Posts Tagged ‘Donald Trump’

LinkSwarm for October 6, 2017

Friday, October 6th, 2017

Welcome to October! Enjoy your complimentary LinkSwarm:

  • Imran Awan’s lawyer said the House Democrats he worked for asked him to falsify spending reports:

    House Democrats ordered the systematic falsification of records showing how they spend their taxpayer-provided office budgets, according to lawyers for two former House information technology (IT) aides.

    It’s a remarkable accusation that pits sitting lawmakers against the former aides, Imran Awan, his brothers Abid and Jamal, and his wife Hina Alvi. Imran was arrested in July while trying to board a flight to Pakistan, and then indicted on four counts of bank fraud involving moving money to that country. Imran and Hina, who was also indicted, face a court date Friday.

    One of Imran’s lawyers, Aaron Page, acknowledged the invoicing discrepancy Aug. 21, telling The Daily Caller News Foundation, “This is just how things have been done for forever. This is what experienced members of Congress expect: to expedite things, they adjust the pricing.”

    If members or senior staff instructed IT aides to misrepresent how budgets were spent, that could potentially explain why officials have not charged the Awans with crimes related to procurement, even a full year after House authorities gathered documentation showing invoices that claimed expensive technological items cost $499 instead of their true price: potentially an open-and-shut violation.

    Garden-variety Democratic graft is probably the least worrisome lawbreaking the Awan ring could have been up to…

  • How the NFL protests are going to get Donald Trump reelected:

    now believe that the left will re-elect Trump. The ruction over NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem illustrates the point.

    The left has talked itself into believing that Trump’s alleged appeals to white racism were what put him over the top.

    More astute psephologists have pointed out that the actual difference was made by people in industrial states who previously had voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, but switched to Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016. Hard to attribute those decisions to white racism.

    Nevertheless, the left now interprets all of Trump’s actions through the prism of perceived appeals to white racism. If Trump were to tweet, “It’s a lovely day in Washington,” the left would denounce it as a dog whistle to white supremacists.

    Which brings us to the NFL ruction. Players began kneeling during the national anthem reportedly to protest what they regard as racial injustice in the United States. Trump denounced them in Trumpian fashion.

    According to the left, since the players were protesting racial injustice, Trump was endorsing racial injustice by criticizing them. There goes that dog whistle!

    o most Americans, that’s nuts.

    I’m not much of a flag waver. And I’ve never really understood why sporting events begin with the playing of the national anthem. Doesn’t seem a particularly apposite occasion for a display of patriotic fidelity.

    But it is part of American tradition. And traditions matter.

    You don’t have to be a racist to find galling the spectacle of pampered athletics, making millions of dollars playing a game, hosted in taxpayer-subsidized stadiums, benefiting from an antitrust exemption, ostentatiously exempting themselves from the traditional display of fidelity to our country.

    The argument by some that the protest isn’t really about the flag and national anthem rings hollow. If you do it during the national anthem, it is about the flag and the national anthem.

    Snip.

    Generally speaking, white Middle Americans aren’t racists. They don’t long for a return to Jim Crow. They’re just sick of having identity and grievance politics thrown in their faces all the time.

    If the left continues to tell Middle Americans they are racists, Trump will be re-elected.

  • “The media and the NFL did not know what hit them. I do. They hit themselves. Hard.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Pew confirms: Democrats are the extremists.
  • “Senior law enforcement officials from the United States, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras announced here today criminal charges against more than 3,800 MS-13 and 18th Street gang members in the United States and Central America in a coordinated law enforcement action known as Operation Regional Shield.”
  • ICE nabs 498 criminal illegal aliens in “sanctuary cities.”
  • Under President Donald Trump, illegal alien deportations have roughly tripled. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • How Donald Trump’s election caused the mainstream media to drop their masks of objectivity:

    The forces that brought Trump to power are alien to the experience of the men and women who populate newsrooms, his supporters unlike their colleagues, friends, and neighbors, his agenda anathema to the catechism of social liberalism, his career and business empire complex and murky and sensational. Little surprise that journalists reacted to his election with a combination of panic, fear, disgust, fascination, exhilaration, and the self-affirming belief that they remain the last line of defense against an emerging American autocracy. Who has time for dispassionate analysis, for methodical research and reporting, when the president’s very being is an assault on one’s conception of self, when nothing less than the future of the country is at stake? Especially when the depletion of veteran editors, the relative youth and inexperience of political and congressional reporters, and the proliferation of social media, with its hot takes and quips, its groupthink and instant gratification, makes the transition from inquiry to indignation all too easy.

    (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

  • Reason is really high on President Trump’s nomination of Justice Don Willett to the 5th Circuit court. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “The media is missing the Republican takeover in New England.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Difficulties in nursing home evacuations: having to punch people.
  • Michael Totten wonders why Turkey is still in NATO.
  • Catalonia might declare independence from Spain.
  • North Korean ship carrying 30,000 rocket launchers seized in Egypt. Biggest surprise? They had been purchased by the Egyptian military in defiance of UN sanctions…
  • Houston still has not resumed jury trials since Harvey wiped out two criminal justice buildings.
  • Democrat mega-donor [Harvey] Weinstein accused of sexual harassment.” [Cue Instapundit] Why are Democrat-dominated industries like Hollywood such cesspits of sexism?
  • What do women who worked in the editorial department of Playboy think about their time there? That it was the best job they ever had.
  • Latest #BlackLivesMatter chant: “Liberalism Is White Supremacy .” Also: “The revolution will not uphold the Constitution.” Way to get ordinary Americans on your side! (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • How the Chicago Sun-Times bought a bar to to document local political corruption. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Houstonian’s rich neighbors aren’t wild about the the working Sherman tank in front of his house. I saw good for him. I also wonder why Fox declined to call it a Sherman rather than the more generic “World War II” tank.
  • Wisconsin gets court pushback in its illegal war against bakers.
  • Netcraft confirms it: Slashdot turns 20. CowboyNeal is now old enough to be Florida Man…
  • Roy Moore Wins in Alabama

    Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

    “Alabama Republicans on Tuesday voted decisively to nominate Roy Moore, a former state Supreme Court judge, for a U.S. Senate seat, delivering a rebuke to President Donald Trump and the GOP establishment that supported his rival. ”

    I wasn’t following this race closely, so enjoy some brief Takes of Elevated Temperature:

  • All politics is local.
  • Alabama remains a very conservative state, and Moore was widely seen as more conservative than his opponent Luther Strange.
  • Score one for the Senate conservative fund.
  • Mitch McConnell and the Washington Republican establishment’s endorsement is so toxic not even Trump’s endorsement can remove the taint for Republican primary voters.
  • Edited to add: Gracious (verily, even Presidential) tweet from President Trump following Moore’s win:

    ZeroHedge suggests that this actually strengthens Trump’s hand against congressional Republicans.

    Liberals Freak Out Over Trump Tweet

    Monday, September 18th, 2017

    (Hey kids! Save that headline and you’ll be able to use it again and again and again…)

    Once again, President Donald Trump retweeted a silly meme and liberal Twitter freaked out:

    That’s Trump hitting a golf ball cut with one of Hillary Clinton’s many, many campaign trail stumbles, with CGI in the later of that ball hitting her, causing the stumble.

    It’s obviously silly, obviously unreal, and elicits a chuckle. It also reminds his followers that the MSM repeatedly covered up this and other Hillary stumbles until leaked footage of her 9/11 collapse made them cover the issue.

    Yet liberal Twitter reacted as if President Trump were advocating assaulting random old women in the street:

    Do they actually think Trump is promoting violence? Will hundreds of MAGA-cap wearing Trump supporters descend on Hillary’s book tour with 9-irons and attempt to hook and slice her to death?

    It’s like people accusing Mel Brooks of wanting to murder black law enforcement officers based on the sheriff-welcoming scene in Blazing Saddles.

    The mockery of same was equally as swift:

    And this is such a big story that the New York Times, the Washington Post and The Guardian all have stories on it.

    The weird thing is, the media ought to know by now that such unbalanced pearl-clutching overreactions hurt them far worse that Trump. They also show Trump’s still using the media’s obsession with him to dominate the news cycle.

    Debt Limit Deal: Maybe Not Completely Awful?

    Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

    There has been a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth over the debt deal President Donald Trump made with congressional Democratic leaders that pushes U.S. debt over the $20 trillion mark.

    Is it a bad deal? From my perspective, almost certainly. Debt is an existential threat to the Republic, and I believe that we should reduce spending by eliminating vast swathes of federal government programs (Federal housing sibsidies? End them. Department of Education? Eliminate it. Agribusiness subsides? End them all. Etc.) until the budget is balanced. Then you wouldn’t have to worry about hitting the debt limit at all.

    Sadly, my position seems to be a decidedly minority one in D.C. Since politics is the art of the possible, it’s better to ask: How bad is President Trump’s deal among the constellation of actual debt limit deal possibilities?

    The answer seems to be: Still not great, but maybe not as bad as first impressions.

    It’s possible that President Trump went for the deal because he had no choice, as Republican congressional leadership was woefully unprepared on the issue:

    With much of the Washington Republican establishment still grumbling about President Donald Trump’s decision earlier this week to strike a deal with Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, one prominent member of the House Freedom Caucus took to the Sunday Talk Shows to deliver what sounded like the faction’s official response to the week’s events.

    In an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan struck a delicate balance: criticizing the consequences of the president’s decision without impugning the man himself.

    Jordan explained that while the Trump-Schumer-Pelosi deal wouldn’t be “good for the American taxpayer” the president can be excused for agreeing to it because Republicans in Congress failed to provide him with a suitable alternative.

    And just like that, a member of the House’s most intransigent, conservative faction – the group that almost singlehandedly crushed the Trump administration’s health-care ambitions – turning the blame for Trump’s debt-ceiling can-kicking, and the powerful leverage that Democrats gained because of it, back on the president’s favorite opponents: Congressional Republicans.

    Here’s Jordan:

    I don’t think this was a good deal for the American taxpayer. We didn’t go anything to address the underlying $20 trillion debt but frankly what options did the president have in front of him? The first time the Republican conference talked about the debt ceiling was Sunday morning. And the Freedom Caucus had called for, nine and a half weeks ago, we said ‘don’t leave town until you have a plan on the debt ceiling’ and instead we went home for the longest August recess in a decade, longer even than in elections years.

    Indeed, the deal House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted was actually worse for conservatives:

    Trump on Wednesday agreed to the proposal of House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) to increase the national-debt limit for three months, and attach that to emergency aid for victims of Hurricane Harvey. But just days earlier, conservatives had been wringing their hands in fear that Schumer would turn the debt ceiling into the Democrats’ newest set of brass knuckles.

    If not for the high-profile urgency of, in essence, stapling the debt limit to Harvey assistance, the pressing need to re-charge Uncle Sam’s credit card would have given Schumer a fresh way to beat up Republicans. Absent Harvey, Schumer and his band of toughs would have kidnapped the debt limit in exchange for something else, perhaps “DACA or death!” Instead, the debt-limit increase slid through, behind Harvey’s shield, with no last-minute hostage drama.

    Trump rejected the offer of House speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wisc.) and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) to extend the debt limit for 18 months, past the 2018 mid-term elections. This would have removed federal borrowing from the list of issues on which the GOP could have run next year. Obama hiked the national debt from $10.6 trillion to $19.9 trillion — a staggering 87.8 percent. That mess, and how to escape it, would have been a worthy GOP issue. Ryan and McConnell largely would have obviated that opportunity.

    Ryan and McConnell’s 18-month proposal also would have deprived Republicans of a priceless “must pass” vehicle to which they could append items that Senate Democrats dislike. The GOP similarly handed Obama multiple long-term debt-limit extensions that prevented Republicans from sending him short-term debt-limit measures that he would have had to sign, notwithstanding amendments that rankled him. Republicans should not deploy the debt limit every month, in order to corner Schumer and Senate Democrats. But mothballing this weapon until spring 2019 smacks of unilateral disarmament.

    From all reports, Ryan and McConnell were ready to drop-kick the debt-limit 18 months down the road, in return for . . . nothing. Even worse, as conservatives correctly complain, they did not tie the debt-limit boost to any structural reforms, such as a cap on federal spending as a share of GDP, adoption of the brilliant Penny Plan (which would balance the budget by cutting total spending by 1 percent every year for eight years), a private-sector audit of every federal department and sub-cabinet agency, or even converting Washington’s books from cash-basis to accrual accounting. Ryan and McConnell promised 18 months of borrowing and spending on autopilot. Trump properly rejected such fiscal brain death.

    Now, in three months, fiscal conservatives can and should append reformist language to the next debt-limit increase. Ryan/McConnell would have denied them that opportunity until nearly two Easters hence.

    If Schumer wanted to demand “DACA or death!” I would have seen how he likes death: no debt limit vote, cut spending until the budget is balanced, and let Schumer explain why it was necessary for welfare recipients to lose their checks so Democrats could amnesty more illegal aliens.

    Like I said, mine seems to be a minority viewpoint.

    There are also reports that the deal is written in such a way that McConell might get the last laugh:

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wrote in some “extraordinary” provisions to the debt ceiling bill that could mean there won’t be another debt ceiling fight in 2017 after all, he revealed on “The New Washington” podcast Monday.

    McConnell insisted, in the face of Democrats’ objections, that the bill be written to preserve the Treasury’s ability to extend federal borrowing power by moving money around within government accounts. In layman’s terms, that means the Republicans can work around the December debt limit deadline and push that issue into 2018.

    All this is just rearranging deck chairs on the Debtanic as long as the driving motivation for current congressional leadership is avoiding bad poll numbers rather than actual conservative governance. But short of a debt deal that includes spine replacement surgery for congressional leadership, there seems precious little chance of congress fulfilling any of the myriad conservative promises they made when Obama occupied the White House.

    LinkSwarm for September 1, 2017

    Friday, September 1st, 2017

    The worst of the flooding in Houston seems to have passed, and the Brazos River has crested and is falling again. But over 40 people are dead and over 6,000 homes have been destroyed, and the road to recovery for many families remains long and arduous. Consider donating time or money, if you’re able.

    Here’s the Friday LinkSwarm

  • Before and after photos of flood and hurricane damage.
  • Federal Judge: “In evaluating Plaintiffs’ claims at this stage, the Court assumes their allegations are true—that the DNC and Wasserman Schultz held a palpable bias in favor Clinton and sought to propel her ahead of her Democratic opponent.” And then dismissed the the case. Because suck it, Bernie. (I should probably do another Clinton Corruption update in the near future…)
  • “[Democratic Robert] Menendez Mess Expands to Democratic Old Guard. Federal prosecutors ensnare Harry Reid in corruption probe of New Jersey senator.” In addition to his graft trial, Menendez was also accused of sleeping with under-aged prostitutes in the Dominican Republic.
  • President Donald Trump rolls back costly and cumbersome ‘diversity’ regulations. “Obama’s EEOC called for businesses to provide 3,660 different data points about each employee and their pay structure.” Man, it’s like the Obama crew was upset that businesses were allowed to get any work done at all… (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Oakland reporter witnesses Antifa violence firsthand.
  • Speaking of Antifa violence, here’s an account of how a half-Japanese free speech advocate who magically became a ‘white supremacist’ at the fists of Antifa. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • “New Evidence Reveals Comey Exonerated Hillary Before Key Witness Interviews.”
  • Democrats are irrelevant to the power equation in Donald Trump’s Washington.” (Hat tip: Directpr Blue.)
  • How Google rigged search rankings for companies that supported Google Plus, and then used its market power to quash media stories about it, and then memory-holed any archives…
  • Keith Olbermann loses it. At least whatever little “it” he had left to lose…
  • German nurse killed 86 patients. Surprised they didn’t just transfer him to EU euthanasia brigade. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • “Former spokesman for charity helping victims of Nice attack on trial for fraud.”
  • Speaking of charity fraud: “Southern Poverty Law Center Transfers Millions in Cash to Offshore Entities.” (Hat tip: Stephen green at Instapundit.)
  • “Large diet study suggests it’s carbs, not fats, that are bad for your health.”
  • Women sentenced to 10 years in prison for making 15 false accusations of rape. One look at her picture should have raised huge flags…
  • Open carry of swords becomes legal in Texas today. God bless Texas! (Hat tip: Bill Crider.)
  • Franklin BBQ burns. Being closed by a fire makes it only slightly more difficult to get into…
  • Comedy gold:

  • Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Board sued for arresting college girls over buying water.
  • Richard “Oscar Goldman” Anderson, RIP. He also had a role in Forbidden Planet. “Austin’s overseer, Oscar Goldman, was introduced in the first TV movie, played by Darren McGavin.” I had completely forgotten McGavin (another great character actor) originally played Goldman. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Butthole Surfer Wins ‘Yard of the Month’ Award in Austin.”
  • “Antifa Organizers Announce Plans To Disrupt Neo-Nazi Rally Or Whatever Else Going On That Day.” When you’ve lost The Onion…
  • Overview of my library of science fiction, fantasy and horror first editions. In case you missed it…
  • Let’s end with a bit of good news:

  • Update:

    Hurricane/Flood Update for August 31, 2017

    Thursday, August 31st, 2017

    Welcome to a short, extra late Hurricane/flooding update, since I was busy much of the day working on this giant post about my library on my non-political blog.

    The death toll from Harvey is now up to 38.

    Some links:

  • Beaumont had their water supply knocked out by the flood.
  • Waters begin to recede in Port Arthur, but tons of homes and businesses are still flooded.
  • The BBC offers up a rainfall total map for Harvey. 40+ inches over five days is pretty hard to plan for…
  • Vice President Mike Pence and Governor Greg Abbott visit Rockport.
  • President Donald Trump has pledged $1 million of his own money for Hurricane relief.
  • Direct FEMA Assistance website.
  • Salvation Army disaster recovery.
  • JJ Watt has raised $10 million for flood relief so far, including $1 million from Wal-Mart. Update: over $12 million now, and headed for a new $15 million goal.
  • Charlie Hebdo brings the dumbeth. My reply:

  • Houston Flood Update for August 29, 2017

    Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

    The Great Houston Flood continues. Though rainfall has slackened, many parts of Houston are still flooded.

    Major items:

  • Addicks Reservoir overflows over spillway:

    Water levels in the Addicks and Barker reservoirs reached record levels early Tuesday, said Jeff Lindner, ‎Meteorologist at Harris County Flood Control District.

    Water in the Addicks Reservoir reached 108 feet early Tuesday, causing it to flow over the top of the spillway.

    The overflowing reservoir comes days after authorities announced controlled releases of water from both of the inundated dams.

    Officials with the Army Corps of Engineers expect the Barker Reservoir will also have uncontrolled releases in the coming days. Uncontrolled releases from both dams are expected to flow into Buffalo Bayou and increase the waterway’s already high levels.

    The water spilling out of the Addicks Reservoir Tuesday morning will likely reach subdivisions north of Tanner, left of west Eldridge Parkway to West Little York, and over to Beltway 8, Lindner said.

    Affected subdivisions include:

    Twin Lakes
    Eldridge Park
    Lakes on Eldridge
    Lakes on Eldridge North
    Independence Farms
    Tanner Heights
    Heritage Business Park

  • One third of Friendswood homes are still flooded.
  • Flooding along the Brazos River in Brazoria County is expected to happen today.
  • Last night mandatory evacuations for Inverness Forest and Northgate in north Harris County were issued due to Cypress Creek flooding.
  • President Donald Trump is visiting Texas today to inspect the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, starting with Corpus Christi.
  • Still a lot of road closures, especially on the east side of town.
  • HEB has reopened some area stores, though only until 3 PM today.
  • A series of Tweets that explain how Houston flood control plans developed, and why an evacuation notice for the entire city was not practical. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Legal Insurrection’s Kemberlee Kaye is reporting from her home in Houston. She also touches on the impossibility of evacuating the entire city.
  • List of school closures in Houston. Short answer: All of them.
  • A roundup of debunked rumors from Harvey. No sharks on the freeway, no planes flooded on the runway.
  • Two dumbasses trying looting homes following Harvey. Both get shot. Which part of “Texas” was unclear?
  • The Houston Texans final preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys has been moved to Arlington.
  • Houston Astros to Texas Rangers: “Hey, we got this 1000 Year Flood thing going on here. Want to swap our upcoming home-and-home series?” Rangers: “Die in a flood.”
  • Update: Breaking news:

    Update 2

    Houston police officer drowns in Harvey flood waters:

    The officer, an HPD veteran who has been with the department for more than 30 years, was in his patrol car driving to work downtown Sunday morning when he got trapped in high water at I-45 and the Hardy Toll Road.

    Search and rescue crews are currently recovering his body. The department has not yet formally notified the officer’s family.

    Hence the lack of a name at this point.

    “The officer’s death is the 15th fatality in Texas claimed by Hurricane Harvey.”

    Update 3

    Bridge collapse in east Houston:

    I think this is the bridge:

    Update 4

    HPD officer who drowned today identified as Sergeant Steve Perez:

    Update 5

    Some insight into the scope of the problem:

    3:49 p.m.: How much of Harris County is actually covered by water?

    According to meteorologist Jeff Lindner, between 20 and 30 percent of Harris County is under water as of Tuesday afternoon.

    Harris County is 1,777 square miles. Let’s take the low end of Lindner’s estimation — 20 percent. That would be 355.4 square miles.

    Or:

    Bigger than the entire city of Austin.
    Bigger than 15 times the size of Manhattan, which is about 23 square miles.
    Bigger than 7 times the size of San Francisco, which is about 47 square miles.

    University of Tampa associate professor fired for saying Hurricane Harvey was ‘karma’ for Texas voting for Trump. Which I’m sure went over really well in another Hurricane-prone state that also voted for Trump…

    Update 6

    Houston death toll now stands at 24.

    The convention center is full of storm refugees, so they’re opening up the Toyota Center and NRG Stadium.

    Harvey Makes Landfall as Category 4 Hurricane

    Friday, August 25th, 2017

    Hurricane Harvey barrelled into the Texas coast around 10 p..m. Friday as one of the most powerful hurricane to strike the Texas coast in decades.The Category 4 storm made landfall between Port Aransas and Port O’Connor, according to the National Hurricane Center.”

    Remember, by the time Hurricane Ike hit Texas, it was only a Category 2 hurricane. Ike caused over $27 billion in damage and left 37 people dead.

    “Forecasters said it has the potential of being the strongest hurricane to hit Texas since Hurricane Carla in 1961, which killed 34 and injured 465 when it made landfall near Port Lavaca. The storm had maximum sustained winds near 130 mph with higher gusts ”

    More:

    The National Weather Service issued flash flood watches for the following counties: Harris, Fort Bend, Brazoria, Galveston, Montgomery, Waller, Liberty, Grimes, Chambers, Brazos, Colorado, Austin, Washington, Jackson, Burleson and Wharton.

    Harvey is expected to produce total rainfall amounts of 15 to 35 inches, with isolated pockets of 40 inches through next Wednesday. The weather service said “rainfall of this magnitude will cause catastrophic and life-threatening flooding.”

    Part of Rockport High School has collapsed.

    President Donald Trump, as requested by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, issued a disaster proclamation:

    Here’s a report from the coast in Corpus Christi at 5 PM, when the storm was still offshore and only a category 3, and it’s still almost blowing the reporter over:

    Residents of the rest of the state should get ready for a whole lot of rain over the next few days…

    Scott Adams to Democrats: Stop Hallucinating

    Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

    Scott Adams says that Democrats should wake up from their hallucinations:

    Now that Democrats are out of power, we should expect them to hallucinate like crazy (literally) because the election results of 2016 shattered their expectations. Do we see signs of their hallucinations? I’ll walk you through a few examples.

    Hallucination:

    Based on President Trump’s tweets and speeches, I can see into his soul, and it is all darkness and racism in there.

    Real:

    If the President of the United States tries anything racist in the real world, the Supreme Court, Congress, and the voters would shut him down in a heartbeat. For example, the Courts modified President Trump’s immigration ban to remove even the perception of racism. That’s a sensitive filter for racism, and I think we like it that way.

    Society’s standard is that you are judged for what you do, not what you privately think. That’s good because humans are terrible at knowing what other people think, while at the same time we think we are good at it. I know this first-hand because dozens of people misinterpret what I write on social media every day. If you don’t have my type of experience – of being routinely misinterpreted – you might think humans are good at reading minds based on subtle clues. We are not good at that. We might be slightly better than random chance, at best. The problem is that we are dead-certain we are champions of evidence-based mindreading. That is a hallucination.

    Hallucination:

    I can spot a racist by how long it takes them to properly disavow other racists.

    Real:

    That isn’t a thing. The first rule of communicating is that people only hear what they think you intend to say. They don’t hear what you actually say. If you think someone is a racist, you will perceive their disavowals of racism as too late and too inadequate. If you think someone is not a racist, you might see their statements as politically incorrect and nothing worse. This phenomenon is most pronounced when strong emotions are involved. The topic of racism stirs our strongest emotions. So according to everything we know about brains, we should expect the highest level of hallucinations when racism is the topic. And that is exactly what we observe.

    To be clear, racism itself is very real. The hallucination is limited to seeing it under every bed and behind every couch.

    Hallucination:

    The president has accomplished nothing!

    Real:

    The president has accomplished a long list of things.

    That said, we are 13% into President Trump’s first term, and Congress has created no major bills worthy of signing. Congress is tasked with working out the details of bills. The president can’t do his job until they do theirs.

    We observe that the president has not shown leadership on any major legislation. But keep in mind that Congress produced nothing worthy of leadership. Would any leader be able to fix that? Yes, but I assume it takes longer than simply signing bills that come to your desk. Especially in this hyper-polarized environment.

    Hallucination:

    President Trump is performing poorly!

    Real:

    Compared to what? The imaginary president in your head? There is no base case with which to compare any president’s performance. Would Hillary Clinton have passed major legislation with a Republican Congress in less than six months? It seems unlikely. But we can’t know because she isn’t president.

    We are terrible at judging how well a stranger performs compared to the imaginary person in our minds. We just think we are good at it.

    Hallucination:

    If you thought some “fine people” were marching with Nazis and KKK in Charlottesville, you are a racist.

    Real:

    I condemn all racists and anyone who marches with them. But It turns out that some non-racists were at the event to support the absolute right of free speech, including the worst kinds of speech. In this one case, President Trump passed the fact-checking but failed miserably on the “saying the right thing” dimension.

    He wisely left the facts alone after failing on the empathy.

    Read the whole thing. But if you can’t, here are the tl;dr takeaway quotes:

    “The topic of racism stirs our strongest emotions. So according to everything we know about brains, we should expect the highest level of hallucinations when racism is the topic. And that is exactly what we observe.”

    “We are terrible at judging how well a stranger performs compared to the imaginary person in our minds.”

    “We are dead-certain we are champions of evidence-based mindreading. That is a hallucination.” This is a fallacy that can befall left or right…

    Meet the New Westboro Baptist Church

    Monday, August 14th, 2017

    Remember the Westboro Baptist Church?

    They were a tiny band of idiots who traveled the country protesting gay rights at military funerals for some damn reason. The mainstream media reported constantly on their stupid antics as a means to smear, by implication, any Republican opposition to any liberal culture war issue.

    White nationalist Richard B. Spencer and his tiny band of neo-Nazis are the new Westboro Baptist Church.

    In case you were off in a sensory deprivation tank, “hundreds” of neo-Nazis/Klansmen/white supremacists marched in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend, where they clashed with left-wing counter-protestors, leaving one person dead of apparent vehicular homicide. (Two state troopers died in a helicopter crash in the vicinity, but at this point there’s no evidence of foul play in the crash.)

    As for why violence was allowed to escalate, police appear to have mishandled the situation:

    Law enforcement in Charlottesville have received widespread criticism from counterprotesters, bystanders, and participants of the white nationalist “Unite The Right” rally. Many called the police’s handling of the event hands-off, often appearing outnumbered and waiting too long to break up skirmishes between protesters and counter-protesters.

    Former police officials in New York and Philadelphia made similar criticisms that, despite a large mobilization of law enforcement personnel — Charlottesville’s mayor put the number at 1,000 — police failed to separate the clashing factions at the beginning of the event, allowing the violence to quickly grow out of hand.

    There’s been some debate over what to call Spencer’s band of neo-Nazis/white supremacists/whatevers. But since they were literally marching down the street with cardboard shields chanting “Blood and soil!”…

    …I suggest we call them “LARP Nazis.”

    (Really, chanting “Blood and soil”? Real nationalists tends to chant about specific historical grievances and causes, not just “blood and soil,” which is an abstraction of an abstraction…)

    Some of the nomenclature confusion stems from vague use (intentional or otherwise) of the phrase “alt-Right”:

    Actually, there are a lot more than two “alt-Rights”, depending on how you count. When the MSM uses the term, they’re frequently lumping in several of the following:

  • Actual neo-Nazis/Klansmen/white supremacists, as seen in Charlottesville, plus some garden variety anti-Semites.
  • People pretending to be neo-Nazis/Klansmen/white supremacists, just to piss other people off. (Seen much more online than In Real Life.)
  • People who take leftwing victimhood identity politics framing to its logical conclusion and see “whiteness” as a victimized group identity.
  • Right/libertarian conspiracy theorists (Alex Jones, etc.)
  • Militia groups
  • Patriotic bikers
  • “Paleoconservatives” (Patrick Buchanan, some of the old Southern Agrarian conservatives, etc.)
  • 4Chan /pol members and other online pro-Trump communities
  • Critics of Social Justice Warriors and feminism (Milo Yiannopoulos, Christina Hoff Sommers, etc.)
  • Libertarians
  • Anyone who reads Breitbart
  • Reagan Democrats
  • Free trade skeptics
  • Tea Party groups
  • Anyone who leans right but has been critical of Trump-hostile conservative media outlets (National Review, The Weekly Standard, etc.)
  • Anyone who leans right but has been critical of the national Republican Party establishment
  • Gun owners
  • Anyone who voted for Trump in the Republican primary
  • Anyone who ever posted a Pepe meme
  • Anyone who believes in limiting Muslim immigration
  • Anyone who believes in enforcing immigration laws
  • Anyone who believes in traditional male/female marriage
  • Republicans
  • Anyone who voted for Trump in the general election
  • Anyone from a state that voted for Trump in the general election
  • Christians
  • This lets the left perform their own dishonest mental shorthand: “If you support Trump you’re supporting Hitler!” Alt-Right is as meaningless a term as “fascist,” having come to mean “someone holding beliefs the speaker dislikes.”

    And if you think I’m exaggerating about liberals doing that:

    Though the LARP Nazis were the ones rallying, they weren’t the only ones committing violence, with antifa getting into the act assaulting people and hurling rocks and bottles.

    People immediately called on President Trump to denounce the hate groups. Guess what?

    Naturally President Trump’s denunciation wasn’t enough, Because Trump, and because it clashed with the liberal elites’ religious belief that Trump’s entire rise has been due to him sending “dog whistles” of “secret support” to white supremacists.

    Also condemning the hate groups were Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio (among many, many others), which lead to even more MSM stupidity:

    So just who paid for the LARP Nazi cardboard shields? Logical or not, the first thought that occurred to me on seeing those was “George Soros.” I was not the only one.

    (We have to be careful not to yell “Soros!” every time something bad happens. (Remember when the left yelled “Koch Brothers!” at every political setback? Good times, good times…) But mass-organizer agitators and agent-provocateurs have been his trademark for many years now, so we should probably at least explore the possibility he was funding both sides fighting in Charlottesville…)

    Nationalism is a poor substitute for real patriotism, and white nationalism is a collectivist mockery of the American ethos of colorblind individualism and judging people based on the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. Don’t let the MSM’s hyping of a small crowd of idiots distract you from the fact that it’s a minuscule fringe movement with no power or influence in the Republican Party, the conservative movement, the Trump Administration, or America itself. And, like the Westboro Baptist Church, they’ll disappear from public’s consciousness when deprived of the oxygen of unwarranted media attention.