13 November, 2016

In reply to Jonathan Pie

There's a video going viral on Facebook where Jonathan Pie explains the Trump win and why the left are responsible for it. He makes a lot of excellent points. In case you haven't seen it until now, a warning that it's NSFW. My reply is below.

"Engage and tell me where you think I'm wrong."
Good advice, so here goes...

What the left is getting wrong is they are using the tactics the right successfully used 15 years ago.

I have been respectfully engaging with those I disagree with for years, going all the way back to Bush v Gore. I have given time of day to people who are demonstrably racist, who described Palestinians as human filth who deserve to be wiped out. And all along I never made it personal or resorted to labels, even when the labels fit.

What I got in return was being called anti-American, a terrorist, a Stalinist, a libtard and even once, a paedophile. This is how the right defended themselves in the noughties and a large chunk of the time it worked.

Now the right are getting a taste of what it was like. I'm not saying that's a good thing because it isn't, but it was the right that set the standards of debate and they're getting what they gave. The abused become the abusers. The bullied become the bullies.

And this also explains how Clinton got the nomination even though she's Republican-lite. The left has become bullied into thinking that if they just behave like the bullies and give the bullies what they want, maybe the bullies will finally like them.

Yes, the left has got to get its shit together, but I treat people the way they treat me and I can't blame others for doing the same.

There is such a thing as objective reality. The Earth is round. Evolution is real. Smoking causes cancer. We should not have to patiently and politely explain these facts from scratch to every nitwit who says, 'Dah, I don't think so.'

Life is too short and your opinion is only as valid as the information you base it on.

And if all this sounds a little bit "elitist," then you're damn right it does! Elite means the best. If you don't want to be part of the elite, then you're the one acting all entitled and wants a prize just for showing up.


12 November, 2016

Not all Trump voters

The world has rarely seen such instant backlashes and counter backlashes as it has seen since the result of the US presidential election became clear.

There are many reasons and angles to these backlashes but the one I want to focus on here is Trump voters who are hurt and offended at the suggestion they are racists.

The hurt and offence are perfectly understandable. Although my feelings on the election have already been made clear, it’s obvious that millions of Americans decided that of all the depressing options that were presented to them, Trump was the least worst. I don’t doubt for a moment that nearly all of them had completely genuine and heartfelt reasons for making that decision, and that these reasons don’t even begin to resemble any kind of racism.

Just in case you need me to say it in as many words, I am happy to:
Not all Trump voters are racists.

But all racists are Trump voters.

Now if you find that statement simplistic, misleading and insulting (because it is!), then I suggest you reflect on that.

Remember this is the candidate who calls for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” Now sure, maybe that’s not why you voted for him, but the last time I looked, you don’t get a line-item veto when you vote for a candidate.

Trump’s proposal was blatantly aimed at a notion that has pervaded right wing politics since 2001: not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims. It’s patently untrue and unhelpful. And now you know how it feels.

Donald Trump was supported by the Ku Klux Klan. Of course, I’m not saying klansmen can’t be right about some things – what day of the week it is, whether it’s raining or not – but I don’t think those are the issues they endorsed Trump on. And for sure, Trump neither sought nor accepted the endorsement, but that almost makes it worse. When the world’s oldest white supremacist group completely independently decides they’re with you, does that not give you pause for just a moment?

Although I profoundly disagree with their choice, I sympathise with all the Trump voters who now feel they are expected to denounce racism before their views can be considered legitimate. It’s like being expected to denounce terrorism just because you’re a member of a faith that includes one seventh of the world’s population. No-one deserves to be considered guilty, or at least complicit, until proven innocent. No-one deserves to be automatically defined by the absolute worst examples of their group – not Muslims, not Christians, not conservatives, and not Trump supporters.

I hope we can all learn from this. I hope Trump voters who feel slandered perhaps have a little more empathy for their Muslim sisters and brothers than they, and their candidate, might have had before. And I hope the people who rightly objected to the idiotic smearing of all Muslims can refuse to make the same mistake just because they feel right is on their side this time. If you’re a Trump supporter, I’ll still ride with you. You can sit beside my friend in the hijab. We might all find something to talk about.

04 November, 2016

Dear America,

Alright, sit down. It’s cards-on-the-table time. We find your election just as comical as you do but I’m here to tell you, it’s not funny any more. This is serious and you need to take it seriously.

But who am I, an Australian, to lecture America on their democratic process? Well let me ask you this: If I were to use the expression, “the leader of the free world,” who do you instinctively think of? Right! I speak to you as a citizen of the free world. You mind your business and I’ll mind mine.

The conventional wisdom is that you’ve got a bit of a dismal choice before you – each is as bad as the other. That’s utter rubbish. But any reasonable assessment, the choice is clear.

Now I don’t like Hillary Clinton any more than you do. And no, that doesn’t mean I’m a Bernie Bro. I wish there were someone in between but, to adapt a line from Donald Rumsfeld, you go into an election with the candidates you have, not the candidates you want.

Many Republican former office-holders are publically supporting Hillary Clinton, and not just because there isn’t a nose-plug strong enough to block out the stench of Trump. The truth is Hillary Clinton is the best Republican candidate there has been all century.

Just think about it: She’s from a southern state, she conducts her campaign with an air of manifest destiny, she’s a hawk on defence, she’s secretive, she takes money from dodgy sources, she’s not good at relating to ordinary people, she gives secret speeches to donors, she’s crap with technology and she gives insultingly lame excuses for her mistakes. What’s not to love? It would be like the third term of the Bush administration. If it weren’t for her surname and her lack of a Y-chromosome, she would be the perfect Republican candidate.

For reasons which they can never satisfactorily explain though, Republicans hate her. Many seem to think she is going to bring about a socialist, sharia, communist, Islamo-fascist dictatorship with compulsory abortions in every school. This is not going to happen. How do I know this isn’t going to happen? Because I remember when Obama was going to do all that, and he has precious little time to make a start on it. Since we know Clinton is to the right of Obama on just about every issue, it’s not going to happen. If you really think it might, then not only should you not be allowed to vote, you probably shouldn’t be allowed outside unescorted.

Ever since the Republican convention, I have used a quote from Ted Cruz in all my comments on the US election: Vote your conscience.

Now, I’m going to borrow a line from John McCain. It’s his 2008 election slogan: Country First.

Okay, we get it – you don’t like Hillary. I don’t like her very much either. And Trump is a Washington outsider? Big deal! So is Kanye West. Would you vote for him? They are more similar than you think. If you want to hand the country over to a reality TV businessperson, vote for Paris Hilton. In terms of building on an inheritance, she leaves Trump in the shade.

I speak to you from a country that, a little over three years ago, decided to eat a shit sandwich just to show how much we hate spinach. We lived to regret it but at least we have a system where his party could fire him two years in when they realised that election-winning slogans didn’t automatically translate into competent government. Vote for Trump and you’re stuck with him for four years. And you have to admit, you have no idea what he’s going to do. By his own admission, on many issues, he hasn’t either.

Anyone who loves their country, regardless of their politics, would surely want a cool clear head in charge over a dangerous unknown quantity. I’ve been called a conservative and I’ve been called a leftist but at heart, I’m a pragmatist. This election is not a choice between two equally awful options. On one side there is a candidate who, if nothing else, has proven experience and competence in public office. On the other side, there is a demonstrably unstable sociopath. To anyone who would put country first, this is not a difficult decision.

If your hatred of Hillary Clinton outweighs your love of your country, then by all means vote for Donald Trump. Otherwise, put country first and vote your conscience.

19 October, 2016

Rigging in the frigging

The latest from the Trump campaign… no, wait. There is only Trump. The rest of his campaign have given up all hope of professionalism and are just wondering how they’re ever going to explain this on their résumés.

So the latest from Donald Trump is that the system is rigged and that’s why he’s losing. Those of you with memories longer than that of a pot-smoking goldfish might remember that he’s tried this act once before when it looked like he might not get the nomination. Once Ted Cruz had pulled out of the race, allowing Trump to again win on pig-headedness alone, suddenly the Republican National Committee wasn’t corrupt any more.

Now, as more and more Republicans decide they can’t hold their noses any longer and desert him, again he assures us the system is rigged. It’s tempting to see this as a pre-emptive excuse for his failure but for once, I think I understand where Donald Trump is coming from.

To understand, you have to look at the world Donald Trump lives in. Even flattering profiles describe him as a reality TV star, but first we need to unpack what is meant by “reality TV.”

Cops is reality TV. A television crew travels with the officers and film what happens. That’s reality. However, most programs that are described as reality TV, including Mr Trump’s iteration, are nothing of the sort. They take naïve volunteers, put them into highly contrived situations, foment conflict and then edit it all together.

Unscripted? Yes. Reality? Forget about it!

And of course, Trump is the star of the show. His abilities are not in question and never tested. He just gets to judge those who are.

Trump’s other major media enterprises have been the Miss Universe pageant – and don’t tell me that’s democratic – and professional wrestling, which everyone knows is fake. In fact, it’s so fake that they don’t even bother pretending it isn’t fake – it’s just a kind of violent beefcake ballet. The point is, the winner is predetermined.

But let’s not forget that these are all sidelines in Trump’s business interests. He also owns casinos.

For those who don’t know what a casino is, I’ll explain: A casino is a place where people who don’t understand statistics go to give all their spare money to people who do.

The first and only thing you need to know about casinos is that the house always wins. (Which makes it all the more curious that Trump managed to bankrupt a few, but that’s another story.) Trump is the house.

When you look at his history, you can see how running for president is actually the most level playing field Trump has been on for decades. Having secured the nomination, he’s now up to the one part of the election he can’t buy or bully his way through – the part where all the people get to decide. And he’s losing – badly.

Having spent so long having the odds literally stacked in his favour, you can understand why he feels the system is rigged when it’s finally a true test of merits. He’s like the dog in the movie Bolt who, because of his training and grooming by producers, doesn’t understand that he’s not actually a superhero.

While Trump supporters have been tying themselves in knots trying to rationalise the “grab them by the pussy” comment (remember the Republicans are supposed to be the party of family values), the most honest explanation is that he’s like the notorious affluenza teen. He’s so privileged and detached from reality that he can’t properly distinguish right from wrong. And he also can’t understand what life is like when it isn’t actually rigged. Of course the election must be rigged if he isn’t winning.

I could almost feel sorry for him if he weren’t such a creep.

Vote your conscience, America.

08 October, 2016

What did we learn today?

Well, we learnt something pretty amazing about Donald Trump. No, really.

We learnt that Donald Trump really does have a skerrick of shame. Not only that, but he'll take responsibility and apologise for at least something, even if he does flip it to his opponent.

However, what we learnt raises more questions.

What we learnt was that somewhere between:
They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists,
Ban all Muslims,”
She had blood coming out of her where-ever,” and
Grab ’em by the pussy,
is a line that Donald Trump and his people have decided should not be crossed.

I would be interested to know exactly where that line is. It’s important, because as disgusting as the recently released comments were, I’m not sure they’re any more offensive than anything Trump has said on a daily basis on the campaign, any one of which would be a career-killer for anybody with a (D) after their name - and rightly so.

In an age when Trump and his running mate shamelessly deny he said things that anyone with an internet connection can prove he did, you have to wonder what is different about this latest incident. Is it that Trump’s sense of decency is on an 11-year delay and that Megyn Kelly can expect an apology some time in 2026?

Obviously, the campaign feels this can damage them more than any of the previous comments, but that only raise the question of whether they have only just realised he’s a pathological sleazebag and that it might be a problem.

Vote your conscience.

Update: A possible answer,

13 August, 2016

A thought experiment

Two sentences:

1: He's rude, arrogant and doesn't know when to shut up.
2: He says what he thinks and he's not politically correct. 

Which one of these is a compliment and which is a criticism?

Before you answer, remember that both sentences mean exactly the same thing.

01 August, 2016

How oppression works

A certain US presidential candidate's in-no-way-racist comments in response to a veteran's parents pointing out the self-evident truth that he has never made sacrifices for his country the way they and their son have, prompted yet another tiresome discussion on a panel show regarding the oppressiveness of face coverings.

For those who need it spelled out for them, here goes:

Being forced to cover your face against your will is oppression.
Being forced to reveal your face against your will is also oppression.

Being forced to remain silent against your will is oppression.
Being forced to speak against your will is also oppression.

The key words here are FORCED and AGAINST YOUR WILL.

Do you get it yet?
If you're making assumptions about whether a woman's demeanour is by choice or by force, maybe you're the one being oppressive.

Mrs Kahn chose to respond to the talking wig's aspersions, but she should never have had to. She has been through enough and has the right to do or not do whatever she wants. Mr Thinskin McTanningbooth has even less shame than I thought.