Category Archives: Culture

Reality Doesn’t Care About Feelings, Volume 4 – The Larger Importance of the Machado Saga

Donald Trump further addressed the Alicia Machado saga yesterday with a series of early morning tweets on the matter:

The conventional political wisdom is that Trump stepped in a well laid trap that Hillary Clinton set for him. What he should have done was largely ignored the situation, maybe dealing with it in one abrupt sentence and then pivoting to something else. I think that this is a special case for a few reasons.

First, recall that it was Hillary Clinton who introduced Alicia Machado into the public conscience at the debate:

Hillary Clinton’s candidacy has been more an anti Trump plea than a pro Hillary one. The vast majority of her case has been ‘vote for Clinton because Trump is a sexist bigot.’ The use of Machado in this manner is entirely to buttress that argument. Machado is to be the smoking gun that proves Trump is a sexist, and thus Trump is disqualified.

Yes, in reality this IS side issue. But since Clinton has made such side issues central to her argument, it was necessary for Trump to address it, in my view. Had he let it slide, Clinton would have been able to parade Machado out constantly over the next month or so in an effort to influence the public with her sob story.

Furthermore, Trump is 100% in the right on this issue. For a start, the claim that he called her ‘Miss Piggy’ and ‘Miss Housewife’ are totally unsubstantiated claims. It is only Machado who is pushing that story. The background to the whole thing as follows:

  • Trump owned the Miss Universe pageant, which Machado won in 1996, the year before Trump bought it.
  • Machado then proceeded to gain weight, about 50-60 pounds.
  • The sponsors, and Miss Universe wanted to fire her, because the weight gain was in violation of her contractual obligations 
  • Trump stepped in and saved Machado’s job, by giving her a chance to lose the weight.
  • Trump made a media spectacle about it, in which he joked about his own weight problems, while addressing the serious issue that faces us all in this regard. It is below:

That was it. Now, 20 years later, Clinton has put Machado forth as the star witness in the prosecution of Trump’s sexism.

The problem for Clinton is that the credibility of Machado has now become an issue, and rightly so if she is going to be cast in this role as star witness.

In 1998 Machado allegedly drove a getaway car from a murder scene in Venezuela. She then used her connections to drug dealers to allegedly threaten the life of the judge in the case. Less criminally, she appeared on a Spanish reality show and had sex on camera with another castmate – who was not Bobby Abreu, the baseball player she was engaged to at the time. She also had the child of a Mexican Drug Lord, who is an American citizen by virtue of being born here.

Machado also claimed that because of Trump, she developed an eating disorder that is still with her today. However, in this Washington Post article, she clearly describes her problems with eating before having won the competition, which means it was before she had even met Trump, who did not purchase the pageant until a year later:

“I was anorexic and bulimic, but almost all of us are,” Machado says without so much as a blink. “When I was preparing for Miss Universe, it was an obsession for me to not gain weight. By the time I won, I was actually recovering. But the year leading to it, I didn’t eat at all. And whatever I ate, I threw up. I weighed 116 pounds when I won. I was skeletal.”

In response to all of this being brought up, Machado had this to say in defense:

“He can say whatever he wants to say. I don’t care,” she emphatically stated. “You know, I have my past, of course. Everybody has a past, and I’m not a saint girl, but that is not the point now.”

 

“That moment in Venezuela was wrong, was another speculation about my life because I’m a really famous person in my country because I’m an actress there and in Mexico, too,” she continued. “And he can use whatever he wants to use. The point is, that happened 20 years ago.”

In short, Machado, an individual with a questionable past and shaky moral values, told a story which is uncorroborated, and then told a provable lie which goes to the heart of the very story she is trying to tell. Ye she is being treated like an ‘angel’ as Trump put it his tweet.

While it is true that everyone has a past, most people’s pasts don’t include being involved in murders and judge intimidation. Furthermore, we are actually supposed to absolve her from being involved with a murder and judge intimidation simply because it was 20 years ago. Yet, we are supposed to crucify Donald Trump for allegedly calling a woman fat…20 years ago.

It boggles the mind of anyone with the slightest bit of rationality, which explains why the mainstream media decided to go all in and bat for Clinton/Machado.

The NYT wrote the following about the allegation that Machado appeared in a sex tape:

Ms. Machado appeared in a risqué scene on a reality television show, but fact-checkers have discovered no sex tape.

I’ll allow Paul Joseph Watson to explain why this nonsense stretches credulity.

Even more hilariously, the mainstream media has dug up this video of Trump from 2000:

The video was part of a 2000 Playboy softcore film. This is seemingly the intro sequence or something, I’m not entirely sure. What it shows is Trump welcoming Playboy models to New York City by pouring champagne on a limousine on a public NYC street in broad daylight, everyone fully clothed. And this is being cited as evidence of Trump as an ‘adult film star.’ A Clinton spokesperson said this:

There’s been a lot of talk about sex tapes today, and in a strange turn of events, only one adult film has emerged today, and its star is Donald Trump.

In short:

Knowingly having sex on film which is to be publicly aired = not a sex tape

Pouring champagne on a limousine in a public street, fully clothed = adult film star

The Big Picture

I’ve painstakingly gone through these details to show what a bizarro, upside down clown world we currently live in. As long as you are a person with views outside the politically correct, establishment approved norms, you are subject to having this sort of treatment foisted upon you.

And this is the larger aspect of the Machado saga. The fact that these sort of nonsensical forays into identity politics are a staple of political campaigns is something that needs to be nipped in the bud. While other politicians of lesser fortitude would have allowed themselves to be bullied by these tactics, I commend Trump for standing up to ambushes like these, because at the end of the day they do nothing but insult the intelligence of the average person.

By virtue of Clinton dramatically introducing Machado to the world on a Presidential Debate sage in front of 100 million people, backed by a complicit media which had Machado puff pieces and TV interview spots at the ready, this was always intended to be a big campaign issue. The aim was to turn women away from Trump en masse. If Trump is able to successfully combat this pathetic mode of political attack, he might render it useless in the future, to the benefit of the political discourse of this country generally.

Beyond politics, tactics like this are meant to silence. In the context of who deserves to be president, whether Trump called a woman fat years ago has no relevance. Yet is being presented in order to push the narrative of ‘sexism,’ which in turn is a weapon wielded by leftists in order to silence dissent. In the current climate, all one has to do is utter the word ‘sexist’ or ‘bigot,’ and you win the argument by criminalizing the opposition. Trump exposing the media and Clinton engaging in this intellectually lazy behavior will benefit the country culturally.

That Clinton would even pull this sort of early ‘October Surprise,’ with such a terribly flawed case and terribly flawed ‘victim’ could smack of desperation. But beyond this, for it to work would require female voters to discount the list of women Clinton allegedly intimidated to stay silent about Bill Clinton’s mistreatment of them. It would require female voters to discount the incompetence shown in allowing 4 Americans to die in Benghazi, the corruption and cronyism alleged in the Cinton Foundation and Wall Street speeches, which allowed the Clintons to go from ‘dead broke’ to having a net worth in the hundreds of millions. Female voters would have to discount the incompetence and/or outright criminality involved in deleting emails from a private server which held classified government information, her complicity in thrusting the United States in to foreign war after foreign war costing thousands of lives and creating chaos in the Middle East and an unprecedented migrant crisis, all while accepting money from countries with atrocious records with respect to the treatment of women. Female voters would have to side with a media establishment which blatantly covers for and aids Clinton in her bid for the presidency, because it’s ‘her turn.’

All because Trump may or may not have called a woman Miss Piggy 20 years ago.

 

 

Fraying Nerves – Leftists Are Fearing the Worst: A Trump Victory

The increased gnashing of teeth among various leftists over the last week or so is indicative of fraying nerves. As we head into the debates, Hillary Clinton has had her substantial summer lead at the very least dwindle in most polls, and outright flip to a Trump lead in others. Officially, the election is currently a dead heat, but my feeling is that the tide has turned for Trump.

I suspect some on the left are starting to feel this as well, and they are not happy about it. It possibly starts all the way at the top, with Clinton herself. Consider this video today, which went viral:

I’m not sure what that video is from. I suspect it was some sort of private message to a group of donors, perhaps unions. Whatever it is, it obviously wasn’t meant for public consumption. That said, even if it wasn’t it isn’t a good showing for Clinton. She starts out speaking in a normal, if elevated tone when speaking about Trump and his aversion to unions. Then, out of nowhere, she starts screaming, wondering aloud why she isn’t ’50 points points ahead.’

The random escalation in tone, when she is speaking in a room by herself as opposed to a rally crowd, is absurd looking on its face. It just screams ‘crazy.’ That, combined with her subject matter, her disbelief that she hasn’t blown Trump away, is telling. It suggests that she expected this election to be a cakewalk. She thought that all she had to do was show up to a few events per month, talk about how ‘racist’ Trump is, sit back, relax, and prepare for her coronation in January. That isn’t how it’s gone, and she is clearly upset about it.

Of course, she still might be right. At the very least, however, Trump has made things too close for comfort for Clinton and her supporters on the left.

Some, like Charles Lane in the Washington Post article seeks to take an more measured approach to understanding why Trump is maintaining his appeal:

Why do so many Americans support Trump despite months and months of negative, truthful coverage about him?

 

To be sure, there has been too much media puffery about Trump, whether unfiltered live coverage of his rallies by cable networks or Jimmy Fallon’s sickeningly friendly tousling of the Republican candidate’s hair on “The Tonight Show.” Journalists were slow to take him seriously at the beginning of the Republican primaries.

 

The fact remains, as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) noted in an interviewwith the Times published Sunday: “Nobody is confused about the differences between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. . . . Is she perfect? Of course not. But you’ve got enough information to make the choice.”

 

What must be going on is that people — an alarmingly large number of people, it seems — back Trump even though they know, or could easily learn, that he is a charlatan, clueless about policy, bizarrely sympathetic to Russia’s dictator, disturbingly prone to offending women and minorities, and a serial liar to boot.

Note how he states, matter of factly, that Trump is a racist and sexist, implies he has fascist sympathies and has no idea about policy. In reality, these beliefs are merely a list of opinions. Incorrect opinions at that. However in the mainstream, they have been elevated to a level of truism right up there with mathematical identities such as ‘1+1=2.’ To those with this very left leaning, mainstream worldview, it defies any sort of logic that someone could even think to cast a vote for Trump.

Lane goes on to explain that Trump is benefiting from a sort of ‘jury nullification’ writ large. Since the electorate feels the system is rigged, he reasons, they are more than willing to forgive Trump of the ‘crimes’ that system itself has alleged, particularly because Trump is promising to smash that system. There is some truth to this.

Lane ends by expressing a sort of sadness, that the journalist industry he is a part of has lost its ability to influence and guide the discussion.

Drew Magary has a quite different take.  He took to GQ to deliver this delectable screed. Here’s a sampling:

Nothing that Trump says, no damning piece of Trump reportage, and certainly no opinion piece like this one will stop his voters from pulling the lever. Nor will anything stop Trump from being the officious, braindead goon that he is. He will never answer for his crimes, and there’s a frighteningly large portion of the electorate that will always love him for that.

 

And so I’d just like to say to that portion of the electorate: Fuck you. No, seriously. Go fuck yourselves. I’m not gonna waste any more time trying to convince you that you’re about to do something you’ll regret forever. I’m not gonna show you old clips of Trump saying rotten things. I’m not gonna try to ANNIHILATE Trump by showing you records of his hypocrisy and greed. I’m not gonna link to a John Oliver clip and be like, “THIS. So much this.” Nothing’s gonna take down Trump at this point, so I’m not gonna bother. No no, this post is for ME. I am preaching to the sad little choir in my soul here.

 

Because while Trump is a miserable bastard, YOU are the people who have handed him the bullhorn. YOU are the people willing to embarrass this nation and put it on the brink of economic ruin all because you wanna throw an electoral hissy fit. YOU are the people who want to revolutionize the way America does business by voting for its worst businessman, a disgusting neon pig who only makes money when he causes problems for other people instead of solving them. YOU are the thin-skinned yokels who clutch your bandoliers whenever someone hurls the mildest of slurs at you (“deplorables”), while cheering Trump on as he leaves a bonfire of truly hateful invective everywhere he goes. YOU are the people willing to overlook the fact that Trump is an unqualified, ignorant sociopath because DURRRR HILLARY IS BAD TOO DURRRR.

Magary’s was less ‘woe is me,’ and more ‘you’re all idiots.’ He lashed out at Trump supporters in spectacular expletive ridden fashion, living up to the stereotype of the petulant, whiny modern liberal.

The emphasized part is especially delicious. In it, he displays Vox Day’s third law of Social Justice Warriors, taken from his must read 2015 book, SJWs Always Lie: SJWs always project.

Magary first channels sort of contempt Hillary Clinton did with her ‘deplorables’ comment, and then takes it another level, before declaring that Trump supporters are ‘thin skinned,’ for not taking well to that deplorables comment. This, of course, is extremely rich coming from a SJW type, some of whom have built entire careers out of being offended.

The very idea that Trump is some sort of fantastical bigot is one that is borne out of having thin skin, since in many cases Trump is merely relaying uncomfortable truths. Going even further, Magary’s literary conniption itself is evidence of his own thin skin, given it came about because other people have the temerity to vote for a candidate he doesn’t like.

Charles Pierce at Esquire co-signs Magary’s rant in his own piece, which lambastes what he calls a normalization of stupid.

No kidding. I will never stop hating this election for the incredible deluge of Stupid it has loosed upon the country. It is the pure product of the forces driving the Trump campaign in concert with the attempt to make sense of it without accounting for the pure hate without which that campaign would not exist at all. There is nothing worthwhile about it. It does not raise serious questions with which the country must grapple. It is merely a giant loogie hocked at people whom most Trump supporters have been trained over 40 years to hate.

Or, as Ross Cardinal Douthat suggests, you can blame Samantha Bee. God, he wants to be one of those people in the red ballcaps so very badly, it fairly drips from every sentence. Moron envy is not attractive in a fellow of his education.

Me? I’m with Magary.

What stands out to me is his use of the term ‘moron envy’ to describe Douthat’s piece, which itself was an honest attempt at explaining the cultural norms that Trump supporters are challenging.

The culture industry has always tilted leftward, but the swing toward social liberalism among younger Americans and the simultaneous surge of activist energy on the left have created a new dynamic, in which areas once considered relatively apolitical now have (or are being pushed to have) an overtly left-wing party line.

…the feeling of being suffocated by the left’s cultural dominance is turning voting Republican into an act of cultural rebellion — which may be one reason the Obama years, so good for liberalism in the culture, have seen sharp G.O.P. gains at every level of the country’s government.

Douthat raises good points. The fact that the leftist advance, from academia into all aspects of culture, from sports, to late night television, to music, movies and so forth, has so shaped ‘acceptable’ beliefs that one instantly becomes an outcast for displaying the slightest lean toward any conservative view. Note Magary’s appeal to John Oliver, late night TV host who specializes in Daily Shows-esque leftist comedy which masquerades as news commentary. And note the torrent of abuse Jimmy Fallon got last week for merely treating Trump like any of his guests, in a lighthearted, apolitical manner on his show.

fallon trump twitter

As I’ve discussed before, this election is starting to erode the power that screaming ‘You’re Racist!’ has had over political discourse over the years. This is behind a lot of the skittish behavior apparent in the commentaries by Magary, Pierce, and those who are so brutally critical of Jimmy Fallon.

They are starting to notice that repeating racist/sexist/bigot/whatever over and over again isn’t moving the needle the way it once did. This is largely because of the fact that those terms have come to describe more and more things, to the point where this saturation has completely rendered these terms meaningless. When correcting someone’s grammar can be considered a potentially racial offense, we have reached the point at which people will instinctively start to tune out when wailing ‘but he’s racist!’ is the main argument presented.

A more nervous group of individuals over Trump’s strength is the media, as well as the pundit class. Their consternation is revealed in the reports of Trump’s campaign spending, or relative lack thereof:

Hillary Clinton’s campaign and its allies are outspending their Republican counterparts by a factor of about five to one, according to a new analysis released Tuesday.

 

But the former secretary of State has failed to put away Donald Trump, and many anxious Democrats are baffled as to why the race remains so close.

Yet another dynamic that is being exposed during this election is the deterioration of  the legacy media, and by extension legacy politics and punditry. Hillary Clinton is running a campaign from the 80s and 90s – pandering, carefully crafted, focus group tested phrasing, accumulating a big warchest to spend on huge ad buys, etc.

Similarly, the punditry is from years gone by. Countless times I’ve heard pundits on various cable news channels going on about how Trump needed to ‘pivot,’ how his ‘ground game’ was lacking, and things of that nature. Those are chapters straight out of a conventional campaign playbook.

Trump has completely thrown that playbook out the window, and perhaps forever changed the way campaigns are run. Instead of doing huge ad buys, he interacts with his 20+ million followers on Facebook and Twitter. Because of the increasing move from TV to social media among the populace, these impressions are likely to have more of an impact than any ad buy would. It is well known that more and more people get their news from their Facebook feeds rather than the 6 o’clock evening news.

This means that in going directly to the people, with a much more robust message, Trump can circumvent the media and its gatekeepers. This, combined with the fact Trump has a more concrete message has meant that his campaign is having a much more profound impact on people. In comparison, the Clinton campaign’s traditional strategy of 30 second ads full of regurgitated soundbites are easily dismissed, if they are even seen at all by a public which is watching less TV in the first place.

To be sure, there are a few Trump-specific features to his campaign that make his robustness possible. The bottom line is that the public is starting to tire heavily of the DC class in general, which renders the hundreds of millions the Clinton campaign has and will spend utterly meaningless.

If Hillary loses, the fact that she is a walking stereotype of DC politicians will be the biggest reason as to why. Moreover, being that way for the best part of 30 years in public life, Hillary Clinton can’t change. That is simply who she is, a dying breed of politician. Even if she does manage to scrape by, she will probably be the last of her kind.

Reality Doesn’t Care About Feelings, Volume 3 – The Colin Kaepernick Protest

Colin Kaepernick’s protest of the national anthem has been a hot topic of conversation of late, with everyone from news outlets, to political shows to sports shows having guests on to weigh in with their opinion. His rationale for the protest has been the following, in his words:

I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.

This, combined with his decision to wear the following socks, depicting police officers as pigs, suggests that his main concern has been the treatment of black Americans by police officers.

0901-colin-kaepernick-socks-getty-zoom-3

I respect Kaepernick’s right to engage in protest of the flag, and the national anthem. Indeed, the very flag and national anthem is what confers upon him that right. Much of the discussion I’ve seen on the subject has centered around whether Kaepernick’s protest was done in the right way, whether it was wise of him to use NFL games as his platform, and things of that nature.

All of this assumes that his protest is legitimate in the first place. I contend it isn’t. Consider the following passage, taken from this recent article in the Washington Post addressing the subject of the racial distribution of police shootings:

In 2015, The Washington Post launched a real-time database to track fatal police shootings, and the project continues this year. As of Sunday, 1,502 people have been shot and killed by on-duty police officers since Jan. 1, 2015. Of them, 732 were white, and 381 were black (and 382 were of another or unknown race).

 

But as data scientists and policing experts often note, comparing how many or how often white people are killed by police to how many or how often black people are killed by the police is statistically dubious unless you first adjust for population.

 

According to the most recent census data, there are nearly 160 million more white people in America than there are black people. White people make up roughly 62 percent of the U.S. population but only about 49 percent of those who are killed by police officers. African Americans, however, account for 24 percent of those fatally shot and killed by the police despite being just 13 percent of the U.S. population. As The Post noted in a new analysis published last week, that means black Americans are 2.5 times as likely as white Americans to be shot and killed by police officers.

 

U.S. police officers have shot and killed the exact same number of unarmed white people as they have unarmed black people: 50 each. But because the white population is approximately five times larger than the black population, that means unarmed black Americans were five times as likely as unarmed white Americans to be shot and killed by a police officer.

Passages such as this are used to buttress the point that people like Kaepernick are making with respect to police brutality. The problem with this analysis, which compares the numbers of fatalities to population, is that it assumes that each segment of the population commits crimes at the same rate. This isn’t true. From the Post article:

Because detailed FBI data on crime can lag by several years, the most-cited statistics on this point refer to 2009 data. According to that data, out of all violent crimes in which someone was charged, black Americans were charged with 62 percent of robberies, 57 percent of murders and 45 percent of assaults in the country’s 75 biggest counties — despite the fact that black Americans made up just 15 percent of the population in those places.

The following table shows the distributions of violent crimes by race, both of the offender and perpetrator, from 2012-2013, with homicides excluded:

ncfs-table

From that chart, and the Washington Post story, we can glean that black people commit more violent crimes than their 13% population share suggests they should. As a result, we should rationally expect that there will be more run ins with police, and thus more police shootings involving blacks.

Indeed, when comparing the police shootings by race to the violent crimes committed by race, which is the relevant comparison, the distributions match up relatively well.

From the Washington Post quote earlier, from Jan 2015 to July of 2016, 49% of police shootings involved whites, who according to the Bureau of Justice stats from 2012, commit 42% of violent crimes.

24% of police shootings involved blacks, who commit 22% of violent crimes.

27% of police shootings involve the rest of the races, or unknown, a group which according to the Bureau of Justice commits 35% of violent crime.

If anyone should feel aggrieved, its whites, who are shot by police at a higher rate than they commit violent crimes, excluding homicide. Yet that isn’t the narrative.

The Washington Post tries to temper analysis such as that by claiming the crime level in a particular community doesn’t affect the rate at which police kill, and by stressing the fact that unarmed blacks are killed at a greater rate to whites:

Despite these arguments, police reform advocates and researchers as well at The Post’s own analysis has consistently concluded that there is no correlation between violent crime and who is killed by police officers.

 

A 2015 study by a University of California at Davis researcher concluded there was “no relationship” between crime rates by race and racial bias in police killings.

 

….

In a report covering 2015 data, Campaign Zero compared violent crime rates of 50 major cities to the rate at which police officers killed people, concluding that there was no correlation.

 

As part of its data effort, The Post tracks the “threat level” of each person who is shot and killed by a police officer: Were they shooting at the officer? Were they threatening the officer? Were they fleeing?

 

Overall, the majority of the people who have been shot and killed by police officers in 2015 and 2016 were, based on publicly available evidence, armed with a weapon and attempting to attack the officer or someone else.

 

But an independent analysis of The Post’s data conducted by a team of criminal-justice researchers concluded that, when factoring in threat level, black Americans who are fatally shot by police are no more likely to be posing an imminent lethal threat to the officers at the moment they are killed than white Americans fatally shot by police.

 

[Study finds police fatally shoot unarmed black men at disproportionate rates] 

The study also sought to answer whether officers were more likely to shoot and kill someone who is unarmed if the shooting happened to occur in a high-crime area. They concluded that is not the case.

 

“The only thing that was significant in predicting whether someone shot and killed by police was unarmed was whether or not they were black,” said Justin Nix, a criminal-justice researcher at the University of Louisville and one of the report’s authors, said in April. “Crime variables did not matter in terms of predicting whether the person killed was unarmed.”

 

“This just bolsters our confidence that there is some sort of implicit bias going on,” Nix said. “Officers are perceiving a greater threat when encountered by unarmed black citizens.”

Regarding the point about there being no correlation between high crime areas and police shootings, that might be true, but it doesn’t show that there is any bias involved in either direction.

As for the unarmed argument, it is riddled with holes. Blacks may be more likely to be ‘unarmed’ when shot by police, but that is hardly the full story. Heather Mac Donald details this in a piece she wrote back in February:

In August of 2015 the Post zeroed in on unarmed black men, who the paper said were seven times more likely than unarmed white men to die by police gunfire. The article noted that 24 of the 60 “unarmed” deaths up to that date — some 40 percent — were of black men, helping to explain “why outrage continues to simmer a year after Ferguson.

 

 

But the numbers don’t tell the whole story. It is worth looking at the specific cases included in the Post’s unarmed victim classification in some detail, since that category is the most politically explosive. The “unarmed” label is literally accurate, but it frequently fails to convey highly-charged policing situations. In a number of cases, if the victim ended up being unarmed, it was certainly not for lack of trying. At least five black victims had reportedly tried to grab the officer’s gun, or had been beating the cop with his own equipment. Some were shot from an accidental discharge triggered by their own assault on the officer. And two individuals included in the Post’s “unarmed black victims” category were struck by stray bullets aimed at someone else in justified cop shootings. If the victims were not the intended targets, then racism could have played no role in their deaths.

Mac Donald further lists several examples of various incidents in which the perpetrator was literally unarmed, but still posing a threat to the officer in various ways. Perpetrators attacking with their fists, using the officer’s own equipment, or a car were considered unarmed. Innocent victims who may have been caught in crossfire of a police shootout are also included among the unarmed figure. The fact that blacks are more likely to resist arrest or engage in a confrontational manner is why the figures of unarmed black shootings are disproportionately higher.

And what of ‘Driving While Black?’

This was a common refrain uttered after Sandra Bland’s death last year. This goes to the notion that while perhaps police treat all suspects in a similar manner after the interaction has been initiated, there is bias in the choice of police to interact with the population.

In other words, police racial profiling is a big issue. Vox said as much in an article on the subject, stating that black people were more likely to be stopped than whites.

We also know that black drivers are more likely to be stopped by US police. In 2013, the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that about 12.8 percent of black drivers reported being pulled over in 2011, while about 9.8 percent of white drivers and 10.4 percent of Hispanic drivers did.

That statement means nothing by itself. It could be, for example, that there are more repeat offenders in the 9.8% of whites who got pulled over, which wouldn’t necessarily mean there was a bias in police stops.

The very study that Vox links to has the following chart, which is more relevant to the point at hand:

contact-with-police

The relevant column is the second column, which shows that whites made up roughly 65% of street stops, and 69% of traffic stops. Blacks made up 12% of street stops and 14% of traffic stops. Hispanics made up 15% of street stops and 12% of traffic stops.

The population distribution of each group is, according to 2010 census data the following: 63.7% white, 12.2% black, 16.3% Hispanic. In short, there is little to no bias shown by police in stopping people. Vox must have missed this chart in the report they cited.

All in all,  there is nothing that shows that there is some sort of bias shown by police officers against blacks which necessitates outrage, let alone public protests from the likes of Colin Kaepernick.

The bottom line is that if you want to avoid being killed by police, you would do well to first avoid committing a crime. Failing that, or perhaps if you find yourself involved in a police stop despite not having committed a crime, avoid confrontational attitudes with the officer, do not resist arrest if it comes to that, and do not try to fight the officer or grab any foreign object in an attempt to injure the officer.

Follow that, and your chances of not becoming another statistic are quite high.

“You’re Racist” Is Losing It’s Grip as a Control Technique

In my piece on the fall out over Matt Lauer’s performance at an NBC presidential forum earlier this week, I made the point that the outrage is founded on an ever shifting understanding of objectivity as it pertains to the media. Of the outrage, I wrote:

Herein lies the crux of the angst from the media, and those on the left over Lauer. Those parties have all declared Trump to be an uncouth buffoon who says offensive things and thus isn’t fit to be president. That basic assertion is a given, a concrete foundation from which everything else follows.

To this end, Matt Lauer’s greatest sin on Wednesday night was that he didn’t spend the entirety of his 30 minutes with Trump calling him a racist, sexist, bigot, homophobe, Islamophobe, Transphobe, whatever phobe repeatedly. That would have been ‘doing his job.’

I’d like to expand on this a bit further, if I may.

Back in January, the Huffington Post decided that a disclaimer should accompany each and every article it posts which relates to Donald Trump. It reads like this:

Note to our readers: Donald Trump is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, birther and bully who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.

It serves as a Surgeon General-esque warning to readers: ‘You are consuming content the subject of which is a really bad person. Be careful.’ On the back of that declaration, many mainstream journalists feel no compunction in writing about Trump and his supporters in increasingly disturbing ways.

They’ve declared Trump and his supporters to be deluded, and as such the ‘sane’ leftist has a direct duty to ‘un-delude’ the Trump supporter, as one would do if one had a friend or family member who obviously needed Institutional care. Some have taken the route that Trump and his candidacy represents the extinction of democracy, and thus is a threat to the Republic. More worryingly, others have advocated outright violence at Trump rallies.

The leftists’ recent self described abandonment of objectivity in the face of a supposed existential threat would make perfect sense if there was objectivity in their viewpoint in the first place.

On the surface, there is. The main charges against Trump – racism, sexism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia – are real phenomenon with clear definitions. The issue is that none of them actually apply to Trump, objectively speaking.

The charge of racism is based on Trump’s stance on immigration, in particular his comments on illegal immigrants from Mexico. Regardless of Trump said, the bottom line is that ‘Mexican’ isn’t a race. The charge of sexism is largely based on public comments Trump has made which ultimately amount to the same type of locker room talk men have had with each other in one form or another since the beginning of time. Women have their own version of this sort of crude talk as well. Neither of it is sexist.

Showing affection to one’s own country, wanting to advance its interests while preserving its culture and history is not xenophobic. Wanting to curb immigration from a group of people which have inflicted disproportionate amounts of terror against us does not amount to Islamophobia.

This is all objectively true, yet those on the left are steadfast in their condemnation of Trump as a bigot. Consider this  from former President Bill Clinton from a stump speech earlier this week:

In it, he says of Trump’s Make America Great Again campaign slogan that ‘if you’re a White Southerner, you know exactly what it means…What it means is that I’ll move you back up on the social totem pole, and other people down.’

Never mind that Clinton also used the phrase Make America Great Again during his 1992 presidential run, as is shown in the end of that video.

His stance on illegal immigration, as shown in the following video from the his 1996 State of the Union address, is almost Trumpian:

So why isn’t Bill Clinton, himself a white Southerner, and thus must have known what Make America Great Again ‘really meant’ when he used phrase himself, who took a tough stance on illegal immigration, a racist?

Well in some circles, he is. This is because of his 1994 crime bill which stiffened penalties for drug violations, which had a disproportionate impact on black communities and increased the black incarceration rate as a result. One of the themes of Hillary Clinton’s campaign was how she was going to distance herself from the ‘racism’ of that bill in order to assure the black community that she is on their side.

Bill Clinton is not the only leftist icon which has his legacy re-litigated in our new age of hyper political correctness and social justice. Figures such as FDR and Martin Luther King have been criticized by leftists for racism and homophobia, respectively. The Washington Post has been called for the expunging of Woodrow Wilson, one of the most progressive presidents ever, from official places of honor. This is in light of protests, ongoing at the time of this writing, over the fact that Wilson’s name still adorns one of the departments at Princeton University. The ferocity of some of the reporting suggests they would like to expunge Wilson from history entirely.

This sort of judgement of historical figures by today’s standard of safe spaces, trigger warnings, and microaggressions leads me to believe that no president in history, up to and including the 2008 version of Barack Obama, is electable in 2016. The vast majority of past presidents would have been disqualified for their racism and/or sexism. The rest, including 2008 Barack Obama would be disqualified for not having the ‘right’ stance on gay marriage.

Obama eventually got with the program, and by 2012 he was singing the correct tune. He had to do so in on order to conform to an ever changing, ever ‘progressing’ culture. The modern left is infused with the Marcusian belief that anything goes as long as it feels good, and doubly so if it represents a break with moral traditions of the past. If Hillary Clinton were to win, I have no doubts that in four or eight years, the candidate that stands before us now will look like an extremist bigot compared to the politician she will end up being in order to conform to the future cultural zeitgeist.

These continual shifts in interpretations and after the fact declarations of bigotry ultimately cheapen those terms, especially since the threshold for being a bigot is continually lowered. If wanting strong borders is now bigotry, there are now hundreds of millions, even billions around the world who now can be described as bigots. The term itself is rendered near meaningless as a result.

This sets the stage for Friday, when Hillary Clinton decided to delineate  Trump supporters in the following manner:

You know, just to be grossly generalist, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables.”

 

“Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people — now have 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric.

 

That other basket of people are people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for a change. They don’t buy everything he says, but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different. They won’t wake up and see their jobs disappear, lose a kid to heroin, feel like they’re in a dead end. Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well.

She said these remarks at a campaign rally, but she made similar remarks in a television interview that aired earlier in the day, suggesting that these remarks were well thought out, an perhaps even focus group approved.

In trying to demonize half of  Trump supporters (a figure in the tens of millions domestically, perhaps hundreds more globally) using terms such as racist, sexist and homophobic, she is trying to levy a serious charge on hundreds of millions. Some outlets have tried to defend Clinton, claiming that because she was disparaging something negative, so it the comments were fine.

As previously discussed, the utter meaningless of those terms owing to their overuse has weakened the charge considerably. To deem Trump supporters racists or sexists is to attempt to attach the stringent punishment for those transgressions, ostracism from society and de-legitimization, to views as simple as having a strong country with strong borders which follows the law.

In other words, you should be silenced if you don’t like illegal immigration, or, you have ever disagreed with, or said something nasty about a woman or a person who is not white. Her remarks then come across as nothing more than a declaration that a whole group of people is unworthy, hence ‘deplorables.’ It is an insult, pure and simple.

Ultimately, this is all those on the left seem to have. The charge of racist/sexist/homophobe was once so grave that it forced society to conform to the leftist dogma in order to avoid those damning labels. In 2016, we’re finally beginning to see the Law of Diminishing Returns reduce that stranglehold. People are no longer scared of those labels, not because they are more emboldened to be bigoted by a person like Trump, but because the terms themselves have less and less meaning when they’re applied to every single transgression, big or small.

In short, when everything is racist, nothing is.

On Phyllis Schlafly

Earlier this week, Phyllis Schafly died, aged 92. She was a conservative icon, and as such there was much outpouring of joy on Twitter and other apparatchiks in the leftist media.

Although I was aware of who she was, I didn’t know the extent to which she was a force for preserving traditionalist views for over half a century. Her most notable achievements came in the gender relations arena, particularly her battles to stop feminists from passing the ERA in the 1970s.

For this, she became the mortal enemy of the feminist, and therefore the eternal friend of civilization itself. Indeed, of feminism, she believed that it was “doomed to failure because it is based on an attempt to repeal and restructure human nature.”

The aspect of human nature which the feminist is interested in is the fact that men and women are different, and thus have different roles to play in families and societies as a whole. Feminism rejects the obvious biological fact that men and women are different and ascribes any differences to ‘social constructs.’ It seeks to reshape the world in its image, to the point that it’s logical extension would lead one to posit that a 5’0” 105 pound woman is equally as capable of saving people from a 10 story burning building as a 6’2” 195 man.

Schalfly stood steadfast against such absurdity for decades, and thus is deserving of respect. There is a bit of a paradox, at least on the surface. In spending her adult life championing traditional views, and exalting the traditional housewife, she was a tireless worker outside the home. She gave speeches all over country, wrote and/or edited dozens of books, learned a law degree, wrote regular columns, and appeared on radio for years.

She also had 6 children, breastfed all of them, and taught them all basic reading and writing before they entered school. In short, she ‘had it all,’ which is what feminists claim their ideology offers women.

Yet the results of 50 years of feminism don’t really bear that out. Women are less happy now than they were during the 1970’s, while men have roughly maintained their level of happiness. Women are marrying later, and the fertility rate in the US is the lowest on record.

A far cry from Schlafly, who actually attained what feminism claimed to offer. Yet, Schlafly is universally met with scorn by feminists.

What squares the apparent paradox is the fact that Schlafly, in embarking on professional pursuits, had no burden, beyond a moral one to uphold traditional views. She had married a wealthy lawyer, so she didn’t need the money from her speaking fees or book sales. She could fully concentrate on her roles as a wife and a mother, while taking the spare opportunities she had to engage in activism, which she called a ‘hobby.’

She would work on her early books after 10pm, when her kids went to bed. She didn’t go to law school until she was in her 50s, at which time her children were all at least in their teens and thus didn’t necessarily need the constant supervision toddlers would have.

She ‘had it all’ precisely because she eschewed the feminist model. She married well, had children, raised them while slowly building up her professional ambitions when she could. Then, in her 50s, after her children had grown, she embarked on her largest and most expansive efforts.

The feminist model preaches to women to do the opposite –  establish a career first, then look for a husband after age 30, then have kids, then juggle them with the expanding career. It doesn’t work, for multiple reasons. Nature, not society, has given women a relatively short window to have children. Waiting until after 30 severely limits that window, and increases the likelihood of complications. Furthermore, having a child right when professional ambitions are escalating is a recipe for disaster. Both the child and the job need one’s full attention, and by definition only one can win it.

It is little wonder that the modern woman, influenced by 40 years of feminism is so unhappy. Perhaps she would be better off to take a little inspiration from Phyllis Schlafly, and much, much less from Betty Friedan.

On #Brexit

At the end of last year, I was struck by the following quote from this article in the FT, which tried to set the table for the coming political year in the West.

Countries such as France, the UK and the US are already multicultural and multifaith societies. Attempting to reverse those social changes is both unrealistic and a recipe for conflict. It is legitimate, however, to insist all citizens subscribe to certain values, to make multicultural societies work.

To me, it was emblematic of the fundamental problem with progressivism in all forms – it is completely focused on maintaining short term comfort above all else, and it has the seeds of its own destruction within its tenets. And here was the FT brazenly putting forth that line of thinking.

This sort of religious adherence to maintaining the Status Quo, regardless of its effectiveness,  is often justified by an appeal to one’s aversion to the unknown. The biggest banks and corporations, for example, simply had to be bailed out by taxpayers and central banks in the aftermath of the Financial Crisis, because the alternative would have been unknown, and therefore worse. Thus, the system and all its machinations, which had brought about the one of the worst panics in the history of the modern economy, had to be maintained at all costs.

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23rd June 2016 has the potential to go down in history as a date in which those costs finally proved to be too much for the average citizen to bear. In voting to leave the European Union, Britons sent a message to the globalist elites – We’ve Had Enough.

The nature of the EU itself made it a foregone conclusion that a portion of its membership would eventually reach the conclusion the Brits did. The EU, in short, is a soft fascist dictatorship. Before I get accused of hyperbole, here is the dictionary definition of fascism:

A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, a capitalist economy subject to stringent governmental controls, violent suppression of the opposition, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.

While there is no singular face of EU dictatorship in the vein of a Hitler or Mussolini, the collection of ‘Eurocrats’ in Brussels, all with their unwavering promotion of ‘The European Dream,’ does suffice. Indeed, even the most ardent proponent of the EU admits, through gritted teeth, the existence of the euphemistic term ‘democratic deficit.’

The endless regulations emanating from Brussels satisfies that condition of fascism relating to government control of the capitalist setup. In terms of suppressing the opposition, the means the EU favors is a combination of outright ignoring certain democratic decisions made by voters, and a perverse level of political correctness which shames people into submission. To date, the EU doesn’t point guns at its subjects per se; rather it points the threat of being labeled racist, xenophobic, or Islamophobic.

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Consider the fact that the St. Georges cross is increasingly being redefined as a racist symbol of hate, such that English people who proudly display their national flag are deemed racist by extension. The aim is to suppress pride in English culture and heritage, so as to replace it with the amalgamation of ‘European.’ As such belligerent nationalism is merely replaced by belligerent pan-Europeanism.

Even of one still refuses to agree with my assessment, one cannot deny that the EU at the very least saddles its citizens with yet another layer of bureaucracy which must be waded through. It’s of little surprise that, with stagnating growth and a slow and steady decline in industry over the past four decades, Britons decided to have a rethink as to the virtues of EU diktat, and the ‘open market.’

Then, of course there is immigration. David Frum, writing in the Atlantic, had this to say about the immigration issue as it pertained to the UK.

The force that turned Britain away from the European Union was the greatest mass migration since perhaps the Anglo-Saxon invasion. 630,000 foreign nationals settled in Britain in the single year 2015. Britain’s population has grown from 57 million in 1990 to 65 million in 2015, despite a native birth rate that’s now below replacement. On Britain’s present course, the population would top 70 million within another decade, half of that growth immigration-driven.

 

British population growth is not generally perceived to benefit British-born people. Migration stresses schools, hospitals, and above all, housing. The median house price in London already amounts to 12 times the median local salary. Rich migrants outbid British buyers for the best properties; poor migrants are willing to crowd more densely into a dwelling than British-born people are accustomed to tolerating.

….

Is it possible that leaders and elites had it all wrong? If they’re to save the open global economy, maybe they need to protect their populations better against globalization’s most unwelcome consequences—of which mass migration is the very least welcome of them all?

 

If any one person drove the United Kingdom out of the European Union, it was Angela Merkel, and her impulsive solo decision in the summer of 2015 to throw open Germany—and then all Europe—to 1.1 million Middle Eastern and North African migrants, with uncountable millions more to come.

 

David Brooks, another mainstream writer, voiced similar concerns during an appearance on PBS Newshour following the vote. In it, he expressed sadness at the result of the referendum, but his real regret seemed to be that the elites merely pushed too hard in their actions. In other words, they had essentially dumped too many immigrants too soon on populations like the British.

This sort of mass migration set about a culture clash which had been bubbling under the surface for years, but is rapidly coming to the fore. The mainstream progressive narrative of the joyous nature of multiculturalism is becoming exposed as less than truthful on almost a daily basis. In the quote I opened this piece with, the FT insisted that because multiculturalism was already here, it must persist, albeit with a base level of values everyone must adhere to.

This sort of thinking goes out the window when you have to start handing out pamphlets to which explicitly detail that things like hitting women and children, fondling or groping women, and urinating in swimming pools, among other things, are frowned upon.

This is further exacerbated by the existence of a generous benefits system. The truth, which is becoming more apparent by the day, is that open borders and generous welfare states cannot coexist. One must pick one or the other. A failure to do so will lead to a situation in which new entrants to the country don’t even have to learn the language in order to be taken care of. And from there, the host culture is on the path to a slow, but sure destruction.

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These realities made the EU an unworkable construct, and the Leave vote an inevitable one. Given the Remain coalition was made up of the vast majority of government officials, in the UK across Europe, and worldwide; academia, mainstream media, and multinational business interests, it is clear that the referendum was also in part a referendum on the viability of the elites and their globalist agenda.

In rejecting the bid to stay in the EU, the voters made their thoughts clear. In response, so did the elites, as it were. The night of the referendum, I watched the BBC broadcast of the results trickling in. As the Leave vote looked more and more certain, the mood of the panelists and the hosts continued to sour. The grave mood was befitting the death of an important head of state, or an act of terror, rather than a democratic vote to determine the level of self-determination the country would have going forward.

In the days following the referendum, the media have played up the ‘buyer’s remorse’ angle, using the movements in global financial markets to buttress their arguments. All of a sudden, the fact that the Leave campaigners may have exaggerated some of their claims is evidence of callous treachery, despite the fact that politicians have never been strangers to such discrepancies between rhetoric and action. In most cases, however, the discrepancies favor the dominant narrative, and as such are swept aside.

More cynically, they have attempted to paint a picture of the average Leave voter being an uneducated white racist from a rural part of the country, while prominently featuring anecdotes of anti-immigration abuse both on and offline.

That these sorts of tactics have been generally well received, and even amplified on social media reinforces the fact that the progressive, globalist view of the world is still the most dominant, if not the most loudly proclaimed. On Twitter, sentiments such as the following were put forth as the new reality for the future of Britain in the context of Europe as a whole.

CltNvdcWgAAevsU

This picture, posted on twitter, was supposed to represent the ‘cost’ of Leave, in that the fine wines, pastries, fruit and waffles of the continent were to be lost, with only the drabness of baked beans left for the British to enjoy.

A shockingly high number of people don’t see the inanity of that attempt to crystallize the Brexit consequences. It isn’t as though the UK is going to start floating off into the Atlantic Ocean, away from the continent. The goods and services the continent does well are still going to be accessible in the UK, and vice versa.

More importantly, those delicacies are only made possible thanks to the differentiation in cultures that exist. In prioritizing this push to a ‘European’ culture, you lose Italian Culture, French Culture, German Culture, Spanish Culture, and so forth. The attributes unique to each culture and group of people which are responsible for the products known and loved the world over are lost in the transition to an amorphous blob of dedifferentiation that is pan-Europeanism.

For those who purport to champion the superiority of diversity, it is strange that they can’t seem to understand that such diversity is only possible if, at some level, peoples are permitted to do things their own way. In this regard, the negative stigma applied to nationalism is unwarranted.

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One of the more curious aspects of the vote and the subsequent fallout is the complete lack of foresight shown by those in the media, financial and political class. It was all but assumed that the Remain vote would win the day, and as such the stock markets around the globe moved higher in celebration.

A huge part of the reason for the optimism came from the fact that the most recent polling had shown a clean victory for the Remain side. That actual voting resulted in a firm victory for the Leave side pointed to the fact that there was a significant ‘hidden’ Leave contingent.

The explanation for this is that the Remain position was touted as the view which ‘respectable’ and ‘tolerant’ members of society held. Thus, it is natural that anyone who dared to see some logical points in the Leave argument would want to keep it to themselves so as to not subject themselves to the emotional shaming tactics which are part and parcel of the progressive/globalist toolkit of debate.

In other words, normal, hardworking, respectful people who are not by any means racist or xenophobic were kept silent in public simply because they dared to disagree with the Remain argument. In the privacy of the ballot box, where the threat of ostracism was voided, they were able to make their voices known. This dynamic is the antithesis of a free society.

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As such, the result of this referendum is only the beginning, or as per Churchill, the end of the beginning. Fascist dictatorships just hand their power away once it has been attained. Ideologies which depend on bullying those for the crime of disagreeing don’t admit defeat when outclassed in logical debates. It is vitally important that Leave voters make the result stuck by establishing a government that will follow through on the referendum’s aim.

David Cameron has volunteered to step down as Prime Minister; he must be replaced with a PM who was an ardent Leave campaigner and has no qualms about going the full distance. Half measures will only make things worse.

As I mentioned earlier, the subsequent financial tumult is being used as evidence that a mistake was made. S&P, a ratings agency which should have no credibility owing to their shenanigans leading up to the last Financial Crisis, has cut the credit rating of the UK. Any further fall in markets, or slowdown in the economy will be blamed on Brexit. As will any future terrorist attack which takes place anywhere in Europe.

These claims would be unwarranted. For a start, the global markets have been on a knife edge for nearly two years, making minimal gains in that time, on aggregate. The ‘recovery’ of the post Financial Crisis in developed economies has been tepid at best, with policy makers attempting to blow a bubble to replace the last bubble which popped in 2007.

It is only a matter of time before the post Financial Crisis bubble pops, and it is true that Brexit may be the straw that broke the camel’s back. But that is only because of the existence of the other straws.

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If Brexit is to be truly successful, it will be because it rids itself of the EU morass completely. That means replacing the rules and regulations which hampered British industry with…nothing at all. It must totally eliminate the extra layer of bureaucracy instead of merely replacing it with another, more British flavor. During the campaign, many Leave proponents pointed to the success of Switzerland as a model for the UK post EU. What was less mentioned was the fact that Swiss success owes largely to their greater degree of liberty and lesser degree of regulation and government control, in comparison to their continental neighbors.

Unless Britain goes down the same path as the Swiss in all aspects, the Brexit vote will not be a blow to globalism. Rather it will be a loud scream from a tied up victim which can easily be rectified by a strategically placed piece of duct tape.

In terms of this larger context, as a person who favors less government, less regulation, and a higher level of liberty for individuals, I am enthusiastic about what happened on the 23rd of June. Even if it turns out to be a false alarm for the globalists, the cat will be out of the bag. Through events such as this and the US election, the public is becoming more and more aware of the fact that their disillusionment is not without merit and the policies of progressivism and globalist thinking are mostly to blame.

The media, big business and political establishment which have got this wrong, and have been getting it wrong will start to lose their influence. The proliferation of the internet has meant that information can no longer be controlled and shape to fit the ‘approved’ narrative. Ideas and narratives must now stand on their own two feet, which can only bode well for the values of liberty and freedom.

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The stakes are high. Even before the Brexit vote, there were growing sentiments across Europe that the EU project is disagreeable. Anti-EU sentiment was already much greater in many countries around Europe, which suggests that multiple referendums along the lines of Brexit are on the way. Should more countries leave, the financial, political, and cultural burdens will be that much greater on the remaining countries, which will further increase the discontent. This downward spiral could essentially be the way the EU ends.

It will be the breakdown of the post-WWII order, a paradigm which was 60 plus years in the making. If elements of it have proven to be a failure, it is right that these elements are dismantled and replaced with something better. That will not come without pain, or discomfort. It is not unlike the pain the body most endure when going through chemotherapy. However, if the end result is a cancer free life, the temporary loss of hair, weight and general sickness and discomfort will have been worth it.

That point, perhaps more than any I’ve made, is the most important one to get across, for we live in a world which has a hyperfocus on short term comfort above all else. If the very culture that affords us the many comforts we enjoy is to be maintained, the opposite focus must be attained. Historically, only a major crisis has forced people to change their thinking. Much of the promise in the Brexit vote lies in the fact that the emergence of longer term thinking at the expense of the short term has happened before the point of existential crisis.

It is a sign that there is hope for those who value Western Civilization and want to see it preserved and propagated.

More On ‘Principled Conservatives’

In my Open Letter to Principled Conservatives, I described the profile of a ‘Principled Conservative’ politician in 2016. It is a politician with an exemplary ability to shout Reagan aphorisms from the rooftops while voting to increase the size of and scope government, acquiescing to Leftist ideals.

There is a cultural root to this issue, and while I touched on it in my open letter, the man behind Conservative Pundit, a Twitter parody account, hit the nail on the head. In an interview with The Daily Caller, he said the following:

…I don’t think that the problem with respectable conservatism is just that they’re afraid of being called racist or sexist or homophobic. They certainly are afraid of that, yes, but I think that the deeper problem is they’ve fully internalized a whole raft of premises about race, about gender, about “sexual orientation” that are extremely recent, extremely radical, leftist, and in many ways totally incompatible with the traditional American worldview that they purport to cherish.

 

The contemporary conservative pundit is in a precarious position. On the one hand, he agrees with his liberal friends that the United States prior to, say, the 1960s was a frightfully bigoted and hateful place, full of all sorts of phobias and -isms and other such indefensible attitudes. On the other hand, he wants his liberal friends to respect the political and cultural principles we’ve inherited from that evil and benighted past. It’s a weak position, and I don’t think many people besides other professional conservative pundits find it very compelling.

 

 

These professional pundits, such as George Will, Bill Kristol, and David Brooks, among others, have spent decades crafting a ‘Principled Conservative’ ideology on this basis. Republican candidates for office trip over themselves to adhere to it, rendering Republican elections purity contests.

These ideological battles are useless, as the policies which come of them continue to harm America. Trump has come on like a house on fire because he stands in opposition to what these Principled Conservatives have actually achieved in office, as opposed to the things Principled Conservatives purport to believe in.

That is a big difference. Take for example, the National Review and their criticism of the Omnibus bill which Speaker of the House Paul Ryan passed in December:

Since Democrats have hastened to embrace a policy of de facto open borders, come what may, it falls to Republican officeholders to offer a more sober assessment of our immigration policy — which they should. It’s good policy and — given that 9 out of 10 Americans want immigration levels either kept where they are or reduced — it’s good politics. Republican leaders should be attempting to halt illegal immigration, reduce legal immigration (especially from countries that pose a particular threat to American security), and figure out ways to assimilate immigrants who are already here and to reform the failed procedures by which we evaluate those who want to come.

Sounds great, yet the National Review is staunchly in the #NeverTrump camp, despite Trump being the only candidate who speaks to the concerns they’ve addressed. One could be mistaken for thinking the aforementioned quote was written a Trump supporter, rather than his most fervent detractors.

That is exactly the problem many on the right have with ‘Principled Conservatives.’ The only consistent principle they seem to have is to do what it takes to keep power within the Leftist Frame. This is why the likes of Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, John Kasich, Marco Rubio and others do not engender enthusiasm.

They are vanilla actors who will play by the Leftist rules. Trump says to hell with those rules, we’ve go a job to do, let’s do it in the most efficient way we can. Trump is less concerned by ideology and more interested in what works.

An Open Letter to Principled Conservatives

Dear Principled Conservatives,

I suspect that today, the 4th of May 2016, most of your greatest fears have been realized. Donald J. Trump is going to be the Republican Nominee for President of the United States. The immediate fall out has been intense, with many on social media burning their Republican cards, literally and figuratively. Many have pledged to support Hillary Clinton in the fall, and feel no compunction in doing so. In their eyes, a guaranteed continuation of the Obama Doctrine in all respects is superior to Donald Trump.

I understand your line of reasoning, because the fact of the matter is that Donald Trump is not a principled conservative, at least in the Ronald Reagan mold.

The Reagan Revolution, which many of you cite as the foundation for your conservatism, probably began in 1964, with Reagan’s famous ‘Time for Choosing’ speech. While it was full of memorable quotes, I’d like to highlight the following:

…And this idea that government is beholden to the people, that it has no other source of power except the sovereign people, is still the newest and the most unique idea in all the long history of man’s relation to man.

 

This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.

From this sentiment grew an ideology based on economic and social conservatism. Added to this was a military toughness which developed as a response to the threat of communism spreading across the globe. Most of those views are what the self-styled ‘Principled Conservative’ of 2016 purports to hold.

In my view, two strains of Conservatives apply this label to themselves – the ‘Establishment’ Republicans who have descended from the Reagan/Bush political family tree, and their supporters – and the Tea Party types who rose up at the beginning of this decade, partly in opposition to those Establishment strain.

Both groups have failed, for different reasons.

The failure of ‘Establishment’ Republicans is rooted in the discrepancy between the rhetoric and the actions. As much as you might recoil at the sound of terms like ‘neocon’ and ‘RINO,’ the potency of those terms come from the fact there is some truth in them.

Over the last four plus decades, Republican administrations and Congresses have overseen massive increases in the size of government, exactly what Reagan spoke so steadfastly against in 1964. During election season, many Republicans trip over themselves mentioning Reagan, weaving his ‘government is the problem’ threads into the fabric of their campaigns.

Yet when the final figures are tabulated, government is always bigger. The amounts the average taxpayer, present and future, are to be responsible for, are always larger.

Any attempt at serious cuts in government spending can’t be done because even slowing the advance of government would be admitting that the campaign promises can’t be kept, which in turn would be effectively ceding power to the Democrats.

This is the frame establishment Republicans have ended up working from. The desire to maintain power became superior to the desire to do what is right for the American people.

It’s been much the same trend with respect to social conservatism. In this regard, mainstream Republican candidates have often played lip service to ‘Judeo-Christian values’ and vowed to stand up for the traditional family. Yet it was Reagan himself who introduced no-fault divorce in 1969 as Governor of California, ushering in a wave of broken families and ultimately a fatherless generation. Once again, the actions didn’t match up with the rhetoric.

To the tea party strain of Principled Conservatism, your failures have been more operational in nature. Where the establishment strain talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk, you talk the talk and run the walk.

If the United States is an aircraft carrier which is going in the wrong direction, you are attempting to turn it around by tying a rope to a row boat, tying the other end to the aircraft carrier and paddling with all of your might. It’s a futile effort.

Free Northerner wrote a fantastic post about why right-wing activism in its current form will fail. I suggest you read it in full.

The gist of it is that the cultural and political zeitgeists are dominated by progressives. They currently hold the power, and determine what is and isn’t acceptable.

Because of this, a true adherence to the Reaganesqe tenets of Principled Conservatism, to the letter, is becoming more and more unacceptable. Establishment types have come to understand this over the years, which is why they’ve evolved to betray those principles once in office in an attempt to hold on to power.

In many ways, I can sympathize with these politicians for behaving this way. After all, they are human, and as such are subjected to the observations of Lord Acton with respect to power. This is why the Founding Fathers were so torn over the idea of giving the government lots of it in the first place.

If you as Principled Conservatives are actually prepared to walk the walk in terms of the ideology, you will first need to have a culture which is amenable to such an ideology. How, for example, do you expect to actually cut spending enough to run a balanced budget, when roughly half the country doesn’t pay taxes, and thinks the half that does isn’t paying enough?

How do you expect to cultivate a society of strong families and tight knit communities when nihilism has replaced faith, and the idea that there is something larger than oneself is foreign to most?

Andrew Breitbart famously said that politics is downstream from culture. That means that the culture has to change before the politics. Both strains have failed to understand this. The Establishment strain has tried to mold its politics to the culture, while the Tea Party has tried to jackhammer the culture with its politics.

The end result is Establishment candidates who end up adopting non Principled Conservative views, or a handful of hardline Tea Partiers who are easily marginalized and dismissed. Both strategies are losing strategies.

If you actually do want to implement true, principled conservatism, as opposed to merely using the idea as an avenue for power, the only way to achieve it is to reshape the culture.

The quickest way of doing that, believe it or not, is a Donald Trump presidency.

As I mentioned before, the culture is controlled by progressive ideals. Despite what you may feel about Trump, the bottom line is that he is a winner, and has a winner’s attitude. You simply don’t acquire billions of dollars and then seemingly on a whim walk into the most crowded Republican Primary field ever and come out the victor, all the while being a rookie, without having some sort of predilection for success ingrained in you.

That habit of success, when applied to the country writ large, is going to transform it positively. Recall that this is an America which prefers to be apologetic to the rest of the world about its exceptionalism, a stance directly opposite to what Reagan held.

The course modern politicians, including Principled Conservatives, have set us on is one that makes America more like the rest of the world. Trump, on the other hand has been explicit in his wish to repudiate the ‘false song of globalism.’

Trump’s campaign seeks to free America from the chains which it has tied to itself over the course of the last 50 years. These chains include phenomena like political correctness, globalism, excessive regulation, the transformation from an economy resting on savings and investment, to an economy resting on credit expansion and conspicuous consumption.

If, and only if such trends are reversed, Reagan style conservatism will both be palatable and effective in the United States once again.

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It was Jeffery Lord, a Trump supporting political commentator on CNN who had the most poignant remark in the aftermath of the Indiana Primary last night. Paraphrasing, he stated that the Reagan/Bush domination of the 80s elections ushered in a certain complacency in the GOP. The growing web of lobbyists, donors, strategists and so forth created a DC echo chamber which grew further and further away from the public at large. In short, the GOP became the very ‘little intellectual elite in a far distant capitol’ which Reagan had feared. When the average American thinks of the GOP, they think of images like the following:

republicans-laughing

It screams ‘out of touch.’ Yet the GOP remained supported, by a constituency who saw them as their only hope, for simply being less bad than the Democrats.

And then they stopped supporting.

The canary in the coal mine was the defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in 2014. His defeat by a Tea Party candidate in a primary was the first of a sitting Majority Leader in history. John Boehner was next to fall, and finally the heir apparent to the throne of GOP Establishment politics, Jeb Bush, was eviscerated by Donald Trump.

I implore you, Principled Conservatives of all stripes, to heed the call. Understand and accept the change in trend, or get left behind. To the Establishment strain, you are holding a losing hand. To the Tea Party strain, you are holding a winning hand, which is being played poorly. The sooner you understand this, the sooner you will be able to seize the opportunity that comes with a Trump Presidency.

This opportunity is to actually restore Principled Conservatism. For example, media and entertainment entities which promulgate political correctness and other leftist culture staples are starting to struggle and will need replacing.

Instead of hand-wringing, Principled Conservatives should be working to build alternatives, molded in the image of the truths that Principled Conservatism speaks to. The likes of Milo Yiannopoulos, Mike Cernovich, Steven Crowder, and others have built impressive outlets for views consistent with many of Reagan’s views, despite not being Principled Conservatives by the letter of the label.

As it is with Trump. I completely disagree with him on some of his major positions, in particular on trade. I don’t agree with the GOP Establishment view which supports ‘Free Trade,’ because their version of it is a falsehood. Real Free Trade doesn’t involve government decree at all.

I still support Trump, because I believe that at a fundamental level, his candidacy is an catalyst for course correction. Once the aircraft carrier has been turned in the right direction, we can concern ourselves with the details of how we move forward, in that right direction.

You, Principled Conservatives, want to be there when that discussion is had. Getting behind Trump is the first step. There is still time to punch your ticket to the Trump Train. Don’t wait too long though.

The Importance of Fathers and Strong Families

The importance of fatherly influence was on full display over the past week or so publicly. Consider the following two videos:

 

It’s not about race, or socioeconomic status.

It’s about fatherhood. I am making an assumption here, namely that a substantial percentage of the kids in the second video do not have fathers who are consistently in their lives.

If they did, they wouldn’t need a judge to tell break down the facts of life to them. The fact that they are hearing this message from a county judge suggests that there was no influence in their lives to stop them from descending to that point. In the absence of fathers, children, especially boys, will seek out other influences to fill the void. In poorer, urban areas, this tends to be ‘the wrong crowd.’ This is how they end up in the streets, under the wings of criminals who know nothing but trouble. Unfortunately, the draw is great given that these older males do offer mentorship on some level.

Contrast that to the Trump video, in which he recounts telling his children every day – no alcohol, no drugs, no cigarettes, to the point of irritation. Of course any teen would be irritated and annoyed, but the undeniable truth is that adhering to that simple dictum is going to set one up to be most productive individual possible. In Trump’s case, his children turned out to be well rounded, well spoken individuals, who did not fall into the trap of wealth that ensnares many rich kids.

In today’s world, however, people are going to have problems with both videos. I’ve seen many comments to the effect that the judge was too hard on those kids, and I know for a fact that there are many (mostly single mothers) who would lash out if someone spoke to their kids like that.

On the other hand, I’ve seen a few state that Trump’s parenting style was too harsh and restrictive as well.

In many ways that is the problem. In 2016, we’ve become a bit too blasé and indifferent with respect to social mores and proper behavior. We very much live in an ‘anything goes’ culture. You can explain any level of deviance merely by stating what year it currently is.

Most of that starts in the family, or rather the lack thereof. Our ‘modern families,’ which increasingly consist of combinations other than biological parents and their children, have brought with them increasing amounts of dysfunction.

If I could only change one thing about society, it would be to restore the social stigma surrounding raising children outside the confines of committed monogomous relationship. The bottom line is that children are going to seek out guidance from some source. The further it is away from the father, the more likely there is to be damage.

Reality Doesn’t Care About Feelings: Volume 2 – Michelle Fields vs Corey Lewandowski

The press is to have an adversarial, yet civil approach to those in, or running, for elected office. Never in this line of work is it acceptable to respond to reasonable and legitimate questioning with use of physical force. The photographs, audio, videos, and witness accounts documenting the treatment of Michelle Fields by Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump’s campaign manager, are inexcusable and unprofessional. Donald Trump should immediately remove Lewandowski from his campaign. However unlike the Trump campaign, we believe in making a statement on the record to clearly highlight the difference between right and wrong.

The above quote was from a press release signed by 16 conservative females in response to the developments surrounding an incident which took place between Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump’s campaign manager, and Michelle Fields, a reporter. The full letter is below:

medialetter

By now this incident has been discussed to death, mostly because it is a Trump mishap. If you’ll notice, the vast majority, if not all of the signatories are anti Trump pundits, and as such, this sort of story is heaven sent. It seemingly allows them to further push the idea that Trump is a woman hating Neanderthal who is dangerous and bad. It also seemingly gives credence to the idea that there is a specter of violence surrounding the Trump campaign, which does not bode well for the country as a whole should he be elected president.

This allowed the other candidates to gain cheap points by pandering to women. Given the other candidates all have an interest in any anti-Trump talking point, they were all more than happy to pile on with the outrage. The story hasn’t completely died, because of the way Trump has responded.

Instead of immediately firing Lewandowski, who has been charged with battery over the incident, Trump went on the offensive and has defended his campaign manager at almost every turn. That continued last night on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox.

That appearance led to even more outrage from the anti-Trump crowd still pushing this story, and Fields in particular. In the following exchange with Hannity on Twitter, she accuses him of not having her back and letting Trump off scot-free:

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The Reality

Just in case you still haven’t seen the incident, and aren’t sure what I’m talking about, the following is security footage released by the Jupiter, Florida police department.

If you’re not sure what you’re looking at, at the start of the video Fields is in the cream colored top walking next to Trump, attempting to ask him a question. From about 0:03 to 0:08 in the video is where the alleged battery takes place.

Shortly after the conference had ended, Fields penned this piece for Breitbart, describing her version of events (emphasis mine):

On Tuesday night, I went to cover Donald Trump’s press conference at the Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida. I was looking to cover the event like I have covered many live political events for Breitbart News, including an uneventful Trump press conference in Palm Beach the week before. 

 

Addressing the gathered reporters and the nation at large, Trump was in an especially jovial mood Tuesday night. The networks just declared he had won the Mississippi Republican primary and, during his speech, that he won Michigan Republican primary as well.

 

 

I wasn’t called upon to ask a question during the televised press conference, but afterwards Trump wandered around, stopping at every reporter to take their questions. When he approached me, I asked him about his view on an aspect of affirmative action. 

 

Trump acknowledged the question, but before he could answer I was jolted backwards. Someone had grabbed me tightly by the arm and yanked me down. I almost fell to the ground, but was able to maintain my balance. Nonetheless, I was shaken.

 

 

The Washington Post’s Ben Terris immediately remarked that it was Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who aggressively tried to pull me to the ground. I quickly turned around and saw Lewandowski and Trump exiting the building together. No apology. No explanation for why he did this.  


 

Even if Trump was done taking questions, Lewandowski would be out of line. Campaign managers aren’t supposed to try to forcefully throw reporters to the ground, no matter the circumstance. But what made this especially jarring is that there was no hint Trump was done taking questions. No one was pushing him to get away. He seemed to have been happily answering queries from my fellow reporters just a moment before.  

 

Many people have been asking me on Twitter and in emails what exactly happened Tuesday night. I hope this article answers those questions and I can get back to reporting the news, not being a part of it. 

Lewandowski responded via this tweet:

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This is what kicked everything off, as Lewandowski essentially called Fields a liar and claimed to have never touched Fields. At time, Trump responded to a question about the incident by saying that Fields may have made the whole thing up. Note that at the time of Fields’ account on Breitbart, and Lewandowski’s tweet, there was no video.

Once the video came out, the knives came out for Lewandowski and Trump for claiming the incident never happened, and in particular over their language intimating that Fields was a crazy lady making things up.

The position that the Trump team have been lying and smearing Fields is on weak grounds, however. This is because of the discrepancy between the video evidence, and what I have highlighted in Fields’ statement. Any rational human being can see in the video that Lewandowski did not try and forcefully throw Fields to the ground. She did not almost lose her balance, she did not seem shaken, there was not any element of violence from Lewandowski.

It was that accusation, specifically Fields’ insistence in Breitbart that she had been brutally assaulted Mortal Kombat style, which was so thoroughly denounced by Lewandowski and Trump. 

Yes, Lewandowski did literally touch Fields. However, he was responding to allegations that he had violently thrown a reporter to the ground. Imagine that, for example, you were walking in a crowd and bumped into a random person, but kept going without apologizing. Then, two days later, the police came to your house and said that you punched that person in the face, leaving that person hospitalized, and were now under arrest.

Most people would be totally incredulous, and claim that the accuser was deluded. Given that bumping into someone in a crowd is such an inconsequential thing that it wouldn’t register in one’s memory, it is easy to see how one would say they didn’t even touch the accuser, let alone landed a blow worthy of hospitalization.

To be sure, Lewandowski was completely guilty of being impolite, rude, and perhaps even unprofessional. However, anyone who has ever been in a crowded public space has been subject to that sort of behavior and worse from others. I’m sure this morning alone, hundreds if not thousands have undergone similar ‘assaults’ in the NYC subways on the way to work.

As such Lewandowski (and Trump) both suggesting that Fields was a bit deluded isn’t an egregious thing, because the truth is that she did grossly embellish what happened. The fact that we even have the video above is because Trump’s security reviewed it and gave to the police voluntarily, in order to absolve Lewandowski. The Trump team correctly came to the conclusion that the whole thing was much ado about nothing, and figured that the video would show that.

Instead, the response was the week long media storm that I previously alluded to. It has been driven by the #NeverTrump movement in conjunction with the usual suspects in the liberal and conservative establishment media. What is more interesting than that however, is the calls for Trump to fire Lewandowski, and his refusal to acquiesce. It is a microcosm of a larger issue that plagues our society.

We are now living in a society in which allegations and accusations are more or less equal to convictions. This is most prevalent in sexual assault cases, where the accused male is dragged through the mud for simply being accused. If the individual is high profile enough, he generally has to resign, endorsements are withdrawn, and so forth. Whether the accused is actually guilty or not is of little consequence.

In other words, the truth is of little consequence when it comes to the feelings of the Social Justice Warrior outrage mob. This episode is particularly interesting given the fact that the 16 signatories of the letter asking for Lewandowski’s dismissal are purportedly conservative, and have railed against some of the tactics of Social Justice Warriors in the past.

Yet, they are now happy to employ those same tactics when the subject is Donald Trump. That belies an inconsistency within the mainstream, establishment faction of the GOP which is at the very heart of its current demise, and simultaneous rise of Donald Trump.

This is exactly why the GOP establishment is out of touch with everyday Americans. They see a video like the one above, and see a man being extremely rude. Most people brush it off a few seconds later. So, when they see that police charges, and calls for being fired, all over the same incident, they scratch their heads. Not because they are wondering what they could have missed, but because they are wondering how one can be so disingenuous one can be in attacking a rival.

My advice to the #NeverTrump crowd is to let this one go. The more the public sees of this incident, the more they will come to the conclusion that the media is dishonest, and that Trump is right. Trying to convince people not to believe what their lying eyes tell them is only going to make them stop and think. They will wonder why everyone from all corners of politics, and the big interests are going to such lengths to denounce Trump, and they will come to the conclusion that the man who everyone is slinging mud at  is actually favorable to the mudslingers, when it is clear they are dishonest.