At What Point Does the Mainstreaming of Conspiracy Lunatics Become Dangerous to America?

I have to admit that I have a fascination with conspiracy theorists. It’s not a fascination with their theories which are mostly illogical nonsense resulting from the application of a strong cocktail of conjecture and insanity to cherry picked facts. The fascination comes from trying to figure out how people who otherwise manage to be functional members of society can and do sometimes believe this malarkey.

I look at how figures like Alex Jones have been all but mainstreamed in recent years and wonder at what point does this garbage become dangerous for our country.

Given some of Alex Jones’ antics it is easy for a rational person to believe what his lawyers told a judge during a custody battle over his children. They said that Jones is only playing a role. He’s an actor portraying a character. They clearly hoped to convince the court that Jones isn’t the paranoid lunatic he appears to be whenever he’s in front of a camera or behind a microphone. Was it just a legal maneuver telling the judge what they thought he wanted to hear or an admission to being a total fraud? It didn’t resonate as the latter. Jones is still out there acting as if he is authoritative and floating crackpot theories that are being gobbled up by his fans.

Many of his fans are certainly just listening for the entertainment value. Jones is a spectacle like professional wrestling. A lot of people who know it’s fake still have fun watching, but there are some who buy Jones’ take on politics. I’ve been politically involved long enough and I routinely see people sharing and seriously discussing Jones’ claims as if he is really on to something.

Often the same people whose knees jerk to “fake news” at the mention of anything reported on CNN will tell me that Jones might be a little crazy but he reports a lot of legitimate news stories. How they can differentiate the fact from the fiction in one case while rejecting the content of an entire network in another is something worth examining. In the end I think it comes down to who they perceive as being loyal to Trump.

The crazy fringe of Trump loyalists often dismiss any news outlet except for Breitbart, Infowars, and Sean Hannity as leftist propaganda which is, by any objective measure, completely nuts. Meanwhile they will share or retweet conspiracy paranoia as if it were legitimate reporting. It’s not the content, it’s the loyalty.

There are usually nuts that fomenting anger against me for not carrying water for Trump or his Fox News surrogates (aka Sean Hannity (who I absolutely despise) and Fox & Friends). Call it a tribe or a cult, but there is a seemingly increasing number of people who decide what statements are true based entirely on whether it makes their favorite politician look good or bad.

Mentality is no longer unique to the rank and file. People who were formerly thought to be mainstream conservative commentators who appeared to know that holding politicians accountable was a good thing have joined the ranks of the people who place feelings and fealty ahead of facts.

Yesterday, Jones told his listeners that President Trump’s Diet Cokes are being drugged without his knowledge. (Somehow Alex Jones knows this while no one in the White House loyal to Trump—including Trump himself—has caught on.)

“It’s known that most presidents end up getting drugged. Small dosages of sedatives till they build it up. Trump’s such a bull he hasn’t fully understood it yet, but I’ve talked to people, multiple ones, and they believe that they are putting a slow sedative that they’re building up that’s also addictive in his Diet Cokes and in his iced tea and that the president by 6 or 7 at night is basically slurring his words and is drugged.”- Alex Jones (of course citing no evidence to his ludicrous claim)

Jones says presidents are drugged by “the power structure” in order to make them “puppets.” Is this how Jones is trying to process Trump’s sudden camaraderie with leftists Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi? You can see the video below. Jones puts on a great show and tells his listeners that his very life is in danger for bringing them this information.


Alex Jones’ pro-Trump audience members likely won’t cry “fake news” about the claim that Trump is a doped up puppet, because it’s being delivered by a loyalist. However, if CNN reported that the President appeared to be under the influence of drugs, they would almost certainly unleash hell. It would be the same story but they would judge its veracity differently depending on who delivers it. The validity of anonymous sources seems to be judged similarly.

Given that Trump has granted interviews to Alex Jones and has spoken approvingly of him in the past, someone in the White House should stomp on this latest fever dream Jones is peddling. There are some in America who are in a literal frenzy over politics.

Jones has every right to spout his nonsense but there comes a point where grown ups need to call it what it is before someone does something stupid. Is now that time?

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Hillary’s New Book

Hillary Clinton’s new book is being scrutinized, as it should be.
Initial reports from the liberal press say the book assigns blame for her presidential loss to James Comey, Bernie Sanders, and herself among others.
She also says she was the victim of sexism which is total bull and disqualifies the book from my reading list. But it all seriousness, I probably wasn’t going to read it anyway.
Enough is enough with the gender, ethnic, and race cards.  It’s boring.
The truth is that Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump because voters simply did not trust her.  One of the big stories that was mostly ignored is how Mrs. Clinton used her charitable foundation to benefit herself.  That and dozens of other dubious situations gave voters pause.  Sexism had nothing to do with it.
Apparently, Hillary Clinton writes that she will not run for office again.  Good.  She had her shot.  If the Democrats want to improve this country, they will find candidates who are problem-solvers – not politically correct zealots who seek to demonize and divide.

Anti Antifa, At Last!

There was this astounding headline Monday in the Washington Post:  “Black-clad antifa members attack peaceful right-wing demonstrators in Berkeley.”

Put aside the question of how the Post determined that the demonstrators were “right-wing.”  What makes the headline remarkable is that a major liberal newspaper finally and accurately denounced the thugs.  Antifa may be short for “anti-fascist,” but it is in fact just the opposite.

The Los Angeles Times soon chimed in, decrying “violence by far-left protesters.”  And on MSNBC, of all places, Joe Scarborough blasted the antifa goons as “fascists in their behavior.”

A few far-left politicians have also joined the anti-antifa chorus.  Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin, who actually applauded the mob that shut down Milo Yiannopoulos in February, now wants antifa officially classified as a gang.  “They come dressed in uniforms,” he observed, “and they have weapons, almost like a militia.”  Hey, Mayor Arreguin, good of you to finally notice.

And the most stunning turnaround came Tuesday, when Democrat Nancy Pelosi issued a statement condemning the “people calling themselves antifa.”  She added that they “deserve unequivocal condemnation.”

What makes all this notable is that just over a week ago Reuters referred to the antifa agitators as “peace activists,” while Democrats refused to say anything mean about the masked warriors.  So what happened to turn the tide?  Let us put forth some educated speculation.

First, professor and philosopher Noam Chomsky openly questioned antifa’s goals and tactics.  Chomsky, always anti-capitalist and often anti-American, has been the guru of the radical left for decades.  When he speaks, progressives listen.

Two weeks ago Chomsky described antifa as “a miniscule fringe of the Left,” and called their violence “a major gift to the right.”  The professor also hammered antifa for shutting down speakers with whom it disagrees.

A few days later, professor and attorney Alan Dershowitz, another lion of the left, warned that antifa-like groups are “trying to tear down America.”  He denigrated antifa as “radical, anti-American, anti-free market, socialist, communist, hard left censorial organization.”

All this criticism was pre-Berkeley, which was another black mark against the black clad antifa crew.  Last weekend the left-wing gangsters assaulted a handful of people who gathered in Berkeley to march against Marxism.

The antifa radicals, their faces masked as always, chased and beat down people whom they considered Trump supporters.  It was an especially ugly scene, even by antifa standards, after which more than a dozen radicals were arrested.

If antifa and other self-styled anti-fascist groups occupied the moral high ground after Charlottesville, they surrendered it last weekend in Berkeley.

But perhaps the biggest reason for the recent opinion shift is old-fashioned politics.  Democrats can read polls as well as anyone else, probably better.  They know that most Americans do not are repulsed by masked marauders running wild in the streets.  That could explain Nancy Pelosi’s surprising statement.  She desperately wants a Democratic majority in 2018, and she won’t get it by ignoring or endorsing violence.

In the Senate, the two darlings of the far left – Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders – have yet to call out antifa by name, although Senator Sanders did speak out against lefties who shout down campus speakers.

Antifa will always have supporters, especially on elite campuses.  A Dartmouth lecturer named Mark Bray has become a frequent guest on mainstream networks, where he rationalizes and defends violence.  Dartmouth’s president actually criticized Bray for “supporting violent protest,” a rare show of courage from a university administrator.  Naturally, the left-wing Dartmouth faculty was angry not with Bray, but with the president.

But college professors aside, antifa may have overplayed its ugly hand with all the recent violence and vitriol.  Pay close attention the next time there are masked antifa protesters fomenting violence and pelting cops with urine.

Law enforcement, which once looked the other way, might step in to quickly stop the madness.  And Democrats, who were once acquiescent, might rise up in unison to denounce antifa.

That may be wishful thinking, but it would be a very welcome sign in extremely troubled times.

My Thoughts on Charlottesville

First of all, racism is wrong. And disgusting. And evil. Secondly, what we saw in Charlottesville was racism. In fact, it was terrorism. They can dress it up in their fancy alt-right excuses. They can say it was about free speech, or “putting America first”, or monuments, or the Confederacy, or (some how that I don’t understand) Christianity (should we tell them that Jesus was Jewish?).

These idiots knew it wasn’t supposed to be about any of those things. It wasn’t supposed to be patriotic, Christian, or conservative. This was about losers that crawled out of their mom’s basement in the first time in ten years to have a massive white supremacy rally.

Third, these people are not conservatives. They’re not patriots and they’re not constitutionalists and they don’t represent the American right. These are the guys who peaked in middle school and are still mad about that their frosted tips that they got in sixth grade did not lead them to a life of success. Nobody likes them.

So fourthly, to some of you on the left who are saddling up on high horses: spare me your judgement. We really don’t need your self-righteous condemnation about this being “our people.” I don’t think you want to go there. Because correct me if I’m wrong but, I haven’t heard too many who call out the violence of the anti-fascists by name. I don’t remember you taking the fall for the cops that were killed in Dallas last year and I don’t remember you blaming the left for James Hodgkinson (the congressional baseball practice shooter).

That’s because these anti-fascists, cop killers, and the Hodgkinsons don’t represent the left. Just like these racist bigots don’t represent the right.

Fifth, Donald Trump has not said enough, neither did Obama during his presidency. But the shortcomings of both of them don’t make either one better. Leaders especially need to be able to call out evil in this country by name.

So for all of you alt-right racists, you are irrelevant. I know you’re just being apart of this thing because you want to feel important. But in reality, you’re not. History will remember you as a worthless blob of human fecal matter (in they same way as Hitler and the nazis).

This is America, we are free to disagree, we are free to protest, counter-protest, and fiercely debate. But why would we recklessly waste that freedom for racism and hate? What good is that going to do? What is that going to accomplish? How many lives are going to be lost?

So for those of us who are not on the fringes (on both sides), all we have to do is start a conversation, reach across to the other side, and start listening. We may not ever agree, but as long as we all have the same goal in mind, liberty and justice for all, we’ll figure out a way to get there.


Jesse Watters from Fox News also has some pretty good analysis on this whole Charlottesville situation, you should definitely check it out:

Watters’ Charlottesville Analysis

Why the US Hasn’t Brought “Fire and Fury” to North Korea

As the world ponders the meaning of President Donald Trump’s threat of “fire and fury” on North Korea, it’s worth asking why his predecessors never took those steps to stop its nuclear program. Trump isn’t the first president to threaten North Korea. The others were all bluffing.

When Bill Clinton was confronted with the threat of North Korea’s exit from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, he considered military force. But he ended up going for negotiations in what became known as the Joint Framework Agreement. The North Koreans froze their plutonium program in exchange for fuel shipments and a light water reactor from the U.S. Neither side ever fully delivered.

Then there was George W. Bush. He didn’t like North Korea. He put the nation in the original “axis of evil.” On his watch, the U.S. discovered Pyongyang had a secret uranium enrichment program, in violation of the spirit of Clinton’s deal. Then in 2006, North Korea tested its first nuclear device. By 2007, Bush had lifted crippling sanctions on the regime’s elites and entered into new negotiations. And surprise: The North Koreans backed out of those talks at the end, too.

By the time Barack Obama came into power, the North Koreans were back to building up their program. They perfected missiles, sunk a South Korean ship and shelled a South Korean island. The current tyrant, Kim Jong Un, ascended to power and proceeded to consolidate his position, killing his uncle and later his half brother. All the while, Obama pursued a policy of “strategic patience,” aimed at not rewarding Kim’s regime for its provocations and rogue behavior.

Now Trump has inherited a mess. Not only is Kim testing ballistic missiles at an alarming rate, as the Washington Post reported this week, but also the Defense Intelligence Agency now assesses North Korea can miniaturize a nuclear warhead so that it can fit inside a missile. Game, set, match.

So why didn’t the last three presidents take out North Korea’s nuclear facilities when they had the chance? The answer is Seoul, the thriving capital of South Korea. The North has enough artillery pieces within range of this metropolis to kill hundreds of thousands of people, which could very well begin a world war and throw the global economy into a tailspin.

Past presidents have understandably feared the North would retaliate in this way. But for some today, that fear is fading. John Plumb, a former director of defense policy and strategy for Obama’s National Security Council, told the Atlantic last month: “If I were the Trump administration, I would be looking at the threat to incinerate Seoul and trying to figure out how real it is. Because to me, it’s become such a catchphrase, and it almost — it starts to lose credibility. Attacking Seoul, a civilian population center, is different from attacking a remote military outpost. It’s dicey, there’s no doubt about it.”

Intelligence officials have said in recent months that this threat remains very real. While there are steps the U.S. can take to mitigate the problem, such as dropping cluster munitions on the big guns, it’s an imperfect and high-risk strategy. An attack on North Korea would be unpredictable and could unleash far worse on U.S. forces (which have been stationed in South Korea for more than 60 years), not to mention allies like Japan.

All of this gets back to Trump’s bluster. At this point we as Americans ought to expect more careful words from the president. At the same time, nothing Trump said was that different from the implicit threat against North Korea, or any power that threatens American cities with nuclear destruction.

Don’t get me wrong: There are few people on the planet more deserving of “fire and fury” than Kim Jong Un. But would such a strike even eliminate its nuclear program? How far is Trump willing to go? Will he order an invasion of North Korea to topple the regime? And if he does, would he commit the manpower, capital and time to stabilize the country once the Kim dynasty falls?

According to retired Admiral William Perry, Clinton’s second secretary of defense, the U.S. couldn’t even take out North Korea’s nuclear infrastructure with military strikes, given how much it has expanded in the last 20 years. What’s more, the price paid by South Koreans would be unacceptable. This is what he told a group of journalists this spring at an event sponsored by the Hoover Institution.

It’s possible that Trump is counting on his reputation as an impetuous novice — one who Kim just might fear would roll the dice by attacking North Korea. But Trump’s ultimatum allows the boy-tyrant in Pyongyang to test the president’s mettle. (Already the North Korean state media has threatened Guam.) We can expect more taunts and threats in the coming days, proving Trump’s threat was hollow. As hollow as past presidents’ pledges to do the same.

Yep, It’s Definitely Donald Trump Who’s the Tyrant Here

Hitler. Mussolini. Stalin. Pol Pot. al-Assad. Hussein. Gaddafi. Franco. Kim Jong Il. Each one is considered a dictator, a tyrant who’s greed for power is only surpassed by their cruelty and inhumanity.

If you were to wade into the depths of #TheResistance on social media (which I don’t recommend), you’d also see a movement to brand Donald Trump a dictator and his administration a lawless tyranny over the nation.  To be sure, the Trump administration has done itself no favors is coming across as inept, overly ambitious and yet clearly out of its depth. They have said things that, yes, are frightening.

But let us be absolutely honest here. When it comes to tyranny in America, there is no tyranny except for that of the mob.

Social media is both a blessing and a curse. The instant communication of thoughts to the world allows for breaking news to break faster and hard-hitting news to hit harder. The downside is that it opens you and everyone you know and love up for ridicule, petition, and even expulsion from society.

Case in point, the lad from Google who wrote what is being called a “manifesto” opposing Google’s diversity policy. It seems that, virtually instantly, this person was the target of a mob whose sole purpose was to flush him out of The Collective.

It worked, too. Google fired the man (interestingly, a new social media platform called “Gab”, which touts itself as an ad-free, free speech platform, offered to hire him), and the Left was delighted that the wrongspeak was punished.

This is not the first time, however, that someone’s livelihood was destroyed over thinking or believing the “wrong” thing. We’ve covered countless times the bakers, photographers, and other business people whose lives were ruined and their businesses shuttered because they dared to not conform with the Left’s ideology.

“But Mr. Reagan Conservative,” some on the Left might cry, “this isn’t tyranny because mobs aren’t the government.” If you think that, you are wrong. It is with the help of the courts that these attacks on private businesses have flourished. It is the politicians who speak out and encourage this behavior that ruins the lives of people whose only crime is thoughtcrime.

For another example, take Chelsea Handler, the so-called comedienne who actually suggested we criminalize speech.

Where, exactly, does this type of legislation begin and where does it end? By the Left’s standards, virtually everything is racist, so that means if you laugh at something someone else deems is racist, you’re going to (at best) be fined. This is an actual proposal from someone who thinks there is no problem with criminalizing what someone finds funny. There is no end to this slippery slope, either.

Or take the case of Dana Loesch, who is under attack from journalists and Leftists because she appeared in an NRA video ad and says she wants to fact-check the media. The number of people who want to silence her by reporting her to the feds, threatening her husband and her children, and making graphic, sexual threats to and about her is appalling.

But this is the new norm. This is the world we live in now. We have to deal with the tyranny of the mob before we can move on to the tyranny of any White House occupant.

So, forgive me when someone calls Donald Trump a fascist dictator with one breath and turns around to advocate banning speech because they don’t like it.

 

Without Trump, Pritzker and Emanuel Would be Lonely, Sad and a bit Lost

As a resident of Illinois, I’m also involved and interested in state politics. As I’ve said before, I usually do not write that much about state politics, I usually focus on the nation as a whole; this will be one of my last post about Illinois politics, unless something worth writing about occurs.


What would Illinois Democrats do without President Donald Trump?

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and billionaire J.B. Pritzker — the choice of boss Democrats for governor — spend their time talking and talking and talking about Trump.

With J.B. and Rahm it’s Trump this and Trump that. And they speak in excited, fearful and outraged tones.

If we were living in Neanderthal times, Rahm and J.B. would gather us around the campfire, pointing their fingers into the darkness at some demon spirit, and smile, thinly, as we huddled close to them for protection.

But these are modern times. Politicians don’t tell stories around the campfire. They use media.

Still, where would they be without Trump?

They’d be devastated, lost and lonely and afraid without Trump, because Trump is his own gift to them.

Because without Trump, they might have to address what’s been going on in Chicago and Illinois — from blood constantly flowing in the city’s streets to corruption and chronically bad schools, and even those idiotic Pritzker mystery toilets.

If you were in their shoes, would you want to talk about City Hall’s failure to stop the bloody gang wars or the failure to effectively address black unemployment?

Would you like questions about whether you used union plumbers to rip out the toilets of a building next to your mansion, so the toilet-less home could be termed “uninhabitable” and you’d get a nice property tax break?

If you were Rahm and J.B., would you like to talk about Democratic Boss Mike Madigan and the game of chicken he’s playing with Illinois schoolchildren and suburban taxpayers?

Or the $500 million Chicago Public Schools just borrowed that will cost an additional $850 million in interest payments?

If you were Rahm or J.B., or most any Democrat running, would you want to talk about Boss Madigan?

And just what would Pritzker say, exactly? That he can’t wait to be elected governor to do Madigan’s bidding, like some eager-to-please billionaire Mr. Belvedere?

It’s likely they really don’t like Trump. It’s also possible that you can’t stand him either.

Or, perhaps you do like him. Or perhaps you like some of his policies — like the appointment of a conservative to the Supreme Court with the promise of more to come — but you loathe all that vulgar Fifth Avenue Hillbillies drama in the White House.

But if you are a true student of politics, you’ll put aside tribal feelings and realize that Trump’s presence in the White House, his stupid tweets, and the things he says and how he says them, all give nourishment to Illinois Democrats like Emanuel and Pritzker.

And lately they’ve been trying to tie him to Gov. Bruce Rauner, even though Rauner doesn’t much like Trump.

But the Trump outrage is an easy story to tell and write, too, even if we’re not huddled around a campfire, fearful of a demon in the dark.

It’s much easier than talking about what decades of Chicago Democratic rule have done to the city and the state.

“I’m proud to be part of the resistance,” Pritzker announced the other day, standing in front of Trump Tower, which is to Democrats what Stonehenge must have been to wizards with blue face paint back in the day.

“When I’m governor, we’re not going to be silent like Bruce Rauner,” Pritzker said. “Illinois will be a firewall against Donald Trump’s destructive and bigoted agenda.”

“He is his own worst enemy,” Emanuel said of Trump, reaching into his pouch to slap a dab of Trump on Rauner. “I actually don’t think it’s an accident — since people say, ‘Oh we need a businessman’ — they don’t understand politics, and we see it in our governor’s office.”

So what we really need are powerful Chicago Democrats who’ve spent decades running the city and the state into the ground?

Don’t we already have that?

What is obvious is that Rahm and Pritzker and the other Democrats are good at taking their shiny Trumpian rattle and shaking it, furiously.

They focus our attention on the demon, to distract us. But from what?

How about the more than 2,220 shooting victims in Chicago through Aug. 2, and the more than 410 homicides so far ths year, most of them coming in the bloody gang wars that City Hall has no answer for? And violent crimes on the CTA that remain unsolved?

And black unemployment? Why talk of that, when it’s much easier, at least politically, for Democrats, to embrace Latinos, including immigrants who are here illegally. That is why Emanuel has now become desperate, seeking re-election.

Black unemployment in Illinois is the highest in the nation. And the share of 20- to 24-year-old African-American men who are neither working nor in school is 43 percent, according to a report presented in January by the Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

President Barack Obama from Chicago — not Trump — was in power for eight years as many of those young men were jailed or shot down in the gang wars. And what was done?

And the Chicago Public Schools that didn’t prepare them for work has a long history of mismanagement, corruption and fiscal failure under the Democrats of Chicago.

But Emanuel and Pritzker don’t want the conversation to get awkward. So they control it, with helpers to shape the debate.

It’s so much easier to talk about Trump, isn’t it?