The Middle Majority Livestream

Fairly recently some friends of mine got together to form a private Facebook group called “The Middle Majority” as “A non partisan alliance standing against political intolerance from across the ideological spectrum,” born in the wake of the 2016 election as well as the fallout from the U.S. election result that shocked the world.

While we call ourselves “The Middle Majority”, we don’t mean to be arrogant — perhaps we call ourselves that out of hope that we are of the majority of people who hope for a new small-l liberal political center against the emerging political extremes.

As much as has transpired especially since the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States, we’ve decided to have a public chat with a private group of friends who are worried about the state of politics and creeping extremism from both the left and right ends of the political spectrum.

We’ll discuss the normalization of political violence on the left (“Everyone I don’t like is a ‘Nazi'”), how Trump’s critics sabotage themselves, Vault 7 and more.

For more information contact me, Jacob Santillan on Twitter @Digital_Heretic

What If Donald Trump Was a Woman?

It’s the question that New York University asks in a Feb. 28 post titled “What if Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Had Swapped Genders?

The question is meant to address whether Donald Trump’s behavior on the campaign trail — whatever anyone thinks of it — would have been tolerated were he a woman.

To that end, INSEAD associate professor of economics and political science Maria Guadalupe  decided to put that question to the test in a production called Her Opponent which reverses the genders of the 2016 candidates.

Her Opponent casts Rachel Whorton as “Brenda King”, a female version of Trump — Daryl Embry plays “Jonathan Gordon”, a male version of Hillary Clinton.

Together with clinical associate professor of educational theatre Joe Salvatore, they map out the speaking styles and mannerisms of both Clinton and Trump to reenact the 2016 presidential debates to see how audience members would react to a female version of Donald  Trump:

After watching the second televised debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in October 2016—a battle between the first female candidate nominated by a major party and an opponent who’d just been caught on tape bragging about sexually assaulting women—Maria Guadalupe, an associate professor of economics and political science at INSEAD, had an idea. Millions had tuned in to watch a man face off against a woman for the first set of co-ed presidential debates in American history. But how would their perceptions change, she wondered, if the genders of the candidates were switched? She pictured an actress playing Trump, replicating his words, gestures, body language, and tone verbatim, while an actor took on Clinton’s role in the same way. What would the experiment reveal about male and female communication styles, and the differing standards by which we unconsciously judge them?

They assumed that Trump’s aggressive style and willingness to go on the attack wouldn’t be tolerated coming from a woman, but Her Opponent shattered that presumption for audience members at two sold out Jan. 28 shows:

Based on the conversations after the performances, it sounded like audience members had their beliefs rattled in a similar way. What were some themes that emerged from their responses?

We heard a lot of “now I understand how this happened”—meaning how Trump won the election. People got upset. There was a guy two rows in front of me who was literally holding his head in his hands, and the person with him was rubbing his back. The simplicity of Trump’s message became easier for people to hear when it was coming from a woman—that was a theme. One person said, “I’m just so struck by how precise Trump’s technique is.” Another—a musical theater composer, actually—said that Trump created “hummable lyrics,” while Clinton talked a lot, and everything she was was true and factual, but there was no “hook” to it. Another theme was about not liking either candidate—you know, “I wouldn’t vote for either one.” Someone said that Jonathan Gordon [the male Hillary Clinton] was “really punchable” because of all the smiling. And a lot of people were just very surprised by the way it upended their expectations about what they thought they would feel or experience. There was someone who described Brenda King [the female Donald Trump] as his Jewish aunt who would take care of him, even though he might not like his aunt. Someone else described her as the middle school principal who you don’t like, but you know is doing good things for you.

What did you find most surprising?

I was particularly struck by the post-performance discussions about effeminacy. People felt that the male version of Clinton was feminine, and that that was bad. As a gay man who worked really hard, especially when I was younger, to erase femininity from my body—for better or worse—I found myself feeling really upset hearing those things. Daryl [the actor playing Jonathan Gordon, the male Clinton] and I have talked about this multiple times since the performances. Never once in rehearsal did we say, “play this more feminine.” So I think it was mostly the smiling piece—so many women have told me that they’re taught to smile through things that are uncomfortable. It’s been really powerful to hear women talk about that, and a learning experience for me. I was surprised by how critical I was seeing [Clinton] on a man’s body, and also by the fact that I didn’t find Trump’s behavior on a woman to be off-putting. I remember turning to Maria at one point in the rehearsals and saying, “I kind of want to have a beer with her!” The majority of my extended family voted for Trump. In some ways, I developed empathy for people who voted for him by doing this project, which is not what I was expecting. I expected it to make me more angry at them, but it gave me an understanding of what they might have heard or experienced when he spoke. (Emphasis added)

Whatever the implications (namely to me that Hillary Clinton lost because of the inescapable downside of being Hillary Clinton, not because she’s a woman) when I watched the clip I couldn’t help but think I’d like a female Trump more than Trump himself.

As “Brenda King” channeled the politics of Trumpism, I found myself affirmatively liking King, as opposed to having voted Trump with an enthusiasm that manifested in me as “well shit…I guess I’m doing this…” on Nov. 8.

Cathy Young — who is as far from a Trump fan as I’ve been able to gather — sums it up pretty well:

You can read the rest here.

Trump is Right to Kill Obama’s Transgender Bathroom Policy

On Feb. 22, the Trump administration reversed the Obama-era policy which requires public schools to allow transgender students to use whatever bathrooms and locker rooms they say corresponds with their professed gender identity, or risk the loss of federal funding.

The response from Trump’s detractors is predictable:

I’m broadly supportive of transgender people living however they like, the only exceptions which immediately come to mind are children and athletics.

I nonetheless think President Trump’s decision was correct.

Ben Shapiro over at The Daily Wire had a few thoughts to share I felt worth considering.

1. This Is Not The Federal Government’s Job. The federal government has no role in redefining sex for an entire country, particularly not under laws like the Civil Rights Act specifically designed to protect biological women from biological men in many cases. This is an issue for states and localities, if it is an issue for government at all – which it isn’t, since assaults are already prosecuted, and transgender people have equal access to protection from the police.

This is the easiest point of agreement for me and the main reason I support this reversal.

When the Obama policy first came down, I couldn’t shake the thought of “what if this were a policy I wouldn’t have liked that was rammed through this way?”

Well, the progressive-left now finds themselves on the wrong end of a presidential administration that wields enormous power.

Whether you agree with the policy or not, it’s worth considering that when both the left and the right freak out about what each other’s respective opposition will do once in power, it’s probably time to peel back at executive authority, even if that means giving up terrifying powers of the state which you might exploit to get what you want — as well as the other way around.

The past two years have been an interesting political journey for me after quitting left-wing politics and reconsidering everything I’ve ever believed in.

Some trips have been shorter than others, but the idea of limited government has appealed to me more than I ever considered before.

Though I haven’t been a fan of Obama for a long time, I do remember sections of the right behaving in ludicrous ways, such as claiming that Obama is a “mole for the Muslim Brotherhood“.

Now the left is so hysterically scared of Trump, they’ve become like the very people they laugh at in what one person cautions against as the “Alex Jonesification of the Left“.

Shapiro makes another point which needs to be discussed:

3. Sex Is Not Malleable. Nobody is arguing that transgender people shouldn’t be allowed to think whatever they want about themselves. They have the right to dress how they want, act how they want, and identify however they want. But their right to wave their fist – just like everybody else’s right – ends when they hit a nose. And mandating that everybody arbitrarily shift the definition of biological sex to self-identification – and threatening to punish those who don’t – is an imposition on the entire society. Society cannot simply begin undermining crucial truths like sex because some people are susceptible to more mental health problems due to that truth. That would be an argument for doing away with truth generally.

Yet the left refuses to acknowledge any of these ideas. They want a new civil rights movement, and that means government action, even without Constitutional or legal mandate or even biological support.

This is the point I struggle the most with.

Again, I’m broadly supportive of transgender people living how they please, but the notion that someone can issue an executive order that enacts radical, sweeping, unilateral changes regarding fundamental truths such as redefining sex for an entire country is more than slightly unnerving.

This is especially so considering that there are people who make demonstratively untrue claims such as “biological sex is a social construct” as though chromosomes don’t exist.

It’s not just dramatically untrue, but an assault on objective truth itself.

There are underlying fundamental questions about this issue that can’t be asked or discussed because the progressive-left took an issue that is as poorly understood as transgenderism and decided to be extraordinarily aggressive about it, proclaiming as if from on high that it’s “the next civil rights frontier” and smearing dissenters or anyone who questions it as bigots.

A troubling development related to this are the rise of confected, alphabet-soup pronouns and endlessly-multiplying fabricated genders.

Writing those into laws against discrimination or hate speech is a recipe for madness, as evidenced by — if you’ll pardon the language — some really strange shit coming out of universities these days:

As a side note, there’s a pretty good chance this stuff is publicly funded, like the study to determine whether glaciers are sexist for which the taxpayers were stung with a $709,000 bill.

There’s a soft authoritarianism underlying the notion of writing subjective perceptions of self into law.

It’s a kind of authoritarianism that doesn’t come wrapped in a flag or thumping a bible.

It doesn’t stomp around in jackboots or bear the menacing scowl of a die hard party ideologue who snarls through gritted teeth that you must comply “because the party says so”.

It’s a therapeutic authoritarianism wrapped in the language of “diversity and inclusion”, “human rights” and “multiculturalism” — dissent construed or criminalized as “hate speech” and “bigotry” — which demands that you dismiss fundamental truths and believe that there are five lights when you know there are only four.

It’s an authoritarianism with a kind-seeming face, bearing a smile that doesn’t quite reach the eyes but hides a knife behind the back of a “diversity commissar” who is all too ready to strike anyone who gets someone’s “preferred pronoun” wrong.

There are plenty of valid questions to ask about this issue, but it’s impossible to have any constructive conversations about it when any discussion outside progressive-left orthodoxy is met with incandescent hostility and even violence.

Canada is a country in which comedians are hauled in front of human rights tribunals for telling jokes, and its parliament recently passed Bill C-16, which writes into law protections of gender identity and expression without bothering to define what exactly that means.

Above all, the Obama-era transgender bathroom policy should serve as a stark warning as to the expansion of government power and what could be written into law and policy for the sake of being “on the right side of history”:

Clarification/Correction: Bill C-16 was passed by the Canadian House of Commons, but has not yet been approved by their Senate. 

According to Dr. Peterson, who has followed this extensively, Bill C-16 passed second reading on Mar. 2:

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:

Screen Shot 2016-11-02 at 3.59.10 PM.png
Email ID #39807

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.