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AoSHQ Podcast #136: Another Debate | Main | Rotherham Sexual Predators Sentenced Varyingly, From 19 to 35 Years
February 26, 2016

Trump: I'm Going to "Open Up the Libel Law" So That We Can Sue the Media For Something

As Allah explains, as regards public figures, the media already can be found libel for a statement which was both false and made with "reckless disregard" for its truth or falsity.

For a private figure, simple negligence suffices.

How could it be otherwise? Hate the media as you will, and I do, but you can't have public figures suing every five minutes for a statement that turned out to be false but which was offered honestly (as in the case where one source lies, and another source confirms -- wrongly).

But whatever, I guess the First Amendment is the next thing we have to get rid of to usher in the New Age of Trumpian Plenty.

This strikes me as Trump's version of Stray Voltage. He got his ass kicked last night -- badly.

What does Trump do when he gets his ass kicked? He proposes some outre new policy proposal which he clearly has never thought of and knows absolutely nothing about in order to get people to talk about his outre new proposal (which is damaging to him, but only damaging in a survivable way) instead of talking about the fact that last night We Saw a Golden God Bleed Thin Red Blood (much more damaging to him).

Obama does this too, of course. Whenever Obama is in trouble for his incompetence, or something that can't be spun, he injects a controversial (read: blatantly false) political claim into the national narrative. He'd rather talk about the well-debunked claim that women make 77 cents on every Man-Dollar than, say, his disastrous non-management of the Veterans Administration and the deaths it caused.

It should not be forgotten how Trump's "ban all Muslims" initiative came to be. This wasn't a well-thought out expression of his thoughts on an issue that had long concerned him.

What it was was a Stray Voltage diversion, plus a flip-flop.

On O'Reilly, on September 9, Trump had declared we had to let Syrian refugees in:

"I hate the concept of it, but on a humanitarian basis, you have to," Trump said in his first Fox News appearance in two weeks, appearing on "The O'Reilly Factor."

"This was started by President Obama when he didn't go in and do the job he should have when he drew the line in the sand, which turned out to be a very artificial line," Trump said in reference to Obama's red-line warning to Syrian leader Bashar Assad in 2013. "But you know, it's living in hell in Syria. There's no question about it. They're living in hell, and something has to be done.:

Then San Bernadino happened. And people began questioning Trump's previous statements that we had to let in the Syrian refugees. Supporters wondered if maybe he wasn't the immigration super-hawk he was claiming to be.

So then he goes on TV the next day to not only announce a flip-flop, but to make the most contentious and controversial policy declaration possible -- we're going to "shutdown" "all Muslims" from "entering" the country.

Immediately, chatter about his unpopular views on bringing in Syrian refugees was off the front page, and off it so hard, in fact, that few even remember it happened.

But is this really what he thinks? Or is this just a salesman and deal-maker -- as Trump proudly proclaims himself -- saying whatever he thinks he needs to say to get the customer to sign on the line which is dotted?

It's interesting to me that his first impulse was to of course go along with the safe, path-of-least-resistance assumptions on this matter.

Because that is what people without strong principles do -- they go down the soft, easy, no-hassle path of least resistance which is provided by the liberal intelligentsia as the only safe harbor. The safe harbor you won't be attacked in.

(Yes I mixed metaphors there.)

Why I am I banging on about Trump's lack of knowledge and thinking on these thoughts?

Because, unlike many, I don't consider thinking and knowledge to be enemies of conservatism and principle. Rather, I consider them to be essential to it.

If you're going to be a conservative -- if you're going to fight the very powerful cultural forces that surround us and push liberalism on us as the easy path you won't get beat up for -- you'd better have some damn good reasons for doing so, or you'll come apart like a cheap suit.

Let me remind everyone what knowledge, deep thinking over years of consideration, and conviction can get you.

Let me remind everyone of Ronald Reagan's and Robert F. Kennedy's "Great debate" in 1967. A major issue was Vietnam (though Reagan did also take the time to call for the Berlin Wall "to disappear.")

Robert F. Kennedy, the great hope of liberals and intellectuals and liberals who wrongly believe themselves to be intellectuals, got completely obliterated, despite being on the more popular side of the Vietnam War debate.

Why? Because Reagan knew every damn thing that was required to have an opinion, and to defend an opinion, on Vietnam. When an Oxford student claimed that the Diem regime (a previous America-supported regime, ended when Diem was assassinated) had put six million people in "concentration camps," Reagan scoffed, noting the entire population of Vietnam was merely sixteen million people. How could he have possibly put six million in concentration camps, surreptitiously?

A big problem I have with Trump not knowing things, and clearly never have thought about things, combined with his obvious desire to pander and make the big sale, is that when he's caught out without any good answer, and senses that he's losing the room with an unpopular answer, he usually (75% of the time) tries to get back on the right side of popular opinion and embrace the liberal position on the issue.

You couldn't do that to Reagan, because Reagan always had a series of facts to back him up, and because he'd been thinking about things -- not feeling about them; thinking about them, theorizing about them -- for years, like during his famous GE addresses.

Unlike Trump, he never felt that he was "losing the room" with an unpopular conservative answer. He was always confident and in command, because he had earned being confident and in command. He had done the homework -- he wasn't some Millennial who had feelz that xe was right. He was a thinking, intellectually-voracious man who tested his own thoughts until he knew he was right, because he'd looked at the question from several directions.

When Reagan felt he was addressing a hostile crowd, he didn't immediately attempt to placate them by offering them a liberal position he flip-flopped to on the spot. Instead, he went into his mental note-card file and tried to convince them of the conservative opinion.

And a lot of the time, he did.

My problem with Trump is that he is a dealmaker trying to make a sale. Right now he's trying to make a deal with conservatives -- so this is the very most conservative we'll ever see him.

If he gets the nomination, he now starts working on making the second part of the deal with the other party in the negotiations, the general public.

So this is the most conservative we'll ever see Trump -- this is the absolute most conservative he'll ever be -- and he's not conservative at all, except, possibly, on immigration. He combines liberal policy impulses with frankly authoritarian or even fascist ones, which he thinks are "what conservatives want," because, frankly, he conceives of us as ugly-minded, stupid dummies who get off on this shit.

That's why he didn't put the "Ban Muslims" line in a more palatable, persuasive form, like "Reduce immigration from Muslim-majority countries or countries with a terrorism problem to a level where we can vet each individual applicant."

No, he put it in the most bigoted, ugly way he could think of, because that's about his level, and because, also, that's what he thinks "conservatives" are.

Even on issues like that, where I would like him to move the Overton Window so we can begin discussing a rational reduction of such immigration until this Jihadist Madness passes from history, I find he doesn't move it at all, because he makes the issue much more toxic and alienating than it needs to be.

What does Trump actually know about conservatives? He seems to only know five things, which he repeats in such crude ways it's preposterously insulting. Apparently we "love Jesus," so he says he does too. He knows we love guns, so he's so in love with the Second Amendment he wants to make out with it.

Does he ever explain the underpinnings of his belief in the Second Amendment, such that you get the impression if he's challenged on it, he can break out chapter and verse on the amendment like Reagan would have and remained resolute in his position?

He senses we don't like Mexicans or Muslims very much, so he wants to ban rapists and terrorists.

He knows we love babies and hate abortions, so he's reversed himself from being "very, very pro-choice" and even supporting partial birth abortion to being so against abortion you couldn't believe it. (But he'll keep on funding Planned Parenthood because they're a wonderful organization.)

He knows we love the military, so he proclaims himself, seriously, the most "militaristic" guy you've ever met. Then sometimes he talks about "bombing the shit" out of people to appease the hawks, and other times about a Ron Paul style isolationism, to appease his substantial Paulite wing.

Which is true? Who the fuck knows. I'm certain on this point he's not lying, because I don't think he knows what the fuck he thinks either.

Eh. I can't do it any longer. I have supported him, weakly, as good comeuppance for the Establishment which seems to despise actual conservative voters, but I find that Trump's own opinion of conservatives is pretty damn low too.

Down With Trump, But Vive Le Trumpism: I added this comment:

There are parts of Trumpism I want the GOP to adopt.

For example, I'm tired of the fucking GOP acting as if it is its God-given role to wage Holy War on the American working man, as if they straight-up hate them.

They're still flacking for companies bringing in foreign workers on H1Bs to replace Americans currently on the job. In fact, until recently, a lot of them were talking about expanding the already-abused H1B program.

If you take away all the jobs of the working class, or middle class for that matter, you'd better change your position on welfare to being gangbusters in favor of it, because if you're going do everyting in your power to keep a man from earning an honest dollar, you have to give him a dishonest one.

Otherwise, there will literally be bodies hanging from lamp-poles.

And I'm nationalistic -- straight up, no apologies. You're goddamn right I champion America over all others and citizens over non-citizens -- and no, it's not "racist" to discriminate in favor of citizens over non-citizens. YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO.

Otherwise you're anti-American. Period.

You gonna claim that if you protect an American's job, you hate non-citizen immigrants? Well, you hate actual Americans, buddy. It seems we both have some "hate" going on here; I guess we're just discussing whether or not we owe any degree of loyalty and fellow-feeling to our fellow Americans, or if we're all just "global citizens" now.

But while this guy has blundered across a couple of Big Truths, he is just dead wrong on too much, and entirely too emotional, unfocused, and reationary to be president.

So down with Trump, but long live parts of Trumpism.

We just need someone capable of coherent persuasion to adopt them.

digg this
posted by Ace at 05:30 PM

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