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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Las Vegas, Terrorism and the American Media

The media: "La la la la... I can't hear you... Never happened."
Let's say I want to find out more about Steven Paddock. What was he like? How did he make his money? Who are his family members? What was his dad's criminal history? There are many facts I can find out about the man, except one.

What was his religion?

I'm pretty sure he wasn't a hardcore conservative Christian. That would have been a headline. CNN and MSNBC would be crowing about it for weeks. Joy Behar would be in ecstasy. The entire left-wing media would be thinking, "Finally! We have an example of Christian extremist violence more recent than 1986!"

The press would be comparing the incident to 9/11, making moral equivalence arguments about radical Islamic and Christian moralism. They'd have someone from CAIR on half of the screen and they'd be smiling and nodding at everything he says.

That's not happening. This makes me suspicious. Look, I'm a Mormon and every time some kook from some religion that splintered off from mine does something crazy I have to hear the word Mormon associated with things I dislike and with which I disagree. I get how Westernized Muslims feel when a radical Islamist does something violent or crazy. It's a personal insult, and it feels demeaning. It gives ill-intended people an excuse to dig up isolated facts, present them out of context, and mock your faith. So, whenever a terrorist attack occurs, I cross my fingers and hope, "No whammy! Not a Muslim! No whammy!"

Sadly, I'm almost always disappointed.

I hate it, too. I grew up with some Muslim kids who were the salt of the earth, even picked up some Arabic phrases from them. I sympathize with Muslims in many ways, at least the Westernized ones. I respect that Islam still believes in a solid moral foundation, that God's law isn't democratic and malleable to the shifting winds of public opinion. Granted, I disagree with Sharia, the idea of political punishment for sins that do not amount to murder. Yes, murder is a sin, but that's not why we execute people. We execute them to keep others safe, even those fellow inmates with whom they would be imprisoned. It's no coincidence that the lifers do most of the shivving. They have nothing to lose.

ISIS has claimed credit for the attack. If Steven Paddock's name had been Ahaff bin Pupeen or something Arabic-looking, there would have been fewer voices of doubt about the credibility of the claim. The media really wants this to be just an crazy white dude. If he's a Muslim, an Antifr member or (worse yet) both, it really won't help their narrative.

We'll see what trickles out. Sadly, I'm pretty sure I know what it will be, and that's a sad, sad thing. When it comes to something like this, "I told you so" just doesn't feel right.

I'd rather have someone say, "See, you were wrong. Shame on you!" Let's hope.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

ANTIFR - What Media-Savvy Pundits Should Be Calling Them

Antifa, Antifa, Antifa. They're all over the news, all over the Internet, and especially all over YouTube. They're a bunch of pathetic losers who are unemployed because they're potheads who majored in Eighteenth Century Lesbian Fashion. There are only so many Starbucks to work at, so the rest needed something to do and they found it.

They're also violent and have been officially declared a domestic terrorist group. Like gangs in general, the average individual Antifa member couldn't fight his way out of a paper bag, so he depends on a crowd to back him up. I have some personal experience in the gang department, having been raised in a neighborhood full of SureƱos. Never did just one of them come up to me and try to pick a fight. It was always the scrawny guy glancing back at his homies while he made threats in an accent he didn't have until middle school.

Something tells me this guy could take at least five of them.
So we have this violent, anti-First-Amendment group of wannabe-thugs out there beating up peaceful protesters with whom they disagree, and they are called Anti-fascists in the media, even in the conservative media and by pundits on YouTube and other websites. It appears to me that we are missing a golden opportunity here to seize the message. With one little adjustment in pronunciation, we can not only defeat these guys in the press but also link them to the far left who, at the very least, sympathize with their motivation.

We call them Antifr. Pronounced "an-TEE-fer," we explain that it is short for anti-freedom, which is what these people are really all about. When the left-wingers want to keep conservative speakers out of a college campus or venue, we say they are siding with Antifr. When the left wants to do anything to curtail our religious liberty and freedom of conscience, we say they're taking a page out of the Antifr playbook. Antifr becomes, to us, what Nazi is to liberals, a convenient bludgeon with which to bash our opponents.

We're losing the culture war because we refuse to learn from our opponents' victories. Heck, we're refusing to fight at all. We have erected a Maginot Line on wheels that is continuously being pushed back into what we imagined was safe territory. We lose because we dare not even imagine making an incursion into enemy territory, taking back lost ground. With such a mentality, we have no chance at victory. So the Court declared Garriage (and/or Larriage) the law in all fifty states. Has no Supreme Court decision ever been overturned? Will we allow five black-robed radicals to uproot both biology and millennia of human civilization? If so, we don't deserve the nation we are losing.

The culture war begins as a semantic war, a war of words and terminology. Conservatives need to take back the language of the debate. We must refuse to use their loaded terminology and invent and use our own. Language shapes and defines the way you think and even your ability to think certain thoughts at all. I'm a Spanish teacher, and that's the main discovery I've made in studying linguistics. Language is the lens through which we understand the universe. Try thinking something intelligent without words... You can't, can you? Language controls debate and opinion. Right now, the left controls the language. That must change.

Refuse to say gay marriage. It's a contradiction in terms, unless you use the word gay in its original context. (That's another word that's been stolen, and it makes Deck the Halls a bit awkward for modern youths.) Call it Garriage or Larriage, but don't allow the forces of deviancy to co-opt the word marriage. It isn't welfare, it's government dependency. Refuse to speak their language, and spread a more accurate semantics in its place.

Start with Antifr. It's timely and easy to explain. Then don't stop until we've entirely reclaimed our language.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Russian Hacking: Why it was good for the election

The Russians did us a favor by hacking into the DNC's servers. I say "the Russians," by the way, because while Fancy Bear may have done the hacking, we have zero evidence that the Russian government had anything to do with it. I repeat: zero evidence. We have suppositions. We have sneaking suspicions. We have rumors and opinions and fake news and out-of-context intel and... but we have no actual evidence. So let's just say "the Russians" and not concern ourselves with which specific Russians they were.

Still, we owe them a collective thank you. You see, all they did was give us information. Facts. They let us know what was going on. And that is bad... how again? So we elected Trump. Does anyone honestly think that leaked DNC emails are what made that happen? I think the Democrats are grasping at straws here. They want desperately to avoid confronting the reality of the election. Their policies and values were rejected by the American people.

They forgot we existed, here in "flyover country." They forgot we could and would vote in our self-interest. What is our self-interest? Coal mining. Factory jobs. Protectionism. Prosperity over hippie environmental overreaction. Less government control over our lives, forcing us to help celebrate behaviors that our faith tells us are abominable before God. We voted for the option that at least paid lip service to what we hold dear.

Do we actually believe that Trump believes in these things? I personally doubt it. However, when given a choice between someone who is vocally antagonistic toward our values and someone we suspect is tolerant of them at best, we'll vote for the latter.

Look at a district-by-district electoral map. Even in blue states, most of the map is red. The vote in blue states is dominated by one or two overpopulated urban centers. Who knows how many of the non-citizen residents there are voting? There's no way to tell, really, since those who register people to vote in get-out-the-Democrat-vote programs don't bother asking. All you need in any state is an ID, which non-citizens can freely obtain. While Democrats may dispute the impact of illegal voting and election fraud verbally, they have nothing against non-citizens voting in principle. To them, such voter fraud doesn't really count. How dare we suppress minority votes, after all?

The Russians may have influenced some swing voters, enough to tip the scales in Michigan and Ohio, although both of these rust-belt states need mining and factory jobs desperately. They let us know exactly with whom we were dealing. The RNC wasn't hacked. Why? Better security? Their candidate was less hostile toward Russia? Either way, so what? We knew of Trump's foibles. The media bellowed them out loudly and incessantly.

Thanks Fancy Bear. Thanks Vlad, if you were in any way involved. You helped us dodge a bullet. We owe you one.

Monday, December 19, 2016

My Advice for President-elect Trump

Donald Trump has a huge opportunity to effect dramatic change, both for the positive and the negative. He's an issue-by-issue pragmatist, not an ideologue, which is quite similar to my personal philosophy about policy. Like Edmund Burke said, you don't know if it's a good idea until you see how it works in the real world.

I have a few ideas for the new president (okay, he's not president until January 20, 2017, but still) that I'd like to submit. I doubt he will ever read these ideas--this blog isn't exactly widely-known--but I still enjoy having this forum to express them.

1. Build the wall! Do not allow the media or the Washington cultural establishment deter you from making this a reality. Congress already passed a bill authorizing its construction; no new law is needed. Indeed, failing to build the wall was a dereliction of the former president's duty to enforce and uphold the laws of the land. Congress can't complain or stop you. Funds from other agencies can be used so long as that agency is affected by illegal immigration. Department of Education funds can be used because illegal immigration has a negative effect on our schools. They have to spend a disproportionate amount of money on special services for these students, funds that could have been used to purchase better materials for students who are citizens or legal residents. HUD funds could be used because some Federal money is used to provide housing for illegal immigrants. There is no shortage of programs whose funds could be justifiably tapped to build a wall. Then, seizing remittances will force Mexico to pay for the wall, like it or not. However, we should not wait for Mexico to pony up to get started.

2. Get the Republican majority to ban filibusters in both houses of Congress. House and Senate rules can be changed, and have been quite often in the nation's history. Harry Reid restricted the Republicans' use of the filibuster during his tenure as majority leader. There is no reason that Republicans shouldn't do the same to Democrats. The Democrats would have done the same had they obtained a majority in the Senate. Then, using the majority in Congress, pass laws that should have been passed long ago. A series of legal definitions should be first and foremost on the docket: Marriage shall be defined in the United States of America as the legal union of one man and one woman, biologically defined; murder shall be defined as the deliberate taking of the life of a genetically-defined human that is not done with the purpose of defending the life of oneself or another human being; gender shall be defined biologically--if a person has a Y-chromosome, he is male, and if she has no Y-chromosome, she is female; the federal government shall not recognize other uses of the term gender. (In other words, people shall be identified in all government matters as being the sex and gender of their birth.)

How do we ensure that the Supreme Court will not overturn these definitions? Easy--Congress, according to the Constitution, has the right to define the jurisdiction of the federal courts. All that would be needed to defend this bill would be to add the line, "The federal courts shall have no jurisdiction regarding the contents of this bill." This power hasn't been used in living memory and might cause a Constitutional crisis, which is a good thing. We desperately need to check the power of a runaway federal judiciary.

A Republican Senate, House and President should have virtually a free hand in making over the country. By allowing filibusters that can be passed from person to person (instead of the Mr. Smith Goes to Washington variety, where one person has to speak until he just can't anymore), Republicans are creating artificial limits on their own efficacy.

3. Introduce a proportionate tariffs law. Many countries use tariffs or VAT taxes as protective measures against the effects of international trade. VAT taxes are added hypothetically to all products at each stage in the production process, but are waived for specific domestic companies. While not technically a tariff, it is effectively the same thing. Other nations either manipulate currency or simply tax imports enough to make it nigh impossible to sell American goods in their countries.

Taxes on imports need to be specific to both the goods being imported and the nations with which we do business. We want fruit out of season, so we don't tax apples from Chile, for example. (Although, come to think of it, there is a huge fruit-fly problem now that we import so much fruit.)  Trade deals do indeed need to be renegotiated, President-elect Trump, so please make sure we accomplish this, and quickly.

4. Go to a national sales tax system. Another way to deal with a trade imbalance is to level the playing field by making foreign firms pay the same taxes that our companies pay. How would we accomplish this? A national sales tax of ten-to-fifteen percent (depending on how the revenue estimates play out). The number can and should be adjusted in light of market conditions, but it would ensure that our companies do not relocate to avoid confiscatory tax rates. Since all goods or services would be subject to the tax, any foreign company doing business here would pay the same taxes. The income tax would, of course, have to be abolished. Nobody should be taxed on what they produce anyway. The labors of a man's two hands should be sacrosanct. Taxing consumption would encourage savings, investment and thrift. It would lead to more individuals seeking to better themselves without worrying that making another few thousand dollars a year would put them into a higher tax bracket. Businesses would have a zero percent tax rate until they made a sale. There are a host of other benefits, including the fact that a national sales tax would make all Americans invested in how funds are being spent since all of us would now be paying taxes.

Exemptions, of course, need to exist. Groceries, medicine and utilities like water and power should be exempt. Tuition, rent and mortgage payments below a certain threshold should also be exempt. Any home that sells for less than $200,000 should not be taxed, and buyers should only be taxed on what they pay above that amount. Rents should be tax-free up to $2,000 a month, after which the remainder should be taxable. The idea is tax things that are not absolutely necessary. A $200 pair of sneakers should be taxed, but maybe shoes $50 or less should go untaxed. If you want the latest pair of Nike shoes, the first $50 of the price will be tax-free. If you don't want to pay the tax, buy a less expensive pair of shoes. I'm wearing a pair of Nike's right now that cost $44.

The general principle would be that essentials (and no, fancy shoes are not an essential) should be tax free, but luxuries should be taxed. Essentially, people would choose how much tax to pay by choosing what they purchase. Foreign goods would be taxed at the exact same rate as domestic goods, so there would be no tax-related incentive to relocate offshore.

5. Build an arsenal of neutron bombs, and use them. Conventional nuclear bombs are dirty; they leave behind a residue of radioactivity that makes an area uninhabitable for a very long time. They also affect a huge area, causing a vast amount of collateral damage. For this reason, we haven't used one since we bombed Nagasaki in 1945. The stigma of nuking another country keeps us from ever doing so. Everyone knows this, so our nuclear arms instill no fear.

The neutron bomb is a much more limited and precise weapon. It has an effective radius of only five miles and does not leave behind a radioactive wasteland. Those subject to the blast die quickly, instead of living out a life of lingering illness. It is a much more merciful way to deal with problems, yet powerful enough to instill dread. Neutron bomb attack on ISIS-inhabited cities would certainly kill a good number of non-combatants, but normal bombing using conventional weaponry does the same thing. With a neutron bomb, we would accomplish in one hit what it would otherwise take months to do.

We need a nuclear deterrent that actually deters. Neutron bombs would accomplish this. We were fools to scrap the program in the 1980's. Once again, the hippies have made America less safe. When will we stop granting them any credibility whatsoever?

There are many other things that can and should be done to Make America Great Again, but these four would be a dramatic and very effective start. Just consider them. Leave a comment below to either add ideas or tell what you think about these.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Rigging an Election: A How-to Guide

If Hillary Clinton wins in the general election, I hope and pray that the Republican Party will seriously look into the rigging of the election. This can be (and has been) accomplished in various ways. Let’s look at a few.

Registering Non-citizens

In most states, no proof of citizenship is required to register to vote. Even in states with voter ID laws, non-citizens with a government issued photo ID can easily register and vote in U.S. elections. Visitors from other countries, who may only enter to register and then vote, have the ability to swing elections. This is not as far-fetched as it sounds. I went to a Latino event in Fort Wayne and saw a table for Democrat voter registration. I asked the person manning the table if he checked for proof of citizenship, to which he replied that he was not even allowed to ask. However, he assured me that non-citizens wouldn’t want to vote anyway. A large proportion of non-citizens reports at least registering to vote. In states like California and New York, that makes a huge difference.

The Voting of the Dead

In my opinion, the election is held so close to Halloween so that the dead can stick around and vote Democrat. There is a reason that liberals generally oppose scrubbing the ballots frequently and conservatives endorse it. There are a great many now-deceased voters still on the rolls. In states with no voter ID laws, it would be easy to find a list of the deceased, match it to the current voter rolls (unscrubbed, of course), and find out who to vote as and where to do it. The phrase “vote early, vote often” takes on a whole new meaning when you really stop to think about it.

Information Control

This type of election rigging is much more subtle and much more prevalent. It happens every election. It used to be limited to newspapers and television news, but now it occurs in an even more insidious fashion. Search engines can be tweaked to display results that favor one candidate over another. For example, Google donates overwhelmingly more money to Democrats than Republicans, and has several staff members and ex-staffers in the Obama administration. Since Google handles the vast majority of Internet search traffic, it has the ability to dramatically affect the opinions of people regarding candidates. Looking at random Google results, there is a noticeable crowding of negative stories about Trump on the first page of search results and positive stories about Hillary near the top of the list.

Google, of course, flatly denies any tampering with the search algorithms, but even one shady staffer could alter the program to affect search results. Google claims that it works with the non-partisan Voting Information Project to ensure balanced results. The problem is that the Voting Information Project is funded through Left-leaning grants.

The Voting Information Project is funded by the KnightFoundation, which donates money to media start-ups and projects to promote diversity in the newsroom. This doesn’t mean intellectual diversity, but racial and ethnic. Such thinking is decidedly Leftist in orientation, and tells you how the VIP is likely to lean. The Knight Foundation also funds foundations like the Sunlight Foundation, which disproportionately targets Republicans who oppose socialists like President Obama.

ACORN has already demonstrated that the Left is willing to commit voter fraud. In the 2012 election, 100% of the registered voters in some districts in Ohio voted for Obama. GOP inspectors were illegally removed from polling places in many of these districts. Think for a moment. Yes, my friend, that's clear evidence of voter fraud in a swing state. I have no doubts that this same pattern will emerge this time around. Maybe, with Trump, we'll finally hold Democrats accountable.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Trump: Dead in the Water or Just Stalled?

Ah, The Donald. What can I say that hasn't already been said? I didn't vote for him in the primary election; most Republicans didn't. Still, he won just enough votes to outshine the rest of the candidates individually. Had those with little hope of victory dropped out earlier (I'm talking about you, Bush, Kasich and Christie), Cruz or Carson might be the nominee. Instead, we have a mess of a candidate who subverts his own campaign by saying the most idiotic things imaginable.

Well, some say, he's a celebrity, and people love celebrities. That's wrong, by the way. What Americans love is celebrity itself, not the individuals to whom the label applies. We are fascinated by the foolish antics of the famous. They demonstrate that wealth is no predictor of intelligence or refinement. You may know exactly how to use each of the seven utensils arranged around your plate, but that doesn't make you a classy  person. Celebrities often assure us that our lack of monetary or social affluence has no effect on our value as human beings. So many of them are boorish idiots that we feel better about ourselves as we vouyeristically pry into their lives via our television screens.

While name recognition is useful, it can also be a liability. In Trump's case, he has been exposed to a great deal of media attention. He has too many ill-chosen words on tape. Witness the recorded exchange with Billy Bush. Yes, it was merely immature locker-room talk. However, we expect better from our presidents. A bunch of women claiming sexual harassment doesn't help either. I doubt Donald Trump sexually assaulted anyone in the technical sense. Still, paying a woman unwanted sexual attention is classless and not representative of what we Republicans stand for.

Nevertheless, I believe Donald Trump has a good chance of winning this election, primarily because Hillary Clinton is at least as bad a candidate as he is. She has scandals associated with her that relate directly to how she would run the country. We know that she is dishonest in her government dealings and insincere even with her political peers. We know that she collaborates with the media in a way that betrays their complicity with the Democrat party. We know she is willing to blackmail people in order to get what she wants. These are not personal behaviors only, but things she has done in government or to government officials.

According to Allen Lichtman, who has developed a system to predict the president known as the thirteen keys to the presidency, Donald Trump will win the election. The operating theory to his system is that American voters are ultimately pragmatists. They will vote for their perceived self-interest regardless of polls or other trivial matters. In this case, they will vote for Trump because Obama did not achieve anything of note during his last term in office. The Republicans gained seats in Congress during the last midterm elections, which reveals which way the wind is blowing. Lichtman's system has never failed to predict the winner. It is not subjective, not influenced by the polls, which themselves are a mere snapshot of the mood of the public.

Donald Trump is an ego-maniacal idiot. However, he is less liberal than Hillary Clinton. For this reason, he is the lesser evil. He will appoint strict-constructionist judges to the Supreme Court, which is the most important and longest-lasting thing the next president will do. I'll vote for him while holding my nose and praying for forgiveness. I'd feel guiltier still if I didn't vote and Hillary won.   

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Melting Pot and the Salad Bowl

It used to be common to refer to the United States as a melting pot. It was considered a place where the people and cultures from around the world blended and melded into one united entity. Assimilation was assumed to be the goal of immigrants; they came here to be American, and they were expected to become such.

Sure, there was racism and xenophobia at times. Primarily this was due to fear of job competition and political power struggles. Irish immigrants reduced demand for labor, lowering wages and affecting working conditions. Therefore, anti-Irish sentiments developed and were expressed. The same was true of each wave of immigrants. Gradually, however, they melded into the common culture and identity as Americans.

In the past few decades, however, something important has changed. I experienced this in college, and it bothered me quite a bit. I was majoring in ethnic studies at the time, when I realized that each class was simply a gripe-fest about being mistreated at some point in the past. I also realized that each ethnicity I studied found it an imposition to be asked to assimilate. Professors claimed that learning English was an unreasonable expectation, that the adjustment of old attitudes and thought patterns to fit the American paradigm was cruel and insulting. It didn’t take me long to decide to change my major.

We are now told that America is more of a salad bowl, that cultures are to touch but not necessarily blend. This is a tragedy. Cultures are dead when they cease to adapt and evolve. Indeed, to deny that is to deny the history of mankind itself. English came from a blend of influences, primarily proto-German, Latin, and French. The primary religion of the United States came from the Middle East—Jesus was a Jew living in Israel, after all. Our cuisine is a blend of dishes from all over the world, including quite a few from right here in the Americas.

Lately, it seems, we are hearing more about our differences than our common purpose as a culture. Organizations that exist for the sole purpose of creating animus between the races have driven a wedge between segments of society that were beginning to merge. It serves no useful purpose to perpetuate grievances from past generations, especially when those issues do not apply to the current generation. It creates a Balkanized society instead of unity based on a commonality of purpose, a state in which each subgroup sees itself as being in a state of competition with the rest. Thus it is that we feel we must hold one group back so that another may rise; in an ideal world, we would realize that we can all rise together.

There are those who benefit from the current state of affairs. These leeches prey upon old wounds, opening them up time and again so they can offer their services as physicians. Like the worst examples of medical malpractice, these quacks keep their patients sick in order to keep the money rolling in. If their patients were well and the symptoms gone, they would be out of business. Therefore, they exacerbate latent conflicts in order to set themselves up as false messiahs. It’s a good scam, but it’s terrible for America.

Somehow we’ve got to heal these wounds. We have to offer hope instead of defeatism, forgiveness instead of anger. We must demonstrate that the alternative to self-segregation is superior, that therein lays success. To accomplish this, we will have to expose the opportunists for the lowlifes they are. It will take a while. President Obama squandered a unique opportunity to lay aside past injuries and start anew. He could have paved the way to a fresh start for millions of youth, promoting the message that America is a land of equal opportunity for all. Instead, he has only made things worse.

I hope to see a united America one day, a nation in which all races and creeds celebrate their commonalities more than they worry about their differences. We will have to regain much ground on that front. Our leaders and opinion-makers have the opportunity to make great strides in this endeavor.

Here’s hoping they make the effort.