Tuesday, October 2, 2018

I've Kavanaugh And Can't Take It Anymore

Ye Gods--this never ends. The Kavanaugh plot-line is holding the audience in rapt attention but it's a complete trainwreck. Can we like, get back to the shadow-government skullduggery? The Omnivore was liking that stuff as a kind of hold-over until the next Game of Thrones season comes out.

Nancy Pelosi makes a decent Dragon-Lady, right?

Erm . . .

Well, anyway.

The Omnivore finds the whole thing painful and demeaning--but finally has something to say about it--so here it is: He should not be confirmed on the basis of his conduct under questioning about his behavior.

What the heck?

This is how it breaks down:

  1. Former classmates are now coming forward saying that he totally misrepresented himself about his behavior during high school and college. He was, reports say, super-drunk and often belligerent.
  2. He totally misrepresented himself about his behavior towards women and sex/drugs. The Omnivore's mother googled "Devil's Triangle" and concluded, right there, he was lying. He was. We all knew it. We knew why he did it. The Omnivore was, knowing why he did it, ready to give him a pass on all that crap (the nasty year-book stuff, etc.).
  3. He claims he has never been black-out drunk. Would he know? We can't be sure. Is he telling the truth? We can't be sure. 
BUT--in light of #1 and #2, his absolute denial of #3 should be taken as a misleading, spin-laden exaggeration at best. A lie at worst.

This brings us to the testimony:
  • We must be skeptical of Ford: her allegations are serious. They imply some corroboration that did not come through (Judge as the witness). They are decades old--and human memory is fallible. And yet--we all saw her and we all believed her.
  • We should give Kavanaugh the benefit of the doubt (to a degree). He is a target of the Democrats. The only means he has to defend himself against these allegations is his good word. There is not a strong pattern of repeating behavior (yes, there are other stories out there--no, we do not know how valid they are as yet). We watched him and found him forceful and righteous sounding.
So what are we to make of this: If we believe them both--to a moderate degree--then the most likely case is that Kavanaugh moved on her while he was super drunk and either does not remember it (blacked out) or thought it was no big deal and has legitimately forgotten. That makes them "both right."

But, in this case, we have a problem: Kavanaugh has squandered his 'good word' on Devil's Triangle and 'boofing' nonsense which creates an issue: What standard are we going to hold a Supreme Court Justice to when confronted with competing allegations where we can be pretty sure one of them is lying about relevant details--even if he is not lying about having been black-out drunk?

The only reasonable conclusion is that if Kavanaugh would lie about his drinking habits and drinking games and yearbook in order to make himself sound like more of a boy scout what reason is there to conclude he would not lie about ever having been black-out drunk?

The (unnecessary) lies about what Devil's Triangle is seem to be solely in the service of protecting his reputation from minor damage--so clearly he would also lie about drinking to excess and (perhaps) sometimes not remembering everything that happened.

Given this, the path of least resistance is that:
  1. He drank way too much in high school and college and was kind of a jerk to women.
  2. He lied about his behavior to burnish his image.
  3. He claims he was never black-out drunk--BUT: this falls into the kind-of-thing that #2 covers.
  4. He seems believable (?) when he says he doesn't ever remember doing what Ford said he did.
  5. THEREFORE: if we accept 1-4 on the face of it and find Ford believable THEN the conclusion is that he got black-out drunk and assaulted her and doesn't remember it.
As this is the case and the standards for a SCOTUS justice should make #2 very iffy, there's only one reasonable conclusion--don't confirm him. 

Sunday, September 23, 2018

The Q JQ

As the Kavanaugh nomination burns like a magnesium flare (The Omnivore's bet: still gets confirmed) and the failing NYT claims Rod Rosenstein [RR] plotted a 25th coup, what does The Omnivore have any relevant thoughts about--why #QAnon, of course!

Admit it--you kinda figured it was something like that.

The Great Q Diaspora 

The "JQ" in the title refers to what the anti-semitists call the "Jewish Question" which is "What do we do with all the Jews when the revolution comes? Kill them all--or just the rich/powerful ones?"

When Reddit lowered the boom on all things Q, the boomer-community had nowhere to go. Let's make sure we understand the flow of Q-Drops (the little info-blip-posts that Q provides on a semi-daily basis):
The method of 8-chan->Reddit was working: boomers could log into Reddit easily and the threading and moderation made it a supportive and unified (mostly) community. This allowed the Q-doctrine to flourish with aging silver-hairs who were convinced--utterly convinced--they were going to get to see Hillary exsanguinated on live TV for their viewing pleasure.

Alas, it was not to be--like Adam and Eve getting kicked out of eden for eating the forbidden Tide Pod, the Q-community was exiled from Reddit for too many people making threats to exsanguinate Hillary Clinton (and others).

Thrown into the wilds, they tried to make an 8chan board that had enough moderation to be palatable--but it was not to be--the interface was too confusing and the board suffered under the strain of boomers arriving and trying to figure out what the hell to do there. Plus: there were lots of, as they say, "shit posters" who were trying to, as the chans do, stir things up and annoy the "newfags" (new arrivals who were generally not prepared for the My Little Pony Hentai they were being subjected to.

Mom, dad--if you do not know what those words mean, DO NOT GOOGLE--just accept that you, like they, were not ready for it.

So anyway.

Q finally requested a re-do of a previously failed prospect: put a Q board on VOAT. VOAT is a reddit-alike but it is run as a super-free-speech zone for people too disgusting for regular Reddit. As such, it is full of, well, nazis.

Yes, dear reader, Reddit has some of the most racist people on the regular internet--and the chans have some of the most disturbing porn-slinging shit-posters the world has ever known--but when it comes to raw out-and-proud racism it is hard to beat Voat.

To make matters worse, Q, for some reason (we'll get to that in a moment) explicitly asked for an anonymous non-moderated board. This means that there is no friendly Q-admin who can come in and either ban troublemakers or down-vote/erase bad posts. Worse: all the newbies (newfags, again) don't have the standing to down-vote all the OGs on Voat so they have to sift through a ton of . . . well . . . this:

Yes, there is also very, very, very liberal use of the N-word (some "because we can," much because the poster hates black people) and so on.

Needless to say, this has caused some consternation in the boomer-flocks--but, The Omnivore is pretty sure, if you can swallow the whole Q-thing . . . you can learn to live with antisemitism. After all, 'Blaming the Joos' is pretty much at the heart of most conspiracy theories.

But there's another theory: The Second Red Pill.

The Second Red Pill

One of the more interesting theories is that Q sent his flock to Voat specifically in order to give them the "phase 2" red-pill (the gnosis that "it is the Joos, guyz"). In this theory Q requested the kind of environment that would ensure exposure to his impressionable boomers of the most blatant sort--the carefully honed conspiracy theories about the Zionist Occupation Government and various satanic/Jooish rituals (blood libel) and so-forth.

In this formulation, Q's first attempt at making a safe-place for boomers on 8chan didn't fail because of the shitty user interface that 8chan has--but because of the lack of hard-core goose-steppers in the chan community.

What will happen?

The Omnivore thinks you know what will happen--but in case you don't: The carnies have a saying--"You can't wise up a sucker." This means you can't convince the taken they're wrong--they're too attached. So the people who are suckered into Q will need to go somewhere for their fix--right now, that'll be Voat.

When they get there they will be fed the anti semitic propaganda and, because it is (a) mixed with the tasty, delicious Q and (b) formulated to play to people with weak resistances to conspiracy theory, it will be swallowed.

Yes--intentionally or not, Q has sent his people into the lion's den and they are going to be eaten by lions. The Q community will become an explicitly anti-semitic movement where, before, there were only hints and an outward sheen of positive spirituality.

Good job Q. Makin' America Fascist Again.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

The NYT Anon-OpEd: Bombshell or Dud?

Yesterday the failing New York Times published an anonymous Op-Ed by a "senior administration official" that has blown up the Internet. The statement is that Donald Trump is being undermined by members of his administration--people in his senior circle are intentionally working against him to stop him from wrecking the country.

What do we think?

Certainly Publishing This Will Make It Harder To Herd The President

The consistently and amusingly earnst Erick Erickson tweeted this:
This is almost certainly true--now anyone trying to coddle the POTUS into not running the Ship of State into an iceberg will be scrutinized for editorial writing. The Omnivore says "FUCK YOU" to the dear-friend who loves the guy: You're on the bridge with Admiral Stupid. The rest of us are stuck in steerage.

Should We Be Doing A25 Instead?

David Frum makes the case that the people doing the undermining are actually the people being "unconstitutional"--the 25th Amendment is a method for senior advisers to remove the president from office. As that's what it's for--if things are that bad, shouldn't they be doing this instead of writing "How I Saved The Republic On My Summer Vacation"?

The answer is "no." The 25th Amendment is basically designed for if the president is unconscious. The idea of trying to get a 25th-coup group together almost certainly fails at the "we ask the 3rd dude on the list and he blows the whistle" stage. This is not a situation where it works. Basically the president is too conscious and the admin, as whole, is too spineless to pull this off.

Same with impeachment: if the Republicans weren't spineless we'd have President Pence who, no matter his other flaws, is not ragingly incompetent and may be less in-bed with the Russians.

These ships--they have sailed. We're stuck with Trump.

Is It Even True?

Of course it is. When everyone who has written a book about the White House basically says the same thing and Bob Woodward's book, yet-to-be-released confirms some of it? We can be sure it's directionally true.This doesn't mean it's not overblown or whatever--but at this point? What Does It Matter??--Hillary Clinton

The worst part is: It's not even surprising.

If you voted for Trump this is what you could be pretty sure you were getting.

Is It A Ploy To Keep Republican Votes?

One of the more mystifying theories is that the piece is designed to make Republicans think they are in "good hands" with the mystery cabal. The Omnivore doubts that anyone who reads that piece will come away thinking "Wow--it's much better than I feared and there's no way the President will stop being fooled by these geniuses."

Isn't This Guy Kind of an Asshole?

It looks like he's happy to let Trump rampage as he will--with his blessing--so long as he doesn't abandon South Korea or something. Yes: the guy is pretty much an asshole. It's not that keeping the toddler from hitting the TV with a baseball bat isn't generally good for the household it's that having him pee on the couch because you really hate the color of it (rainbow stripes)--and making sure he keeps the bat so he can hit other things you, personally, care about less isn't being a responsible adult.

This doesn't make the OpEd writer look good.

Also: while it seems unlikely to The Omnivore that this guy wrote the OpEd in response to the Washington Post publishing excerpts from Woodward's The Fear--which, as noted, basically says the same thing (because the timelines likely do not mesh. The OpEd started with an intermediary reaching out to the NYT editorial office and then moved to contact with the official. This probably started before the Washington Post came out with their excerpts from The Fear--although the Sr. Official might have known he'd be represented in the book)--it is definitely a conscious move to avoid the fallout that everyone must know is coming.

Between a slew or lawsuits, the Mueller investigation, Trump's general behavior, and the various tell-all books (plus, like, the Omarosa tapes?) it seems likely that the people in a White House that is already a resume stain are looking for ways to improve their personal aftermath.

Can We Call Him 'Lodestar'?

Sr.-Admin-Hunters have fixed on the somewhat unusual term "Lodestar" used in the OpEd as an attempt to determine who the fuck even says that? It turns out Pence has used the word. Did we get him?

No. Firstly, apparently lawyers use the word fairly often. The White House is full of 'em. Secondly when writing an OpEd for the world's largest newspaper it is probable that the author will use a thesaurus to try to make it sound as good as they can. In any event, The Omnivore is happy to call the dude Lodestar.

What Now?

The Omnivore thinks a few things are likely: Trump will purge. Kim Jong Un either comforted or tweaked the president with this statement:

This, you know, in contrast to all of Trump's close aides who have said their Commander in Chief is a moron. Trump feels plagued and betrayed by his associates (apparently he is saying he can only trust his children--wait until Jared knifes him!). Trump will tighten the grip.

Trump will do something Bigly Stupid--there is no better way to show that You Ain't The Boss of Me than to do something your aides would prevent and stick to it--and make sure it really happens. The Omnivore isn't certain of this--but it sure does seem in character.

Other people will talk. This doesn't end here--now that someone has taken the first move (and going to The New York Times instead of, say, The Wall Street Journal) other people are going to need to position themselves. This means getting their versions of the story out and, possibly, "outing" rivals in the Game Of Thrones administration.

This may not be pulling the plug on the ship--but it is certainly at least a small avalanche.

Interesting times.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

A Crisis of Conservatism

It is no exaggeration to say that conservatism is in a crisis. With the GOP now representing the Party of Trump and the Democrats having taken over some of muscular foreign policy, exactly what is left of the GOP's original philosophy is hard to define. It is definitely pro-life--and strong 2A--but what else?

The problem is that Trumpian populism isn't all that conservative. American leadership in the world? No--it's America First, which is defitionally inward looking if not adversarial to both allies and enemies. Fiscal responsibility? Well, that ship sailed. Entitlement reform? No. The GOP position on health care? No idea. Immigration? Hostile, sure--but how hostile and how effective? We don't know. Free trade? We've got more tariffs now than ever before.

Also--look at the leading lights: Dinesh D'Souza has thankfully fallen far--but he's still on the NRO masthead and has a movie out the Trumpians are praising. Ben Shapiro has made more than a cottage industry of provoking "the libs"--but does he have any new ideas outside of zingers? No.

Guys like Bannon and Milo fire off Nazi symbols like flares while creating a kind of showmanship which is essentially just recruitment for a culture-war. The solid thinkers in the not-so-distant Age of Romney are almost entirely dispossessed.

Worse--the Never Trump conservatives have a problem they are only recently recognizing the magnitude of: Conservatism, as it stood, is not just unpopular. It is actually dead.

How Can The Omnivore Say / Know This?


Conservatism worked when:
  • We had an ideological enemy. Communism vs. Capitalism was a great back-stop for Conservative ideas. Democracy vs. Fascism too. Today? It's Capitalism vs. Really, Really Corrupt Capitalism. That isn't much of a distinction.
  • Wages were linked to productivity. The industrial revolution (and, erm, unions) gave us the ability to link wages and personal prosperity to employment and productivity. Today--not the case: productivity goes up. Wages are flat, employment is down (in the productive sectors--underemployment is raging--but right now people are manning check-out lanes).
  • The Financial Industry didn't exist in its current form. A great deal of economic inequality can be linked directly to the rise of the FI. The industry existed before today--but it has grown in both size and reach over the past two decades and fuels massive distributions of wealth upwards. It's not going away--but it has never really been acknowledged as the great engine of inequality that it is.
  • Globalism was not a given. When everything you can do without a college degree can be done cheaper in the third world and shipped to America for less than you could do it? You have a problem. Personal responsibility--to have a well paying job--becomes a Sisyphean task. If you just demand a living wage, they can replace you with a robot.
  • Religious values were still, you know, values. Say what you want--back "in the day" the GOP was backed by a respected institution of The Church. Today? Erm . . . no (yes: it is still backed by the church--but more and more this is looking like the corrupt backing the corrupt).
  • Getting sick without healthcare wasn't a Conservative Virtue. Whatever happened to healthcare since the golden age of the GOP, today the "conservative" position on healthcare is "fuck you." That's a good message to people who have it and don't care about others. For everyone else . . .
  • Racism was deniable. The GOP has, since the 60's, had a problem with racism. It relies on a certain strain of person for voting clout--but had to pretend that there was not racial animus--that it was all, erm, trumped-up by liberals and the Democrats. Today? That's a really hard sell and even a revived GOP would need to come to terms with it.

So What Does The Conservative Do?

If you are worried about America's slide into socialism, you are right to be: there are forces (like Chapo Trap House) that preach a "socialist revolution" without any real plan or ideological underpinning. Yes: corruption is bad. Sure, healthcare is good--but the kind of tectonic changes necessary for a full "Nordic Makeover" are simply not possible under the current state. If Bernie got elected, you wouldn't get "Bernietopia"--you'd get a giant log-jam of government that gets you a bridge like 1/5th of the way to "Bernietopia" and then collapses and dumps you in the Atlantic.

And that's assuming Bernietopia would be "as advertised." It, just as with the Libertarian Dream World of AynnLandia would most likely not be what it was sold as.

So what do you do? If you don't like liberalism (pro-choice, anything goes culturally), don't like socialism (universal health care, high taxes on the rich), and want to own a bundle of AR-15s no matter how many kids get shot, what are your options?

They are (a) sign up with the populists--who have embraced the racism and the xenophobia and the foreign policy you hate--not ot mention the buffoonery, (b) try to "reason" with the liberals--which is a lost cause because you already set fire to your cred a while back (or because They Are Unreasonable--which, sure--but you also torched your credibility. Don't forget that), or (c) Try to Do Your Own Thing.

Obviously (c) is the best answer. From a conservative perspective it is the right thing to do. From a liberal perspective it is the best shot at stopping the racist-populists. The question is: how do you do it? The orignal ideas--free trade, immigration friendly, low corporate taxes, American leadership, religious friendliness, and so on--these are losers.

We've seen that with the hostile takeover of the GOP. And the problem is that right now, even if you had more than say 15% of the vote with them, they simply don't address the big questions.

What are they?

The Big Questions For Post-Trump Conservatism

If you call yourself a conservative (fine) you need to, today, have some answers for real questions people are going to ask if you are going to sell them on your policy positions. They do not have to be the most popular answers--but they need to be both sound--and they need to address what honest brokers will see as real and serious questions. Let's look.

Post-Trump Healthcare

How do you give people healthcare that is both decent and affordable? If the answer is "you do not--use the emergency room" that is an answer that is going to alienate a lot of people. If you lie and say "we will make the markets work for you" that will result in the selling of junk insurance or not protecting pre-existing conditions (which everybody hates). You need an answer you can be honest about--what is it--who gets left behind?

Living Wages

Full employment doesn't help if the wages are too low to survive on. Households where both parents work many, many hours are not raising kids in the way that will strengthen our nation. Paying everyone 15-bucks-an-hour may not work either--but we must recognize that automation, artificial intelligence, and globalism have done a lot to reduce jobs that either paid enough historically or were available to people in the bottom 80% of the skill zones.

This problem is only going to get worse: when order-taking systems for McDonalds cost less than 5.00/hr McDonalds is going to get rid of the high school kids (well, 80% of them). It won't be "punishment" for asking for too much money--the job losses will be done for obvious reasons: if McDonalds doesn't do it, BurgerTerminator will eat their lunch.

So what is your answer here? What do you tell people who are driving Ubers and struggling to make a living?

Future War

The GOP used to be the American Leadership nation. We would kick bad-guy ass. We were considered a moral counterbalance to Russia, China, or other nations. Not perfect, of course--but preferable to autocracies or navel-gazing European states. The Marshall Plan turned foes into friends and the Cold War made it clear that we were for high standards of living and freedom--as opposed to the other guys.

Now we find ourselves mired in weird asymmetric wars where our populace barely knows we are fighting. Worse: when we attack today--and shortly, tomorrow--a lot of the fighting will be done by robots. This "bloodless" form of war--where troops do bleed and die--but we thank them for their service and watch some more Netflix has eroded the difference between Democrats--who were limp-wristed Doves in the Carter era--and Republicans--who used to be scowling-faced hawks. With Obama droning the fuck out of the Middle East, what does the Post Trump conservative have to tell their potential party members?

Is there an opinion on American moral leadership? Are we a moral force? Do we take stands based on genocides, war crimes, and so on? Or do we give up on that as even an excuse. There has always been an element of realpolitik in American geopolitics--but there was also a recognized morality. We went in places that were not advantageous to us. Is that just over with? Or do we have a policy position about boots on the ground or drones in the air?

Guns and Babies

It is a given that a modernized GOP would be Pro-2A and Pro-Life. The question is going to be "how do you sell this" to a younger generation that is increasingly "un-churched" and sees guns as hobby items that sometimes kill a bunch of kids? Do you stick to the pro-life religious underpinnings? Or do you recognize that most people don't see a 1st or 2nd term pregnancy as "a baby" and try to prevent 3rd term abortions of convenience (of which there are almost none)?

Are AR-15s the hill to die on? Or is there a distinct remaining philosophical position on the Right to Bear Arms that might not include these? The Omnivore doesn't particularly know--but the GOP had better figure this out--and fast.

The Grim Future

Today, if you are a conservative, the future is closer than it appears in the mirror. The new generation isn't happy with their job prospects and doesn't see the economy the way you do. Your allies-in-name are more interested in winning online-debate-points than adopting your policy positions--and the positions of Reagan are problematic in a world where the availability of good work may dry up and the voices of the marginalized are now louder than ever before.

Conservatism still has a role--a necessary one--with the end of Trump--which will happen sooner or later no matter what--it is unclear if Trumpism will still have a heart-beat. Conservatism needs to be rested and ready--but it also needs to recognize that it has to answer some questions before it can get back to where it was.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Politics of: The Jacksonville Shooting

On August 26, 2018 in Jacksonville FL, David Katz, a 24 year old "professional Madden player" from Maryland was eliminated from the qualifying rounds for a a contest with a 125k grand prize (he had won 10k in a finals round before). Madden is an electronic-sports title (American football) and notably does not involve shooting as part of the game.

Before his loss, people covering the event noted he was reluctant to speak at all--taciturn--but said he would 'speak through his skills.' After speaking through his skills said 'I-am-Loser' he went to his car, got a legally purchased handgun with an aftermarket laser sight, re-entered the building, and killed two people, wounding 11 more, and then taking his own life.

The Political Aftermath

There was a predictable scramble in some quarters to determine:

  • The shooter's race (white, which gave the people asking the question 'a sad')
  • The shooter's politics
On the second count Internet-Sleuths identified a different guy with a similar handle who said some anti-Trump stuff online. Since the Royal Internet Mounted Police always Get-Their-Man, the trusted-by-conservative news sites like the Gateway Pundit, The True Pundit, and Rush Limbaugh all ran with the story that the murderer was a lefty.

Some of them cleared it up. Some haven't.

Oh well: the hope (probably) is that few people would notice the retraction anyway--for guys like The Gateway Pundit, spreading the word of lefty-violence is more important than getting any story right. For guys like The True Pundit, it's all about those clicks, baby.

Gun Control Again

Yet again, a disaffected young guy manages to kill or wound a bunch of people because of the force-amplifier of a firearm. Katz had a history of mental illness but was not deemed legally incompetent. He purchased a firearm, passing the background check. The NRA has come out against, you guessed it, violence in video games--but Madden is about as violent as chess (imagine the pawn as a peasant being trampled by the mighty knight's horse, yeah?).

At this point the answer is clear: only gun-control laws people have not floated would have stopped this (don't sell to anyone with a police record? Don't sell to anyone with a history of taking anti-psychotic drugs? Pass some kind of screening?).

In any event, everyone knows there are people like Katz who should not have handguns--but the gun lobby knows (correctly) that the steps taken to prevent that would infringe on a portion of their rights. They are willing to put up with dead young people for that.

Tree of liberty. Blood of (other) people. All that.

Exit Question: If Katz had a relatively low body count with a handgun, what if he'd had an AR-15 firing into densely packed crowds with a 30 round magazine?

The Omnivore thinks you know the answer.

The Politics of Violence and the Coming Election

Trump spoke to evangelical leaders on Monday and said that if the Democrats win the election they "will overturn everything that we've done and will do it quickly and violently." He called out antifa, specifically, as proof of Democrat violence.

He encouraged them to go and get out the vote from their pulpits stating, incorrectly, he had overturned the law preventing the mixing of politics and religions.

If a bunch of churches lose their tax-exempt status due to believing President Liar-Face? Well, thoughts & prayers, guys. Thoughts and prayers.

That said, the scramble to pin the violence on a leftie is not a single event: It has been ongoing and has taken hold. People on the right believe Antifa to be a massively violent mob-agency. The narrative on the right is that the Democrats endorsed riots in Ferguson and Baltimore--encouraged burning and looting.

This is, of course, nonsense--but they believe it.

Will anything come of this?

The Omnivore is dubious--but with the president going and saying it outloud, we should be careful. The threat of violence is, of course, met with violence--and if people believe that there will be a vengeful, violent reign of Democrats after the midterms (however ludicrous that is--even assuming they win back the house)--they could react to it.

This is messaging we don't need.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

The Politics Of: The Border Wall

The murder of Mollie Tibbetts has become one of the playing pieces in the center of the chessboard over the immigration debate because she was killed by an illegal immigrant (or, well, maybe?). The reaffirmed calls for The Wall are based on the idea that her murder was preventable: if we had a gigantic border-wall, the photogenic Tibbetts would still be alive!

The Omnivore, of course, knows better--so he asked his Twitter Trump-Voters / Trump Voters to explain their feelings about immigration, Tibbetts, and The Wall.

  • She: She doesn't care for a wall, specifically--but she wants strong borders. She feels that the killing was worse than otherwise because "the killer didn't belong here." 
  • He: He wants a giant wall--and, for some reason, believes one is being built (he also wants sensors, tunnel prevention, etc.). When pressed, he was unable to prioritize between moves that would save more lives for the estimated 20bn price tag (such as spending that money combating opioid addiction, a bi-partisan initiative that would pass in a heartbeat if not for the price-tag) and The Wall--which he wants. He decided, after little consideration, that "we could just do both!" . . . it's only 40Bn. We've got the money.

What The Wall Means

The reason The Wall has such currency in the minds of the Trump Voters is that it is a massive, powerful symbolic gesture telling Them (the Mexicans, the Latinos) to stay on their side and reaffirming to "Us"--the white Trump-voting-base that this is our country! This is why it gets top billing in the stadium chants along with "Lock Her Up" (the result of various liberal victories as a narcissistic wound [ do not '@ me' as the kids say ] to the Trump base ].

People who have studied illegal immigration know that:
  1. Most illegal immigrants come over legally and then overstay their visas (meaning a wall is pointless)
  2. The Wall itself is a massive waste of resources which will involve the government essentially seizing land from Americans in many cases using Imminent Domain. 
  3. Will involve a bunch of unpalatable decisions (in very rough terrain do we go for the super-expensive 'follow-the-shoreline' approach? Illegally seize land from Mexico by building a straighter-wall south of the border? Defacto give up American soil building a more-or-less straight-wall north of the border? What?).
  4. Democrats approved and Obama delivered over 700 miles of improved border fencing--many times what Trump's attempts, to-date have managed.
  5. Illegal immigrants--by the best stats we've got--are less likely to commit violent crimes than the general populace. Sure, some do--but in terms of an anti-death or anti-violence problem, illegal immigration doesn't rate.
Good People / Bad People

Trump was derided as racist for his campaign-launching speech where the said that Mexico was not sending us "their best"--they were sending criminals, rapists, and so on--some were maybe good people. Trump-defenders argued that the racist charge was incorrect: Trump wasn't talking about all Mexicans--those who stay on their side were omitted from his description!

If that defense makes sense to you, The Omnivore has some bad news: you're wrong.

Trump was tapping into a very real, very present position by what would become his base that these immigrants (illegal, yes--but Miller would expand that greatly to legal immigrants from the shithole countries) are just bad people (mostly). You can couch this in economic terms. You can talk about cultural differences (as though the American "Quiverfull" culture was any better for being American than some of the other word cultures in these shithole nations)--but eventually it all comes down to the same thing: it's a kind of blanket bigotry that has an emotional grip but doesn't stand up to rational examination.

You have seen this before: "Jew-bashing isn't racist--the Arabs are also semitic!" You know it is bullshit when a Nazi says it. It's also bullshit here.

How Do We Know?

How does The Omnivore (remember Always Right (TM)) know this? Simple. There's a test: you ask the Trump Voter what s/he thinks the problem with Illegal Immigration is. If it's "Because they killed Mollie Tibbetts" you point out that, yes, that was bad--but spending 20bn on a wall would save the lives of far fewer Americans than spending it on, say, more policing, addiction recovery, and so on.

When confronted with the evidence it turns out they don't really care about how many people we save--just saving the right ones: the few Americans killed by the bad people.

But The Omnivore got an even weirder answer from another Trump Voter: The problem with Illegal Immigration is that it is illegal.

The Trump Voter in question said "These people just don't belong here." (Emphasis by The Omnivore)--and then proceeded to try to get The Omnivore to admit that "crossing the border was illegal so it was . . . illegal."

Argument by tautology is a sign your position sucks.

The woman, even when asked clearly, repeatedly, and directly why border crossing was illegal couldn't get her head around the question. She couldn't name the harm done by it (to her credit, she acknowledged that the murder-rate wasn't the key issue here)--but beyond that? Who is the victim of this crime? What are the damages?

A big one: Why is first-time illegal border crossing just a misdemeanor? Consider that the other Trump-voter (He) wanted to make 3x re-entry a capital offence--he wants to potentially execute people who come back too often.

When pressed on that, he repeatedly said that these people would be committing horrible crimes (to which The Omnivore pointed out, in vain, that they could already be executed for--you don't need a new death-penalty crime for crossing). He didn't get it.

No--the problem here is that in the Trump-voter's mind, illegal crossing, numbers, facts, and evidence aside--is inextricably bound up with a concept that "These are the wrong people--the bad ones--who do not belong"--and therefore any crime they commit, kind of like a hate crime--is somehow worse.

Why Do We Have Borders?

This logical knot Trump Voters have gotten into is easily severed by answering the question: why do we have borders in the first place? The answer goes back to way, way before Mexicans with cantaloupe sized calves were crossing the American dusty desert.

It has to do with sovereignty--control over national boundaries--and the ownership of land. The people crossing back and forth are, historically, not the problem. To be sure: you want control and knowledge over who is coming and going. You want the capability to bar the door.

A literally Open Border would be a massive risk for terrorist or enemy attack--but a somewhat porous border? A terror cell that can get to Mexico can also get to America and will not add the operational risk--today--of a difficult border crossing by foot (especially as Jihadis would stand out among the Latinos who would probably not want them going along the path).

In other words, the crime of illegal crossing doesn't have a victim: that's why it's a misdemeanor. The presence of illegal immigrants can have positive or negative effects--but these are debatable. The act of illegal entry  is about as close to victimless as crimes get.


For the Trump Voters the issue seems very bizarre: people who are not buying the "I'm not racist--I'm just against illegal immigration with passion" seem (to the Trump Voter) to be advocating for open borders (to be sure, some people out there are--these people are stupid and there don't seem to be very many of them). 

When the Trump Voter is upset about the for-real tragic killing of Mollie Tibbetts, the non-Trumper seems to want to cover for her assailant. That looks . . . horrifying . . . to the Trumper. 

And the worst of all is that most people, when they react to the bigoted (racist) subtext of the immigration debate don't consciously clarify what they are seeing. Most people don't say "The statement isn't explicitly racist--but the intent behind it clearly is--and here's why . . ." So the Trump Voter feels they are being called racist as a reflexive put-down when they are (self) righteous.

The Omnivore's suggestion here is to engage enough to see if you can identify the underlying emotional center of their position (one of the Trump-Voters was upset that illegal immigrants could vote in local school board elections--as their kids attend schools, the community wanted all the parents to have a voice--but he felt that this was just wrong. On behalf of the community he doesn't live in, of course--with respect to parents with kids he doesn't have, of course).

Once you identify it . . . well, The Omnivore hears Hillary has a basket somewhere . . .

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The Twist You Missed

The twist of the knife, that is.

Yesterday you were probably consumed with the split-screen at 4:00 PM of Cohen pleading guilty to some anonymous presidential candidate telling him to break the law (The Omnivore's guess: Jill Stein--never trusted her) and the Manafort Jury taking a stab at nullification but unable to fully Trumpaloo it and coming back with 40 years worth charges.

You thought: "Man--both things on the same day--at the same hour? The 2018 writers have gotten lazy af."

Yes, dear reader, yes they have. The Writers have gotten lazy as fuck.

But that was just the smooth, creamy ice cream and non-dairy whipped topping of injury to the Trumpaloo. The insulting cherry on top was the Awan verdict.

The What??

A Trump-supporter The Omnivore knows has been following--with interest--the great saga of the Awan brothers--Pakistani maybe-spies--who maybe-raided the House computer banks--and maybe blackmailed Debbie Wasserman Schultz--with maybe information about who maybe-assassinated Seth Rich and (maybe) sent Donna Brazille to the Seth Rich hospital to finish the job with a poison needle while whistling Twisted Nerve.

If you are now totally fucking confused, The Omnivore envies you: The Omnivore wishes he could read the above and be totally fucking confused. But, alas, now you have to suffer too.

"We all got it commin'"
--Clint Eastwood, Unforgiven

Here's the capsule report: Imir Awan, a Pakistani IT guy for congress woman and DNC head in 2016 Debbie "Downer" Wasserman-Schultz was investigated for what looked like maybe unusual use of the IT systems he and his brothers oversaw. While we don't (seem to) have the full Inspector General's report, he was definitely ordering some iPads and shit to his house (and maybe his brother's) and falsified a loan application to a bank.

He was grabbed while leaving the country to Pakistan, tried, given 90-days time-served--for lying on a loan application--and, yesterday, that was that.


Well, for the Trumpaloo conspiracy theorist the DEEP STATE managed to cover up a massive spy-ring conspiracy that [ something something, something something ]. For the educated nose-holding Trump-supporting engineer The Omnivore knows (whose nose-holding is for show only, he knows America is in a battle with the brownies so you need a guy like Trump) it was A-STORY-SUPPRESSED--WHICH SCOOBY-DOO-LIKE MEANS THERE'S SOMETHING THERE.

For a lot of people this was hope that the hated DWS--that is, disliked by most Republicans--but hated by Bernie-voters who are totes sure she stole the election from him despite a glaring lack of evidence that she did anything that could cost him actual votes--much less several million of them.

In any event, the Omnivore was amused to see yesterday that the #QAnons were upset about Cohen and Manafort--but just offended by Awan.