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 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.

 

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.

Ilhan Omar and the Failure of Multiculturalism

For all of the entertainment value afforded by the three amigos of the Freshmen Democratic class; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Talib, and Ilhan Omar; occasional nuggets of insight can be gleamed; particularly in the case of Ilhan Omar. Unlike AOC, whose gaffes are often hilariously dumb, Omar gaffes are of the Michael Kinsey variety; a politician unwittingly telling the truth.

Omar recently gave an interview in Vogue Arabia with this observation:

It’s a life lesson she has repeatedly turned to during her most challenging days – from being a refugee to being a black, Muslim, hijabi woman in the US. Her family fled the Somali civil war in 1991, staying in a refugee camp in Kenya for four years, before resettling in the US. Here, she was confronted with the differences between her and her new home. “It was the first time that all of the identities I carried and had pride in, became a source of tension,” she recalls. “When you’re a kid and you’re raised in an all-black, all- Muslim environment, nobody really talks to you about your identity. You just are. There is freedom in knowing that you are accepted as your full self. So the notion that there is a conflict with your identity in society was hard at the age of 12.”

There may be more than one way to read this, but it sounds as if she finds many qualities of a refugee camp favorable to living in the United States.  In a refugee camp, there wasn’t an issue of identity because everyone was a black Somali Muslim.  Here in the US on the other hand, you have infidels of all different shades, preventing you from being “accepted as your full self.”

So per Omar, if you can only be your “full self” within the confines of your own people, it almost sounds as if she is an alt-right nationalist (or tribalist). Well who’s kidding who?  There is no almost about it.  Omar is an ethno nationalist.  I wouldn’t really have a problem with that if she were in Somalia, but it bothers me a great deal that she’s essentially masquerading as an American legislator when she seems more comfortable being on the side of America’s enemies, as she did in her Black Hawk Down tweet.

One has to wonder why we even bother having a military when we allow the enemy a vote in the US Congress.

Assange Indictment Sounds like BS to Me

Julian Assange, looking like a demented Santa Claus, was booted from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on Thursday in preparation to be extradited to the United States. Ecuador; tired of his antics, finally let the other shoe drop and kicked him out. Of course this was bound to happen eventually, which makes me wonder how Assange thought that remaining a prisoner in the Ecuadorian Embassy for years was actually better than serving a prison sentence (for whatever real or imaginary crimes) and then getting out.

The internet comments on Assange’s arrest don’t line up in the usual left/right way you would expect.  Assange is an anti-American leftist and normally should expect support from…anti-American leftists.  Although that still seems true for the international set, the domestic anti-American leftists are split.  Most applaud his work in helping to severely damage US national security by releasing a treasure trove of classified information from the Manning leaks, but hurting Hillary and helping the Orange Man to win the Presidency?  Unforgivable!   On the right, the split is reversed.  Some applaud Wikileaks in preventing a Hillary-Apocalypse, but others hate the national security damage he helped cause.

And where do I come down?  I think he’s an anti-American leftist who hates the US and would do anything he can to bring it down.  However, that’s no different than the Publishers and editorial staff of The New York Times, Washington Post, and many if not most US newspapers and media outlets.  They also are anti-American leftists who hate the US and would do anything to bring it down.  And all of those newspapers and TV news outlets have published or reported on all matter of stolen classified information from Manning, Snowden, and innumerable leaks over the years; all damaging to the US.  And they are all, Assange included, protected by the First Amendment.

As a work around, the Department of Justice has made up a charge of conspiring to hack government computers, something I don’t recall ever being mentioned during Manning’s trial.  You can read the indictment here.

A few years ago, I would have just swallowed that story and accepted it, however the past few years have worn away any trust I might have had in the DoJ. Simply put, I just don’t believe it. Manning already had access to the SIPRNET, the Secret level government classified network, and apparently had so few, or no duties while deployed in Iraq that he could sit in front of his workstation for his entire shift, for weeks and months on end, copying files to a CD.  Manning didn’t need any extra passwords to unload a treasure trove of classified information.

If this case gets as far as discovery, I imagine his lawyers should demand some sort of evidence that the information was not already available on SIPRNET with the passwords and accesses that Manning already had.  I have a sneaking suspicion though that it will never get that far.