From a Veteran’s Perspective

Republished from Refined Right

It’s that time of year again.

Not for Christmas decorations of course; that now starts in September.

Instead we commemorate, among many things, the 11th hour of the on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, as it is said, when the First World War came to a close after the most brutal conflict that continent by then had ever seen left millions dead strewn across the fields of Europe.

Some of the physical scars left by the “Great War” can still be seen today.

Armistice Day ushered in a 20-year long interbellum broken by the Second World War which would claim, by some estimates, another 70-100 million lives.

The war which eclipsed the war that was then supposed to end them all also revealed even darker, previously unthinkable depths of human evil and depravity carried out on an industrial scale.

Though there are very real evils which confront the United States, and Western civilization in general, we’ve enjoyed the luxury of viewing those horrors, among many others, through the fog of time and the glimmer of computer screens.

On Veterans Day, we enjoy the right and ability to read novels, watch movies, and play video games based on the most traumatic events in human history.

This is of course not at all meant to scold you for enjoying such luxuries – by all means feel free.

However much we might enjoy immersing ourselves in these experiences as much as time and technology allows, Veterans Day is nonetheless a time to remember there are people who have done so literally, many at great personal cost, but who would enjoy trading banter over Call of Duty even if they make light of their own wounds at yourexpense.

Despite my profile pic, which is the only selfie which I can stand, I don’t particularly like drawing attention to my service not out of shame, but out of self-effacement.

Despite having served in the Army as a tanker, I’ve never fired my weapon in combat, never been in a fire-fight, I don’t have PTSD, and my deployments (one of which lasted only three months) we’re relatively quiet, with the exception of Jun. 28, 2009 when my then-battalion commander Col. Tim Karcher lost his legs above the knee to an IED in Baghdad, Iraq.

As much as I could easily make this a civics lesson about service, sacrifice and honor, think it’s more important to say that, as much as we’re lionized by the grateful and demonized by the hateful, many of us are ordinary people who, for one reason or another, chose to do extraordinary things and potentially risk our lives in defense even of those who might defame us – even when our service included unavoidable stretches of boredom.

Some day, as those 70 and 100 years ago learned, there may come a time where we are called up never to come home whole, or not at all.

However any of us might continue to serve or chose to return to “normal” life, there are still others who deserve it more than I, and I join others, both civilian and veteran in commemorating those who have lived and died in service to us and our country even if in seriousness I still can’t resist a joke.

Without falling to a feedback loop of gratitude, I say not only thank you, but thank you for being there for me, those who have served before me, and those who do now that I’ve closed that chapter of my life.

VIDEO: Slamming evangelicals for supporting Trump is shallow and myopic

Republished from Refined Right

HBO’s Bill Maher took to his Nov. 4 Real Time show to slam Christian Evangelicals for supporting Donald Trump:

“Before leaving this election behind we must all thank Donald Trump for the one good thing he did,” said Maher. “He exposed evangelicals who are big Trump supporters as the shameless hypocrites they have always been. I don’t know if you noticed, but Republicans didn’t get to play the Jesus card this time around because it is hard to bring up the ten commandments when your candidate spent his life breaking all of them. Trump’s commandments are like the regular commandments with LOL at the end.”

Maher would spend most of the segment crudely listing commandments and directives Trump has broken as well as pointing out his poor command of chapter and verse.

At face value, it’s silly to expect or assume that blue-haired church ladies at any point seriously viewed Trump as the next Thomas Aquinas and many others likely never saw him as a paragon of Christian morality/family values in the first place.

Many evangelicals, with whom I as an atheist almost certainly agree on very little, probably see him similarly as I do – riddled with flaws, yet nonetheless a bulwark against much worse that is nonetheless praised and mollycoddled even to suicidal ends by mindless, preening NIMBY multiculturalists of the progressive left who are more interested in broadcasting their own self-appointed moral supremacy than doing anything to benefit the people they claim to represent.

“Well, I think Maher is way off,” said Autumn Price, Refined Right Managing Editor and devout Christian. “He’s confused Christians who rely on grace with Christians who are legalistic. Biblically speaking, every candidate will be “evil” in the sense that no one is perfect. I think Christians should be praying for their leaders and nation regardless, and I get that there has been some hypocrisy, but being a hypocrite doesn’t excuse hypocrisy if that makes sense.”

“It is hypocritical for Maher to criticize evangelicals for supporting a flawed candidate, considering his own political background. To tie to all believers based on grace to other believers based on legalism is wrong. I’m sure there has been hypocrisy in the church among Christians, as all of mankind is prone to it, but it does not excuse the action of being hypocritical to point out hypocrisy.”

Maher pounds evangelicals based on his legalistic interpretation of their decision to vote Trump, the reality is much more complicated.

“Christ’s sacrifice brought about a new covenant, one with salvation by grace, not by works. For Protestants, at least.”

I’ve not shied away from possibly contradictory passages in scripture in my criticism of Christianity, but clearly being an evangelical isn’t as simple as crudely checking off blocks on a list.

“Christians are called to love one another as Christ loved the church, to extend grace as Christ did, not be legalistic in their approach. To do so attempts to cheapen the sacrifice of Jesus. Christians should by no means ignore the commandments, but sin is a part of human nature. It is grace that freed us from it, not the law. While Christians should obey them, it does not save them.”

“He is the world’s least godly man,” said Maher. “Jesus saw the good in whores and lepers, but if he met Donald Trump he would say ‘Sorry man, that’s a preexisting condition.”

“Bill’s comment is crazy, to be honest,” said Autumn Price. “Jesus wouldn’t do that at all. As for me, I know Trump isn’t my savior. I haven’t heard any Christian that I’m personally acquainted with to say that he would save us. We aren’t looking for a savior. We already have one. We are looking for a leader. Hillary Clinton isn’t it.”

Trump could, with great creative license, be considered a Christ-like figure to the disaffected political dissidents of all stripes outside the progressive left; the working stiffs who are the “whores and lepers” so to speak, discarded by a broken economy and abandoned to drown in permanent economic precarity with little to lose and nothing to look forward to; denounced and abandoned by the media and political establishments as “deplorable”, vacuously and reflexively smeared as racists/sexists/bigots/homophobes/etc..

It also might be possible to have fun with Trump supporters at places like Reddit’s /r/The_Donald, one of the major hubs for his supporters online, but still not particularly love voting for him; the reasons people vote for Trump are as numerous, varied, and complicated as his obvious flaws.

It’s easy to dump on evangelicals for making what many might sympathize with as a painful calculation, calling them evil and gullible for making what they felt was the right choice despite any misgivings about the entire slate of candidates before them, their candidate of choice included.

It’s easy to dismiss them as hypocrites for not crudely checking off blocks on a list of commandments before they cast their ballot.

I’ve long criticized evangelicals for a number of reasons, almost certainly as crudely as Maher did Nov. 4.

But as he and Sam Harris pointed out in the infamous “gross and racist” exchange with Ben Affleck, there’s a difference between criticizing ideas and attacking people.

I will continue to criticize evangelicals and Christianity where I see fit and necessary.

But bashing, and smearing evangelicals personally for voting as they do for the reasons they do isn’t going to shame them out of their decision and may have the opposite effect of confirming that they are beset on all sides by forces more hostile to their faith than anything Trump has ever said on a secretly recorded tape.

When members of the progressive left openly praise or advocate for violence against political opponents, or secretly trains agitators to incite it, it’s not difficult to work out why.

Maher mea culpa: Liberals wrong to cry ‘Wolf’ about Bush, Romney; ‘fascist’ Trump is different – why should we believe him now?

 

On the Nov. 4th edition of his HBO show Real Time, Bill Maher pleaded with voters not to vote for a “fascist” like Trump, apologizing for the way he and other liberals had attacked the likes of Mitt Romney and John McCain, whom those on the left by now would almost certainly prefer running against Hillary Clinton:

From RealClearPolitics:

MAHER: To the young people, like they say in the action movies, the shit just got real. I know you’re young and idealistic so I’ve heard these young people out in the news and they say things like, ‘Well, Donald Trump, I don’t like him but Hillary, I can’t vote for a liar.’

I mean, first of all it’s just apples and oranges, and orange. But, kids, I’ve been doing this for 23 years on TV. I’ve seen a lot. I know politics. This is different. I promise you this will not make your life better. And also once fascists get power they don’t give it up. You’ve got President Trump for life.

I know liberals made a big mistake because we attacked your boy Bush like he was the end of the world. And he wasn’t. And Mitt Romney we attacked that way. I gave Obama a million dollars because I was so afraid of Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney wouldn’t have changed my life that much or yours. Or John McCain.

They were honorable men who we disagreed with and we should have kept it that way. So we cried wolf and that was wrong. But this is real. This is going to be way different.

 

What’s striking to me is that I recently filed a video for Refined Right, on how Bill Maher and others slamming Trump-supporting evangelicals is shallow and myopic before I knew of these remarks, which would have been made on the same night he begged people not to vote Trump:

In 2012 Joe Biden said Mitt Romney would put black people back in chains if elected. It’s a flatly ridiculous statement to make, but this has been the level for years.

Now that liberals have broken off the LiterallyHitler™ knob cranking it to 11 with their alarmism on the GOP for so long, we get to find out if this election is in in fact a “boy who cried wolf” scenario if Trump wins.

That Maher would in the same night beg people not to vote Trump while bashing them strikes me as a bit insincere and that we’re supposed to believe now that it’s somehow “for realsies” this time is desperate, fake and absurd since this comes only now that it looks like Trump might actually pull this off.

Why should we believe them on anything anymore?

There’s nothing quite as empowering as the knowledge and understanding that people like that are going to call you whatever names and buzzwords they want no matter what you say, mean, or actually believe and nothing is going to change how they speak of people who vote Trump, whether they’re conservatives, evangelicals, libertarians, nationalists, populists or even disaffected liberals such as myself.

The folks over at Occupy Democrats Logic, a Facebook page dedicated primarily to making fun of Occupy Democrats and the like, have a take that resonated with me as a suitable response:

(GC) You know what, this really pissed me off.

I remember the 2012 election pretty well. Before that election, and this may shock some of you, I actually leaned more to the left. I watched the Young Turks. I read HuffPo. “Occupy Wall st.” and “the other 98%” were in my likes on Facebook.

But two very important things happened. First was learning about Ron Paul’s campaign and his son Rand in the senate. Through them, I went on to discover Friedman and Hayek and other thinkers whose logic and common sense became harder and harder to deny.

But the second big one was the general election against Romney. Every time Romney spoke, he would always clarify how he thought Obama was a good man, good father and patriot who he just happened to think wasn’t a good president.

The left however, went on full attack mode. He was a sexist who was gonna ban birth control and take us back to the fifties, he was a warmonger, he was a racist (even though his father was a civil rights activist), his wife and kids were attacked, his wife for being a stay at home mom and his sons for not serving ( even though Obama now has a daughter old enough to serve and two wars still being fought), Harry Reid flat out lied about him being a tax avoider, and Obama even coldly blew off his congratulations call by subtly calling him a racist as well. That’s when I finally learned the truth. I had been misled to believing all the left wanted was an inclusive society where everyone had a fair shake. Bull. Fucking. Shit. All they want is obedience and they will hammer down on anyone who steps out of line.

So fuck your fake remorse Bill Maher.

#DrainTheSwamp: Of all the bombshells, the leaked debate questions are among the most infuriating

Also at theliberalnetwork.com

By now we’re all well aware of the Oct. 28 bombshell dropped by FBI Director James Comey, that the bureau will take another look at the criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s alleged mishandling of classified information on her private email server.

Needless to say, the Dems are almost certainly in full-panic mode and it’s pretty hilarious:

Between that, the revelations that the Clinton family and various apparatchiks used the Clinton Foundation to personally enrich themselves, a top Justice Department official giving the Clinton camp the heads up by tipping them off about the FBI’s investigation, as well as much, much more, there’s plenty for many to be very angry about since it appears that the people we’re ostensibly supposed to trust to run the highest institutions of government are corrupt beyond compare.

Strangely enough to me, a relatively trivial revelation amidst all this makes me the angriest:

This revelation came to light after Brazile strongly insisted to Megyn Kelly that she never fed questions to the Clinton camp prior to any of the presidential debates:

Brazile’s evasiveness is clear from the get go, making it a point to remind everyone that the emails were stolen and refusing to answer Kelly’s direct question as to how she got the relevant question.

To be clear, current Democratic National Committee interim chair (and now former CNN contributor) Donna Brazile flatly lied to Kelly when she said “as a Christian woman” she will not stand to be “persecuted” by information that is “totally false”.

So far the Dems have not contested the authenticity of the emails with any notable vigor except one MSNBC contributor’s claim, shared by thousands without a shred of evidence, that the emails  were forgeries:

From The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald:

As you can see, more than 4,000 people have re-tweeted this “Official Warning.” That includes not only random Clinton fans but also high-profile Clinton-supporting journalists, who by spreading it around gave this claim their stamp of approval, intentionally leading huge numbers of people to assume the WikiLeaks archive must be full of fakes, and its contents should therefore simply be ignored. Clinton’s campaign officials spent the day fueling these insinuations, strongly implying that the documents were unreliable and should thus be ignored. Poof: Just like that, unpleasant facts about Hillary Clinton disappeared, like a fairy protecting frightened children by waving her magic wand and sprinkling her dust over a demon, causing it to scatter away.

Except the only fraud here was Nance’s claim, not any of the documents published by WikiLeaks. Those were all real. Indeed, at Sunday night’s debate, when asked directly about the excerpts of her Wall Street speeches found in the release, Clinton herself confirmed their authenticity. And news outlets such as the New York Times and AP reported — and continue to report — on their contents without any caveat that they may be frauds. No real print journalists or actual newsrooms (as opposed to campaign operatives masquerading as journalists) fell for this scam, so this tactic did not prevent reporting from being done.

But it did signal to Clinton’s most devoted followers to simply ignore the contents of the release. Anyone writing articles about what these documents revealed was instantly barraged with claims from Democrats that they were fakes, by people often pointing to “articles” like this one.

The Daily Caller has since published cryptographic evidence of the emails’ authenticity and tested them for any alterations the results of which have so far shown that they are in fact real and untampered.

“Politics as usual”

I’ve heard various iterations and insistences that this is all “politics as usual” as a way to downplay clear and obviously unethical conduct, if not outright criminal wrongdoing.

That isn’t a defense but yet another line-item in the bill of indictment of a rotten-to-the-core political establishment which can’t be trusted to do anything right by the American people, or act with a single shred of integrity.

I voted for Bernie Sanders in the Mar. 1 Texas primary because I believed a Sanders administration would have at least tried to alleviate the economic miasma working-class Americans are still mired in.

Sanders lost me in every possible way however when he endorsed Clinton, in the most pathetic act of capitulation I’ve ever seen in politics, especially since the DNC leak confirmed the suspicions of his supporters that the DNC was at least conspiring to sabotage his campaign while feigning neutrality.

I have numerous reasons by now why I voted for Donald Trump in the general despite all his numerous flaws.

The most pertinent to this entry is that my patience has run dry with this kind of conduct being normalized as “politics as usual”.

Perhaps naively, I’d hoped for a Sanders/Trump general election contest chiefly because I still believe it would have been infinitely more substantive than the circus we’re stuck with now.

Instead of more substantive issues, this election will be decided more on how the Clinton and the Democrats connived, schemed, lied, smeared, and played identity politics to the most ludicrous extremes (no, “emailgate” is not a “bitch hunt”, Trump would have been eaten alive if he’d done the same, and Comey laying out her extreme, almost certainly criminal negligence while letting her walk is not a “talking-down-to” but a concession no ordinary service member or civilian would ever receive and would be fortunate beyond description or belief to benefit from).

Brazile helping Clinton cheat in the debates against both Sanders and Trump, albeit relatively trivial compared to what she is under criminal investigation for, exemplifies everything that’s wrong with government and politics.

That this kind of conduct is excused as “politics as usual” I feel is a such a direct threat to our democracy, that it validates suspicions that the election is in various ways “rigged”.

The threat lies in the fact that if this corrupt establishment will do it to Trump and Sanders, they’ll do it to literally any candidate whether you like them or not.

I don’t know if Trump really can “Make America Great Again”, but this kind of malfeasance and mendacity is why I’m imminently ready to help #DrainTheSwamp.

VIDEO: Why You Can’t Trust Fact-Checkers

Republished from Refined Right

At the Oct. 9 presidential debate, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump made a comment about Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton having “acid washed” her email server while she was investigated for allegedly mishandling state secrets.

“You delete 33,000 emails. And then you acid wash them, or bleach them, as you would say; a very expensive process,” said Trump while calling for a special prosecutor to look into the matter.

BleachBit is open-source, so a charitable interpretation of “expensive” might mean the cost of labor spent on whatever IT professional(s) might have wiped the server since Trump and Clinton are unlikely to be capable of performing such a data wipe themselves or even know what’s involved in the process.

Despite their probable ignorance about computers, it also doesn’t require a computer science degree to figure out that “acid washing” or “bleaching” are terms not to be taken literally.

NBC News (among others) decided to “fact check” Trump with extraordinary literalism anyway:

At their website, BleachBit is actually quite explicit about what the purpose of their program is:

When your computer is getting full, BleachBit quickly frees disk space. When your information is only your business, BleachBit guards your privacy. With BleachBit you can free cache, delete cookies, clear Internet history, shred temporary files, delete logs, and discard junk you didn’t know was there. Designed for Linux and Windows systems, it wipes clean thousands of applications including Firefox, Internet Explorer, Adobe Flash, Google Chrome, Opera, Safari, and more. Beyond simply deleting files, BleachBit includes advanced features such as shredding files to prevent recovery, wiping free disk space to hide traces of files deleted by other applications, and vacuuming Firefox to make it faster. Better than free, BleachBit is open source.

There’s certainly a strong argument to be made in favor of private use of such programs for the sake of personal privacy; everyone has locks on their bedroom and bathroom doors for a reason.

What Clinton had done with it however looks a lot more like obstruction of justice for the purpose of evading accountability as a high-level public executive than a simple clean out of superfluous files or the sanitization of an old family computer before disposal.

Whether “acid wash” is a term of use in IT, if only colloquially, it’s obvious that’s what was done, with BleachBit being the program used to destroy potentially incriminating evidence in Clinton’s private email server.

NBC News trying to cram a non-sequitur about a “corrosive chemical” into the mix looks like nothing more than a deliberate obfuscation.

That outfits like NBC News willfully engage in this kind of obtuse, petty hair-splitting is almost certainly why, whatever anyone’s politics might be, trust in the media has plunged to new depths according to Gallup:

The divisive presidential election this year may be corroding Americans’ trust and confidence in the media, particularly among Republicans who may believe the “mainstream media” are too hyperfocused on every controversial statement or policy proposal from Trump while devoting far less attention to controversies surrounding the Clinton campaign. However, the slide in media trust has been happening for the past decade. Before 2004, it was common for a majority of Americans to profess at least some trust in the mass media, but since then, less than half of Americans feel that way. Now, only about a third of the U.S. has any trust in the Fourth Estate, a stunning development for an institution designed to inform the public.

Such distrust is predictable and completely valid when the Fourth Estate degenerates into apparatchiks in eager service to political parties and campaigns of any kind.

Even if Trump didn’t use an exact technical term, nor knew exactly what he was talking about (at least here), his meaning was clear enough not to need a wealth of IT knowledge to know what he was getting at.

NBC News and others spun it anyway, and you don’t have to like or defend Trump, or even be that deep into politics to see why Americans not only distrust the media in record proportions, but why they’re entirely justified in that distrust.