomes friends with Madeline (Reese Witherspoon) after moving to Monterrey in an attempt to give her son a better life. Madeline is a victim simply because she can’t have it all. She is essentially stuck between Bonnie and Renata (Zoe Kravitz and Laura Dern), who are victims of their success. Bonnie is the young, attractive twentysomething bohemian type with a superb figure, who married Madeline’s ex-husband Nathan (Jake Tupper). Renata is a Power Skirt in a Power Couple.
Bonnie reminds the middle aged ladies of their fading youth, beauty and fertility, and is thus victimized by those iciest of attitudes and scorn directed at her from the older set.
Renata is a victim of her success as a striver. She is on the board of PayPal, and her Power Skirt success, and all that comes with it, including French nanny, leads the other ladies to view her as a failure with regards to raising her daughter Amabella.
Even Amabella is a victim, as we find out in the first episode. One of her male classmates choked her, and throughout the series she continues to suffer physical abuse. When her mother Renata noticed the marks on her neck and when it was discovered the perpetrator was a boy, she asked Amabella to identify him, saying that “Little boys don’t get to go around anymore hurting little girls, and none of us want to raise bullies.”
In the wake of the Parkland shooting, President Trump put out a tweet in which he pointed out the culpability of the FBI, in that it had been made aware of the potentially imminent danger posed by the eventual killer and failed to respond. Trump went on to further suggest that the Bureau would have done well to focus on threats such as those as opposed to its infatuation with anti-Trump fan fiction such as the infamous Steele Dossier. That, in turn, led to things like the recent indictments against 13 Russian nationals for shitposting on Facebook, amongst other crimes.
Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!
That snide remark from the President was predictably picked out and ridiculed by the press and the vast majority of our betters in the ruling class, who launched into another episodic wailing of “How Dare He!” Yet, Trump’s main point was spot on. There is a certain complacency running through our much vaunted Institutions, which should be patently unacceptable given the growing amount of freedoms relinquished by the public in tolerance of them, and the growing tax burden to fund them. The founding fathers would look on aghast at the existence and theoretical capabilities of agencies such as the FBI and CIA, while the likes of Stalin and Mao in their wildest dreams could never have envisaged them in their modern iterations.
Yet the land of the free and the home of the brave not only tolerate them, but bestow upon them a rarified status as though woven into the national identity. As such, the consistency with which mass killers have slipped through their grasp (the FBI in particular) is concerning. The perpetrators of Fort Hood, the Boston Marathon, Garland, San Bernandino, the attempted New Jersey bombings, and now Parkland had all been made aware to the FBI before they carried out their acts. And while unknown to the FBI in advance, the killer in the Charleston church massacre had obtained his weapons thanks to an FBI related flaw in the background check system.
With respect to Parkland, the lackadaisical attitude filtered down to the local enforcement level, as it was reported that the police had been called some 39 times because of the killer’s misbehavior, which necessitated 23 police visits to his residence over the past few years. Some of the reasons included threatening behavior with a firearm. Yet nothing was done.
Drilling down further still, during the shooting itself, the officer stationed at the school allegedly just waited outside for over four of the six minutes of shooting. Later reports suggest that a total of four officers did the same, and it was officers from a neighboring police department which were the first to enter the school. The officers may have been ordered to stand down, or they simply lacked the fortitude to engage. In either case, nothing was done, which enabled the killer to exit alongside other evacuating students and head to multiple fast food restaurants a few blocks away before being caught.
All of this makes a mockery of the ongoing argument that Americans must turn in their guns and allow the ‘authorities,’ relatively small in number, to handle completely the task of defending us all. At Parkland, the very people who were meant to defend the innocent bottled it at nearly every turn. Beyond this, however, the abject failure on multiple levels of what is meant to be the steel in our institutional backbone is increasingly widespread, indicative of a deeper rot in society.
The short answer is: no. But I don’t do short answers, so here’s the long one.
In How Dare You, I described the fact that nearly a year into Trump’s presidency, his opposition has yet to come to terms with the fact that he did actually win the election:
The larger issue here is that those who would consider themselves our cultural betters have affixed to their beliefs the status of The Truth, by fiat. What is accomplished by this is the elevation of what really are mere opinions to base maxims of the sort that are the foundation of the country, thus in theory unassailable.
And so when Trump disagrees with this or that leftist talking point, and vehemently to boot, there is a collective shock that permeates the commentariat. How dare Trump express views which aren’t in agreement with the one Truth that is Leftism in all its forms? How dare Taylor Swift not instantly condemn Trump despite having no reason to voice an opinion, and furthermore how dare Taylor Swift disagree when she is declared to be a white supremacist? How dare Sidney Crosby, a white man, turn up to the White House to accept praise from Trump?
The fact that leftism has gone without a real challenge for multiple decades, and in particular through the Obama years, has rendered the nascent Trump era to be nothing short of a hammer blow through the sensibilities of most leftists. Many still haven’t come to terms with the fact that Trump really is the president, and more fundamentally that the Leftist Truth is not held as such by a YUGE swath of America.
The recent excitement over Michael Wolff’s new book, Fire and Fury, which bills itself as an exclusive inside look at the Trump White House, is further evidence that the failure to come to terms with Trump 45 is as prevalent as ever. Indeed, it seems that Trump Derangement Syndrome has reached levels that shouldn’t be possible. In the past week, this book has been endlessly covered in the mainstream media, with Wolff himself doing interviews with basically every network and media publication to drum up the hype, bolstered by stories of how the book has been flying off the shelves in record time.
President Trump has unsurprisingly said less than favorable things about the book, and in fairness it does require the reader to suspend logic at regular intervals. For a start, it tries to advance the popular meme that Trump really didn’t want to be president. Wolff’s ‘evidence’ for this is the fact that Trump actually ran the campaign of an authentic outsider.
The Trump campaign had, perhaps less than inadvertently, replicated the scheme from Mel Brooks’s The Producers. In that classic, Brooks’s larcenous and dopey heroes, Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom, set out to sell more than 100 percent of the ownership stakes in the Broadway show they are producing. Since they will be found out only if the show is a hit, everything about the show is premised on its being a flop. Accordingly, they create a show so outlandish that it actually succeeds, thus dooming our heroes.
The Trump calculation, quite a conscious one, was different. The candidate and his top lieutenants believed they could get all the benefits of almost becoming president without having to change their behavior or their fundamental worldview one whit: we don’t have to be anything but who and what we are, because of course we won’t win.
Many candidates for president have made a virtue of being Washington outsiders; in practice, this strategy merely favors governors over senators. Every serious candidate, no matter how much he or she disses Washington, relies on Beltway insiders for counsel and support. But with Trump, hardly a person in his innermost circle had ever worked in politics at the national level—his closest advisers had not worked in politics at all. Throughout his life, Trump had few close friends of any kind, but when he began his campaign for president he had almost no friends in politics. The only two actual politicians with whom Trump was close were Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie, and both men were in their own way peculiar and isolated. And to say that he knew nothing—nothing at all—about the basic intellectual foundations of the job was a comic understatement. Early in the campaign, in a Producers-worthy scene, Sam Nunberg was sent to explain the Constitution to the candidate: “I got as far as the Fourth Amendment before his finger is pulling down on his lip and his eyes are rolling back in his head.”
Almost everybody on the Trump team came with the kind of messy conflicts bound to bite a president or his staff.
In short, Wolff is perplexed at the fact that Trump was genuine, a trait foreign to those who work in journalism and politics. According to Wolff’s logic, the measure of Trump as a ‘serious candidate’ would have been his reliance on hundreds of so-called experts, who would have run every word he was to utter in public through carefully curated focus groups so as to craft the message which had the highest possibility of winning according to BIGDATA analysis.
Anglo interest in Iran has always centered around oil and gas, which is unsurprising. The British discovered oil early on in the 20th century and promptly set up shop. Fast forward to 1941, and in the midst of World War II, Iran was once again strategically important. Reza Shah Pahlavi, who had been in power since 1925 sought to modernize Iran, and in doing so had invited German assistance so as to reduce the British oil-centric influence.. This became a problem for the British from the onset of war, and after the Germans attacked the Soviets, Iran became vitally important to both countries as an conduit for arms supply between them.
The shah refused to cut ties with the Germans however, proclaiming that Iran was a neutral country. So the Soviets and British put the squeeze on him, invaded Iran and forced him to abdicate the throne so that his son, the more amenable Mohammed Reza Shah, could take over. After the war, both the British and the Soviets withdrew their troops (although the latter required some ‘coaxing’), and the arrangement went back to how it had been before. The British controlled the oil interests, and the Shah went about implementing modernizing reforms as his father did.
In doing so, he came into conflict with factions which wanted to nationalize the oil, and who were concerned with the Shah’s growing power accumulation versus a more equal relationship with Parliament. This came to a head in the early 1950s, when the Mohammad Mossadegh spearheaded the Parliamentary move to nationalized the oil, against the wishes of the Shah (and of course The West). On the back of this, Mossadegh became Prime Minister and sought to kick the British out, while attempting to consolidate power himself and thus weaken the monarch.
In the process, Mossadegh also came into conflict with the religious clerics (mullahs). Although they approved of the nationalization of the oil, and opposed the Western-influenced secularization and modernization efforts of the Shah, they were concerned that their role and influence would be even further diminished in a new Mossadegh-led order as opposed to the standard quo of the monarchy. So they joined the growing chorus concerned that Mossadegh was getting too big for his britches (as the shah himself was also accused of), and supported his ouster.
This came in 1953, and included help from the British and the CIA, who of course were interested in the oil above anything else. Much has been made of this 1953 ‘coup,’ but the reality was that even though there was CIA involvement, it wasn’t a clean operation. Furthermore, to the extent the CIA intervened, it was in line with the domestic trend of the day, which was to get rid of Mossadegh.
One aspect that caused a lot of consternation, and opened the door for a lot of historical revisionism was the fact that the shah was quite feckless and indecisive. He had every right under Iranian law to get rid of Mossadegh, and even though he wanted Mossadegh out, if it had come from his hand it would have reinforced the growing idea that he was an authoritarian riding roughshod over the rule of law. Thus, he sought support from the British and Americans in fomenting internal discord before doing what he had the right to do on his own.
This dynamic has been twisted a bit in contemporary accounts of 1953, which almost universally state that Mossadegh was a ‘democratically elected’ leader who was overthrown by the CIA. This is not accurate. Mossadegh was democratically elected to Parliament. From there, however, he was nominated by the Shah to become Prime Minister, and approved by the rest of Parliament in a vote. ‘The people’ had no say in Mossadegh ascending to the premiership, and it had always been the shah’s right to nominate and get rid of Prime Ministers at necessary.
Indeed, all it takes is a cursory glance at the list of Iran’s Prime Ministers to see that during Mohammed Reza Shah’s 36 year rule, there were 33 different terms. One was lucky to be in the job for more than a year. PM’s coming and going had always been the way of things, and Mossadegh’s order to leave was no different.
The fact that Mossadegh arrested the officials who informed him of the Shah’s decree, and the shah’s subsequent fleeing to Italy is suggestive of the fact that a coup was going on – but one led by Mossadegh, who at that point was illegally in the office. This was August 13th. By August 16th, Mossadegh had surrendered under the weight of pro-shah protests and the realization that many officials both in government and the military supported the shah. Recall that Mossadegh himself was viewed as becoming increasingly authoritarian, and his actions in 1953 were probalby seen as confirmation of that. CIA influence or not, the Iranians themselves ultimately preferred the Shah to Mossadegh.
A week from now, Alabama voters are set to go to the polls to decide who should replace Jeff Sessions as one of their Senators. The likely winner, Roy Moore, was already a controversial candidate due to the fact he holds some less than savory views about gays, and once refused to move a Ten Commandments statue from an Alabama courtroom.
The mainstream press loudly broadcasted these ‘transgressions’ so as to paint Moore as an unfit candidate. When the public remained unmoved, the Washington Post dropped an article which made allegations that he had a sexual relationship with a 14 year old, along with other teenagers. These allegations have come amidst what has become a purge many a Communist dictator would be proud of. Many prominent men in various fields have been accused of sexual harassment and worse, with a mere allegation being enough for immediate termination and knee-jerk public ridicule. Initiated by the explosive Harvey Weinstein revelations, the likes of Kevin Spacey, Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, John Conyers and Al Franken and more have been caught in the firestorm.
The incessant media coverage, the condemnations, the hashtags and the moralizing surrounding the spate of allegations have mostly been about one thing – power, and who wields it. At current, those flying the Social Justice Warrior flag (especially the Feminist Division), are feeling down and out. With the rise of President Trump over the last 2 years, many of the Pretty Lies they’ve espoused are now getting exposed for what they are. The cultural shift which feels afoot is troubling to them because it means the end of their cultural dominance, initiated by the Boomers decades ago. Thus, they must lash out in one desperate attempt to regain control back from the Ugly Truth Purveyors who would render their ideology obsolete for generations.
Hence the hysteria.
From a strictly legal point of view, the vast majority of the allegations we’ve witnessed are just that – allegations. They mean that an aggrieved party has come forth. Contrary to popular belief, we have a legal system in this country that declares the accused to be innocent until proven otherwise. The burden is on the accuser to provide compelling evidence in a court of law about the misdeeds in question.
It is only after such a dispute has been adjudicated in this manner that punishment can be meted out. Many of these instances involve allegations which took place years and even decades ago. This brings statutes of limitations into play, as well as the utter lack of concrete evidence which invariably would have whittled away over the years. As a result, you have a classic ‘he said/she said’ situation which leaves us in limbo legally.
It is a different matter politically. Consider this tweet from Mitt Romney:
Innocent until proven guilty is for criminal convictions, not elections. I believe Leigh Corfman. Her account is too serious to ignore. Moore is unfit for office and should step aside.
[TWEET: Roy Moore in the US Senate would be a stain on the GOP and on the nation. Leigh Corfman and other victims are courageous heroes. No vote, no majority is worth losing our honor, our integrity.]
This excrement is indicative of a society which is more and more willing to be ruled by the court of public opinion, where feelings supersede facts and Ugly Truths take a backseat to Pretty Lies. Those Lies, namely that Equalism, Diversity and Tolerance together form the highest collective of human virtues has been at the foundation of the current political and social establishment.
It is an establishment which was formed during the political and social upheavals of the 1960s and whose excesses are now challenged by more and more people. In the face of such backlash, establishment acolytes such as Romney have one job: preserve the status quo.
Consider the cases of Roy Moore, Al Franken and John Conyers. When the Washington Post published its original story leveling the allegations, within an hour the press had prominent members of the Republican Party on camera ready to disavow Moore and call for his resignation from the race. In the subsequent weeks, the Republicans were reported to have weighed all sorts of alternatives from having the governor of Alabama postpone the special election, to mounting a charge for a write-in candidate, to outright refusing to go through with the procedural formalities of swearing a would-be Senator-Elect Moore into the Senate.
Senator Jeff Flake, like Romney, a Never Trump Republican lieutenant, explicitly stated that if the choice was between a Democrat and Roy Moore, the Democrat was preferable. All this, simply because Roy Moore represents, or at least is perceived to represent, real opposition to the status quo. A status quo which, for completeness, consists of your name brand congressional types at the head of the GOP and the Democrats, the moneyed interests which own them, the vast bureaucracy which implements their dictate on the public, as well as a mainstream media which is their mouthpiece.
Moore, by all accounts is a Trump Republican, backed by Steve Bannon, President Trump’s former strategist and campaign manager, and the man who sees as his mission transforming the Trump doctrine of social, cultural and economic populism into political power. For this Bannon has been made a pariah, a boogeyman, with everything he touches proclaimed as toxic by a status-quo seeking establishment.
It was with this backdrop that Moore went into the September Republican Primary against Luther Strange, an establishment man supported by GOP bigwigs such as Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell. The Turtle lent the weight of his office, $30 million from the GOP coffers and even coerced President Trump to engage in a halfhearted campaign appearance in Alabama on behalf of Strange. It wasn’t enough, and Strange’s defeat once again highlighted the disdain the public has for the GOP establishment and establishment politics in general.
Fast forward a few weeks, and the Washington Post drops an article alleging that Roy Moore allegedly pursued sexual relations with a 14 year old, alongside other allegations that he dated 16 and 17 year olds, all while he was in his early 30s. The allegations are all roughly four decades old, corroborated only by the words of the accusers. As I mentioned before there is little in the way of legal recourse at this juncture because of how long ago this supposedly took place.
This leaves the only conceivable motive for such information to be released at that specific time, mere weeks before a pivotal election, to be political in nature. Indeed, the Washington Post article, perhaps cognizant of the fact the allegation about the 14 year old girl might be a bit weak on its own for the reasons I described above, included the other allegations about 16 and 17 year olds so as to buttress its position and paint a richer picture of Moore’s alleged creepiness. Those other allegations, while not necessarily illegal, are certainly indecent in the minds of most, allowing negative feelings about Moore to flow more naturally.
Then there is the fact that embedded in the Post article is the admission that the women in question did not seek out the Post to go public. Rather a WaPo employee, having heard rumors, went and found the women, and after multiple interviews (suggesting coercion), they gave their accounts of Moore. Mind, Roy Moore has been a public figure in Alabama politics for the better part of 40 years, prancing around the judiciary in various capacities. One wonders why these women felt no need to voice their alleged grievances for all of that time. That is until the Washington Post tracked them down, a few weeks before an election that same ‘objective’ paper is desperate for Moore to lose.
Then, we have is the aforementioned coordinated response from the Republican leadership in DC, egged on by a jubilant mainstream media which spent countless hours discussing it, and then having that jubilance morph into anger the more and more it looked that Moore wasn’t going to succumb to the pressure and drop out.
This is to say nothing of the absurd Gloria Allred yearbook stunt. The Moore episode is a textbook political hit job, similar to the one which was attempted on Moore’s apparent ideological brethren, President Trump, also conveniently a few weeks before an election. That too was replete with calls from senior Republicans for Trump to step down, salivating from the media, and even a Gloria Allred appearance.
It obviously didn’t work. And should Roy Moore win next week, it will be another watershed in the slow but certain death of the establishment. It will demonstrate once again what a waning power the media has become; no longer can it just conjure scandals targeting its political opponents, which leave those opponents sunk the instant it breaks. In today’s world, with alternative media rising on the internet, and a general distaste for the mainstream viewpoint owing to decades of deceit and partisanship, the press is having its bias and actions scrutinized like never before.
Yet in its hubris, it believes in its indomitable might just at the moment its influence is deteriorating the most. That is why we get articles like this one, also from the Washington Post, which goes to fantastic lengths to defend Senator Al Franken from allegations that he too is a serial sexual harasser. The rationale here is blatant partisanship – because Franken is a Democrat and yells loudly about feminism from time to time, his sins are of less of a problem than someone like Roy Moore (or Trump). That Franken apologized to his accuser (most likely because there was photographic evidence) also helped his cause.
The curious thing here is that unlike with Moore, the same Republicans who wanted Moore’s head on a spike a mere hour into his ordeal have not called for anything similar with Franken. At most, they have called for a Senate Ethics Committee investigation, which Franken himself enthusiastically suggested. Franken was so eager to face his ‘punishment’ because he knows it is no such thing. Within the last decade or so, the Committee has, as its most stern mode of reprimand, administered letters of harsh admonishment to offending lawmakers. Representative Conyers seems headed for similar ‘censure’ in a Congressional Committee. Like Franken, Conyers was vociferously defended by his the most powerful Democrat allies, with Nancy Pelosi declaring that Conyers was an ‘icon,’ playing down the need for his removal from office.
What we have here is the establishment protecting the status quo. It is most clearly seen in the differing reactions to Moore and Franken by GOP Senators. Using McConnell as a proxy, his initial reaction to Moore was that his expulsion from the race was mandatory. With Franken, McConnell took a more deliberative tack, claiming a thorough investigation had to take place in the ethics committee. Likewise, with respect to Franken, Democratic Senator Dick Durban was deliberative in his insistence that ‘due process’ be carried out. However, Moore is afforded no such basic consideration. The status quo is circling the wagons.
The problem for the likes of McConnell is that their duplicity is becoming more and more apparent. He was willing to throw a threat to the status quo under the bus on a mere allegation, all for a pat on the head from the Editorial Boards of the New York Times or Washington Post, which might put a favorable sentence or two about the Majority Leader in one of its columns, before resuming regular bashing service in the next one. Thanks to the aforementioned alternative media, and the President’s famous Twitter account, more and more people turning away from what the Establishment advocates, simply because it is they that are advocating it.
Then there is the cultural angle, which begins with a denial of biological and sexual realities and is now ironically ending with the professional destruction of many of those who most avidly promote those Pretty Lies.
It is a biological reality that sperm is plentiful while eggs are relatively scarce, which imposes upon women the task of quality control with respect to male suitors. Incidentally it is this fact which explains why the majority of men are incredibly nervous in the mere presence of a woman he finds attractive, let alone in the midst of a simple interaction with one, to say nothing still of an attempt at intimate relations with one.
This is because, on a deep level, each sexual advance is a referendum on the suitability of the male, with a rejection rendering a verdict, albeit a temporary one, that the DNA of the male in question is not fit to remain in the human gene pool. It is utterly devastating when you think about it.
Yet there is a certain hope in the fact that it is possible for a man to control his destiny in this realm, because the threshold of ‘quality man,’ above which access to women would be granted, has more or less always been a known quantity at any given time throughout history. The crux, as it pertains to civilizational advance or decline and culture, has always been about the changing meaning of ‘quality’ as time goes on.
In speaking of civilization, it is worth remarking that in a way it is a very unnatural phenomenon. Civilization is a profound exercise in man working against nature to maintain order. It requires sustained drudgery on a daily basis, but such is the price of maintaining that thin veneer separating most from the harsh realities of nature.
On a biological level, men and women both pay an individual price for civilizational advance, the blunting of their inherent sexuality. On the female side, the price paid is that the quest to find the best sperm for her eggs cannot go on in perpetuity. That is, at some point she’ll have to pick a guy and remain loyal to him in all aspects, even if a ‘better’ man comes along later. For the men, the price is that once a woman agrees to be loyal to him, all of his provisional abilities are to be employed in service of her and any children that result from the union. These provisional abilities are displayed through competence in works which are beneficial to society. This creates a paradigm which offers men sexual access in exchange for contributing to society.
Without this ‘agreement,’ women would more than likely restrict sexual access to only the very best, most attractive males in a primal sense, sometimes regardless of their ability to contribute to society. These males, having the pick of the lot, would enjoy multiple women but have their resources spread thinly across them, if at all. The vast majority of men that would go without female attention, having no incentive to produce and contribute to society, would either trend towards becoming disinterested loafers or extremely violent. Neither outcome is beneficial for society.
The above is the explanation for the observations made by English anthropologist J.D. Unwin, whose 1934 treatise Sex and Culture studied roughly 85 civilized and uncivilized situations across 5000 years of history. His findings were that ‘social energy,’ which is to say civilization-building and enriching prowess, was directly linked to sexual restraint. He writes:
…Such, in brief but sufficient outline, were the postnuptial regulations of these vigorous societies; such were their methods of regulating the relations between the sexes. In each case they reduced their sexual opportunity to a minimum by the adoption of absolute monogamy; in each case the ensuing compulsory continence produced great social energy. The group within the society which suffered the greatest continence displayed the greatest energy, and dominated the society.
When absolute monogamy was preserved only for a short time, the energy was only expansive, but when the rigorous tradition was inherited by a number of generations the energy became productive. As soon as the institution of modified monogamy, that is, marriage and divorce by mutual consent, became part of the inherited tradition of a complete new generation, the energy, either of the whole society or of a group within the society, decreased, and then disappeared.
It is in this manner that the behaviour of these societies was controlled by their methods of regulating the relation between the sexes. In no case was sexual opportunity reduced to a minimum unless married women, and usually unmarried women also, were compelled to suffer legal and social disadvantages. The manner in which the marital and parental authorities were modified was the same in each society. In every case the same situations arose; the same sentiments were expressed; the same changes were made; the same results ensued.
The history of these societies consists of a series of monotonous repetitions; and it is difficult to decide which aspect of the story is the more significant: the lamentable lack of original thought which in each case the reformers displayed, or the amazing alacrity with which, after a period of intense compulsory continence, the human organism seizes the earliest opportunity to satisfy its innate desires in a direct or perverted manner. Sometimes a man has been heard to declare that he wishes both to enjoy the advantages of high culture and to abolish compulsory continence.
The inherent nature of the human organism, however, seems to be such that these desires are incompatible, even contradictory. The reformer may be likened to the foolish boy who desires both to keep his cake and to consume it. Any human society is free to choose either to display great energy or to enjoy sexual freedom; the evidence is that it cannot do both for more than one generation.
Thus, our current disregard of sexual mores and biological realities seems to be the latest in the long list of such periods found throughout the human story, rather than being something new.
This current iteration, the Feminist Thotocracy, was ushered in by the likes of Gloria Stienem and Helen Gurley Brown, who pushed for female independence from men, particularly financial independence. In terms of timing, it is no accident that the feminist movement really got traction in the 1960s and 1970s; this was a civilizational high long removed from the nadir that was shaped by the Great Depression and World War II. The unprecedented comfort that came from a society which was packed to the gills with consumer goods overflowing from its factories slowly led to the idea that the restraints which characterized Depression era America were no longer necessary.
It was time to stop being so square.
Thus, The Pill, ubiquitous abortion, divorce-on-a-whim and the virtues of single motherhood and promiscuity became staples of the culture, warping gender relations. A great symbol of how cultural views have been turned on its head came last week, as Prince Harry announced his engagement to a 36 year old divorced American actress, to much glee and fanfare. Some 81 years earlier, his great-grandfather’s brother, Edward VIII also wanted to marry an American divorcee past her prime. Edward, who was King at the time, was met with a stern social, political and family backlash, such that he chose to abdicate the throne rather than find another woman.
For a more detailed glimpse at what this cultural shift has wrought in the new century, consider this Vanity Fair article from 2015 about the Tinderification of Millennial dating. The interesting thing about Tinder is that it is a distillation of the precise sexual landscape which our libertine sexual reformers would prefer – instant gratification, no strings attached, pleasure-above-all hedonistic delight. Yet under the surface, the realities of male and female sex differences assert themselves. In the article both men and women feel a tinge of disappointment with the modern dating game – the women feel used and the men unchallenged. It is exactly what one who has not drunk from the chalice of Pretty Lies would expect.
The article is a must read in its entirety, but this passage in particular is of some import with respect to the conflagration of allegations put forth in recent weeks. It reads:
Men in the age of dating apps can be very cavalier, women say. One would think that having access to these nifty machines (their phones) that can summon up an abundance of no-strings-attached sex would make them feel happy, even grateful, and so inspired to be polite. But, based on interviews with more than 50 young women in New York, Indiana, and Delaware, aged 19 to 29, the opposite seems to be the case. “ ‘He drove me home in the morning.’ That’s a big deal,” said Rebecca, 21, a senior at the University of Delaware. “ ‘He kissed me good-bye.’ That shouldn’t be a big deal, but boys pull back from that because—”
“They don’t wanna give you the wrong idea,” said her classmate Kayla, 20.
Hearing story after story about the ill-mannered behavior of young women’s sex partners (“I had sex with a guy and he ignored me as I got dressed and I saw he was back on Tinder”), I wondered if there could be a parallel to Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth (1991). Wolf posited that, as women achieved more social and political power, there was more pressure on them to be “beautiful” as a means of undermining their empowerment. Is it possible that now the potentially de-stabilizing trend women are having to contend with is the lack of respect they encounter from the men with whom they have sex? Could the ready availability of sex provided by dating apps actually be making men respect women less? “Too easy,” “Too easy,” “Too easy,” I heard again and again from young men when asked if there was anything about dating apps they didn’t like.
Bring all of this up to young men, however, and they scoff. Women are just as responsible for “the shit show that dating has become,” according to one. “Romance is completely dead, and it’s the girls’ fault,” says Alex, 25, a New Yorker who works in the film industry. “They act like all they want is to have sex with you and then they yell at you for not wanting to have a relationship. How are you gonna feel romantic about a girl like that? Oh, and by the way? I met you on Tinder.”
“Women do exactly the same things guys do,” said Matt, 26, who works in a New York art gallery. “I’ve had girls sleep with me off OkCupid and then just ghost me”—that is, disappear, in a digital sense, not returning texts. “They play the game the exact same way. They have a bunch of people going at the same time—they’re fielding their options. They’re always looking for somebody better, who has a better job or more money.” A few young women admitted to me that they use dating apps as a way to get free meals. “I call it Tinder food stamps,” one said.
Even the emphasis on looks inherent in a dating game based on swiping on photos is something men complain women are just as guilty of buying into. “They say in their profiles, ‘No shirtless pictures,’ but that’s bullshit,” says Nick, the same as above. “The day I switched to a shirtless picture with my tattoos, immediately, within a few minutes, I had, like, 15 matches.”
And if women aren’t interested in being treated as sexual objects, why do they self-objectify in their profile pictures? some men ask. “There’s a lot of girls who are just like, Check me out, I’m hot, I’m wearing a bikini,” says Jason, the Brooklyn photographer, who on his OkCupid profile calls himself a “feminist.” “I don’t know if it’s my place to tell a girl she shouldn’t be flaunting her sexuality if that’s what she wants to do. But,” he adds, “some guys might take the wrong idea from it.”
Men talk about the nudes they receive from women. They show off the nudes. “Tit pics and booty pics,” said Austin, 22, a college student in Indiana. “My phone is full of ‘em.”
And what about unsolicited dick pics? “They want to see your dick,” insists Adam, 23, a male model in New York. “They get excited from it. They’re like, ‘Oh my God, you’re huge.’ ”
No woman I talked to said she had ever asked for one. And yet, “If you’re a girl who’s trying to date, it’s normal to get dick pics all the time,” said Olivia, 24, a Brandeis graduate. “It’s like we have dicks flying at us.”
There are striking parallels between the Tinderized dating market for Millennials and the world we’ve now become privy to as a result of the Weinsteins of the world, with the tales of indecent exposure and crude, explicit messaging within the halls of power rivaling that seen in the internet dating landscape. In both cases, a subset of men who found themselves possessing things women want in abundance (power, money, fame, access to those things, even just a nice physique), and used it to systematically, if crudely, extract sex from a multitude of women while investing little beyond that on any particular one of them.
These are features, not bugs of a licentious culture. More specifically, this workplace hanky panky which is now being reclassed as sexual assault was officially sanctioned by the Boomers during the President Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal. The cries of ‘it’s just sex’ codified a set of relations between the genders that encouraged what the Vanity Fair article calls a ‘psychosexual obesity’ in which unlimited sexual appetites are met. For some.
Women accepted the concomitant absence of intimacy because these relations could, in theory, accrue to them the access to the financial independence, wealth and possible fame their feminist foremothers told them would be oh so empowering.
However the morning after has brought with it regret, dissatisfaction, shame and diminished self-worth as opposed to the promised exhilaration of not-needing-no-man. Studies have been conducted which show that female happiness has declined over the last four decades, in a direct inverse relationship to the rise of the Feminist Thotocracy. For young Tinderellas, their disappointment is tempered by a delusion that they still have their best years ahead of them, in which things might get better. Their older sisters, who have already been through the ringer, have no such luxury.
In either case, the discrepancies between the feminist promise of unlimited bliss and the disappointing reality had to be rectified somehow and it was done through the increased use of prescription medication among women, and the propagation of the idea that the West is a ‘rape culture.’ Both of these coping mechanisms are really an attempt at an after the fact absolution from the consequences of one’s actions.
Either her brain chemicals ‘acted up’ which necessitates drugs, or society ‘acted up’ and left women vulnerable to predation, necessitating the demonization of male sexuality and the public humiliation and ruination of any and all offenders.
Another aspect of this which is of interest concerns the fact that the vast majority of the offenders are self-described ‘male feminists,’ which is really a way to describe a beta male who loudly ingratiates himself with girls catering to their every ideological whim with the express purpose of cashing in later by getting sex. To date, no bona fide ‘players’ such as Clint Eastwood, Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson or Leonardo DiCaprio have been caught up in this, despite having bed a medium sized city worth of women between them.
This speaks to the reality of the much maligned, aforementioned Trump ‘Pussy Tape’ – in which Trump was merely outlining an Ugly Truth. There is a certain class of men who can ‘grab’em by the pussy.’ Those now infamous words merely constitute a figurative phrase describing the fact that a man of a certain ‘sexyness’ can do or say things to women that less attractive men would be crucified for, provided it is done or said at just the right moment. Indeed, it is this sense of timing and execution which in part marks a man as sexually superior and thus attractive to women. What is deliberately left from any mainstream discussion of that Access Hollywood tape is the fact that Trump prefaced the pussygrab comment with the reality that when you’re famous (read: charming and attractive), they LET you do it.
The real reason that tape caused so much outrage was that the Ugly Truth was thrust so bluntly in the face of the public, with no warning. The vast majority of women hated that an aspect of their nature they would rather keep hidden was put on blast, by a man no less. (In this regard, women have exposed these things themselves by making the 50 Shades of Grey books some of the most sold in human history, but it required one to look beneath the surface to realize the Ugly Truth). Men were outraged by the tape because it confirmed to them that they could move heaven and earth in pursuit of a woman, but would still likely lose out to a well-timed wink from a charming Cad.
Unfortunately for women, common sense dictates that the sexiest 20 or 30% of males are much less visible, let alone attainable. Yet, the prescribed life plan for girls as per Feminist Thotocracy practitioners is as follows: Participate in the 4 year party known as college, having sex with lots of boys. Then graduate, shack up with a few gal pals in some coffin apartment in a big city, before spending the next 10 years or so ‘finding yourself,’ focusing on your career, while sleeping with more boys. Then, at age 35, begin thinking about settling down with Prince Charming.
This license to embark on an infinite search for the right alpha male doesn’t magically command a greater number of them to appear from the ether. In fact, it is more likely that increased promiscuity will result in increased encounters with beta types who have, through their competence in the professional world, attain power and resources which lets them attempt to lord more easily over subjective realms such as love and sex. This is particularly true in the diverse, more global metropolises.
What this may lead to is an otherwise less appealing man attempting to replicate the silky smooth maneuver he saw Don Draper do successfully on TV once, thinking that his having a fat bank account, for instance, is a direct substitute for attraction. What wasn’t realized was that it was never about the objective execution of the ‘move,’ but who was doing it.
The aggregation of put-on horror expressed at the sexual advances revealed in these allegations, ranging from the oafish and awkward to the downright deviant, mirrors that from the ‘trapped’ housewives of yesteryear, in a way. To the extent that the #metoo campaign is right and this behavior is more widespread, it is really the endgame of the voluntary realignment of culture and society which was ushered in by the Cultural Marxists.
Women have ultimately eschewed stay at home ‘drudgery’ and boring sex with Tim the Accountant, and in its stead accepted professional drudgery while stuck in a remote-locking sex office with Matt Lauer, as Harvey Weinstein jerks off into the decorative potted plants in the corner, as their inbox overflows with Charlie Rose’s intimate fantasies. At least the former scenario granted women the warmth of a stable family life from the deal, as opposed to the ruthlessness of corporate servitude. The Don Drapers and Christian Greys are very few and very far in between. It is little wonder that female happiness has been on the decline.
One of the girls in the aforementioned Vanity Fair article laments the fact that it’s the girls who have lost control in the modern hypersexual world. It seems as though the allegation furor is an attempt to wrest control away from the re-emergence of the sexual realities which were meant to have been relegated to the dustbin of history. As I remarked earlier, the vast majority of the claims we have heard to date cannot be adjudicated through legal means, and those making the claims by and large know this. The true aim, then, is to attempt to rewrite the rules of sex so as to favor women to a degree we haven’t yet seen, while retroactively assigning punishment for past offenses based on those new rules.
The aim is to create a world in which the sexual rules are unknown; that is there are no society-wide codes of conduct regarding sex and gender. Simultaneously, catastrophic societal, professional and perhaps legal punishment is to be doled out for the mere allegation of impropriety, although there is no way to know when a rule is broken until after the fact, when an accuser declares she was wronged. And of course, to prevent perpetuating a Rape Culture of oppression, the accuser should always be believed.
This is communist tyranny in its most pure form, here tinged with a bit of pink. No surprise, given feminism is little more than Cultural Marxism applied to gender relations. The goal is control, and the Masculine seeks the opposite of that. So it must be infused with soy until a suitable level of compliance is attained. It is a New Puritanism, ironically ushered in by ‘sex positive’ leftists.
In the end, the attempt to establish a FemenReich will fall short. Men will respond by cordoning themselves off from any non-professional contact with women on the job, and perhaps resort to recording all professional contacts. The Mike Pence Rule will be in full effect.
Of course women will cry foul about this too, and in so doing push men into a corner from which they were certainly react, most likely with a collective pimp hand raised in righteous indignation.
Failing this reemergence of a collective testicular fortitude, the specter of societal collapse will do the trick. As per Unwin, as degeneracy continues to proliferate, society building and society enhancing behaviors will decline, leaving the West vulnerable. And in the midst of the next society-wide panic, there will be no time for pithy concerns about ‘rape culture.’ It will most likely be the Woke Millenials, alongside their younger Generation Zyklon understudies which will shepherd society through those turbulent times. Meanwhile, what is left of the Boomers and the older Gen Xers watch their libertine ideals swept aside, universally regarded as lunacy, ironically relegating them to the exact ‘wrong side of history’ their tall tales and Pretty Lies were meant to keep them from.
After World War II the Protestant establishment dominated the high ground of American culture and politics. That establishment eventually failed. It tolerated segregation and sexism, led the nation into war in Vietnam and became stultifying.
So in the late 1960s along came a group of provocateurs like Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin and the rest of the counterculture to upend the Protestant establishment. People like Hoffman were buffoons, but also masters of political theater.
They never attracted majority support for their antics, but they didn’t have to. All they had to do was provoke, offend the crew-cut crowd, generate outrage and set off a cycle that ripped apart the cultural consensus.
The late 1960s were a time of intense cultural conflict, which left a lot of wreckage in its wake. But eventually a new establishment came into being, which we will call the meritocratic establishment.
These were the tame heirs to Hoffman and Rubin. They were well educated. They cut their moral teeth on the civil rights and feminist movements. They embraced economic, social and moral individualism. They came to dominate the institutions of American society on both left and right.
Hillary Clinton is part of this more educated cohort. So are parts of the conservative establishment. If you’re reading this newspaper, you probably are, too, as am I.
This establishment, too, has had its failures. It created an economy that benefits itself and leaves everybody else out. It led America into war in Iraq and sent the working class off to fight it. It has developed its own brand of cultural snobbery. Its media, film and music industries make members of the working class feel invisible and disrespected.
So in 2016, members of the outraged working class elected their own Abbie Hoffman as president. Trump is not good at much, but he is wickedly good at sticking his thumb in the eye of the educated elites. He doesn’t have to build a new culture, or even attract a majority. He just has to tear down the old one.
That’s exactly what he’s doing.
Ignoring the Hoffman reference, this is decent analysis. And accounting for the publication he writes for, and Brooks’ own history, this becomes near stunning analysis. But there are still some glaring holes, chief of which is his use of the term ‘meritocratic establishment.’
That group, which finds its ideological foundations rooted in 1960s Postmodernism and ultimately bog standard Marxism, is better described as the ‘narcissistic’ or the ‘materialist establishment.’ Its credo is “whatever feels good is good.” Cheap trinkets from China to make our wallets feel good. Cheap sex and an increasingly pornified culture to satisfy our more base instincts. The championing of anything once frowned upon socially, so long as it boasts a constituency large enough to be exploited politically, to make us feel more socially virtuous.
Though Brooks points to ‘cultural snobbery’ and disrespect of the working class as the main failings of this Meritocratic Establishment, he fails to mention the empty factories, broken families and hyper-Balkanization of politics along identity lines, all of which have resulted in a fraying of the social and moral fabric in America. What’s more, not only have these failures not been recognized as such, but were actually touted as positive developments by this Meritocratic Establishment of which Brooks admits he is a part.
This recent article from Foreign Policy magazine, one of the more highbrow publications disseminating the views of the Meritocratic Establishment, highlights the destructive nature of the ideology it seeks to promulgate. The article concerns changes the Trump administration wish to make to US policy on accepting refugees.
The problem? The changes proposed are meant to favor candidates who are likely to assimilate into American society:
The Trump administration may now consider “certain criteria that enhance a refugee’s likelihood of successful assimilation and contribution in the United States” in addition to the humanitarian criteria that have long been the standard for refugee claims, according to the determination, which is similar to an executive order in that it has the force of law. That term, “assimilation,” is brand-new in the history of U.S. policy on refugees, and it appears in the document over and over again. Previous directives have used the word “integration,” which comes from the Latin “integrare” — “to make whole” — and implies some change on the part of society as well as those entering it. “Assimilation,” in contrast, “is kind of the erasure of cultural markers,” according to Kathleen Newland, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Migration Policy Institute. “It’s important to make a distinction,” because, she said, the word “has that connotation of erasure of one thing and absorption into the mainstream culture.”
It remains unclear how exactly the administration would go about assessing refugees’ ability to assimilate. The document itself does not address this, despite claims to the contrary from the International Rescue Committee (IRC), which referenced the “apparent inclusion” of an “assimilation test” in a confusing Sept. 28 press release. In fact, a close reading of the presidential determination yields no mention of a test. There is, however, an ominous undertone that seems to hint at future efforts to gauge the likelihood that asylum applicants would assimilate. “Improved assimilation of refugees and asylees will not only boost their ability to be successful in the United States, but will also secure our communities by fostering a cohesive society based upon shared civic ideals, and appreciation of our history, and an understanding of the English language,” reads one particularly troubling sentence.
Expecting new entrants to America to learn English, appreciate its history, and adopt its norms so as to maintain a cohesive society is apparently a ‘troubling’ development. Also, note the expectation is for the host culture to change to accommodate the foreigner’s culture through integration. The marked concern shown for the erasure of the foreigner’s culture once reaching American soil, to such an extent that the host culture taking measures to preserve itself can be viewed as troubling, underscores the contempt our betters have of the American Way.
Battle Lines Drawn
This set – the neoconservatives, feminists, Marxists, globalists, and others – have spent the last 40 years destroying the family by corrupting both men and women, and destroying the larger community through eroding culture, economic opportunity and economic freedom.
These developments have set the line in the sand for the culture war as it stands now. On one side stands those who recognize the deleterious effects the ‘meritocratic establishment’ has had on America (and the West as whole). On the other stands those who refuse to recognize Ugly Truths, preferring to guzzle an elixir of Pretty Lies more consistent with a desire to ‘feel good’ at any cost.
Brooks is right in that Trump has had no compunctions in taking a meat cleaver to this old postmodernist order backed by the Meritocratic Establishment. His campaign slogan, Make America Great Again, signaled as much. MAGA both implied that America as it currently stood, in all of its postmodernist-inspired squalor, was not great, which in turn implied that before America took this wrong turn she was great. Finally, it imbued the people with a directive to restore that greatness.
This was highly triggering to the Pretty Lies cohort, who hold the view that the United States before, say 1960, was the most evil place the world had ever known, apart from perhaps Nazi Germany.
This is because slavery, followed by a codified segregation once existed in the United States. Beyond this, white men controlled society, capitalism reigned supreme, Christianity was more or less practiced everywhere, the first duty of a woman was to her children and husband, and divorce, abortion, female promiscuity and homosexuality were heavily selected against via social shaming.
The racial question aside – which will stay aside in the interest of time – it was the ‘traditional’ values of Heritage America which made America great in the first place. Great enough that the generation which formed the so-called Meritocratic Establishment had been pampered by the afterglow of a Post-WWII serenity, bathed in unprecedented prosperity for the masses.
This generation, in comparison to all those who had come before, had grown up with a silver spoon in its mouth and thus thought its proverbial shit didn’t stink. The Meritocratic Establishment was the generational equivalent of every 21 year old in history, in that it thought it knew everything. The ‘antiquated’ societal norms of the past could be discarded with no adverse effects. Indeed, those norms had to be discarded because of the mere existence of social ills and injustices on the historical record. The logical extension of this is a view which holds that certain groups – whites, males, heterosexuals, Christians – can be thought of as inherently evil thanks to the fact that they were ‘in charge’ when bad things in history happened. And the more of those groups one belongs to, the more evil the individual.
This view ignores the reality that the totality of human history is basically one giant catalogue of intense suffering. The great achievement of America, and the West generally, is erecting a civilization so capable of shielding its members from the horrors of Nature, albeit superficially. The effectiveness of the job it has done in that regard can be measured in the observation that our modern comforts have led us to believe that any negative experience must be the result of some grand moral failing. The Meritocratic Establishment, then, seeks to throw the baby out with the bathwater, discarding the very societal norms underpinning that very positive achievement.
Trump’s campaign rhetoric captured what a growing number of people had been coming around to on their own, which is that perhaps a return to a more traditional manner of existence reminiscent of Heritage America was the way forward. With respect to American civics, that starts with the basics – things like the First Amendment, which Trump defended vociferously in the face of a torrent of outrage following the violence in Charlottesville.
Trump Puts A Marker Down
Few understood the real implications of Charlottesville. It was not about neo-Nazis and the KKK, but about the place of culture, history, and basic American tenets like freedom of expression in our society going forward. That the tiki torch marchers and the Nazi LARPing offended the sensibilities of some does not matter a whit. What mattered was that those individuals who took part in that Unite the Right event had the right to peacefully express those views, ultimately made in protest of the removal of a Confederate statue.
The view of our Meritocratic Establishment was that the offensive nature of the protests disqualified those protesters from expressing their views, warranting their silencing at all costs. This is patently un-American. When it was evident that the Unite the Right rally was not going to be shut down by the authorities or the courts, the media, playing its role as the voice of the Meritocratic Establishment, hyped up the event. It did so in the hope of energizing its most radical acolytes (Antifa) for a violent confrontation of the protesters, which ultimately came to fruition and cost one such ‘counter-protester’ her life.
In the aftermath, the media rationalized the violence which came from Antifa because it was done in the name of Social Justice. So when President Trump correctly denounced ALL of the violence, including that which came from the left, as un-American, he was universally criticized.
But in taking his stance, President Trump was standing with the constitution, and with basic American values. Perhaps on an unconscious level, Trump putting down a marker for the primacy of Heritage American values is what was so truly vexing to those leftists. Over the subsequent weeks, the same sort of leftist inspired violence spread to Boston, Phoenix and Berkeley, rendering Trump’s infamous ‘many sides’ comment more and more correct.
A second recent cultural issue with tangential First Amendment implications was the NFL protests of the national anthem. Trump again found himself in the middle of proceedings, after throwaway remarks he made at a rally in Alabama went viral. He had proclaimed that the protests were disrespectful to the flag, and that the public should consider boycotting games as a result
The response from the NFL was a more brazen display of protest, with many owners, some of whom were supporters of Trump, backing their players. The underlying truth of it all is that the protests are misguided. Colin Kaepernick, who began the protest last summer, expressed an explicit desire to disrespect the flag and the anthem because of his belief that the flag and anthem represents a country that oppresses minorities. Particularly with respect to police brutality.
Furthermore, by protesting on an NFL field in uniform, the players are holding a protest at work. This is disrespectful to a consumer base which paid money to watch football, not to participate in politics, just as one who ordered a steak paid money for a nice meal and not to be lectured about how “meat is murder” by his vegetarian waiter. Owing to the fact that the Meritocratic Establishment was in league ideologically with the premise of Kaepernick’s protest, and thus was a vociferous supporter of it, the NFL and its players thought it was on solid footing when it doubled down in response to Trump’s comments.
It soon discovered otherwise.
Fans booed the protesting players, burned jerseys and ripped up season tickets. Some advertisers starting pulling out, cable providers were made to offer refunds for NFL packages, and their inboxes were filled with disapproving messages. Opinion polls showed an overwhelming distaste for the protest, across all groups, including the minorities, for whom the protests were ostensibly undertaken.
When Vice President Pence walked out of an NFL game between his home state Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers, after anthem protests took place, the message was sent loud and clear: this is a war, and we’re going to stand our ground and fight it properly.
The Left Self-Destructs Amid Hypocrisy
The NFL has seemingly heard the message. Jerry Jones, the most prominent owner in the NFL, came out with a directive to his players to stand for and respect the anthem, or sit on the bench. The league commissioner, Roger Goodell, released a memo which ultimately expressed a desire for the players to stand for the anthem, just weeks after issuing a similar statement backing the players’ actions in protesting.
The defeat suffered by the NFL itself is only secondary to the defeat suffered by the Meritocratic Establishment. The NFL protests were a merely a proxy of its agenda as a whole. And to have such a defeat take place in the context of professional football, which has long since supplanted baseball as America’s athletic pastime, only heightens its significance.
And all it has taken was a little bit of backbone from Trump. His unapologetic willingness to fight is a rarity amongst those who would label themselves conservatives. The reason the postmodernist left viewpoint has become so entrenched in the fabric of modern America, such that its tenets are considered to be basic, self-evident truths, is down to the right failing to walk the walk when it mattered most.
As Brooks notes, the Meritocratic Establishment spans across the political divide. For decades those who purported to champion traditional values did nothing as those values were stripped away. Stripped away to such a degree that the right of 50 year old men to share changing rooms with prepubescent girls, or, the right of adults to allow 6 year olds to be stuffed to the gills with hormones so as to forcibly change their gender have become a topics worthy of serious debate as civil rights issues. The reward for these so-called conservatives, like David Brooks, was a place in the Meritocratic Establishment accompanied with ‘prestigious’ gigs such as having a regular column in the New York Times.
The ease through which Trump and Pence have made inroads in this culture war – a few tweets here, a comment there, an executive order over there – serve to further highlight the utter ineptitude the likes of Brooks have shown over the last few decades.
That said, leftists have been doing their part in the way of recent episodes of self-destruction.
Take the Harvey Weinstein scandal. The movie producer has been accused of sexual assault, sexual harassment and rape by dozens of women. The standard allegation is that he either coerced or forced aspiring models and actresses to perform sexual favors in exchange for career advancement. Some of those who rebuffed him essentially had their careers destroyed; such was his power in the industry.
In hindsight, it seems that Weinstein missed a trick. He is currently being condemned for doing things like luring women into his hotel room and trying to force them to give him a massage or to watch him take a shower. Instead, if he had decided to identify as a 12 year old girl, for example, he could have gained access to the girls locker room and forced girls to watch him shower. For that he would have been considered ‘stunning and brave’ by the deviant-worshipping left. He could have even made a movie about it and won another Oscar.
Jokes aside, the long term importance of this revolves around Weinstein’s position as the preeminent Hollywood mogul. The same Hollywood which helps cultivate the ‘cultural snobbery’ which made ‘members of the working class feel invisible and disrespected,’ as per Brooks, before turning around and shoving that disrespect down the throats of that same working class via television and movies. All of this topped off with an air of superiority suggesting that the cultural path forward went through Tinseltown.
The Weinstein episode now leaves the legitimacy of Hollywood as cultural pacesetters in tatters. It is not that before this, the remnants of Heritage America necessarily took its cues from Hollywood in any way. Many were already wise to the cesspool that it is. Indeed, the term ‘casting couch’ was already a part of the lexicon.
What’s changed, somewhat, is that the seedy nature of the business has now been put on the official record, in a big way. The public now has to ask itself whether it sees it fit to take moral directives from an industry which preys on naïve, fresh faced boys and girls, offering them a shot at fame, notoriety and riches, at the cost of the sort of personal degradation only mitigated by a downward spiral into drugs and/or depression.
Beyond this level of hypocrisy lie many others. On one level, Weinstein, and Hollywood in general, purports to be a champion of feminism. However, Hollywood looked the other way as Weinstein allegedly went on a multi-decade sexual harassment spree. Weinstein’s antics were so widely known and tolerated that they were joked about at award ceremonies and in television scripts. Yet these feminist crusaders let it go, because Weinstein gave them the money, fame and attention they so desired.
Case in point: the Weinstein-backed documentary The Hunting Ground. Anne Hendershott of the Washington Times described it thusly:
“The Hunting Ground” portrayed college campuses as places where serial sexual predators roam free to prey on unsuspecting women. Women were presented as helpless victims of evil predators who lurked in every fraternity house and campus gathering. It was disturbing. The only problem was that the film was based on a lie — none of the cases described in the film happened the way the filmmakers claimed they did. In fact, “The Hunting Ground” was so egregiously dishonest that 19 Harvard University law professors denounced the film for its dishonest portrayal of fabricated sexual violence and serial sex abuse on campus. Elizabeth Bartholet, one of the Harvard law professors speaking out about film’s errors told a reporter for Reason that the portrayal of the student-rapist in the documentary is “an amazing lie at the heart of a movie claiming to be a documentary.”
There is a special irony in Weinstein being done by such vocal accusations from actresses given his promotion of the utterly fictitious concept of a rape epidemic on college campuses. Weinstein contributed to the creation a world in which any man can be expelled from campus, or worse, at the behest of any female who felt aggrieved. Anything from saying “Hello” in the street through to a consensual sexual encounter which was later regretted could spell the downfall for an unsuspecting man. And here too, the Trump administration stands in opposition to such Clown World directives. Consider Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and her removal of the Obama-era statutes which gave the rape culture hysteria a legal backbone.
Generally speaking, the court of public opinion, which in recent decades been elevated above and beyond courts of the legal variety by the left, with its preference for imparting mob justice, are now being turned inward. The irony truly runs deep.
Then there are actresses targeted by Weinstein, themselves even more vocal feminist crusaders. Often times they did nothing about the alleged incidents. It seems they were prepared to tolerate Weinstein rather than jeopardize their personal glitz, glamour and millions in the bank by exposing him sooner. As such, they put their fellow woman in danger by allowing such an alleged predator to roam free.
On a political level, Weinstein was a massive donor to Democrat politicians, as Hollywood is in general. The Clintons, Obamas, and assorted blowhards like Michael Moore had nothing but effusive praise for the man for years. However, when the scandal broke, it was met with deafening silence from DC leftists. This is relevant because these stalwarts of the Meritocratic Establishment are usually Johnny on the spot in terms of calling out any and all discretions coming from the right, always so quick to detect the coded ‘dogwhistles’ of bigotry in the language of people like President Trump.
Yet, for days after the Weinstein story broke, these elites stayed silent, frozen like deer in headlights, no doubt consulting legions of Public Relations experts in an attempt to craft the perfect statement. One that would adequately admonish Weinstein, while relegating their own multi-decade knowledge and embrace of him to the background. And, nearly a week after the fact, these statements came, all professing shock and horror at the revelation of a side Weinstein they supposedly never knew.
They aren’t fooling anyone, although their stance is understandable. After all, they still would like to remain in those self-proclaimed positions at the head of the table.
Then, there is the media itself. The mainstream media initially trod lightly on the subject as the story gathered steam. The late night television hosts all remained silent. Saturday Night Live reportedly had a Weinstein sketch ready to go, but axed it at the last moment. When asked about the soft treatment, the SNL creator remarked that it was a ‘New York thing.’
That was an interesting comment given President Trump is also native New Yorker. Apparently that New York Thing didn’t apply to him, as he has been the topic of leftist vitriol night in night out from late night hosts and comedians. By the logic of TV execs, Trump’s anti-leftist political views are a far greater evil than serial sexual harassment, because the sexual harasser at least has the correct opinions. That should tell you everything you need to know.
But in case you need a bit more, there is NBC in particular, which reportedly spiked the Ronan Farrow piece on Weinstein which took the scandal to the next level. This was the same NBC which 12 months earlier leaked the infamous Access Hollywood tape of Donald Trump saying crass things about women, in a last ditch attempt to derail his campaign in the latter stages of the 2016 election.
Farrow had to turn to The New Yorker, which ended up running the exposé.
That hypocrisy from NBC introduces another aspect of this saga, one fundamental to the rift going on within the left. Farrow is a leftist, but also a millennial. This means his brand of leftism is most likely to be imbued with the primacy of intersectionality, the idea that all forms of oppression are related and form a patchwork of systemic, tightly-knit oppression.
In other words, Farrow’s leftism is less the “heeeyyyy maaaahhhnnnn women should sleep around and work 9-5 cubicle jobs just like men” advocacy of the Boomers and more the “wow, just wow, feminism is only for straight white women, I can’t even” variety.
The Brewing Civil War Within the Left
The NBCs, Hollywood execs, Clintons and Obamas of the left are all representative of the former sort, and they are slowly being overrun by the millennials and their intersectionality. This is going to set the stage for more infighting between the individual identity groups which huddle under the leftist tent. All ‘progress,’ as they define it, must occur at equal rates for all groups, simultaneously. If one group attains more ‘equality’ than another, by definition that group is oppressive, owing to their subsequent ascent up the Privilege League Table.
This sort of thinking has led to some interesting dilemmas for leftists. For example, in the wake of the passing of Hugh Hefner, leftists can’t decide whether he was force for good thanks to his promotion of sexual liberation, gays and minorities; or whether he was a force for bad thanks to Playboy being a tool for the ‘objectification of women.’
Cam Newton, a black NFL quarterback, was pilloried for being sexist in appearing to make light of a female reporter’s question at a press conference. The reporter, in turn was later forced to apologize herself when it was revealed that four years ago she had made ‘racist’ comments on Twitter.
This past week, Eminem had an anti-Trump freestyle go viral. Most leftists roared with delight, but some were wary of the fact that Eminem, a white rapper, got so much attention for his lyrics when several black rappers had seen their anti-Trump raps receive much less attention.
In another viral video from a few weeks ago, a white male Antifa member was scolded by a female non-white Antifa member for not being violent enough. According to the female, her comrades’ whiteness and maleness rendered him ‘the problem,’ and as such simply marching and chanting slogans wasn’t enough. His bewilderment was clear as she artfully explained to him that his contributions to the cause could only be measured in the number of people he punched.
Examples like these highlight the absurdity of the leftist opposition to Heritage America. The value in them acting out lies in the dissuasion of those moderate folks who may ordinarily be seduced by sweet sounding Pretty Lies, but are stopped short when confronted with the crazed behavior accompanying those views.
In the age of Trump, the hatred of the values of Heritage America which the so-called Meritocratic Establishment has spent decades advocating will continue to be met head on by a President who unapologetically stands for those values. This fortitude coming from the foremost public figure in America provides comfort for said moderates who would otherwise look the other way for fear of a leftist mob outrage.
Trump’s playbook has been pretty simple in regards to these cultural flashpoints. He primes the public, through incidents like his takes on Charlottesville and the NFL protests, to notice the hatred the postmodernist left has for America. He does so merely through holding reasonable viewpoints, placing his opposition in unenviable positions.
After Charlottesville, Trump merely stated that political violence was wrong, in all of its forms. When further pressed, he explicitly called out the Alt-Left (Antifa) in addition to some of the seedier elements on the right. This forced the leftists to own the un-American position that violence is good if it is perpetrated against an opinion it didn’t like. Then after weeks of continued Antifa violence, the Meritocratic Establishment, in the shape of both Nancy Pelosi and Paul Ryan, was forced to denounce Antifa, aligning itself with Trump’s original point in the process.
Doubling Down on Crazy
Once cornered, the leftists face a choice of submission or doubling down. You can bet your last dollar they will double down, because at this point we are talking about an existential threat to its position of cultural supremacy. Marxist movements can afford no defeats. There can be no heretics and non-believers among the ranks. It is why communist countries severely limit the access its population has to the outside world, for it would take very little to expose the fact that the dictatorship is full of rubbish.
It is why, despite the 50 year Long March of Progress racking up win after win, we still have a ‘long way to go,’ according to leftists. The translation is that there are still plenty out there who notice Ugly Truths and therefore are threats. Leftists cannot risk a swelling of the ranks of such people, and therefore they will fight ever harder to secure their wins and add more.
But in doing so, they will have to dial up the crazy. See Gerald McCoy, an NFL lineman who thinks that a mandate for the players to stand during the anthem would cause an ‘uproar.’
Such an uproar would only cement their defeat on the issue. The media no doubt would applaud the insolence, broadcasting it far and wide. All it would achieve, however is to expose a wider swath of the public to grown men throwing expansive tantrums on national television, for being made to show a modicum of respect for the country which made their profession possible. At that point, the underlying cultural argument made by the players will be tainted with what can only be described as a hatred for America, and as a result will be summarily disregarded by many.
As with Hollywood, the underlying cultural direction it would have us go will be tainted with the knowledge these directives come from a truly degenerate lot, and thus summarily disregarded.
This is how culture wars are won. And to think it only took an unapologetic man and his Twitter account to start shifting the tide.