Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Preventing a Second Civil War

Over the last two weeks, since Congress met to count the votes from the Electoral College, America has raced down the path of civil war. We all hoped that politicians, Facebook, other social media, online media, and the Old Media would try to calm things down. Instead, they have all taken self-serving actions that have worsened the current situation. We have reached a stage where the political climate in American looks like something out of a piece of dystopian fiction or the start of a civil war.  As I write this, there are 26,000 National Guards soldiers occupying and defending Washington DC, a figure not seen since April 1865. Moreover, each of these National Guard members from the 50 states are being vetted based on their politics. Whether you view this as prudent based on the events of last Wednesday, or as the beginning of a new politicized military, or both, you should be shocked by this. 

On Monday, Congressman Steven Cohen of Tennessee gave an interview that sounded like an antisemitic caricature from “The Turner Diaries,” the White Nationalist book that inspired the Oklahoma City bombing. CongressmanCohen demanded a political test for members of the National Guard protecting him on racial lines: “The Guard {sic} is 90 some-odd percent male, and only about 20 percent of white males voted for Biden," he said. "You've got to figure that in the Guard, which is predominantly more conservative … they're probably not more than 25 percent of the people there protecting us that voted for Biden. The other 75 percent are in the large class of folks that might want to do something." We have members of the media, who had no problems with political violence over the summer, calling for a domestic intelligence agency. 

On the other side, we have people pointing to a single left-wing activist, who whipped up and joined the mob that invaded the Capitol, to claim that the whole thing was a leftist plot, and compare it to the Reichstag Fire, which allowed the Nazis to end democracy in Germany. Some of these people are calling for a march during the inauguration to defend their rights, not understanding why there would be a disaster, if even only 1% of those attending act out. There are people on social media calling for the president to use martial law, oblivious to political and constitutional realities. We are closer to civil war than we have been since 1968, if not 1860. We are losing our collective minds, and those with the responsibility to rein things in are only making things worse. Meanwhile, people of conscience are too afraid to speak truth to the power of collective lunacy. America today is almost unrecognizable.

One of the great limitations of human nature is that when we are acting stupid, hysterical, and wrathful, being told we are doing so rarely makes people re-evaluate their individual or group actions. Sadly, across the political spectrum, people are acting stupid, hysterical, and wrathful in ways that have led to political violence and will lead to more political violence. For the first time in generations, we face the prospect of tyranny and civil war. Trust in government, the media, corporations, and each other has broken down. Five years of partisan lunacy created a climate of fear and distrust.  CoViD-19 exacerbated these showing failures in every institution paired with capricious government actions, and lockdowns that have negatively affected the individual and group psyche of the country. The only way to fix this is honesty, transparency, following accepted norms, accepting our mistakes without screaming about those of others, and grace. In other words, the opposite of what we have done in the last five years.

Voter fraud vote counting issues, and worsening problems with absentee ballots and lack of identity verification have been, are, and will be issues that need to be addressed.  Anger at social media companies trying to control an election by controlling the spread of information is entirely justified. From the 1890s until this last decade, the Left wanted to prevent this type of corporate takeover of democracy. Wishing to address these is not voter suppression or antidemocratic. It is ensuring that representative democracy can occur and that the results will be respected. On the other hand, having a protest to influence members of congress, while they validate an election is monumentally dangerous and foolish. At best, it was bad optics. It had no chance of success, because everyone in Congress understood that had it been successful, we would see such rallies normalized after every election. Therefore, I opposed such a rally when I thought it would be held at the Washington Monument. I regret that I only made my concerns in private, instead of warning people. Then again, the people who needed to be warned were the ones least likely to listen. A rally at the US Capitol would have been far worse, even if it had been entirely civil. But there was no way for it to have been civil. The people planning irresponsible rallies lack the understanding of how to minimize risks in them. Holding a rally next to government buildings has a built-in risk of egged-on lunatics and agents provocateurs storming these buildings and having otherwise sane people follow them because of mob psychology. What happened on January 6th was entirely foreseeable and showed a failure of those leading the event, the Capital Police, DC Police, and National Guard.

Unfortunately, overreaction to this horrifying incident will only make things worse. Over 70% of American believe or believed that there was widespread voter fraud and/or issues with the voter count and mail-in ballots. From the moment Donald Trump was elected, Democrats claimed there was election fraud or foreign interference, which led to an impeachment, and many on the left claimed this was happening in 2020 right until networks began calling the election for former Vice President Biden. Many Americans believe that the election was stolen or rigged thanks to information suppression by the media and social media.  Polling has shown that a significant percentage of Biden voters would have voted differently had they known about the Biden family scandals and especially those with China.  Efforts by social media and the MSM to suppress discussion of this has only created more disenchantment and radicalized a minority. Any effort to properly respond to what happened on January 6th must address this. Unfortunately, the most common responses (media suppression, removing the president, impeaching the president, and going after his supporters) have and will only worsen the situation and risk serious bloodshed. Media suppression has the paradoxical effect of promoting the wildest of conspiracy theory promoters by giving them the mantle of victimhood, making the delusional look sane, and creating a reason for mainstream social media users to move to platforms dominated by these individuals. Removing the president through the 25th Amendment or impeachment would have made him look like a victim of a deep state/mainstream media/oligarch coup and “prove” the allegations that lead to the protests in the minds of even more Americans. This would have led some Americans to believe that only armed action can protect the president from this “coup.” The same thing will happen if prosecutors, who refused to indict BLM organizers for violence target the president.

The worst-case scenario is one which motivates a significant percentage of the roughly 75 million Trump voters to act to defend themselves.  For the past four years, there have been calls for punishing Trump supporters. We have seen private companies do this and even schools and municipal governments breaching First Amendment protections by going after Trump supporters, anyone right-of-center, or even liberals who are not woke enough. In response to the protest and violence of January 6th, there has been increasing calls, including from the media, to go after Trump supporters. If this is paired with actions by small majorities in Congress moving to disarm the public and radically change the country, government officials will face far more than a few hundred-armed individuals.

Banning discussion of voter fraud on Social media will not fix this. Banning Trump will not fix this. Banning social media platforms like Parler, which refuse to censor enough political speech, will not stop this. Facebook taking down the page for the Walk Away Campaign of Democrats, who left the party to support Trump, will not fix this. CNN and other media organizations trying to get Fox News dropped by cable companies will not fix this. Cancelling books written by members of congress, will not fix this. Calling a decision by a publishing company to do so Orwellian will not fix this. Calling for unity by demanding that one party surrender will not fix our situation. Marching on Washington DC or state capitals will not fix this.  Calls by people on social media for millions of Americans to be declared seditious and disarmed will not fix this. And in response, others are pointing out how easy it would be in a civil war to destroy the infrastructure, which allows urban centers to exist. Each of these steps has only made the situation more volatile. Each has added volatility to a situation that we dare not allow to get worse.

Collectively and individually, we need to make an effort to stop acting impulsively and to calm down. We need to humanize our opponents and try to understand them and their fears. Virtually everyone, who questions some of the results from the last election is not a White Supremacist seeking sedition . Similarly, most people who pushed for police reforms this year did not seek to end policing, the nuclear family, and capitalism. We need to see those with whom we disagree not as political, or G-d help us, military enemies, but as other Americans, who need our love and understanding and compassion.  We need to realize that 99% of these political opponents are not dangerous revolutionaries. They are people, who have been caught up in the rhetoric of regime politics, where only one side is deemed just, correct and allowed to win. This needs to end.  We need to stop calling our Founding Fathers racist and worthy of destruction. We need to stop responding to this by downplaying past and current racism. We need to stop sharing stories without checking their veracity. We need to stop writing things online that we would not say in person. We need to remember that those seeking to silence any opposition almost always have positions that can survive no fair opposition.

We need politicians and the media to stop constantly and brazenly lying. We need fact checkers to fact-check themselves and deal with their biases. We need to stop pretending that there are no people of ill will on our own side, while assuming that the worst of our opponents represent all of them. We need American businesses large and small to remember that every American is a potential customer. We need these companies to realize that having employees who respectfully disagree with management or with any groupthink is a blessing, which allows for greater diversity and understanding. We need greater transparency from all branches and levels of government. We need civics and history education, not indoctrination. We need a media that remembers to distrust government and corporations, to hold those in power they agree with to account for misdeeds and lies, and to hold themselves to the same standards. We need to realize that the Wokeists and left-wing conspiracy crowd, and the Alt-Right and QAnon are all toxic in and of themselves, but together form a binary poison that is a threat to the republic. This means calling out toxic lies on your own side and the opposition. The notion that Donald Trump won the popular vote, but this was stolen by a Venezuelan voter machine corporation has not been proven by any data and is thus an inflammatory lie. The same is true for the idea that police in this country are randomly shooting unarmed people of color. Both are inflammatory lies that have led to riots and bloodshed. It isn’t just up to the opposition to call these out. It is the responsibility of those, who would benefit in the short term from these lies to do so.

We need to remember that the last time we had a civil war 2.5% of the 31 million people in America died and that we have roughly eleven times more people in the US today. We need to look around and realize that 44% of Americans live in a household with at least one firearm and that there are almost 400,000,000 privately-owned firearms in America, or roughly two firearms for every adult in the US, who does not have a felony record. Millions of Americans have been trained in the use of explosives in the military, and everyone reading this could find manuals for making improvised explosives and the location of targets like water pipelines with only a few minutes of searching online.  We should remember the panic buying and hoarding that occurred only a few months ago and ponder what would happen if civil war disrupted transportation, electric transmission, clean water, and the distribution of food and medicine. The rioting from the early summer was nothing compared to what will happen when banks do not have money, no one can process credit cards, and stores run out of food. Few in America today could imagine the horrors of a civil war in America today, where the fight would not be between the states, as much as between rural and urban centers, which depend on each other for necessities.

We need to remember that neighbors who look, act, or think differently are still our neighbors and friends, who deserve tolerance, respect, and grace. We need to remember what is best about America and live up to it. We need to look at the death of Capitol Hill Police Officer Brian Sicknick. We need to see him not as an agent of federal tyranny or as a pawn, whose death can be used to bludgeon political opponents. Instead, we need to remember him as a martyr to the republic, a Trump supporter who died trying to stop a lawless mob. We need to follow his words and example and say “stop” before the division, distrust, and violence sown for the past years brings forth a cataclysm and rivers of blood.

America is the oldest democratic republic, but we are not eternal. Every republic before us collapsed into civil war, foreign invasion, or became a dictatorship or empire. Democracy all too easily degenerates into demagoguery, organized political violence, and tyranny. Future generations will look back at this moment with pride or horror. We get to choose how we will be remembered.





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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Best Way to Stop an Iranian Nuclear Weapon is to let Syria fester

Over the last week there has been an increasing cacophony of calls for aiding the rebels in Syria not just diplomatically, but militarily in a fashion similar to that of our recent Libya campaign. The primary justifications are the nebulous "responsibility to protect", a totalitarian notion that will be discussed elsewhere, and the assertion that liberating Syria will undermine Iran.

This sounds logical, and the loss of its ally in Syria would cost Iran. However, it is not black and white. Russia and China are backing both Iran and Syria. Both have protecting Syria in the UN. Russia has a port in Syria has ships off Syria in a show of force. Would these fire on NATO warplanes; probably not. But, there will be repercussions. Depriving them of Syria will only make their ties with Iran closer, making any move to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon that much harder. Compared to the increase in power and prestige that come with nuclear weapons, the loss of Syria is a pittance to Iran.

If the benefit of overthrowing Assad is questionable, what are its costs? For all the cute "liberal" intelligentsia put up by Western foreigners as the spokesmen of the rebellions, the fact remains that the most organized contingent is the Muslim Brotherhood. If Syria falls to the Sunni majority, the leadership will go to the Muslim Brotherhood just as it has in Algeria, Libya and Egypt. It is no co-incidence that Al Qaeda has come out in support of the Syrian opposition. Are we to wage war for Al Qaeda in Syria as we did in Libya? Shall we blithely hand over Damascus, home to two caliphates, to the fundamentalist Sunnis who wish to create a new one?
In the name of human rights, are we going to help the Syrian Salafis and other angry Sunnis slaughter Alawites, Druze and Christians, just as we helped the Libyan Salafists settled their ethnic grievances, and the Egyptian Salafis to kill Coptic Christian and formally re-impose Dhimmitude upon them? What of President Al-Assad's threat to attack Israel if NATO attacks Syria alone or with the help of Hizbollah? Will NATO be forced to bomb Hezbollah to protect Israel, or will Israel respond angering the Muslim world? And what happens if Al-Assad uses one of his weapons of mass destruction? The price for Israel would then be an end to deterrence or a nuclear response. The implications of that are mortifying, not least of which would be a justification for an Iranian nuclear weapon program and a Saudi and Egyptian one as well.

So in exchange for helping the Muslim Brotherhood encircle Israel and helping Al Qaeda take another state, Israel will be attacked and Russia and China may seek stronger ties to Iran and Iran's nuclear program would be protected.

As callous as it may sound, the best option for the US is to do nothing. The worse the situation becomes in Syria, the harder it becomes for the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda to work with Iran. In fact, the more bloodshed there is between the Muslim Brotherhood and any Iranian Quds militia operating in Syria, the less the proverbial Arab (Sunni) Street will care about US and NATO actions to pre-empt Iran's nuclear program.

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

In a recent article in Tablet Magazine, Adam Kirsch argues that Walt and Mearsheimer's polemic smear, The Israel Lobby, reshaped debate on the US and Israel. In doing so, he underestimates the preexisting hatred of Israel and the perceived Israel Lobby.

I found that the debate changed earlier. The left has been treating Israel like South Africa since at least the mid-1990s. (Every concession Israel makes is proof of their sin, every Arab action is a response to Israeli evil, every attempt at defense is Nazi like) The anti-Semitic right uses the same language, even if they like South Africa. The real game changer was September 11, 2001 and then the Second Iraq War. Since the left could not hold Islamists responsible, the root causes had to be imperialism and economic oppression. This inevitably led to anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. Who else would they blame; the USSR or the US for walking away from helping Afghanistan in 1990? The build up to the Liberation of Iraq "proved" Zionist control to many on the left and right. Because of liberal silliness, we lost the ability to defend war in terms of American national interest. A war based on questionable intelligence, Bush family revenge, and the interests of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia (and ironically Iran) was preached in terms of Israel. That the Israel government cared more about Iran was irrelevant. Israel because an excuse to get liberal Democrats onto the war. Hence the misappropriation of Israel, and proof that Israel has no control of its purported lobby, instead became ultimate proof of the powerful central lobby. It was at this time that Pat Buchanan and his "Jesus is a Palestinian" heresy believe sidekick, Scott McConnell stated "The American Conservative" in an attempt to undo William F Buckley's mainstreaming of Fusion Conservatism and expulsion of anti-Semites from the mainstream right..

Similar rhetorical mistakes are made today. Iran's government has been killing Americans since 1979, when it sacked and occupied our embassy, an act of war. "Death to America" is a common chant at rallies. The Ayatollah Khomeini called for the end of the "Great Satan". But preventing a nuclear Iran is portrayed only in Israel's interests. This undermines the security of the US and Israel and yet our elites cannot get their heads out of this retarded rhetorical trap. The interests of the US and the Sunni countries go unnoticed by the new anti-Semites. It is all Israel, all the time. And if we are attacked, they will blame Israel.

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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Who says we're not reshaping Afghanistan in our image? They have the corruption of Chicago down, and can teach the windy city a thing or two about identity politics. Now they've shown that the saying that a gaffe is telling truth holds true in Kabul. And we've one upped the Afghans. We didn't just behead a single man for that infraction, we took off the head of an entire command structure.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

An ode to the fecklessness of the "Conservative" British Government in dealing with the riots:

But for the whiff of grapeshot
that which we current have not
let loose upon the rioting masses
instead made ourselves asses

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

If Anders Behring Breivik is insane, his "ideology" is secondary to his mental pathology. If he is sane in we should look at his ideology, methodology, and goals. Breivik considered the EU/EUSSR totalitarian in nature. He wrote a manifesto calling for revolution, not working within the legal systems of Europe. If the response to this terrorism is to suppress non-violent nationalists and anti-racist conservatives, then the winners will be the violent racists and revolutionaries. Opposition will be moved underground where it will fester and become violent and that is his goal. Any persecution of non-violent anti-Jihad activists or traditionalist conservatives will only help foster revolutionaries and terrorists.

The way to prevent a future violence is not to reward Breivik, but for democratic governments to work with political groups in rooting out violent people, while preserving the rights or opposition movements. There has been plenty of revolutionary violence in Europe from the left, but no one calls for ending the Social Democrats, Greens, and other non-violent movements despite splinters. The Right should be accorded the same respect to prevent more violence in the future.

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Less Academics, More Narcissism by Heather Mac Donald - City Journal

Less Academics, More Narcissism by Heather Mac Donald - City Journal

The University of California is cutting back on many things, but not useless diversity programs.

California’s budget crisis has reduced the University of California to near-penury, claim its spokesmen. “Our campuses and the UC Office of the President already have cut to the bone,” the university system’s vice president for budget and capital resources warned earlier this month, in advance of this week’s meeting of the university’s regents. Well, not exactly to the bone. Even as UC campuses jettison entire degree programs and lose faculty to competing universities, one fiefdom has remained virtually sacrosanct: the diversity machine.