Thursday, August 17, 2017

Punching Nazis?

The meme of the moment is that "It's ok to punch a Nazi". This is often accompanied with the cover of Captain America #1 punching Hitler or something similar. But there's the thing.

It's not World War II and you are not a comic book hero.

When people talk about punching a Nazi, they mean that they want to assault someone for holding views that they don't agree with. Yes, I know what the Nazis did in the 1930s and 1940s and yes, it's shocking to see Americans carrying Nazi symbols and praising Hitler. But that does not justify taking the law into your own hands and taking it upon yourself to punish the Nazi.

And who counts as a Nazi? Yes, it's easy to point to the idiots carrying swastikas but they don't carry them every day. Are you planning on hunting them down? Then will you go after Nazi sympathizers? A friend of mine was recently named in a Facebook posting as a Nazi-enabler for making the same points I'm making. This post called for violence against several people. I know other people who insist that anyone who didn't vote for Hillary Clinton is an Nazi-enabler. Where does this end?

Last weekend an engineer was fired from Google after sharing a complaint about Google's diversity programs. He was not against diversity but he did suggest that, possibly, women are less likely to be attracted to engineering as a career. He even backed this up with solid figures (although the links were all removed when his document was made public). After his firing he complained that he has been labeled a Nazi and received death threats.

This also seems to expect that the Nazis won't hit back. They will. Violence leads to more violence.

Monday, August 07, 2017

It's Time to Normalize Trump

The Democrats flipped out when Donal Trump won the election. The weeks between election night and inauguration day were full of plots and schemes to prevent Trump from taking office. When he did, people embedded in federal agencies vowed to "resist", using official twitter channels and leaks to embarrass the President. At the same time, celebrities vowed that they would never "normalize" Trump by treating him as a normal president. President Trump is unwelcome on late night talk shows. Hosts who fawned on Barack Obama now compete to see who can be the most anti-Trump.

The MSM has been particularly harsh, often framing events in an unflattering light then referring back to their interpretation instead of what actually happened. An example of this was Trump's first meeting with his full cabinet. He had each member introduce himself. Several, around half, thanked the President for the chance to server the country in their new role. This was reported as Trump calling his cabinet together and ordering them to praise him and is still being referred to as "bizarre" even though it is typical of such introductions.

Last week things went even further. The Washington Post published transcripts of President Trump's first phone calls to the presidents of Mexico and Australia. Although a few bits have been published, there has been little discussion of the main text - probably because it reflects well on Trump. But the content of the phone calls is not the point.

By publishing these transcripts, the Post has shown that it will do anything it can to harm Trump, even if it will cause long-term damage to the United States going beyond the Trump administration.

Every leader in the world now knows that he cannot count on his conversation with the President of the United States being kept confidential. This will hurt Trump for the rest of his presidency but there is no reason to believe that it will stop there.

Civilization can be a fragile thing. It depends on mutual acceptance of a set of rules of conduct. The "resistance" and the attempts to "de-normalize" Trump assume that these rules can be unilaterally ignored without repercussion. The Democrats made the same assumption when they controlled Congress, particularly the Senate. They exercised the "nuclear option" and did away with the filibuster on presidential Non-Supreme Court appointments. When the Republicans regained control there was a short debate about reinstating the old rules but the general feeling was that the Republicans should not be expected to play by a different set of rules than the Democrats. And, when President Trump nominated a well-qualified candidate to the Supreme Court, the nuclear option was extended to include those nominees as well.

If a Democrat wins the 202 election, then you can count on the Republicans de-normalizing that president the same way that the Democrats have treated Trump. The new rules have been set and it is ridiculous to assume that the Republicans will abode by the old rules.

That's why it is imperative for the left to back off and normalize Trump. They are the only ones who can defuse the current situation. They need to admit that they have gone too far and start according Trump the respect that they will expect to be given the next Democratic president.

That goes for the Republicans, too. They might disagree with Trump but they need to accept him for the good of the nation.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Racist Walking?

In a recent NYT column, a black man described his experiences with white women on the sidewalks.

There are many times in a day when a person is walking toward me and in my path. In these situations, we both generally make minor adjustments upon our approach. Sometimes, and especially with pedestrians who are black, as I am, there's eye contact or even a nod. Almost always, we shift our bodyweight or otherwise detour to make the pass easier for the other. Walking courteously doesn't take much, just soup├žons of spatial awareness, foresight and empathy. In seven years of living and walking here, I've found that most people walk courteously — but that white women, at least when I'm in their path, do not.

Sometimes they're buried in their phones. Other times, they're in pairs and groups, and in conversation. But often, they're looking ahead, through me, if not quite at me. When white women are in my path, they almost always continue straight, forcing me to one side without changing their course. This happens several times a day; and a couple of times a week, white women force me off the sidewalk completely. In these instances, when I'm standing in the street or in the dirt as a white woman strides past, broad-shouldered and blissful, I turn furious.

So white women are racist.

Or... maybe the author sees racism where it doesn't exist. He goes on to say that he asked other black men and one Asian man about it. The black men said that it had happened to them, the Asian man said that white women made way for him but white men didn't.

There's one group that was omitted from that small sample - white men. Being a white man, I'll take the liberty of offering an answer. Yes, it happens to us, too. I've had it happen several times.

I'm going out on a limb here but I'm going to take a wild guess that he didn't ask any white men because he didn't want to know the answer. He's part of a culture that ways that anything that he dislikes must be from racism. But it it happens to white men, too then that blows up his main point.

So, why would women refuse to recognize the men around her? Three years ago a video showed a woman walking through the streets of NYC and getting constant catcalls. Granted this was 10 hours of walking condensed down to a few minutes but it shows that even a woman who refuses to recognize the men around her gets hit on.

So, maybe, what the author saw as racism was a defense mechanism. But that draws all the wrong conclusions. It places the blame on men. Instead of being part of an oppressed group, he becomes one of the oppressor class. And what fun is that?



Friday, July 28, 2017

What Happened or What "Happened"

Hillary Clinton's new book on the 2016 election will be out September 12. It was just announced that the title will be "What Happened" and will feature Hillary letting her guard down.

The release date of the book is ironic because the date is the anniversary of when she lost the campaign. Two events - her "basket of deplorables" speeches coming to light and her collapse at the 9/11 memorial and subsequent conflicting stories about its cause stopped her campaign dead in its tracks.

Clinton has a long history of self-serving books. This one promises to be different but it also promises to connect the dots between Russia and Donald Trump. So, will it be an honest account of the Clinton campaign including all of the missteps at the top or will it be a justification for everything that Hillary did, full of conspiracy theories. Here's some things to watch for:

The email server. Nothing hurt Clinton's campaign more than her decision to use a private email server rather than the official one at the State Department. She has previously given questionable justification for that. Will she finally admit that she wanted total control over her correspondence, even if it meant making it less secure? In a related question, will she mention that her emails got onto the laptop of Anthony Weiner because her aid,Huma Abedin, was forwarding them to Weiner to print? Previously Hillary has blamed the FBI's reopening of the email investigation for her loss. Will she admit that there would have been no investigation without these decisions?

Her collapse and her health. Her collapse at the 9/11 memorial capped weeks of speculation about her health. Even after her collapse it took days before her campaign admitted that she was suffering from pneumonia. Until the news release went out, most of her staff had no idea that she was sick. How will she explain that? And how healthy is she really?

Russia Hackers released two troves of emails, the first from the DNC server and the second from one of her top campaign officials. There is evidence to indicate that Russian hackers were involved. There is a much weaker case that the Russian government was involved. Assuming that Putin was personally involved in this, he might have done it out of spite because he dislikes Hilary and feared that as president she would try to force him out of office. Will Hillary admit this or will she push the theory that Trump colluded with Putin in exchange for future favors?

Her campaign. The book Shattered paints a picture of a campaign in disarray with no clear lines of authority and an ever-expanding set of people at the top. Hillary herself became increasingly distant from the campaign, seldom meeting face to face and using speaker phone for important meetings. What will she have to say about this? What of the decision that it was too difficult and expensive to try to convert Trump supporters? Instead of trying to persuade Republicans, the Clinton campaign ran negative ads for months to try to suppress Trump voters and relied on get-out-the-vote efforts to reassemble the Obama coalition. Will she admit that this was her strategy and that it was a mistake?

Trump looming over her. During the second debate, Hillary executed a practiced move, leaving her seat and walking across the stage to position herself between a camera and Trump. Her press released a statement about how women have to face angry men "looming" over their shoulder and Hillary talked about how Trump was following her around the stage when he never left his seat. Will she admit what really happened or will she continue to talk about Trump looming over her? This is a small point but I already saw it mentioned in a Huffington Post article on Hillary's book.

In short, will Clinton admit to the many mistakes and missteps that she and her campaign made or will she use this new book to justify everything she did and place the blame everywhere else? Personally, I don't think that there's a chance in the world that Hillary will write an honest account of the election. She will justify every decision, skirt over the inconvenient parts and blame everyone but herself.

 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

How to Condescend While Saying Not To

In a recent column in USA, card-carrying member of the resistance, Andrew Redlawsk suggests that liberal should listen and not condescend when talking with Trump Voters. He then manages to be amazingly condescending.

My typical response to conservatives who see me as a smug, elitist hypocrite for not being tolerant of their beliefs is that I'm "intolerant of intolerance," but I've realized that that mistake is the issue. No, we don't have to accept and respect others' bigotry or ignorance, but it's incredibly important that we understand where it comes from and why it exists.
With this sweeping statement, he tars everyone in the opposition as ignorant bigots.

The folks who voted for Trump are by and large people who see progressivism, and specifically concepts like political correctness and intersectionalism, as an attack on all of those deeply held feelings of what America "is." To them, our movement is an assault on their Field of Dreams. They're afraid of losing their (yes, white and Christian) America in the tidal wave of cultural shifts that have occurred over recent decades.

Is calling them racist going to change that? Is calling them bigots going to do it? Hateful? Monsters? Ignorant? Uneducated? Privileged? We don't have to agree with it, but we have to attempt to understand it.

And yet, he's already called us bigots.

The only way The Resistance succeeds is if we fundamentally change our tactics. We must realize that the way into these hearts is to respectfully suggest that the causes we fight for actually align with their deeply held patriotism and love for America. That yes, our marginalized communities may look different and speak a different language, but they want all the same things you do, and they want to have them in this incredible country we've built together. They also want to have their Field of Dreams. That's why they came here in the first place! And isn't it the American Way to do everything we can to give them that opportunity?

Actually, most progressives equate patriotism with nationalism and then lump it in with fascism. American flags are seen as micro-agressions. To progressives, America is a racist patriarchy. And he's still assuming that conservatives are anti-foreigner. He made the typical mistake of equating positions against illegal immigrants with being anti-foreigner.

But what this also means is that we as progressives need to stop getting so offended by everything and learn to put ourselves in others' shoes. All of our experiences — conservatives and progressives alike — give us unique perspectives, and it is absolutely unhelpful to say things like "it's not our job to teach you" when someone comes to us with questions.

Actually, it is our job.

This sounds good but he doesn't actually want to see things from a conservative point of view. He wants us to see things from his point of view. He wants to teach us the error of our ways.

To summarize: Progressives, stop insulting, stop shaming, and stop condescending. Start listening. Start teaching.

Good advice. Too bad he's not taking it.









Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Left's Hamburger Problem

Business Insider has an observation on a big problem that the Democrats have - their judgementalism. The point is this is that most Americans agree with the Democrats on specific policies but are repelled by the constant judgement from the left.

The Business Insider article is approaching the subject from the left. I'll address it from the right.

The Obama years were very good for the left. They achieved their main goals, then, emboldened by their victories, they moved the goalposts. A lot. They also doubled down on their gains.

The LGBT alliance is an example. When Obama ran in 2008, he felt that he could not win if he supported gay marriage. Not long after his election and while gay marriage was still not recognized in several states, the left decided to use the power of the government to force a consensus. If a baker or photographer refused service because of religious convictions then that person was publicly pilloried and run out of business. The message was that this is the new order and no dissent will be allowed. Even people like me who have supported gay marriage since before it was fashionable were shocked by the vindictiveness of this.

The the LGBT lobby moved the goalposts some more. Trans rights came out of nowhere and suddenly became the law of the land. Not only are we to accept transsexuals but suddenly the whole concept of gender binary is being questioned. We're being scolded for announcing the sex of babies instead of letting them grow up as gender neutral beings until they can decide for themselves. We're even being scolded for "forcing" gender onto our pets.

This is a huge social leap and the left is totally unforgiving of anyone who was left behind. It's also moving ahead of science and anyone who questions this on medical grounds is browbeaten.

Then there's Intersectional feminism. This holds that our culture is inherently racists and sexist. Straight, white, cicgenered males are considered the worst of the lot. No one likes to be told that they are irredeemably racists/sexist/etc. Or that their race/sex/orientation/religion make their views irrelevant. This is a movement that eats itself. Just today black, queer protestors marched on the local Stonewall Union.

It's hard to get people to vote with you when you are telling them that they are terrible people. Just ask Hillary Clinton and her basket of deplorables.

The list goes on. The left is constantly worrying about global warming but, as the Business Insider points out, their remedies tend to match their lifestyle. This is particularly true of the rich elite who emit more carbon than a family of four in order to fly half-way around to world to preach carbon reduction.

The left holds a great deal of the country in contempt while counting on them for ever-further march to the left.

If they want to stop the hemorrhaging, the left needs to start being more tolerant.  

Monday, July 17, 2017

Trump Jr - three possibilities

Given the known facts about Donald Trump, Jr's meeting with a Russian attorney, I can think of three possibilities. I'll list them below but first I want to make a few observations.

First, the term "ties to the Kremlin" is kind of like "degrees of Kevin Bacon". Virtually every highly-placed person from Russia will have some sort of ties with the Kremlin. This is part of doing business. The lawyer also has ties to the group hired to do opposition research on Trump, Sr, for rival Republicans and later the DNC.

Simply trying to get background information, even information acquired by the Kremlin, is not unusual. The "Trump dossier" that was publicized shortly after Trump was inaugurated was supposed to contain KGB information and no one blinked an eye at the DNC being involved with that. No one was bothered by the DNC doing opposition research with the help of Estonia, either.

So, what are the possibilities?

1) The lawyer lied about having dirt on Hillary Clinton in order to get an appointment to talk about her pet cause, adoption of Russian children. This is Trump, Jr's story.

2) The lawyer made an agreement to release DNC emails in exchange for some concessions. That's a lot of negotiations in a single 20-minute meeting with no known follow-ups or face-to-face with Trump, Sr. Still, this is the story that the Left and the press believe. The closest to proof for this is that Grucifer 2 released the DNC emails shortly after the meeting.

3) The meeting was a set-up by the group doing opposition research on the Trumps in order to provide an excuse for the Obama administration to monitor the Trump campaign. The Lawyer claimed to have dirt on Clinton then changed to the adoption story once she'd gotten her meeting. As I mentioned before, the lawyer has as many ties to the opposition research group as to the Kremlin. Also, she was allowed into the country after her visa had been rejected. The timing of the requests to monitor the Trump campaign match this scenario as well as the release of the emails matches the second one.

Personally, I think the first one is the most likely. It fits the known events the best. The Left is grasping at any contact with anyone from Russia as proof of collusion. Some people on the Right are doing the same thing with the Obama administration's tapping of Trump communications.

My main point is that we don't know for certain what happened in the meeting. It's silly to insist that the second possibility is the only one and shows Trump Derangement Syndrome.