Archive for the ‘Ted Cruz’ Category

My Disgust with GOP Politicians

Sunday, March 13th, 2016

cruz_statementOn Friday evening, as the staged riot at the UIC Trump event was in full swing, Ted Cruz came out to make a statement, that was carried live in several media outlets.  That statement began by briefly blaming the protesters, but then shifted immediately into blaming Donald Trump for the violence, asserting that he had created an environment ripe for violence, by effectively inciting it. First, let’s listen to Senator Cruz’s statement Friday evening:

I can’t describe how disappointed I am at this “blame the victim” meme being advanced in this video by Ted Cruz.  Naturally, both Rubio and Kasich made similar remarks to media, and it frankly disgusts me that they reverted purely to opportunists seizing on a chance to attack Donald Trump.  While it is true that it would seem at least superficially factual that Trump may have encouraged some violence with the “punch him in the face” remark during one of his rallies, the truth is that the statement “punch him in the face” is being considered here out of context.  What do I mean by “out of context?”

Consider that you’re throwing a party, or hosting an event, and ne’er-do-wells invade your event with the express purpose of causing trouble, or of creating mayhem.  As they’re being escorted out, or frequently as they’re being apprehended, they become a whirligig of flailing fists to either combat their removal, or to slow their removal or otherwise cause harm to others.  In this sort of context, some of these people would deserve, and would have earned a “punch in the face.” It’s not an aggressive use of force that Trump seems to have been advocating, but something of a response or defense against some of these very nasty folk who are stirring up trouble, intentionally, and by design of their attendance at the event of a person they obviously do not support.

If I support a cause, for instance, the Tea Party, and I attend the rally of a Tea Party group, I’m there to honestly support the cause and otherwise participate honestly in an event.  If I go to a rally of Planned Parenthood supporters, knowing I truly detest everything for which Planned Parenthood stands, secreting myself by disguise of clothing or signage, but then interrupt the program, and become violent as I am forcibly removed from the premises, I’m not a “peaceful protester” nor am I anything but what Trump has termed “disrupters.” I have used deception to gain entrance, and then by force of my active presence and demonstration against the purpose of the rally, I have placed the other rally attendees, security teams, and the host(s) of the rally in the position of having to use physical force or its implicit threat to remove me in order to continue the event for which they have every right to carry out as scheduled.

The people actually creating the “atmosphere” or “environment” of violence are not, in such a scenario, the host(s) of the event, the security staff, nor even other attendees who may wish to confront me or assist in my removal.  In such a scenario, the sole responsibility for violence lies with the person who instigated the incident, in my example above.  This is not really a logical controversy, and Ted Cruz is a smart enough fellow to have known better.  So are Marco Rubio and John Kasich.  Instead, they leaped opportunistically into the situation without regard for the truth.  In Chicago, at the scheduled UIC Trump rally that was ultimately canceled on Friday night, the responsibility for all of it, every bit of any violence, the rampage, and the canceling of the event, every stitch of it, lies solely with those who organized and participated in the riot for the purposes of interrupting, interfering, or otherwise diminishing the event for all those who were attending in good faith.

Ted Cruz had the opportunity to say that.  He had the chance to step in front of the cameras and microphones and be a champion of free speech, and to absolutely castigate the parties who were involved in this mob-oriented treachery.  Instead, what Senator Cruz did was to attack the victim(s).  Instead, what Senator Cruz did was to lend cover and excuse culpability of all these ne’er-do-wells who intentionally attended the event, using disguise and deception, for the explicit purpose of stifling the free speech of Mr. Trump, along with any other speakers scheduled, and naturally the crowd that was gathering to listen to him.  It excuses the damage done to attendees’ vehicles by the rampaging hordes of ne’er-do-wells and provides them with an out for their actions.

This is extremely disappointing to me.  Senator Cruz is an attorney, a man who proclaims his thorough-going support of the US Constitution, and yet I am to believe that he does not see this distinction?  It’s not as though Trump supporters were or are parading through the streets of Chicago looking for a fight, or that Trump himself were leading such a parade, aggressively seeking out protesters to confront and attack as a matter of aggression.  These supposed “incitements” to violence that Ted Cruz and the others have been citing all occurred within the confines of venues reserved by the host of the event in question, and solely for the participation of the invited, sincere participants.

This is no different from the very nasty habit of current public schools and their widespread “zero-tolerance” policy on violence, in which they make no moral or logical distinction whatsoever between the attacker and the victim who defends his or her person from the attack.  Trump never said “go out in the streets, find those protesters, beat the hell out of them, and punch them in the face.”  That would be an actual incitement to violence.  That would be an aggressive appeal for an “atmosphere” or “environment” of violence, and that would be disclaimed by every sane and rational person. I am fairly certain that if Mr. Trump ever exhorted his crowds to such behavior, he would in short order find his crowds dwindling in size, but that’s not what he’s done, and Ted Cruz knows it, and so do all the other people who’ve been attacking him on this front over the last week or more.

Good and decent people know that they should not go into somebody’s birthday party, wedding reception, public meeting, church service, or any other sort of event and create disturbances of any sort.  They also know that if they would undertake to do such things, they risk making of themselves targets for a highly emotional and direct response that may become physical in the attempt to remove them. This is not rocket science.  This is common decency, and I think it speaks volumes about the character of candidates Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich, all who made similar statements on Friday evening, that the opportunity to attack their party’s front-runner “trumped” all other considerations in the formulation of their statements.  It’s utterly despicable, and I can’t support people who displace blame onto the victims while letting the perpetrators off the hook in any way. Period.

Unequivocal Decision Point – No Advice Needed or Solicited from GOP Establishment

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

romney_ug_ftI recognize that for many, 2016 has been the most confusing, confounding primary season in memory.  One of the things that I’ve always and forever detested is the Republican Establishment. Long time readers will know this has been the case.  In my most recent previous post, Stupor Tuesday, I explained why this race is now down to two men.  Ted Cruz and Donald Trump are the only viable campaigns remaining in 2016.  I have often stated in various places, both here and on Facebook and Twitter, that I don’t feel entirely comfortable with either of these candidates.  Let me state this clearly, and let me make it clear to all my readers, because whatever my issue-wise sympathies, the moment either of these candidates links up with the GOP establishment, or I am able to discern that either has linked-up with the party bosses, I will immediately support the other candidate in a all-out way.  I said yesterday on Twitter, half jokingly, the following:

You know how we conservatives are always miffed at GOPe for expecting us to join them, while they never join us? How stubborn are they?

In truth, I hope they’re stubborn as Hell. I hope they stubbornly stick to their guns and completely and utterly destroy the GOP as we’ve known it.  Their decades of intransigence, selling out the country with horrible trade deals to increase their personal treasuries and to extend their political influence while simultaneously ruining the country by giving away our sovereign power and our right to national self-determination has been a process that is absolutely despicable to me, and ought to be anathema to all Americans.  I don’t hate much in this world, in the true sense of the word, but the GOP establishment is one entity on this planet that collectively deserves all the contempt I can muster.  The fact of the matter is that the GOP establishment with all its gamesmanship aimed at subverting genuine, conscientious, sincere conservative activists to their purposes is simply an abomination.  I am not willing to side with the GOP establishment for the sake of one more election, under any circumstance. I am not willing to have them join with me because I know that will simply be their key to the front door through which they will slowly smuggle their agenda.

Today, Mitt Romney presented his statement on this election.  Let me make this clear: I don’t care what Romney says. Romney was a loser, and he was no friend to conservatives, and honestly, I don’t think he was a friend to our country’s future.  Trump says “he choked,” but I think it was worse than that. I think the GOP establishment wanted Obama to stay in office for a second term, so they could blame Obama and the Democrats for all of the statism and cronyism they’ve been perpetrating against us these last four years. Truly.  I think the GOP establishment in Washington DC has been sand-bagging the last four years and doing Obama’s bidding because it is what they and their wealthy donors, like the US Chamber of [Crony]Commerce have demanded. They tried to put the GangOf8 “Screw America Amnesty Bill” over on us, and they used Democrats to anchor a voting majority, and factually did so in the Senate.  In the House, under Boehner and Ryan, the party bosses have used a voting bloc comprised of a majority of Democrats and the RINO contingent to pass continuing resolutions, and other legislation that simply perpetuates the problem, with McConnell backing that effort in the Senate with the same strategy.  It’s disgusting. The GOP establishment is reprehensible, but now they want to pervert and twist the 2016 primary season more than they’ve already done. To the degree this is now a two-man race comprised of two “outsider” candidates, it is wholly due to the mismanagement and sedition of the Republican Party bosses, and an intractable DC establishment that hates conservatives, generally governing with contempt for them.

Let me explain something to you, my loyal readers who have hung in there over the years, particularly the last couple, when you had every reason to suspect I might never return: I love my country, as do you. As a young man, I spent much of my youth manning the defense of Europe from the Soviet Bloc when the matter was still very much in doubt, and our national security was very much at risk. I returned home when George H.W. Bush was taking the reins and making massive cuts to our defense infrastructure as part of a supposed “peace dividend,” a policy continued by his successor, Bill Clinton. What I discovered upon my return was that in my half-decade absence from my country, while serving as its instrument abroad, Ronald Reagan’s hopeful, courageous America was being replaced by a shrinking, tepid, but allegedly “kinder and gentler” America, suffering in the aftermath of a recession brought about in part by a broken “read my lips” promise.

Conservatism had seemed to be on the ascendancy throughout Reagan’s time in office, and many of us assumed, wrongly, that George Bush the elder would merely continue Reagan’s programs and policies. It was not the case.  It was he who caused the loss to Clinton in 1992, and it was in the same way that his son’s mismanagement of the government early in this century led to Barack Obama. I view the era from January 1989 through present as one unbroken string of Bush governance. Neither John McCain nor Mitt Romney put up much of a fight, the difference between them being that John McCain at least had a running mate in the person of Sarah Palin who did not want to stand down, and who did not want to yield. That’s the truth.

Over the last seven years, since Obama’s first term commenced in 2009, when Republicans had the power to fight, they laid down. We sent them help in 2010. In 2011, they failed us, and if you go back to the older posts on this site, you will see detailed in those posts the budget battles of 2011, and how the Republicans in the House under the leadership of John Boehner repeatedly failed us.  In 2012, we sent more help. There were some efforts, but then there were also those we had sent who betrayed us, such as Marco Rubio, among lesser lights.  In 2014, again, we sent more help, and no longer could Boehner claim “one-half of one-third of the government” as his excuse. Instead, in vote after vote, they engineered Obama legislative victories using a few hands-full of safe Republican RINOs in combination with almost all of the Democrats to give Obama whatever in Hell’s name he demanded.

Betrayed! That’s where we’ve been, and with few exceptions, that’s where we are. Now we sit in 2016 in the middle of the primary season, and again, the GOP establishment is trying to rig things, but failing that, if they don’t get a nominee acceptable to them, they are going to spike this election. Bill Kristol of WeeklyStandard fame has said he’d consider Hillary rather than voting for Trump. He’s an establishment hack, and if he wants to support Hillary, so be it, let him, but then let him leave also the Republican party, never to return. If the Republican party establishment does anything other than to support the nominee of the party to its fullest capacity, the Republican party will be killed-off in the aftermath.  Millions upon millions of long-time Republicans, conservatives, and undoubtedly, others in the broader Republican coalition will see to it.  We’ve had it with the GOP establishment.  It’s not their party any longer, and if we need to pry it from their [politically]”cold dead hands,” we will. The time of the DC Democrat/Republican uni-party is at an end, one way or another, and if it means the GOP must die to be reborn, so be it. If we must kill the GOP to rid ourselves of the DC establishment virus that infects the body of the Republican party, I stand ready to assist. If this election is lost due to the DC establishment malingering or sabotage, woe will become their constant companion, because we now know beyond a shadow of a doubt where the lines are drawn, and who is screwing whom.

In media, FoxNews is in trouble, and they know it. Ailes is reportedly apoplectic at the disclosure of his secret meeting with Rubio and other GangOf8 shills. The network’s ratings are in full-scale collapse, because they’ve been so pro-establishment for so long that given their wholesale marketing of Rubio, their audience has had enough.  They’re turning off FoxNews.  They’re fleeing the establishment mouthpieces.  It had gotten so bad that it’s become a running joke on Twitter, Facebook, and in the blogosphere that “No matter where Rubio finishes, He won, HE WON!”  Even Hannity is being openly mocked on Twitter. It’s been brutal for the semi-conservatives who have been carrying Rubio’s water on-air on FoxNews.

Based on all we now know, let me offer some advice to the two remaining viable candidates:

To both men, run from Mitt Romney. He’s a plague. Defeat is his constant companion, because his base of support is a uni-party establishment that many of the people in the Republican party have grown to hate. Run away from entanglements with the DC establishment. Such associations label a candidate as a doomed loser and a probable sell-out.  Flee like Lott, and don’t look back, lest you turn to a pillar of salt. We, the sane and patriotic people in the Republican party wish only to burn the establishment down. Don’t get caught in the flames. Others will.

To Donald Trump: Expand on the manner in which you presented yourself on the evening of your Super Tuesday wins. You will earn more credibility in the eyes of voters if you remain calm, cool, and Presidential. Stop scaring people with your rhetoric that seems even mildly threatening, specifically with respect to Americans(criminals notwithstanding.) Don’t threaten our constitutional protections, and please do more to explain the details of your programs and proposals. You terrify conservatives in many respects, because we don’t see many signs that you’re rooted in principle. The rank-and-file conservatives in the Republican party try very hard to live by principles as the guiding lights for their mortal lives. If you want to gain our support, particularly if you win the nomination, and wish not to have us sit out this election, you’ve got to begin engaging the issues from a principled position more frequently.  The whole discussion of healthcare is a good example of how you’ve horrified conservatives, many of whom believe you are in favor of something akin to single-payer healthcare.  That’s a euphemism for socialized medicine, and it’s a terrible failure providing rationing of even diagnostic and preventative care that leads to greater mortality rates for diseases that have much higher survival rates here in the US. I use this as an example, but the point is clear: Principles move conservatives; vague banter and platitudes will not. Take the US Constitution to heart, and conservatives may listen. Your press conference Tuesday was a good start in the right direction. Expand on that.

To Ted Cruz: You must run, in fact, flee in great haste, from all things establishment, and all things globalist in intent or origin.  Many conservatives fear that your history provides evidence of a too-close coziness with the Bush family, and while we understand that nobody in Republican politics in Texas over the last four decades can go far without knowing and relating in some manner to the Bush family, your connections to them could easily serve as an albatross around your neck in this election. Jealously guard American sovereignty, and prevent its usurpation by foreign powers and interests who do not hold the interests of the American people at heart. You have taken the position of reversing yourself on the TPP, but you must extend that opposition. The truth is that their can be no such thing as “free trade” with a people who are virtually enslaved.  We did not trade with the Soviet Union. We refused them, as we were right to do because we should never give the moral sanction of the veil of “free trade” to their human rights abuses.  China is no different, as their tanks in Tiananmen Square demonstrated, and their program of compulsory abortions proves.  Mexico is a cesspool run by an oligarchy that keeps its people in destitution. The American people are quite beyond tired of having a government represent interests other than those of the whole body of the American people in these deals, and no longer have confidence in our elected officials to do right by the American people. We need your unambiguous statement that you will pursue the interests of the American people, as the American people see them, but not as the establishment in DC decides they must be.

To both men, you must be faithful to your pledge to support the nominee of the Republican Party, and you must avoid entanglements with the GOP establishment at all costs. You must be and remain your own men, subservient to no hidden interests.  This, the American people can trust.  This, the American people will appreciate and respect.  If you do these things, the American people will be able to decide between you in earnest, without excessive rancor or discontent.  Unifying the party at the conclusion of this contest will be infinitely easier if the two of you set this example for those who are your supporters.  The Republican Party establishment will undoubtedly undertake tricks. Trotting out Mitt Romney is their desperate appeal for relevance and control.  They may even line up to endorse one or the other of you.  You must avoid connection with the party establishment at all cost.  We, the broad base of conservatism, view the establishment as the source of so many of our laments, losses, and general discontent over these last three decades, starting with the amnesty deal of 1986.

May the best man win, and win without the assistance, cooperation or coordination of the GOP establishment.

 

 

Stupor Tuesday

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

cruz_v_trump_ftHere we are on another Super Tuesday election, and once again, there’s no clear answer to our troubles. Some things, however, do seem clear and unambiguous to me. Marco Rubio is unacceptable by any measure. His support of amnesty with the “GangOf8” immigration reform bill disqualifies in my view. There is no circumstance under which I could support Rubio.  Dr. Carson is finished, no matter how long he remains in the race. From here to the convention, I don’t think there’s any chance for his numbers to improve, and I don’t believe he’s a serious candidate.  Governor Kasich is running a pointless candidacy also, perhaps in some ways worse than Carson’s. Kasich should run for the exit, but he’s stubbornly remaining in the race so that he can be beaten in his home state of Ohio, perhaps slightly less thoroughly than Rubio will be flogged in his home state of Florida.  This leaves us with two remaining, plausible candidates.  At this point, considering any of the others is an exercise in futility.  I guess it comes down to what you believe, who you believe, and what it is that you think the election of 2016 will actually mean for the country.  This is where conservatives must wear their thinking caps and consider the whole of the race, and not just the immediate gratification of the primary vote.  It’s enough to make one consider intoxication as a potential antidote.  Myself, I’m in a bit of a stupor over it all.

Ted Cruz appears to be the most solidly conservative in the field.  He is not, however, without problems.  His support for increasing H1-B visas is very troubling to me, as is his support for fast-track authority(TPA) for the TPP for whomever may be sitting in the Oval Office.  There is no doubt that the TPP is a terrible deal for the American people, transferring wealth and sovereignty out of the country and essentially locking the US into a perpetual disadvantageous trade contract that imposes severe restrictions on our own economic independence.  I oppose the TPP for this and many more reasons, and I don’t understand why Senator Cruz, a self-professed “constitutional conservative,” would go along with such a deal.   I also don’t believe he’s been entirely honest with us about his role on the spiking of the “GangOf8” legislation.  It’s clear from video available that he wanted to do something (other than deportation) with the eleven or twelve million illegals(and I suspect many more) who “live in the shadows.”  All of these things are bothersome and worrisome to me.

Donald Trump has ever been a liberal, and in many respects, this makes him worse.  He’s also made a career of marketing himself like a carnival barker.  His failures over the course of his whole career are legion, but that in and of itself isn’t necessarily damning: At least he was willing to take risks.  The problem is that in so many of these cases, he took risks with other peoples’ money, and squandered it.  One might argue that this is the nature of business, just as one might argue that paying off politicians is just a part of doing business, but I don’t see how we’re any better off having the briber rather than the bribed running the country.  His position on social and moral issues certainly seems less than solid too.  His continued support for Planned Parenthood is quite troubling to me.  I also find his mouth to be a volcano of bilge, with cursing o’plenty, although it seems in the last week or so that he’s cleaned some of this up, perhaps in recognition that it hurts him. That makes me wonder if a victorious Trump would return to form soon after.  He has a long history of saying things that are despicable in any context in which I’d care to be included.  His talk about his sex-life and his descriptions of women, and all the rest of his endless, lifelong debauchery seems to me a disqualifying problem.  The New York Times, certainly not the most reliable source, implies that it has in its possession “off-the-record” taped conversations with Trump that may indicate that he’s a good deal more flexible on immigration than his campaign rhetoric indicates. As he explained to Hannity on Monday night, “everything is negotiable.” Many of his larger problems won’t be revealed, conveniently, until the Republican Party is saddled with him as their nominee, by which time he may be embroiled in court over a lawsuit against him and “Trump University.” Mostly, the problem with Donald Trump is that he hasn’t done or said anything to relieve me of the fear that he’s completely untrustworthy, not just on social issues, but primarily with respect to his signature issues on which he has provided little specific detail.

Let us conservatives accept from the outset that there are no perfect candidates.  Still, we should be able to discern who is more perfect.  We should be able to rely on their records. Others rely to some extent on the character of those who have endorsed these candidates, although I think in many cases, this has led to a wholly unsatisfactory outcome in many instances.  I can think of a dozen or more candidates the Tea Partys have been urged to support who upon election, turned out to be more of the same, and often pro-amnesty jerks.  Marco Rubio is a grand example of the type, but he is hardly the only one.  The truth is that conservatives have been betrayed in one form or fashion in election after election, to the extent that many of us feel shell-shocked by it.  On the one hand, we have a Republican establishment that is clearly a syndicate of global elitists, who will side with their cohorts in the Democrat Party to ruin and wreck conservatives any time we can manage to get a leg up, but on the other hand, we have a situation in which it seems that the mathematics give us just two plausible outcomes.

If Rubio, Kasich, and Carson remain in this race, it helps Trump. If they get out, it helps Cruz.  Rubio cannot and will not be the nominee. The math in no way supports him.  This leads one to question: “Why are these guys staying in, when none of the three have won a state, or even seriously threatened to win a state?” Now we get to the nub of the issue.  We have had it told to us all through this primary season debacle that Cruz and Trump(along with Carson) are the outsiders.  Is this really the case?  We’re told that Rubio is an establishment stooge, and it makes plenty of sense, right until you ask: “Why is Rubio still in this race?” No Republican who hasn’t won Iowa, New Hampshire, or South Carolina(first three contests) has ever gone on to win the nomination. History isn’t lying, so why is Rubio staying in?  It must be for another purpose, and I think we can take a reasonable guess at it.  Who is hurt by Rubio enduring in this race, and who is helped?  Based on the available polling data, there is a strong dislike of Trump in the Rubio camp. Cruz would likely capture something on the order of ninety percent or more of Rubio’s support, depending upon whose numbers you believe. In the Cruz camp, Rubio enjoys no such advantage. If Cruz were to exit, roughly half of his support would go to Trump and half to Rubio, with a few here and there for Kasich or Carson. What this means, in fact, is that the only two people presently having any chance at the Republican nomination are Trump, and Cruz.  This means that with every passing day in which Rubio, Kasich and Carson stay in this race, Trump becomes all the more inevitable.

With all of this in mind, we must ask reasonably once more: “Why is Rubio staying in?” It is the presumption of many that he is the “establishment track” candidate, but the GOP establishment isn’t going to back a guy they know has no chance of winning unless they’re using him to split the vote on behalf of a candidate they believe can win. Who would that be?  Cruz? Kasich? Carson? Or Trump?  Even if his financial backing flees, I suspect Rubio will stay around in order to secure a VP slot on somebody’s ticket.  I wonder who that might be.

Let’s look at that again: Trump has a long and storied history of supporting liberal Republicans and a whole host of Democrats.  If Rubio’s candidacy was genuinely anti-Trump, as he now pretends is the case, why would he stay in? In a head-to-head in Florida, Rubio loses to Trump, and Trump walks away with all ninety-nine delegates because it’s a winner-take-all state. Cruz, by contrast, could actually beat Trump in a head-to-head absent Rubio. That would give Cruz all the Florida delegates, and place him on the fast-track to the nomination.  What you can learn from all of this is that the people who are still bank-rolling Rubio via the SuperPACs aren’t doing so because they think Marco can win, but because they actually want Trump, and will use Rubio’s continuing presence to split up the vote that would otherwise go almost entirely to Cruz.

Do you see the point here? Given the nature of Donald Trump’s support from the endorser-class, one might have concluded he was the only genuine outsider, but the question we must now ask, as Rubio is being used as a lever to depress Cruz is: “Who is spoofing whom?”  I believe the real establishment candidate is he who benefits from the continued presence of somebody other than himself in the race. Who is that? Does Cruz benefit from Rubio, Kasich, or Carson remaining?  No.  Does Rubio benefit from Cruz, Carson, or Kasich remaining? No. Does Trump benefit from Cruz remaining in? No.  Does Trump benefit from Rubio, Kasich and Carson’s remaining in, so long as Cruz is an active candidate? YES!

There are only two viable candidates remaining in this race. I will not tell you how you ought to vote.  You’re all grown folk, and you hardly need me to offer you advice.  What I will tell you is that what I see implicit in the numbers is that Rubio, Kasich, and Carson are remaining solely to be spoilers.  The question must be only: “For whom?” Only Trump and Cruz have a shot at winning this race.  The question before you is whether you will a.)support Cruz, b.)support Trump, or c.)support one of the spoilers who gives/helps give it to Trump. Of course, you can also sit home. As I said, this has been a disturbing primary season, and any conservative would probably be somewhat justified if they wanted to just drink their frustrations away, but escape into an inebriated stupor won’t solve the problem.  Conservatives must now think, and think carefully, in order to choose.  Wait until the day after the general election in November to imbibe. By then, we may all need a drink.

 

Editor: This column was supposed to auto-post at 7am this morning, but for some reason failed. My apologies to readers. I usually vote on the way in to work, didn’t this morning, after work, my precinct ran out of ballots while in line, still waited 20 minutes after polls closed, fairly certain my precinct was strongly pro-Cruz.

Donald Trump Lied About Conservatism

Friday, February 12th, 2016

trump_bsa_ftWatching the 2016 election season unfold, I’ve become a bit tired of two things in particular about the media, and Donald Trump.  In the first instance, Trump is wholly unwilling to discuss details of his plans, and the media dutifully accepts his empty rhetoric in an unquestioning manner almost as thorough as some of his supporters.  In the second instance, Mr. Trump is lying, and it’s a big lie that we conservatives must debunk.  It could be that Trump is just ignorant, so that when he spews his lie, he’s simply the parroting of talking points emanating from the rabid left and the DC establishment. Either way, a lie is a lie, whether it originated from Trump’s own mind, or he’s merely passing it along unthinkingly.  So what’s this big lie? On Thursday, Trump tweeted that conservatives are to blame and that conservatives have failed the country.  This couldn’t be further from the truth, but once again, debunking it requires the examination of a few salient details.  His throngs of supporters won’t be moved by this, just as they won’t be moved by any other rational argument. By and large, they’re proving immune to facts, reason, and details.  It should come as no surprise to conservatives that in one respect, I think there’s a nugget of truth that makes Trump’s lie seem superficially plausible, but it’s just a nugget.  It’s time to deconstruct Trump’s lie.

djt_conservatives_tweet

The first thing one must consider in answer to Trump’s assertion is: “Who are the conservatives?”  The truth in answer to this question is that actual, thinking, breathing, ideological conservatives constitute a minority of the Republican party.  The truth is that there are almost no actual conservatives in Washington DC, and to have been the party to blame for the state of the country, that is where one would have needed to be, not simply in a geographical sense, but in the sense of political efficacy.   Actual conservatives haven’t had any power to speak of in Washington DC for nearly two generations.  From the time of the middle of Reagan’s second term, there has been little one could properly label as “conservative” in our nation’s capital.  Where one can find any justification of Trump’s lie, despite the reality, is that for too long, we conservatives have let people who had no real attachment to conservatism pose as our representatives.

George H.W. Bush was no conservative.  Bob Dole was no conservative.  George W. Bush was no conservative. John McCain is no conservative.  Mitt Romney is no conservative.  I can extend this list to include current candidates like Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Marco Rubio to an extent, and any number of other conventional Republican politicians.  Paul Ryan is certainly no conservative, but neither were his immediate predecessors, John Boehner and Dennis Hastert.  Mitch McConnell and his caucus of establishment Republican cronies aren’t conservatives either, but the problem is that we have permitted them to claim conservatism, and we’ve allowed them to thereby define conservatism by the association with us.  Most Americans simply don’t pay much attention to politics, and in their barely-informed state of political ignorance, they’ve accepted the following basic formula: Republican = Conservative.  They may have accepted also: Democrat = Liberal.  Both of these are tragically wrong, and I will suggest to my conservative brethren that we are at least somewhat collectively guilty for letting this stick.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we’ve permitted this to happen.  We’ve been so busy trying to expand the “big tent” of conservatism that we’ve permitted the party-crashers of the establishment to redefine what conservatism is, at least in the popular culture, by their constant association with us.  It’s been going on since Teddy Roosevelt, who was a progressive in Republican clothing.  For my part, here on this website, I’ve always endeavored to make clear the distinctions.  One cannot go through the columns of these pages and make any mistake about the fact that the form of conservatism advocated and advanced here has no relation whatsoever to the Republican party, never mind its establishment.

Of course, the truth is far removed from Trump’s nonsensical allegation.  Most actual conservatives, I’d nearly assert all, do not support the actions of the establishment, moderate, “center-right” wing of the Republican party.  Most conservatives actually detest those people, and would replace them with actual conservatives if it was in their power to do.  Every time conservatives have gone along with the GOP establishment in order to try to move things in the right direction, two things have been true almost without exception:  The GOP establishment betrays us, and we wind up moving backward.  A case in point is immigration: Those who call themselves “conservative” but are aligning themselves with Rubio in this election cycle have a very “YUGE” problem: Their guy is an amnesty-monger, having proposed the most exasperatingly un-conservative bill proposed by a Republican in quite a long time.  The so-called “Gang-of-8” bill was a nation-destroying monstrosity, and it would never have attained launch, much less threatened passage, without the efforts of people who claim to be “conservative.”

This is the problem exposed by Trump’s lie: It’s only plausible because we conservatives permit others to define what is conservatism.  We permit the misapplication of the term to people who may on occasion, for their own political expedience(and too frequently, ours) to associate with us and our body of political philosophy.  Since the greatest number of Americans don’t really pay that much attention, and use generic labels in order to short-cut thinking, we have a responsibility as conservatives to define what that means, and to take great pains to differentiate conservatives from anything else.

The facts supporting Trump’s assertion dissolve the moment one asks: “What is a conservative?” The laundry list of non-conservatives mentioned above is just a sample, but it should serve as a decent basis for understanding the problem in its proper context.  When Donald Trump talks about “the conservatives failed,” what he’s actually saying is that “Republicans have failed.”  That’s demonstrably true.  The problem is that conservatives haven’t failed, largely since they’ve never really held power in Washington, except for the briefest few years immediately after the ’94 “revolution” in the House of Representatives.  Even its leader, Newt Gingrich, isn’t really a conservative, but some of the people around him were, and a few of the people who led early efforts in those environs were, but they were short-lived as was the influence of conservatism.  To find substantial, muscular conservatism, one must return to the first term of Reagan’s presidency, which is why conservatives so thoroughly long for a Reagan-like leader.  It’s also why the fakers, the so-called moderates in the GOP, can’t wait to bury Ronald Reagan in long-forgotten history of the Republic.

We conservatives must separate ourselves from the GOP establishment in a political and cultural sense.  We must create clear separation from the party’s moderates because by failing to do so, we permit the broadest brush to be used in defining our cause, our philosophy, and our values.  It won’t be easy to do, but I believe it must be done.  The most promising of the current crop of GOP candidates, who may be able to draw this distinction, is probably Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX,) simply because on so many issues near and dear to the hearts and minds of conservatives, he bucked the political trends in Washington DC, abandoning even his own party at times, apparently on the basis of principle.  It may be that for him to fully set conservatism apart from the muck of establishment GOP politics, he will find himself required to loudly and forcefully make the distinction clear, not merely in his words, but in the clear-thinking actions of his office, so long as he may be in it.  Otherwise, Trump will succeed in painting him, and conservatism, as just more representative of the whole of the Republican party, and with such a faulty attribution of blame, conservatism label will continue to be the generic container into which the wider voting public will file all Republicans.  I suspect Trump knows all of this, but his campaign isn’t one of nuance or detail.  Quite to the contrary, his campaign is one of generic sloganeering, with thinly-veiled emotional appeals substituted in place of syllogisms.

It’s because I do believe that Trump knows the difference that I consider this attack on conservatism to be a lie on his part.  There is some small chance that he is so thoroughly ignorant that he doesn’t understand the distinction, but I suspect that’s not the problem.  I believe that Trump is gambling on and playing to the electorate in a disingenuous fashion, knowing that his prospective voters don’t understand the distinctions anyway, and won’t be motivated to discover them.  Thus far, he’s been largely correct in this assumption, although it remains to be seen whether it will hold up through the entire campaign season.

The problem for conservatives is “Yuge” because they’re stuck in the same sort of problem, in almost exactly the same fashion, as is the basic reputation of “capitalism.”  This is not coincidental.  Capitalism continues to be blamed for all the evils of statism, in its various manifestations, because few are interested in learning the distinctions between what America’s actual economic system is, and why capitalism bears no actual resemblance. In much the same fashion that we haven’t even had approximately conservative governance in more than a generation, so too is it the case that capitalism was vanquished in America by the enactment of the Sherman Antitrust Act. The Sherman Act is wholly antithetical to capitalism, and whatever economic system we may have had since, it is not and cannot be labeled as “capitalism.”  Of course, once again, the propagandists for statism have managed to re-cast the meaning of the term in precisely the same way that “conservatism” has been redefined so as to include all “Republicans.” It’s nonsense, of course, but that fact does not stop them from doing it. One must be attentive to details, in a disciplined way.  It’s an article of faith among those same propagandists that our system of government be referred to as “democracy,” but that bears little resemblance to the actual form of government our Constitution’s framers designed and ratified. The United States is, by definition of its organizing document, a “constitutional representative republic,” but too often, as a matter of ease and propaganda, folks drop that longer, much narrower description, and it is to the detriment of the body politic, unless you happen to be a propagandist or advocate for statism.

The truth Trump won’t tell you is that had conservatives had their way over the last three decades, we would never have approached the state of desperate gloom under which we now suffer.  What he won’t tell you is that statism is the responsible political philosophy, in large measure because he has been among its practitioners and advocates.  When he proposes solving the “student loan problem” with another government program, he’s advancing statism. When he proposes replacing Obamacare with what seems to be a Canadian or British-styled single-payer healthcare system, he’s proposing more statism.  He’s doubling down.  When he states that eminent domain is an important tool in private initiatives, he is declaring statism in big, broad terms, while he is defiling the good name of capitalism to do it.  Donald Trump isn’t a capitalist, but instead a cronyist.  He has greased palms and bought favors with campaign contributions as much as any person who has ever sought the office of President, and maybe more.  His well-documented use of government officials and offices in the name of his private concerns is evidence neither of capitalism, nor conservatism, and that to date, he has gotten away with this mislabeling and slander is at least in part the fault of we conservatives.

After all, it’s the same thing: Jeb Bush calls himself a “conservative” and most of us won’t bother to debunk his claim.  His brother called himself a “compassionate conservative,” but too few of us challenged his claim though it was obvious in most notable respects that his presidency was rife with the growth of statism, and the advancement of anti-capitalist measures.

Yes, Donald Trump is probably going to succeed in blaming conservatism for the sins of GOP establishment, moderate actions.  His lie will stand mostly unchallenged because most of us will not even stand for our claimed political philosophy.  While I can’t do a thing about that, I can and will continue to speak out about the lies of Trump in this regard: Conservatism is not to blame for the ills of this country, any more than one can blame capitalism, and for the same exact reason: We haven’t practiced either in so long that the terms have lost their true meaning.  Trump knows this, and he’s gambling that his supporters won’t discover it either.  It’s our job, the job of actual conservatives, to educate the electorate on the differences.

Editor’s Note: The Tweet image was added again after the fact because either I didn’t save the article with that image in it, or it dropped it, or something or other. Anyway, that is what I am referencing. Conservatives didn’t HELP the GOP betray its voters.

 

 

Trump Hammers Cruz as “Maniac” But Looks The Part Himself

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015
Angry or Manic?

Angry or Manic?

Donald Trump had one heck of a weekend. First, he questioned Ted Cruz’s “evangelical” credentials, and went to great lengths to attack him on ethanol subsidies, pandering to Iowa voters.  As if this wasn’t enough, he actually asserted that Cruz was a maniac in the Senate, firmly ceding his own “outsider” credentials. Is this attack by Trump going to succeed, or is it, as Mark Levin said on the air Monday evening, a foolish move?  FoxNews is eating it up, because they hate both men.  To them, Trump is a maniac, but so is Ted Cruz.  They are considered “maniacs” by the FoxNews establishment crowd for different specific reasons, and I think it’s instructive to understand why this difference matters.  He even went on to join in a leftist attack on Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the few justices fighting to uphold the constitution.

When Trump goes to great lengths to say “Cuba isn’t known for its evangelicals,” he’s taking a rather bigoted view of Cuba. Many Cuban exiles resumed their faith in full fervor after successfully leaving Cuba, and in fact, it was their faith, at least in part, that caused them to flee.  More, Trump has never been a friend to evangelicals, so what’s with the petty attack on Cruz on this basis?  Score one for Trump’s religious and ethnic bigotry.  Not only did he make [faulty] assumptions about Cubans and evangelicals, but he also made an assumption that this would play to Iowans.

Trump went on to point out to Iowans that Cruz opposed the ethanol subsidy.  I have news for you: Virtually everybody outside the corn-growing states oppose the ethanol subsidies, because frankly, it’s driving up the cost of food and fuel, as well as making a wreck of gasoline-burning power equipment, from automobiles to lawn-mowers to outboard motors. Even many within corn-growing states oppose the subsidies, because they have to pour this diluted gasoline in their cars and shop at grocery stores where every item that has corn as an input, from corn chips to corn-fed beef is inflating in price due to the use of corn in the production of ethanol.  This was a purely cynical attack intended to take advantage of Iowans by pandering to something peculiarly interesting to them.

What’s most disconcerting about Trump’s little rampage this past weekend is that the attacks he launched on Cruz were launched squarely from a leftward point of view.  I even observed Brit Hume, a notorious establishment shill, going on to attack Cruz on this basis, intimating that Iowans have a short time to discover the reason so many in the Senate don’t like Ted Cruz.  I don’t need Brit Hume to tell me, because I already know. It’s the same reason I supported Cruz in his Senate run against Texas RINO David Dewhurst, and also why people like Senators Lindsey Graham(R-NC) and John McCain(R-AZ) can’t stand Cruz: He’s willing to fight. They’re not.

The odd thing is that this may well backfire on Donald Trump, because up until now, he’s been running as an “outsider.” This series of attacks plays directly into the hands of the GOP establishment. Cruz has been no friend to the GOP establishment, and Iowans know it.  I’m not sure that Trump hasn’t sabotaged himself here, because his attacks on Cruz sound suspiciously similar to the attacks launch against Cruz by the DC insiders.  In so doing, Trump is eating into one of his few distinct virtues: He’s been the quintessential outsider,  at least until now, but with the latest series of attacks on Cruz from the left, he may be unintentionally ceding that ground to Cruz.  If so, Trump may come to lament this last weekend.  His attack on Antonin Scalia is perhaps the worst outlier of the weekend, because while one might rationalize his attacks on Cruz as just part of the political fight, but the attack on Scalia by going along with Jake Tapper was pure folly.  Scalia has been a leading light for constitutional conservatives for years, and this scurrilous attack on him by Trump is perhaps a bridge too far.  This speaks more to Trump’s own maniacal nature than to anything one might say about either Antonin Scalia or Ted Cruz.

As a purely political matter, Cruz ought to avoid being drawn into a knock-down, drag-out with Trump, because that’s where Trump excels.  Cruz is best in well-reasoned, well-controlled discourses when the tempo of the exchange supports close examination.  If Trump has any inkling of the misstep he may have taken over the weekend, he’ll reverse course on some of this as quick as he can.  Discerning conservatives and independents will notice that Trump really yielded some of his claim to being an outsider this weekend, and this may well cost Trump mightily.  If one considers that among the ‘outsiders,’ (Trump, Cruz, Carson, Fiorina) constitute nearly seventy percent of the support from Republican primary voters, Trump ought to think and think hard about yielding his position as outsider so easily.   The notion that Cruz is looked upon in a negative light by most of his Senate colleagues is not a bad thing, particularly in the vast expanse of the electorate between the coasts.  From the point of view of most Americans, most of the Senate is comprised of detestable Washington DC insiders who hold the American people in contempt.

The Republican candidates are scheduled to debate Tuesday night in Las Vegas.  It will be interesting to see whether Trump squanders his lead by continuing this line of attack, or whether he thinks better of it and resorts to more rational arguments that might appeal to conservatives.  To date, his one peculiar virtue had been his take-no-prisoners style of assault on the GOP establishment, but if he isn’t careful, he may well blow it.  The GOP establishment is only too happy to see Trump going after Cruz, and this could well be his undoing with the Republican base.

 

 

 

Lesson Christians, Conservatives Can Learn from A&E Network’s Intolerance

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Dynastic Decline?

I’m not among the millions who regularly watch Duck Dynasty on A&E network, but I am among the many millions who will avoid the network in my future viewing choices.  The network’s #1 smash hit is headed by patriarch Phil Robertson.  Robertson was asked during an interview for GQ magazine about morality.  He cited the Bible, and when asked to explain or expound upon his stance on homosexuality, he explained in graphic, somewhat crude language why he couldn’t understand the desires of homosexuals.  The network then suspended him.  What’s now clear is that A&E has managed to incite a backlash against the network, and it’s obvious that the network is responding to political rather than market-based concerns.  In the free market, a network wouldn’t suspend the star of its top-rated show for simply stating his religious beliefs.  No, this case isn’t about the intolerance of Phil Robertson, but the intractable, unflinching orthodoxy of the rabid left.  The intolerance is all theirs, but there exists a dirty little secret: They’re only willing to shut down conservatives, Christians, and capitalists, while they cringe in fear of Muslims, feminists, leftist groups, and the homosexual lobby.  There’s an important lesson in all of this for conservatives generally, but Christians particularly: They don’t fear you, and you’ve given them no reason to think otherwise.

Consider the lead-in to Drew Magary’s GQ article:

“How in the world did a family of squirrel-eating, Bible-thumping, catchphrase-spouting duck hunters become the biggest TV stars in America? And what will they do now that they have 14 million fervent disciples?”

Could a news outlet or magazine make such a remark about any group if they happened to be other than Christian?  This lead-in typifies the mindset not merely of those in leadership at A&E, but of the entire media establishment.  “Bible-thumping?”  Who does Magary think he is? Bill O’Reilly?  This should set the tone for you quite aptly. With a lead-in like that, you can guess that it won’t be long before the GQ writer seeks to create a controversy.  The term “Bible-Thumper” has become so widely used in the media that Christians are now adopting it to describe themselves as a way of scorning the elites who look down their noses at Christians generally.

Before pointing this out, Magary mocks Robertson this way:

“Even though he’s in the far corner of the room, Phil dominates the house. There are times when he doesn’t look you in the eye while he’s speaking—he looks just off to the side of you, as if Jesus were standing nearby, holding a stack of cue cards. Everyone else in the room just stares at his phone, or at the TV, or holds side conversations as Phil preaches.”

As disgusted as Christians, conservatives, and Duck Dynasty fans may be with A&E’s treatment of Robertson, let’s consider this jewel of mockery by Magary on behalf of GQ magazine. This isn’t merely an attack on Robertson, but on every Christian who is guided by faith.  Magary’s scornful, scowling article shows Robertson in the very light that his magazine’s readers have come to expect.  Later in the article, however, Magary provides the Robertson quote that will rile the left endlessly:

“For the sake of the Gospel, it was worth it,” Phil tells me. “All you have to do is look at any society where there is no Jesus. I’ll give you four: Nazis, no Jesus. Look at their record. Uh, Shintos? They started this thing in Pearl Harbor. Any Jesus among them? None. Communists? None. Islamists? Zero. That’s eighty years of ideologies that have popped up where no Jesus was allowed among those four groups. Just look at the records as far as murder goes among those four groups.”

All of this was far too much for the leftists at A&E.  They’re a politically correct outlet, and Robertson’s off-show remarks are far too insensitive in their view, and attacked their general philosophical slant. If only he were a Muslim…

Fans aren’t happy with this suspension either, and the backlash is growing, as a new Facebook page that has already garnered nearly seven-hundred-thousand likes, and there are other pages on the social networking site having similar results.  While there can be no expectation of “free speech” on a network one doesn’t own, this sort of cultural brow-beating is standard fare in leftist circles.  In his contract, there may be language prohibiting him from making such statements publicly, in which case he is bound by the terms of the contract, but here’s the real problem for A&E: While they are free to suspend him if his contract allows it, they are also bound to bear the consequences in the marketplace.  If the market recoils against them, and if they find even more people joining the fray of public discourse against them, it’s all their problem.  If the move gains the network market-share, then it’s all their benefit.

With that said, let’s consider what had been Robertson’s “infraction,” according to A&E.  Robertson dared to state publicly in an interview that he held as sins those things set forth in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. Indeed, he then explained his own orientation. From the Chicago Tribune:

“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he told reporter Drew Magary. “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

“It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

Now that the homosexual lobby is descending upon Robertson, one might wonder why leftist groups and others sympathetic to the homosexual lobby have all the courage in the world to take on Christians at every turn, but never seem to muster the same courage when dealing with Muslims.  If, rather than a show titled “Duck Dynasty,” and being a Christian man named Phil Robertson, this had instead been a show named “Kamel Kingdom,” centered around a Wahhabist family headed by a man named Muhammed Atta on the Arabian peninsula, the whining cowards at the A&E network wouldn’t have dared to suspend the patriarch.  Not a chance.  Christians are easy targets, after all.  They’ve become accustomed to being culturally attacked, and desensitized to being harangued publicly for their views. They do not fight back, generally speaking.  Muslims are another story.  In fact, A&E may have actually blocked the mention of Jesus on Duck Dynasty in order to avoid offending Muslims. Watch this video with Phil Robertson:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_0XS1vaX-M]

There’s a lesson in all of this for those who happen to pay attention: Christians may temporarily blow up your phone lines, but they won’t blow up your building, and executives at the A&E network know that too well.  They can stand to tolerate a few days of melted phone lines, but once the issue fades in prominence, they’ll go on as before.  The leftist media culture is rife with bullies who are willing to pick on faithful Christians, but won’t say the first word in opposition to radical Islam, or even acknowledge its existence, lest they find themselves the target of a fatwa. I’m not suggesting that Christians should strap suicide vests on their bodies and run into the A&E Network’s headquarters, but I think this helps to demonstrate that Christians, who mistakenly turn the other cheek until they’re beaten into submission.  Christians don’t fight back.  They have been taught that only the “meek” shall inherit the Earth, not understanding the real meaning of Matthew 5:5.  It was an admonition to submit to God.  It was not a demand to lay supinely in acceptance of any torment in the offing from all comers.

Christians and conservatives must begin to understand the affliction that they too readily bear. Consisting in part of the radical left’s tireless war against American culture, this is a real campaign being fought daily.  The left,  radical Islam, the associated and cohort groups all bear ill will against traditional Christian values, and American ideals and traditions in general, either to subvert them or erase them from our nation.  A&E’s fault in all of this lies in the fact that they are more afraid of people who do not regularly watch their network than of those who routinely tune to see Phil Robertson and his family.  A&E is more interested in portraying the Robertson clan as backwoods bayou bumpkins than in showing a God-fearing family that accepts the teachings of their Bible.  They don’t want to offend  Muslims, homosexuals, or anyone else in the process, unless they happen to be capitalists, Christians, and/or conservatives, in which case it is not merely acceptable but entirely intentional. Christians and conservatives must begin to make their voices heard in unison, because it’s their culture that is under fire. The time for cheek-turning should have passed, and it’s high time conservative leaders step forward to say as much.

Thankfully, some already have. (Sarah Palin here, Ted Cruz here, and Bobby Jindal here.) Now it’s your turn. As the rabid left seeks to turn the GQ Robertson interview into the 2013 version of Rush Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke remarks, conveniently taking the focus away from Obama-care, it’s time for conservatives, particularly Christians, to understand all of these things as a coordinated attack against them.  While A&E is a shameless trollop acting on behalf of the general leftist ideology, they are performing a service to Barack Obama that money could scarcely buy. Obama-care’s massive failures are sliding from the headlines, and this changing of the subject over a TV show will permit them to carry on.  The truth for conservatives in general and Christians in particular is that the left doesn’t fear you.  They see you as having been de-fanged by your own ethos, and they use your most generous virtues against you.  It’s time to see them for the monsters they are, speak out at will, and make all of your purchasing decisions accordingly.  It’s time for them to fear your market power if they will fear nothing else.  It’s time for them to fear you at the polls if they will see no other threat from your number.  It’s long past the time for all real Americans to roar and I don’t care if the statist left sneers at that description.  The time for silence on all fronts is over. They need to fear the continuance of their Jihad against us.

Editors Note: The truth about A&E and its show is that it was never intended to capture the audience it now enjoys, but was instead meant as a vehicle by which to mock Christians and conservatives.  Once it backfired and became a wildly successful show, they had to find a way to bury it culturally. For what other possible reason would they place beeps and bleeps in the audio track to cover profanity that never occurred, as per Robertson’s testimony in the video above?  They wanted to reinforce a stereotype.

Update: As of this hour, the boycott A&E page on Facebook now has over 1.1 Million likes.