On a day that sees the news look like news in Groundhog Day, with old stories endlessly repeating, today’s illustrated edition still brings fresh laughs.
This glimpse into my Facebook feed tells the whole Progressive story: It’s total Trump Derangement Syndrome, leavened only by my smart conservative friends.
The following articles, in the following order, one right after the other, showed up on my Facebook feed this morning. They represent Trump Derangement Syndrome writ large, first from the media and then filtered down to the ordinary Progressive in the street. If it weren’t for the sensible friend who posted the Andrew Klavan article, I would have been left with nothing to see but three hysterical Progressives looking to the MSM to give them their factual and emotional marching orders.
If you’re wondering why I don’t unfriend these people or give up Facebook, it’s because I’m not about to enter the same bubble that blind-sided the Left in November. It’s important to know how the other half of the political spectrum views the world — and right now, they view it through the Trump Derangement Syndrome filter, which is really ugly:
(You can read Paul Krugman’s overwrought NY Times article here.)
Given my increasingly lower tolerance for the Trump Derangement crowd that inhabits Facebook, I really need to get off of Facebook entirely or I’m going to be run out of the San Francisco Bay Area before I’ve had the chance to make the move on my own terms. It’s just that, as I’ve so often said, “The stupid . . . it burns!” And the Progressives on my Facebook feed are on fire!
Irritation the First: A friend put up a post bemoaning the horrors of the ICE raids against people who snuck into our country, completely bypassing our legislatively passed immigration laws. Never mind that, if you come here illegally, “you pays your money and you takes your chances.” If you don’t get caught, you’re lucky; if you do get caught, you need to be summarily evicted. That’s especially true when it turns out most of them have committed crimes in addition to their entering our country illegally.
So, in light of her mourning, I posed a straightforward question: “Do you distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants?”
She came back coyly: “Do you mean ‘undocumented’ immigrants?”
“No,” I answered, “I mean illegal immigrants, i.e., people who have completely bypassed American immigration laws to sneak into this country, so that they are are criminals from the moment they step foot on American soil. That kind of illegal.” And moreover, I raged (or peevishly whined), I am sick of euphemisms. If we’re going down that path, let’s start calling rapists “unauthorized sex partners.” Anodyne phrases shouldn’t be allowed to erase the fundamental illegality of what’s going on here.
I await being unfriended.
Facebook just announced that it will start cracking down on what it calls “fake news.” We know what that means: It will block anything that does not toe the Democrat party line. To this end, it’s teaming with such hard-Left luminaries as Snopes, the Associated Press, and ABC to identify what constitutes “fake news”:
To combat fake news, Facebook has teamed up with a shortlist of media organizations, including Snopes and ABC News, that are part of an international fact-checking network led by Poynter, a nonprofit school for journalism in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Starting as a test with a small percentage of its users in the US, Facebook will make it easier to report news stories that are fake or misleading. Once third-party fact-checkers have confirmed that the story is fake, it will be labeled as such and demoted in the News Feed.
Technically speaking, Facebook is a private corporation and can do whatever the heck it wants. In reality, though, Facebook is a major news purveyor, much in the way the big broadcasters are (or used to be). It might be useful to have the FCC investigate whether it can block Facebook’s plan to censor political content it does not support.
Government action is always slow, though. What’s also slow is the lead-time needed for conservatives to build up another social media outlet through which they can disseminate information and news of interest to conservatives. In the meantime, I suggest that everyone start following the reverse “Oprah Rule.”
The other day, I wrote a post entitled “Dear Elites — no, Trump is not a fascist, but Hillary probably is.” I illustrated it with a picture I found on the internet of Hillary giving her famous “what difference does it make [that four men died on my watch]” testimony, with the slight addition of a toothbrush mustache (yes, of the type Hitler wore) and a raised middle finger.
Putting aside the picture, the entirety of the post is given over to explaining what fascism is (statism with cronyism is a good shorthand); explaining why Trump, whatever else he is, is not a fascist (primarily because he promises to keep guns in citizens’ hands, but also because the core of what he’s saying is that his administration will obey laws already on the books and because he promises to shrink our bureaucracy); and why Hillary does fall into the fascist mode (everything within the all-powerful state, a disarmed citizenry, government-controlled rights to speech, and solid cronyism with Wall Street).
I thought it was a good post, making a point that is too frequently overlooked by Trump critics on both the Left and the Right, as well as by Hillary’s fans on the Right. It’s a small antidote to the fact that, in the decades since WWII, American Leftists have done a superb job of destroying fascism’s completely statist (i.e., Leftist) roots and attaching this negative label to conservatives. Conservatives, of course, are the antithesis of fascism, in that they stand for small government, the free market, and individual liberties, including the right to bear arms, a freedom that’s anathema to despots.
Others seem to have thought it was a good post too because I got what is, for me, a nice number of views when I posted it on my blog’s Facebook page (see above): 448 as of this writing. Indeed, up until an hour or two ago, what existed in the place where you now see that “Not Boosted” notice was a message from Facebook telling me that the post was doing better than 95% of my other posts on that same page and suggesting that I “boost” it — meaning that I turn it into one of those irritating “sponsored posts” that periodically show up on your Facebook feed.
Since I’ve been working hard lately, I admit to wanting to live a little large. Couple that “rich” feeling with the fact that I felt (and still feel) that the post says something important, I decided to blow $3 and promote the post for three days. Sometimes you just have to go for it!
Sadly, five minutes after mentally kissing the $3 goodbye and hitting “go” on the boosting, I got this message:
Curious as to what policies I violated, I followed the link. Here, in its entirety (along with my interlineations), is that portion of the advertising policies regarding “prohibited content”:
The Washington Times published an excellent article pointing out the hypocrisy of Apple, PayPal, and other corporations boycotting North Carolina because the state said biological males and females should use separate restrooms in public places:
PayPal drew a line in the sand when North Carolina enacted a law prohibiting people from using the restrooms of the opposite sex, but critics say that line got washed away on the shores of Malaysia, a nation that consistently ranks among the least LGBT-friendly in the world.
The company canceled its plan to build a global operations center in Charlotte after the passage of HB2, which CEO Daniel Schulman called discrimination against the transgendered. He noted that the move would cost North Carolina 400 well-paying jobs.
But Malaysia’s Penal Code 187 — which punishes homosexual conduct with whippings and up to 20 years in prison — did not stop PayPal from opening in 2011 a global operations center there that it estimated would employ 500 workers by 2013.
Whether it’s Apple opening stores in Saudi Arabia or American Airlines looking to dominate the Cuban travel market, many of the companies that have threatened to cut business ties to North Carolina over its bathroom bill are eager to do business in countries with regimes far more repressive of gays (and everyone else).
Read the rest here. It’s well worth your time.
I posted the article on Facebook and, as I expected, my Leftist Facebook friends went on the defensive. One comment acknowledged the hypocrisy but said that North Carolinians were no better because they don’t follow all the rules in Leviticus (such as refraining from wearing clothes made of two fabrics).
Ted Cruz is a decent human being. Contrary to Rubio, Trump, and Ted’s former college roommate (who was offended from the get-go by Cruz’s lifelong conservativism), those who know Ted Cruz say he’s an extremely nice and decent man.
Many good reasons to vote for Ted Cruz. Melissa Clouthier’s letter to her fellow Texans asking them to vote for Cruz seems to have worked. Perhaps residents in states with upcoming primaries might want to read it too.
Why does Donald Trump like Harry Reid? Nobody likes Harry Reid, not even his colleagues and constituents, but Trump keeps going around saying nice things about him.
Is Marco Rubio everything that was bad about Bush? Laura Ingraham thinks that Marco Rubio will be George Bush all over again, except only the bad parts of his presidency.
Thomas Sowell thinks this election is our last chance to get it right. Sowell, level-headed Sowell, is thinking in apocalyptic terms about the world Obama leaves us and the need to elect the right president to steer our ship of state. (NB: Sowell doesn’t think Trump has the temperament or ability to captain this ship.)
Megan McArdle on #NeverTrump people. They’re genuinely offended by Trump’s character (or lack of same).
A primer for those who need to be reminded why Hillary should be incarcerated, not inaugurated. Deroy Murdock has a knack for political parables. Using the example of the “Foggy Bottom Department Store,” he makes it clear just how heinous Hillary’s conduct has been in connection with her egregious national security violations.
And a primer on foreign trade and capitalism. Larry Elder has a truly brilliant piece about the benefits that flow to America from low tariffs and foreign trade — benefits that are very real even when it seems that American jobs are going away. I urge you to read it. (This is a different issue, of course, from the Democrats and Chamber of Commerce types manipulating and violating American law to ship in cheap labor at the expense of American citizens.)
One of the things I like about Ted Cruz is the long list of people who hate him. You can know a man by his friends and by his enemies. Strong conservatives respect Ted Cruz; RINOs (and RINO’s are the majority of “Republicans” in Congress) hate and fear him. That works for me. Spengler, aka David P. Goldman, has more to say about Cruz’s well-earned Iowa victory (it was a brilliant ground game, not cheating) and about Cruz’s rejection of the Washington establishment and embrace of ordinary conservatives — core conservatives — across America.
Shurat Hadin is using the power of the law to challenge antisemitic institutions and to shut down terrorist organizations. Its latest target is Facebook which, ironically enough, is primarily owned by a Jew.
Sadly, Mark Zuckerburg is a Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky kind of Jew — he’s someone who is so imbued with Leftism (Harvard does that to people) that he’s incapable of seeing that there’s a difference between a moral state (that would be Israel) and an immoral entity (that would be the Palestinian Authority and Hamas). In this regard, he’s another young American Jew mired in self-loathing, and trying to pass that self-loathing off as a weird form of pride.
Lest you doubt the righteousness of Shurat Hadin’s challenge against Facebook, here’s a little experiment Shurat Hadin conducted:
“You’re so judgmental, Mom,” my teen told me yesterday. The reason for this statement (and he totally missed the irony of his judging me for being too judgmental) was the distaste I expressed for Mark Zuckerberg.
I didn’t defend myself against my teen’s charge.
“You’re damn right I’m judgmental. Zuckerberg deserves to be judged.”
When my teen expressed incredulity at my claim, I elaborated. I told him that groups such as Hamas frequently use Facebook to disseminate incitement to kill Jews. They put up cartoons, videos, instructional posters, and just about anything else that tells Hamas’ Facebook friends to slaughter Jews on Israel’s streets.
What’s worse is that Facebook isn’t doing anything to stop this outpouring of genocidal antisemitic incitement. It’s gotten so bad that thousands of Israelis have joined Shurat HaDin – The Israel Law Center in a lawsuit against Facebook demanding that it remove this material:
Shurat HaDin wants to force Facebook to not only remove the terrorists’ pages, but also to better monitor and block users who post videos glorifying and encouraging terrorist attacks, and publish messages with instructions on how to carry out an attack.
“The terrorists do not come on their own; they write posts and encourage their friends to kill Jews,” Israeli attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, director of Shurat HaDin, told Fox News. “Facebook has been transformed into an anti-Semitic incubator for murder.”
The lawsuit says that since Facebook uses algorithms that match users with personalized ads and connect them to potential “friends,” the company should have the ability to monitor and block such postings.
Facebook’s defense is that it can’t possibly do what is asked of it because there’s just too much going on. Cry me a river. . . .
Near the end of his talk about American communists’ long-term plan (now coming to fruition) to flood America with a permanent Democrat majority through Hispanic amnesty, Trevor Loudon tossed in an interesting throwaway. When someone asked him why Leftists would want to reduce the US to the status of a Latin American banana Republic, he said that, in a conversation with Tammy Bruce (a former hard Leftist herself), she told him “They’re all damaged individuals.” That is, we have a powerful political movement made up of damaged people out for revenge.
That notion popped into my mind again today when I read on my Facebook stream the newest attack against the Tom Cotton letter. (You’ll recall that the first attack was to call Cotton and the other signatories “traitors” and “Logan Act violators,” followed by efforts to claim that reserve officers violated various military codes.) The newest claim that’s come to my attention is that Cotton and Co. are AIPAC’s puppets:
Yesterday, as my little Bookworm and I were driving along, she turned to me and said, “You know what my dream job would be, Mom? It want to be a singer who actually makes money and doesn’t have to have all sorts of other horrible jobs to pay the rent.”
Inspired, I said to her, “My dream job would be having a full-time political writing career and getting paid for it.”
Imagine my surprise when I came home and discovered that one of my readers, totally out of the blue, had made a donation to my site. In other words, within hours of my voicing my dream came true!! Admittedly, the money donated won’t pay my mortgage, but it was a generous amount and made me very happy.
Sometimes the timing on things is just perfect.
Also, while I’m talking about my site, please feel free to “like” my Bookworm Room Facebook page or friend me on my Sunny (Bookworm) Berman page. (That’s a nom de cyber, by the way.) I try to link most of my posts on those two pages so, if you’re a Facebook fan, friending or liking is a good way to see whether I’ve updated my site lately. And of course, you can always feel free to follow me on Twitter.
Yesterday, as we were driving along, my daughter asked me if I’d heard about the gal in Texas, a college student, who posts pictures of her African big game shots (some dead, some tranquilized) on Facebook. I’d heard about it vaguely, so my daughter elaborated.
“They’re trying to kick her off Facebook. I think she should be banned.”
“I don’t,” I replied.
She gave an outraged gasp!
“You support her going around and killing all those innocent animals? Some of them are endangered! That’s awful.”
I answered, “I don’t like big game hunting. It doesn’t make sense to me to kill for sport, but not everyone agrees with me. So let me ask you this: Is what she’s doing legal?”
“Yes,” said my daughter, “but it’s a horrible thing to do.”
I gave the only answer a good First Amendment libertarian could give: “Just because you don’t like it, that’s not a reason to ban her from speaking. Banning her from speaking is tyrannical. Saying ‘I disagree with you, so shut up’ is not a valid argument in a free society. A functional free society has to let people speak even if they disagree with each other. There are extremes where even the most free society should and will prevent speech, such as a gathering to talk about killing a president or the famous ‘shouting Fire! in a crowded theater’ type of talk. Otherwise, you have to be willing to accept that others don’t agree with you. If you don’t, you end up with a country in which everyone has to think the same thoughts and do, and say, the same things.”
“Okay, I get it,” she wearily replied. “Don’t get on the soapbox again. Anyway, this whole thing has been good for her. She says she got 600 new fans. [Pause.] Who would ever like her page?”
“That’s easy. People who believe in hunting or people who want to make a point that, in a free society, ‘free speech’ includes speech that not everyone supports.”
Facebook’s decision to add something like 50 new gender identification categories to its “about me” section caused a small flurry of interest in the news and in social media. Progressives embraced the change because it’s a step towards ending the stultifying limitations of male and female. Conservatives were upset by the change because they believe that, while human sexuality is variable, those stultifying limitations of male and female are necessary ingredients for a functioning society. Engineers noted that Facebook put the new system in place primarily to make for more targeted, and therefore more profitable, advertising.
Within a few days of reading about Facebook’s gender re-identification scheme, my daughter asked me what I thought of Bowdoin as a possible college for her. I’ve never been to Bowdoin and I’ve only met one person who has. Back in the early 1980s, one of my less-appealing UC Berkeley classmates had transferred out of Bowdoin, saying it was claustrophobic. Still, when I heard the word “Bowdoin,” I thought to myself, “You know, I was just reading about Bowdoin lately….”
It turns out that I was reading about Bowdoin almost a year ago, when a 355-page report came out detailing exactly what a modern liberal-arts curriculum looks like. Although the report focuses on Bowdoin, I suspect it would apply equally well to all other high-end American colleges and universities. It’s decidedly Leftist in outlook, of course, but that was to be expected. What Bowdoin also is, though, is reductive. It doesn’t look at big things; it looks at microscopically small things:
The report documents an increasingly fractured academy that has no common curriculum and in which so-called identity studies take priority over a study of the West. It highlights, for example, the 36 freshmen seminars offered at Bowdoin in the fall of 2012. They are designed to teach writing and critical-thinking skills and to introduce students to the various academic departments. Some of the subjects are unsurprising: The Korean War, Great Issues in Science, Political Leadership. Others seem less conducive to critical thinking and fruitful classroom discussion: Queer Gardens, Beyond Pocahontas: Native American Stereotypes; Sexual Life of Colonialism; Modern Western Prostitutes.
Parents who send their kids to expensive colleges thinking that doing so will expand their mental horizons will discover that these $200,000+ investments do just the opposite: they shrink young people’s view of the world and of their place in the world. By the time you leave the four year Progressive incubator, you’ve learned that you’re not just “an American” (which is an embarrassing designator in any event). Instead, you’re an African-Polynesian-Neutrois-with-a-economically-fostered-learning-disability. Or perhaps you’re a white-male-hegemonic-patriarchal-chauvinist-imperalist. Or you could be a currently bigender, but questioning, pre-transexual Hispanic from an economically marginal semi-urban upbringing.
Once upon time, the American notion of “e pluribus unum” applied, not just to the states, but to the people in the states. The metaphor used to illustrate this union was a melting pot, in which each person’s culture and individual qualities blended to form a big, rich, satisfying whole. By the 1970s, that “we’re all in it together” view had vanished in favor of a “tossed salad” metaphor. We weren’t one great whole anymore, but we still at least shared the same salad bowl.
Now, however, it’s impossible to think of America in terms of any food metaphor. Cooking inevitably involves blending and transformation towards a greater (and tasty) whole. Our young people, however, are being taught that Americans have no relationship to each other. We’ve been individualized into tiny little pieces, floating alone in space. Not only is this a very sad worldview, it’s antithetical to man’s basic nature as a social animal.
I thought it was bad when I was at Berkeley, an extraordinarily cliquish school back in my day, and found that the tennis players shunned me because I didn’t play tennis, the science geeks shunned me because I was bad at science, and the dorm dwellers shunned me because I commuted. Nowadays, though, it’s not enough even to be a tennis player or a science geek or a dorm resident. Instead, within those subsets, the beleaguered student has to find the right variable races, genders, sexual orientations, political views, and academic interests.
America was always a big country. The dream around the world was that you could leave behind your boring, impoverished, or even dangerous homeland (or home town), and come to a vast country where you could strive to be anything. The whole was infinitely greater than the sum of the parts, and each part yearned to belong to that whole. Now, though, we’re a little country. We have a little president who exerts vast power to do teeny-weeny little things; we have a huge military that occupies itself figuring out how to be gay and women friendly; we have a Secretary of State who ignores civil wars and violent democratic revolutions in favor of bloviating about car exhaust and factory smoke; and we have an education system that is dedicated to teaching students to think small.
Facebook isn’t causing the end of the world as we know it. Facebook is reflecting the fact that the world as we once knew it has already ended.
A caller to the Rush Limbaugh show today asked Rush how to get the media to change its tune. Rush’s response was that this will never happen. The media is an arm of the Democrat Party and that’s the end of it. Conservatives have to make their case outside of the media, he said. It can be done too, Rush added, pointing to Scott Walker’s success in fighting back an attempted recall and in beginning to make changes to Wisconsin’s hard Left culture.
What Rush left unspoken, since his show ended there, are the practical steps that ordinary people can take to expose other people (Leftists and non-political types alike) to facts and ideas that the media refuses to cover or contemplate. I happen to believe that Social Media is a wonderful way, both to learn what ordinary Progressives think (it’s seldom pretty) and to introduce new ideas to people whose world is contained within the four corners of the MSM.
I had a most illuminating Facebook conversation with a Progressive just today regarding the Obama administration’s full throttle effort to force the Little Sisters of the Poor – a Catholic charity staffed by nuns – to fund abortions.
On Facebook, since I’m fully aware of my liberal friends’ biases, I’m always careful to cite to sources that they belief are reliably leftist. After all, events sometimes force even the Washington Post or the New York Times to be honest about the facts.
This time, I linked to the USA Today editorial stating that the Obama administration has gone too far by attacking the nuns. I figured that, even though USA Today lacks the status of the New York Times (New York Times readers think that they’re the most intelligent and informed news consumers in America), it still has liberal street creds.
Oy, was I wrong! A Facebook friend who used to be a real friend decades ago when we were both non-political, went completely ballistic. He first offered a nasty opinion about the Church. When I politely asked him to back up his views with data, he doubled down on his attacks against the Church and stated explicitly destroying religious people’s political reach has to trump the Bill of Rights.
You’ll notice as you read our Facebook conversation that I was relentlessly pleasant, and that was true despite his frequently offensive statements. I also left on the table several issues that he raised as part of his attack on the church and the constitution. That was deliberate.
It quickly became clear to me that nothing I could say would change his mind. (And it will become clear to you too as you read on.) However, I was mindful of the fact that about 150 other people, almost all Progressives (because of the liberal enclaves in which I’ve always lived) would also be reading this back and forth.
Given the invisible audience I could reasonably assume I had, given that many people have told me that they sign on to Facebook solely to read what I post, I stuck to a very narrowly focused goal. I wanted to provide a reasonable intellectual foundation supporting the nuns’ position. I live in hope that Democrats who are beginning to feel uncomfortable about the administration’s decision to bully nuns will think about what I said. I was therefore worried that if I got too confrontational or started following red herrings with a die-hard ideologue, I’d lose my more important, albeit invisible and silent, audience.
The following is a non-verbatim rendering of my Facebook conversation. I’ve carefully retained the gist of what he and I said, but have changed the words to protect his privacy. He was a jerk, but even jerks deserve privacy. He wrote on my Facebook wall assuming that his identity wouldn’t be broadcast far and wide, and I have to honor that.
So, to set the stage, I linked, without comment, to USA Today’s editorial about the Obama regime’s overreach in its demand that nuns fund abortions and birth control. The following written dialogue ensued.
Him: They shouldn’t get any special treatment just because of their beliefs. None of the rest of us do.
Me: I’m not clear what you mean about “special treatment.” This is the first law ever that’s forced religious organizations and people to fund something that’s doctrinally prohibited.
Him: I don’t get why, just because they’re religious Christians attacking birth control, their beliefs trump other strongly held religious beliefs.
Me: I’m still confused. What are some examples of the government forcing people to act in opposition to strongly held religious beliefs or to fund others to commit those same types of acts?
Him: Okay. It’s not fair that religious organizations are tax exempt, which means I have to pay more taxes, essentially funding them. Lots of states won’t allow gay marriage because these tax-exempt churches have campaigned against it. Also, just because the Hobby Lobby owners don’t like birth control, they refuse to provide it to their employees.
Me: Given how political churches have gotten, you’re right about doing away with those tax breaks. [When I wrote those words, I was actually thinking about how political Leftist churches have gotten, but the point is the same.] Still, your other examples seem to me to miss the point. The editorial is talking about the fact that the government is using its taxing authority to force religious groups or individuals (or business owners) to engage in or fund activities that are antithetical to core belief systems. As far as I can tell, that runs directly counter to the 1st Amendment’s promise that the government cannot interfere with Americans’ freedom of worship.
Him: You’re trying to pick and choose your arguments. Religious people aren’t trying to defund that military. After all, don’t a lot of religions prohibit killing?
Me: [I made the decision here to ignore the red herring about religions and killing.] Your argument ignores the Constitution, which expressly contemplates a military as a core government function. There is a way to change that so as to allow conscientious objectors to refuse to pay taxes designated for the military, but you’d need a constitutional amendment. Unlike funding a standing army as part of the government, though, there’s nothing in the Constitution that mandates that private citizens are entitled to contraception and the morning-after pill, or that other citizens must pay for those services. That means the people and groups opposed to the ACA mandate have the stronger constitutional argument.
Him: The Constitution is irrelevant to this. What enrages me is that powerful people use religion to manipulate and control other people.
Me: I’m confused again. The nuns aren’t manipulating or controlling anyone. They’re asking that the government refrain from manipulating and controlling them by forcing them to pay for something that their religion prohibits. The Church has been opposing abortion and birth control for thousands of years, while the ACA’s demand that all Americans pay for all other Americans’ birth control and morning after pills is just four years old. Isn’t it unreasonable to ask the Catholic church to give up two thousand years of faith just because of the ACA, especially when the church as the 1st Amendment on its side?
Him: It’s obvious that the church never cares about death and suffering until it suits them. At that point, nothing stops the church.
Me: You’re entitled to your opinions about the Church, but it seems to me that, no matter how you look at it, the constitutional edge on this question lies with the Little Sisters and with Hobby Lobby.
At which point he gave up.
My point isn’t that I made the best arguments in the world. I know I didn’t. I also know, as I stated before, that I let a lot of his mean-spirited or uninformed statements go by without comment. Looking at what I said, though, I feel that I succeeded in my initial goal, which was to appear reasonable and to present to passive onlookers solid arguments that might give them food for thought if they dislike seeing the President beat up nuns.