Get Out Of My Country: POC Edition

Back in the days of my youth, there used to be a fairly popular saying among the Archie Bunker class, “America, Love it or Leave it!”  It was generally directed against anti-war types, hippies, and meatheads of various sorts, including recent immigrants who decided to make it a personal mission to bitch about every aspect of their new home.  Clearly there is no actual place to exile native born American citizens, although I’ve long suggested a plan to offer to buy out their American residency and send them on their way.  Even at a price of a couple of hundred thousand dollars per miscreant, it would be money well spent to reduce the general annoyance level of the country.

These fond remembrances came back to me after President Trump’s recent tweet to “The Squad,” The Democratic House’s Scooby gang of meatheads, Reps. Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pressley, and Tlaib.

I had written about Ilhan Omar before since I regard her as the most dangerous one of the quartet.  Pressley, I hadn’t even known was part of this little Legion of Doom until Trump started tweeting about the Squad.  AOC on the other hand, is, on balance a net plus for the GOP.  Her goofy statements provide lots of clicks on right leaning websites and her ability to push the entire Democratic Party to the left, tweet by tweet, helps make the entire party look like crazy town.  Of course, that’s a double edged sword.  I seem to recall someone else who rode their twitter account all the way to the White House…

Since there is a media consensus that Trump’s tweets are racist, there is no point in trying to contradict that.  They decide, you shut up and take it.  Of course, to me, the issue wasn’t about race at all, merely the ignorance of telling native born American citizens to go back to their country.  If he had just directed it Omar, it would have been an accurate tweet.  And frankly, I wish Omar would go back to her country.

To the left/Democrats/mainstream media however, any insult directed to a “person of color” is racist simply based on the color of the person the insult is directed to, not the actual content of the insult.  A racial insult can now be race free!

Ah, progress…

By that ridiculous standard, that makes Trump’s tweet against Pressley and Omar “racist” since after all, they’re Black.  But with Tlaib and Ocasio-Cortez, it’s a bit more complicated.  Rashida Tlaib is Palestinian, which according to the US Census makes her White. Ocasio-Cortez is Puerto Rican, and claims mixed ancestry, but who’s to know?  It’s unlikely she’ll be as dumb as Elizabeth Warren and submit to a DNA test.  Just going by the eyeball test though, if her last name were Italian, French, or Greek we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.  There is no paper bag test applied to people claiming to be “people of color.”  If it were, you would need to be at least this brown to ride this ride:

Person of Color Test

Person of Color Test

Instead, we have this term, People of Color, who’s purpose seems to be to separate everyone in the world from a couple of hundred million White people.  In fact, quite a few Caucasians seem to qualify as people of color not by virtue of race or skin tone, but by some sort of amorphous layer of oppression. You can even be a European from Spain or Portugal, where you are considered white, but once in the US, you would magically become, “a person of color.”

In popularizing that term, someone, somewhere, thought it would be useful to have a term that separated the rest of humanity from a certain type of white people.  There are human beings (the People of Color) and then there are some strange oppressive Orc like subspecies; white people.  The term and its use have no cultural or phenotypical purpose; the purpose is political; to demonize a small segment of the human race as the Kulaks of planet Earth.

It might be useful to start fighting back on this term, since it’s been allowed to grow like kudzu for years, and is becoming more and more important in separating “them” from “us.”  Who is “them” and who is “us” is becoming more and more important in multicultural America .

Shadow Brokers Revisited

Almost three years ago a contractor for the NSA, Harold Martin was arrested for stealing classified information and possibly selling it.  As The New York Times wrote at the time:

“Investigators pursuing what they believe to be the largest case of mishandling classified documents in United States history have found that the huge trove of stolen documents in the possession of a National Security Agency contractor included top-secret N.S.A. hacking tools that two months ago were offered for sale on the internet.

They have been hunting for electronic clues that could link those cybertools — computer code posted online for auction by an anonymous group calling itself the Shadow Brokers — to the home computers of the contractor, Harold T. Martin III, who was arrested in late August on charges of theft of government property and mishandling of classified information.”

I wrote about the case at the time in this post, and noted some of the oddities involved in this case:

The hacking tools were reported to have “lost” several years earlier by being inadvertently left behind on a compromised computer.

The Intercept reported that a previously unpublished draft document from the NSA (probably from the Snowden leaks) describes the tools.

In 2016, 3 years after the hacking tools are supposed to have been ‘lost,’ Harold Martin is charged with stealing and selling them.

All of that made it odd that they were looking at Martin (publicly at least) as the thief who stole and sold the hacking tools.  Yet with all of the NSA’s capabilities, they couldn’t seem to find any evidence Martin had actually done that, which brings us to this week:

“…Yet none of that is likely to be mentioned at Martin’s July 17 sentencing. The hearing instead will turn on dramatically different depictions of the enigmatic Martin, a Navy veteran, longtime government contractor — most recently at Booz Allen Hamilton — and doctoral candidate at the time of his arrest.

Martin was never charged with disclosing information and was accused only of unlawfully retaining defense information. The Shadow Brokers, which two weeks before Martin’s arrest surfaced on Twitter with the warning that it would auction off NSA hacking tools online, continued trickling out disclosures after Martin was in custody, a seeming indication that someone else may have been responsible.”

So either the government couldn’t come up with enough evidence to charge Martin with stealing and selling the hacking tools (the tools that had been lost years earlier), or it was a red herring and there was never real evidence that he was involved in the hacking tools theft in the first place.

When I wrote about this case two and a half years ago, I surmised both that Martin was innocent of selling hacking tools (but not of hoarding classified material at home-he seems guilty as hell of that) and that the Shadow Brokers were a front group possibly of the NSA itself.  My theory, as I stated at the time, goes like this:

“So the information on the hacking tools is out there, even if the tools themselves are not.  But there is no doubt enough technical data that would make it possible for a sophisticated intelligence service to perhaps identify and defend from those particular tools. So maybe, just maybe, the NSA wants to muddy the waters a bit by “losing” their tools, only to be found by a hacking group which then brags about having them and uses them to intrude into systems worldwide.

So…what if the tools were never lost, or stolen by Martin?  What if it’s an elaborate setup to create a black hat hacking group, that can be the fall guy for failed or identified computer systems intrusions?  Since the technical manual stolen by Snowden is out there, that means the useful shelf life of these hacking tools are limited, so an entirely new set of software has to be created, but that takes time.  In the meantime, there is a fall guy for failed or identified computer intrusion operations, the Shadow Brokers.

So it looks like I was right that Martin wasn’t the source of the release of the hacking tools, but to my second point, are the Shadow Brokers actually a puppet group operated by the NSA?  In a world of perfect security, we would never know the answer to that.  However given the absolute security bungling that the government has been guilty of, it’s possible that The Intercept may one day have a scoop on that very issue.  Hopefully that won’t be for a very long time.

 

The Democratic Open Borders Debate

To an outside observer, the Democratic debates last week looked like a one way trip to crazy town.  As The New York Times noted:

“Raise your hand if you think it should be a civil offense rather than a crime to cross the border without documentation?” José Díaz-Balart, one of the moderators, asked.

Eight candidates raised their hands, some more eagerly than others. Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. raised a finger.

When pressed by Mr. Díaz-Balart about whether he would deport undocumented immigrants without a criminal record, Mr. Biden did little to clarify his specific stance, instead defending the Obama administration’s policies that deported roughly three million undocumented immigrants.

So come on in!  How a “civil offense” would work in real life was left unexplained.  If the Border Patrol comes across some border crossers, do they just write them a ticket and send them on their way?  “Civil Offense” is just another way to say we’ve stopped enforcing borders.

But that wasn’t even the craziest part.

As The Washington Times notes:

Every single Democrat on the debate stage Thursday said he or she would grant government health insurance to illegal immigrants, plowing new ground well beyond the boundaries of Obamacare.

“Our country is healthier when everybody is healthier,” said Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

Even former Vice President Joseph R. Biden said he would extend coverage to illegal immigrants — a reversal from his stance in the Obama administration, when Democrats considered and specifically rejected the idea as too controversial and unfair.

“You cannot let people who are sick, no matter where they come from, no matter what their status, go uncovered,” Mr. Biden said. “It’s the humane thing to do.”

Democrats are so enthusiastic about illegal aliens, they’re going to give them healthcare.  I imagine the 7 billion plus future Americans all around the world know who they’re supporting! And yet, in spite of this insanity, I saw the media weekend damage control on the rounds of cable TV insisting that the Democrats were not open borders.

Really?

Although this debate was as in-your-face on open borders as you could imagine, it’s not actually a new position.  They’ve just decided to stop hiding it.  During the 2014 border crisis, prominent Democrats couldn’t wait to embrace all of border crossers who made it onto US territory.  Of course that was a different time, when President Obama could stack illegal children in cages like cordwood with zero bad press for his trouble.

It does make you wonder, who is the voting constituency for all of this pandering to non-Americans?  Is the desire for open borders really that strong among the Democratic base?  And even if it is, why is Beto campaigning in Mexico this week? Even by Democratic pandering standards, this is bizarre.  Well I hope the asylum seekers in Ciudad Juarez ask some tough questions of their candidate.

 

The News Media Primary Debate

Tomorrow is the first of two Democratic Presidential candidate debates.  With so many candidates running, even splitting the debate over two nights still seems like it’s going to be too crowded a debate stage.

As a consequence, there is likely to be nothing much of interest said in this first debate(s).  How many actual chances to speak will each candidate get?  One or Two?  So we might, if we’re lucky, get a few sentences out of each candidate.  That’s a shame because some of these candidates are interesting, and I would be curious to hear some give and take with candidates like Andrew Yang or Tulsi Gabbard; two candidates who are unlikely to get more than the minimum amount of airtime.

So at this point, the real story (at least to me) won’t be what the candidates say, but how the coverage of the debate is handled by the MSM.  The debate is being shown on NBC/MSNBC, which is well known for its own biases, so how they cover the candidates, and how the other TV media cover the candidates, will be more revealing than anything the candidates say.  As a casual viewer of mainstream TV news, here are my guesses on the media’s picks for the Democratic candidate.

NBC/MSNBC:           Although the network has shown love to all of the major candidates, the one they have come down to defending has been Joe Biden.  The Morning Joe gang routinely sounds like a Biden cheering section.  My guess is that NBC/MSNBC feels like Biden has the best shot to beat Trump, and have taken an editorial position to support Biden.

CNN:              CNN doesn’t sound like it has any animus towards Biden, but hasn’t made up its mind and just wants the most leftward candidate who can beat Trump. So it seems for now they are actually being an honest broker other than mostly ignoring the candidates who are too far down in the polls to have a shot.  They may have learned their lesson with Beto to not fall in love to early.  The heartbreak is still probably painful from that.

ABC:               This network has clearly taken the editorial position that Biden can’t beat Trump and his constant gaffes are not going away.  That’s why they’re the only major TV news station (other than Fox) to cover extensively the Hunter Biden corruption scandal.  ABC seems to want to clear the field of Biden quickly to allow a more electable candidate rise up.  They just don’t know who that is yet.

CBS:               This is the mystery to me.  I honestly have not been able to get a firm handle on their positioning yet (maybe after I see their coverage of the debate) but I suspect it mirror’s CNN’s position.

Fox News:  With nothing at stake and no frantic need to push the Democratic primaries on a mission to replace Trump, their coverage seems to be the most even handed.  They’ve had several Town Halls with Democratic candidates (including a successful one by Bernie Sanders) and have had the candidates who will actually appear (most of the top tier candidates boycott Fox) as guests.  I’ve seen Gabbard and Yang multiple times on different Fox shows.

I’m curious if we’ll know by the weekend if the MSM has settled on a candidate, or at least decided on a slate of possible candidates.  Since none of the candidates will probably get to say much (with the exception of Biden; this is on NBC/MSNBC after all), the ones declared “winners” will be purely at the media networks discretion.

Stay tuned!

 

When Hollywood Makes Conservative Movies

The other day a buddy messaged me a link to a Quillette article titled, The Conservative Manifesto Buried in ‘Avengers: Endgame,’ asking what my take was on the thesis. I didn’t even know he was reading Quillette.  Didn’t he know that’s part of the “Intellectual Dark Web” and therefore crime-think in polite society?  That this was a gateway drug to the Alt-Right?  The New York Times concern trolled the Intellectual Dark Web last year in its Meet the Renegades of the Intellectual Dark Web.

Here are some things that you will hear when you sit down to dinner with the vanguard of the Intellectual Dark Web: There are fundamental biological differences between men and women. Free speech is under siege. Identity politics is a toxic ideology that is tearing American society apart. And we’re in a dangerous place if these ideas are considered “dark.”

Today, people like them who dare venture into this “There Be Dragons” territory on the intellectual map have met with outrage and derision — even, or perhaps especially, from people who pride themselves on openness.

In other words, today’s dangerous ““there Be Dragons” territory” was yesterday’s conventional wisdom.  Of course for that very reason, the IDW isn’t any sort of intellectual movement; it’s simply a catch-all term for public intellectuals who found themselves on the wrong end of the SJW guillotine simply by not changing their entire worldview every time there is a new outrage trending on Twitter.  The fact that they make such a tiny fraction of opinion makers is troubling though.  An honest intelligentsia would almost always find itself on the wrong end of Twitter madness.  I guess we don’t have one of those.

But on to Endgame and the answer to the question, is there a conservative manifesto buried in Avengers: Endgame?

Short answer: No.

Long answer: Also No.  I loved Avengers: Endgame, as I wrote about here, but the author’s contention, that the MCU version of time travel is more conservative than what he calls the “standard model,” seems like nonsense. The standard model is that when you time travel, you are going back to your actual past and can influence things in your past to change your present.  This was amply demonstrated in Back to the Future among other films. Marty McFly’s changes in the past actually give him a better present.  In the MCU however, Dr. Banner/Hulk calls this nonsense.  You can’t change the past.  What’s done is done.  All you can do is go back and, by actually being in the past, create a new and distinct timeline, where your past changes will have no effect on your own past or history, only on the new timeline you’ve created.

As a theory of time travel, this actually makes more logical sense and is more up to date with Quantum Mechanics as nonscientists such as myself know it (to time travel, they go through the ‘Quantum Realm’) than the old version.  But there is nothing particularly political about it. The fact that you can’t change the past in the MCU time travel version doesn’t mean you are trapped by consequences, since in one sense, that sort of time travel frees you from consequence.  You can go back to the past, do anything you want, like kill your grandfather, and it won’t affect you, your history, or anything about your “present” since the consequences are borne by the alternate universe created by the time traveling.  As a consequence, Tony Stark gets a heart to heart talk with his father in 1970, Thor gets a heart to heart talk with his mother in pre-Ragnarok Asgard, and Captain America gets into a brawl with his own 2012 self.

So instead of conservative manifesto, I see clickbait.  You can do better Quillette.  However I do acknowledge that the villain Thanos is a Paul Ehrlich-like enviro-nut. Frankly, Endgame was such a dense movie that they barely could fit a single “you go gurrls” scene in the film.

That’s not to say that liberal Hollywood doesn’t make unintentionally conservative films.  They have to, because like it or not, they live in a world that mostly runs along conservative (small c) rules.  Juno of course is a great example.  Although screenwriter Diablo Cody seems horrified that the film as viewed seems to have a pro-life message, and has stated she regrets she wrote it in such a way, the truth is that’s what makes it a heartwarming film.  There is no version of that movie in which Juno decides to go to the clinic to get rid of a clump of cells and everyone shares the same heartwarming ending. The movie just would not have become the hit it did or even have gotten made.  If they could, Hollywood would make movies all day about women who exert their choice to abort their babies, but that doesn’t make a movie concept that sells.

During the 1970’s, when street crime was much more of a thing, and was a cause of real fear and anxiety among the general public, the Dirty Harry and Death Wish films were highly popular, because they represented a real fear of street crime among the public.  Hollywood was just as liberal then as now, but they recognized the money making appeal of the average guy getting revenge on criminals, or a cop bending the rules to provide street justice when it wasn’t available through the system.

Red Dawn was a rare exception to the rule that cold war fears were to be exploited solely by the left.  “Because…we live here” is probably the most right-wing thing said in American cinema.  Try using that as an argument for immigration restriction in your college Social Issues class and see where that gets you.

Hollywood will continue to make movies that are outwardly lefty and lose money, and movies that really do have a conservative bias (like The Dark Knight Rises) which totally slips by the Hollywood censors, but I don’t think Endgame falls in either category.  For that, you’ll have to wait for Marvel Studio’s Phase 5, The Intersectional Avengers.

 

Return to Krypton

So popular are super hero properties these days that they are actually making TV shows that don’t include any actual superheroes.  The long running Gotham concluded its series run this spring by finally showing Batman in its series finale, after 5 seasons.  Under development on the DC Universe streaming platform is Metropolis, a TV show set in Superman’s city without Superman.  And getting ready for its second season premiere, once again without any Superman, is Krypton.

But even among a group of odd takes on super hero locales sans actual super heroes, Krypton is different.  Taking place 200 years before the planet explodes the series revolves around the adventures of Superman’s grandfather, Seg-El. But rather than just being a Gotham-esque deep dive into DC history, the series has current Earth character Adam Strange (no relation to the Marvel sorcerer) somehow time traveling and space traveling to this pre-destruction era on Krypton.  Strange has a mission to save the timeline and Superman in the “present” by keeping the destruction of Krypton on course.

As a premise, this is messed up.  In the first season Strange and Seg-El team up, with Seg-El only half buying Strange’s story about being from another planet in the future, their team up is contingent on Seg-El not knowing that Strange is really rooting for Krypton’s destruction.  But then how would Seg-El ever find that out?  Enter General Zod (as in “kneel before…”- that guy), another time traveler, who most definitely wants to alter the planet’s fate.  If Superman is never born in the process; so much the better.

So putting yourself in the place of an average Kryptonian, or just a person in general, which is the more moral position? To allow or cause for an entire planet to blow up, killing billions, to make sure one man (Superman) is born or to prevent an entire planet from blowing up, saving billions, even at the cost of one man (Superman)?  The answer seems rather self-evident, placing the villain Zod as the guy with the moral high ground, while Earthman Adam, who just wants to save Superman, as someone trying to ensure genocide happens on schedule.

There are plenty of gaps in the basic premise big enough to drive the entire Fortress of Solitude through.

How did Adam, a scrappy kid from Detroit, get hooked up with the alien Sardath?  Why would Sardath pick Adam, of all people, to go back in time?  How did Sardath even know the timeline, and Superman, were in danger?  What exactly was the cause of that danger (never explained)?  Why did Adam assume that Kryptonians would care about Superman more than their own world’s destruction?  How did Zod end up going back in time and why?

And for season two, with the timeline changed, Krypton saved, no Superman, and Brainiac conquering Earth, why would any Kryptonian help Adam reset the timeline ( in other words, destroying Krypton)?  The entire series seems as if it went to production long before the basic premise was worked out with major gaps missing from the set up.  It’s a tribute to the production that I actually found the show very watchable in spite of the gaps in the premise.  Or, these guys are geniuses and all will be revealed, in a way that makes sense, over time.

Who knows?  But I’m interested enough to stick around for another season and find out.

 

When the Debt Ceiling is the Least of your Worries

As you get older, it seems like these events come around more quickly…

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government will have to stop borrowing money between July and December if Washington doesn’t agree to raise a legal restriction on public debt, the Treasury Department said on Wednesday.

Hitting that so-called “debt ceiling” could trigger a U.S. default on its debt and an immediate recession, a risk that has become a regular facet of U.S. politics over the last decade.

The current debt limit was set in March. Treasury has been able to continue borrowing from investors by using accounting measures such as limiting government payments to public sector retirement funds.

Yes its debt ceiling time one again.  In fact, we’re so used to it now that the real debt ceiling was hit back in March and the Treasury just went into its automatic back up plan. With the Administration and Congress not talking to each other, constant fiscal crisis could become routine.

But that’s nothing compared to what’s coming.  According to OBM projections, starting in 2025, all of our federal government borrowing will go to finance the interest on the national debt, as illustrated in this handy chart:

It’s like when you reach the point that you are getting cash advances on your credit cards to pay your minimum credit card payments on other cards.  Frankly, I don’t know what this really means in terms of the impact on our economy.  Will interest rates skyrocket?  Will we go into an instant recession?  Will inflation coming roaring back? I don’t know and I’m not sure anyone knows.  It would be nice to think that we could work through our problems and come to some sort of bipartisan agreement (*cough* Balanced Budget Amendment *cough*) but the odds of that seem a lot less than us all coming together and dealing with the debt ceiling crisis that’s coming up this year.