Archive for the ‘Hillary’ Category

Embarrassing Loss of Credibility in Talk Radio in the Era of FakeNews

Thursday, March 3rd, 2022

The difficult chore of maintaining credibility in the era of FakeNews

It started in a big way last week. Dan Bongino violated his own self-imposed “72 hour rule” with the story of the Snake Island story from Ukraine. Before the weekend was over, he’d discovered that he’d been misled like so many others, promptly informing his listeners of that fact on Monday.  Dan’s “72 hour rule” is that when some new story of bomb-shell proportions comes along, he tends to hold onto them in order to verify the stories multiple ways before repeating them to his audience.  Many others have seemingly been duped, repeatedly, and it’s a real problem, because while they may not be the ones originating the story, they’re the ones repeating it to their audiences.  From the point of view of their audiences then, for all intents and purposes, they are originating the stories.  On Tuesday, as is my habit while driving home, and as soon as I walk in the door, I tuned into Mark Levin’s show.  Levin, long my runaway favorite among talk-show hosts, began in on a story in which he described the workings and effects of thermobaric bombs.  He explained that Russia was using them. He also explained that Russia was using cluster-bombs against civilian areas, despite the bombs having been banned for use against civilians.  Within less than twenty hours, these reports had been smashed when Bongino said on air on Wednesday that these reports hadn’t panned-out.  A little digging revealed that this had been a completely unconfirmed report, and initially, there was a video discounted as fake by the gentleman in charge of the political subdivision in which it had allegedly occurred.  The claims about cluster bombs are likewise unconfirmed, except that in Eastern Ukraine, there’s some evidence the Ukrainian forces have used them.  At this moment, there is still no firm evidence that either side has used them, but even as of this moment, you can surf over to Levin’s site for his Tuesday Recap page and find the unverified claims about their use by Russia, along with the false claim that these weapons are altogether forbidden.  He also claimed during his on-air description that the thermobaric bombs constitute a chemical weapon, which they most certainly are not.  All of this made it plain to me in a very painful way that my favorite among talk-show hosts, Mark Levin, a guy I have enjoyed more even than Rush over the years, had now joined the legion of outlets I generally consider #FakeNews.  It’s both shocking and saddening to me.  We have so few media outlets we can take at face value.  Whether by negligence or intent or because they’ve simply been fooled by others, it’s clear now that just when we need them most, most all media, even supposed “conservative” media, lie to us in varying degrees.  Though I neither feel it should be my place, nor do I feel I have the heart to do the matter full justice, I must now take on “the Great One,” for the sake of my own integrity.

This is and has been the greatest disappointment of the last several years, and it began during the era of Trump, not because of anything Trump did, but because since the rise of Trump, any pretense at objectivity has been ditched in mainstream media, from CNN to MSNBC to Reuters to FoxNews.  Media outlets have become so uniformly unreliable in so many ways for people like talk-show hosts, who must rely upon valid and factual news stories to fuel the discussions they will spawn with their audiences.  The underlying information is so frequently inaccurate that talk-show hosts are finding it difficult to stay ahead of the fake news injected at light-speed into the conversation.  Don’t misunderstand me to have said that I believe Mark Levin or Dan Bongino are liars, but that they now serve as a conduit through which lies are smuggled to their predominantly conservative audiences.  I don’t believe this is their intention, but I suspect that applies to many other talkers.  It’s that they’ve come to rely on sources that are corrupt or corruptible.  It’s happened to me a time or two over the last eleven years here on this blog, usually in very small ways I’ve rushed to correct.  The problem is that at the speed with which information now propagates upon its release in modern media, a lie can do real damage to our world, in ways that could be measured in millions of lives.

When the pandemic coverage had begun in 2020, I’d already suspected Fauci of giving us all a load of internally inconsistent nonsense.  From a logical point of view, many of his pronouncements didn’t make sense.  His answers were either unnecessarily evasive or expressed with unjustifiable certitude.  Some of it was simply nonsensical.  Mark Levin was among the first people in conservative media who featured Fauci as a guest, on his show on Foxnews.  Fauci used Levin’s credibility with his conservative audience to ensnare them with his now largely-debunked and almost completely refuted narratives.  I dare Mark Levin to now go back and re-watch the garbage he permitted Fauci to spew under the banner of “Life, Liberty and Levin,” and tell me that somehow, he feels unashamed for having failed his audience.  He should feel pain if he now re-watches that episode, particularly considering that people made life-and-death-level decisions based on Fauci’s pronouncements early on.  Mark Levin is a trusted source among conservatives like me.  You can do the math.  The fact that Fauci was saying these things on Levin’s show made them seem more reliable.  Silly, gullible me. While I still didn’t trust Fauci, I did trust Mark Levin, and Fauci had now been given Levin’s virtual imprimatur.  Fool me once…

Less than one year later, on January 6th, 2021, I listened as Mark Levin came on the radio and raged against the rioters at the Capitol on that day.  He railed against the people at the Capitol, as if they were the terrorists my gut said they hadn’t really been, at least most of them.  I listened, and I began to get that sickly feeling of disappointment.  Was Levin falling for another false story?  Since then, Levin has clearly realized, due to in-depth reporting by people like Julie Kelly, that he wasn’t getting the full story then, either. This entire episode had been frustrating to me because I actually know a man who observed some of what went on at the Capitol that day, during the event, from outside the Capitol, where he could see much of what was going on.  While he never went into or anywhere near the scrum going on outside, he was in a position to see that there were numerous and obvious provocateurs.  He told me that at one point, it became clear to him that at least some of the Capitol Police appeared to be acting in collusion with some of the provocateurs.  Many innocent dupes followed the provocateurs into the Capitol, and my friend could see this happening. Some of the dupes were even drawn into a melee with police by the provocateurs, which happens quite easily in a crowd this size.  As these events were happening, I was in my office listening to accounts of it, live on the radio, wondering immediately if this was another DC-UniParty setup.  Why wasn’t that Levin’s first instinct?  He has enough experience to have spotted it.  I live half a continent away, but I can smell DC BS from the other side of the planet these days.  This event had that stench from the beginning.  Despite our shared experience of the last several years, for more than a few radio hosts, it wasn’t so obvious for some reason, but should have been.  Instead, we got the usual “we condemn all violence” business, in a fashion no different than Chris Wallace repeatedly demanding that Trump denounce white supremacists on the debate stage, starting from the ridiculous premise that Trump were some sort of racist who now needed to renounce such associations.  Conservatives must lose their fear of these smear-jobs, because it cripples them, not only politically but also intellectually, which is the intent of the smear-artists. For all appearances to the world, Levin and many other hosts were pushing the mainstream media, DC UniParty narrative, again.

Levin is a passionate advocate for positions in the information sphere, as am I, which is undoubtedly a large measure of what draws me to his broadcasts daily.  I don’t make decisions about issues or candidates on the basis of emotion, but instead take a firm and careful accounting of them.  Once I’ve done so, I then apply my passion to the conclusions I’ve drawn in explaining an issue or advocating a particular stance.  The problem that arises for people like Mark Levin, Dan Bongino, or anybody else in the broadcast space is that things move incredibly fast.  Information blasts in and out, and it is updated and superseded by better, more accurate information, but also sometimes more bogus, inflated, and hyped information.  It happens constantly.  In this environment, one is going to make judgments about the newsworthiness of a story in an accelerated frame of reference, and it will necessarily lead to a much higher rate of error than it will, for instance, on a lowly blog published in the backwaters of the Internet. Some of the posts here are composed, fact-checked, and pushed out in thirty minutes or less, but those are rare. In the main, the postings on this site will have taken hours to compose, sometimes days, or longer, and I’ve been known to table a story indefinitely if I think my information isn’t solid enough. If you were to have access to what’s here, you would see that I have almost half as many posts in “draft” status as the almost fourteen-hundred posts that have been published over the span of years. Those drafts are posts you cannot see, and many of them you will likely never see, but this is the process. If a story just doesn’t stand up as I think it should, it’s never published. That’s born of the luxury of knowing I’ll almost never be “first” with a story, and that all I can offer is a unique perspective, or new details you hadn’t been presented before, and because the speed at which I present information is far less important to my audience than the idea that I get it right.

Levin sometimes has excellent instincts.  In March of 2017, based on a smattering of seemingly unrelated stories across several media outlets including McClatchy and the New York Times, Levin’s good instinct for political chicanery by Democrats led him to piece together the story we’ve all come to know is SpyGate, which actually encompasses a whole universe of sub-scandals, from spying on the Trump campaign and presidency, to the use of that information to concoct two fake impeachment narratives.  The chicanery also revealed what should be the biggest scandal of all: The corruption of the FISA system by actors within the Justice Department and the FBI, along with others both directing and participating in these activities in the administration, and on the FISA court.  What Levin’s instinct (and experience within the DOJ)provided him was the starting point for unveiling what should be known as the greatest scandal in American history, but for the fact that the corrupt and corruptible media will never willingly report on it.  Claims that Levin is incapable of stellar research and investigation are to be ignored.  It’s clear he has the experience and clear-eyed thinking to analyze such things.  Why does it seem, of late, that he’s not nearly so clear-eyed in his appraisals?  We can always forgive errors born of honest intent, but the problem is that media will attack even for those sorts of instances.

Levin bitterly complained after a small error in his most recent book, runaway New York Times best-seller American Marxism, was made out to be a mortal sin by a few among the chattering class in the leftist mainstream media.  In general, his books are extremely informative and well-written. They’re amazingly well-researched and thoroughly documented. Few authors go to the lengths to provide the citations that Levin routinely does within the pages of his books.  The problem is that when those critics reviewing your books are doing so with a political bias and intent, what you get instead of honest critiques are partisan hit-jobs.  Levin made the error of writing “Franklin School” instead of “Frankfurt School,” as if that’s not an easy mistake to make and and a more difficult error to spot in editing. From the point of view of the full-tilt leftist media, this was the worst scandal in literary history, and they used it to libel him mercilessly.  There’s a vast difference between an innocent error and the intentional falsehoods leftists publications gin through their presses and websites daily.

One of the problems is that in broadcasting, information moves extremely rapidly, and if you let yourself become emotionally invested in your conclusions about a given story too quickly, you’re going to get burned, quickly losing the trust of your audience, particularly if you don’t forthrightly confront the story’s inaccuracies or plain falsehoods promptly, as Bongino did on Monday and again Wednesday.   In the case of Mark Levin, I’ve come to a crossroad due to this trouble.  As a matter of loyalty for all his years of hard work, honest advocacy, and excellent programming, I am easily persuaded to give him another chance.  And another.  And probably several more.  The crisis I’m beginning to experience is that this has become something of a trend, but more importantly, he surely became aware between his broadcasts of Tuesday and Wednesday that the use of thermobaric or cluster bombs (by either party) in the war in Ukraine are unconfirmed.  I listened intently to the whole of his Wednesday broadcast, as I do most days, waiting for him to step right into the matter and clear it up. He never did.

Another sin of Levin’s is made up of his best intentions to advance conservatism.  On many more than one occasion, due to his desire to defeat the left, he’s let alleged conservatives on the air, generally Republicans seeking election/re-election, who come on to use his platform in a political season, often seeking his endorsement or even just the legitimacy among conservatives lent to them by appearing on his airwaves.  Lindsey Graham?  Kevin McCarthy?  There are more.  Too many, really.  I remember yelling at my radio, riding down the road “Mark, why do you bring these RINOs on your program? They’re going to screw you and betray us as soon as they’re re-elected.”  Well?  Have they?  Yes, sadly they have.  Levin himself was gently commenting on this recently.  He knows.  What he may not realize is how thoroughly it harms his credibility.

Since the beginning of the Russian attack on Ukraine, Levin has begun to bang the pots and pans indicating he’s very much in favor of some kind of intervention, or at least assistance to the beleaguered people of Ukraine.  It’s leading him to accept too quickly the dis/misinformation he’s getting from some source(s), perhaps at Foxnews, or perhaps elsewhere.  This has begun to seriously impact his credibility.  On Wednesday evening, my worst fears in this vein were realized when he began gushing over Never-Trumper FoxNews Pentagon Correspondent, Jennifer Griffin, who’s a known leftist, clearly committed to corrupting news over at FoxNews.  She’s one of the demons involved in the fake, ridiculous story about Trump at Normandy back in 2018, in which he allegedly called service-members who died there “suckers.” At the time of the story, Griffin said she was “unable to confirm the more salacious details,” implying she had confirmed the less salacious details, which naturally, she hadn’t.  The whole story was later debunked, but as usual, the debunking never received coverage to scale of its the story’s original propagation.  If this is one of Levin’s routine sources on national security matters, then nothing he says on the subject is even remotely reliable any longer.  I get it: He’s not a reporter, but he still has some obligation to the facts, and he needs to be more discerning in selecting his sources.  Neither Griffin nor Baier, both to whom Levin seems to have some unusual attachment, are what I would consider reliable or even particularly passable sources.  Before going on an anger-fueled rant about how he’d happily provide his own weapons to the people of Ukraine, perhaps it would be a good idea to verify the reports of cluster-bombs and thermobaric bombs allegedly employed by the Russians.  When it turns out, less than one day later, that the stories were either false or at least unverified, what then can he say to pull back on the bombast?  It’s too late. Elvis has left the building.  The best he can do is to retract the story later, but how does he then retract the bombast?  He almost certainly won’t.  He’s likely to leave that part stand, despite being at least partially motivated by the false stories.  This is the danger of the passion when driven by unchecked or unverified information.  As of now, he’s still letting the thermobaric and cluster bomb stories stand.  I suppose he hopes we won’t notice, or that the unverified stories will become verified, or even mooted by future verified use.

Bongino was more measured Wednesday, having mostly abandoned the narrative that Putin had become unhinged and “irrational,” instead pulling it back to “unpredictable.”  The interesting part about that is that in times past, Bongino had criticized Biden for destroying any “strategic ambiguity,” while praising Trump for having maintained it.  “Strategic ambiguity” consists, in part, of unpredictability. On Monday and Tuesday, he had relentlessly pounded on the idea that Putin was perhaps irrational or even insane.  It doesn’t help that this has been the mainstream media and UniParty narrative. Here is Hillary Clinton from Tuesday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe show:

Notice that Clinton questions Putin’s state of mind too.  It’s foolish to assume your enemy is a crackpot because he’s become less predictable.  In time of War, I would in many respects seek to make myself as unpredictable as possible to adversaries and enemies.  It would be my intention to keep them guessing, and I’d want them to worry mightily about my willingness to ratchet-up the intensity or scope of the war.  Bongino likes to talk about how President Trump had maintained a cloak of “strategic ambiguity” around his foreign policy intentions.  Why would Putin behave differently?  In contrast, Clinton famously had her reset button with the Russians while serving as Secretary of State, a job she was woefully ill-equipped to perform.  Fortunately for her, it did give her access to bilk much of the globe with her Clinton Foundation.  It was strictly a cash-and-carry operation, and there was no “strategic ambiguity” in it.  Her mission was to cart away cash, and Russia fully understood it.

The other thing clear in the video is that the DC UniParty establishment is trying to capture the mantle of Ronald Reagan, as they continue their anti-Trump narrative.  People like Levin and Bongino need to think very carefully about who’s providing the information they now rely upon to make pronouncements about Ukraine.  If I could ask either man a question, I think I might pose it this way:

Consider the following list of names: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi, Mitt Romney, Adam Schiff, Susan Rice, Eric Swalwell, Adam Kinzinger, Liz Cheney, Fiona Hill, “Colonel” Vindman, Victoria Nuland, Ron Klain, and Jake Sullivan.

Now consider the events in Ukraine since roughly 2004.  Then consider the activities of that list of people(and other cohorts) over the intervening period. Then, consider the following facts: In 2014, with funding and assistance from the US State Department, US DOD, and various US intelligence agencies, there was a coup d’etat in Ukraine.  Essentially, the US fomented and funded regime-change in Ukraine. Ever since, the narrative in DC by the establishment, particularly the Democrats, has been “Russia, Russia, Russia.” Even Mitt Romney talked about Russia in his debate appearance, but Obama immediately deflected the question by mocking Romney.  Had Romney inadvertently let a cat escape the proverbial bag?

Now ask: How many of the people listed above were involved in the RussiaHoax/SpyGate, the First Impeachment of Trump, the Second Impeachment of Trump, and how many had a hand in the January sixth story, events, and subsequent narrative? How many are now pushing the official DC UniParty’s Ukraine narrative, in concert with corrupt and corruptible media?

The media lies endlessly to us, and those lies don’t stop with events beyond the water’s edge.  Meanwhile, I have to hear Levin questioning the patriotism of Americans who are questioning the official DC narrative, or suggesting they’re Russophiles or similar garbage.  That’s what I expect from Hillary Clinton, so that when I hear it coming from the radio in Mark Levin’s voice, I must ask him: “What in the Hell are you thinking?” Why would Mark Levin now take up the “Russia, Russia, Russia” allegations of Hillary Clinton only to aim them against members of his own audience? On the basis of information from which sources?  Jennifer-freaking-Griffin???

These two men have repeatedly demonstrated their capacity for intense investigations and research, but they’ve been steered in the Ukraine story largely by emotion, driven by many false stories, false narratives, and imagery that’s been created but unsubstantiated in far too many cases. In media generally, we’ve been shown a story about Miss Ukraine, bearing arms and ready to fight, but the rifle she’s pictured with is an airsoft rifle, (airsoft being a sport she enjoys.)  We’ve been told about the “Ghost of Kiev,” by such low-lifes as Adam Kinzinger, that has turned out to be an utter hoax.  The Snake Island story turned out to be propaganda in the larger dimension:  It appears that rather than having been killed after telling their Russian attackers to “Go F’ themselves,” they laid down their arms in surrender, and are now all safe, albeit disarmed and removed from the battlefield.  We’ve had a member of the Ukrainian Parliament tell the world that she’s fighting “not only for Ukraine, but for the New World Order.”  We’ve had every manner of false story propagating, not merely from the combatants, but particularly from the Western media.  The number of fabricated, concocted stories coming out of the war zone are far too numerous to list here. Even the imagery is frequently suspect, as reported elsewhere on this site.

That Levin and Bongino walked into some of these stories is no surprise.  I too was sucked into one of them early on.  The Snake Island story recalled the bravado and courage of the Alamo, until it didn’t.  What’s been surprising and disappointing is how thoroughly Levin has been entirely swamped by some of it.  Bongino corrected the record, in his defense and to his credit.  So far, Levin has not, and he’s not backed-off his bombastic declarations about his willingness to ship arms to a country that has been a playground for the DC UniParty’s money-launderers.  The alleged brave acts(it’s not that I doubt the bravery of Ukrainians, but only the veracity of this narrative) are being pushed in media with a reckless disregard for fact-checking and verification, which is the definition of war-time propaganda.  The “fog of war” only clears if we work to make that hapen.  It’s important for talkers to right their ships when they get a story wrong.  Sometimes, it’s understandable and forgivable if the host makes amends by leading with the truth or a correction at the next available opportunity, as Bongino has done this week.  We need solid information, and while I still want the passion both men bring to their respective endeavors in media, I have to insist that they improve their information-vetting, by reconsidering the sources they now employ.  Clearly, some of those sources are of dubious veracity.  I enjoy the presentations of each man, both interesting and entertaining, as well as bracing and motivating, but I need the foundation to be solid.  Everybody makes mistakes, me included, but there are innocent errors and errors of incomplete information, but there are also errors born of haste, undue passion, lack of due diligence and malice.  I expect the former to happen from time to time, and they are entirely generally to be forgiven upon forthright correction.  The other sort, when they become habitual, threaten to turn an outlet or a show into nothing better than another mainstream media outlet: Corrupt or corruptible.  This also applies to many others in the conservative space.  In a moment of excess passion, it could easily happen to me.  We must fight against this kind pollution of facts driven by our own intemperance, but we must also hold outlets and hosts accountable.  I need Levin to correct the record, telling his audience that reports of thermobaric bombs or cluster bombs intentionally targeting civilians are unconfirmed, unverified reports at this time.  In fact, their use at all remains unverified.  These weapons are indeed nasty, but the US has employed cluster-bombs too.  Ask the Iraqis.  Ask the Afghans.  What makes their use illegal, like so many weapons of war, is their use in the intentional targeting of civilians.  Under various international treaties and conventions, doing so constitutes a war crime.  It’s important for Levin to fix this at the next opportunity, and as ever, at least for the moment, I’ll be listening this evening to see if he will.

 

 

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Congratulations to Donald Trump!

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016

trump_wins_ftAnalysts will study this election for years to come.  Donald Trump overcame a media and political establishment that had dismissed him from the outset of his campaign.  There’s no doubt that they believed Trump would become a footnote in political history books, and that much like they were able to politically defame and largely demolish the Tea Party, they expected to put his supporters out of their minds and simply dismiss them in the same way.  IF you remember back in 2009, and 2010, Barack Obama was dismissive of the Tea Party movement that was just erupting, and he wouldn’t even acknowledge them, instead leaving DC when they arranged for their huge march.  The left thought they would apply the same tactics to Donald Trump and his supporters, and that would do the trick for them again. Marginalized, defamed, and categorized as “racist, sexist nut-jobs,” they expected to run right over the army of Trump supporters with equal indifference.  Donald Trump was of another mind, and that certainly played a remarkable role, but having examined the election returns, I’m prepared to say what I think made the difference.  Analysts will study and fret, trying to discover some secret key to what made them lose, or miss the analysis, but they’re all missing the point.  It’s really much simpler than all of the nuance and rationalization that’s been going on in the last twelve hours.  It really isn’t rocket science, and a cursory examination of the results will bear this out: Donald Trump won the election in 2016 because too many Americans have been desperate for change for much too long, and because the current president and his administration(but also much of the Congress) have been entirely indifferent to the suffering they’ve inflicted.

Leftists never consider the impact of their policies on individuals.  Their rationalizations are always constructed under the skewed microscope of the collectivized “good” as they conceive it.  If imposing a healthcare program on the entirety of the nation results in a driving-up of costs for average Americans, while only covering a small number of additional Americans, they don’t care.  If they evaluate their program at all, their conclusion will inevitably be that they must tax more and impose larger penalties for those who refuse to participate.  Never do they hesitate to consider that for most Americans, even those not formally a part of the Obama-care program, the net effect for most Americans of the mere existence of this law has been to drive up out-of-pocket costs for every person who is a net payer, and by some dramatic proportions in many instances.  The statists simply do not care about these impacts, and won’t even consider them in their political calculus.  It is this baked-in tone-deafness of the left that makes for the sort of shock they experienced in the wee hours of this morning when they realized Donald Trump would become president.

Leftists only talk to one another.  The entire media establishment is so thoroughly rife with leftists that they cannot see any point of view but their own.  Disagreement is not tolerated, and other points of view are summarily dismissed, mocked, and otherwise defamed.  Worst of all, perhaps, they seem to exist within a sort of echo-chamber that leads them to believe things that simply aren’t so, and this blinds them to reality, again, setting them up for the sort of massive failure they experienced on Election Day 2016.

In this election, what they failed to perceive is something rather simple, and it’s been right there before them since 2009, but they’ve stubbornly ignored it, as if by ignoring it, it would simply not exist.  This ostrich-like behavior meant they would not hear the desperation in the voices of average Americans, with whom they have very little contact, and who are, in their view, simply the insignificant people of “flyover country.”

This is where Donald Trump won, but let’s be more explicit about who it was that dragged him across the finish line to victory:  In the last week of the campaign, in horror over the looming possibility of a Clinton presidency, Republicans began to “come home” as Vice Presidential nominee Mike Pence had implored, but with them, a broad range of people who are largely middle, middle-class, white, and of lower educational credentials.  Contrary to the beliefs of the fools in Washington DC, and in the media generally, credentials do not alone describe one’s intelligence or lack thereof.  Credentials make no difference whatsoever to people who are starving in sight of a bounty, denied access to it only by the aggression of government.

The knot-heads in colleges and universities who believe their credentials give them some special insight, and are of the sort who have attached too much importance to their own stations in life, and too little of the situations of their fellow Americans.  This is magnified by those in the media, and those in Washington DC, all of whom have seemed to believe they are the smartest people in any room, perpetually.  Donald Trump is to be credited for recognizing it.  The challenge for Donald Trump is to avoid “blowing it” by forgetting this lesson.  The people who elected Donald Trump are largely those who have been demolished by the giant regulatory and welfare state.  They’ve lost homes and businesses, or simply now work a ridiculous number of hours simply to keep the lights on, and they’ve seen their personal aspirations and their hopes for their children squandered by government that does not care for the dreams of individual people.  This is the lesson the left would learn, if they were not so tone-deaf, and if they did not wear blinders in the presence of “inconvenient truths.”  It’s also the lesson Donald Trump must not forget, lest he squander the very awesome opportunity he’s been granted by the American people, albeit with some significant skepticism.

In simplest terms, what won this election for Donald Trump is the absolute desperation of the American people.  What put him over the top is simply a desperate appeal to the fates by those who realized, even entering the polling places, that Hillary Clinton’s America would offer them no hope, and no chance at recovery, and perhaps worst of all, no sympathy even from those who imposed this decline.  It was a last, plaintive act of self-defense for a people who have watched their lives diminished, their very liberties under constant threat of summary debasement, and their hopes for their children and grandchildren’s future foreclosed.  These are the people who have funded the welfare state, under the ever more punishing blows of government’s whips, while they’ve gone without meals and fell behind on bills and been unable to fund their kids’ education while they’ve paid for the educations of others. These are the folk who eat Macaroni and Cheese or Ramen noodles three or four times weekly, while in line at the grocery store, they stand in fuming and  smoldering, in ever more indignant anger behind the throngs of EBT card users who enjoy surf-and-turf  paid for by the folk eating bare subsistence rations. These are the people who struggle to make mortgage payments, only to find the value of their homes in steep decline as the statists in Washington DC use public housing benefits to place entitled peoples into their formerly nice neighborhoods, new but unappreciative residents who frequently make a wreckage of the nice dwellings they’ve been provided.

Imagine the veteran, who has done his duty and wishes merely to make a living and enjoy his life, but finds his rights are under constant assault by the statists.  He might have a gun or two, and he might like to hunt, or simply shoot at paper targets, only to find that he’s been lumped-together with terrorists by the likes of Hillary Clinton, who live under a shield of heavily-armed security forces, but who do not trust law-abiding citizens who arm themselves for sport, for hunting, and for self-defense.  To know that at any moment, under the auspices of some arbitrary law, one may find his guns outlawed, and his rights turned into the claim of a criminal is to know the terror of too many Americans who have become too accustomed to being ruled by a President who boast of having “a pen and a phone.”

For too long, too many Americans have watched their standard of living in sharp decline, while working harder, and taking on more difficult but also more poorly-compensated jobs, knowing that the society around them is filled with people who don’t work at all, ever, but who also manage to live at least as well as the poor slobs who work sixty, seventy, and eighty hours per week.  These are people interested in justice, who want to see hard work rewarded, and slothfulness and incompetence punished, as nature would dictate.  These are people who follow the law, no matter how much it may be to their detriment, never willing to give an excuse to those who govern them to further deprive them of liberty.  They look around and see that the system of law and justice serves only the corrupt and the criminal, while they must live in perpetual fear of the next new law in violation of which they might act, in simple ignorance. It has been long-declared and well-established that “ignorance of the law is no excuse,” except that there are now so many laws that none can possibly know all that apply to their lives and endeavors.  Government bureaucrats have no sympathy for that reality, and the statists care not for the plights of individual men and women.

It is the mother who works many hours, who may or may not have a husband to help pull that wagon, and who have finally discovered that their lives and labors and their love of their children is under unflagging attack.  They live in terror of the next electric bill, an inflated grocery bill, and they don’t understand why they must pay not only for themselves and their families but the families of others whose exertions are minimal.

It is a family who sees their values and moral standards under continuous attack.  They find that they must de-propagandize their children daily upon their arrival from the public schools, that teach no values except as collectivized notions, and who most often stand at odds with the interests of the family, its children, and its parents.

All of these people and many more like them are the reasons Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016.  They were desperate.  They need relief.  They need a respite from the never-ending assaults on their lives, liberties, and wallets.  They need somebody, somewhere, to finally understand that the grand ideas conceived in Washington DC most often result in disasters for the people who live in “flyover country.”  In a final desperate act of self-defense, they decided to take a chance on Donald Trump, knowing that Hillary Clinton offered only more of the same, and perhaps represented the final nail in their individual coffins.

Donald Trump has a fantastic opportunity, and I for one wish him well, and I sincerely hope he will not squander it.  Too many politicians make a mockery of the people who’ve elected them, forgetting their promises, or remembering them while conveniently finding ways to avoid carrying them out.  Donald Trump can win re-election easily in four years if he will only do the following:

  • Secure the nation, build the wall and enforce the nation’s existing immigration law. Mexico needn’t pay for it, but it must be built
  • Re-institute justice for all, including particularly the rich and powerful
  • Cut taxes on those who work for a living – and if he really wants the favor of the working stiff, make only the first forty hours of labor taxable
  • Repeal Obamacare (but don’t replace it with some other mandatory, equally tyrannical program)
  • Get control of the exploding welfare state, from the cost side, but also from the point of view of sheer extravagance and enticement to dependency
  • Make America a place great for business again, so that people can work and prosper by their own efforts
  • Rescind Obama’s lengthy list of Executive Orders
  • Take care of our veterans and make sparing use of a rebuilt and revitalized military relieve of silly but dangerous social engineering
  • Appoint judges who will follow the explicit mandates of the US Constitution
  • Never forget the individual aspirations and dreams of individual Americans in signing(or vetoing) laws and issuing executive orders

If Donald Trump will merely do these things, I suspect he will get a forty-state(or better) win for re-election in four years, if he wants it.  This is the truth of how Donald Trump won.  He won because for too many Americans, the situation has become far too dire.  I expect that he will have a short honeymoon period with the vast bulk of the American people.  If he can make strides to substantially carry out the important parts of the agenda he’s outlined, and can merely make a credible stab at fulfilling the short but difficult list above, he will succeed like no President since at least Ronald Reagan.  He has that chance.  He has every reason to do it.  The question now remains: Will he?

Like a large number of Americans who closed the gap and pushed him over the top, I have nothing but well-wishes and the best hopes for Donald Trump’s presidency. It was a last, desperate act of self-defense for so many Americans who determined that he was an imperfect vessel, but at least there’s a chance he won’t be nearly so foul and depraved as Hillary Clinton, whatever he may have done in the past.  We voted for Donald Trump because we knew Hillary would only worsen things, and at least with Donald Trump, there’s some inkling that he might drag the country in the correct direction for a change.  It’s become as desperate as that for too many Americans.  I hope he will recognize this, if he hasn’t already, and act accordingly to secure their continuing support. He has referred to them as the “forgotten Americans.”  In his remarks after Hillary Clinton’s concession phone call, he offered a glimmer that their  hope is justified.

Congratulations and good luck to Donald Trump and Mike Pence, along with all those who supported him from the beginning.  May their fortunes rise and fall in accordance with their fidelity to the people and to the Constitution of the United States.  Therein lies the cause of Hillary’s defeat and the repudiation of Obama’s legacy.

 

 

 

 

 

The Worst Election Ever

Monday, November 7th, 2016

crooked_hillary_ftI’ve been observing and participating in our nation’s electoral process for more than three decades. I’ve seen some awful candidates and despicable campaigns, but I can’t remember a single presidential election cycle in which I was so thoroughly disgusted with my choices(or lack thereof.)  I’ve remained quiet since the primary season because I see no point.  I had nothing to add, and nothing useful to say about the state of the primary, and given the two major parties’ nominees, nothing good to say about any of it.  The Republican nominating process was a disgusting, miserable mess.  It was dominated by open-primary states, and the GOP’s nominee was chosen not by conservatives, or even Republicans more generally, but instead by the media and by line-crossing Democrats in open primary states.  As bad as that is, the Democrat primary was even more ridiculous.  Bernie Sanders never had a prayer, as the whole party apparatus of the DNC was aligned against him, and the conclusion was determined not by voters but instead by the broken, corrupt “super-delegate” weighting of the outcome.  Bernie’s supporters would be right to feel betrayed, because it was quite literally rigged against him.  What it all means and has meant to me is that I have been a man without a candidate.  Gary Johnson, while the sole vaguely-qualified third-party candidate, proved to be a kook, Jill Stein is insane from a policy-based point of view, and Evan McMullin is just a Kristol-Romney sock-puppet.  As you can see, things are pretty slim, and conservatives don’t have much to look forward to in this election.  The question therefore arises:  What’s a conservative to do? How can a conservative maintain his or her principles and still vote in this election?  The answers seem quite negative.  The conclusions one must reach simply aren’t satisfactory.  Still, as conservatives, we have a responsibility to make a judgment about all of this.  Ignoring or evading that responsibility is the deepest betrayal of our principles we could undertake.  Let us consider the ugliest election ever, and know what our actions or inactions will really mean.

Let us begin from the self-evident premise that voting for McMullin, Stein, Johnson, or “None of the Above” is nothing more or less than a protest vote.  There’s no escaping that conclusion, and pretending to ourselves that any of these candidates have even the remotest chance of victory is simply absurd self-delusion.  It’s time to embrace the horror:  With or without us, whether we abstain entirely, or vote for one of these three protest candidates, in just about a day’s time, either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will be our President-elect.  While horrifying, at least to a conservative, this is the fact from which there is no escape.

It is true to say that Donald Trump isn’t even approximately a conservative.  Worse, his lifetime of bad, boorish, and perhaps worse behavior means that it’s difficult to overlook what a complete buffoon this man has appeared to be over this campaign and election cycle, but also over the course of his life.  You can worry about a lot of things if Donald Trump wins, from his insane tariffs notions, to his likely retreat on illegal immigrants and amnesty.  He rightly says Obama-care must be repealed, but then goes on to describe replacing it with another government program. He seems to be acceptable on second amendment issues, but that’s assuming he’s gotten an education and has completely disavowed his previous stance on such things as the “assault weapons” ban. His foreign policy leaves much to be desired, and it seems at times that he doesn’t know all that much about the subject. On the other hand, he has expressed a generally pro-American view, as contrasted against the America-Last stance of the current administration.  He seems to exhibit some concern for veterans, although that’s been a somewhat more spotty record in the past.  His views on Supreme Court and other judicial appointments is less than comforting.  Most of all, he’s told a huge number of whoppers during this election cycle.

Then there is Hillary Clinton.  There is nothing whatever to recommend her.  She is wrong on virtually every issue where an actual conservative might be concerned, to the extent that she could and should be viewed with real enmity by anybody even approximately interested in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  In a word, Hillary Clinton’s policy preferences are un-American to the core.  She absolutely hates the country as founded, and like the current resident of the Oval Orifice, seeks to undo the United States as a nation governed by a free people.  She detests free speech, she would act to restrict further the free exercise of religion, imposing on private citizens those restrictions that apply legitimately only to government.  Hers is the ultimate cultural attack on what it is to be an American.  Her policy on immigration is an open border.  Her view on citizenship is expansive, inasmuch as she believes we ought to be overrun by foreigners of every conceivable description in order to solidify her party’s hold on government.

More than all of this, however, Hillary Clinton is an un-convicted criminal.  She is still under investigation by the FBI, particularly with respect to the Clinton Foundation, but more, her entire career in and around government has been littered with crooked dealings and corrupting applications of power and privilege.  She owes no allegiance to the American people, but is instead a sort of mob-boss, where she and her friends exercise control over the law itself.  There is no office beyond the reach of their corrupting influence, and as this campaign season has demonstrated, almost the whole of the news and entertainment media are in her corner at best, but at worse, in her pocket.

Don’t bother to tell me this and that about Donald Trump.  As far as I am aware, his actions, some of them detestable to me, have not resulted in the deaths of Americans, and have not included treason, effective espionage for enemies of the United States, and bizarre and wholly illegal instances of thorough corruption of government offices, in and out of office.  I know he’s likely to betray the people who would put him in office, as he already has on several issues, but what he is not is a person who hates America, or Americans, at least as far as I can determine.

As a conservative, I am forced to evaluate and pass judgment on such things as this presidential election, making my choices and taking responsibility for them, not evading them and hiding behind a veneer of claimed inviolate principles.  There is no moral superiority to be found in permitting Hillary Clinton to be elected President.  As a conservative, I believe in my right to life, and my right to defend it and all the facets of it.  What I notice is that if Hillary Clinton is permitted to become President, my rights, and indeed the rights of all Americans, to their lives, and their liberties, as well as the means to defend them shall be stripped from us.  In short, as a first principle, I believe in the right of self-defense, and I believe in the moral imperative of defending one’s rights along with one’s life.  Hillary Clinton will make it infinitely more difficult for Americans to defend themselves, and worse, she will increase the number of actual threats confronting us.

She will import millions of refugees from nations torn by war, and most of those refugees will not in any way add to our national growth or prosperity. In many cases, and in many ways, they will come here to sponge off of the rest of us.  They will come here to attack us.  There’s no good in this.  There’s no improvement in the American condition by virtue of these programs.  Hillary will extend taxation to an even greater degree.  This is an attack on property rights, including the property that is your labor.  She will doubtlessly tinker with Obamacare but rather than repeal it, she will seek to extend its oppressive, crushing burden on all those who most shoulder its burdens.

Therefore, tomorrow morning when I rise, I will go vote for Donald Trump.  I do not enjoy this prospect, but there is no rational alternative.  Hillary Clinton is such a thoroughly evil creature that I cannot countenance her ascension to the presidency without my opposition by the only method that now remains to me:  I must vote for the most viable opponent to her.  That means that the Kristol & Romney sock-puppet cannot have my vote.  It means that Gary Johnson cannot count on me.  There would be no scenario in which I could vote for the walking brain-death that is Jill Stein.  No, I cannot merely withhold my vote for the top slot on the ticket.  I must do that which is despicable to me: I must vote for Donald Trump and hope that we conservatives will have some means by which to restrain him, for with Hillary, there is none.  There is no manner by which to temper her attacks on America should she obtain that office.  I shudder to think of her Supreme Court nominees.  I gasp when I think at the extending reach of her corrupt, criminal enterprise.  I must vote for Donald Trump, not because I favor the man, or would have chosen him among my top ten to lead the country, but because he is the only candidate who can stop Hillary Clinton.  He’s the only one remaining to defeat her, and for the next four years, that will have to be good enough, bad as that may be.

We can talk about what conservatives must do in the future, should our nation survive long enough to make that question relevant, but the truth is that Hillary takes that possibility off the table.  If she’s permitted to consolidate the power Obama has already seized, and if she’s permitted to wreak further havoc on our nation’s economy and our national culture, there will be no recovery.  Not in my lifetime.  Not in my child’s lifetime.  It’s time to face the horror of tomorrow with a stiff upper lip.  I can vote for Mr. Trump, or I can accept the destruction of our nation under Hillary Clinton.  That’s not a choice, but instead a threat, and a threat that removes all other options.

As a matter of self-defense, one doesn’t seek the fight, but must be willing to fight when confronted with an existential threat. In terms of our national polity, our culture, and indeed, the whole body of law that defines our governance.  Hillary Clinton is a mortal threat to all of that. Most American would prefer to avoid fights.  None of rational intent relish the notion of defending one’s life and liberty, for all the ugliness that is inevitable in such a fight.  We conservatives would just as soon live and let live, in the main, and more often than not, we’d be happier if our fellows would simply abide by that golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  Sadly, ours is an era in which the resurgence of the aggressive state increasingly attacks us, acting as a surrogate for the whims and wishes of some of our fellow citizens who have captured, at least for a moment, the power of the state to act in their favor by aggressive means, particularly theft.  In this environment, there is no way for we conservatives to fend off our oppressors if the executive branch of our government is dominated by yet another villain, perhaps worse than the current occupant of that office.

Hillary Clinton’s potential election is a serious threat to all Americans, whether they have the wisdom to see it or not.  We conservatives did not choose this fight.  It’s been thrust upon us by the ceaseless aggressions of the statists who now hold the reins of power.  Hillary Clinton is merely their latest and perhaps most corrupt and criminal agent, and the America she intends to create is an abomination before Nature and Nature’s God.  We must defend ourselves from her maniacal intentions, and we must do so whether she wins or not.  Without doubt, it is true that the world would be slightly less disagreeable to our continuing liberties should she be defeated.  In the arsenal that is an election for the defense of a nation,  Donald Trump is the only bullet remaining in the magazine for our cultural and national self-defense, and tomorrow morning, as soon as the polls open, I will be pulling that trigger.  Just as I am certain Ted Cruz felt dismay and disappointment at having to make the same choice, he acted as a responsible adult must in defense of all he loves, and voted for Trump.

He certainly isn’t the best weapon we could have, and he’s not the means of defense I would choose, but he’s the only one we have remaining. I will vote Trump.

That doesn’t mean I like it.  In the context of self-defense, who ever likes it?

 

JEB Suggests Trump-Clinton Conspiracy; Did Trump Give Clinton a Medal?

Thursday, December 10th, 2015
Aid and Comfort, JEB?

Aid and Comfort, JEB?

On Wednesday, NewsMax reported that JEB Bush tweeted about an alleged conspiracy between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. While I’m certainly no Trump fan, and I wouldn’t doubt any conspiracy involving Hillary Clinton, I have a question for Mr. Bush: If past entanglements and relationships between Clinton and Trump are the basis for this argument, ought I not consider JEB’s own entanglements and relationship with Clinton as the basis for a possible Bush-Clinton conspiracy?  Readers might wonder what I’m talking about.  I could point to the great and fast friends George HW Bush appeared to become with the Clintons after his defeat in 1992, but no, I needn’t reach that far back in time, or even go to Bush relatives.  Instead, we need only ask the following: While serving as the Chairman of the Board of the dubiously named “National Constitution Center,” JEB stood forth on a public stage to hand out the Center’s Liberty Medal.  It just so happens that on the 10th of September, 2013, almost exactly one year after the Benghazi terror attack that killed our Ambassador, the woman who asked “…what difference does it make?” in congressional testimony on the matter stood forth on the stage with none other than JEB to receive the Center’s Liberty Medal.  Hillary received the Liberty Medal from JEB!

Per Mr. Bush:

“Former Secretary Clinton has dedicated her life to serving and engaging people across the world in democracy,”

and:

“These efforts as a citizen, an activist, and a leader have earned Secretary Clinton this year’s Liberty Medal.”

Now it’s all well and good if Mr. Bush wants to assert, along with his lapdogs in the media(Bill Kristol et al) that there is a deep, dark conspiracy between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and considering the characters involved, I would not doubt it, but I wonder whether JEB understands just how foolish the facts make him look. After all, Donald Trump never stood on a stage on behalf of an organization named “The National Constitution Center,” handing out a medal to Mrs. Clinton.  Frankly, at the time, I thought it an unforgivable, disqualifying misadventure on JEB’s part, but in light of his suggestion of a Hillary-Trump cabal, it now seems all the more ludicrous.  Conspiring with the enemy, JEB? That’s what he’s implying Trump is doing. How about giving aid and comfort, JEB? Isn’t that to which hanging a medal on Mrs. Clinton amounts? (The so-called “Liberty Medal,” of all things!!!)

While I trust Donald and Hillary roughly as far as I can throw their combined weight, I don’t trust JEB either.