The Rorschach Graffiti

On Facebook, a fellow I’ve known for over a decade posted a link to an article about graffiti with the swastika as the T in Trump and asked someone to justify it.

The papers covering it handily as though this is pro-Trump graffiti, quoting all sorts of anti-Trump people hoping Trump will disavow this:

Philadelphia’s Anti-Defamation League chapter quickly condemned the vandalism, referencing its eerie coinciding with Kristallnacht, a coordinated Nazi attack in 1938 during which hundreds of Jews had their storefronts smashed throughout Germany.

“Swastikas and the Nazi salute send a message of intolerance and hate to the entire community,” Regional Director Nancy Baron said in a statement. “While we view this as an isolated incident, we cannot allow this behavior to become routine. Everyone has a role to play in combating bigotry — we must advocate, educate and investigate until hate is no longer welcome in our society.”

One damn minute, Admiral.

What we have here is a piece of unattributed graffiti comparing Trump to Hitler. The articles present no evidence that the vandals were Trump supporters. NONE.

But of course the vandals must be Trump supporters, because people in the media and on the social media have said so.

Pay no mind to those on the left have equated Trump to Hitler.

Come on, that’s three examples from relatively high profile Internet locations or celebrities. You know it’s been all over your Twitter feed and Facebook feed and everywhere else for six months. “Trump is Hitler!”

Ergo, graffiti comparing Trump to Hitler must be in support of Trump as Hitler. Ergo, somehow.

It’s not just Trump that the left has called Hitler over and over.

Scott Walker is Hitler

George W. Bush is Hitler

Clearly, these protestors and their supporting iconography were not the work of Walker and Bush supporters, but the Trump graffiti is because, what? That was then and this is now?

So we’ve got an incident of graffiti, but clearly it is a symbol that fits into and reinforces a specific narrative. The apex of mid-century American Existentialist thought that sixties thinkers could only dream would become mainstream.

Regardless of the actual realities of the incident, including the vandal and his or her motive. Concrete details are not the point. The narrative and the meme are the point.

As I Was Saying….

WikiLeaks Bombshell: Clinton Relied on Trump Primary Win, GOP Obliged.

Back in December, I said:

And I can’t help wonder if we’re not seeing a McCaskill Manipulation strategy at work here.

As you might remember, gentle reader, back in 2012 I highlighted a pre-primary strategy by Claire McCaskill to run ads claiming that Todd Akin was too conservative for Missouri. Her organization did this because they felt that Akin would be the weakest candidate to face Claire McCaskill in the actual election.

It worked, of course; Akin was nominated and then said something that everyone could pile on, and Akin lost and we have Senator McCaskill for a couple more years.

. . . .

Now, I don’t want to go all JournoList / Conspiracy Theory here (although the mere inclusion of the word JournoList and the aforementioned boasted McCaskill Manipulation should indicate that conspiracy theories might often involve actual conspiracies), but could we be seeing something like it in the Trump candidacy?

So, yeah.

Josh Hawley Favors Unsold Farms

I saw this ad on the television accidentally for some reason, probably when I couldn’t hit the fast forward button fast enough:

And I thought a couple things, being someone in rural Missouri:

  • Thousands of acres? That’s hardly a lot, especially to incite fears of an invasion. This ad must be written by someone in the city.
  • So someone is buying a farm. Which means someone is selling a farm. There are many reasons to sell acreage or your farm, but if you want to or need to sell it, you need someone to buy it. Apparently, the producer of the advertisement would prefer that the acreage remain unsold and that the seller continue to drown in mortgage payments, that the seller not capitalize for another opportunity, and that the land go underworked and/or unused.

It’s wrong to put this on Josh Hawley. Apparently, the ad was produced by Tea Party Patriots, which is not even a Missouri organization. But it does have “Tea Party” in the name, so I guess that means it’s Tea Party. Or it’s an organization named that way to capitalize on the sentiment in the country six years ago.

You know, I read a lot of stuff where people who disagree with the Tea Party call it racist or xenophobe, but that doesn’t track with my beliefs or the beliefs of the Tea Partyish people I’ve known. However, it does seem to track with what the consultants are selling.

Right on cue:

A coalition of Asian-American businesses and organizations in Missouri on Sunday criticized what they called racist and xenophobic political ads in the state attorney general race.

Good on ya, consultants! You’ve sold tar and feathers to people who would rather talk about this sort of thing instead of core issues.

Now That’s A Dog Whistle I’ll Bark To

Apparently, Marco Rubio (and by Marco Rubio, I mean the twenty-somethings on his media team) “accidentally” included stock footage of Vancouver in a recent ad:

It’s morning again in America, eh?

At least Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio managed to find stock footage of North America while paying tribute to Ronald Reagan’s sanguine “Morning in America” television spot.

The Florida senator’s campaign used three seconds of video taken of British Columbia’s unmistakable waterfront in Vancouver for its depressing twist on Reagan’s iconic 1984 advertisement.

Or did they?

I think Marco is promising that, if he’s elected, we’ll invade Canada.

Of course, he can’t come right out and say that, but those of us who have advocated invading Canada for years know what he’s talking about.

And we vote!

Allahpundit Gets It Two Weeks Later

On December 14, I wondered Donald Trump: The McCaskill Manipulation Goes National?

On December 28, Allahpundit wonders the same thing:

If this sounds familiar, it’s because Democrats used the same strategy to brilliant effect in the 2012 Senate race in Missouri. The GOP primary was jammed up with three candidates; Claire McCaskill, the Democratic incumbent, wanted to do something to help Todd Akin win, believing (correctly) that Akin would be the easiest of the three to beat in a general election. The solution: Start attacking Akin before the Republican primary, knowing that a big-name Democrat’s official seal of disapproval would be a strong lure to Republican voters to consider Akin. Some of that is pure tribalism at work — Democrats are bad, therefore things they dislike must be good — and some of it is “they’ll tell you who they fear” reasoning at work. The problem is, sometimes they’re not telling you who they fear when they attack. Sometimes they’re telling you who they don’t fear and hoping you’ll fall for it.

You know, this blog was a lot more political when I started out, but I’ve drifted away from it because, honestly, I’m not sure my insights add anything and I don’t think I’m convincing anybody of anything.

I’m not even getting my insights and moments of synthetic thought out into the wild before someone else comes up with them.

Donald Trump: The McCaskill Manipulation Goes National?

Ed Driscoll says “ANNOY THE MEDIA, VOTE TRUMP” and includes a round-up of media reactions to the Donald Trump candidacy show:

And I can’t help wonder if we’re not seeing a McCaskill Manipulation strategy at work here.

As you might remember, gentle reader, back in 2012 I highlighted a pre-primary strategy by Claire McCaskill to run ads claiming that Todd Akin was too conservative for Missouri. Her organization did this because they felt that Akin would be the weakest candidate to face Claire McCaskill in the actual election.

It worked, of course; Akin was nominated and then said something that everyone could pile on, and Akin lost and we have Senator McCaskill for a couple more years.

I said it in 2012; McCaskill admitted it in 2015 in Politico Magazine:

It was August 7, 2012, and I was standing in my hotel room in Kansas City about to shotgun a beer for the first time in my life. I had just made the biggest gamble of my political career—a $1.7 million gamble—and it had paid off. Running for reelection to the U.S. Senate as a Democrat from Missouri, I had successfully manipulated the Republican primary so that in the general election I would face the candidate I was most likely to beat. And this is how I had promised my daughters we would celebrate.

Now, I don’t want to go all JournoList / Conspiracy Theory here (although the mere inclusion of the word JournoList and the aforementioned boasted McCaskill Manipulation should indicate that conspiracy theories might often involve actual conspiracies), but could we be seeing something like it in the Trump candidacy?

We’ve got a lightweight candidate that the Gatekeepers of Knowledge can fulminate against, and perhaps they hope those mere fulminations will be enough to get less engaged conservative and Republican primary voters and caucus attendees to nominate Trump–so Hillary Clinton can turn him into the national equivalent of Rick Lazio or Todd Akin.

Could it be so? Given the triumphal nature of McCaskill’s article this very year, it’s not unthinkable that it was offered as a template for a national victory.

UPDATE: See also NBC/WSJ poll: Clinton beats Trump by 10 points in head-to-head matchup

Politician Cackles, Rubs Hands Together, Explains How She Duped And Manipulated Her Constituents

Apparently, Claire McCaskill has a book coming out. In it, she gleefully explains how she duped voters in 2012:

It was early July in 2012 when Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and her top campaign strategists launched “Operation Dog Whistle,” a secret scheme designed to help arch-conservative Todd Akin win that year’s GOP Senate primary.

McCaskill knew that Akin, then a St. Louis County congressman, would be her weakest opponent in the general election, someone easily portrayed as extreme and prone to controversial statements.

The centerpiece of McCaskill’s unconventional strategy? A TV ad blitz that appeared to attack Akin as a fringe candidate but also promoted him as a “true conservative.” She wanted the message “pitched in such a way that it would only be heard by a certain group of people” — conservative voters most likely to turn out for the GOP primary, hence the dog whistle reference.

Swell. I said as much at the time (probably because I read someone smarter than me on the Internet).

I suppose people who actually buy copies of this book will lurve how the savvy Senator tricks the Republican primary voters into doing her will. I wonder how often those who applaud the politicos’ and leaders’ gulling the unwary fail to think that the same people might be gulling them. Probably not a lot, because they think they’re on the same team as the elected officials, and they’re often not. The elected officials are on their own team.

I, on the other hand, find it a bit frightening how easily a Senator will reveal her tricks in deceiving some of the people she represents–although not her voters–and how pleased her voters will be with her advisors’ ploys.

It demonstrates an overt lack of respect for fellow citizens that might eventually lead to a bad, bad end.

The Wheels Within Wheels Come Off

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has ties to an organization to defend Republican Paul Ryan:

The arm of the Mark Zuckerberg-backed immigration reform group that focuses on conservatives is going on air in Milwaukee with a pro-reform spot defending Rep. Paul Ryan, POLITICO has learned.

Americans for a Conservative [sic] Direction bought roughly $350,000 worth of TV time targeted toward Ryan’s district, a source tracking the air wars said.

Now notice the subtlety here: The pro-immigration amnesty group has the name Americans for a Conservative Direction to fool the simple mouth-breathing conservatives into thinking the group is conservative. You know, sadly, the same kind of low-information conservatives who turned out for Todd Akin in the primary when Claire McCaskill said Todd Akin was too conservative for Missouri.

So this CINO organization is helping Ryan out to bolster him because he might or does support the immigration reform thing going on in Washington.

But, unfortunately, some low-information liberals who nominally support the effort that the Americans for a Conservative [sic] direction support don’t see the ruse as demonstrated by a tweet:

Mark Zuckerberg is funding GOP asshat Paul Ryan through a shell group. Yet another reason you should not use Facebook.

Unfortunately, even though Zuckerberg is not a conservative, his action here does a two-fer: It helps a Republican through supporting a nominally liberal cause, and it makes out like big business through shell corporations and corporate money is helping the Republicans, which is an illusion that gins up the liberal base. So even if it hurts Facebook or Zuckerberg in the short term, it still helps the liberal cause.

* I include [sic] with the description conservative in the name of the organization because there’s no way this reform ‘conserves’ anything. As with many ‘conservative’ policies, I disagree with some of the loudest, most self-appointed guardians of the Conservative Flame in thinking that the immigration reform is A Very Big Deal. No, it’s a small deal that exacerbates existing problems in the country–namely, too much public spending on social programs, the immersion of the individual into the tribe, too much centralized control through the Washington machine. But it’s a symptom, not the cause, and the rifts this particular Hill to Die On creates in the country and in the Republican Party are far more damaging than the particular legislative package.

Science Continues Todd Akin’s War on Women

Instapundit links to a study with the titilating name of Female mediation of competitive fertilization success in Drosophila melanogaster. What does the study investigate?

“Because females of most species mate with multiple males within a reproductive cycle, intrasexual competition and intersexual choice can continue in the form of sperm competition and cryptic female choice,” says Pitnick. “Our investigations have demonstrated that the morphology of the female reproductive tract, which is rapidly divergent, determines how females bias paternity in favor of particular sperm morphologies. In fact, complex ejaculate-female and sperm-female interactions are emerging as more the rule than the exception.”

Remember when Todd Akin said:

It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.

In other words, the female reproductive tract, which is rapidly divergent, determines how females bias paternity in favor of particular sperm morphologies. Well, maybe. If my interpretation of the summary of the article of a study based on a limited data set and some mind reading on Todd Akin’s part are accuratish.

Of course, those who felt Akin was waging a war on women lit into him for legitimate rape, which implies that some rapes are illegitimate. What he meant to imply, as far as I can guess, is legitimate claims of rape. This, you see, implies that claims are not legitimate, and copulation outcomes where those claims might not be true might not have the same impact on how females bias paternity, and that in cases of legitimate rape, the female might bias against.

It’s science, so it’s tricky and full of doubt and “we thinks” and room for error.

But politics is less so. Especially when flocks of low information workers linger around politicians’ every appearance like a flock of nightingales around the house of the dying. If they catch onto a phrase they can use, they shriek and caper all night as they work themselves up over it without considering the words and meaning of it. If they don’t, they calm down quickly and wait for the next appearance.

So the truly thoughtful and skeptical will at the electoral mercy of the “thoughtful.”

Which reminds me of a proverb: Do not be wise in your own eyes.

Congress Is Salvation Or Something

I don’t know how election to the United States House of Representatives represents salvation, return to righteousness, or proof of repentance and proving one’s return to goodness in spite of one’s past sins, but I am not a political reporter for Gannett:

Disgraced ex-South Carolina governor Mark Sanford won his bid for redemption on Tuesday night, defeating Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch for his old seat in Congress.

Me, I would have used the term election or office in this case, but I am an old fashioned fellow who doesn’t see theological or apotheosis implications in mere service as a representative of one’s constituents.

(Link seen via Instapundit.)

A Bi-Partisan Debt Ceiling Limit Proposal

If the United States government hits its debt ceiling, members of Congress and elected and appointed members of the Executive branch must sell plasma to fund further spending.

And they don’t get to have cush doctors brought into the halls or office buildings of the capital to take their plasma while our ruling class sits in leather chairs getting foot massages from corporate and nonprofit lobbyists. No, they have to go to the same weather-beaten places downtown where all the other tapped-out citizens go.

And, as befits them as members of the ruling aristocracy, they are exempt from limits imposed on ordinary citizens. To whit, they can sell as often as they like.

I’m Not Paranoid; I’m Just Imaginative

Now that a senator has proposed sweeping gun legislation in response to the recent events on the east coast, everyone’s calling for people to write or call their senators to oppose this legislation (see Jennifer, Robb (who once gave me advice for improving my tinfoil hat, werd), Say Uncle, Instapundit, and so on).

Uh huh.

How’s that letter go? I am a gun owner, and I want to voice my displeasure at is not very far off from I have a gun, and here is my demand.

How close?

Close enough for government work. That is, all it takes is a poorly turned phrase, a staffer getting the vapors, and suddenly you’re threatening your senator and there are some very blackly clad government employees no-knocking your house to neutralize you.

No, thanks. I’m just going to send money to the NRA-ILA and various organizations that can fight on my behalf.

The rest of you choose your words carefully. Very carefully.

Only Journalists and Their Readers Are Surprised

Anyone who knew how insurance coverage works expected this: Surprise: New insurance fee in health overhaul law

Your medical plan is facing an unexpected new fee. It’s to help cover people with pre-existing conditions under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.

The $63-per-head fee — buried in a recent regulation —will hit health plans serving an estimated 190 million Americans, mostly workers and their families. It’s payable starting in 2014.

Of course, the $63 fee levied by the government doesn’t cover the actual cost of the new mandates, which is why insurance premiums have already gone up before this fee takes effect.

But baby steps, reporters. Baby steps.

Teaching The Children Lessons of Daniel Webster and Rober Heinlein, Accidentally

Neo-neocon offers some quotes about governance:

There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.” – Daniel Webster

The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. – Robert A. Heinlein

It brought to mind questions my children often ask me about the cartoons and superhero things they encounter regarding the motivations of the villains: Why does Megatron do that? or What does Loki want?

My simplistic answer is always the same: Because he wants to rule people/humans/Autobots. I explain that some people want to just tell other people what to do because they think that they, the tellers, know better than other people, and the other people better do it or else.

I think the oldest boy, in first grade, can understand that from his experiences with his peers. Hopefully, he will learn that acting to compel your peers according to your sense of what the others should do is generally wrong except in limited circumstances (harm to others, Because I’m the daddy and whatnot).

In my Tea Party Republican world, I’m a hero fighting against the forces who would use the government to compel action or behavior from citizens. I know some people think the Republican Party would like to force some behavior on citizens, but it’s not the Republican Party in the legislature nor in the bureaucracy that’s doing things like banning incandescent light bulbs, upping government standards to limit choice (as in CAFE standards for automotive performance), and so on. And where elements of the Republican Party pursues its excesses in this regard, I oppose them, too.

Because I’m a political philosophical superhero, or at the very least someone who agrees with Heinlein and Webster. And hopefully, my children will, too.

Some people

Like An Old Man Driving With His Blinker On

The whole left-right thing continues to lose meaning as journalists continue to use “right-wing” to mean pretty much any political belief they disagree with. Case in point:

A Hungarian far-right politician urged the government to draw up lists of Jews who pose a “national security risk”, stirring outrage among Jewish leaders who saw echoes of fascist policies that led to the Holocaust.

You see, a German fascist who wants to round up the Jews is right wing. Just like small government types in America:

America’s left-wing Occupy movement and right-wing Tea Party are just two examples of the world’s new wave of activists, a diverse and dispersed collection of movements that also includes Spain’s Indignados (the “Indignant”) and the rebellious youth of the Arab Spring.

The smearing of the term to equate Republicans and Tea Party activists as fascists works. In 2004, I remember a friend whose political leanings differed from mine (and, as I surmise it, is no longer a friend because of it) telling me that George W. Bush was going to round up the Jews. He’s not a dumb guy. But he believes it because the convenient, meaningless journalistic shorthand reinforces it.

This just in: As a Republican, I am not a monarchist.

The political term right-wing originates from the French Revolution, when liberal deputies from the Third Estate generally sat to the left of the president’s chair, a habit which began in the Estates General of 1789. The nobility, members of the Second Estate, generally sat to the right. In the successive legislative assemblies, monarchists who supported the Ancien Régime were commonly referred to as rightists, because they sat on the right side.

If there’s one political disposition to centralizing authority in a single government leader, it’s not from my branch of the Republican Party.

Republicans need to make it clear that the whole “right-wing” thing is inaccurate and historically ignorant when it’s applied to contemporary politics, and maybe the journalists and commentators will drop it.

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View From The Porch > The Munchkin Wrangler > Hit & Run