What happened in Charlottesville

Charlottesville is a teaching moment in how liberal democracies should work.  And it’s also a distressing barometer of just how many have betrayed it.  What went so wrong?

The first thing to remember is white nationalists, white supremacists, and their rallies are nothing new.  My first thought was the Nazi rally in the Blues Brothers.   Take the analogy however far you want.  The fact is rallies of people you don’t like with repulsive agendas have always been around, and the right to hold them is still guaranteed under the first amendment.  This is no different under Trump as it was under his predecessors.

Here’s the basic timeline: a bunch of white supremacists and white nationalists organized a #UniteTheRight rally in Charlottesville, starting Friday night August 11th, to protest removing the statue of Robert E. Lee.  They got the necessary permits, it was a peaceful assembly.

Things went smoothly enough until the next day.  The New York Times gives a good timeline of events, but beyond that the details are sketchy and the passions are heated.  I’ve seen reports that people wanting to attend the rally were forced to walk through Antifa counterprotests which attacked them a number of ways.  But the big detail is the one the New York times pointed out – that police were forced to stand down right when passions got most heated and they were needed most:

Barricades encircling the park and separating the two sides began to come down, and the police temporarily retreated.  People were seen clubbing one another in the streets, and pepper spray filled the air… Declaring the gathering an unlawful assembly, the police had cleared the area before noon, and the Virginia National Guard arrived as officers began arresting some who remained.

Finally, things climaxed when a man ran his car through a crowd of counter-protestors, killing one and wounding 19.  Even the details about this are sketchy.  The driver is identified as James Fields, with a history of Nazi and White Nationalist sympathies.

The tires of his car were still smoking when everyone started pointing fingers and shaking fists.   Everyone tripped over themselves to call the white supremacists disgraceful, disgusting, as if that’s the only thing that matters.  The media tried to tie this to Trump, thinking they could force him to distance himself from people he never had anything to do with.

All of them are missing the point: this is not how a liberal democracy works.  People you don’t like get to have their rallies, and they get to be protected at those rallies from those who would do them harm.   If you act violently against someone who is not committing a crime, it is you who are now the criminal.

When you don’t protect people from exercising their right to speak and peaceably assemble, this is the escalation you encourage.  The white nationalists, all too familiar with previous rallies, start defending themselves with helmets, sticks, stones, and this time a car.  People get bloody, people get killed.  Because those charged with governing have abandoned their responsibilities.

This event is symbolic of everything that’s wrong with the country. Law-enforcement officials don’t enforce the law.  Politicians make political hay out of every atrocity imaginable.  And people revert to cavemen when they think their tribe is being threatened.

Indeed Jeff Sessions is already opening a Civil Rights investigation into what went wrong here.  It would be nice to pay attention to this investigation, and it would be nice to make our conclusions based on what we find out.

I suspect that high into this investigation is negligence on the part of the police or the mayor.   Why did they order the police to stand down, right when they were needed most?  Did the police so fear for their lives that they felt better off letting people go at each other’s throats?   That could be the case, as the VA state police spokeswoman puts it.

Another charge claims the mayor purposely told them to stand down while letting the unpermitted counter-protest run rampant, to somehow score political points with the left.  This would certainly be consistent with rallies throughout the country, where mayors feel they can thwart a rally they don’t like by withholding security.   This isn’t limited to white nationalists.  Milo’s speech in Berkeley was shut down with the same tactics.

I shouldn’t have to say I’m not a fan of Nazis.  The very idea that people need to say it gives me hives.  You know how you defeat these people in a free country?  Sargon of Akkad gives a great example in his interview with Baked Alaska, an outspoken white nationalist.  He lets him speak, he has a discussion, and Baked Alaska refutes himself quite nicely, as he both denies the Holocaust and gloats about memeing a Laura Loomer in a gas chamber.

And here’s the thing.  Your representatives need to have cooler heads about this.  Their job is to collect the facts and communicate them to their constituents.  Any of them who came out and made blanket judgments about people in this country yesterday, anyone who tried to score political points, these are demagogues who should not hold public office.

 

 

 

It’s time to break up Google

James Damore’s firing this week has uncovered a truth we need to face:  the internet giants have become monopoly utilities.  And it’s time we started treating them as such.  Their bias has had too much of an effect on our political process to ignore.

For those who are still catching up: Google employee James Damore issued a ten page memo titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber”.  In it he contested Google orthodoxy that the proportional lack of women in the tech industry was a problem rooted in sexism and “toxic masculinity”.  More so, their commitment to this orthodoxy has created a terrifying culture where nobody’s allowed to dissent or argue.

For this, he was immediately fired.  This was a direct violation of California labor laws, which “prohibit employers from retaliating in any way (including through wrongful termination) against an employee for his/her political beliefs or activities.”

The ensuing internet firestorm was quick and devastating.  This wasn’t just about Damore being fired immediately after his memo.  Now other Google employees are coming out with how Google suppresses search results it doesn’t find politically correct.

For those who are obsessing about the Russia collusion story, if they were anything other than partisan hacks, this should be terrifying.  If Russia collusion had a distant star’s effect upon our election, Google’s effect is like the Sun itself.

Keep in mind Google doesn’t just decide what you see when you search.  They also own YouTube, which is already purging and demonetizing conservative voices from its platform.  To the point where even innocent apolitical Youtubers like Pewdiepie have been getting redpilled by the smears and repression they’ve encountered.

So what’s the solution to all this?  The pure laissez-faire solution is to just leave the platform.  People are already switching search providers to Bing.  But really, given Google’s reach, there’s only so much we can do privately.  They are a major provider of cloud services, identity management, search services, you name it.  Really, they’ve become a utility.  Leaving them is about as easy as leaving your cable provider or electricity provider – yes it’s technically possible but going off the grid isn’t very efficient economically.

I’ve talked before about what we can do with internet giants that have become politically damaging.  In light of recent events it’s worth expanding on it:

  1. Sites like Facebook and Google/Youtube have worked for years to become established online public spheres.  As such, they are liable to the same 1st amendment laws that malls are.  We need to extend current laws to the online sphere.
  2. We need an investigation into how these internet giants are swaying elections in their favor. If the alleged Russia collusion had a distant star’s effect on our 2016 election, Google’s effect is like the Sun itself.
  3. Loathe as we Republicans are to institute new regulations, we have to consider treating internet giants like a utility, and regulating them as such. If they monopolize the public sphere, they can’t be allowed to manipulate it in their favor.  This kind of manipulation makes 19th century political machines seem like child’s play.

I think these principles are a good start to bringing internet giants to heel and making them a contribution to our democracy and not a brake on it.  And may I add – it’s quite the irony that the Democrats and the left, the champions of government intervention, all of a sudden turn laissez-faire whenever a company does something they support – no matter how illegal or immoral.

 

 

 

 

Politicon wrapup

Politicon was bar-none, the event of the year.  In all my years in politics, I have never seen so many young people, so engaged in politics, and so questioning of leftist orthodoxy.

Indeed, we are in the throes of a conservative awakening.  Everywhere you looked there was a young person you could engage.  And I mean engage – they were open to new ideas, even curious.  I met artists who wanted to ditch the Shepard Fairey leftist drumbeat, a 20 year old reading the Economist article on Venezuela, a marine reading the Drudge report, and a whole lot of kids wearing conservative regalia: from Trump caps to Reagan/Bush t-shirts.

Here’s the full photo album.

As for the panels – the best way to describe the mood was asteroid versus dinosaur.  You had all the old guard television personalities and strategists who had Russia on the brain and wanted to undermine Trump by any means necessary.  Meanwhile the new guard were self-made internet personalities who want to forge a new identity and new politics from Trump’s victory.

I went to a number of panels, a few of the most interesting ones:

Tomi Lahren v. Symone Sanders: this was a debate of new media vs. old media.  Tomi Lahren managed to build quite an online following after she was fired from TheBlaze, apparently for revealing her pro-life stance.  Symone has a career as a Democratic Party strategist and is a regular contributor to CNN.  Both are about the same age.  Tomi showed a gift for triggering Symone, who kept invoking her black history every time she was asked an uncomfortable question.

Now What, Republicans?  Dennis Prager, David Frum, Michael Steele, Tomi Lahren.  Again, David Frum and Michael Steele represented the dinosaur, thinking the GOP can recapture the center by yielding to Democrat demands, like single payer, Russia collusion, or smearing Trump as a rapist.  Tomi tried to explain why people voted for Trump and how we can move forward with it, but was unfortunately talked over way too often.  And in the dinosaur vs. asteroid debate, Prager was the eternal mammal.  He was one of a small minority who are hip to the social revolution we are going through.

And finally, the Cenk Uygur vs. Ben Shapiro debate.  This was well deserved as the headline event: both internet media giants, reflecting the philosophical divide between right and left.  Both with raucuous devoted fans.  I’m withholding announcing who won the debate, because I think there’s a lot of confirmation bias coming into this: Cenk’s people cheered everything he said, Shaprio’s everything he said.  So who won depends on who you ask.

But Shapiro did tear into some of Cenk’s arguments, and if we focus on continuing to tear these apart we can make inroads into disaffected leftists.  Cenk is still blaming the right not just for the Iraq War, but for Southern Strategy.  He kept avoiding Ben’s argument on health care “who will pay for it?”  Which you’ll notice Ben Shapiro also is going after leftists for Venezuela.  I don’t share Ben’s purist laissez-faire streak, as did many others I talked to.  But we do all agree government is too big, spends too much, and we need to pare down entitlements, especially to non-citizens.

So, what does this mean for us?  What can we do with this now?

We can look to Mike Cernovich for a bit of advice.  He pointed out that the CNN stars barely got any draw, while conservative online personalities dominated the popularity contets.  Politicon featured some surprise stars, which shouldn’t be all that surprising.  Ann Coulter, Tomi Lahren, Ben Shapiro – they all had huge draws.  Other conservatives with smaller draws, like David Horowitz or Dennis Prager, still did well and are aware of this new trend.  And they are all sympathetic, even enthusiastic, about our cause.  If we can get in touch with them and court them in any way, we’ll get far.  Dave Rubin wasn’t there but he’s another classic disaffected leftist with his own online draw.  He’s got his show “The Rubin Report”.

And it’s not just the personalities but the new gatekeepers we need to look out for.  Breitbart, Drudge Report, Daily Caller, Daily Wire – if we can get more press releases and contacts in these groups, we can get far more publicity than by contacting newspapers or television stations.

And if we can keep pushing our way into the colleges, kids are yearning to talk to us.  Milo is doing a “Troll Academy tour” at the college campuses, and in September we’ll have another controversial free speech week, hosted by conservatives, in Berkeley.

Meanwhile, we need to push our own presence online.  We can have a separate talk about this.  But I feel our efforts are much better spent pushing for online reach than using telephones or sending snail mail.

I’ll end by saying I took my stepdaughter to Vidcon last month – this was the YouTube creators’ convention.  I’d say between these two conventions we had everyone under 25 in the city.  Both have enjoyed explosive popularity, reflecting a new generation that gets all its information through online sources.  I imagine in the next few years these two conventions will merge.  But we need to keep on top of this.

 

Black Lives Matter

Blacks aren’t going to make your revolution for you.

That should be the beginning and the end of my stance on Black Lives Matter, but I suppose I should elaborate.

I decided to run as a Republican because I held certain things to be bipartisan, which are apparently no longer so – respect for our laws, respect for the people who uphold them, and that American values of freedom and justice are worth standing up for.  The blacks I’ve known are all firm believers in these things.  They work hard, are law abiding, have all the same habits and follow the same trends as everyone else.

These are the people I wish to represent, these are the people I wish to work with.  I believe that our liberal institutions are more than fitting to deal with any grievances different people have with our institutions.

And yet, ever since I’ve been in college and before, the left has had this unhealthy obsession with them as their revolutionary agents.  There’s no denying Black Lives Matter grows out of this obsession.

I’ve seen different criticisms of Black Lives Matter, none of which satisfied me.  What gets me is, every single one of these issues that the left likes to bring up as a case of police brutality, begins with someone provoking a cop.  I’m not going to bother with links because if I slogged through it all I’d never get this done.  And it doesn’t seem to faze them either – they can show someone arguing with a cop, running away from a cop, failing to obey orders with a cop, and if the cop does anything harmful to the person it becomes a national event.

Time after time I was presented with an anecdote of how cops brutalized some poor kid.  Time after time I trolled through the evidence I found, and saw either nothing wrong, or someone who got what was coming to them because they challenged an officer.

Now, let’s get a basic fact straight.  If you challenge or attack a police officer, you lose your rights.  Everything the cop does is now justified to protect his life.  This is standard protocol, everyone understands it.

I remember the Rodney King riots.  More so, I remember the Rodney King video.  THAT was a case of police brutality.  At least, compared with everything I’ve seen in the past couple years.

Again, that doesn’t faze the left.  Each anecdote that came out was another chance to demonstrate, to riot, to “burn the bitch down.”  And I say the left, and not blacks, because I don’t think Black Lives Matter is a black movement.  It’s a movement of establishment leftists, looking to bait blacks into being shock troops for their fantasy politics.

They utter all the “gangsterisms” and catchphrases that make them think they have “street cred”.  “What do we want? Dead cops!” “Pigs in a blanket, fry like bacon!”  They took their childhood rap video fantasies into the grownup world of politics.

And Black Lives Matter’s proposed solutions are actually aimed at inflaming the problem.  They treat cops not as a necessary institution that we need to maintain properly or reform.  They see cops as an imperialist occupying force, the jackboot of white privilege.  Their mission is to get them out of the community or render them totally unable to do their job, totally unable to use violence on people who are out of control.  And they’re getting major foundation money to do this.

Meanwhile, every kid with a camera is out recording every lunatic that starts trouble in every public place, hoping to get their 15 mintues of fame by catching a cop in a compromising situation and uploading it to YouTube.  I’ve seen instances with my own two eyes.

I’m not going to ask them how they think this affects our police force, because they’ll never change.  I’m asking this of you, the people who actually have to live with crime, who depend on the cops to keep the streets safe.  How do you think this environment affects them?

But wait, you already know.  This gives us Christopher Dorner, who went on a cop-murdering rampage before he was finally killed in a hideout at Big Bear Lake.  Ironically, the one thing the left took out of that entire episode was the brutality on the poor Latina newspaper delivery woman who happened to drive the exact same type of truck Dorner was driving.

Yup, if you attack cops, this is the kind of chaos that ensues.

Crime is a thing.  Violent people exist and need to be handled violently sometimes.  That is where we differ from the left, and insist we need cops who can do their job.  We need cops who feel at home patrolling their communities.  We need a citizenry that knows their rights and their duties around law enforcement.  If there is a real grievance with cops, our institutions are capable of handling it.  I would like to be involved in that conversation.

But this kind of race baiting?  Leave it to the Democrats.

ADL flirts with Defamation

Oh, the irony.

I’ve actually been meaning to write about ADL’s flirtation with madness for a few months, ever since I went to their presentation at Google HQ on contemporary Cyberhate, back in February.

For the record, I’ve had a very good relationship with the ADL.  I’ve shared their article on blood libel countless times.  And yes, they fight modern blood libel too.  When I encountered some anti-Semitic graffiti in my neighborhood, they contacted the police to remove it – when Facebook simply deleted my post about this and suspended me.

So it’s with great sadness that I saw their latest article,  From Alt Right to Alt Lite: Naming the Hate, on my Twitter feed.  In it hey smear a whole array of conservative voices with the “alt-right/alt-light” brush.

It was a conclusion I’ve been hoping to avoid since that fateful evening in Feburary.  But now I have to come out and say it – they’re flirting with false realities to suck up to Silicon Valley leftists.

February’s meeting on Cyberhate featured Brittan Heller, based in Silicon Valley.  She rattled off an impressive looking array of statistics with a specific agenda in mind – to show how Donald Trump’s rise to power is fueling Neo Nazis.  Coupled with ADL’s pamphlets about classic Neo Nazi groups, this seemed to make an impressive display.

The only problem is none of the statistics withstood any scrutiny.

She mentioned “a billion” impressions of hate in the past year.  The issue is even someone obscure like myself can average 2000-5000 impressions a day.  So when you extrapolate to Twitter at large, that’s no more than the usual background noise.  Even her chart on how hate impressions spiked in the past year can easily be explained by the contentiousness of this election season.

A couple of us challenged her on her findings, myself both in the meeting and via e-mail.  She danced around my question, and didn’t answer my e-mail request for her statistics or how she arrived at them.

But who needs to provide evidence when you have an agenda to prop up?

And it looks like ADL is taking this agenda and running with it.

The post about Gavin McInnes is laughable at best, a tragedy at worst.  Gavin’s video “ten things I hate about Israel” is pure satire.  One of the things he hates is how Israelis get laid too much.  I can live with that.  And never mind that this was published under the Rebel Media label, owned by Ezra Levant, a proud and militant Jew.  During a trip to Israel with Ezra Levant.

The fact that ADL would turn satire into evidence of Gavin’s hate is defamation.  Full Stop.

I’m not even going to touch on Milo Yiannopoulos, whom I’ve defended once already.  But I will say he got the Freedom Award from David Horowitz, another outspoken Jew.  And he does sue people who smear him as a white nationalist.  So look out for that.

A couple of people, like Richard Spencer or Baked Alaska, may raise an eyebrow and it’s good to keep them at a safe distance.  But they’re also worth paying attention to, not just dismissing as hate symbols.  Baked Alaska for one is worth watching for documentary footage alone – quite active and livestreams a lot of demonstrations.  Cernovich and Posobiec are provocateurs at worst.  Which does not file under hate.  I haven’t seen either of them post anything remotely anti-Semitic.

But the fact is, Jews are all over the political spectrum.  And we encounter hate and blame from both sides equally.  This election cycle is no different.  I’ve joked that no matter whether Trump or Hillary won the election, it’s comforting to know we’d still be blamed for it.  And between leftist groups like Jewish Voice for Peace or the Chicago Dyke March getting a Jewish lesbian fired, the hate towards Jews I worry about is coming from the left.

I get the reason the ADL is doing this.  In the end, they need money to survive, and it’s the Silicon Valley SJWs who have it.  So they need to speak their language.  Except it’s by publishing an agenda that flatters them and defames half the country.  The term “Alt-Right” may have been coined by Richard Spencer, but it was made popular by Hillary Clinton.  She meant it to smear everyone who opposed her as a deplorable Neo Nazi.  It’s a blatant lie.

The ultimate problem is lies lead to hate.  When you lie about people, when you smear and defame them, you only give them justified cause to hate you.  The ADL can quickly lose their name and reputation if they continue on this track, a track the rest of the left seems to be doubling down on.  I hope they issue a quick retraction and take a second look at this issue.  A lot of us Jews are watching.

UPDATE: looks like the reaction is coming quick, and not just from the ADL’s targets.  Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel has called the ADL a “partisan witch hunt group” for their list.