Donald Trump’s Second Presidential Debate Performance Was Red Meat To The Alt Right

Who is Donald Trump trying to impress? And why?

If you were wondering exactly what audience Donald Trump was playing to with his combative debate performance in last night’s second presidential debate, here’s a clue.

Donald Trump’s “braggadocious” threats to prosecute Hillary Clinton if he wins the presidential election will do nothing to temper the fears of undecided voters who have no love for Hillary Clinton but harbour reservations about throwing their support behind an authoritarian wannabe strongman.

But this kind of language is absolutely lapped up by Trump’s strongest source of support – the conspiracy-tinged alt-right, who see Hillary Clinton not merely as an ethically challenged creature of Washington D.C., but as evil incarnate – the “wicked witch of Benghazi, cackling over her cauldron” as one pro-Trump social media user put it.

And the conspiratorial InfoWars site certainly lapped up Trump’s second debate performance, as seen in the instant reaction video shown above, and again at far greater length in that site’s six-hour coverage of the debate at Washington University in St. Louis.

But in the midst of the pro-Trump cheerleading, InfoWars reporter Owen Shroyer actually makes a very pertinent observation:

You know, it is an amazing dynamic where it seems like if you like Donald Trump, no matter what, he wins, if you like Hillary Clinton, no matter what, she wins. How do we break any ground on that? How do we break through that paradigm where only your candidate can win the debate? I think that that illustrates the polarisation that we’re seeing in this country in this election cycle.

Indeed, different sites and journalistic outlets have called the debate in line with their partisan leanings or the supposed proclivities of their readers, preferring to pander than to challenge or upset. The Guardian declared a victory for Clinton, while the Spectator and numerous American conservatives (even those opposed to Trump) declared him the victor.

As this blog commented following the debate:

My initial assessment: if you disregard actual facts (as we now seem to do), Donald Trump probably had the better of this debate. He went on the (nuclear) attack, hit Hillary Clinton hard, gave his supporter base something to cheer about and managed to do enough incendiary things to bump the Trump Tapes story fallout down the news agenda. Hillary Clinton didn’t commit any significant gaffes and was more poised, but again there was nothing tremendously inspiring about her sales pitch for the presidency.

And it seems that we do now disregard facts and adherence to them when judging a candidate’s debate performance. While Hillary Clinton certainly was not consistently truthful during the debate, Donald Trump made significantly more blatant falsehoods. But can he still be said to have “won”, by virtue of having been more combative in tone and unapologetic about his deceits? Apparently so.

What is clear is that more than ever – even more than four years ago, when Republicans trapped in an ideological echo chamber of their own making were convinced that Mitt Romney was going to lead them to victory – is that both sides have retreated to their respective ideological bubbles, hermetically sealed safe spaces of bias confirmation in which awkward facts or revelations are diminished or entirely ignored in order to avoid the slightest cognitive dissonance in the minds of their supporters.

Donald Trump’s combative performance and willingness to step into unprecedented territory in his attacks on Hillary Clinton will have been red meat to those of his supporters already firmly ensconced in the bubble. Threatening to send “crooked Hillary” to jail is red meat to the ascendant alt-right movement.

But will it have done anything at all to convince wavering voters that Donald Trump is capable of carrying out the duties of the presidency in a calm and measured way, or that he represents a safe choice for those unwilling to vote for Hillary Clinton? Almost certainly not.

And with less than a month to go until the election, Donald Trump still has all of his work ahead of him to reach that low but mysteriously elusive bar of acceptability.

 

donald-trump-hillary-clinton-first-presidential-debate-1

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No, Donald Trump Did Not Call For Hillary Clinton’s Assassination (This Time…)

Donald Trump already provides ample evidence that he is temperamentally unsuitable to be US president without the biased, pro-Hillary American media putting words in his mouth

There is a particularly pernicious story making the rounds at the moment that Donald Trump supposedly called for the assassination of Hillary Clinton (again).

From the New York Times:

Donald J. Trump once again raised the specter of violence against Hillary Clinton, suggesting Friday that the Secret Service agents who guard her voluntarily disarm to “see what happens to her” without their protection.

“I think that her bodyguards should drop all weapons,” Mr. Trump said at a rally in Miami, to loud applause. “I think they should disarm. Immediately.”

He went on: “Let’s see what happens to her. Take their guns away, O.K. It’ll be very dangerous.”

In justifying his remarks, Mr. Trump falsely claimed that Mrs. Clinton wants to “destroy your Second Amendment,” apparently a reference to her gun control policies.

[..] On Friday night, breaking from his prepared remarks and turning his gaze from the teleprompters, Mr. Trump looked straight into the crowd as he made the insinuation about Mrs. Clinton’s safety. He gestured emphatically with his hands as he spoke, at one time pointing to a member in the crowd to find agreement.

And the US Guardian:

In a sometimes bizarre 45-minute speech on Friday night, which opened with the unfurling of a new “Les Deplorables” battlefield flag backdrop, the Republican nominee went off-script to call for his opponent’s bodyguards to “disarm immediately” – adding, “Let’s see what happens to her.”

“Take their guns away!” Trump demanded to loud cheers during a section of the speech in which he said his rival wanted to “destroy your second amendment” and he accused Clinton of “arrogance and entitlement”.

In a statement, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook denounced Trump’s comments: “Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for President, has a pattern of inciting people to violence. Whether this is done to provoke protesters at a rally or casually or even as a joke, it is an unacceptable quality in anyone seeking the job of Commander in Chief.”

“But we’ve seen again and again that no amount of failed resets can change who Donald Trump is.”

The call to leave the Democratic nominee protected by unarmed secret service agents, first made by Trump in May, raised eyebrows as a reversion to the undisciplined candidate of the primaries rather than the more scripted one of recent weeks. Trump also suggested in August that if Clinton was elected president, “the second amendment people” might be able to stop her from appointing judges. That statement was widely interpreted as a veiled assassination threat as well at the time.

The tone and inference of both of these articles are shockingly misleading.

The point that Donald Trump was making was that it is rather hypocritical of Hillary Clinton to advocate for stronger gun control laws which potentially limit the ability of the citizenry to defend itself when she herself is surrounded by the best trained and equipped armed guards in the world, and does not have to worry for her own safety. Trump was suggesting that were Clinton’s Secret Service protection revoked, forcing her to provide for her own personal security, she might not be so keen to limit the types of weapons available to private citizens.

Now, one can disagree with the premise of Trump’s point and poke all kinds of holes in the logic (though this blog considers the basic thrust of the argument to be quite sound), but by no stretch of the imagination does this amount to a snide assassination threat. It does not even amount to a charge of inciting his supporters to imagine the horrific scenario of an assassination. It is merely a reductio ad absurdum argument intended to make the point that well-protected senior members of the US government should perhaps refrain from dictating to ordinary Americans the manner in which they can defend themselves.

John Hinderaker of the Powerline blog makes the same point:

Trump obviously was making the point that he and countless others have made many times before: liberals like Hillary Clinton, who are protected 24/7 by armed guards, are deeply hypocritical when they try to disarm millions of Americans who don’t have taxpayer-funded protection and rely on their own firearms for self-defense. The point is a powerful one, which is why liberal reporters don’t want to acknowledge it. Instead, they absurdly pretend that Trump was hinting that Hillary should be assassinated.

This kind of thing fools no one. Millions of Americans are quietly fuming over the press’s overreach, going over the top, day after day, to defeat Donald Trump. The blowback is building, and will continue building until election day.

At one point, when I was opposing Trump during the GOP primaries, I said to the press: Stop attacking Trump! Liberal reporters often began with a valid point, but their hysterical hatred for Trump caused them to go too far, making arguments that were patently unfair and unsustainable. Therefore, the more they attacked Trump the more his support grew. The same thing is happening now: most Americans have a pretty good sense of fair play, and they know that Trump is being treated badly by the establishment–a group for whom most Americans have no great affection.

But the media, always on the lookout for the next Trumpian outrage, refused to see reality in these terms. Rather than reporting Trump’s rather simplistic but sound argument – one which was worthy of discussion and a response – many media outlets instead chose to claim, with no evidence, that Trump had done something far worse.

This blog has no problem calling out Donald Trump’s extreme and unacceptable language when he actually says something bad – the infamous “second amendment remedies” comment in August being of another order altogether. But on this occasion, Trump was not making an extremist or reckless point, though the media chose to report the two stories with the same level of outrage.

And it is this behaviour, right here, which erodes public trust in the mainstream media. It is tawdry, opportunistic media overreaches like this, so clearly betraying a seething partisan agenda, which drive decent but concerned citizens into the arms of the extremist fringe and the conspiracy theorists.

Sometimes, to watch the American media openly campaign for Hillary Clinton, one wonders if everybody else inhabits a slightly different universe. We all witnessed disturbing footage of Clinton’s lifeless body being dragged into the back of her waiting secret service van on the occasion of the 9/11 memorial in New York City, yet the chirpy presenter on MSNBC that afternoon casually announced that she merely “stumbled” a little – the definition of “stumbled” having been temporarily extended to include loss of motor control and even consciousness. What we see with our own eyes and what the media choose to report are increasingly two very different things.

And while Donald Trump has a treasure trove of past incendiary statements positively bulging with potential scandal, that is apparently not enough for the media – they must also twist Trump’s words and breathlessly and falsely report to the public that the Republican presidential nominee just called for the assassination of his rival.

You don’t need to admire or support Donald Trump to be outraged at the lazy, biased journalism on display here. This blog is certainly no Trump fan. But if someone does happen to support Trump then these unnecessary extra efforts by the media to demonise the candidate and his supporters will only harden their support and erode what little trust is left in the media.

Those perpetually outraged American liberals in the media, on the hunt for their next anti-Trump scandal, should bear in mind that hysterical and obviously-inflated charges will not have the effect of somehow “bringing Trump supporters to their senses”. On the contrary, it will simply drive Trump loyalists and even wavering voters to alternative, less scrupulous sources which echo rather than castigate their beliefs.

Lying to the American public and pretending that Donald Trump’s remarks were a de facto call for Hillary Clinton’s assassination will not cause a single person to flip from supporting Trump to supporting Clinton. But it will ensure that a number of readers wave goodbye to the New York Times and the Guardian, instead placing their trust in pro-Trump outlets like InfoWars or Mike Cernovich.

Now, is the catharsis of manufactured outrage and liberal media grandstanding really worth the potential risk of shoring up Trump’s base?

 

Donald Trump Rally

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An Anti-Trump Protest In Portland, An Unbridgeable Divide On Immigration

Congratulations, American leftists. By deliberately and persistently conflating legal and illegal immigration in the public discourse, it is no longer possible to have any kind of rational dialogue on the subject

I’m not normally in the habit of sharing Infowars videos other than the few occasions when I have had a chuckle at Alex Jones, but I encourage you to watch this video.

This is footage of a calm and eminently reasonable man debating with two left-wing women on the subject of immigration at an anti-Donald Trump protest in Portland, Oregon.

Background: The man’s own parents were legal immigrants, and he is attempting to get the two protesters to acknowledge that there is a difference between legal and illegal immigration, and that the former should be welcomed but the latter not tolerated.

They totally refuse to give any ground, refusing to acknowledge any difference between legal and illegal immigration and becoming ever more nonsensical as the video progresses. It’s not so much that they are deliberately conflating the two types of immigration in the way that so many cynical politicians have done. In the case of these protesters – having no doubt percolated in an ideological echo chamber where everyone thinks and says the same liberal thoughts – they are genuinely unable to discern the difference.

Key moment in the dialogue:

Man: My parents came here from Cuba, they came through Ellis Island through the proper channels and they became citizens.

Woman: Sir, it’s not about it being legal, it’s about that America — is open to help people. You’re just being closed minded.

Man: I’m not against immigration or immigrants, never was. My parents were immigrants.

Woman: But saying you’re against illegal immigrants is the same thing.

Man: It is not! Legal and illegal immigration is not the same thing.

Woman: Why does it matter if someone’s not “legally”…

Man: Of course it matters.

Woman: Why?

The two women in this film genuinely cannot see why joining the queue, waiting, paying money and taking a citizenship test is more virtuous and honourable than sneaking across the border or overstaying a visa, and they become increasingly agitated the more the man persists in trying to explain the difference. While the man is able to debate and discuss, all that the protesters can do is shout accusations and repeat talking points, so when he quickly discredits their stock responses (illegal immigration is great, just like rainbows and puppies) they have no intellectual fallback position. This is why they become so evidently distressed a few minutes into the video.

It’s worth watching this to remind ourselves of what the Left has been trying to accomplish in the immigration debate. Conflating legal and illegal immigration has long been a core goal, because not only does it then become much easier to tar opponents of the latter with the stain of racism, it also produces brainwashed young activists and voters who mindlessly parrot the phrases they are given and accept these positions without question.

And when anything – like, say, a Donald Trump Rally – penetrates their hermetically sealed ideological echo chamber? Since they cannot debate, they have only one response:

Shut it down! Shut it down! Shut it down!

And since even taking a moderate position on illegal immigration (such as granting permanent residence but not citizenship to those who have already come) prompts exactly the same vicious reaction, is it any wonder that many American conservatives are now spurning compromise themselves and gravitating toward the presidential candidate who says “screw it, just build the wall”?

Congratulations, American liberals. This is what you have wrought on the American political discourse, all in the name of tolerance.

 

Donald Trump protest

Bottom Image: Press Herald

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“Patriot” Watch, Ctd. 6 – On DOMA

 

I have been giving Alex Jones a break lately because amidst the more sensationalist, over-hyped, alarmist warnings about the New World Order that he broadcasts on his daily show, he actually did a very good job exposing the rotten corruption of our political and financial system during the recent Bilderberg 2013 conference in Watford, England, in the face of ridicule from a cowed, smirking, servile British mainstream media.

But all good things must come to an end, and now the quotation marks are firmly back around the word “patriot” in this latest report from the Patriot Watch, because on a recent show, Alex Jones decided to open his mouth and offer to the world his thoughts about the US Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). I would say that viewer discretion is advised, but by now you should really know what to expect – you are duly warned.

So here we have it. According to our intrepid Alex Jones, being straight is now a crime.

This is a social engineering programme to break down society. On record. On record. To tell five-year-olds that Heather has two mommies or, y’know, that Bobby has two daddies. I mean, this is, this is pedophile behaviour. Uhhh… forcing down the throat of children, specifically. Sexualising them when they are supposed to be innocent.

I will note once again how amusing it is that anti-gay equality activists continually use charged and suggestive rhetoric in their arguments, complaining about things being “forced down their throats”, etc.

And it hardly needs to be said that there is a world of difference between explaining different family arrangements to children as a legitimate attempt to help children understand that being different is okay and that there is no shame in being raised by parents who are both of the same gender, and working deviously to “sexualise” them. No one serious is proposing that the mechanics of gay (or straight) sex be taught to children at the age of five. But when your argument against gay equality is being so comprehensively rejected by the population and legal minds of the country, there is little left to fall back on other than misleading straw-man arguments.

The argument also dovetails nicely with conspiracy theories that proponents of gay marriage are using propaganda aimed at children as well as “chemicals in the food supply” and other measures (just watch the video) to make people gay in order to massively depopulate the world.

But my favourite part by far is when Alex Jones – in full, majestic “rant” mode – sarcastically proposes human sacrifices of children to gay people:

And I’m supposed to go “Hey, take peoples’ kids”? I mean, it’s liberal. Maybe we should sacrifice our kids to a big homosexual altar, maybe have a pyramid. And you go up and the gay priests are there, and y’know, like, they chop your kid up with a meat cleaver, y’know, to prove you’re not racist or homophobic. I mean, every society has done this since Sodom and Gomorrah. Whether you believe the Bible or not, the men come to the door and say “Give us those men! Come out, we’re going to have sex with you”.

Where did they get this idea of a gang of men coming and saying “we’re going to rape you”? Because in every society, once this starts – the Romans, it was outlawed, folks. Cause they had seen what happened to other cultures. Rome rose, was stoic, got into this, and pretty soon it was Caligula dressed up like a werewolf raping and killing children. And I bring this up because this is what all elites end up doing. Raping and killing children dressed up like a werewolf. You don’t know about that? Look it up [..]

So they would go and do all this, and by the end it was just ripping childrens’ heads off, stabbing them, bleeeeurgh, chewing their throats out, blood spraying all over the walls. And I mean, so that’s where this goes, so just understand that that’s where this goes, that’s what’s going to happen. That’s where it ends.

That is some masterful dot-connecting from Alex Jones here. The Defense of Marriage Act is repealed on day one, and by day seven we are all having bacchanalian feasts where we gorge ourselves on the blood and flesh of children. Damn Justice Kennedy, what was he thinking?!

If you can grit your teeth and make it to the end of this short InfoWars / Alex Jones video, you will be treated to a nice segment where he tries to sell you “survival seeds”. Enjoy.

Alex Jones re-enacts the fall of Rome
Alex Jones re-enacts the fall of Rome

 

On Bilderberg Withdrawal Syndrome

It’s all over.

The last armoured limousines have swept back out of the Watford Grove Hotel’s gates, and the helicopters have departed.

The steel fence is being disassembled, and Alex Jones has flown back to his “central command center” in Austin, Texas.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I have a rather acute case of Bilderberg Withdrawal Syndrome.

For a few precious days, at least a segment of the population who don’t normally pay attention sat up and looked at the protesters, covered on television at length for the first time, and listened to what they had to say. They heard about the concentration of power in the hands of a global elite, about our failed financial system, the lack of accountability in the political and corporate worlds, the pervasive nature of the surveillance state, and the efforts underway to undermine the importance of local power and the nation state.

And so for the first time in a very long time we were able to have something of a national conversation about causes rather than effects. About the disease rather than the symptoms (which are covered in one form another by the newspaper headlines most days – crime, immigration, unemployment, income inequality, education).

And it was amazing how widely and enthusiastically the message was received. I was particularly heartened to learn how many of the police officers guarding the meeting venue and the Bilderberg Fringe protest site had listened to the message from the protesters and taken an active interest, some even undertaking to go home and do their own research:

 

Ellen Grace Jones, writing at The Huffington Post, agrees with my assessment:

A triumph in securing – for the first time ever – wall-to-wall mainstream media attendance, subjecting the meeting to serious enquiry and inspection. And a triumph in hosting a peaceful, joyful Fringe event within the Grove grounds which united thousands of concerned citizens, activists and inquisitive Watford locals. This year felt like a sea change in dragging the shadowy cabal’s club kicking and screaming into the daylight.

She continues:

On Sunday, with the Fringe winding down and a hundred or so lining the gates as the delegates left, I questioned a police liaison officer if he’d felt awakened by the event he’d witnessed this weekend. “I’ve heard a lot of interesting ideas that I’m going to go away and research. I’ve got a reading list, Agenda 21, Endgame which I’m going to follow up. The one person who really made me sit up and go ‘oh my god’ was one of the audience, a former stockbroker. He was discussing things I’ve thought about like who’s controlling the energy companies, oil company cartels and the Libor bank scandal and he made me think, yeah actually, as someone who’s suffered from the housing crash somebody else should be paying for this but it’s the public sector that’s being screwed to pay for their mistakes – especially the police, we’re being cut.”

Of course, it wasn’t all good. The Bilderberg protests brought out the absolute worst in much of the British mainstream news media, who refused to take the issue seriously at all, treated the protesters as imbeciles and simpletons to a man, and covered the event only as the lighthearted end segment, where you would normally expect to be entertained by a squirrel on water-skis.

The foremost example was the truly dreadful segment from the BBC’s The Sunday Politics show, in which the lead-in to the segment focused only on the lunatic fringe of the protest and wholly ignored the serious concerns of the protesters, and the substance (if it can be called that) of the interview itself, with US journalist Alex Jones, whereupon host Andrew Neil decided to mock his guest from start to finish, fail to ask serious questions and ultimately provoke Jones into one of his famous rages:

 

There were also reports of Bilderberg-covering journalists being held or turned away at the border, and of harrasment of various kinds.

But on the whole, those wonderful days where we actually got to talk in public and on mainstream media about freedom and liberty without getting bogged down in the minutiae and drudgery of day-to-day political distraction were intellectually refreshing, and invaluable for the movement.

Roll on Bilderberg 2014 – if they dare assemble in public sight again.