As I write this, President Trump is in the United Kingdom concluding talks with Prime Minister May, after having spent some time together in Brussels earlier in the week as a part of the NATO summit. Much has been made of the political standings of the two domestically in light of the events of the past week. I’d like to focus on Theresa May for now.
The tenuous nature of May’s Premiership was put on display a few days ago with the resignation of her Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson. This followed the resignation of David Davis, the now-former Secretary of State of Exiting the European Union, some 24 hours earlier. The departures represent an internal vote of no confidence in May’s handling of Britain’s exit from the EU. The impetus for this rejection came from May’s first concrete Brexit plan, hatched over the weekend, and released yesterday, in full. Earlier in the week, the Financial Times provided a rough summary of what May’s plan entails:
The UK position crucially “evolves” in two ways that would allow for a Norway-style Brexit deal covering at least part of the EU single market.
The first is Britain’s proposal for a “free trade area for goods” involving the UK and the EU that in effect continues existing regulatory and customs arrangements for manufacturing and agricultural products after Brexit. This is achieved by the UK becoming a rule-taker, with a treaty-based commitment to “ongoing harmonisation with EU rules on goods”.
Just as important is Britain’s concession on enforcement. UK courts would pay “due regard” to European rulings in cases relating to EU-set rules. In other words, while Britain is a separate legal jurisdiction after Brexit, the European Court of Justice would be supreme in interpreting the UK-EU goods rule book.
There are caveats — for example the British parliament could veto changes to the rule book if it accepts the “consequences for market access”. But taken together, the safeguards offer no more freedom than Norway enjoys as a member of the European Economic Area.
This has widely been described as a ‘Soft Brexit,’ and thus not a proper Brexit. More generally, the entire Brexit ordeal which has led to this point is incredibly instructive for highlighting the still-vast chasm between what is affectionately dubbed as ‘The People’ and those who they employ to lead them – and even beyond this – the mockery which has been made of the oft-lauded democratic values which are supposed to shape the relationship between the rulers and the ruled.
Indeed, the political establishment, comprised of career bureaucrats, most politicians, foreign policy experts and mainstream political pundits did not want Brexit. The previous Prime Minister, David Cameron, the man who put the referendum to vote, did not want Brexit. Nor did President Obama, who was the US president at the time. Big business did not want Brexit. May herself did not back Brexit prior to the vote.
But The People did, and made its collective voice heard on 23 June 2016. Note that this date was over two years ago, yet it is just now that the PM has put forth a wishy washy exit plan that, despite technically removing Britain from the EU, effectively maintains the EU stranglehold by vowing to abide by whatever rulings EU courts come up with.
In other words, May’s version of Brexit says “we’re leaving the EU to stand on our own, but we are going to choose to agree with whatever the EU says in regards to regulations and prior agreements.” It is pure politics as usual. May’s proposal is reminiscent of the various legislations, regulations and even entire government bodies here in the United States which have positive sounding names or acronyms (the Patriot Act, Affordable Care act, Consumer Protection Agency, etc) which signal a bureaucracy doing right by the people, but conceals the much longer fine print which generally betrays them.
These comfy sounding titles also allow politicians to proclaim loudly about all the good they’ve done while simultaneously making very legitimate criticisms extremely difficult. When ‘consumer protection’ is redefined as ‘public funding for exclusively leftist causes,’ it’s not hard to have concerns. However, all the sophistic bureaucrat has to do is declare “how could one be against Consumer Protection?” and rely on the base persuasion of such a sentence to do the rest in quashing those concerns. After decades of the establishment engaging in this sort of exercise in cloaking failures through language manipulation, the public has grown weary and demanded concrete change.
One great irony of the Soft Brexit proposal is that it is the precise sort of thing that contributed to the victory of the Leave campaign in the first place. For years, EU-related referenda in countries like Ireland, Denmark, The Netherlands, Greece and even France had either been outright ignored by their respective governments or repackaged and presented as new referenda later. In the latter cases, The People were made to vote again until the establishment got what it wanted.
These instances shone a light upon the farce of bureaucratic respect for ‘the will of the people.’ And with a Soft Brexit proposal, the light shines again. As President Trump stated in a post NATO press conference, ‘Brexit means Brexit.’ That means any attempt at a deal which maintains the status quo, but is sold as ‘Brexit’ simply because the word itself appears in the header somewhere is in league with the aforementioned referenda in other EU countries. It is indicative of the establishment yet again ignoring the will of the people. Indeed, Trump signaled as much in a much publicized interview with The Sun, when he remarked that should the Soft Brexit idea go through as outlined, it would mean the US couldn’t deal with the UK in a favorable manner.
And rightly so, given that a Soft Brexit is really No Brexit. Prime Minister May can go on all she wants about the 29th of March 2019 being the day that Britain leaves the EU, but if all they’ve really done is to essentially agree to EU rules and regulations, just informally and of their own volition – so as to signal outwardly a maintaining of sovereignty – from the perspective of the US there will be no functional difference. The US would be effectively be trading with an Anglo Division of the EU as opposed to the United Kingdom. That’s all President Trump was really saying.
Given the high profile of the fight, any flouting of Brexit has very serious potential long run consequences. Here, there are parallels with the US election, also in 2016, of Donald Trump. The President, like Brexit, was not favored by the establishment, yet The People did favor him in a democratic election. Much like the British establishment and Brexit, the US establishment has not accepted Trump’s electoral victory, and has sought to neuter the Trump administration through a de-legitimization campaign centered on alleged collusion by the Trump team with the Russian government in order to rig that 2016 election.
This campaign has been waged through a feedback loop of constant disparaging aimed at Trump and his associates by the media, running constant headlines filled with insinuations of this or that nefarious connection to nebulous Russians. These are buttressed by a bureaucratically driven Special Council formally investigating these matters as it relates to the 2016 election, headed by Robert Mueller.
The goal of all of this is to at the very least hang a cloud of shadiness over every action President Trump takes, particularly in the foreign policy realm. In this sense, the foreign policy establishment, which Trump disagrees with at every turn, redefines these disagreements as treason, given its declaration that Trump is really an agent of Russia. Thus, the actions that Trump takes – actions which the voters specifically backed him to do – are to be seen as illegitimate.
At most, the establishment seeks to impeach President Trump on the back of those same disagreements, and seeks to do so through the re-taking of Congress from the Republicans this fall. All in all, the establishment has actively worked to undermine the democratically elected Trump. And as with Brexit, the extent to which the establishment is successful further undermines the rosy textbook idea of the civic role played by The People in a constitutional republic, or indeed in a democratic referendum.
That would lead to a further backlash from The People against the establishment, which would put the latter in a position of needing to exert even more naked aggression in displaying the contempt it has for the former’s wishes. At that point, things would undoubtedly get hairy.
We are at this moment in time because the era of globalism, neoliberalism and neo-conservatism that came before had simply run its course, its severe flaws exposed for all to see. It simply wasn’t working for the masses, and the twin events of Brexit and Trump’s election signified a concrete rejection of that paradigm. We are shifting to a new paradigm, and our betters would do well to accept that. The demise of the old order is inevitable. Better to take it gracefully.
With respect to President Donald Trump, the Russian government, and the mainstream media, there are two narratives which have vied for the public’s attention over the past several months. They are as follows:
The Russian government conspired with the Trump campaign in some capacity in order to tilt the election in his favor.
The Obama administration ran surveillance on the Trump campaign, most likely illegally
The former narrative has been advanced by leftists, the neoconservative globalist element of the right, and the mainstream media. The latter narrative was introduced by President Trump himself, seemingly in response to the growing hysteria fomented by that first narrative.
The ultimate origin of Conspiracy #1 is the unconventional views President Trump holds on the topic of Russia. Congressman Dennis Heck referenced this during the much hyped Congressional hearing on Russian intervention in the 2016 election, dutifully playing up the idea that the Trump campaign may have colluded in the scheme:
Republicans who are always so strong against geopolitical foes like Russia, I know my colleagues on this committee take the Russia threat very seriously. Why wouldn’t the people who inhabit the White House? How else can we explain an Administration that beats up our oldest allies, like Australia and Britain, and our strongest and most sacrosanct alliance, like NATO, but never, ever say a bad word about Putin. In fact, they say a lot of good words about Putin.
An administration that we have heard decisively makes up baseless wiretapping charges against a former United States President, equates our intelligence agencies to Nazi Germany, and argues moral equivalents between a repressive, authoritarian states with an abhorrent human rights record like Russia in our free and open democracy. And yet, this Administration never, ever utters any criticism of Russia.
During the presidential election, Trump was one of the few candidates who did not, implicitly or explicitly, advocate for war with Russia. The Republicans, with the notable exception of Rand Paul, opposed Trump on this point, constantly falling over themselves describing how tough they would be on Putin and how badly they wanted to “punch the Russians in the nose,” in the words of John Kasich.
Hillary Clinton also expressed her desire for aggro with the Russians, consistently stating her support for no-fly zone over Syria, even after it was pointed out by top generals that establishing such a zone would lead to war. Chris Wallace explicitly laid this out to her in the third Presidential debate, all but asking her “do you want war with Russia?” She brushed aside the grave implications and stood by her position.
That Trump stood so steadfastly against Republican and Democratic establishment orthodoxy meant that the media establishment had no choice but to fall in line against Trump. Given that this orthodoxy was, and is an anti-Putin, anti-Russia position, the media had no problems with this course. After all, Putin is a massive check on the globalist, leftist policy prescription for world. Geopolitically he resists NATO, and culturally he has promoted more traditionalist, Christian views within Russia, and has been critical of the West and its relative abandonment of those views.
Prior to the election, the media angst over Trump’s Putin views was limited to just another bad view in a long list of bad views Trump held. The media and his political opponents were far more interested in exploring the RACIST SEXIST HOMOPHOBE XENOPHOBE line of criticism. To the extent Russians were mentioned before the election, it was to deflect attention away from the substance of the DNC leaks and the Podesta leaks. The fact that the Democrats were exposed as corrupt and duplicitous was supposed to be forgotten, simply because it was allegedly Russians who exposed that truth.
It was only after the election that the view that the Russian government ‘hacked the election’ for the purpose of installing Donald Trump as president took shape and metastasized to the point where a much hyped Congressional hearing on that matter took place this past Monday. Having failed in denying Trump the presidency on the basis of him being a ‘bigot,’ the coalition of leftist, neoconservative globalists and their media mouthpieces moved to paint Trump’s political stance on the subject of Russia and foreign policy as something much more nefarious than just an opposing viewpoint.
Adam Schiff, ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee which held the aforementioned hearing on Monday said in his opening remarks that Trump’s continued insistence on NATO countries paying their fair share, as they had already agreed to, was evidence of a quid pro quo, in which the Russian government hacked documents to help Trump in exchange for Trump’s tough talk:
The hacked documents would be in exchange for a Trump administration policy that de-emphasizes Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and instead focuses on criticizing NATO countries for not paying their fair share. Policies which even as recently as the President’s meeting last week with Angela Merkel have now presently come to pass.
Rand Paul, who, as mentioned before, was one of the few Republicans unwilling to sign on to a policy of war with Russia during the campaign, found himself in an explosive tiff with Senator John McCain last week. McCain, the foremost symbol of neoconservative globalism, wanted to put forth a resolution which would support Montenegro’s entrance into NATO. McCain was asking for a unanimous consent request which would have allowed the measure to go to a full Senate vote, without debate, had it been passed without objection.
In the stunning video below, McCain, knowing that a Paul objection was imminent, moved to declare anyone who would object to be in cahoots with the Russians. Paul remained unnerved, raised his objection and left the room.
McCain then launched into an angry invective against Senator Paul, accusing him of ‘working for Vladamir Putin.’ All because Paul wanted the Senate to have a discussion about the merits of including Montenegro, a poor country which would almost certainly end up being a ward of NATO, into the organization. The only clear ‘merit’ would be that geopolitically, it would annoy the Russians. Thus, the unwillingness of Paul to unnecessarily provoke Russia must mean that he is a Russian agent. Such is the rationale of globalists of every political bent.
Of course, there was the infamous ‘dossier,’ which contained unsubstantiated information collected by a British intelligence agent at the behest of Trump’s political enemies, which alleged that the Russian government had ‘kompromat’ on Trump which was held over his head as blackmail.
Then there was Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who during his confirmation hearings, was asked by Senator Al Franken whether he would have an issue investigating associates of the Trump campaign who had contacted Russian officials in the context of the 2016 election, as had been reported at the time.
Sessions answered that he himself, having been such an associate, did not have any contact with the Russians. It was later unearthed that Sessions had in fact had one meeting with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in his capacity as a member of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, and an informal meet-and-greet with Kislyak at the Republican National Convention, publicly, in the presence of several other ambassadors.
Indeed, Sessions had had over 25 similar meetings in his Senate office in the same Armed Forces Committee capacity as his meeting with Kislyak, including one with the Ukrainian ambassador the day before. Yet, this seemingly routine meeting was used as evidence to suggest that Sessions had perjured himself during his confirmation hearings, prompting calls for his resignation from the post. The Russian Conspiracy frenzy was at its highest.
Connecting the Dots
It was then that Trump dropped his infamous tweet storm, early on a Saturday Morning:
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!
[How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate.Bad (or sick) guy!]
The conspiracy Trump put forth was largely sourced from the first conspiracy, that his campaign colluded with the Russians. In spinning that narrative, the media continually cited anonymous officials who were essentially leaking classified information. Consider the following news items:
The F.B.I. is leading the investigations, aided by the National Security Agency, the C.I.A. and the Treasury Department’s financial crimes unit. The investigators have accelerated their efforts in recent weeks but have found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing, the officials said. One official said intelligence reports based on some of the wiretapped communications had been provided to the White House.
That would be the Obama White House, as all of this took place before Inauguration at noon on January 20.
Pence also made a more sweeping assertion, saying there had been no contact between members of Trump’s team and Russia during the campaign. To suggest otherwise, he said, “is to give credence to some of these bizarre rumors that have swirled around the candidacy.”
Neither of those assertions is consistent with the fuller account of Flynn’s contacts with Kislyak provided by officials who had access to reports from U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies that routinely monitor the communications of Russian diplomats. Nine current and former officials, who were in senior positions at multiple agencies at the time of the calls, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.
All of those officials said Flynn’s references to the election-related sanctions were explicit. Two of those officials went further, saying that Flynn urged Russia not to overreact to the penalties being imposed by President Barack Obama, making clear that the two sides would be in position to review the matter after Trump was sworn in as president.
Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.
American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election.
The National Security Agency, which monitors the communications of foreign intelligence services, initially captured the calls between Mr. Trump’s associates and the Russians as part of routine foreign surveillance. After that, the F.B.I. asked the N.S.A. to collect as much information as possible about the Russian operatives on the phone calls, and to search through troves of previous intercepted communications that had not been analyzed.
American allies, including the British and the Dutch, had provided information describing meetings in European cities between Russian officials — and others close to Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin — and associates of President-elect Trump, according to three former American officials who requested anonymity in discussing classified intelligence.
Separately, American intelligence agencies had intercepted communications of Russian officials, some of them within the Kremlin, discussing contacts with Trump associates.
As Inauguration Day approached, Obama White House officials grew convinced that the intelligence was damning and that they needed to ensure that as many people as possible inside government could see it, even if people without security clearances could not. Some officials began asking specific questions at intelligence briefings, knowing the answers would be archived and could be easily unearthed by investigators — including the Senate Intelligence Committee, which in early January announced an inquiry into Russian efforts to influence the election.
At intelligence agencies, there was a push to process as much raw intelligence as possible into analyses, and to keep the reports at a relatively low classification level to ensure as wide a readership as possible across the government — and, in some cases, among European allies. This allowed the upload of as much intelligence as possible to Intellipedia, a secret wiki used by American analysts to share information.
The mainstream media’s own reporting details a story of intelligence officials speaking under the cloak of anonymity to disclose classified information, or in the case of General Flynn, to disclose the fact that his name had been improperly identified as the American in conversation with Kislyak, given Flynn himself was not under investigation.
The media then went on to report with glee the manner in which the Obama administration sought to widely disseminate this information across the government to ensure that such leaks as we have seen happened.
All of this was done to buttress the Russia/Trump collusion angle with the innuendo provided by those numerous anonymous intelligence officials. The legality of the leaks were hand-waved away by political pundits as merely the sort of thing that happens in every administration, and thus was no big deal.
Trump’s tweets changed all of that. In directly accusing President Obama of tapping his phones, Trump brought the legality of the leaks front and center.
The globalist set, who were quick to exalt the leaks with religious fervor when it came to spinning the Collusion Theory, were all of a sudden on the defensive. They made sure to emphasize the fact that Trump had offered no evidence to back his tweets (despite having no evidence themselves with respect to the Collusion Theory). A clear example of the mental gymnastics invoked to contort oneself from a tricky situation was seen in this piece from Liz Spayd, Public Editor of the New York Times.
In it, she dealt with the obvious discrepancy between the Times explicitly reporting on the existence of “wiretapped communications” and the idea that Trump’s tweets were inaccurate by essentially saying that the Times never wrote that Obama himself directed the wiretapping.
Which brings me to the issue of semantics. The Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote a fiery piece condemning Trump based on his supposed rocky relationship with the Truth. It used as its centerpiece Trump’s claims that Obama had him wiretapped. These claims were officially shot down by FBI director James Comey and NSA chief Mike Rogers during the aforementioned hearing on Monday, giving the media the green light to officially brand Trump a ‘liar.’
This logic ultimately relies on a hyper-literal interpretation of Trump’s tweets. As in President Obama personally ordered some sort of wiretap – as in a physical method from a 1960s spy novel. It is true that no such, literal wiretapping occurred.
However, it is clear – from the media’s own reporting – that the existence of “intercepted communications,” which is the digital age equivalent of wiretapping, was involved, and indeed was instrumental to the narrative building which occurred. Furthermore, these communications were intercepted by various intelligence agencies, which, owing to their being a part of the executive branch, were under the authority of one President Obama.
Said differently, President Obama did not personally direct a fake painting crew to enter Trump Tower one afternoon and bug the place while Donald Trump was out to lunch. What undeniably did happen was that agencies in the Obama administration ran into members of Trump’s team as they were monitoring the communications of foreigners (which might have been legal), and then proceeded to leak some of the details to the media (which definitely is not legal).
Further credence to this point was given on Wednesday by Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. He came forth with the revelation that information he had received indicated that individuals associated with the Trump team had been involved in an “incidental collection,” meaning that those individuals had been subject to surveillance owing to the fact they were on the other end of a call with another individual who was being monitored, as opposed to being monitored party themselves.
The magnitude of this will be more apparent as time goes on.
No matter how this saga ends up, the intentions of the globalist cohort of establishment Republicans, Democrats and the media is clear – Delegitimize the Trump presidency. One can easily see this in the hypocrisy surrounding Trump’s tweet claims vis-a-vis the assertion that the Russians ‘hacked the election.’
The propensity of the media to talk up Trump’s loose, bombastic, exaggerative manner of speaking, while somewhat accurate, renders its deliberate decision to adhere to the most hyper-literal interpretation of Trump’s tweets to be a bit odd. After all, if all Trump does is speak in exaggerations, then why were those Tweets not treated as simply another exaggeration? Why was the language in those tweets not treated as the colloquialisms they were, but made out to be gravely literal?
These rhetorical questions are relevant given the phrase ‘hacked the election’ was never scrutinized along its literal meaning with the same aggressiveness, despite being equally as colloquial as ‘Obama wiretapped my phones.’ On top of this, the literal meaning (that Russian operatives would have remotely tampered with voting machines to get certain desired outcomes), had been put down by the intelligence community on several occasions, including the Monday hearing in which it was reiterated that not one vote was altered, and that the tallies from November 8 were correct.
Even the colloquial meaning of ‘hacked the election,’ that Russian operatives via their alleged dissemination of DNC and Podesta emails, and the propagation of ‘fake news’ changed the tenor of the election in a way that favored Trump, faces scrutiny.
Stanford University conducted a study into the matter of fake news, and concluded that the phenomenon had a marginal impact at best:
The researchers also noted that, though social media is an important outlet that Americans use to get their news, only 34 percent of those surveyed trust the information they get from social media, while most still depend on television as their main source of information. In comparing the top 690 U.S. news sites with 65 fake news sites, they found that only 10 percent of total site traffic to news sites comes from social media. However, fake news sites predominantly depend on social media for views. Therefore, it is misleading to focus on Facebook metrics in citing fake news as a major issue during the election.
Allcott and Gentzkow concluded, “Our data suggest that social media were not the most important source of election news, and even the most widely circulated fake news stories were seen by only a small fraction of Americans. For fake news to have changed the outcome of the election, a single fake news story would need to have convinced about 0.7 percent of Clinton voters and non-voters who saw it to shift their votes to Trump.” They added, “For fake news to have changed the outcome of the election, a single fake article would need to have had the same persuasive effect as 36 television campaign ads.”
Given the fact that the vast majority of Americans still depend on the television and more conventional sources of news, and given the fact that the vast majority of the coverage therein was negative to Trump, to the tune of 90%, it is more accurate to allege that the leftist mainstream media ‘hacked the election’ with the purpose of electing Hillary Clinton.
The reason for the hypocrisy is that intellectual honesty, journalistic integrity and plain fighting fair is secondary to the aim of delegitimizing President Trump’s administration in the eyes of the American public. Having failed to prevent Trump from winning the presidency, the globalist set has taken to undermine him as a foreign agent. Note the words of Congressman Heck from the Monday Intelligence Hearing:
Let’s be clear though. This is not about party. It’s not about relitigating the election. It’s not as if anything we do here will put a President from a different political party in the Oval Office. So, I hope that it’s clear that it’s about something much more important. And no, it’s not about political motivation, to my friend who said and suggested that earlier, this is about patriotism, about something way more important than party.
The game plan has been, and will continue to be playing politics under the guise of patriotism. Trump’s original sin was disagreeing with the globalists and their visions of war with Russia and continued NATO expansion. For this he is being made out to be a Russian agent, the figurehead of a Red Scare 2.0. Every time Trump orders a salad with Russian dressing, or the leaked workout routine of one of his associates is shown to include Russian Oblique Twists, the media will be there with the knives out.
It’s already begun, with CNN releasing a counter attack to the Nunes news, alleging that Trump associate Roger Stone colluded with Julian Assange of Wikileaks, and perhaps notorious hacker Guccifer 2.0. That assertion is based on various tweets and interviews Stone gave, in which he was essentially cheerleading the imminent release of Clinton information by Assange. The intimation, is that Stone, who publicly declared having spoken to Assange on several occasions, was in on it because he knew Assange was going to leak information.
It is this sort of reporting, full of innuendo, and the rehashing old narratives, which will wear thin on the American public. Much like the constant charges of racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia which laced the pre-election coverage of Trump, the Russia conspiracy will end up being the post-election version of The Boy Who Cried Wolf.
With each passing report propagating the Collusion Theory (and burying deep within them the fact that there is no evidence, in order to retain legitimacy), the public will continues to see the game for what it is – an attempt at the political assassination of President Trump.
The fact of the matter remains, that to this point, the only thing that we know for a fact happened, based on public reporting, is that Trump officials had been the subject of surveillance, and had those communications illegally leaked to the media. Thus, Trump’s ‘Wiretap’ Conspiracy Theory is far closer to being Conspiracy Fact than the Collusion Conspiracy.
And it will remain so. This is a fight the globalists cannot win, and it will only be a matter of time before that is made apparent to the masses.
This is Part 3 of The Dawn of An Era, which is a series about the onset of the Trump presidency. Previous Parts: Part 1, Part 2
In part 2, I described the underlying source of the vociferous anti-Trump dissent which has only grown louder in the months since the election. Long story short, multiple decades of a shift away from more traditional mores both socially and culturally has left the US and the West in general at the precipice of something potentially serious.
Said differently, the set of individuals who want to party every night because it’s fun outweighed those who understood that we won’t pass the final exam unless we hit the books at some point. Now, the night before the exam, the Study Crew won and is demanding an all-night cram session. The Partiers are upset.
The reaction to President Trump initiating an Executive Order to restrict travel to the United States is the latest example of outsized consternation when it comes to anything Trump does. Via Conservative Treehouse:
If you review the actual text of the executive order (copied below in full) what you will immediately notice is the order doesn’t specify ANY countries to be included in the Visa suspension (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen).
President Trump is not suspending visas from countries his team selected, they are simply suspending visa approval from countries President Obama selected. Additionally, Trump is suspending ALL visa applications from those countries – nothing to do with Muslim applications.
[…] ” to ensure the proper review and maximum utilization of available resources for the screening of foreign nationals, and to ensure that adequate standards are established to prevent infiltration by foreign terrorists or criminals, pursuant to section 212(f) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182(f), I hereby proclaim that the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12), would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons for 90 days from the date of this order (excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas). ” (link)
In February of 2016 the Department of Homeland Security announced that was continuing its implementation of the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 with the addition of Libya, Somalia, and Yemen as three countries of additional concern.
These developments led to outrage over the weekend, with protests breaking out in several major airports. The Old Media gave it wall to wall coverage, stressing the size of the crowds (as they are wont to do with anti-Trump protests, versus ignoring the pro-Trump crowd sizes he got campaigning), and inundating the public with the usual tales of innocent families being split up, children crying and so on.
Why this outrage, when similar actions by the Obama administration, let alone the constant, daily bombings of the countries in question by said administration, were met with silence? This video of a protester is instructive:
Interviewer: In 2011 President Obama banned people from Iraq—did that not concern you?
In case the video is taken down or doesn’t work, it shows an airport protester being interviewed and asked about the similarity between the Obama and Trump actions, and whether the former’s concerned her. Her answer was that it didn’t concern her because… “I love President Obama. I wish he were still here.”
What that shows is that there is a high level logical bankruptcy in today’s political discourse which has been replaced by emotion. In this battle of rhetoric Trump’s opponents are working with a severe disadvantage. As I articulated in Part 2, the leftist position is essentially one seeks the primacy of r-selection, as opposed to K-selection. The problem for leftists is that humans as a species are K-selected animals; in terms of civilizations, they only can be established and maintained via applying K-selected traits.
Once civilizations are established, and wealth is generated, on then can r’s flourish. r-selected behavior is never the foundation of civilizational success. As such, leftists are always fighting an uphill battle against nature. It is why communists have always had to take over by force, point the guns at the populace and give them a choice: comply or die.
The battle leftists in America are fighting against is essentially one against sustainability. In a very simplistic sense, leftists live by the dictum ‘whatever feels good, is good.’ This governs decision making, and at a political level, can become government policy. The Partiers vs The Studiers conflict thus becomes deficit spending and credit-fuelled consumption versus savings and investment. For decades, the former strategy has won, with the Keynesians and Cultural Marxists supplying the intellectual backing for economic and social profligacy respectively.
This has created an r-selected society which cannot deal well with conflict and emotional pain. The Anonymous Conservative, who I referred to in part 2, has done fantastic work in this area, showing how the amygdala in the brain of leftists may be behind this trouble to deal with emotional pain. This article, courtesy of his blog, goes into detail about the plight of the Millennial generation, in that its upbringing has left it incapable of dealing with the real world:
Leadership consultant Simon Sinek has been told that millennials – people born after 1982 – are ‘entitled, narcissistic, self-interested, unfocused and lazy’ – but he believes it is not their fault.
The author’s response to the ‘millennial question’ on Inside Quest ‘broke the internet’ after he revealed why many young people may display the undesirable qualities listed by their bosses.
He explained millennials grew up in an environment where ‘every child wins a prize’ only to find the ‘real world’ after school is much different.
Where they were told they were special all the time, they were told they could have anything they want in life just because they want it.
Note that the mere broaching of this view was enough to spark enough outrage to ‘break the internet,’ only proving the point of the observer that Millennials are emotionally fragile, unable to cope with the fact that someone may have a differing opinion.
And Donald Trump might as well be an avalanche of real world, realtalking, counterattacking disagreement, descending upon the straw huts that are the Millennial amygdala with Biblical force.
With respect to Trump’s Executive Order, the logic of it is sound, despite the poor implementation of it. And it has already borne fruit, in that Saudi Arabia, which was left off the list of countries impacted, is now willing to negotiate to construct safe zones for refugees, something they had no interest in doing before.
This development would be infinitely better for the potentially millions affected in the region, who can be better housed temporarily in a part of the world which is more familiar to them than having to risk life and limb to trek halfway around the world to Western Europe and the USA, with its vastly different culture, climate and language, for a start.
However, it is Donald Trump who is doing it, so it must be bad. The direct dichotomy established by the airport protester above (Obama = good, Trump = evil, similar to the manner in which conservatives believe leftists are just misguided, while leftists believe conservatives are evil) comes from that base inability to deal with the harsh truths of the real world.
Unfortunately, after multiple decades of cultural Marxist influence, this deficiency has pervaded every strata of our society, from the general population, through to the elites in our media and in government.
A great example of this is seen in the examination of this video of President Clinton, which is now doing the rounds after the Immigration ban chaos:
Here, Clinton, speaking at his 1995 State of the Union address, sounds very Trumpian, yet he is still revered 22 years later, to the extent that he was a selling point for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. Meanwhile Trump is continued to be held out as Literally Hitler. However, if Trump is Hitler, and about to turn the US into Nazi Germany, why are leftists then so keen on importing millions of refugees to be subjected to that horror? Once again, the intellectual deficiency of their position creeps through.
In terms of the leftist opposition, the media and the government will be whom Trump will be fighting the loudest battles with, and the first indications are that he is up to that fight.
With respect to the media, he has been employing the ‘flooding the zone’ strategy since his Inauguration. In the first 10 days of his presidency, Trump has signed 18 executive actions. They have been:
A regulatory freeze
Stopping US government funds going to international organizations which fund abortions
Withdrawing from TPP
Federal hiring freeze
Granting Keystone Pipeline
Granting Dakota Access Pipeline
Expediting Environmental Reviews
Using American materials to build the Pipelines
Speeding up Manufacturing Reviews
Targeting Sanctuary Cities
Building The Wall
Rebuilding the military
The Aforementioned ‘Muslim Ban’
Plan to Defeat ISIS
Steve Bannon to NSC
Lobbying restrictions for executive branch officials
With the exception of defeating ISIS, ALL of these orders are outrageous to leftists, as they either diminish the structures artificially supporting an r-selected society, or actively promote the establishment of K-selected strategies. Each of these orders on their own are meaty enough to require a minimum of two or three days of solid 95% negative media coverage, yet they have all been dropped on the media in the span of 10 days. Even as I write this, Trump has scheduled his pick to replace Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia for later tonight, moving it up from later in the week, further intensifying the flooding of the zone.
This has led to nothing short of pandemonium amongs the chattering classes. Michael Tracey explores this further:
More than once over the past few days, I have been asked both online and off: “How in the hell am I supposed to keep up with everything that’s going on? How do I, as a non-professional, somewhat casual consumer of news, figure out how to process all this information constantly being thrown at me from every direction, knowing that some of it will be phony hysterics and misdirection, while some of it will also be gravely serious and demand my attention?”
My answer is: I…don’t know. I’m working on it.
Even journalists whose “one job” is to sort the news on any given day are failing immensely at this task — often their “heart is in the right place,” but the task is extremely daunting. For one thing, clearly Trump has calculated that it’s in some sense to his benefit when everyone is completely overwhelmed and suffering from a form of cognitive overload; it allows him to move briskly from issue to issue without staying there for very long — he’s essentially breaking the national attention span by saturating it with information, controversy, hysteria, real problems, fake problems, fights, feuds, tweets, and all the rest. He is keenly aware of how to prod the media into indulging its worst instincts, so a vicious cycle emerges where Trump does something outlandish, and then the media responds by acting outlandishly in its own right.
Why not just pause for a moment before fomenting hysteria? Creating a panic serves no useful purpose: probably even ultimately helps Trump pic.twitter.com/eTvDjsW08p
Tracey, despite subscribing somewhat to the leftist baseline view that Trump is an authoritarian dictator-in-waiting, simply for being in defiance of the r-selected primacy of Cultural Marxism, is one of the few prominent journalists who understands what is going on.
Trump is flooding his opposition with so much outrage-inducing stuff that it cannot focus on one specific thing, deconstruct it, and drive home to the public why it is bad and Trump should be admonished. Instead, the commotion is unfocused and seemingly random, such that from the outside, it looks like a bunch of children whining about everything, making incoherent noise that is probably best ignored.
The problem for the media is that Trump has unlimited ammunition in this war. He has the support of the population, which elected him, and gave him a friendly Congress to work. More importantly, he is immune to the biggest weapon the media has – shame. For decades the media has bullied anyone with a traditionally conservative view of the world into submission, labeling them knuckle-dragging racists, sexists and homophobes.
Trump does not give one scintilla of shit about any such charges leveled at him by the media. In fact, he laughs at them, both on Twitter and in real life. Chuck Schumer found this out when his emotional statement regarding the ‘Muslim ban,’ made while fighting through tears, was met with an inquiry from Trump about which acting coach he used.
In the face of near universal outrage over the immigration actions, including wall to wall crisis coverage on network nightly news this weekend, Trump’s team released a statement calling the immigration order a ‘massive success.’ In short, Trump is a master troll, who is outwitting a millennial class, who having been raised in the internet era should be wise to trolls and should know not to feed them.
But remember, we’re talking about millennials, leftists, and millennial leftists. That cohort, highly subject to emotional incontinence, packs Old Media newsrooms and left leaning upstarts, and thus these organizations can’t help but to play right into Trump’s hands.
The fight with the government should be similarly messy, but President Trump has shown he has the stones for that as well. Part of the reason the Immigration order is down to the fact that Trump is working with a skeleton crew of a cabinet, owing to obstruction from the Democrats in the Senate. This was probably what led to the messy issuance of the immigration order, and the public relations mess that followed.
I am responsible for ensuring that the positions we take in court remain consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right. At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful.
It is telling that Yates, a holdover from the Obama administration until Senator Jeff Sessions is confirmed, cites the leftist, highly subjective concept of (social) justice and ‘standing for what is right,’ before concerning herself with legality. The construction of that statement speaks to the typical leftist, r-selected desire to place comfort (feel good platitudes) over cold reality (the law).
Trump responded by firing Yates hours later, in a display of business-like ruthlessness. The NYT article on the events of the day quotes Press Secretary Sean Spicer who had this to say regarding government officials who may seek to stand in the way of the Trump Doctrine, amid rumors of a mutiny in the still-Obama dominated State Department:
“These career bureaucrats have a problem with it?” Mr. Spicer said. “They should either get with the program or they can go.”
The defiant combativeness of the Trump administration is unlike anything we have seen in decades, certainly in my less-than-40 years on this earth. To a slothful, emotionally weak, r-selected society such as ours has become, the aggressiveness, speed and calculation with which the Trump administration has acted in just 10 days on the job is potentially fatal.
What is more, given the Trump administration is seeking moves that are towards the K direction, they have with them the Truth, as it were, if indeed buttressing and advancing Western Civilization is the goal. It is no different to the wisdom of preparation and study when one knows the exam is near, and eschewing partying until the job is done.
That orders to further American energy independence, secure a porous border and direct cities to actually follow existing US law can be deemed worthy of such a stern backlash, from the legions of protesters to the obstructionists in the highest ranks of government, only speaks to the level of the rot and the difficulty of the task. Fortunately for Trump, and those who agree with what he stands for, the solution is merely one of will. The weakness of the opposition means that it can be continually disoriented with continued jabs to the emotional midsection.
Trump understands this. Rather than take it easy with his early moves, Trump has eschewed the idea of ‘political capital,’ understanding that his power rather comes from ‘electorate capital.’ Trump understands that he has tons of it behind him, including among the rank and file in government agencies and the military, as a result of his drive and efficiency in Getting Things Done. He has used this early position of strength to double down, subjecting the opposition to continued horror by turning up the Emotional Pain dial past 11. With every tweet, signature ceremony and TV appearance he is triggering the left, which at some point will go apoplectic as a result, flaming out in a blaze of glory – a phenomenon known as Trump Derangement Syndrome.
The irony of all of this is the ‘tolerance’ which social justice warriors demand others show towards them, but not vice versa, was shown in spades for decades by the K-selected. They stood by as tradition evaporated, along with God, leaving behind a moral wasteland. The K’s tolerated this not because they liked it, but because of their loyalty to the group. As long as the West was chugging along in peace and continued wealth, a few gay night clubs, higher taxes, welfare and abortion clinics were ok. Now that the abundance of the West has deteriorated, and culture has frayed, the excesses have become less tolerable, and it is precisely at this time that the r-selected are demanding more excesses, and more tolerance of deviance. When this has not been granted, the response has been the outbursts we are seeing in the infancy of the Trump era.
Ask any 5 year old how well it has worked to throw a tantrum in public in an attempt to get his or her way. In all of history, the child tantrum-thrower has recorded a very low success rate. This is what is coming to the left if it doesn’t wise up. With every car smashed, with each road blocked, with each Trump supporter knocked cold, with each politician crying on television, the public will grow wearier and wearier of their antics.
This alone will gain Trump more converts, and to the extent his policies work and a saner culture devoid of the degeneracy of a decadent age emerges, the leftist, r-selected position will wither into obscurity as the very nature of social justice warriors will work against them. The same susceptibility to emotional pain, which leads them to seek comfort over anything else will lead them towards Trumpism, as the emotional pain anti-Trump ostracism will engender in the new Trumpmerica will become too great to bear.
One day, we’ll look at the Trump riots and shake our heads in amazement, wondering how anyone could have thought negatively about what he stood for, let alone being angry enough to launch a fierce, mouth-frothing, soft insurrection.
This is Part 2 of The Dawn of An Era, which is a series about the onset of the Trump presidency. You can read part 1 here.
From the first day of President Trump’s campaign on June 16 2015,to his Inauguration on January 20, 2017, there has been vociferous dissent, beyond the standard charges of ‘racism, sexism, homophobia’ that have been applied to any and all Republicans in the past. This dissent was more visceral in nature, and rightly so, as Trump’s candidacy was an existential threat to the elevation of the hyperfocus on identity politics and grievance culture.
Since the election in particular, this dissent has escalated to a fever pitch level, with a desperate anti-Trump cohort seeking to label his presidency as illegitimate. This culminated with the Women’s March which took place the day after the Inauguration.
Before that, there were more ‘intellectual’ appeals to the idea that we, as an American populace, have been had. This piece in the Huffington Post, published days before the Inauguration, sought to advance that angle by proclaiming that Hillary Clinton is the true President of the United States. I’ll deal with that particular piece some other time, but I brought it up to show what passed for ‘reasoned’ arguments against a Trump presidency.
Having been rebuffed in the arena of logic and political discourse, the anti-Trump argument became one of violence and protest. For the purposes of this article, I’ll focus on the legions which descended upon Washington DC with the express purpose of disrupting the Inaugural through violence, and the legions which appeared in Washington DC and in major cities across the globe to protest the Trump presidency, in order to make a more general point.
So what exactly were the women of the Women’s march marching against? What do they want? This article from Return of Kings, poses that question, in a quite forceful manner:
What more do Anglo women possibly want? They already spend 90% more money than they earn in the economy. They gobble up 66% of public spending from the welfare state while men pay 75% of the taxes to support this gynocentric system. Women hypocritically make up 80% of all spending decisions in the materialistic, extremely wasteful and environmentally destructive economy they later complain about as not being “green” enough.
They then hypocritically say they Don’t Need a Man™ while statistics prove them dead wrong. Without men for the government to rob women would be up the creek without a paddle.
What’s most satisfying about the Daily Mail article was reading the “Best rated” comments below the article. Nobody is buying the propaganda establishment media is crapping out anymore. User Right Auntie wrote:
“I’m not quite sure what they are protesting. Women in America can drive a car, get an education, get a mortgage and purchase a home. They can be doctors, lawyers, architects, engineers. They can be ministers or atheists. They can have children without men. They can speak their minds. I’m positive that they can still do these things now that Trump is president. This just looks like a giant hissy fit because their candidate lost. Being a sore loser is never a good thing.”
Indeed, what are these women protesting? They live such decadent lives they’re literally killing the goose that lays the golden egg as the future belongs to those whose children will be in it, and the men who made their exorbitant, selfish existence possible are either breeding with other ethnic groups or becoming genetic dead ends.
The points brought up here ultimately speak to the base difference between conservative and liberal leaning individuals, which is in the realm of reproductive strategy. I’m, of course, referring to r/K selection theory.
There has been plenty written about the subject, so I won’t dive too deeply into the biology, but only list some basic characteristics of each reproductive strategy.
R-selected traits include the following: low energy required to reproduce, limited competition, limited loyalty to the group, many offspring produced, early sexual maturity, promiscuity, short life expectancy, abundant resources, and low parental investment. K-selected traits include: higher energy required to reproduce, increased competition, high group loyalty, few offspring, later sexual maturity, pair bonding, longer life expectancy, limited resources, and high parental investment.
In recent years, this biological theory has been applied to politics and shed some insights on the right/left divide. It has also been used more cynically by those on the right to declare moral superiority over those on the left by virtue of their adherence to a more K-selected strategy.
Indeed, humans are clearly a K-selected animal generally speaking, but do exhibit strains of r-selected behavior across its ranks. And here I will make an important point: the question is not the moral superiority of one strategy versus another, but rather the effectiveness of one strategy versus another in the creation, maintenance and advancement of Civilization.
Sir John Glubb came to the conclusion in his famous work, The Fate of Empires that the life cycle of empires throughout history is as follows:
The Age of Pioneers (outburst)
The Age of Conquests
The Age of Commerce
The Age of Affluence
The Age of Intellect
The Age of Decadence
The limited resource environment facing pioneers and those who would conquer leads to a more K-selected existence, along the lines of what we would term as more traditional values. Then, as such a society continues to expand, and produce more and more wealth through the ages of commerce and affluence, this later environment of abundant resources leads to a more r-selected, more decadent lifestyle.
The catalyst for this transition is seemingly the age of Intellect, which according to Glubb, ends up biting off more than it could chew with respect to Civilization building:
Perhaps the most dangerous by-product of the Age of Intellect is the unconscious growth of the idea that the human brain can solve the problems of the world. Even on the low level of practical affairs this is patently untrue. Any small human activity, the local bowls club or the ladies’ luncheon club, requires for its survival a measure of self-sacrifice and service on the part of the members. In a wider national sphere, the survival of the nation depends basically on the loyalty and self-sacrifice of the citizens. The impression that the situation can be saved by mental cleverness, without unselfishness or human self-dedication, can only lead to collapse.
With respect to the current American Empire, this Age of Intellect by-product clearly manifested itself in the work of the Cultural Marxists of the Frankfurt School. In promoting an ‘anything goes’ way of life, they came in direct opposition to the traditional values based upon self-sacrifice and discipline which came before it.
Consider the following passage from Herbert Marcuse, a leading intellect of the time, taken from his 1955 book Eros & Civilization:
Reason is the rationality of the performance principle. Even at the beginning of Western civilization, long before this principle was institutionalized, reason was defined as an instrument of constraint, of instinctual suppression; the domain of the instincts, sensuousness, was considered as eternally hostile and detrimental to reason. The categories in which philosophy has comprehended the human existence have retained the connection between reason and suppression: whatever belongs to the sphere of sensuousness, pleasure, impulse has the connotation of being antagonistic to reason—something that has to be subjugated, constrained.
The ‘performance principle’ was Marcuse’s description of the phenomenon by which human beings restrain their rather primitive, libidinous, pleasure-seeking energies and direct them towards productive effort beyond that necessary to sustain.
Marcuse’s main point was that if man could unchain that pleasure-seeking energy – Eros – from its shackles once sustenance was achieved, he would be better off eschewing the production of ‘surplus value’ so as to be able to experience more of the pleasure principle. The obvious flaw here is that virtually all of civilization as we know it is the direct result from this ‘surplus value.’
That is, if man had never worked beyond the point where he was fed and sheltered, man would still be living in caves. The wheel, spear, sword, ship, steam engine, light bulb, and semi -conductor are wholly unnecessary from the standpoint of man finding food to eat, water to drink and shelter to take refuge in. It is precisely because primitive man did not heed Marcuse’s ‘wisdom’ that enabled him to produce the very comforts of a modern Western world that Marcuse enjoyed when he wrote, comforts which cannot be maintained if his dictum were followed. When put this way, that Marcuse and those of his ilk are considered to be at or near the pinnacle of intellectual thought, when their advocacy essentially amounts to man being governed by his most base impulses, is absurd.
It is this conundrum which is the logical albatross weighing down the push for Cultural Marxism, and its attendant r-strategy lifestyle onto the forefront of society. The Woman’s March on the day after the Inaugural was at its core a representation of that drive.
The feminism underpinning the march, itself an element of cultural Marxism, is largely based on the idea that women and men are exactly the same, such that women and men are not bound by biology to be disposed to certain life tracks. In terms of sex and reproduction, things like The Pill, antibiotics, the ubiquity of contraception and easy access to abortion and divorce of modern times has created a sexual environment that allows men and women to essentially artificially avoid the consequences of their actions, seemingly paving the way for a Marcusian liberation and embrace of Eros.
In prior generations, this was not as true. Promiscuous women placed themselves at risk every time they engaged in a sexual encounter. At the very least, their promiscuity would see them shunned by the community. Beyond that, they could easily contract diseases or become pregnant, with little recourse, being forced to have a child on her own, with little support from the government and society. She would be a pariah.
The mere fear of being looked down upon in the group was enough to incentive behaviors that were more conducive to the ultimate success of the group, like stable marriage.
These days, thanks to the aforementioned advancements in birth control, there is a far greater reduction to the ‘penalties’ that were once meted out in prior generations. We are at point now where women are actively encouraged to be ‘independent,’ promiscuous during their child bearing years, while they pursue hot-shot careers in the same manner as men do.
The recent passing of Mary Tyler Moore is timely in this regard, as her show was the first major American sitcom to advance these themes. Despite the apparent dysfunction built into the ‘independent woman’ trope, it was ultimately glamorized and thus became a template for millions of women to follow. The approval of the lifestyle it was advocating is signaled in its opening title, with the cheerful jingle ending with the infamous line ‘you’re going to make it after all!’
Moore was the spiritual godmother of the legion of modern women who today cramp into urban apartments, seeking high flying careers, and streamline their promiscuity with dating apps. However, as sanitized as the Mary Tyler Moore Show looked, there was an ugliness lurking under the surface. Moore very much lived her life in the vein of her on screen self. She got married, had a child and then divorced, just prior to her career really taking off.
Moore admits to putting more effort into her work than her child:
“During the first year of ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show,’ as thrilled and bursting with excitement over my work as I was, I was equally without emotion at home,” she wrote of her divorce in 1961 from Meeker. “There is no question about it. By the time Richie was 5, I had already let him down. When he needed me the most, I was busier and even more self-concerned than I had been when he was an impressionable infant.”
Moore’s decision to spend her energies on her work had detrimental results on her family. She had remarried, and introduced her son to the stepdad life, another quirk of the decadence spawned from the age of intellect.
Her son did not take well to all of this, and as a result grew distant from his mother. Moore turned to alcohol and became an alcoholic. On some level perhaps, she understood the horrendous decisions she had made in abdicating her main duty as mother to pursue her career, and attempted to self-medicate via the bottle. Her son, devoid of the nurturing that mothers provide, turned to drink and drugs and ended up dying via a gun in dubious circumstances.
I do not judge Moore, but her experience is instructive. She lived her life in a very r-selected manner, particularly with respect to her son. In this regard, one of the main ideals of feminism – that a woman can have it all, both high powered career and loving family – is shattered. A woman who is putting in the 14-18 hour days which are necessary to be a force in any industry by default cannot devote that time to her children in the manner they need, in particular when they are very young.
As I mentioned earlier, humans are K-selected animals, which take a long time to develop. Humans are born well before they are fully developed, unable to walk or talk for about a year out of the womb. It is not until the mid 20s that a human is fully developed mentally and physically. This represents an enormous parental investment in order to see a child to proper maturity, along with an enormous investment of the group to ensure a wider stability for those mature children to eventually contribute to.
This stark reality is why societies behaving under traditional mores demanded that a woman seek stability from her male partner before it ever got to the level of pregnancy. They understood, in particular during times in which abortions, and contraception were much less of an option, that a pregnancy itself was an acceptance of a multi-decade burden, the willingness to undertake that enormous parental investment.
In other words, this is self-sacrifice Glubb referred to as being subject to eradication as a by-product of the Intellectual age. Moore’s story is an example. Having had her child, in a traditional world she would have sacrificed her career to give her son the proper attention he needed. Applying a bit of Marcuse, in the context of motherhood, this would mean suffering the ‘surplus value’ of doing anything beyond waking up in the morning, feeding your child and then tucking him or her to bed at night. It would mean restraining her desire to experience the ‘Eros’ of a high powered career.
Feminists (and thus cultural Marxists) abhor the thought of self-sacrifice in this manner, which they consider ‘oppression,’ and thus look fondly onto Moore since she chose to experience the ‘Eros’ of being a high flying actress. A small irony is that in eschewing the self-sacrifice needed to raise her son properly Moore ended up sacrificed her son instead, to show the world through her TV exactly how to do the same. For this, she was rewarded by society with fame and fortune, where in prior generations she’d have been ridiculed.
This r-selected, Eros-seeking pathway was meant to ‘liberate’ man (in this case women), but it succumbs to Marcusian logic trap. If all women take the Moore route in life, a high percentage of children would end up on the path of her son – a drug addled alcoholic who died an early death. A generation of such individuals would not be long for the maintenance of, let alone the furtherance of the society it inherited. Hence, collapse, as per Glubb.
For America and the West generally, its status circa the 1960s as a wealthy civilization with vast resources (which were accumulated during K-centric generations from the time of Industrialization), introduced the conditions in which the r-selected lifestyle could flourish. The intellectual age, and the influence of the cultural Marxists gave the green light, and behavioral values changed. The shift towards r-selected traits such as nihilism and short term thinking, the embrace of the promiscuous lifestyle and all it entails, has generally been considered to be a good thing.
And indeed, the feminism Moore helped to glamorize has taken hold over the last few decades. We are starting now to see the results of the deterioration of traditional norms in the shape of more broken families, a rise in single motherhood and attendant poverty levels. This has put large swaths of American children on a path to failure before they reach their teenage years.
As I mentioned in part 1, the fate of our younger generations has involved the succumbing to drugs, pornography, excessive video game playing, with millions of men checking out of society both romantically and vocationally. This mirrors the downfall of Moore’s son and points to the results of the r-selected trait of low parental involvement. Society-wide, our crumbling infrastructure, failing schools and hollowed out factories point to the same kind of low investment in the future.
Where vice and an overindulgence in entertainment have eased the pains on the micro level, on the macro level our societal debt binge to the tune of trillions, which enabled us to import tons of foreign goods has afforded us the illusion of stability thanks to that abundance of goods. The problem is that it can’t last and isn’t sustainable. Enter Trump.
For the purposes of this discussion, Trump is an enigma, an example of the duality of the r/K strategies in one man. He is a man who on one hand who has been divorced twice, enjoying extensive, well documented stints as a playboy. In contrast to this highly r streak stands his status as a patriarch, with his 5 children and 8 grandchildren existing in a tightly knit, well-structured family setting which is the manifestation of K.
You can see some of this in this excerpt from an interview he did with Playboy in 2004. In talking about his playboy years, he has the following to say:
What was your wildest memory from those days?
You saw things at Studio 54 that you had never seen before. You would see not one superstar but 30 of them, and you’d suddenly realize how many so-called superstars there are. Or you’d see the top models in the world getting screwed on tables in the middle of the dance floor. You would see things you just don’t see today primarily because of AIDS and other diseases. But it was incredible. You’d see the most beautiful women in the world, the most beautiful people in the world. Then, an hour later, you’d see them making love right in front of you. And I’m there saying, “Excuse me?”
And what were you up to?
I was there having a good time. You don’t need drugs and alcohol to have a good time. You can get high on life. That’s what I do.
Were you dating a million models at the time?
A million. I was dating lots and lots of women. I just had a great time. They were great years, but that was pre-AIDS, and you could do things in those days that today you’re at risk doing. AIDS has changed a lot.
Was there a time when you worried about AIDS because of all you’d done?
There was, but I got tested. I think it’s hard for young kids today. It’s a whole different thing. I tell my sons just to get a nice girlfriend and be happy, because it’s dangerous out there. It’s Vietnam. I guess now we can say it’s Iraq—same deal, right?
Even there, he partook in the general r-infused degeneracy of 1970s NYC nightlife, while abstaining from drugs and alcohol. He dated tons of women, but advised his sons to opt for a more K-strategy of pair bonding.
One of the few things the media universally praised Trump for during the campaign were his children, who all were lauded as fantastic, down to earth people, despite being raised with tremendous wealth.
Many rightly saw it as a testament to Trump as a man that he could raise such good kids when it is very easy for the children of the rich to go off the rails, owing to their relatively unlimited abundance killing off any work ethic. In other words, the way Trump raised his children, in a manner heavily infused by K – no drugs, no alcohol and a predilection for pair boding – suggests that he ultimately understands the superiority of K as the stability-achieving strategy.
With Trump’s calling for America First, the lamentation of the destruction of the American spirit and eschewal of feel good concepts such as political correctness, Trump is seeking to reproduce that on a national scale, injecting America with a high dose of K.
In this respect, the contrast between Trump and Hillary Clinton was even clearer, given the appeal of the latter to the ‘independent,’ high flying power woman trope that shows such as the Mary Tyler Moore show popularized.
Trump’s victory on election night was a victory for K. In a society which had come to pedestalize the r-strategy, this presented a big conflict, which the riots and protests sought to address. On the surface it would seem the r-strategy, and its penchant for ‘anything goes’ and the ‘live and let live’ approach to the world should not lash out in the emotional manner in which it has. After all, K-strategies are merely a different way of doing things, and thus should be permissible in a truly liberal world.
The problem for the r is that the K strategy, and its focus on self-sacrifice, discipline and restraint necessarily inhibits the r strategy of promoting Eros. The government sanction and funding of abortion, and to a larger degree single motherhood, for example, was a prime theme of the Women’s March. Should the K strategy Trump favors return, the cost of the promiscuous, divorce on-demand lifestyle espoused by the r strategy would fall once again on those who engage in that lifestyle. People would then be forced to choose between restraint and accepting possible negative consequences for profligacy, a scenario which r’s find to be unacceptable.
Hence, the change to K is thus an existential threat to the r strategy, and this explains the violent backlash. Yet when you examine the dynamics involved, you begin to see even more clearly the foolishness of trying to adopt the r-strategy, the virulent ‘WE HATE PATRIARCHY’ strain in particular, as the basis for a stable society.
It is the K strategy and its much maligned ‘Patriarchy’ which is responsible for the high level of organization that enables the existence of the major cities in which the riots were held. It is responsible for the many modes of advanced communication which made the planning of such marches possible. It is responsible for the invention, and proliferation of mass transportation, whether that be train, rail or auto, which got these protesters to their destinations.
It is responsible for the fact that the protesters were able to march in peace, without fear for their physical safety. In this regard they were protected on multiple levels. On the ideological level, the establishment of a relatively free society came with it the idea that all voices, even ones of unpopular dissent, have a right to make their case known and to be heard. On a physical level, the loyalty to group, a K strategy, underpins the actions of the police force protecting the physical persons of those expressing an American right from those who would disrupt them. Finally, that K-selected Patriarchy, in the shape of the majority male sanitation workers of major cities, is what is responsible for restoring cleanliness to the city after being trashed by protesters and rioters.
As if this hypocrisy wasn’t enough, what of the protesters and rioters themselves? This was the same lot who labeled President Trump as a fascist constantly from the moment he initiated his campaign, yet responded to a fairly contested election with violence, property destruction and harassment of those who were only ‘guilty’ of supporting a different candidate.
All one has to do is to type ‘Trump supporters attacked’ into the search bar on YouTube to find thousands of videos from before, and after the election. This footage, in particular of a child partaking in Inauguration day rioting speaks volumes with respect to the r-strategy dynamic:
The fact that his parents either condoned him being there, or were so out of touch that they had no clue that their child was swept up in that scene, is irrelevant. Either way it smacks of the low parental investment, rapid maturity of the r-strategy. That kid should be at home playing computer games, and generally acting like a kid, as opposed to being used as a prop by his parents for their political activism.
In the Women’s March, similar vulgarity was abounding, particularly from the celebrities on show. Ashley Judd and Madonna, both living out the r-strategy to the max, took to the stage to extol the virtues of their ‘nastiness’ to the world.
This is the same crowd that stood aghast at some of Donald Trump’s more ‘colorful’ comments during the campaign, on the basis that ‘children were watching.’ This was the idea behind one of Hillary Clinton’s more effective campaign ads. Yet this crowd had no qualms with being colorful themselves in front of those same children, and the following video highlights that hypocrisy.
This outsized response to an emotional slight is characteristic of the r-strategy. It is a particularly amazing hypocrisy for marchers and rioters who have the disposable income to spend hundreds on a whim to fly Washington DC, dressed in $200 coats, $100 sneakers, brandishing $700 iPhones and drinking $5 cups of coffee, all to either aimlessly walk around for a few hours in 40 degree weather with zero concern for their physical safety, or to break the windows of the very Starbucks cafes which are representative of the K-derived abundance which enables them to live out their r-selected predilections with little disturbance…turn around and complain of oppression.
Furthermore, they, at least some of them are pushing to uphold and advance the acceptance of one such predilection, abortion, when the act is in most cases an abdication of responsibility for one’s actions, and beyond this represents the literal extinguishing of the future. And with that, the hopes for the advancement of the same civilization which afforded them the freedom and abundance to make such a weighty decision in comfort, departs. For the r-selected nihilists who have become far too common in our age, this isn’t a problem. For those who wish to see future generations truly enjoy in the spoils that we have enjoyed, it is a problem.
I’ll stress it one more time: this is not a moral dilemma as much as it is a logical one. As humans, K’s and r’s exist across populations, within them, and even within individuals. However true that may be, humans are a K species foremost, and thus the r-strategy is a secondary feature at best.
In terms of politics, it means that r-leftism is constantly fighting an uphill battle against its K-nature. It can be seen in the economics of the left, which require constant expansion of debt and credit to maintain the abundance it promises to its adherents. Given that debt cannot be undertaken indefinitely there will always be a painful day of reckoning.
It can be seen socially, as adherence to hyperleftist views have to be buttressed with drugs, porn, endless entertainment, psychiatry, prescription medicine and more to ease the pain. Ultimately, as Glubb shows, it is the K strategy which is what forms the foundation of any organized civilization, and r-strategies which signal its collapse.
This election was largely about the realization among a sizable portion of the electorate, perhaps subconsciously, that there is a K way to do things, and an r way to do things. Those that understood this also had to understand that the adoption of cultural Marxism and much of the ideology of New Left brings with it the seeds of collapse, while to the extent that we still had a comfortable society was down to the prior successes of a more traditional society.
The attempt to revert to such a traditional society from one that has been living the opposite way for such a long time will not come without friction. This dissent is embodied by the frantic explanations devoid of logic, and the riots protests of pure emotional angst. The dissent will pass with the return of true abundance, as the fundamental realities and success of the K Way take hold once again.
Welcome to The Dawn of An Era, which will be a multi-part look at the current state of affairs as we enter the Trump era, and the impact Trump will have based on his stated campaign aims and what he has already accomplished. As I write, we are a week into the administration, and things are moving at an electric pace. Executive orders are being signed left and right, and for the most part Trump has delivered on the campaign promises he made.
This has not come without dissent. There was a massive anti-Trump march which had its nexus in Washington DC, but had several hundred counterparts both in the US and around the world. The news media has been in a constant battle with Trump from the word go, and the Democrats have vowed to be obstructionists.
The reason for the dissent on a basic level is that President Trump is seeking to upset the social, economic and geopolitical order. It is an order that was established in the years following World War 2 and has persisted since. Though many see this order to be futile, in terms of long term sustainability, it has not necessarily collapsed to such a blatantly obvious crisis point that even the most visually challenged could recognize that change was needed. This series will focus on Trump and his quest to affect change, much needed, but highly unpopular.
Stylistically, President Trump’s first words as President Trump were Trumpian in nature. His address was forceful, direct, and didn’t mince words. The delivery was not the silkiest, smoothest delivery we’ve come to expect from our most accomplished politicians. There was little room for the extravagant language, endless platitudes and anecdotal accounts which color modern political speeches of this nature. Many criticized this, comparing Trump’s address past Inaugurals. “This was no JFK or Reagan,” they would say.
These critics are the same who, for seemingly the entirety of Trump’s campaign, have been waiting for him to change his tone, to finally pander to the masses – to be Presidential. The inaugural became yet another in the list of moments, such as the acceptance speech at the convention, or his post-labor day campaigning, or the debates, when the infamous ‘pivot’ was meant occur. Indeed the initial consensus opinion was that it was a good speech – for his supporters, which did little to embrace anyone else.
Why everyone was expecting such a pivot is beyond me. Trump didn’t even pivot at the Al Smith dinner, which is traditionally a moment when campaigning is put on hold for a night. And that is the point – the time for traditional politics is over, to the extent it does not comport with the goal of Making America Great Again.
Trump made this crystal clear right from the start of the address, saying:
Every four years we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power. We are grateful to President Obama and Michelle Obama. They have been magnificent.
Today’s ceremony however has very special meaning, because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to the other, but from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the people.
For too long, a small group in our nation’s Capitol has reaped the rewards of government while the people have born the cost. Washington has flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs.
This sentiment is easily verified by the widely accepted fact that by various measures, the American middle class household has not seen an increase in income in as long as 40 years, while 5 of the 10 richest counties in the country (including 5 of the top 6) are counties which surround Washington D.C. It is clear that Washington’s politics-as-usual has not been working for the rest of the country, and beyond that, DC has acted more like a leech sucking blood from the veins of the American economy than anything beneficial.
To this end, Trump ran on a campaign of ‘Draining The Swamp,’ focusing on ending the parasitical relationship DC politics has with the American people. He has issued an executive order banning administration officials from lobbying foreign governments for life and imposed a five year ban for other sorts of lobbying.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan had previously voiced his opposition to such a ban, on the grounds that it would limit the opportunities for DC politicos to earn money after serving in office:
“I don’t think we should tell men and women we want a citizen legislature, take time out of your private life and come and serve and then go back into private life and you can’t get engaged in civics,” the speaker said. “I think that’s dangerous. I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
That Ryan would equate getting involved in civics with lobbying, to the point it would be ‘dangerous’ to curtail that intertwining, is indicative of the deterioration of American politics, with respect to politicians looking out for the interests of their donors as opposed to that of their constituents as a whole.
Decades of this transfer of wealth, and the general primacy of DC politicians over everything else has drained America of its swashbuckling spirit, leaving it a shadow of itself. By that, I mean the US in many ways is just coasting along, as opposed to forging ahead with an undeterred grit. That the US is still the greatest country in the world is a testament to the unprecedented ingenuity displayed by those who came before us, such that their efforts were enough to sustain multiple generations.
This point sets the stage for one of the more controversial passages of the address:
At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction: that a nation exists to serve its citizens.
Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves.
These are the just and reasonable demands of a righteous public.
But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system, flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.
This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.
When these kids get out of school, saddled with tens of thousands in debt on average, they are thrust into an economy which under the hood is not as robust as it once was. The burdens of excessive regulation, taxes, and a refusal for central banks to allow prices to properly adjust to changing economic conditions has created an situation in which employers have fled the country, leaving behind the carcasses of factories which once were the engine of America.
The basic human debilitation of this combination of over indebtedness and a lack of work has led to many checking out of society. Marriage rates have declined, women are having fewer children and are having them later, and many men have all together checked out of the romantic game completely, preferring to satiate themselves with the sea of pornography and video games that are on offer.
The totality of all of this is the ‘carnage’ of which Trump speaks. Critics have scolded Trump for painting a picture of the United States having devolved into some sort of Mad Max style war zone; although for many select inner cities it may feel that way. And on the surface, things are fine. When you flip the light switch in your house, the room lights up. Most people have access to the internet and cable. The vast majority of Americans can grab a $5 latte at Starbucks any time they want.
It is true that in an absolute sense the United States is wealthier (as defined by having more ‘stuff’) and healthier (as defined by life expectancy) than ever before. But the term ‘Chiraq’ didn’t come out of thin air.
The problem, which Trump seemingly understands, is that much of the progress of recent decades wasn’t necessarily attained in the right way. That is, instead of savings and investment, through which a mass production of goods occurred, the resultant lowering of prices enabling mass consumption, the United States adopted a model by which it borrowed and printed trillions to buy goods produced in foreign factories.
Socially, a ‘modern family’ lifestyle promulgated by the entertainment industry has led to a sort of non-culture which is perhaps more diverse but also less cohesive. Hence, the progresses we have made in the last few decades have been unevenly distributed and fleeting.
That these shifts underpin the gains we’ve made in the modern era render them unsustainable. And on some level we collectively know this, which is why we sedate ourselves with Netflix, drugs, and porn. It’s hard to see a future when you’re inundated with student loans, still relying on your parents for money and without stable employment, even after doing everything your elders told you to do as you were growing up. If you believe your days will be spent moving from one cramped urban apartment to another, it makes sense to succumb to the aforementioned vices, and then some, to combat the banality of it all.
The result, as Trump correctly stated, is the theft of life and the American spirit, and the continued piling up of unrealized American potential.
Having laid out the problem, the address then looked forward, onto the mindset with which that problem would be dealt with: America First.
From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this moment on, it’s going to be America First.
Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families.
We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.
We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation.
We will get our people off of welfare and back to work – rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor.
We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and Hire American.
We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world – but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.
We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow.
This portion of the speech was also controversial, for its blatant nationalism. The likes of Bill Kristol, by now the poster child for the globalist neoconservative position, had this to say regarding the address:
I'll be unembarrassedly old-fashioned here: It is profoundly depressing and vulgar to hear an American president proclaim "America First."
I’ll be unembarrassedly old-fashioned here: It is profoundly depressing and vulgar to hear an American president proclaim “America First.”
The ‘vulgarity’ of the phrase no doubt stems from the original ‘America First’ movement led by Charles Lindbergh just prior to the US entry into WWII. He blamed British and Jewish interests for attempting to push the United States into war. For this he has been branded an Anti-Semite by History (though curiously nothing about any special hatred for the British).
I’m not going to re-litigate the issue here, but I will suggest that merely not wanting war for the US, no matter how much of a ‘no brainer’ it might be, does not necessarily classify one as a villain. Trump’s fierce nationalism has garnered similar charges of villainy from the globalist set – they view anything other than a society with no borders, multiculturalism and military interventionism as a crime to humanity.
In this sense, that last line about not seeking ‘to impose our way of life on anyone’ must have been extremely difficult to hear. For this has been the policy of the United States for nigh on 70 years. During that time, the US has tried her hand at Imperialism, attempting to overthrow dozens of foreign governments which were doing things it didn’t like. It spent trillions and amassed body counts in the millions, directly and indirectly, while showing little to no remorse.
All the while, on the home front, things remained fine on the surface, but underneath it a steady deterioration had begun, and continues to this day, as I’ve described.
The only beneficiaries of that paradigm have been the elites in politics, big business, Wall Street, and the infamous military-industrial complex President Eisenhower warned about as he left office. Trump’s hyper nationalism is a repudiation of that dynamic. Trump continued:
At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other.
When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.
The Bible tells us, “how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.” We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity.
When America is united, America is totally unstoppable. There should be no fear – we are protected, and we will always be protected. We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement and, most importantly, we are protected by God.
Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger.
In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving. We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action – constantly complaining but never doing anything about it. The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.
Do not let anyone tell you it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America.
One thing that struck me upon listening to the address was the spiritual nature imbued into it. Perhaps it is a sign of the times, but referencing God and spirituality in a political sense that is more than just a token reference is a bit of a rarity. What Trump spoke to here was the fact that true unity comes from a common cause, the United States of America, a cause which in turn is furthered by the extent to which it accepts the direction of God.
The mere concept of a higher power, something beyond our individual existence to which we should strive to better ourselves, has become increasingly foreign in modern times. We have slowly succumbed to a putrid nihilism characterized by short term, molecular thinking and YOLOism.
Trump is right: when you all have the same basic goal, you have no room for hating the man standing next to you. To the extent you and your counterparts differ, they are generally how you are going to go about achieving the overarching goal. Those differences, in turn, come from differences in your basic constitution as human beings. The farmer, the mathematician and the banker all bring value to America, and their individual differences are only of value because they enable them to specialize in their respective fields, all directed towards a singular target, furthering America.
Contrast that sentiment to the words of the leader of the opposition in Congress, Chuck Schumer, who addressed the crowd moments before President Trump was sworn in:
We Americans have always been a forward-looking, problem-solving, optimistic, patriotic, and decent people. Whatever our race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, whether we’re immigrant or native-born, whether we live with disabilities or do not, in wealth or in poverty, we’re all exceptional in our commonly held yet fierce devotion to our country. And in our willingness to sacrifice our time, energy, and even our lives to making it a more perfect union.
Whereas Trump’s vision starts from a patriotic vision of country, striving for more, and trickles down to the individual who will make it happen, Schumer starts with the delineation of all the possible characteristics of the individual, working up to what is supposedly a common devotion to the country. Schumer’s pathway is nonsensical: if indeed all of those disparate groups have a burning devotion to achieving a lofty goal, the individual differences and characteristics are by definition irrelevant. Only the goal matters. Yet the deliberate focus on of all of these differences is itself an attempt to make them relevant, suggesting a unifying goal isn’t what is most important.
It is fitting that Schumer’s Ode to Identity Politics came in what was literally the final minutes of the Obama administration, which were (hopefully) the final minutes of the multi decade march of cultural Marxism and globalist views which have polluted Republican and Democratic administrations alike.
The forceful tenor of the Trump’s speech which followed was, in my view, akin to the loud smack of a judge’s gavel, signifying the finality of a decision. In this case, a decision to fundamentally change course, away from an America which had comfortably coasted on its laurels to one which as going to get its hands dirty once again with a view to achieving something greater.
That Trump made such an aggressive speech with Presidents Carter, Clinton, Bush, and Obama sitting mere feet from him was further symbolism. The latter three in particular have been stewards of the cultural and economic decline we are in the midst of, the legacy of which was the improbability known as ‘President Trump.’
The address was a stern declaration that we as a nation are going to turn this ship around, despite the odds, and despite the stern opposition from the ‘respectable class’, so represented by those former presidents who gazed upon Trump as he spoke. Because of them, the task Trump seeks to take on is perhaps more difficult than anything any modern president has had to achieve.
But the very fact Donald Trump was standing there to speak at all is testament to the fact that ultimate success in that Herculean task is in fact possible.
Last week saw the latest round in the war between President-elect Donald Trump and the News Media, with the Jim Acosta exchange in particular drawing plenty of attention. In case you live in a cave somewhere and missed it, here it is:
That moment, brandishing a respected news organization such as CNN to be ‘fake news,’ was perhaps a seminal moment. It was the culmination of a brutal back and forth which has lasted the better part of two years. While both sides relish this fight, the media as a class have, at times tried to act as though they have been innocent victims of a brutish Trump.
They accuse Trump of threatening the freedom of the press, a concept uniquely American and central to our way of life. Referring to the press conference, Esquire writer Charles Pierce called Trump’s performance that of ‘an aspiring American dictator.’
All of this, because Donald Trump is the first politician on the right in decades who can attack and defend himself just as effectively as his ideological opponents in the press do, and then some. Some in the media are finally starting to take note of this, and are scrambling to make sense of it. For the last 18 months and more, the media has persisted with its tired tactic of screaming ‘RACIST! SEXIST! HOMOPHOBE!’ at those expressing any opinion to the right of Mao, only to find that Trump was impervious to this tactic when it was tried on him.
Having lost that battle on November 8, the press lurched to the next strategy – delegitimize Trump’s victory. This came about via the promotion of Jill Stein’s recount effort (which ended up in Trump gaining votes), the justification of violent anti-Trump rioting across the country, the justification for the Electoral College to ‘vote it’s conscience,’ the popular vote, and more emphatically, the idea that Trump is some sort of Manchurian Candidate, personally installed by Vladamir Putin.
It is this Russian meme specifically which led to the Acosta moment last Wednesday, as the night before Buzzfeed published an unsubstantiated ‘dossier’ comprised of material collected by Donald Trump’s political enemies, which was implied to have been real intelligence, and put forth as evidence that the Russians had a trove of blackmail material against Trump. (more here)
It was a document which had been floating around political and news media circles for months, and because of the fact that virtually none of it could be verified, it was never reported on, until Buzzfeed decided to introduce it to the world. This set off a firestorm, which culminated in an angry Trump lashing out at the media, and the intelligence community.
The Acosta moment has seemingly woken up the media properly to the idea of Trump as a real force to be reckoned with. The analysis so far has been summed up as ‘Trump is trying to destroy the media by divide and conquer. We must band together and fight him.’
Slate writer Will Oremus goes through this argument in detail. After describing the way Trump singled out CNN and Buzzfeed for scorn over their reporting on the ‘dossier,’ while praising other news organizations (specifically the New York Times) for not running it, he surmises that it is tactical. He writes:
Trump’s words were tactical, not literal. And his purpose became clear during the Q-and-A: to isolate and punish the two specific news organizations whose coverage he found objectionable.
It worked. BuzzFeed was so anathematized that by presser’s end, fellow journalists were picking up their lunch trays and moving to the other side of the cafeteria. “I can understand why President-elect Trump would be upset” with BuzzFeed, said CNN’s Jake Tapper, a co-author of the very story that had just been impugned in the press conference. “I would be upset about it, too.”
Trump had exploited weaknesses—not just the tendency of the press to eat itself, but also its own status anxieties. In particular, he exploited traditional media outlets’ intense desire to be perceived as sober and objective, and thus to be respected by conservatives and liberals alike—a business imperative that has been transmuted into an ethical injunction.
This last point is particularly interesting. The genesis of the battle between Trump and the press is the ideological differences between the two, as I mentioned above. In a very broad sense, Trump is a traditionalist and a nationalist. The vast majority of the press are left leaning, and thus embrace a cultural Marxist, globalist world view.
There is nothing wrong with each side harboring those views; however the press, by virtue of its purported role as a distillery for the truth, has much less room to imbue ideology and engage in opinion. That’s why Editorial Pages were invented, but it seems as though that the entirety of the mainstream media has become an Editorial page.
The reason the media desires to be thought of as completely rational and objective is that because if it is not, it becomes merely just another source of opinion in an ocean of opinions. Preserving the view that the media deals in cold, hard analysis of the truth allows it to float angelically above the rest of us.
The reality is that the media is as biased and as opinionated as the rest of us. Of the publications that most people immediately think of when one thinks of ‘respected news organizations’ (New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, LA Times, Wall Street Journal, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and Fox News), only Fox News and the WSJ do not lean demonstrably to the left.
Indeed, many would scoff at the fact that I even included Fox News in a list of ‘respected’ news publications given it its place in American society as the butt of jokes about objectivity. That the most right-leaning publication on this list also is subject to the most scorn is exactly the sort of isolation and punishment that Oremus accuses Trump of doing to Buzzfeed and CNN.
On the ‘status anxiety’ of the media in general, he writes:
There are status anxieties and resentments within the media just as surely as there are in the electorate, and on Wednesday, Trump deftly seized on them. Americans’ trust in media is at a low point, thanks in part to a highly effective conservative campaign to discredit mainstream outlets as biased. Fake news, a phrase coined to describe fabricated stories devised by hoaxsters, has become the default conservative epithet for historically respected institutions such as CNN and the Times. For journalists at those sorts of outlets, who worked for decades to reach the summit of their profession, nothing could be more deflating. It gives them a pressing incentive to distinguish and distance themselves from less-esteemed outlets, including upstarts such as BuzzFeed, whose “irresponsible journalism,” as CNN’s Tapper put it, “hurts us all.”
Oremus puts the blame for the increased perception of the media as biased on an effective conservative campaign. The reality is different. As mentioned before, the contrast between the cultural Marxist globalism of the left, and the traditionalist Nationalism of the Trump Right underpins the current ideological battle for hearts and minds.
To that end, it is the former viewpoint which has the most currency in modern culture. Concepts such as equality, diversity, and tolerance, as defined by leftists, are the highest ideals sought. This cultural Marixist, globalist view has risen to the level of being the objectively rational way to view the world. The media, in all of its forms, has aided this ascent what is really mere opinion to the level of perceived inviolable laws of humanity over the last three or four decades and more. Trump, who is considered to be in constant opposition to the achievement of these leftist-defined values, has thus become an enemy.
The result has been a sort of Clown World in which expressing a view which does not comport with leftist orthodoxy is a marker for insanity. In that world, the media, by virtue of being leftists, are afforded the position of veneration it seeks, as arbiters of Truth.
This is why the ‘campaign to discredit mainstream outlets’ necessarily has to come from conservatives. That conservatives and mainstream outlets are opposition says a lot – the latter can hardly paint themselves as truly objective if they wholly reject any conservative view to the point it is considered insanity to hold such views.
The ‘fake news’ saga Oremus refers to is indicative of this point. Oremus laments the fact that the term has been transformed from referencing made-up news stories by hoaxers to being used to criticizing anything conservatives don’t like. That would be a fair gripe, until one notices that it was the mainstream media who first used the ‘fake news’ terminology as one of the many excuses as to why Hillary Clinton lost the election.
Actual fake news, as in Macedonian pranksters writing stories about the Pope endorsing Trump and spreading it on Facebook, were hardly consequential in terms of shifting the electorate into voting for Trump. For a start, the actual fake news mostly resided in the realm of social media, the domain of the young, who are both smaller in number and turn out to vote at lower rates than their elders. Furthermore, these older generationsstill get most of their news from ‘traditional’ formats, such as television, radio and newspapers.
The mainstream outlets cleverly paired the ‘epidemic’ of fake news on social media with the rise of the ‘alt-right,’ inserting the likes of Breitbart, Infowars and others into the fray when the discussion of ‘legitimate news’ was being had. Consider this article from The Guardian, which leads with the following subheading:
The ‘alt-right’ (aka the far right) ensnared the electorate using false stories on social media.
In the aftermath of the election, lists like this one from a liberal professor were widely disseminated, but lumped opinion sites which leaned Right in with the fake news. This New York Times article in part disparaged Mark Dice, a YouTuber who regularly roasts progressives, in an article tiled ‘As Fake News Spreads Lies, More Readers Shrug at the Truth.’
In short, it was many left leaning, mainstream media voices that started using the term ‘fake news’ to reference any ‘hyper-partisan’ view from the right. The goal of that effort was to reestablish the Clown World Order I described earlier – Leftist views are objective reality, anything else, insanity. Such a drive was necessary thanks to the victory of Trump, a data point which called that Order into question in the most grand way possible.
To the extent there was a ‘conservative campaign’ to co-opt the ‘fake news’ terminology, it was merely a counterattack to this attempt to delegitimize non-left opinions. It succeeded because it had the truth on its side, in that leftists and rightist opinion is just that, opinion, and the mere fact that the former is in vogue does not render the latter to be illegitimate. Thus, the death of the term ‘fake news’ as a weapon.
Dossier-gate showcased a different sort of media warfare. CNN in particular went to great pains to justify its reporting, on the basis that it merely reported on the existence of said dossier, rather than the sordid details within.
However, by doing so, it made the existence of the document news, in a way in which hadn’t been done before. It was the equivalent of someone coming up to you and saying ‘hey, I know something that could totally change your life forever, but I can’t really tell you what it is.’ You’ve done that person no favors at all; in fact you’ve harmed that person by introducing something that will play on his or her mind until that secret information is revealed to them.
CNN may have not published the specific details, and even went to considerable lengths to repeat how unsubstantiated and unverified they were, but they did make it known exactly where such details could be found, nudge nudge, wink wink.
The goal was just to get the information out there in the public domain, because once there it could be used to stir up chaos. Remember, that this dossier was released after a lengthy campaign by the media and the intelligence community to paint Trump out as some sort of Russian state actor personally installed by Putin, a campaign which has been blared with unbearable loudness over the last few weeks in particular.
The Russians having compromising video of Trump cavorting with Russian prostitutes in The Ritz Carlton Moscow is fiction, but it is fiction that comports with the general post-election narrative of Trump-as-Manchurian Candidate, if you hold a predilection for that erroneous view. It allows the media to discredit Trump on the grounds that he was not legitimately elected, and in the future it allows the media to question any and every action of his it dislikes on the grounds that the action in question might be Trump just doing the bidding of the Russians.
Putin’s response to the dossier was classic, not because of him making light of the idea of Trump needing to indulge in prostitutes after having access to supermodels all his life, but for denouncing those who push the dossier as the worst sort of individuals:
Prostitution is an ugly social phenomenon… But those people who organize such frauds, which have been circulated and promoted against the elected president of the United States, those who fabricate information and use it in the political struggle, they are worse than prostitutes, they have no moral limits.
Putin is absolutely right. In citing the fabrication of information to use in a political fight, he describes the way the mainstream media generally does business with respect to those it opposes. More importantly, however, it draws the mainstream media into the realm of the same ‘fake news’ domain it sought to relegate others to. This is what worries the media the most, hence the seminal nature of the Acosta spat.
I’m not saying that the media prints outright lies, although it has happened before. What the media does do more frequently, however, is to deal in willful misinterpretation, editorializing, and intellectual dishonesty. This is the only way you get narratives such as ‘Russia hacked the election,’ or ‘Trump committed treason by imploring the Russians to breach US national security by attacking Hillary Clinton,’ or the intentional mention of ’17 US intelligence agencies’ in nearly every report about the Russian hacking saga, solely done to give undue weight to what would follow, which was a statement of unverified opinion about who hacked what. It has been repeatedly stated that not one vote was tallied incorrectly, and Trump’s ‘call’ for Russian hacking was a tongue in cheek mocking of the media, when viewed in context.
Another blatant example of this was shown in the CBS reporting of the kidnap and torture of a disabled white teenager by four of his black peers in Chicago a couple weeks ago. The following report was given on a CBS radio station:
The viral video of a beating and knife attack in Chicago suggests the assault had racial overtones. CBS’s Dean Reynolds tells us the victim is described as a mentally-challenged teenager.
In the video he is choked and repeatedly called the n-word. His clothes are slashed and he is terrorized with a knife. His alleged captors repeatedly reference Donald Trump. Police are holding four people in connection with the attack.
That account is factually true, but it is constructed to convey something completely different to what took place. It starts by saying that the attack had a racial component before describing how the victim was called the n-word, with several references made to Donald Trump. Given that description, combined the narrative advanced by those on the left that Trump is a racist who wants to return black people to slavery, any listener would conclude that the victim was black and that the assailants were white, when in fact it was the other way around.
Even more spectacular is that this video, as the report notes, went viral. It was a widely discussed topic for several days so what exactly was this report trying to do by being do deceptive? In this light it reads as a petulant attempt to lash out at the destruction of a popular narrative.
This sort of brazenness is what colors the likes of Jake Tapper’s thinking, when he denounced Buzzfeed’s irresponsibility as ‘hurting us all.’ It completely exposes the game for the public to see, and makes it that much harder for the media to claim the solemn objectivity it craves. When the true, leftist views of many in the media are made so naked, more and more of the public recognize that most of these reporters are in the business of disseminating opinion disguised as news, and they’ll act accordingly, as shown already in diminished views of the media, as Oremus notes.
This phenomenon of the media exposing themselves as uniformly opinionated vis a vis Trump isn’t new – it has been a feature of his campaign. What is new are the heights to which Trump took the manner of his riposte this week – elevated by his stature as the elected President – when he referred to CNN as ‘fake news.’
This, in conjunction with Putin’s smackdown yesterday means that Putin and Trump, having access to the loudest megaphones on earth, are prepared to turn the ‘fake news’ moniker around on the mainstream media itself. Trump has already done this several times in his Tweets in addition to the Acosta moment. Even before that moment, some in the media saw the writing on the wall and were begging for the term to be gracefully put down. Too late. That’s an own goal the media will have to live with.
The reality for those in the media is that the two most powerful men in the world have positioned themselves as a traditionalist, nationalist tag-team who won’t fold under their pressure. And they control the bulk of the world’s nukes.
It’s little wonder why those cultural Marxist globalists in the media are squirming.
Yesterday, I wrote about the DNI report which was released over the weekend which declared that the Russians had influenced the 2016 election by hacking into the DNC and John Podesta, among others, as well as putting forth pro-Trump ‘propaganda’ on their state backed television networks.
I described how the charge as presented by the intelligence community is absurd; in short the fact that RT or Sputnik put forth a pro-Trump opinion, to mostly a Russian audience, speaking in Russian is hardly the most effective means to affect the US election. With respect to the leaked documents, those documents and emails were legitimate, as confirmed by the report, and thus merely exposed the bad actions that the DNC and the Clinton campaign engaged in. The net effect of ‘Russian involvement’ was more transparency and a more informed electorate, something which the US press and its lawmakers claims they are forever working to achieve.
The response by the media, and most lawmakers has been quite different. The prevailing attitude can be summed up by former CIA acting director Michael Morell, who said last month that the Russian intervention (whatever it actually was, if anything) was an ‘existential threat to our way of life’ which was ‘the political equivalent of 9/11.’
Such heightened language has become par for the course for analyzing this topic for purely political reasons. This politicization tabled by Brian Stelter in this interview with Glenn Greenwald:
After declaring that it is a possibility that there was Russian involvement, Greenwald had this to say about having blind trust in the intelligence community:
…but there’s a lesson, a really critical lesson that I thought we had learned back in August 1964, when the US Senate stood up and authorized Lyndon Johnson to escalate the war in Vietnam with two dissenting votes, based on the intelligence communities’ claims about what happened in the Gulf of Tonkin which turned out to be total false, and the same lesson in 2002 when a group of bipartisan senators assured the nation that the intelligence community convinced them that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and was in an alliance with al-Qaeda, and the same lesson we learned in 2013, when just months before the Snowden reporting, James Clapper, President Obama’s top security official, lied to the faces of the country when he said he wants to assure the country that the NSA doesn’t collect data on millions of Americans.
And that lesson is, we don’t just blindly and uncritically accept the claims of the intelligence community, especially provocative claims about a foreign adversary without seeing convincing evidence presented by them that those claims are true, and we absolutely have not seen that in this case.
Greenwald is absolutely right here, yet on this issue the narrative has been established that one has to blindly and uncritically accept whatever the intelligence community says or else there will be big problems. Here’s Morell, speaking on Face the Nation yesterday:
If the men and women of CIA don’t believe the President is listening to what they have to say, to the facts the put on the table, and the fact based analysis they put on the table, their interest in working there will go way down.
The other practical effect it has is that we tell people who are spying for us, who are actually putting their life on the line to spy for us, that their information is going to the highest levels of our government, and is being used to make the world a better place. If we can’t tell spies that, if they see that on TV, they’re not going to spy for us. So I think there are significant effects if the disparagement continues.
With respect to this particular instance, the ‘fact based analysis’ put forth by the intelligence community, that revealing the truth about the rigged game the DNC was playing constitutes foreign meddling in our electoral process, to the point that we face an existential threat to our way of life, is hard to take seriously. Morell’s interpretation that having such a reasonable second guessing of the intelligence analysis could lead to a sort of mutiny in the ranks of the CIA can only stem from a political bias.
Greenwald makes this point in later his interview with Stelter, noting the fact that Republicans put forth the idea that not agreeing with the intelligence community when they advocated war in 2002 was unpatriotic. Recall George W. Bush’s repeated utterances of the phrase ‘you’re either with us or against us’ in making his case. Democrats at the time were highly skeptical of intelligence, in their general stance against war.
It seems as though the roles have reversed today, with Democrats beating the drum for retaliation against Russia for meddling in the election. However, the political fault line causing the divide is not necessarily Republican versus Democrat. It is anti-establishment nationalists versus establishment globalists. This explains why the likes of John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and pundits such as David Brooks are all on the same side as Adam Schiff, Hillary Clinton, President Obama and the entirety of the mainstream US press.
Trump’s victory was a tremendous blow to this globalist set, and they have sought to strike back by in delegitimizing Trump’s presidency. They are in opposition to Russia, for varying reasons, which I’ve outlined before. The media, which is the mouthpiece for that establishment globalist view, has worked overdrive in recent weeks to heighten magnitude of what may or may not have happened with respect to the election, playing on patriotic feelings of the electorate to undermine President-elect Trump.
By creating this cloud of doubt around Russian involvement, the globalist defeat can be mitigated. The goal is to grind Trump down to a point where he ‘acknowledges’ that Russians may have played a role in the election. The second he does that, the intellectually dishonest narrative will be spun furiously. You can almost see the New York Times headline should Trump ever give in to some of these claims:
‘TRUMP HAS ADMITTED VLADAMIR PUTIN PERSONALLY INSTALLED HIM AS PRESIDENT’
It would be a box that would forever constrain his presidency, as anything he would hope to accomplish would be dogged by concerns about ‘Russian handlers,’ and the like. The globalists would have achieved their goal of a neutered Trump presidency. Trump is right to resist the intelligence conclusions to this point.
As for the media and lawmakers, their naked politicization of this issue will continue to harm their credibility. A facet of the intelligence report was focused on RT, the state-owned media outlet which was accused of disseminating pro-Trump ‘propaganda.’ This continues in the line of ‘fake news,’ which was a concept established after the election as an excuse as to why Hillary Clinton did not win.
‘Fake news’ is better described as ‘opinions the establishment media disagrees with,’ as evidenced by the outrageous treatment of Beppe Grillo, the outspoken Italian politician. Last week, he had the temerity to put forth his opinion that the mainstream media was the biggest purveyors of fake news themselves.
His views were met with massive backlash from globalist politicians, one of whom declared that the idea that random members of the public should decide what is and isn’t fake news ‘is called Fascism, and those who play to down are accomplices.’ His opinions and solutions were hailed as Mussolini-like. This shows you the state of mind of the globalist set. They put forth a set of options: agree with their consensus opinion, or be declared a fascist dealing in fake news.
The inflammatory nature of that claim that the Russians were tampering with the electric grid is orders of magnitude greater than anything that the Russians may have done in terms of hacking. It is potentially an offense warranting a military response. Yet the globalists have no qualms in falsely fanning these flames because it is in their interest.
In this vein, consider the following video from Chuck Schumer last week, in regards to the ongoing row between Trump and the intelligence community:
Shockingly, Schumer all but threatens Trump that his stance against the intelligence community would provoke retaliation by the intelligence community against Trump. It truly is a stunning thing to say, that the American intelligence community would literally strike back against the American President, as though they are mortal adversaries, all over a mere difference in opinion.
However, once you introduce the political aspect, and beyond this the ideological difference between the globalists and nationalists that trumps everything, such claims make a bit more sense. Globalists such as Schumer, McCain and the mainstream media care more about preserving their power and the propagation of the globalist ideology than what is best for the American people. To them, saber rattling for World War 3 with nuclear-capable Russia is superior to allowing the nationalist bent of Trump and Putin to run unchecked, despite the latter having the potential to achieve real peace and prosperity for the respective peoples of the United States and Russia.
As more and more people on the ground understand these concepts, the credibility of the media and the globalist politicians they shill for decreases and decreases.
This past Friday, the US intelligence community released what the New York Times would later call a ‘damning report’ about their findings with regards to the involvement of Russia in the US election. This issue was a hot subject of contention over the last 6 months or so of the election, with the multitude of WikiLeaks and other revelations from the Democratic National Committee showing the organization to be corrupt, and in many cases working in league with mainstream media outifits to its own ends.
In the wake of Hillary Clinton’s defeat, the media and the DNC beat the ‘Russians hacked the election’ drum ever louder. Some establishment Republicans, such as John McCain and Linsey Graham cottoned on to this as well, perhaps hoping to parlay these allegations into the increased US military offensive they’d been dreaming about.
All of this noise set up the report that was released by US intelligence on Friday. It was a de-classified effort, which aimed to outline exactly what the Russians did to influence the US election. Both the report itself, and the media coverage of the report and the issue generally are important to analyze with respect to the larger issue of a legitimate Trump presidency, and beyond that, a political intelligence community and heavily biased media.
Analyzing The Report’s Findings
The meat of the report begins as follows:
We assess with high confidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election, the consistent goals of which were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. When it appeared to Moscow that Secretary Clinton was likely to win the election, the Russian influence campaign then focused on undermining her expected presidency
Given that the report was declassified for public consumption, it makes note of the fact that it could not be very extensive in terms of providing direct evidence as this would betray some of its ‘collection’ methods and perhaps compromise sources. Thus, phrases such as ‘assess with high confidence’ are littered throughout the report in lieu of concrete evidence. In short we’re supposed to just take their word for it that the conclusions reached are valid.
According to the report, Putin masterminded an influence campaign aimed at altering the US election by undermining faith in the electoral process and harming Clinton. The Russian government had a preference for Trump, and when it looked as though Clinton would win they focused on stopping her.
If that warrants a deeper look by US intelligence agencies with a view to determining foul play, then surely the actions of the ‘globalist influence campaign’ require a second look as well. After all, the Russian government was not the only foreign entity which was shown to have a clear preference for one of the candidates in the 2016 election.
Hillary Clinton says foreign leaders are privately reaching out to her to ask if they can endorse her to stop Donald Trump from becoming president of the United States.
“I am already receiving messages from leaders,” Clinton told an Ohio audience at a Democratic presidential town hall on Sunday night.
“I’m having foreign leaders ask if they can endorse me to stop Donald Trump.”
The likes of Matteo Renzi of Italy (when he was still PM), and Francois Hollande of France did so publicly, and many other former heads of state such as Tony Blair and Vicente Fox did as well. UK Parliament was forced to debate a motion to ban Donald Trump from the country, after receiving the requisite number of signatures to a petition.
Furthermore, in the vein of the reports’ allegation that the Russians tactically switched focus when they thought Clinton was set to win, when Trump actually won the election, the focus of the ‘globalist influence campaign’ switched to undermining his presidency.
Nationwide rioting, Jill Stein’s recount effort, the focus on getting the Electoral College to ‘vote its conscience,’ and of course the Russian hacking angle, were all tools used to undermine the incoming Trump presidency by planting the seed that something was ‘wrong’ with outcome on November 8. To date, I haven’t seen much in the way of outrage at this blatant attempt to question Trump’s legitimacy, let alone official intelligence inquiries.
The report continues on, painting a picture of a Russian revenge plot, seeking retribution for the US-backed release of the Panama Papers, as well as the Olympic Doping scandal. Putin personally is supposedly holding a grudge against Clinton for negative comments she made about him back in 2011 and 2012.
The report says that Putin preferred Trump owing to his ‘stated policy to work with Russia’ (the horror) versus ‘Secretary Clinton’s “aggressive rhetoric.”’ Yes, intelligence community, Secretary Clinton’s insistence on a no-fly zone above Syria, an action which US Generals are adamant would lead to war with nuclear-powered Russia, qualifies as aggressive rhetoric. No need for the dismissive quotes. The report continues:
Moscow’s use of disclosures during the US election was unprecedented, but its influence campaign otherwise followed a longstanding Russian messaging strategy that blends covert intelligence operations—such as cyber activity—with overt efforts by Russian Government agencies, statefunded media, third-party intermediaries, and paid social media users or “trolls.”
By ‘cyber activity,’ the report suggests that hackers such as Guccifer 2.0 obtained access to the DNC over a period of at least a year, and leaked the information it gathered to organizations such as WikiLeaks, which are also alleged to have had ties to the Russian government. The report alleges that Guccifer 2.0 is actually a Russian, and not a Romanian as is claimed.
One of the most important lines in the entire report is as follows:
Disclosures through WikiLeaks did not contain any evident forgeries.
In other words, the content that was released by the leaks was true. As for statefunded media, this ‘Russian Propaganda’ section of the report details the efforts of the likes of RT and Sputnik:
Russia’s state-run propaganda machine—comprised of its domestic media apparatus, outlets targeting global audiences such as RT and Sputnik, and a network of quasi-government trolls—contributed to the influence campaign by serving as a platform for Kremlin messaging to Russian and international audiences. State-owned Russian media made increasingly favorable comments about President-elect Trump as the 2016 US general and primary election campaigns progressed while consistently offering negative coverage of Secretary Clinton.
Starting in March 2016, Russian Government– linked actors began openly supporting President-elect Trump’s candidacy in media aimed at English-speaking audiences. RT and Sputnik—another government-funded outlet producing pro-Kremlin radio and online content in a variety of languages for international audiences—consistently cast President-elect Trump as the target of unfair coverage from traditional US media outlets that they claimed were subservient to a corrupt political establishment.
RT’s coverage of Secretary Clinton throughout the US presidential campaign was consistently negative and focused on her leaked e-mails and accused her of corruption, poor physical and mental health, and ties to Islamic extremism. Some Russian officials echoed Russian lines for the influence campaign that Secretary Clinton’s election could lead to a war between the United States and Russia.
If positive coverage of Trump by Russian media is deemed to have been a factor in nefarious intervention in the US election, then the overwhelming negative coverage of Trump by US media is also such an attempt to influence the election. Consider this chart, obtained from the Washington Post.
This overwhelming negative bias by US media has not been classed as an attempt to install Hillary Clinton as president in the way the converse claim has been, let alone received any closer scrutiny by intelligence agencies.
Despite the report characterizing the paradigm of press as subservient to a corrupt political establishment to be propaganda, the leaks showed that this is exactly what happened.
That comprised about half of the meat of the report. The other half was almost entirely focused on RT specifically, breaking down its political views, TV show lonely, and metrics such as its YouTube and Twitter subscribers.
As mentioned before, there is no hard evidence of any claim made in the report, and many of the claims are conjecture based on inferences and critical interpretations of fact. As discussed before, the leaked information was all true and beyond that, the report also contained this important line, with respect to Russian alleged targeting of US election boards:
DHS assesses that the types of systems we observed Russian actors targeting or compromising are not involved in vote tallying.
Again, the information which was leaked was true, and not one vote was tabulated incorrectly.
As such, any media outlet which has used phrases such as ‘Russia hacked the election’ have been deliberately obfuscating fact. The Russians did not change the vote totals, nor did they put any pressure on any individual to vote one way or another.
At the very most, the Russians used their media outlets to express their views on Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and beyond this, Russian actors may have leaked pertinent, factual information in that regard. In terms of Russian media, expressing a pro-Trump, or anti-Clinton view is not propaganda as is claimed in the report, but merely expressing a political opinion.
RT or Sputnik have not done any different to the New York Times, Washington Post, ABC, NBC or CNN in terms of offering opinionated coverage of the election. If RT can be classed to have ‘influenced’ the election, in the pejorative manner that it has been accused, so too has the NYT and CNN influenced the election in this same manner.
Furthermore, RT and Sputnik together have nowhere near the level of influence over the American voter that the likes of the NYT, WaPo, ABC, NBC, CNN, CBS, the LA Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and Fox do, in total, not to mention foreign outfits such as the BBC, The Guardian, Der Speigel and Al Jazeera. The efforts of that collective favored Hillary Clinton on balance, not Donald Trump. Yet US intelligence and those media outlets themselves are asking the American public to believe that plucky RT and Sputnik outweighed them all, to such a degree that it tipped the scales for Trump.
As for the leaked content, it bears repeating – none of it was false. The intelligence report confirmed it, as did the victims of the leak by not challenging the veracity of the emails themselves. Not one person piped up to say ‘Hey! I didn’t write that!’ Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was forced to resign as DNC chairman owing to the fact that the coordination among the DNC to boost Hillary Clinton at the expense of Bernie Sanders was true.
In short, what these Russian (to the extent that they were Russian) leaks showed was that the DNC and the Clinton campaign were running a corrupt operation, which used the power structure of the Democratic Party to freeze out Bernie Sanders, and tried to use the media power structure to do the same to Donald Trump.
The leaks exposed the fundamentally un-American position Hillary Clinton held with respect to things such as international trade and open borders. It exposed the dubious links between Clinton, her global charity foundation, and favors done for foreign businessman, politicians and other dignitaries, implicating her as using her position as Secretary of State to personally enrich herself selling influence to foreigners.
This was all pertinent information to the American electorate. As such, the media and the intelligence community are in effect saying that it was wrong for the American electorate to know about the duplicitous and perhaps illegal activities engaged by Clinton and her campaign. It is an argument for a less informed electorate.
On top of all of this, the manner in which some of the leaked information was obtained presents another side to the story. It was not mentioned in the report, but it is widely accepted that John Podesta was the victim of a basic phishing attack which compromised his email account. This Vox article explains what happened in further detail. In short, it was Podesta’s incompetence which was more responsible than any other factor for his emails falling in the hands of those that would leak them. It is a relief that the likes of Podesta are no longer in the halls of power on this basis.
This hasn’t stopped the media angst. From the NYT article describing the report (emphasis mine):
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia directed a vast cyberattack aimed at denying Hillary Clinton the presidency and installing Donald J. Trump in the Oval Office, the nation’s top intelligence agencies said in an extraordinary report they delivered on Friday to Mr. Trump.
The officials presented their unanimous conclusions to Mr. Trump in a two-hour briefing at Trump Tower in New York that brought the leaders of America’s intelligence agencies face to face with their most vocal skeptic, the president-elect, who has repeatedly cast doubt on Russia’s role. The meeting came just two weeks before Mr. Trump’s inauguration and was underway even as the electoral votes from his victory were being formally counted in a joint session of Congress.
Soon after leaving the meeting, intelligence officials released the declassified, damning report that described the sophisticated cybercampaign as part of a continuing Russian effort to weaken the United States government and its democratic institutions. The report — a virtually unheard-of, real-time revelation by the American intelligence agencies that undermined the legitimacy of the president who is about to direct them — made the case that Mr. Trump was the favored candidate of Mr. Putin.
The voluminous, dramatic writing in this, the opening three paragraphs of the article, is amazing when juxtaposed with the ‘substance’ of the report – that showed that Russian media had a favorable opinion of Trump, and that Russian hackers potentially leaked accurate information pertinent to the election. Through Michael Creighton-level spy thriller narration, the media has pyramided this into a tall tale of international espionage, warranting a counter attack of sanctions and perhaps more.
This fiction is intended to undermine the legitimacy of Trump’s presidency, just as the report itself. By hyping up the scale of Russian involvement, consistently dropping in phrases like ‘the disruption of our ELECTORAL PROCESS’ to highlight the sanctity of what was done, the media establishes an Us vs Them scenario vis a vis Russia, a country with which we already have priors.
The media then takes the next step and attacks Trump, who has been consistently skeptical of the Russian hacking angle. That the dramatization of the Russian involvement has a shred of truth embedded in it has allowed media pundits to be driven into a frenzy, tripping over themselves to express their shock that ‘Trump is ‘siding’ with a HOSTILE foreign power over US intelligence!!’
What is truly shocking is the fact that the media, and the intelligence community is siding with agitators for war such as McCain and Graham, all because Hillary Clinton, the media’s favored candidate also sided with the warmongers, as discussed before.
It is little wonder why Putin favored Trump – he was the candidate which wants cooperation with Russia. As I’ve discussed before, cooperation with Russia is a non-starter for the globalist influence campaign waged by leftists, which detests the country for its refusal to play ball with American hegemony geopolitically while rejecting imposing Cultural Marxist dogma on its people.
As a result, Russia has been fashioned, incorrectly, as the mortal enemy of the United States once again. Fake news indeed.
Hillary Clinton, spoke on Thursday to a group of her donors, presumably reassuring them as to why the $1 billion-plus they spent on her wasn’t a colossal waste of money. She outspent Trump massively, while also having the vast majority of academia, the media, and pop culture behind her.
To lose with that sort of advantage at the foundation of her campaign from day one certainly makes this election result a contender for one of the greater upsets in political history. It had to be a tough ask, to get in front of the money men after such a catastrophe, which is probably why it took over a month for her to gather up the courage to face that music.
Speaking to a group of donors in Manhattan, Mrs. Clinton said that Mr. Putin, the Russian president, had never forgiven her for the accusation she made in 2011, when she was secretary of state, that parliamentary elections his country held that year were rigged.
“Putin publicly blamed me for the outpouring of outrage by his own people, and that is the direct line between what he said back then and what he did in this election,” Mrs. Clinton said.
It is the first time Mrs. Clinton has publicly addressed the impact of the hacks since the intelligence community concluded that they were specifically aimed at harming her campaign.
“Make no mistake, as the press is finally catching up to the facts, which we desperately tried to present to them during the last months of the campaign,” Mrs. Clinton told the group, which collectively poured roughly $1 billion into her effort. “This is not just an attack on me and my campaign, although that may have added fuel to it. This is an attack against our country. We are well beyond normal political concerns here. This is about the integrity of our democracy and the security of our nation.”
It wasn’t the fact that she was simply outworked by Trump. It wasn’t that she ran a campaign hyper-focused on an aggressive Identity Politics and a grievance culture which has long since worn out its welcome. It wasn’t that she merely assumed that because it was ‘her turn’ she would waltz to a coronation. It wasn’t that she was reckless with classified information while at Secretary of State. It wasn’t the fact that she was the poster child for modern day political corruption and pay-to-pay politics (exemplified by the very group she was speaking to).
It was the Russians and their mischievous hackers.
This Election Trutherism has been dutifully put forth by leftists and those in the Old Media who still cannot believe that Hillary Clinton lost the election. They have brought this Trutherism to a new level in recent days by lobbying for the Electoral College, which meets tomorrow, to reject the result of the election by denying Donald Trump the 270 votes he needs to become president. It is an exercise in hypocrisy and arrogance, not to mention a gross misinterpretation of the Constitution.
Last week, The Washington Post published this story, which alleged that the CIA had come to a definitive conclusion that the Russians were behind the shenanigans that took place during the election, and did so specifically to aid Donald Trump at the expense of Hillary Clinton:
The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.
Intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, according to U.S. officials. Those officials described the individuals as actors known to the intelligence community and part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton’s chances.
“It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators. “That’s the consensus view.”
There is plenty to note here, particularly the high level of vagueness involved. A ‘secret assessment,’ found that ‘actors’ with ‘connections’ to Russia leaked hacked emails to WikiLeaks, ‘according to US officials.’ There is not a shred of concrete evidence in any of these claims, and none has materialized since they were made.
Furthermore, that these alleged efforts were done with the express purpose of boosting Trump’s chances is also without evidence. The Post piece mentions that the CIA ‘findings’ had been questioned by other intelligence agencies, on the basis of there not being enough concrete information:
The CIA presentation to senators about Russia’s intentions fell short of a formal U.S. assessment produced by all 17 intelligence agencies. A senior U.S. official said there were minor disagreements among intelligence officials about the agency’s assessment, in part because some questions remain unanswered.
For example, intelligence agencies do not have specific intelligence showing officials in the Kremlin “directing” the identified individuals to pass the Democratic emails to WikiLeaks, a second senior U.S. official said. Those actors, according to the official, were “one step” removed from the Russian government, rather than government employees. Moscow has in the past used middlemen to participate in sensitive intelligence operations so it has plausible deniability.
These holes in the narrative were ‘corrected’ just a few days later when the major entities which comprise the Old Media reported that the intelligence community now believe that Vladamir Putin was directly involved, instructing the hacking and how it would be used. From NBC:
U.S. intelligence officials now believe with “a high level of confidence” that Russian President Vladimir Putin became personally involved in the covert Russian campaign to interfere in the U.S. presidential election, senior U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News.
Two senior officials with direct access to the information say new intelligence shows that Putin personally directed how hacked material from Democrats was leaked and otherwise used. The intelligence came from diplomatic sources and spies working for U.S. allies, the officials said.
Putin’s objectives were multifaceted, a high-level intelligence source told NBC News. What began as a “vendetta” against Hillary Clinton morphed into an effort to show corruption in American politics and to “split off key American allies by creating the image that [other countries] couldn’t depend on the U.S. to be a credible global leader anymore,” the official said.
In other words, the vague confirmation by anonymous ‘US officials’ that the Russians interfered with the election with the purpose of aiding Trump, was later backed up with ‘new intelligence’ from yet more anonymous ‘officials’ who declared that Putin was personally involved and even directed the whole thing.
Of course all of this vagueness can be justified as being necessary, so as to shield the sensitivity of ongoing intelligence work. The Post refers to this in its piece. However, that vagueness is also the perfect shield for narrative creation, which, in the context of the totality of the post-election events suggests that this is the likelier of the necessity of the ambiguity.
Spheres of Influence
The game is made much clearer once one advances from the contention that the Russians interfered with the election to the discussion of exactly how they interfered. Both Loretta Lynch on Thursday and President Obama yesterday unequivocally stated that there was no technical interference from Russia or anyone else in the election. In other words, voting machines were not tampered with, nor were votes incorrectly tallied, and things of that nature. This was confirmation from the highest level that the 2016 election was a free and fair one, at least in a pure technical sense.
So what is the outrage about? It stems from the fact that someone leaked emails from John Podesta and the Democratic National Committee to Wikileaks, who then leaked it to the public in driblets over the final months of the campaign. The Russians have been fingered as the ‘someone,’ and this has been spun to be evidence that the election was ‘hacked,’ and our Democratic Institutions have been tampered with.
That narrative is patently false, as Obama and Lynch have confirmed for us, and any characterization of Russian involvement in this manner is designed to deceive the audience. The Russians (if it was indeed them) engaged in an old fashioned data leak. That was it. They didn’t hack anything but John Podesta’s email account, and released its contents to the public.
The public was thus exposed to new information, which it absorbed and factored in to its decision making. If this constitutes an attempt to nefariously ‘interfere’ with the election, then the leak of the Billy Bush tape, in which Trump used some vulgar language in speaking about women, also qualifiesas an attempt to ‘interfere’ with the election.
Both leaks exposed pertinent information to the public about the candidates. That the Podesta and DNC leaks may have originated from international sources is irrelevant. The information itself was true, and damaging. Michael Tracey provides a bullet point list of what those leaks revealed in this piece, and he concludes it by correctly noting that what was leaked was most definitely in the public interest.
In short, the ‘Russians’ interfered with the US election by showing how the DNC and the Clinton campaign planned to themselves interfere with the US election by colluding with party bigwigs, donors and the media to stack the deck in her favor. They rigged the Democratic Party Primary against Bernie Sanders. Both Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Donna Brazile came under fire as heads of the DNC, with the former having to step down as a result. The latter was caught funneling debate questions to Clinton.
It exposed the private dealings of Hillary Clinton behind closed doors, notably her insistence that it was important to have both a private and public position on issues. It shed light onto some of the more shady dealings of the Clinton Foundation which coincided with Hillary Clinton’s time as Secretary of State. The leaks ultimately put some meat onto the bones of the concept that rampant political corruption goes on at the highest levels of modern government. Most people always suspected this, but lacked the concrete evidence. In many ways, those leaks provided that evidence.
It is telling that throughout the campaign, as the leaks were being delivered, those parties involved never outright denied the validity of the information being released. The most they could do was to appeal to the same sort alarm over foreign intrusion which has been taken to new heights post election.
The whole thing is reminiscent of the poker scene from the 1973 movie, The Sting, featuring Robert Redford and Paul Newman. Newman’s character, Shaw, outwits a mobster, Lonnegan, playing in a private game. The idea was to set Shaw up by trick dealing him a four of a kind, which in poker is a virtually unbeatable hand. This would induce Shaw to end up betting all of his chips, and possibly more, on such a sure thing. Lonnegan, carrying a second deck in his pocket, ‘dealt’ himself a better four of a kind, and thus would have shown down with Lonnegan, losing everything, thus completing the scam.
Shaw, wise to the gambit, was ready for it, and when the time came made a switch. The movie doesn’t show how he did it, but Shaw had originally been dealt four threes, while Lonnegan had been dealt four nines. The betting carries on until both players are all in. Shaw then turns over four jacks, to the dismay of all in the room. Lonnegan, defeated, storms into a side room angry enough to kill. His associate, bewildered, tells Lonnegan: “Doyle, I know I gave him four THREES. He had to make a switch. We can’t let him get away with that.”
Lonnegan response was famous: “What was I supposed to do – call him for cheating better than me, in front of the others?”
Unlike those on the left, Lonnegan understood that you can’t call someone out for being crooked when you are crooked yourself. Having been outsmarted, Lonnegan accepted Shaw had bested him and moved on.
Instead, the left has responded by ramping up the outrage, making it seem as though they had been wronged. Again, both the Attorney General and the President of the United States confirmed that the 2016 electoral process was a free and fair one, devoid of technical interference by any perpetrator, foreign or domestic.
Despite this, democrat politicians, aided by their leftist friends in the Old Media have succeeded in driving the hysteria about Russian involvement into the stratosphere. What happened was a data leak by unknown actors, who could have been foreign. What the old media has implicated, in their usage of terms such as ‘hacked the election,’ is that some sort of advanced espionage operation took place, which was coordinated to install Donald Trump as president.
In the past week or so op–ed after op-ed has filled the pages of newspapers across the country decrying the now ‘tainted’ election, calling on the Electoral College to rectify the situation when it meets on Monday. They’ve even resorted to the failed tactic of trotting out celebs to stand in front of a white wall delivering a public service announcement instructing the Electors to stand up for America and do the right thing, which is to not confirm Trump’s presidency. Naturally, the video has disabled comments and the like/dislike button.
Suddenly, Constitutional Originalism is In Vogue
Vox wrote this piece a few weeks ago to explain why it would be a legitimate action for the Electoral College to not vote for Trump, citing the constitution and Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist Papers writings. To be sure, it would be legitimate for the Electors to do whatever they wanted, individual state rules notwithstanding. The constitution allows for them to do this. However, the standard reasoning provided by leftist for why they should vote for someone other than Trump is wrong. The Vox article writes:
Constitutional history makes clear that the founders had three main purposes in designing the Electoral College.
The first was to stop a demagogue from becoming president. At the Constitutional Convention, arguing in support of the Electoral College, Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts said he was “against a popular election” for president because the people would be “misled by a few designing men.” In Federalist No. 68, Alexander Hamilton wrote that the electors would prevent those with “Talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity” from becoming president. They would also stop anyone who would “convulse the community with any extraordinary or violent movements.”
The characterization of Trump as a demagogue is a matter of opinion. The fact that political pundits in the old media refer to Trump as a demagogue nearly every time they speak about him does not make it a fact. The fact that Trump did tap into a huge wave of populism does not render his policies or his victory somehow illegitimate simply because of that populism.
Consider that Trump has been called a racist xenophobe for putting forth an immigration proposal that seeks to rigorously enforce existing law which for many years has been ignored on many levels. The fact that this is such a popular stance among his supporters and played a huge role in his victory has been used as an example of his ‘demagoguery.’
In terms of a ‘violent movement,’ to the left Trump’s campaign qualifies as such given his signal to aggressively follow the law means that those who break the law are going to be in for an uncomfortable time, to put it mildly. In the realm of immigration, this means illegal immigrants, a protected class of the left, are going to be subject to the ‘violence’ of facing consequences for breaking American immigration laws.
It says a lot about where we are as a society when calls to follow the law can be considered to be demagoguery, no matter how brash they are.
As for Hamilton’s wish to essentially banish charming, engaging, charismatic celebrity types from holding the office, if this is to be the standard, then most of the presidents in the television era are ineligible. Indeed, the 1960 Presidential Debates are immortalized based on the simple fact that the introduction of television altered the perception of the two candidates’ performances. Famously, those who listened on the radio believed that Nixon won, while those who watched on television believed Kennedy was more effective. Kennedy was the more visually appealing of the two, standing calm and assured, while Nixon famously looked a sweating mountain of nerves.
According to the standard now being imposed by the left, Kennedy’s superior charisma and charm should have been taken into account by the Electoral College, especially given the razor thin margin of his victory. Subsequent presidents in the TV era, from Reagan, to Bill Clinton, and even President Obama won, in part, on the strength of their charm, natural persuasion and ability to relate to people. They all displayed ‘talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity,’ because it is a successful, almost necessary tactic in an era so influenced by television.
On the whole, this point is a non-starter, at all levels. Vox continues:
The second goal was to stop foreign interference in election. In the founding period, the framers were extremely concerned about infiltration by rivals including Great Britain. In Federalist No. 68, Hamilton wrote that one major purpose of the Electoral College was to stop the “desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils.” He said that the college would “Guard against all danger of this sort … with the most provident and judicious attention” from the electors.
There is slightly more to this point, as I’ve discussed above. However, nothing about the Russian hacking rises to the level of gaining ‘an improper ascendant in our councils.’ If anything fits that bill, it would be the behind closed doors declaration of Hilary Clinton to international bankers that her dream was to establish a ‘hemispheric common market’ across North America, that would benefit globalist interest. It would be the Uranium One deal Clinton help broker with, you guessed it, Russia, as Secretary of State.
These are the sorts of things consistent with foreign entities looking to install a puppet as opposed to a relatively mundane action like a data leak. More from Vox:
The third goal was to prevent poor administration of government. This is a less well-known purpose of the Electoral College, but it is again expressly discussed in Federalist No. 68. Hamilton wrote that “the true test of a good government is its aptitude and tendency to produce a good administration,” and for that reason, he said, the electors should be “able to estimate the share which the executive in every government must necessarily have in its good or ill administration.”
Vox claimed that Trump had violated this goal because of his popular vote defeat, but that certainly isn’t evidence of anything. In fact the Electoral College exists precisely to prevent the majority vote from potentially harming the nation as a whole. Given that the majority voted against Trump, and thus against the rule of law to favor the nebulous concept of ‘racism’ as it is defined in 2016, the Electoral College worked exactly as it should have on November 8.
So while it is within the rights of the Electors to cast their votes in a manner that would deny Trump the presidency, the threat to the republic that is bandied as the reason for doing so does not exist. Trump is not a demagogue or foreign puppet and has not exhibited a stark inability to execute a good administration. The only ones who truly believe this are leftists and globalist Republicans, who collectively find Trump to be objectionable.
The grounds on which they have been objecting to Trump are the extension of a concept I’ve repeated over the latter stages of the election; that is the idea that racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia and so on are the gravest of societal sins while simultaneously being near ubiquitous in modern society. From the vantage point of this current cultural milieu, Trump is an illegitimate president, owing to his supposed racism and xenophobia.
Therefore, from this vantage point, looking to the Constitution for guidance, and encouraging the Electors to reject Trump is a legitimate course of action. More from Vox:
Modern-day conservatives favor so-called “originalist” understandings of the Constitution. They look to history and to the original texts of our founding documents for guidance. Recent decades have seen the invocation of original constitutional institutions to address present concerns, such as when the Rehnquist Court struck down Congressional laws such as the Violence Against Women Act and the Gun-Free School Zones Act on the grounds that they violated an originalist understanding of the Commerce Clause.
Whether or not you agree with such decisions, they establish the broad-spectrum appeal of our constitutional institutions — particularly in times of crisis. “Make America great again” is a clever marketing slogan. But our real greatness depends on employing our institutions and values to protect our republic from those who might prey on us.
This is written without a hint of irony, given the general leftist aversion to ‘originalist’ interpretation of Constitutional texts. Just in the last year or two they belittled the originalist opposition to gay marriage laws and Obamacare. Thus, their sudden sprint into the bosom of Alexander Hamilton and James Madison is tinged with hypocrisy.
As is Election Trutherism in general, given the fact that before the election Trump was hailed a threat to the 240 year republic for merely stating that he would wait to confirm the legitimacy of the election result rather than blindly accepting it. Now that Trump has won, the same factions which decried him are not accepting the election results, owing to their disagreements with Trump’s politics wrapped in the veneer of foreign meddling.
Had the shoe been on the other foot, there would have been calls for Trump’s arrest for disrupting the ‘peaceful transition of power’ in the way the leftists are doing to Trump.
Trump is a threat because his flouting Politically Correct cultural norms threatens the source of power that leftists have used to wield their influence on society. By establishing their opinions on social issues as the moral ones, mere disagreements are thus immoral, and therefore their disruptions become justified. Of course their views are conjecture, and nothing more.
Despite the jittering protestations of the likes of Keith Olberman, in a free and fair election, Donald Trump won 306 Electoral College votes, and thus the Presidency. None of the contingencies which should prompt the Electors to intervene exist. Even if the Electors chose to overturn the electoral vote on Monday, the decision would go to the House of Representatives, who would most likely elect Trump.
The entire episode is part of the drive to de-legitimize the Trump presidency. It is an attempt for leftists to deny responsibility for their loss, despite having the deck stacked in its favor. In crying foul, they give themselves an out. The drudges across the political establishment, from media pundits and columnists, to polling companies, to campaign advisers, lobbyists and other insiders, all rely on the status quo for their daily bread. That they completely misread Trump’s candidacy and the American electorate, even well after the election has ended, indicates that their usefulness is over.
Unless the election was literally stolen, swindled from under their noses. In this case, it wasn’t their fault. Their world view, their reading of current events, their prescriptions for the future were actually correct; it was unforeseen injustice which got in their way. It’s incredibly self-serving.
It is also incredibly encouraging to those of us who were on The Right Side Of History the entire time. Because to us, these flare-ups and meltdowns emanating from the left confirm that they have no wish to change. They have no wish to stop trying to foist their delusions of equality and social justice on the rest of the public, through the ‘everything and everyone is racist’ mode of argument. A mode of argument which, had just received a resounding defeat in the marketplace of ideas, as evidenced by the election results, and the growing influence of internet culture.
So let the leftists continue down this line for as long as they wish. Their losses will accrue accordingly.
One of the main themes of the post election landscape is the fact that the legacy ‘old media’ refuses to understand why Trump won, and has been displaying this ignorance on a regular basis. It may come to a point that their undying cluelessness will need to be serialized here. For now, I’ll focus on a few threads from this week which the media unsuccessfully tried to spin into an anti-Trump tapestry:
Voter Fraud Tweets, the Recount Effort
Last weekend Trump tweeted the following:
In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally
This is classic Trump trolling. Since the election, the only bright spot that leftists have pointed to is the fact that Trump lost the popular vote, which has led many of them to take apparent solace from the fact that most of the country didn’t want him as president. In political pundit-speak, Trump doesn’t have a ‘mandate’ from the electorate to carry out his aims. That arguement is compeltely lnullfied by the fact that the same electorate also voted for Republican control of the House and Senate ostensibly giving Trump an ‘obedient’ congress and therefore a green light to carry out his platform. Thus the electorate did give Trump a mandate.
Regardless, the popular vote issue has been and will continue to be brought up by Trump detractors. Trump countered this by declaring that millions of people voted illegally, and once those fraudulent votes were removed, Trump would have won the popular vote as well.
Naturally, the old media couldn’t let it go, and produced a slew of fact checking articles to combat Trump’s tweet, such as this one in the Washington Post. What is curious, from the persepctive of Not Getting It, is that these vociferous defenses of the integrity of the 2016 election are coming from the same publications which would have the public believe that the 2016 election was compromised by the Russian government, in order to elect Trump, its preferred canddiate.
In that light, it explains the relative lack of scrutiny over the recount efforts of Jill Stein and others on the left. Perhaps if the election was really compromised, it might make sense to have a second look. But why are the recount efforts focused on Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania? These are states which Trump happened to have won, and coincidentally, if the results were overturned and Clinton were to be found to have won those states, she would then have the electoral votes needed to win the presidency.
Stein and co. claim that the purpose of the recount isn’t to change the result of the election. Fine. But if that is the case, the only other reason would be to make sure that the absolute totals are 100% correct. Maybe in Pennsylvania, Clinton lost by a few hundred votes less than we thought before. If that’s what they’re trying to achieve, again fine.
But if Trump is wrong to suggest that the absolute totals may not be 100% correct, Stein is equally wrong to suggest the same. The old media has gone out of its way to mentiion that Trump has no evidence backing his claim, but neither does Stein.Yet her claim is treated as though it is merely part of the process
Furthermore, had Trump lost and had been associated with a recount effort, over an alleged discrepancy involving a sum (~100,000 votes) roughly 2000 times greater than that of the 2000 recount, the old media would have been apoplectic in its admonishment of Trump. Prior to election night, when they were all convinced that Clinton would win, they declared that Trump’s correct ‘wait and see’ approach to the question of his accepting how the results turned out was unpatriotic, that it was a stance which jeopardized the fabric of the 240 year old republic.
Now that Jill Stein has gone and done exactly that, there are crickets.
Trump on Flag Burning
Another ‘controversy’ was generated by yet another Trump tweet, coming just two days after the illegal voting Tweet:
Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!
The title itself, with it’s implication that Trump is either ignorant of the very foundation of the country he is to lead, or a dictator seeking riding roughshod over that same foundation is rather rich coming from the NYT. It, like most on the left is firmly in the ‘living, breathing document’ camp with respect to how the Constitution should be intepreted, which si eally to say that the Constitution is fine when it agrees with leftist ends, but should be subverted when it doesn’t.
Later on in the piece, the Editorial Board writes:
It’s interesting that so many of the people, like Mr. Trump, who are eager to punish flag-burners are at the same time so untroubled by speech that offends minorities, women and other Americans. They rail against any concern about that kind of speech as “political correctness.” But in this country, flag-burning is about as politically incorrect as anything you can do. Where is their courageous defense of speech now? Isn’t Mr. Trump the man who stood up for the freedom to say brutally unpleasant things? Who said, at the Republican convention: “I will present the facts plainly and honestly. We cannot afford to be so politically correct anymore.”
Here, they paint Trump out to be a giant hypocrite by standing against the free speech of flag burners when he purports to be a champion of free speech. This argument falls short when looked at from a meta level. Flag burners are desecrating a symbol of that which allows them to do the desecrating. To the extent there are problems in the land over which that symbol flies, disrespecting the very symbol which allows one to voice those grievances without fear are misguided at the very best.
In this specific instance, the grievance which prompted the post election flag burning which itself prompted Trump’s tweet is Trump’s election victory, which is a proxy for the political incorrectness the NYT purports to defend, at least on the behalf of the flag burners.
The post election flag burners are, in essence, using their free speech to declare that others using their free speech to voice politically incorrect views is something that rises to such a level of injustice that the flag being burned, a denouncement of the country that would allow that, is thus a legitimate response. It is a rather anti-free speech position to take, and thus it is not surprising that the NYT would defend it.
To be sure, the opinion expressed by Trump in his tweet is wrong, constitutionally. But it is just that, an opinion, not a policy proposal or a piece of legislation. Trump is allowed to have a wrong opinion, and he is allowed to use his freedom of speech to express it.
Interestingly, the NYT piece uses the fact that Trump has now ascended to the presidency as a reason to ring the alarm bells. In the next portion of the piece the Editorial Board writes that this wrongness in opinion is possibly exponentially more dangerous now that he is the president:
Some may choose to read Mr. Trump’s social-media rants as relatively meaningless — the ramblings of a sleepless id, unmoored from thought or knowledge but tuned to Fox News, which apparently was airing a piece on college flag-burners at about the time Mr. Trump sent his tweet.
But we don’t have the luxury of merely mocking someone who is now as powerful as Mr. Trump.
In one sense, they are right. The heightened position of the president will heighten everything Trump is involved in. However, the NYT reveals its sentiments to be nothing more than feigned concern for the national good, disguising its desire to continue to yell from the rooftops the same things it merely raised its voice about during the campaign: Trump is the worst thing ever, literally Hitler, yadda yadda:
Before you tune him out, remember what the right-wing propaganda site Breitbart was celebrating on Tuesday — that Mr. Trump’s social-media presence allows him to get his message to millions, bypassing “corporate media.” He has more than 16 million Twitter followers. With Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, he can feed lies and ignorance directly to 36 million people.
He tweets, he posts, he incites. He trolls. He commands a global platform and will soon be America’s commander in chief. But it has to be said, and said again: This is not normal. It demeans the presidency.
In only a few sentences, the Editorial Board labels a differing viewpoint ‘right-wing propaganda,’ labels the political message that won worldwide in 2016 as ‘lies and propaganda,’ mocks the idea that the coterie of old media which treated Trump unfairly might need to be bypassed as a result, summing it all up by saying that the presidency is demeaned as a result. These are the words of a dying corpse lashing out with contempt at the opponent which vanquished it.
Corey Lewandowski Blames The Media
Midweek, Harvard hosted a gathering of the top operatives in the Clinton and Trump campaigns for a tradtional discussion of the election how it went. The full event is below:
Natrually, this one was testier than it was in years past. It also included several gems from the Clinton camp (Jen Palmeiri in particular, who fought tears seemingly incessantly) which served as confirmation that the right side won owing to the fact that such small minded victors would have presaged a turbulent time for America.
The strangest criticism of the media, however, was by Trump’s former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski.
His complaint: Journalists accurately reported what Trump said.
“This is the problem with the media. You guys took everything that Donald Trump said so literally,” Lewandowski said. “The American people didn’t. They understood it. They understood that sometimes — when you have a conversation with people, whether it’s around the dinner table or at a bar — you’re going to say things, and sometimes you don’t have all the facts to back it up.”
The clearest example of what Lewandowski was talking about was the furor generated over Trump ‘instructing’ the Russian government to find the emails that Hillary Clinton deleted from her private server while she was Secretary of State. For a refresher, here is the video:
Trump was clearly being facetious, perhaps mischievously so, about emails which he old media had assured the public were of little consequence anyway. To the extent they did pose an intelligence threat, operatives from all over the world would have already looked into it, well before the campaign had even started.
Yet the old media transformed this into a matter of national controversy, with some sections of the old media claiming the above video was treasonous in nature. It was used as a springboard to further the idea that the Russian government was actively controlling the election, a narrative which persist to this day.
And when being called on such constant willfully ignorant hyperventilation in service of Hillary Clinton by Lewandowski, how does the old media respond?
By pleading innocence, dashed with a pinch of snark. ‘We were only reporting on what he literally said, what is so wrong about that? What a strange criticism.’
As far as I’m concerned, the old media can keep on keeping on.