The blame train continues its journey. First the democrats blamed racist angry whites for Clinton’s loss. But it turns out white’s preference for the R over the D candidate was statistically no different in this election than in those of recent memory. Indeed Clinton lost ground among blacks and Hispanics against the putatively “racist” Trump. Next came the “fake news” canard which suggested that overtly absurd “news” stories with limited ideological appeal somehow swayed the decision making process of those completely unplugged from the inside baseball of politics. Now the latest attempt at diverting blame for Hillary’s historic loss is the narrative that Russia tried to influence the outcome of the election by “helping” Trump by exposing to the public the sordid underbelly of the DNC and their candidate. The source of this narrative? None other than the CIA. You know, the folks that brought us “trust us, there really are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.” The agency with a decades long history of interfering in the internal affairs of other nations (see Iran coup of 1953), whose sole purpose is to manipulate foreign nationals into doing their bidding so as to gain a political outcome favorable to US interests, they are now the ones crying foul that the US was the victim of the exact same shenanigan they routinely engage in. Well sort of. The Washington Post article citing this revelation only refers to anonymous sources indirectly briefed by the agency. Yep, sounds ironclad to me.
What evidence that has been released is laughable at best. It is the real world equivalent of citing as proof of an Indian attack the fact that the attackers wore headdress and threw tomahawks. Because no one ever has ever thought to cast a false appearance in order to shift blame. In other words, if Russia actually did decide to engage in such a hack they would not be stupid enough to actually use tools with a clear Russian fingerprint. That alone basically tells you it was NOT Russia.
Then again it doesn’t really matter if Russia was involved. They aren’t being accused of actually physically hacking vote tallies. They are being accused of playing a role in the release of truthful information. It is indeed a crazy world where the former heart of the Soviet empire is the vanguard of truth while the American government seeks to bury it. Notice none of those on the left deny the information that was released. They can’t, because it’s all true. The best they can hope for is some sort of Cold War era McCarthy-esque ties-to-Russia smear campaign against Trump in order to undermine or delegitimize his presidency. But it won’t work because at the end of the day the people only care about the information, not how it was obtained. To wit, even with all of the recent revelations of Russian “hacking” a Pew Research poll shows 99% of Trump voters and 97% of Clinton voters would cast the exact same vote today as they did on November 8.
The Democratic Party is a peddler of envy. It’s not fair your neighbor has more than you. Elect us and we’ll right this injustice by taking from them and giving to you. But don’t feel bad about it; it’s not your fault you couldn’t achieve on your own. Forces beyond your control (racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia, bigotry, white privilege, male privilege, etc.) are conspiring to keep you down. You are the victim so there is no need to reflect on the results of your choices.
So it should come as no surprise that the party itself is practicing this mantra in their own affairs. Hillary Clinton’s loss is not her fault. No, it’s (now) the fault of “fake news,” the Russians, or misogynistic women. Apparently “fake news” is the latest epidemic to sweep the nation, although oddly enough it was on no one’s radar until after the election. Funny that. This grand great epidemic that didn’t warrant so much as a peep out of anyone on the left until AFTER Hillary lost. Interesting. Hillary Clinton spoke last week on the subject of “fake news” calling it an “epidemic” with “real world consequences.” She called for “bipartisan legislation” that would allow Congress to respond to such “propaganda.” Whoa-whoa there! So Trump was a monster when he spoke of “looking into” libel laws after getting upset about his coverage in the news media but Clinton calls for tossing out the 1st amendment (Congress “responding to” such speech would be just that) and no one in the media bats an eye?
Let’s define a few terms here first. True fake news is supposed to be satirically fake. It is commonly found on sites like The Onion, where tongue in cheek satire makes the comedic intent clear. Then there are soft-fake sites that try to (poorly) emulate the Onion but do so with click-baity semi-legitimate sounding headlines; but, once the story is read it becomes clear it is not real – but too late – you clicked on the link and their ad revenue just went up! What people are upset about is pseudo-fake news, that is, they are Onion-like stories that purport to be real. Lastly there are a number of sites that have been labeled as “fake news” because someone disagrees with their opinion based content. If people like Clinton got her way we would have a Department of Truth that would be tasked with reviewing all internet content and empowered to ‘take down’ any content that did not conform to officially sanctioned opinion. Want to run a blog? Just apply for your speech license comrade. You laugh – but it’s coming.
In the end a two second analysis would reveal that actual fake stories did not influence the election one bit. Social media has become an echo chamber on both sides. The only people dumb enough to think “cbsnewslo.com.co” is a real news site are those already living in the social media echo chamber. Opinions are not changed by such sites, only reinforced.
Donald Trump is an enigma. On the one hand he is not even President yet and he’s already using his legendary (according to him) negotiating skills to make good on his promise of keeping jobs in America. On the other hand this feat was accomplished through a combination of crony-capitalist carrots and sticks whose effectiveness was largely a consequence of Carrier’s parent company (United Technologies) being a cog in the military-industrial fascist apparatus. Dependency fosters control and United Technologies is highly dependent on the federal government for much of its business, therefore this was somewhat of a low-hanging fruit “win” for Trump.
The reaction to this deal has predictably fallen along party lines although there is a bit of cognitive dissonance on both sides as they try to come to terms with balancing fairness with pragmatism. People appreciate that Trump saved those jobs but are troubled by how he did it. Is it fair to bestow tax “giveaways” on one company but not others? Is it fair to reward only those that threaten to leave? Is it fair to invoke a punitive 35% tariff on goods imported from US overseas firms? The answer depends on the framework in which the question is asked. Within the framework of natural rights and individual liberty none of these are legitimate. The actions of any entity that initiates violence (taxation, tariffs) to achieve its ends are illegitimate. But we don’t live in that world. We live in a world literally run by the very warlords we are told would arise absent the state. Every state (i.e. country) is a plantation; some are far worse than others, but a gilded cage is still a cage. So given our condition of servitude to the state is it fair if the master decides to treat one slave more favorably than the others? Should we tell the master “You have no right to lift our brother out of the mud, please, cast him back down here with us!” Thus we have both sides of the political spectrum opposing this but for opposite reasons. The left opposes it because they enjoy being in the mud and believe this is the only way we can all be equal, therefore it is “wrong” for anyone to get out of the mud. The right opposes it for purity reasons. They believe ALL should escape the mud but that it is an either-or proposition; either all escape or none escape. Libertarians will argue for the moral solution but (grudgingly) accept the pragmatic one as a stepping-stone. Better for some to escape than none. Since wholesale emancipation seems to be off the table, then let’s create so many loopholes and deals that all can escape.
So do I wish I could get the kind of tax incentives Carrier got? Sure. It is absolutely unfair that they get them and other businesses like mine do not. However I’ll still applaud their small victory if it means it moves the needle even a bit toward the direction of universal tax relief.
The vote counting continues. Thus far Clinton has accrued approximately 2.5 million more popular votes than Trump. Wailing and gnashing of teeth ensues – “how can this be? Democracy!?” The democracy game depends in large part on how one slices the pie. Democracy is fundamentally arbitrary insofar as the rules for inclusion are based on imaginary invisible lines in the dirt. Just take a look at a map of gerrymandered congressional districts; those distended and warped puzzle pieces forensically betray the party of their author. We could easily redraw state boundaries that would give Clinton a win; likewise we could draw new state boundaries that would give Trump an even larger electoral college win. But let’s play this game: if we look solely at popular vote within two distinct geographical areas we find a stark contrast. The first region is California and the second region is every other state except California. In California, Clinton handily won by 4 million votes. But in the other not-California region Trump won by 1.5 million. If direct democracy popular voting is going to be the new gold standard, then would it not be a crime to force the entirety of not-California to suffer under a Clinton presidency merely because one state, California, wished it to be so? Indeed, remove just one more state from that mix, New York, and the differential climbs to a 3 million more for Trump in the new country known as not-California-or-New-York.
Oh but you argue that’s disingenuous, we are “one country.” But are we? Borders are arbitrary, there is no physical law of nature that dictates biological entities living at these coordinates on a sphere must be irreversibly bound into a political union. Unions exist only so long as the parties wish it. Indeed, union dissolution is the last vestige of the people’s right to counter federal overreach. Yes, we’re talking about the “s” word: secession, an end to that “indivisible” union. Before November 7, 2016 such talk was ridiculed by the left (in straw man like fashion) to be the bailiwick of racists. However, now that the left no longer holds the reins of power they have suddenly discovered the merits of federalism, states rights, and even (gasp) secession. There is currently a movement for “Calexit”, that is the idea that California should leave the union and becomes it’s own country. A Calexit success would finally sever that peculiar linkage of secession to slavery in the American psyche. Normalization of secession would release a long neglected cudgel against expanding federal power.
The mere fact that secession is on the table as an option is further proof of the failure of the constitution (or rather the failure of men to be bound by it). The principals of federalism embodied in that document gave most power to the states with only a narrow set of enumerated powers granted to the federal government. Were that still the case no one would even care who the president was.