Why the ‘Resolution’ of Hilary Clinton’s EMail Scandal Helps Trump

This morning, FBI Director James Comey held a press conference in which he declared that the FBI was to recommend that the Department of Justice did not pursue criminal charges against Hillary Clinton for her handling of classified information via her personal email system.

There is nothing particularly surprising about that on it’s own. Very few people actually expected Clinton to be indicted. What was surprising is the fact that Comey laid out a detailed explanation of the evidence that they did have of her wrongdoing. The following is a snippet:

Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.

 

For example, seven e-mail chains concern matters that were classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level when they were sent and received. These chains involved Secretary Clinton both sending e-mails about those matters and receiving e-mails from others about the same matters. There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position, or in the position of those government employees with whom she was corresponding about these matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation. In addition to this highly sensitive information, we also found information that was properly classified as Secret by the U.S. Intelligence Community at the time it was discussed on e-mail (that is, excluding the later “up-classified” e-mails).

 

None of these e-mails should have been on any kind of unclassified system, but their presence is especially concerning because all of these e-mails were housed on unclassified personal servers not even supported by full-time security staff, like those found at Departments and Agencies of the U.S. Government—or even with a commercial service like Gmail.

To be sure, the use of the term ‘extremely careless’ is a synonym for ‘gross negligence,’ which in fact is a felony crime when applied to the handling of classified information, as per 18 U.S. Code § 793, section f. Indeed, the mere fact that Clinton had set up a private email server to house what is essentially government property is a violation of that code.

Long story short, the director of the FBI admitted point blank that Hillary Clinton committed a felony, however it was not going to recommend any sort of indictment to the DOJ.

The Clinton campaign predictably was relieved by it, and moved quickly to intimate that that the matter was now put to bed.

I wouldn’t be so hasty. In fact, I believe that Trump has been handed a gift here.

In being so explicit, the FBI has essentially destroyed many of the outs the Clinton campaign, and indeed the media who undoubtedly leans her way, would try to employ. Had Comey come out and given some sort of boilerplate statement full of legalese, any Clinton surrogate could merely point to the fact that an investigation had been done, and there was no evidence of wrongdoing.

By saying there was evidence of wrongdoing but no charges forthcoming, the FBI has basically confirmed to the American public that one of Trump’s main talking points – that the system is corrupt and rigged – is absolutely true. Furthermore, Hillary Clinton is the poster child for that corruption and she is running for president, thereby leaving Trump as the more honest candidate by default.

Trump already had plenty of staying power thanks to his status as the ‘outsider’ versus the ‘establishment’ representative that Clinton is. To the extent that there are any fence sitters who didn’t buy the claim that there was a group of insiders colluding against the public from within the chamber halls of Washington DC, they have now been shown an incontrovertible, in your face example of the system at work. One set of rules for the insiders, another for the rest of us. Crooked Hillary indeed.

To focus more on the election, Comey’s report rubbishes the main Clinton campaign rationale for voting for her over Trump. According to that view, Clinton’s experience, steady hand, competence, and extensive understanding of global politics built up over 20 years was vastly superior to Trump. The rationale was that we needed someone who knows what he or she is doing to guide us through the treacherous waters of modern geopolitics.

The simple rebuttal to that now is that were Hillary Clinton to apply for a job in the government today, she would be barred from access to sensitive information of any kind, owing to the ‘carelessness’ she displayed with classified material in the past. Comey said as much, saying:

To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions. But that is not what we are deciding now.

In short, part of the penalty for doing what Clinton did would be ‘security or administrative sanctions.’ In other words, termination or a loss of security clearance. Given that Clinton is now running for an office which holds the ultimate security clearance, Comey is essentially saying that any other person would be disqualified from seeking any position involving sensitive information, let alone the presidency. But Hillary Clinton isn’t any other person. One rule for the establishment, another for the rest of us.

Once again, Comey stated that:

There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position, or in the position of those government employees with whom she was corresponding about these matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation.

According to Comey, Hillary Clinton did not act in the way a reasonable person should have in that position. This is important because it speaks to Clinton’s competence and professionalism.

If she is indeed the most qualified, wisest, most experienced person to run, as is the argument posed by her supporters, how is it that she failed in such a fundamental aspect of her job as Secretary of State? This episode has shown that Clinton is either stunningly incompetent, or stunningly corrupt. Pick one.

As time goes on, expect the Clinton campaign, and indeed the media, to shut down those who would bring this criticism. There would be an attempt to marginalize it by saying it was old news, or a tired Republican conspiracy, or something of that nature.

And to a certain extent, they will have a point. At a certain point, the average voter will tire of hearing about emails and will perhaps start to tune out when the argument is made.

It’s potency lies in the fact that it is a destroyer of Clinton’s main argument – that she is the cool, experienced head, the adult in the room as it were. Trump must focus on the point that competent, experienced leaders don’t put the safety of Americans at risk via negligence.

Cool heads don’t try and destroy evidence after the fact, as Clinton has done deleting emails. Honest players don’t set up servers specifically to house government property outside the purview of government eyes, and lie about it repeatedly afterwards.

And speaking of lying – Comey’s admission casts further doubt on everything Clinton had said before in regards to this issue. Breitbart ran a piece deconstructing how what Comey relayed this morning was different than what Clinton had been telling the public about the saga:

1. FALSE: Hillary Clinton never sent any classified information, or emails containing information marked “classified.”

2. FALSE: Hillary Clinton turned over all work-related emails to the State Department.

3. FALSE: Hillary Clinton was allowed to use a private e-mail server.

4. FALSE: Hillary Clinton’s server was not hacked by foreign adversaries.

5. FALSE: Hillary Clinton had only used a single mobile device for email.

Does this mean that Clinton may have perjured herself in the various hearings she engaged in on this matter, and others? Who else in the Obama Administration knew of Clinton’s setup and said nothing about it? Did Obama himself know? If so, there would be grounds for further legal action. The web of disaster for Obama and the Democratic party threatens to be vast if a domino such as this fell.

As such it is entirely possible that Comey, feeling ‘pressure’ had to stall and eventually shut it down so as to not turn the wrath of the entire DC machine on his head. It further goes to the view that our government is hopelessly corrupt, and their only interest is in themselves, rather than the American people. Episodes such as this should make it clear as day that an outsider is needed, to clean up the vast mess that is American politics.

The failures of the post WWII status quo are starting to pile up higher and higher. It is up to the public to act accordingly.

 

On #Brexit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

….

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CltNvdcWgAAevsU

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More On ‘Principled Conservatives’

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Open Letter to Principled Conservatives

Dear Principled Conservatives,

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Both groups have failed, for different reasons.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

republicans-laughing

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

And then they stopped supporting.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So It Begins – Donald Trump is the Presumptive Republican Nominee for President of The United States

Tonight was a potentially historic night in the modern history of the United States. Donald Trump won the Indiana Primary tonight, but more importantly, Senator Ted Cruz, Trump’s most fervent challenger, suspended his campaign.

This leaves Donald Trump as the presumptive nominee – confirmed by RNC chairman Reince Priebus:

Of course, John Kasich is still involved, but at the time of this writing he is literally fourth in a two man race. It doesn’t get more pathetic than that, and his official elimination is but a formality at this stage.

The focus now shifts to the general election, but before giving my early take, I think it’s instructive to examine my own path to the #TrumpTrain.

I’m generally a minimal government, pro free market type of guy, and as such I’ve had little to pick from in the elections I’ve been old enough to vote in. When the 2016 process got going, I was resigned to going with Rand Paul, a guy who had a good background, being Ron Paul’s son, but ultimately was lukewarm in terms of the ‘oomph’ needed to rally people around him and embrace his ideas.

Paul did have a small sliver of fervent grassroots, Tea Party types, most of whom he inherited from his father, but beyond that he was very much a lone wolf doing his best to fight against the system from within it. I knew he had little chance, but I still stayed interested in the event a miracle happened.

I had little time for candidates such as Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Rick Perry, and even Chris Christie, all of whom I saw as ‘more of the same.’ More of the Mitt Romney/McCain/Bush/Dole set, whom the US electorate as it stands in 2016 has no time for. I posited that if one of those ‘establishment’ types won the nomination, the Clinton coronation was all but assured, despite how poor a candidate she is.

When Trump announced his candidacy, I laughed him off like everyone else did. In truth, I knew very little about him; I never watched The Apprentice or read The Art of The Deal. I knew of him, only through his real estate empire and his status as a media figure. He’d have the odd interview on CNBC or CNN that I’d happen to catch in passing, but I wasn’t totally knowledgeable about him.

I believed the stock opinion about him that everyone put forth, namely that this was a publicity stunt, he was only doing it as promotion for a new TV show, and so on. I certainly didn’t take him seriously.

That all changed when Trump went after John McCain, and the whole row over Trump’s ‘war hero’ comment. I didn’t really care for the remark so much as the response to it from all involved. Nearly to a person, Trump was admonished. The liberals and conservatives, in all forms of the media and the candidates running, all called for him to apologize, and Trump refused. And his poll numbers went up.

My interest in Trump was piqued in that moment, simply because everyone I had come to disagree with over the years – liberal and conservative pundits, the aforementioned establishment candidates, John McCain himself – was united against Trump. That simple fact made me want to take Trump’s side.

That was in mid July 2015. During the final two weeks of that month, many commentators and pundits continued to attack Trump, declaring his candidacy over. While his steadfast defiance in the face of that assault was admirable in my view, I still had reservations about some of his views, and still do to this day.

At the time, I thought that Trump could be useful in the sense that, paired with a Rand Paul as running mate, for example, a lot of good could be done in the view of small government conservative types. My rationale was that Trump, being the showman that he is, would draw the American public under the tent.

Once there, he could sell the limited government, conservative principles that a guy like Rand Paul would be all about. In other words, Trump would filter through the message of Republicans like Paul so as to be more palatable to the American electorate. This was my hope in those late July days.

Then came the famous Fox News debate in August.

With the first question of the debate, Bret Baier asked the candidates if there was any one of them who would refuse to sign a pledge not to run as a third party candidate. Trump was the only one who raised his hand.

Then, Megyn Kelly asked him a loaded question about his relationship with women generally, pointing to some boorish remarks he had made on TV and on social media.

These questions, asked of the front-runner at the time, pretty much exposed the game to me. It looked like an attempted hit job, and it confirmed to me what the McCain episode had brought to my attention – the ‘establishment,’ as it were, was ALL aligned against Trump, even from within his own party.

In those first five minutes of that first Republican debate, I punched my ticket for the #TrumpTrain.

The rest of the debate was also memorable for the way Rand Paul tried extremely hard to take shots at Trump. He was totally out of his depth, and my hopes soured on his chances. When he dropped out of the race, it was of little surprise to me.

At that stage, I had fully understood what was going on. Donald Trump, while perhaps far form perfect, was the first candidate I’d come across that had the potential to affect true change. As I’ve intimated earlier, I’ve long been of the view that Republicans and Democrats were two sides of the same coin in many respects. I personally rejected that coin.

Trump is an enigma, a phenomenon that has not been seen in American politics in decades, perhaps ever. Many commentators have run themselves ragged trying to explain it, but to me it is clear as day. Trump represents the ‘reject the coin’ view that many Americans share, but so did past candidates such as Pat Buchannan and Ross Perot.

What separates Trump is his unparalleled skill in persuasion and charisma. I mentioned as much in an earlier post describing the cultural implications of a Trump presidency:

The combination of his wealth, business expertise, virtually 100% name recognition, multi decade exposure to the media and charisma has enabled Trump to dominate discussion. Once in that position, he has used it to put forth an unambiguously anti-Marxist, anti-establishment message, to the horror of the elites.

Scott Adams, known for his Dilbert cartoons, has done a great job describing Trump’s persuasive efforts in detail in a series of posts which has spanned the last 6 months or so. I’d highly suggest you read them, as they are instructive.

This is incredibly dangerous for those who want a Democratic president, especially if Hillary Clinton is going to be the nominee. Although at the time of this writing, many are suggesting that Clinton is the favorite, I don’t buy it. I believe Trump will win, and even go as far as to say that in the end it won’t be very close.

I say this because I believe that my own path to Trump support will be mirrored by millions by the time November rolls around.

Again from the Cultural Implications post I referenced earlier:

Consider that from 1980 to 2013, a member of either the Clinton or Bush family has been in the White House or among the President’s Cabinet. To the extent that the United States has deteriorated over that time, the establishment from both parties has directly overseen it. The bottom line is that modern day Republicans and Democrats are two sides of the same coin. Their continued underwhelming performance in service of the American people is leading many to repudiate the coin entirely.

 

Yet it is that establishment in politics, as well as the media, which has opposed Trump almost universally. Although he has addressed many of the realities facing Americans, Trump has been shouted down as racist, misogynistic, and Islamophobic. He has also been ridiculed as an unhinged, clownish bully.

There are two phenomena here, both of which have been waning of late, at least in my view. The first is the Red Team/Blue Team dynamic which has been exacerbated by cable news. I do believe that we’re entering an age when rigid political labels cease to matter, and people will care more about what ‘works.’

More importantly, the second phenomenon, Political Correctness Fatigue will set in. We live in a world in which the threshold to being called a bigot is crossed by correcting someone’s grammar. At some stage, normal human beings will tire of having normal human interactions being regulated by a handful of thin skinned individuals.

The only thing preventing the vast majority of normal people from making their disgust for political correctness known is the fact the PC Police is firmly in charge at the moment. If you step out of line, your employment could potentially be on the line. We’ve seen various reports of people being fired over things they’ve said on social media. PC mobs have even become proactive in tracking down the employers of miscreants on social media with the sole purpose of getting them fired.

In the current setting, nobody will speak up against overzealous social justice warriors. That angst has certainly been bubbling under the surface, as evidenced by the overwhelming anti-PC views espoused by those who post in comment sections all over the internet. It is telling that many of the politically correct set have closed down comment sections over the last 18 months in response.

Donald Trump is, in my view, the catalyst which will bring the backlash offline into the real world. His brash, anti-PC comments, which will surely persist, will continue to help him in the polls, let alone do him no harm. These ‘ABSOLUTE MADMAN‘ moments will serve as the ‘coast is clear’ signal for normal thinking people to log off the internet and speak freely in public.

Despite this, Clinton’s main strategy still will be to use the gender politics part of the PC machine, bludgeoning the public about how great it will be to have a female president. Her continued failure to see the light on this, and many other topics will cement her as the ‘establishment,’ old order, status quo candidate.

In being the epitome of Democratic establishment politics, Clinton mirrors the position Jeb Bush held for the Republicans. While beating her won’t be as easy as it was to beat Bush, Trump is still the ‘outsider’ candidate, running in an ‘outsider’ year. One only has to look at the way Bernie Sanders is running Clinton to the wire to understand this.

I don’t think this dynamic can be overstated going into the general election. Donald Trump is the candidate who represents change, change from the two party establishment which ha been so comfortable for nearly 40 years.

He’s won the Republican Primary without outside donors, without pandering to anyone but the American people, and without speaking in political tongues like any other candidate would have. This is going to present, perhaps for the first time in my lifetime, a real distinction between the candidates.

Ultimately Clinton will dispose of Sanders, owing to the fact that the establishment’s ‘unbound’ superdelegates are all in Clinton’s pocket, further highlighting the difference between her and Trump as the establishment insider. Where Clinton has an inbuilt advantage over Sanders, Trump had to fight off schemes of all sorts to prevent a contested convention. This will set up a battle royale for the presidency.

Political Correctness vs Reality > Feelings

Establishment vs ‘The People’

Feminism vs Traditional Values

Globalism vs America First

The importance of this election can’t be overstated.

The Importance of Fathers and Strong Families

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

 

It’s not about race, or socioeconomic status.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To The Surprise of None, Janet Yellen Does Not See a Bubble in the Economy

Last night, Janet Yellen was accompanied by her three predecessors as Fed Chairmen, Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan and Paul Volcker at a forum in New York discussing various issues.

In the wake of Donald Trump declaring that the economy was a bubble, and that a large recession was on the cards, moderator Fareed Zakaria asked Yellen if we really were in a situation ‘as perilous as some on the campaign trail have been suggesting.’ This was Yellen’s response in full:

So I would say the US economy has made tremendous progress in recovering from the damage from the financial crisis. Slowly but surely the labor market is healing. For well over a year we’ve averaged about  225,000 jobs a month. The unemployment rate now stands at 5%. So, we’re coming close to our assigned congressional goal of maximum employment.

 

Inflation which, my colleagues here Paul and Allen, spent much of their time as chair, bringing inflation down from unacceptably high levels. For a number of years now inflation has been running under our 2% goal and we’re focused on moving it up to 2%.

 

But we think that it’s partly transitory influences, namely declining oil prices, and the strong dollar that are responsible for pulling inflation below the 2% level we think is most desirable. So, I think we’re making progress there as well, and this is an economy on a solid course, um, not a bubble economy.

 

We tried carefully to look at evidence of potential financial instability that might be brewing and some of the hallmarks of that, clearly overvalued asset prices, high leverage, rising leverage, and rapid credit growth. We certainly don’t see those imbalances. And so although interest rates are low, and that is something that could encourage reach for yield behavior, I wouldn’t describe this as a bubble economy.

More specifically, her reasoning as to why this can’t be described as a bubble economy:

We tried carefully to look at evidence of potential financial instability that might be brewing and some of the hallmarks of that,

such as

clearly overvalued asset prices,

MW-EB006_overva_20151210143625_ZH

(‘Now’ was December of 2015)

high leverage, rising leverage,

-1x11-1

-1x-1-1x-1NYSE-margin-debt-SPX-since-1995

and rapid credit growth.

fredgraph

 

We certainly don’t see those imbalances.

Ordinarily, one would suggest that she look a little harder, but in this case the suggestion would be futile. The famous Upton Sinclair quote about a man (or in this case woman) not being capable of understanding something when he or she is paid not to understand it is apropos.

Central bankers will never, ever see a bubble ahead of time because that would mean admitting some sort of fault. Central banks attempt to guide and steer the economy through the business cycle, and thus if a bubble arises, it is almost completely of their doing. Thus, they can never admit to it before the fact.

After it bursts, however, all sorts of gnashing of teeth occurs as to why the inevitable crisis was unforeseeable, thanks to some insidious development out of their control. The go-to excuse the last time around was a savings glut in Asia. Who knows what they’ll say this time.

On Tesla’s Model 3 Fanfare

Tesla is one of, if not the most polarizing companies out there, from an investment perspective. You are either a 100% believer in every word that Elon Musk says or you believe that the company is the ultimate hype job. There is usually little scope to be somewhere in the middle, but I am just there.

I do believe that Musk is potentially a transformational figure in the same vein as Henry Ford and Bill Gates. At the same time, Tesla’s ambitions are not backed by the marketplace. They have been at best marginally profitable, and have been trending towards markedly unprofitable in the last year, and rely on substantial government subsidies.

The unveiling of their new Model 3 last week was met with all sorts of fanfare. Bloomberg have even declared that the car has already lived up to the hype, despite the fact that it will not be available until late 2017. This morning, they’ve announced that over 325,000 people paid a $1000 deposit for the car.

In truth, that doesn’t mean very much, beyond the great press. The deposit can be recalled at any time, and as such it is basically a loan from the depositors to Tesla, who will use that money in the production process. The risk for Tesla is that between now and the eventual release date, problems may arise which lead to mass refunds of deposits, which put the company in an even more precarious financial position than it is in. Those problems may include things a simple as the $35,000 price point moving higher, or the release date being pushed further and further back. The Model 3 really has to be a home run for Tesla.

Personally, I hope that it is. But with regards to its stock, I cannot justify the stratospheric levels to which it has risen. Quite frankly, TSLA is a company with a great story but very little of substance to back it up (at this time). It could very well come through in the end, but such premises are not what good investments are made upon. A look at the history of the stock is below:

TSLA

TSLA has achieved its great heights mostly on the back of hedge fund driven momentum buying, a feature of the now 7 year bull market from 2009. Regardless of its financials, the hype of Tesla has been the impetus to new highs.

One investing in this stock would do well to wait until Tesla actually develops a track record of consistency in its sales, projections and deliveries on a lot of the promises Musk has made. In terms of the short term action, it is my belief that it will rally to new all time highs, besting the $291 mark it set in 2014. Naturally, $300 might be a magnet. But from there I do not see how there is much upside, especially given I believe we are in the early stages of a bear market generally. Or, at the very least we are in the beginning stages of a substantial (20-40%) correction in the general market.

Should that be the case, the momentum stocks like Tesla are going to be the hardest hit, and as such one should steer clear of them. That said, a massive decline in the stock would be welcome news for real investors. Looking ahead to late 2017, the potential confluence of a much lower stock price much in line with its current fundamentals, and a smooth Model 3 release, would be a fertile ground to plant the seeds of a good investment.

That time has not yet come, however. Playing in Tesla at this stage is a gamble, and participants should act accordingly.

Election Math: Was Ted Cruz’ Victory in Wisconsin A Turning Point?

Ted Cruz won the Wisconsin Primary last night, taking 40 of the 46 delegates. This leaves the delegate count looking like this:

Trump – 758

Cruz – 505

Kasich – 144

There are 769 delegates remaining.

I’m not going to discuss Kasich the rest of the way given he is irrelevant, and cannot obtain the magic number for the nomination which is 1237. He still trails Marco Rubio, who dropped out nearly a month ago.

In order for Trump to attain enough delegates to win the nomination outright, he will need at least 479 of the remaining 769, or roughly 62%. Cruz would have to win 732 of the remaining delegates, or 95%.

That is pretty much an impossibility, so for all intents and purposes, Donald Trump is the only candidate who can win the nomination on the first ballot at the convention.

Cruz will be mathematically knocked out of winning a majority if he does not win at least 58 delegates in New York on April 19th.

Continuing along those lines, here is a look at the next phase of the election, starting from New York up until West Virginia on May 10:

April 19th:

New York (95 Delegates)

April 26th:

Connecticut (26 Delegates)

Delaware (16 Delegates)Maryland

(38 Delegates)

Pennsylvania (17 Delegates bound, 54 more unbound)

Rhode Island (19 Delegates)

May 3:

Indiana (57 Delegates)

May 10:

Nebraska (36 Delegates)

West Virginia (34 Delegates)

Trump winning roughly 62% of the delegates through this stretch would leave him with about 1000 delegates. If he leaves this stretch with that figure or higher, he will be in good shape heading towards the western states. That means a haul of about 242 delegates, and his home state of NY will be a huge part of him attaining that figure. If Trump sweeps through the April 26th contests, he’ll be well on his way to attaining the figure he needs, with either Indiana or West Virginia putting him over the top. A lot will be determined over the next 21 days.

Turning Point?

Predictably, after the Wisconsin result, there has been much in the way of celebration from everyone but the Trump camp. Recall that the past two weeks have been an all out blitz from the #NeverTrump camp, from Wisconsin conservative talk radio, to GOP establishment figureheads like Scott Walker.

Trump made a few unforced errors as well, which didn’t help him, but at the end of the day the fact that Wisconsin is a different breed of conservative didn’t help him. The radio hosts told him as much the minute he landed in the state. Exit polling showed that Wisconsin Republican voters were less ‘angry’ at the system in comparison to other states. In short, the state of Wisconsin is fine with the status quo as it is. That never augured well for Trump.

This is not a turning point, however, despite what the media and Cruz camp are trying to say. What Wisconsin happened to be was the perfect storm. RNC chairman Reince Priebus, governor Scott Walker and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan are all Wisconsinites. Anti-Trump SuperPACs spent tens of millions in the state. Multiple talk show radio hosts, all with heavy influence on the electorate, are all anti-Trumpers. Charlie Sykes, one of those radio hosts, bluntly laid out the motivations for supporting Cruz on MSNBC yesterday:

I’ve said Ted Cruz is not my first choice, my second choice, or my third choice, but he’s the guy right now who is the only guy that can stop Donald Trump from getting 1,237 and the only candidate who can stop him in Wisconsin. He is the guy. So I am more anti-Trump than I am pro-Cruz, but Ted Cruz acceptable enough to Wisconsinites.

Cruz is acceptable enough to Wisconsinites, and indeed the GOP, for now. His only use to the GOPe is to stop Trump from getting a majority. Having done that, they’ll drop Cruz like a hot potato at the convention and go for someone else.

It baffles me that Cruz supporters are so blind as to think that they actually have a shot to win the nomination. The real feeling about Cruz among most of the GOPe is that he is terrible, but at least he is the devil we know. Whereas Trump is a total wild card.

In truth, the only reason Cruz has come this far is because the Trump phenomenon made room for Cruz as an ‘outsider.’ If Trump had never entered, there is no way Cruz could have made such an inroad. He would have had to be as brash as Trump was at the beginning, but given the way he has been treated in national politics and the media since his rise to the senate, he would have been discarded quickly. As I wrote a few weeks ago, Trump is probably the only man in America to actually make a real ‘outsider’ viable.

This is precisely why Cruz stayed silent when everyone and their mother denounced Trump in the summer and fall of 2015. Cruz was doing this because he recognized that the real fight was between the outsiders and the GOPe, and that by biding his time, allowing Trump to build up the ‘outsider’ side of the ledger, he could come in later and try and fight him for it. Had Cruz gone after Trump earlier, he would have aligned himself with the GOPe side and been blown out quickly.

At this stage of the game, now that all real establishment threats have gone to the wayside, the only thing that could benefit the GOPe is a fight between the ‘outsiders,’ Trump and Cruz, that could leave both unable to achieve a majority and thus put the GOPe back in control at the convention.

Of course, Cruz isn’t a real outsider, in the sense that he has been in the Washington system all of his career. He is a system man who nobody likes, not because he wants to change the system necessarily, but because he expedited his rise through the ranks by playing at being the outsider.

At the end of the day, he still has to make concessions to the system, which is the reason that those wanting real change should back Trump. Trump may not be the PRINCIPLED CONSERVATIVE everyone wants, but those principles have no place in the current political system outside of the fringes.

This is what #NeverTrump people don’t get, and it was evident in Wisconsin over the course of the last two weeks. If you want real PRINCIPLED CONSERVATISM in 2016, the current system has to look a lot different. In reality, the current culture has to look a lot different. You aren’t going to change it toiling in the doldrums of Politics As Usual. You have to burn the house down and start again. Which is what Trump represents.

Once a Trump-like candidate, warts and all, finishes his work, the likes of Ted Cruz, the Pauls, and whoever can actually impart their PRINCIPLED CONSERVATISM from a place of strength, rather than fighting against the machine. If last night was indeed a turning point, the machine will remain, and PRINCIPLED CONSERVATISM will achieve nothing more than token senate seats and marginal presidential primary runs.

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

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

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

medialetter

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

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

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

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

Capture.PNG1

The Reality

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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


 

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

 

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

Lewandowski responded via this tweet:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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