In Defense of the Iowa Caucuses…Or At Least Some of Them

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Well, it happened, pretty much as I predicted. The Iowa Caucuses are over, the candidates have moved on, and the Hawkeye State is the center of some controversy because we don’t know who actually won the caucuses on the Democrat side. As a result, the country is looking down at Iowa for being disorganized and incapable of counting beyond ten without taking off our shoes.

But here’s the thing. There were two sets of caucuses going on, not just the one for Democrats. The Republicans had one, too, which was more of a formality than anything else. President Donald Trump won the Iowa Caucuses for the GOP with 97% of the vote. How do I know?

Because the Iowa Republican Party has its shit together.

I’ve participated in the Republican caucuses and observed the Democrat caucuses, so I have an idea of what the internal processes are. The Republicans take their time, but not in excess because they’re there to complete the tasks before them and get out. Democrats, on the other hand, play a game of Red Rover where they try to attract/bully other potential voters to abandon their first choices if they’re not considered viable and add them to the roles of those supporting viable candidates. This process can be quick, and other times it’s more painful than watching the Socialist Socialite trying to explain how gum works.

Last night was the latter on steroids.

And it was made worse thanks to an app developed by the totally non-scary-sounding Shadow Inc. with a website listing none of its board members or leadership and made up of people who worked on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. Then again, given how her campaign turned out, I’m not sure I’d want my name out there on anything. Maybe there’s a Witness Relocation Program for failed Presidential campaign staffers, especially ones that couldn’t even win a rigged election….

Adding to the intrigue is the fact Shadow Inc. is associated with Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who just happens to be one of the Democrats running for President. Let’s not forget what the DNC did to Bernie Sanders in 2016, too, in understanding the magnitude of fuckitude we’re dealing with here. If the DNC were trying to exorcize the demons of 2016, they didn’t do a very good job of it here because these little niggling issues make it look like there is someone or something pulling the strings. I’m not usually one to indulge in conspiracy theories, but let’s just say I’ve made a tidy profit after investing heavily in tinfoil.

So many moving parts, and so many fingers being pointed at the wrong people, namely President Trump, Russia, and Iowa in general. The Iowa Caucuses are run by the Democrats and Republicans, and the President and Russia have nothing to do with the chaos that occurred with the Democrats. Iowa as a whole isn’t to blame, either. Remember, the Republicans didn’t seem to have trouble reporting the outcome, only the Democrats did. (Maybe the non-Democrats in Iowa need a hashtag, #NotAllIowans?) As such, the slings and arrows of outrageous commenters should be pointed not at the entire state, but at the Iowa Democratic Party.

But that can’t and won’t happen, thanks to the Leftist mindset. The Left hates Iowa and Iowans (but, surprisingly, not their votes and money). They consider us to be ignorant hicks lacking in the sophistication that can only come from living on either coast. They see us as a roadblock to progressive success and want us to take a back seat to what they want and what they feel we need. The caucus debacle only helps to make their case.

Or so they think.

When you dig a little bit deeper, you see this was a self-fulfilling fuck-up. The Left needed the Iowa Caucuses to fail so they could better make the argument why Iowa shouldn’t take such a prominent role in determining who gets to be the Democrats’ nominee. Just like with Obamacare (with a healthy hat tip to Tammy Bruce for making and inspiriting this same point), the solution to the problem was meant to fail so a larger objective could be achieved. In this case, the Iowa Caucuses served many purposes, including a continuation of the “Russia hacked our elections” narrative that has become gospel to the Left since Hillary Clinton lost. If the Left can repeat the notion our elections aren’t secure, they will cast doubt on whomever wins in 2020 (except, of course, if it’s a Leftist who wins because that only proves we were able to overcome Russian interference). Funny how that works, isn’t it?

Yet, the failures of the Iowa Caucuses only point in one direction, and it points to the party that claims to be smarter and more moral than we are. Oh, and who want us to adopt Medicare For All as a solution to what they think is a health care crisis. If they can’t run a caucus that they control, that makes the best argument for why they shouldn’t be allowed to run anything come November.

Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

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Ah, early February. The sun is on the verge of shining. The birds are still wintering in Boca, and the nation’s attention focuses on my home state of Iowa because, for a little while, it becomes the center of the American political universe. Front-runners, also-rans, and never-should-have-been-allowed-to-runs show up in big cities, small towns, and various eateries in an attempt to persuade potential caucusers to support them.

And after the votes are counted, they disappear like Bill Clinton’s pants at a sorority sleepover.

As a native Iowan, I wanted to give a bit of insight into the caucuses, especially from the standpoint of the Left, who aren’t fans of the state or the caucuses in general.

the Iowa Caucuses

What the Left thinks it means – a pointless venture that eliminates potential Presidential candidates before more important states get a chance to vote

What it really means – an excuse to pretend to give a damn about Iowa every 4 years

As a native, I can tell you Iowa isn’t exactly the epicenter of excitement, especially for people who don’t come here on a regular basis. The media tend to treat Iowa like an undiscovered country where they are the ones to make first contact. Coming from people who refer to Iowa as “flyover country,” it’s not surprising. The Left doesn’t like people who aren’t from the upper East Coast or the West Coast, and it comes out in how they try to approach people like me to get statements for their fluff pieces masquerading as hard news.

Once you get beyond the media coverage and the Leftist derision, the Iowa Caucuses are a pretty interesting dichotomy in how the two major parties operate. The Republicans gather in their precincts, hear from supporters of different candidates, hold votes for the candidates, elect delegates to the next level of the party nomination process, maybe vote on planks for the state party platform, verify who will submit the results to the party, and adjourn. The process usually takes an hour or two depending on the contentiousness of the debates, which is to say they’re as contentious as an IBM management meeting. It’s focused, allows for discussion, and efficient.

For the Democrats…let’s just say herding cats is more structured than their process. They get together in a room and gather in groups depending on who they favor. After some candidates are eliminated due to lack of viability, the other groups can persuade the supporters of the “non-viable” candidates to caucus with their candidates. This process can go on for hours because sometimes it can take quite a lot of cajoling to get someone caucusing for a candidate to get him or her to switch teams.

On a side note, I’m surprised that doesn’t cause more chaos given how emotional Leftists get. I mean, if you spent months canvasing for Joe Blow only to have Joe not win the nomination, how likely would you be to put your full support behind one of Joe’s opponents? And on the other side of the equation, how pissed would you be if you did the same for Joe’s opponent and to have to give up a delegate spot to someone who didn’t support your candidate from the jump? (And for the record, this is typically what happens on the Democrat side to secure a “viable” nominee gets proper representation.)

And remember, kids, these are the same people who want the government to provide for us because they think we’re too dumb to look out for ourselves.

Underneath the shaking hands and kissing babies is a media whose job it is to cover the campaign for people outside of Iowa. And make no mistake, I would say most of the media folks hate being here. Granted, when they come here it’s usually cold, windy, and snowy, so it’s hard to put our best foot forward without getting frostbite. Even so, with the kind of attitude Leftists give off, it’s not unusual for Iowans to still be friendly and genuine. That can be off-putting for someone who is used to having to be wary of people who will stab them in the back, figurative and possibly literally. This happened to a friend of mine from New York City who came to cover the Iowa Caucuses for a website I used to run many many years ago and she was struck by how nice everyone was. And before you knew it, she and her husband moved to St. Louis and are now enjoying the Midwest niceness.

Maybe that’s why the media think we’re uneducated rubes. In their cynical minds, no one can be that honest about their intentions, so it’s obvious we’re the defective ones and we need the Left to tell us what to think and do because that’s what they do! But here’s the thing: Iowans are what we are and we’re smarter than you think. Granted, it can be argued the Democrats’ caucus structure proves otherwise, but that’s the outlier here.

Along with the condescending Leftist attitude, there’s an idea in Leftist circles that the Iowa Caucuses shouldn’t be first in the nation because it prevents bigger states like California from voting for who they want when it gets to be their turn. They also mention Iowa is mostly white and doesn’t represent the diversity of the country, so naturally Iowa isn’t a good place to start a Presidential campaign. Try telling that to campaign financiers. For all of its faults, Iowa has media markets that are far cheaper than the media markets just in one community. And, if you really think about it, the sheer expense of running a single 30 second ad on a TV station in, say, Los Angeles would prevent other states from voting for who they want because it would knock out or prevent lower-tier candidates from getting votes.

Funny how the Left doesn’t think about that, isn’t it?

This year, the Iowa Caucuses are going to be a chance for Democrats to showcase their clown car of candidates, while the Republicans should be able to go home early. And after the confetti and the parties, the campaigns and media move towards New Hampshire and Iowa becomes a political afterthought until Election Night.

And you know…that’s the way we like it.

The DILLIGAF Defense

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Since 2015, Leftists have been wracking their brains trying to figure out President Donald Trump and why he maintains a level of support that they feel normal people wouldn’t/shouldn’t maintain. For all of their big-brain thinking, the best they’ve been able to come up with is…it’s a cult. And you know it’s a cult because Trump supporters make the same comments and believe the same things Trump does, even if it hurts them personally. You know, like Leftists.

Admittedly, it’s taken me a while to wrap my head around the pro-Trump phenomenon, but I think I have a line on it and I have pop culture to thank for it. There is an abbreviation for a particular attitude that seems to fit the President and his supporters quite nicely: DILLIGAF. It stands for “Do I Look Like I Give A Fuck?” and it represents an attitude of dismissive apathy. Like me when I hear another Tyler Perry movie is in theaters.

The Left and the media (but I repeat myself) have lined up firmly against President Trump and aren’t afraid to show their utter contempt for him and the people who vote for him. There are many ways to react to this kind of vitriol from ignoring it to returning the vitriol in some fashion. The Left wants you to react negatively so they can use you as an example of “the typical Trump supporter.” What they don’t like is when you flip the script on them because they don’t know how to handle someone who doesn’t take them seriously. They require their targets to treat their statements as gospel in order to manipulate the targets into thinking and acting like the Left expects.

There are two effective ways to deny the Left their pound of flesh. For me, I prefer laughing at the statements, but President Trump adopts DILLIGAF, which accomplishes the same dismissal of the Left’s squawking points in a different way. With either approach, the Left can’t handle the pushback and they try to escalate their attacks, which makes it easier to volley back with the same dismissiveness used previously. Eventually, the Leftist will give up, but not without throwing out more invectives than Andrew Dice Clay with Tourette’s.

Take the situation between the President and CNN’s Jim Acosta, for example. After getting shut down repeatedly, Acosta resorts to more “gotcha” style questions and more outrageous behavior to try to get the President’s attention/derision. And the more he does that, the more Trump brushes him aside (and deservedly so, in my not-so-humble opinion).

That’s the thing about the Left. They can only escalate a situation, never deescalate it, because they let their emotions overrule their intellect. And given the intellectual prowess of Hank Johnson and Joe Biden, that may not be that tough to accomplish. Even so, the Left’s emotions become their weaknesses when dealing with someone whose fresh out of fucks to give.

Someone like Donald Trump.

And the more Leftists howl with derision or outrage at whatever he says or does, the fewer fucks the President gives, which enrages the Left even more…and so on and so on. I may not agree with President Trump on everything, but I agree the DILLIGAF defense is effective when dealing with people who hate you for doing nothing more than looking at things differently than they do. 

The Trial of the Senate-ury

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It’s a common belief among the Right that Leftists and their media cohorts exchange talking points prior to a story breaking so everyone can be on the same page. Whether this is true or not is subject to debate, but if there is a case to be made in favor of it happening, we can look to how the Senate trial of President Donald Trump is being covered. It seems everyone and their grandmother on the Left is saying the Senate is on trial and if they don’t put country before party it will prove the Senate ran a sham trial.

Call me crazy (and, believe me, the label fits), but aren’t we in the middle of a trial concerning whether President Trump committed impeachable offenses? How in the hell did it become a referendum on the Senate?

Because the Left needs the Senate trial to be about the Senate, more specifically Senate Republicans and not about the weakness of the House’s articles of impeachment.

I’ve made my opinions on the two Articles of Impeachment previously, so I won’t delve too much into them except to say I’ve seen three year olds give better arguments on far less important matters than the House Democrats have so far on impeachment. Since the House went all-in on Impeach-a-Palooza, it appears they didn’t plan for what they would do if they got it, and it shows in their lack of preparedness and in their repetition of their talking points in lieu of new information or even new tactics.

While the Left has been creaming their jeans over Rep. Adam Schiff’s presentation of the House’s case for impeachment, it’s honestly come off to me like a kid who didn’t read the book he or she was supposed to read and then wing an oral book report on in front of the entire class. Schiff may sound like he’s on top of things, but it’s in the content where the presentation falls apart. How exactly is that an indictment of the Senate? If anything, it’s an indictment of the House because they approved the Articles of Impeachment in the first place.

So much of the ire against the Senate revolves around whether they will call witnesses. The Left desperately wants the Senate to do so, which is why they’re trying to shame Senate Republicans into doing it instead of, you know, having it already done when they were the ones in charge of the impeachment inquiry. Then again, if you remember waaaaaaay back in December, the House Democrats called witnesses to give powerful testimony that amounted to, at best, second or third hand information. One of their witnesses even contradicted their narrative during his testimony. And to think a good number of politicians went to law school without learning the first rule of witness testimony is to know what they’re going to say before they take the oath. What’s more, the House tried to cover up the lack of first hand knowledge by having witnesses talk about their own integrity and qualifications, none of which had anything to do with whether the President was guilty of bribery, extortion, or any of the other charges levied against him. How exactly is that an indictment of the Senate?

The larger rhetorical offensive in play is designed to conflate any action not directly in line with the way the Left expects things to be done as a gross violation of protocol and decency. Granted, this is Congress we’re dealing with here, so they could be right about the decency part, but the protocol part isn’t tied to a desired outcome. And if we’re being completely honest here, the House Democrats broke protocol by going ahead with impeachment without Trump Administration witnesses instead of getting a court to order the witnesses to testify. Now that they’ve gone this far, the House Managers are trying to get the Senate to do the work they should have done before now. If the Senate refuses, however, it’s still not a reflection on them for not allowing witnesses; it’s a reflection on how shoddy a job the House did. And do you know how I know?

Jerrold Nadler maligning the Senate as being guilty of a cover-up…before the Senate had a chance to take up the House Managers’ arguments.

It’s almost as if the Left wants the Senate trial to go poorly so their self-professed self-fulfilling prophecy will come true and they can say, “See? We told you it was rigged!” Then, they will use this narrative to help their attempt to retake the Senate and, presumably, impeach the President all over again provided he gets reelected. Judging from the current clown car of candidates, I don’t think he has much to worry about in his reelection bid.

Meanwhile, both houses of Congress may be in play while the President is running. If Republicans get what they want, they will regain the House and keep the Senate, and the Democrats want the exact opposite. I think the 2020 Congressional elections will come down to whether the public favors impeachment and removal. For once, the Left is playing a long game, but they’re playing it badly. Not only has support for impeachment slipped lower than an earthworm’s belt buckle, but it’s actually drawing people to Trump. Guess what accusing Senate Republicans of a cover-up is likely to do.

If current trends continue, the Left will be reliving 2016 in a few months, just on a much larger scale. The more the Left pushes the idea the Senate is on trial for what they do or don’t do in the Senate trial of President Trump, the more it will backfire. 

Doomsday Proggers

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We’re heading to war with Iran! Innocent soldiers will lose their lives because President Donald Trump is trying to distract people from impeachment/a dictator/an immature adult/a toddler with access to the nuclear codes/whatever the anti-Trump line is today!

Not to mention, the world is on fire! Australian forests are ablaze because we didn’t take climate change seriously! Now, there are millions of people and animals dead, injured, or without a home! If only we had listened to Saint Greta Thunberg and done something!

And going back to President Trump, he’s impeached and is an existential threat to the world because he’s unstable! He’s destroying our democracy with his criminal activity and rampant racism/sexism/xenophobia/homophobia/transphobia! He needs to be brought to justice before the world explodes!

Over the past few years, we’ve heard more doom and gloom from the Left than a heavy drinking pessimistic Nostradamus after reading Sylvia Plath. Whether it’s climate change or the potential for war with any number of countries in the world or just America in general, the Left never seems to give us the benefit of the doubt. If anything, they think we’re the scum of the Earth, an inept bunch of bunglers who can’t seem to do anything right (and should try to do everything Left). To the Leftists reading this, let me give you a piece of advice.

Shut up. We’re not doomed today any more than we were yesterday, and if you’re paying attention, we made it to today just fine without being destroyed by whatever you think was going to destroy us yesterday.

Let’s face it, the Left went from “Hope and Change” to “Hope We Don’t Die.” This is because the Left isn’t hopeful or optimistic at all. They see everything as a failure that only they (i.e. big government) can fix, so they have to be in a constant state of despair to give the impression things are worse off than they actually are.

That’s one of the reasons I became a recovering Leftist. I try to see the good in the world, but being a Leftist made that impossible because if you believe everything is on the verge of collapse, anarchy, and destruction, you kinda lose the joy of life. Being that down about everything is tiring, as is trying to keep up with the Oppressed Person/Culture of the Day and the squawking points that accompany that. But it’s not serious. I mean, if it were, Hallmark would be the first ones out of the gates with “Sorry the Planet Is on Fire” or “Sympathies for Being a Victim of the Wage Gap” cards. (By the way, if anyone from Hallmark is reading this, let’s collaborate on this idea. I’m good for a lot more ideas like those!)

The reason why the Left is a bunch of Negative Nellies is simple: control. Through manipulating how people feel about what they believe are vital issues, they can control how the people react, usually by voting for Leftist candidates and devoting time, energy, and above all else money to Leftist causes. Yet, while doomsday is being whipped into a lather, the Left has yet to deliver. Climate change? Only left-leaning pseudo-scientists and their spokesbots still believe “the Earth has a fever.” Gun violence? For all the attention mass shootings have gotten, the stats don’t bear out the crisis the Left says is happening. War with Iran? It’s still early, but so far signs point to the same result as the wars that were supposed to happen if we provoked North Korea and China, which was…no war at all. It’s almost as if…now hear me out…the Left sucks at predicting the future. Remember when Paul Krugman predicted the Stock Market would tank if President Trump was elected? Didn’t happen! People dying due to repealing Net Neutrality? We’re still waiting on the body count, but from what we’ve seen so far, it’s been a big goose egg. What about the people who would be dying in the streets if we pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord? Ooooh, sor-ray. Not a one.

Sooooo…I gotta be honest here. I’m not seeing a reason to get worked up this time. Just like Al Gore buying up beachfront property with money he made talking about how sea levels would be rising, the actions (and doomsday predictions) don’t match reality. Which, ironically enough, is completely predictable.

The funny thing about the Left’s predictions about war with Iran is they echo the same predictions that Ronald Reagan would be getting us into WWIII by provoking the (now defunct) Soviet Union. At least they recycle their bad ideas, but it should bear repeating they were wrong then and they’re wrong now. Of course, if we get into a war with Iran, the same Leftists who are so concerned about our troops dying will be among the first to demand we get out of a war their ineptitude got us into in the first place. And it shows how little they actually feel about our troops. If we get into a war with Iran, we have the upper hand because, well, we have all the cool toys and the manpower to accomplish the three basic objectives in war.

1) Kill the bad guys.
2) Break their stuff.
3) Repeat steps 1 and 2 until the bad guys surrender.

To simultaneously elevate and undercut our fighting men and women is a true skill only the Left could accomplish. But fear not, my Leftist friends, we got this. All you need to do is hold your anti-war rallies, pretend to care about Iran, and stay out of the way to let the military do its thing.

Oh, and cool it on all the doomsday talk, okay? Have a Pop Tart and watch YouTube.

Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

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The new year started off with a bang, literally in the case of the late Major General Qassim Suleimani. Seems the good Major General got blown up in a strike in Baghdad, due to his involvement in a little act of violence against the American embassy in Baghdad. Oh, and his role in killing 600 Americans.

And now the Left is defending Iran indirectly by saying “He was a bad guy, but….”

Although there is a lot of attention being paid to Iran (after a lot of money was paid to them by a previous Administration who came up with a dumbass plan Iran wasn’t complying with), not much is known about the country itself and the Islamic theocracy in charge there. I’ll do my best to alleviate that here, and maybe throw in a few jokes.

Iran

What the Left thinks it means – a country that has suffered from American intervention, but was complying with the Iran Deal

What it really means – a country that has benefited from Leftist foreign policy failures

It’s time for a story. There was once a time in our history when Iran wasn’t the douchecanoe of a country it is today. It was the late 1970s, when polyester was the fabric of choice, KISS made a disco song, and Iran was lead by a man named Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, otherwise known as the Shah of Iran. Although he had a great deal of support in America for his more progressive (good progressive, not the Leftist version) approaches, the religious leaders and many of his countrymen disliked him and eventually overthrew him, replacing him with Ruhollah Khomeini (otherwise known as Skippy). The Ayatollah Khomeini went the opposite direction, turning Iran from a place where women could drive in public to one where shouting “Death to America” was their national pastime.

Since then, Iran has been a rigid theocracy, the kind the Left keeps telling us is right around the corner if we let those evil Christians take over! Being a Christian myself, I can see where the Left is coming from because there are some real loons out there (I’m looking at you, Westboro Baptist Church). However, I doubt the Left’s fears of a Christian theocracy are as well-founded as we think. Speaking as a Lutheran, we can’t even decide on what flavor of Jello goes best for a potluck. What makes you think we’ve got a master plan to take over the country? This ain’t The Handmaid’s Tale, kids, and we’re nowhere near it. But you know where it’s a reality?

Iran.

But, now the Left gets to pretend like they care about war with Iran because of President Donald Trump turning Qasem Soleimani extra crispy. The fact is Iran wants us dead (as evidenced by their “Death to America” chants) and will stop at nothing to make that happen. For the past 40+ years, America and Iran have been going around and around. More accurately, Iran has been getting wound up and yelling at us while America has pretty much been ignoring it. Although this approach may work with a child’s tantrum, it doesn’t work in geopolitics. All this has done is allowed Iran time to plan and develop technology that can be used to attack us.

Enter the Iran Deal. While Leftists defend this diplomatic effort from the Obama Administration to exchange lifting economic sanctions against Iran for Iran promising not to further develop nuclear technology for weapons while allowing it to continue to develop that technology to generate energy. Now, the funny thing is Iran is sitting one of the world’s biggest oil deposits, which makes it odd for them to start developing nuclear energy. Add to that the fact the Left likes nuclear energy as much as they like Ronald Reagan. Yet, the Iran Deal was heralded as a huge step forward towards reducing tensions in the area.

Oh, and the matter of a few billion dollars sent to Iran by the Obama Administration.

And what did it do? Nothing. Well, except make Iran richer and better able to develop its nuclear program.

I have been of the opinion that Iran has been developing nuclear weapons for a while now because, well, it suits their needs. Being radical Muslims, Iran has no problem lying to non-believers, as their reading of the Koran goes. And since we’re the Great Satan, they feel they’re justified in whatever they need to do to bring us down. Lying is no big deal if it leads to the end they desire.

You know, just like Leftists.

From a military standpoint, Iran has a vested interest in keeping the world in the dark about just how far along they are and in what direction their nuclear program is taking. It’s classic misdirection, and America has been taken in by promises that don’t pass the smell test. How do I know this? Because even with President Trump pulling out of the Iran Deal, Iran continued to violate terms of the agreement, as established by the foreign leaders who didn’t want us to pull out in the first place. The sensible question we should be asking is why Iran wouldn’t stick with the deal even if one of the principal partners backed out.

Because they had already achieved their goal: to bring America to heel. I maintain even if we stayed in the Iran Deal they had no intent of ever keeping up their end of the bargain because they saw what Saddam Hussein did in Iraq after Operation Desert Storm. For those of you who don’t remember, Saddam kept the UN weapons inspectors busy and distracted while they continued their chemical and biological weapons development, but the UN and Iraq both maintained the inspections and sanctions were being followed.

At least until they weren’t.

While I don’t necessarily want war with Iran, it’s insane to think President Trump’s actions in taking out Suleimani are going to make our relationship with Iran worse and lead to World War III. At worst, Iran still won’t send us a Ramadan card. But the Left need us to think this way because they have already invested a lot of time and energy trying to paint the President as a foreign policy idiot savant, minus the savant. As brutish and wrong-headed as the President is on a lot of subjects foreign and domestic, taking out a terrorist, which Suleimani was, is not a bad thing. Iran isn’t a country who will respond well to a sternly worded memo. They will, however, understand a show of force that can turn Tehran into Detroit with better water in a matter of minutes.

The Left needs Iran to be a victim of America and for the Iran Deal to be successful. With one military strike, Donald Trump has blown that right out of the water.

No Party for an Old Man

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As the 2020 Presidential election crawls towards the Iowa Caucuses, I’ve been watching various candidates on both sides of the aisle looking for one I could support without reservation and…I’m coming up empty. Don’t get me wrong. There are candidates I’m paying attention to, but too few of them actually have enough of what I’m looking for to earn my vote.

Since 2008, I’ve made it a point to vote for a person instead of a party because the latter leads to the kind of political gang warfare that make the Crips and the Bloods look like a Mennonite church picnic. I’m to a point where I don’t particularly care for Democrats or Republicans because they’re both out to screw us, just with different means and different colored ties. These days picking a candidate from both major parties is like determining what kind of shit sandwich you want.

Having said that, I have been paying attention to Andrew Yang, Tulsi Gabbard, Pete Buttigieg, and Marianne Williamson for the same reason: they are running mostly positive campaigns. They may call out the other candidates’ positions from time to time (Kamala Harris still has marks from when Ms. Gabbard pimp-slapped her at a debate a few months ago) and call out President Donald Trump’s positions, but they’re running mostly on a positive message. The other candidates in the Democrat Clown Car are too busy repeating the same lines, using the same tired campaign tricks, and comparing themselves to Trump to bother with articulating what their positive vision of the country under their presumed leadership would be. And, no, Senator Elizabeth Warren, saying “I have a plan for that” doesn’t count as actually having a vision.

On the Republican side, there’s President Trump and…a couple of other guys who are running unintentional stealth campaigns. At this point, I’m wondering whether the Republicans challenging Trump are in the federal Witness Relocation Program living under assumed names. Also, there are other potential candidates speaking in hushed tones about challenging the President because…they think he’s an embarrassment to the country and the GOP. In other words, they’re Republicans running on the same platform as the majority of Democrat Presidential candidates.

And that’s where I get off this roller coaster. Running for President because you don’t like the guy currently in the position isn’t enough for me anymore. Yes, I know if we elect a Democrat bad things are going to happen in the judiciary system, but given some of the court rulings I’ve seen recently, I’m not sure electing a Democrat will improve the situation any. Ditto with keeping a Republican in the White House. At this point, I’m looking for a candidate who can articulate a vision for America post-Trump and come up with some actual ideas that I can support. And, if you really want to wow me, be civil about it. I get called a Never Trumper by Trump fans because I don’t think everything he does is amazing, and I get called all sorts of other names from the other side of the aisle because I’m an aging white man who doesn’t think the Left has any answers that don’t involve stupid ideas that haven’t ever worked or marching on Washington, DC, wearing a Halloween costume that would get you kicked out of most bars.

So, where do I go from here? Who can I trust to protect my interests? I’ve narrowed it down to two: God, and myself. And, trust me, I am waaaaaaay down the list from God. I’m at an age where I pretty much want to be left alone, and neither the Left nor the Right are willing to do that right now. Granted, the Right is less likely to be as invasive than a gynecologist moonlighting as a TSA agent, but they’re still okay with some personal intrusions when it suits their aims. And today’s Leftist is only one step removed from being Gladys Kravitz from “Bewitched” (and still six degrees away from Kevin Bacon).

Remember the shit sandwich I referenced earlier?

So, for the time being, I will remain unaffiliated because neither major party wants to build up this country. They would prefer to tear down the other side so they appear better by comparison. I will continue to look for good people who want to do good in the world, and if one doesn’t appear, I will vote my conscience…and vote for my dog.



Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

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There are times when a topic for a blog post is harder to find than the point of an Elizabeth Warren Presidential run, but there are other times when the perfect topic drops into your lap. Ladies and gentlemen, the latter occurred, thanks to the Mueller Report.

Whether you were hoping Robert Mueller’s report would exonerate or condemn President Donald Trump, the world waited with bated breath for a 400+ page report with redactions. It was almost like watching fans waiting for the next Harry Potter book Harry Potter and the Quest to Buy J. K. Rowling a 43rd House. And what we found was…well, let’s just go to the definition and analysis.

the Mueller Report

What the Left thinks it means – a report that proves Donald Trump obstructed justice and worked with the Russians to steal the 2016 Presidential election

What it really means – one of the most expensive door jams in American political history

I’m not usually cynical, but when it comes to politics and the theater of the magnitude of the Mueller Report, it’s hard not to be. From the beginning, I felt it was going to be an inconclusive waste of time (and taxpayer money) because no one was going to be happy with the outcome. If the report proved beyond a reasonable doubt Donald Trump worked with the Russians to win the 2016 Presidential election, a good chunk of the country would say it was fake news, no matter how well sourced it was. If the report showed Trump was as innocent as a newborn, a good chunk of the country would claim the report was a sham and that Trump used his power and influence to affect the outcome.

And what we got was firmly between these two extremes. A redacted report (as required by law after the Starr Report) made the Left mad because they know there’s good stuff that proves Trump is guilty. And even if there isn’t, they claim there’s enough there to warrant impeachment. The report also made Trump supporters ecstatic because it showed (even with the redactions) that the President wasn’t guilty and the investigation was a sham from the word go. To me, however, the Mueller Report doesn’t prove Trump’s guilt or innocence because it wasn’t meant to do either.

At its core, the Mueller Report was a mutli-million dollar job project for people who want to keep our eyes off the real issues in this country, not the least of which being the federal government spying on a private citizen in the hopes of getting some dirt to help a severely flawed candidate limp into the White House because it was “her turn.”

But I’m totally not cynical.

Yes, there were a number of Trump associates who plead guilty to crimes…that were unrelated to the campaign itself. Yes, the funds seized from the aforementioned guilty parties was more than the cost of the investigation…which ultimately didn’t turn up anything concrete about the actual subject matter of the investigation, Donald Trump. Yes, the report uncovered suggestions that Trump may have possibly broken the law…but leaves that open to interpretation to the point of being irrelevant. Yes, the report did leave the job of holding the President accountable to the crimes (real or imagined) to Congress…which is what they are supposed to do anyway. In other words, we’re pretty much back where we started, but now we have a report.

Yay for us?

The real kicker here is the Mueller Report might be worthless at the jump because it may not be used as grounds for impeachment. Under that little document the kids today call the Constitution, a President can be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors. But what if the crimes are committed before the President is sworn in? That’s a question the Left hasn’t thought to ask before now in their rush to impeach Trump, and it’s a question the Right hasn’t thought to ask before now in their rush to defend Trump. And it’s a pretty big question to be overlooked.

Put simply, the Mueller Report is a lot like making hot dogs: you’ll enjoy it better if you don’t think about what went into making it. The problem (among several I could rattle off here) is the reason we have the report in the first place is fundamentally flawed and politically motivated, which makes any result questionable at best. I’m not a fan of the President, but I have to call bullshit when I see it, and basing an entire impeachment case off the Mueller Report and what lead up to it is USDA Grade A all-American bullshit. Expecting good results from bad faith is foolish.

It’s important that we separate the report from the man, however. Robert Mueller may be a choirboy or a criminal, but until we know the man, we should not judge him. From where I sit, he has kept his mouth shut for the most part while investigating the allegations, so that speaks well of his commitment to justice. Let’s not malign him until he acts or says something that warrants it.

In the meantime, let’s direct our ire towards the Mueller Report and make sure we’re not getting caught up in the debate over minutia coming from it. There are serious legal, Constitutional, and ethical concerns that need to be addressed before any action can and should be taken.

But knowing politicians, they can’t be bothered with said concerns because they ruin the political narrative.

But, still totally not cynical.

Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

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One of the most interesting perspectives in politics today is watching people get bent out of shape over ultimately trivial matters, only to turn around and excuse it when someone on their side of the argument does it. This phenomenon has a name: hypocrisy. But Leftists have given it another name: tribalism. And as you might expect, tribalism isn’t a good thing to them.

In today’s team-based political mentality, tribalism isn’t unusual. If you’re a Republican, you want Republicans to win. If you’re a Democrat, you want Democrats to win. So, why is it now frowned upon by the Left? Let’s find out!

tribalism

What the Left thinks it means – Republicans and conservatives simple-mindedly believing the same things, promoting the same ideas, and quoting the same sources to promote their ideology

What it really means – substituting party line thinking for actual thought

Sociologists (or at least the ones I could stay awake listening to) have long stated humans have an inborn desire to be part of and accepted by a group. That sense of belonging is fine and all, but it can lead to another phenomenon called “groupthink.” Basically, that’s when you go along with the crowd because you want to continue fitting in, even if what the crowd says absolutely sucks. I call it the Sanjaya Effect. “American Idol” fans know who I’m talking about, and for once it’s not Shaft. (And, yes, we can dig it.) The Sanjaya Effect made millions of people vote for an okay singer because everyone else they knew was doing it.

And that’s where tribalism comes into play. Once we become invested in a group, we want to defend it against those who would mean it harm. This plays out in our minds in several ways, ranging from the logical (protect the clan) to the social (more people will like me) to the personal (I feel good about myself) to the sexual (chicks dig it). In a political framework, the same concepts apply (defend our ideology, more people will like me, I’ll get noticed and appreciated, chicks dig it). At its core, tribalism is primitive and driven by instinct and/or emotion.

Which begs the question of why the Left would be against tribalism, given the emotional spectrum is their playground. The answer, oddly enough, involves their feelings of self-worth. Leftists always like to think they’re the smartest people in the room and are above the kind of visceral reactions they claim to see from the Right. That gives them a blind spot when it comes to looking at what they do on a regular basis.

Here’s a prime example. Recently on MSNBC, host Nicole Wallace said, “There isn’t a strain of racism on the left.” Ah, but that ignores a litany of blatant and covert racism, mainly blaming whites for all the evil in the world. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t maligning a group of people based on skin color…racism? Why, yes…yes it is!

To make the claim the Left has no racism while finding racism under every rock on the Right is pure tribalism, not to mention utterly delusional. Granted, it was said on MSNBC, which is pretty much Tribalism Central on the Left, but the point remains. The fact Wallace couldn’t find a single racist in a group where race is one of their primary talking points shows one of the major dangers of tribalism: it forces you to rationalize behavior you wouldn’t stand for normally because of who acted. Maybe I’m just old fashioned (or just old for that matter), but I grew up believing wrong is wrong, no matter who does it. The Ku Klux Klan is just as racist as the Black Panthers, white nationalists are just as bad as black separatists, and the Westboro Baptist Church and radical members of the gay rights movement are singing from the same hymnals. They just don’t know it yet because of tribalism.

I will admit I used to be tribalistic when I was younger, mainly because I was young, immature, and a dumbass a good chunk of the time. Eventually, I got to a point where I couldn’t keep justifying bad behavior on one side while blasting it on the other. I’d rather be hated for being honest than loved for being dishonest. I’ve seen too many otherwise good people get caught up in the moment and go along to get along without considering there might be a different course to take. There’s a rule of thumb I live by: if it doesn’t feel right, it’s not right, and you have no obligation to ignore your instincts because everyone else decides to do what you feel is wrong. You do, however, have an obligation to yourself to be an individual, think freely, speak freely, and above all else live the life you want to live irrespective of the whims of the crowd. If they aren’t paying your bills, they have no say in your life unless you let them.

So, reject tribalism when you can. Question authority, even the authority you trust. Reevaluate your ideas and arguments to make sure you’re getting the full picture, and don’t be afraid to adjust them as needed. The worst that will happen is you come away with a broader perspective and maybe make a friend or two along the way.

Plus, you won’t be stuck with a whataboutism defense. But more on that another time…

Shut Up About the Shutdown

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As we enter another week of the government shutdown, I’ve noticed more and more talk about it and its potential impact to our economy and to the furloughed government workers and service members and their families. Since we haven’t devolved into Thunderdome yet, I’m thinking we’re doing okay, but the media seem ultra concerned about the shutdown as though we’re one story away from total anarchy.

As both a freedom-loving individual and a lower middle class wage earner, I see both sides of the equation. On the one hand, living paycheck to paycheck is subsistence, not living. On the other hand, not having government worm its way into my life (and my wallet) as much is a good thing. Somewhere in between, there is a happy medium.

But since we have toddlers in Congress, we can’t have that. Republicans blame Democrats for not agreeing to $5 billion to fund a wall/barrier/fence/garden wall that President Donald Trump wants. Democrats blame Republicans for not doing anything about it when they had control of the House and Senate. Trump is blaming Democrats for not wanting to come to the table about the wall, after saying he would take full responsibility for shutting down the government.

Is anyone else tired of the shutdown talk?

Yes, I see the irony of writing a blog post talking about not wanting to talk about the shutdown, but the point is still the same. People are tired of the back and forth between sides that don’t want to be the first to blink. Take ideology off the table for a moment, folks, and look at what the core of the matter is. It’s not national security. It’s not amnesty. It’s not separating families or curtailing crimes committed by illegal immigrants. It’s not an allegedly racist President wanting to stroke his ego or a Congress whose approval ratings are lower than a snail’s belt buckle.

It’s about a wall. Period.

All of this macho posturing over a damn wall that won’t mean a thing unless there’s real change in the way we address illegal immigration. And, spoiler alert, only one side of this shutdown debacle is even talking about matters beyond a wall, and rarely at that. Meanwhile, the other side has members who want ICE abolished because reasons. Actually, they want ICE abolished because doing so allows more illegals into the country…to vote for Leftist candidates.

Put simply, the wall is a metaphor for the political aspirations of two sides who really don’t give a damn about us, but they care enough to shill for our votes and take our campaign donations. It’s political theater where you pay out the nose for a bag of popcorn and watch the crappiness play out. Wait. That’s the current movie-going experience. Nevermind!

You know what might stop the posturing and jockeying for position? If we stop paying attention to it. Fire doesn’t last if it’s deprived of oxygen, and so do political shenanigans like the shutdown/wall controversy. There are a lot better things out there to be spending time on than rehashing the same tired arguments about why we need/don’t need a wall. Like, and I’m just throwing this out there, reading a thoughtful, occasionally humorous, and well-written blog like mine. You know, if you’re into that kind of thing…