Day: April 10, 2017

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Hackers to blame for sounding tornado sirens in Dallas, officials say


Hackers were responsible for tornado sirens sounding across Dallas Friday night, officials said.

Dallas officials said Saturday they believe the hack came from someone in the area, Fox 4 News reported.

The sirens started to blare at around 11:40 p.m. Friday night. Rocky Vaz, an Office of Emergency Management official, said the hack caused 156 sirens to go off across Dallas. It led to a surge in 911 calls.

Emergency crews were forced to manually turn off the sirens early Saturday. All sirens were shut off by 1:15 a.m., officials said.

Authorities have not released any information as to who is possibly behind the hack.



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Video purportedly shows Colorado officer throwing woman down face-first


A video spreading on social media shows a police officer in Colorado throwing a woman face-first onto a sidewalk after a scuffle.

The woman struck the officer in the university town of Fort Collins on Thursday after police detained her boyfriend, police spokeswoman Kate Kimble told the Coloradoan newspaper.

The officer used “standard arrest control” to subdue her, Kimble said.

In a statement Sunday evening, police Chief John Hutto pledged to conduct a fair investigation of the video. The department will review the officer’s actions, he said.

But Hutto added that he will not release the video from officers’ body cameras. “This is an open investigation and to release evidence, absent a truly compelling reason, would not be proper,” he said.

Hutto says the body-camera video will be released once the investigation is over.

Police identified the woman as 22-year-old Michaella Surat. She was arrested on suspicion of third-degree assault and obstructing a peace officer and released on bond.

No phone number could be found for her.



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Punishment as Foreign Policy


The goal of American foreign policy should be to make our friends more secure and our adversaries less secure. The balance of countries then have to decide how they want to position themselves. A successful policy will have tactical goals that fit into a larger strategic picture. The American attack on Syria’s al Shayrat military air base fits squarely into the rubric.

The UK, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Japan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Poland approved publicly. So did Democrats Dick Durbin, Ben Cardin, Chuck Schumer, Elizabeth Warren, and Nancy Pelosi. Opposed were Russia, Syria, Iran, and Bolivia (keep reading). China and Sweden made statements that hedged. Among the more odd responses, Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr called on Assad to resign, and MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell called it a “false flag” operation, planned by President Trump and Vladimir Putin to help Trump prove he isn’t pro-Russian.

The first Russian response — after a furious announcement that they were tearing up the deconfliction agreement with the U.S. in Syria (they quickly thought better of it) — was to report that planes had flown from the base, so the U.S. attack had been a failure. Not so. Photos from the UK Daily Mail clearly show that hangars, fuel storage, airplanes, and service buildings were destroyed, confirming the Pentagon’s assessment. An Israeli report indicated that 58 of 59 Tomahawks hit. Flying some planes to al Shayrat and rolling them down abandoned runways is typical Russian obfuscation — the planes didn’t come from there, can’t stay there, can’t be maintained there, and can’t be refueled there. As punishment, the strike was a success.

If the tactical goal was met, what about the strategic ones? The Trump administration had announced that America’s priority in Syria would be the ouster of ISIS rather than the removal of Bashar Assad. Does the attack change that? Does it mean “regime change” is back on the table? Is the U.S. about to enter the Syrian civil war?

Not necessarily. Ambassador Haley’s comment that no political solution is possible with Assad does not mean that the U.S. is looking for a military solution. We faced a violation of international law that constituted an international emergency.

Not because of the numbers — more than 400,000 Syrians have already been killed, 11 million are displaced internally and externally, and life expectancy has declined by more than a decade. (U.S. comparables would be 5.6 million dead and 154 million total refugees – factors of 14.) Chemical weapons have been outlawed precisely because the world has generally agreed that they are uniquely hideous and terrifying. The appearance of CW threatens one of the world’s few consensus points.

Which is to say, the consensus on CW was actually shattered in 2013-14 with President Obama’s “red lines” and “game changers.” But then a different consensus coalesced around the fiction that Syrian chemical capability had been eliminated by a U.S.-Russian joint operation. Voices of disbelief were few and far between –- no one wanted to take on Putin or Obama. One result was to embolden Assad and his patrons. The past three years have seen Syrian and Russian strikes on relief convoys and civilians, including the use of chlorine –- though not nerve gas –- to pursue their campaign against Syrian Sunni Muslims.

But this is 2017 and the United States –- as the world’s only superpower –- chose to punish the perpetrator for violations of the international order that protects us all. Ambassador Haley is admirably clear. “When the United Nations consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action.”  Moreover, the Pentagon is now investigating Russian complicity in the attack itself or the subsequent attack on a Syrian hospital treating the victims.

The fact that the U.S. holds the presidency of the Security Council this month is serendipitous. Veto countries can veto and they will, but rotating members of the Council have choices to make. Bolivia, for example, sought permission to denounce the U.S. privately in front of the Council. Bolivia’s president, Evo Morales, has pursued an anti-American, pro-Iranian foreign policy and expelled USAID from his country in 2013. Ambassador Haley’s response put Bolivia on the spot and others on notice:

This morning, Bolivia requested an emergency UN Security Council meeting to discuss the events in Syria. It asked for the discussion to be held in closed session. The United States, as president of the Council this month, decided the session would be held in the open. Any country that chooses to defend the atrocities of the Syrian regime will have to do so in full public view, for all the world to hear.”

America’s open policy has risks. Every potential course of military or political action does, and attacking an ally of Russia and Iran certainly does. But just last week Russia offered only a half-hearted defense of its client Assad in Pravda, perhaps suggesting a way forward for the U.S. and Russia:

President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in an interview that “unconditional support is not possible in this current world.” But he added that “it is not correct to say that Moscow can convince Mr. Assad to do whatever is wanted in Moscow. This is totally wrong.”

So although Putin is Assad’s support on the ground and in the UN, that support is not unconditional and Russia admits that Assad sometimes goes his own way without Russian approval. Secretary of State Tillerson’s impending visit to Moscow provides an opportunity to probe further.

Iran and North Korea may draw conclusions that are helpful or harmful and the U.S. and its allies will have to be prepared for either.

But not responding to the flagrant use of chemicals inside Syria may make the use of chemicals outside Syria not unthinkable –- a shell aimed at Israel, for example. Not responding to loathsome and illegal Syrian behavior may make the transfer of chemical capabilities to Hizb’allah by the Syrian government not unthinkable. Both of those would touch Israel’s stated “red lines” and risk widening the war considerably.

Any further military action against the Syrian regime by the United States could be necessitated by choices made by Assad, but the mission we undertook -– a proportionate and appropriate punishment for an international war crime -– has been accomplished. Perhaps the administration could make just one more statement:

The Syrian Ministry of Defense is next if necessary. Your call.

The goal of American foreign policy should be to make our friends more secure and our adversaries less secure. The balance of countries then have to decide how they want to position themselves. A successful policy will have tactical goals that fit into a larger strategic picture. The American attack on Syria’s al Shayrat military air base fits squarely into the rubric.

The UK, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Japan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Poland approved publicly. So did Democrats Dick Durbin, Ben Cardin, Chuck Schumer, Elizabeth Warren, and Nancy Pelosi. Opposed were Russia, Syria, Iran, and Bolivia (keep reading). China and Sweden made statements that hedged. Among the more odd responses, Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr called on Assad to resign, and MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell called it a “false flag” operation, planned by President Trump and Vladimir Putin to help Trump prove he isn’t pro-Russian.

The first Russian response — after a furious announcement that they were tearing up the deconfliction agreement with the U.S. in Syria (they quickly thought better of it) — was to report that planes had flown from the base, so the U.S. attack had been a failure. Not so. Photos from the UK Daily Mail clearly show that hangars, fuel storage, airplanes, and service buildings were destroyed, confirming the Pentagon’s assessment. An Israeli report indicated that 58 of 59 Tomahawks hit. Flying some planes to al Shayrat and rolling them down abandoned runways is typical Russian obfuscation — the planes didn’t come from there, can’t stay there, can’t be maintained there, and can’t be refueled there. As punishment, the strike was a success.

If the tactical goal was met, what about the strategic ones? The Trump administration had announced that America’s priority in Syria would be the ouster of ISIS rather than the removal of Bashar Assad. Does the attack change that? Does it mean “regime change” is back on the table? Is the U.S. about to enter the Syrian civil war?

Not necessarily. Ambassador Haley’s comment that no political solution is possible with Assad does not mean that the U.S. is looking for a military solution. We faced a violation of international law that constituted an international emergency.

Not because of the numbers — more than 400,000 Syrians have already been killed, 11 million are displaced internally and externally, and life expectancy has declined by more than a decade. (U.S. comparables would be 5.6 million dead and 154 million total refugees – factors of 14.) Chemical weapons have been outlawed precisely because the world has generally agreed that they are uniquely hideous and terrifying. The appearance of CW threatens one of the world’s few consensus points.

Which is to say, the consensus on CW was actually shattered in 2013-14 with President Obama’s “red lines” and “game changers.” But then a different consensus coalesced around the fiction that Syrian chemical capability had been eliminated by a U.S.-Russian joint operation. Voices of disbelief were few and far between –- no one wanted to take on Putin or Obama. One result was to embolden Assad and his patrons. The past three years have seen Syrian and Russian strikes on relief convoys and civilians, including the use of chlorine –- though not nerve gas –- to pursue their campaign against Syrian Sunni Muslims.

But this is 2017 and the United States –- as the world’s only superpower –- chose to punish the perpetrator for violations of the international order that protects us all. Ambassador Haley is admirably clear. “When the United Nations consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action.”  Moreover, the Pentagon is now investigating Russian complicity in the attack itself or the subsequent attack on a Syrian hospital treating the victims.

The fact that the U.S. holds the presidency of the Security Council this month is serendipitous. Veto countries can veto and they will, but rotating members of the Council have choices to make. Bolivia, for example, sought permission to denounce the U.S. privately in front of the Council. Bolivia’s president, Evo Morales, has pursued an anti-American, pro-Iranian foreign policy and expelled USAID from his country in 2013. Ambassador Haley’s response put Bolivia on the spot and others on notice:

This morning, Bolivia requested an emergency UN Security Council meeting to discuss the events in Syria. It asked for the discussion to be held in closed session. The United States, as president of the Council this month, decided the session would be held in the open. Any country that chooses to defend the atrocities of the Syrian regime will have to do so in full public view, for all the world to hear.”

America’s open policy has risks. Every potential course of military or political action does, and attacking an ally of Russia and Iran certainly does. But just last week Russia offered only a half-hearted defense of its client Assad in Pravda, perhaps suggesting a way forward for the U.S. and Russia:

President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in an interview that “unconditional support is not possible in this current world.” But he added that “it is not correct to say that Moscow can convince Mr. Assad to do whatever is wanted in Moscow. This is totally wrong.”

So although Putin is Assad’s support on the ground and in the UN, that support is not unconditional and Russia admits that Assad sometimes goes his own way without Russian approval. Secretary of State Tillerson’s impending visit to Moscow provides an opportunity to probe further.

Iran and North Korea may draw conclusions that are helpful or harmful and the U.S. and its allies will have to be prepared for either.

But not responding to the flagrant use of chemicals inside Syria may make the use of chemicals outside Syria not unthinkable –- a shell aimed at Israel, for example. Not responding to loathsome and illegal Syrian behavior may make the transfer of chemical capabilities to Hizb’allah by the Syrian government not unthinkable. Both of those would touch Israel’s stated “red lines” and risk widening the war considerably.

Any further military action against the Syrian regime by the United States could be necessitated by choices made by Assad, but the mission we undertook -– a proportionate and appropriate punishment for an international war crime -– has been accomplished. Perhaps the administration could make just one more statement:

The Syrian Ministry of Defense is next if necessary. Your call.



Source link

Police officer murdered in London terror attack lies in state in Parliament


Fallen hero Keith Palmer is tonight resting in the very place he died trying to protect, ahead of one of the biggest gatherings of British police officers in history.

The 48-year-old’s body has been taken to the Palace of Westminster ahead of his funeral tomorrow – a rare honor that requires the consent of the Queen.

More than 5,000 police men and women are expected to line the road to Palmer’s funeral, joined by up to 50,000 members of the public in a touching service for the fallen cop.

But officers have been warned not to wear their uniforms if attending the service, to be held at Southwark Cathedral at 2 p.m. (9 a.m. ET) on Monday.

Instead, changing cubicles have been provided for officers wanting to pay their respects to their colleague.

Palmer was killed when deranged Khalid Masood ploughed through crowds on Westminster Bridge, killing five innocent pedestrians before stabbing the experienced cop outside the Houses of Parliament.

Click for more from TheSun.co.uk.



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BBC, Sandy Hook Conspiracies, and Donald Trump


Before writing this piece I had no particular interest in the Sandy Hook massacre. Indeed I could hardly recall it. However, I am interested in conspiracy theories from both a political and psychological point of view.

On the one hand, I’m convinced that most conspiracy theories are created to advance political goals and/or to sustain/backup pre-existing ideologies or political positions. On the other hand, inconvenient (or politically incorrect) theories are often conveniently classed as “conspiracy theories” simply because they advance something that’s against the political status quo (or the government’s “official narrative”).

The other thing about the Sandy Hook case, and the corresponding conspiracy theories, is how they’ve been represented by the media — in this case, by the BBC. To clarify, the BBC’s piece (Sandy Hook to Trump: ‘Help us stop conspiracy theorists’) is actually more about the attempts — of various persons — to counteract the conspiracy theorists than it is about the Sandy Hook massacre itself.

To cite a quick example to begin with: the BBC tells us that X is connected to Y “who has been linked with President Donald Trump.” These tangential and often feeble connections are stated four times in this piece on the Sandy Hook massacre. Thus, just as we had Obama using the massacre to advance an anti-gun position, so we have the BBC today using the conspiracy theories about the massacre to advance an anti-Trump position.

Nonetheless, there’s one line in this BBC piece with which I agree. The BBC says that conspiracy theorists “seize on small inconsistencies between initial news reports from the chaotic scene and the facts”. Perhaps that’s why none other than Press TV (the media arm of the Iranian Islamist state) advanced its very own “anti-Zionist” conspiracy theory; which blamed “Israeli death squads” for the Sandy Hook shooting. (You can guarantee that the Jews — in some form or other — will be a major part of the majority of conspiracy theories.) Thus, just as Iran’s conspiracy theory helped it advance its anti-Israeli cause; so minor and irrelevant anomalies are often used to advance conspiracy theory themselves (or most of them).

One Theory About the Massacre

The BBC concentrates on one of the leading conspiracy theorists (I’m of course begging the question here with those two words) about the Sandy Hook massacre. His name is Wolfgang Halbig. Mr. Halbig says:

“I think it probably took them two, two-and-a-half years to write the scripts for all the participants that were invited to participate in that exercise — or drill as I will call it.”

What he doesn’t say is how many people would have been involved in the hoax or conspiracy (excluding the “actors” he refers to). In this case one can only guess. I would suggest 5,000 people or more. (How can one quantify this?) This is akin to those who would have needed to be in-the-know about a particular 9/11 conspiracy. According to David Aaronovitch (in his book Voodoo Histories), “a hoax [though he’s referring to the 1969 moon landing] on such a grand scale would necessarily involve hundreds if not thousands of participants”. He goes on to write:

“There would be those who planned it in some Washington office; those in NASA who had agreed; the astronauts themselves, who would be required to continue with the hoax for the whole of their lives, afraid even of disclosing something to their most intimate friends at the most intimate moments; the set designers, the photographers, the props department, the security men, the navy people who pretended to be fish the returning spacemen…”

All this would, of course, depend on which hoax we’re talking about.

Donald Trump and Sandy Hook

It’s ironic that the BBC itself should use this story — which is about the political use of theories about events — to paint an anti-Trump picture (if quietly and tangentially). For example, the BBC tells us that that the theories of the conspiracists

“have been picked up by one of America’s most popular conspiracy theorists, a man who has been linked with President Donald Trump.”

It then says that “their false theories have been repeated by a media mogul conspiracy theorist who has been linked to Donald Trump.” Not only that: the BBC also claims that “Sandy Hook residents are pleading with President Trump, asking him to speak out and help stop the madness.”

The BBC delivers an even more tangential snipe at Trump when it says that conspiracy theories “have been fuelled by America’s deeply partisan political environment.” It’s clear, from the rest of the text and the fact that so many other commentators have stressed this “partisan political environment”, that the BBC is talking about Trump’s presidency here. This is strange when we consider the numerous conspiracy theories about 9/11 alone; as well as the many conspiracy theories advanced by progressives/Leftists well before Trump assumed power (e.g., conspiracy theories about 9/11, Zionism/Mossad/Israel, “far-right terrorism”, capitalists conspiring behind the scenes, racism, the platonic Media, and Trump himself).

The BBC spends quite some time on Alex Jones, the host and founder of Infowars. Alex Jones, of course, is also linked to Trump. Jones, as quoted by the BBC, said:

“‘Sandy Hook is a synthetic, completely fake with actors, in my view, manufactured. I couldn’t believe it at first. I knew they had actors there clearly but I thought they killed some real kids, and it just shows how bold they are, that they clearly used actors.'”

Then comes a neat bit of BBC footwork. It tells us that “Jones, who did not respond to repeated requests for an interview, has also been linked to President Trump”. Yes, “in late 2015, Trump appeared on Jones’s radio programme” — as he also appeared on countless other radio and TV shows! What’s more, “[f]ormer Trump campaign advisor Roger Stone regularly appears on [Alex] Jones’s show, and reportedly was the person who introduced the presidential candidate and the talk show host”.

Despite all that, the BBC does have the decency to say that “Trump has not endorsed the Sandy Hook conspiracy theory, nor has he spoken about Jones’s claims that the massacre was a hoax”. Yet if the BBC admits that’s the case, then why has it made Trump the major subplot in its Sandy Hook piece?

Political Conspiracy Theories

In the introduction, I claimed that conspiracy theories are invariably concocted to advance a political cause and/or sustain a political ideology (or set of political positions). In this case, many of the conspiracists think that the Sandy Hook massacre was a vast plot carried out by the government (of the United States) to legitimise or justify gun control. Now I feel uncomfortable about that because, if I were an American, I wouldn’t be in favour of gun control. Nonetheless, I have a strong distaste for most conspiracy theories. And the fact that this particular one seems to rub dirt into the faces of both the dead and their living relations makes it even more objectionable. Then again, that dirt-rubbing can also be said about 9/11, the London bombings, Charlie Hebdo, etc. — all of which generated a large number of conspiracy theories. Not only that: in each case, virtually every conspiracy theory (as far as I see it) involves advancing political causes and sustaining ideologies.

Then again, theories aren’t in themselves bad things. Indeed, I would agree that some conspiracy theories are true or have been proven to be true. My own theory about this BBC article, for example, is that its primary purpose is to have yet another go at Trump. (The BBC has turned Trump-bashing into a sport.) I can’t prove this because it’s not really the kind of thing that can be proved; even if my theory is correct/true. As with the larger and more important conspiracies (such as those about 9/11), it’s effectively impossible to either prove or disprove such theories; primarily because they’re so open-ended and so many “auxiliary hypotheses” (Karl Popper’s term for Marxism’s endless qualifications) are brought in to counter conclusive counter-arguments and inconvenient facts. (More basically, proof only really belongs to the domains of mathematics and logic — and even here there are controversies!)

One final thing needs to be stressed.

There’s a big difference between the following:

i) Rejecting the conspiracy theories about the Sandy Hook massacre.

ii) Rejecting the claim that the government (of the time) used the incident to promote its own anti-gun laws.

In this case, Obama’s government most certainly did use this terrible incident to advance its own anti-gun legislation.

This means that (particular) conspiracy theories helped promote and advance the pro-gun-owning position. And the massacre itself helped promote and advance (at least for Obama) the anti-gun-owning position.

Either way, we still have to contend with the many political interpretations and uses of the Sandy Hook massacre.

Paul Austin Murphy’s blogs can be found at Paul Austin Murphy on Politics and Paul Austin Murphy’s Philosophy. He’s also had pieces published in Broadside News, Intellectual Conservative, Liberty GB, New English Review.

Before writing this piece I had no particular interest in the Sandy Hook massacre. Indeed I could hardly recall it. However, I am interested in conspiracy theories from both a political and psychological point of view.

On the one hand, I’m convinced that most conspiracy theories are created to advance political goals and/or to sustain/backup pre-existing ideologies or political positions. On the other hand, inconvenient (or politically incorrect) theories are often conveniently classed as “conspiracy theories” simply because they advance something that’s against the political status quo (or the government’s “official narrative”).

The other thing about the Sandy Hook case, and the corresponding conspiracy theories, is how they’ve been represented by the media — in this case, by the BBC. To clarify, the BBC’s piece (Sandy Hook to Trump: ‘Help us stop conspiracy theorists’) is actually more about the attempts — of various persons — to counteract the conspiracy theorists than it is about the Sandy Hook massacre itself.

To cite a quick example to begin with: the BBC tells us that X is connected to Y “who has been linked with President Donald Trump.” These tangential and often feeble connections are stated four times in this piece on the Sandy Hook massacre. Thus, just as we had Obama using the massacre to advance an anti-gun position, so we have the BBC today using the conspiracy theories about the massacre to advance an anti-Trump position.

Nonetheless, there’s one line in this BBC piece with which I agree. The BBC says that conspiracy theorists “seize on small inconsistencies between initial news reports from the chaotic scene and the facts”. Perhaps that’s why none other than Press TV (the media arm of the Iranian Islamist state) advanced its very own “anti-Zionist” conspiracy theory; which blamed “Israeli death squads” for the Sandy Hook shooting. (You can guarantee that the Jews — in some form or other — will be a major part of the majority of conspiracy theories.) Thus, just as Iran’s conspiracy theory helped it advance its anti-Israeli cause; so minor and irrelevant anomalies are often used to advance conspiracy theory themselves (or most of them).

One Theory About the Massacre

The BBC concentrates on one of the leading conspiracy theorists (I’m of course begging the question here with those two words) about the Sandy Hook massacre. His name is Wolfgang Halbig. Mr. Halbig says:

“I think it probably took them two, two-and-a-half years to write the scripts for all the participants that were invited to participate in that exercise — or drill as I will call it.”

What he doesn’t say is how many people would have been involved in the hoax or conspiracy (excluding the “actors” he refers to). In this case one can only guess. I would suggest 5,000 people or more. (How can one quantify this?) This is akin to those who would have needed to be in-the-know about a particular 9/11 conspiracy. According to David Aaronovitch (in his book Voodoo Histories), “a hoax [though he’s referring to the 1969 moon landing] on such a grand scale would necessarily involve hundreds if not thousands of participants”. He goes on to write:

“There would be those who planned it in some Washington office; those in NASA who had agreed; the astronauts themselves, who would be required to continue with the hoax for the whole of their lives, afraid even of disclosing something to their most intimate friends at the most intimate moments; the set designers, the photographers, the props department, the security men, the navy people who pretended to be fish the returning spacemen…”

All this would, of course, depend on which hoax we’re talking about.

Donald Trump and Sandy Hook

It’s ironic that the BBC itself should use this story — which is about the political use of theories about events — to paint an anti-Trump picture (if quietly and tangentially). For example, the BBC tells us that that the theories of the conspiracists

“have been picked up by one of America’s most popular conspiracy theorists, a man who has been linked with President Donald Trump.”

It then says that “their false theories have been repeated by a media mogul conspiracy theorist who has been linked to Donald Trump.” Not only that: the BBC also claims that “Sandy Hook residents are pleading with President Trump, asking him to speak out and help stop the madness.”

The BBC delivers an even more tangential snipe at Trump when it says that conspiracy theories “have been fuelled by America’s deeply partisan political environment.” It’s clear, from the rest of the text and the fact that so many other commentators have stressed this “partisan political environment”, that the BBC is talking about Trump’s presidency here. This is strange when we consider the numerous conspiracy theories about 9/11 alone; as well as the many conspiracy theories advanced by progressives/Leftists well before Trump assumed power (e.g., conspiracy theories about 9/11, Zionism/Mossad/Israel, “far-right terrorism”, capitalists conspiring behind the scenes, racism, the platonic Media, and Trump himself).

The BBC spends quite some time on Alex Jones, the host and founder of Infowars. Alex Jones, of course, is also linked to Trump. Jones, as quoted by the BBC, said:

“‘Sandy Hook is a synthetic, completely fake with actors, in my view, manufactured. I couldn’t believe it at first. I knew they had actors there clearly but I thought they killed some real kids, and it just shows how bold they are, that they clearly used actors.'”

Then comes a neat bit of BBC footwork. It tells us that “Jones, who did not respond to repeated requests for an interview, has also been linked to President Trump”. Yes, “in late 2015, Trump appeared on Jones’s radio programme” — as he also appeared on countless other radio and TV shows! What’s more, “[f]ormer Trump campaign advisor Roger Stone regularly appears on [Alex] Jones’s show, and reportedly was the person who introduced the presidential candidate and the talk show host”.

Despite all that, the BBC does have the decency to say that “Trump has not endorsed the Sandy Hook conspiracy theory, nor has he spoken about Jones’s claims that the massacre was a hoax”. Yet if the BBC admits that’s the case, then why has it made Trump the major subplot in its Sandy Hook piece?

Political Conspiracy Theories

In the introduction, I claimed that conspiracy theories are invariably concocted to advance a political cause and/or sustain a political ideology (or set of political positions). In this case, many of the conspiracists think that the Sandy Hook massacre was a vast plot carried out by the government (of the United States) to legitimise or justify gun control. Now I feel uncomfortable about that because, if I were an American, I wouldn’t be in favour of gun control. Nonetheless, I have a strong distaste for most conspiracy theories. And the fact that this particular one seems to rub dirt into the faces of both the dead and their living relations makes it even more objectionable. Then again, that dirt-rubbing can also be said about 9/11, the London bombings, Charlie Hebdo, etc. — all of which generated a large number of conspiracy theories. Not only that: in each case, virtually every conspiracy theory (as far as I see it) involves advancing political causes and sustaining ideologies.

Then again, theories aren’t in themselves bad things. Indeed, I would agree that some conspiracy theories are true or have been proven to be true. My own theory about this BBC article, for example, is that its primary purpose is to have yet another go at Trump. (The BBC has turned Trump-bashing into a sport.) I can’t prove this because it’s not really the kind of thing that can be proved; even if my theory is correct/true. As with the larger and more important conspiracies (such as those about 9/11), it’s effectively impossible to either prove or disprove such theories; primarily because they’re so open-ended and so many “auxiliary hypotheses” (Karl Popper’s term for Marxism’s endless qualifications) are brought in to counter conclusive counter-arguments and inconvenient facts. (More basically, proof only really belongs to the domains of mathematics and logic — and even here there are controversies!)

One final thing needs to be stressed.

There’s a big difference between the following:

i) Rejecting the conspiracy theories about the Sandy Hook massacre.

ii) Rejecting the claim that the government (of the time) used the incident to promote its own anti-gun laws.

In this case, Obama’s government most certainly did use this terrible incident to advance its own anti-gun legislation.

This means that (particular) conspiracy theories helped promote and advance the pro-gun-owning position. And the massacre itself helped promote and advance (at least for Obama) the anti-gun-owning position.

Either way, we still have to contend with the many political interpretations and uses of the Sandy Hook massacre.

Paul Austin Murphy’s blogs can be found at Paul Austin Murphy on Politics and Paul Austin Murphy’s Philosophy. He’s also had pieces published in Broadside News, Intellectual Conservative, Liberty GB, New English Review.



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Russian compound in Nicaragua reportedly intrigues US officials


A new Russian compound in Nicaragua has reportedly intrigued U.S. officials who are skeptical of its intended use.

The outpost is located on the rim of a volcano and has a clear view of the U.S. Embassy in Managua, The Washington Post reported Sunday. The compound is littered with antennas and globe-shaped devices.

“I have no idea,” one woman who works at a telecom agency in Nicaragua said. “They are Russian, and they speak Russian, and they carry around Russian apparatuses.”

Current and former U.S. officials have expressed concerns that the Russian buildings could be used to spy on Americans and gather intelligence, while others see it as a countermove to the U.S. presence in Eastern Europe. Nicaragua has downplayed the concerns, telling the Post it is a tracking site of Russia’s GPS system.

“The United States and countries of the region should be concerned,” Juan Gonzalez, a former deputy assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, told the paper. “Nicaragua offers a beachhead for Russia to expand its intel capabilities and election meddling close to the United States.”

U.S. officials told the newspaper that there is no immediate alarm concerning the compound, but there are moves being made just in case. A State Department staffer at its Russian desk was named a desk officer in charge of Nicaragua, while diplomats with Russian expertise have gone to Nicaragua as well.

Russia’s influence in Latin America has increased over the last two years. Russia has sold military weapons and artillery to Venezuela, Peru, Argentina and Ecuador, while strengthening economic relations with Mexico and Brazil, the Post noted.

Security experts believe that Russia has nearly 250 military personnel in Nicaragua. Russia has been allowed to use Nicaraguan ports for its warships and Moscow gave 50 tanks to the country.

Click for more from The Washington Post.



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Le Pen Could Win


Marine Le Pen might well be the next president of France.

The French electoral system requires a majority of the vote, which almost invariably, given the multiple political parties in France, requires two elections.  Le Pen seems certain to be among the two candidates who will be in the second election, and polls show that she is running neck and neck for the top position, virtually guaranteeing that she will be in the runoff to determine the winner of the presidential election.

The usual knock by the leftist elites is that Le Pen cannot win because she is on the “far right,” a meaningless term, as anyone familiar with how the leftist elites in America treat those who stand up to them.  What these snooty dolts really mean is that Le Pen upholds the historic values and culture of France. 

Although many Americans, even conservatives, have looked at France with disdain, that is a mistake.  France was long a close and good ally of America.  It was the French who gave us the Statue of Liberty.  The French fought the Nazis, served as a loyal ally during the Cold War, and joined us in Desert Storm and in the war against global Islamic terrorism.  

France is not the enemy, but it could become one under radical Muslim domination.  The French nuclear arsenal could destroy most of the major cities in America in a few hours.  What we – and the rest of the Free World – need is someone who can restore France as a nation firmly within the bosom of Western civilization and as a nation in which Christianity, not Islam, holds the hearts of Frenchmen.

This is precisely what we would expect from a Le Pen presidency.  Can she win, though, when she has been demonized for so long?  There are five reasons to believe she can.

First, the French left after the presidency of François Hollande is in disarray.  It is almost inconceivable that the French will not elect a president of the right, which also fits in with the French pattern of shifting with each presidential election from one ideological pole to another.  If Le Pen can hold the right in France, she will have an excellent chance of winning.

Second, the demonization of Le Pen is a very old story in French politics.  She is a familiar face and a familiar candidate.  French voters may claim to be appalled by Le Pen and so tell pollsters what they feel pollsters want to hear, but what Le Pen proposes is hardly radical or extreme at all.  It is simply the reassertion of French values in France.

Third, the intensity factor could help Le Pen.  Her supporters are more emphatic and more certain about her than the other three candidates who have a chance to win this election.  Intensity matters both in the first round and in the runoff. 

Fourth, while Brexit is uniquely British, it reflects a sentiment – a rather submerged sentiment – percolating throughout Europe.  Hyper-centralization of European nations is a failure, and only the politicians and bureaucrats and media don’t get it.  National sovereignty is back, and perhaps back with a vengeance.  Marine Le Pen is the strongest advocate for this in French politics, perhaps the strongest advocate since Charles de Gaulle.  If the French yearn for someone like de Gaulle, there is no one but Le Pen to satisfy them.

Fifth, every crime committed by young Muslim men against French girls, every terrorist act in France, every outrage against French values will stir up French voters.  How?  It is hard to see how French voters could be enthused to vote for a bland, hold-steady candidate, much less a leftist multi-cultural candidate.  The bad things bad Muslims do in France will help Le Pen.

The combination of a Le Pen victory in the French presidential election with the Brexit vote in Britain just might be the political catalyst needed to restore the national identities and traditional culture and values of those once great bastions of Western civilization and Christian ideals in Europe.  We ought to hope this happens.  America may be able to stand alone in the world, but we will be much better off in every way if other nations who once shared our values reclaim and defend those values once again.

Marine Le Pen might well be the next president of France.

The French electoral system requires a majority of the vote, which almost invariably, given the multiple political parties in France, requires two elections.  Le Pen seems certain to be among the two candidates who will be in the second election, and polls show that she is running neck and neck for the top position, virtually guaranteeing that she will be in the runoff to determine the winner of the presidential election.

The usual knock by the leftist elites is that Le Pen cannot win because she is on the “far right,” a meaningless term, as anyone familiar with how the leftist elites in America treat those who stand up to them.  What these snooty dolts really mean is that Le Pen upholds the historic values and culture of France. 

Although many Americans, even conservatives, have looked at France with disdain, that is a mistake.  France was long a close and good ally of America.  It was the French who gave us the Statue of Liberty.  The French fought the Nazis, served as a loyal ally during the Cold War, and joined us in Desert Storm and in the war against global Islamic terrorism.  

France is not the enemy, but it could become one under radical Muslim domination.  The French nuclear arsenal could destroy most of the major cities in America in a few hours.  What we – and the rest of the Free World – need is someone who can restore France as a nation firmly within the bosom of Western civilization and as a nation in which Christianity, not Islam, holds the hearts of Frenchmen.

This is precisely what we would expect from a Le Pen presidency.  Can she win, though, when she has been demonized for so long?  There are five reasons to believe she can.

First, the French left after the presidency of François Hollande is in disarray.  It is almost inconceivable that the French will not elect a president of the right, which also fits in with the French pattern of shifting with each presidential election from one ideological pole to another.  If Le Pen can hold the right in France, she will have an excellent chance of winning.

Second, the demonization of Le Pen is a very old story in French politics.  She is a familiar face and a familiar candidate.  French voters may claim to be appalled by Le Pen and so tell pollsters what they feel pollsters want to hear, but what Le Pen proposes is hardly radical or extreme at all.  It is simply the reassertion of French values in France.

Third, the intensity factor could help Le Pen.  Her supporters are more emphatic and more certain about her than the other three candidates who have a chance to win this election.  Intensity matters both in the first round and in the runoff. 

Fourth, while Brexit is uniquely British, it reflects a sentiment – a rather submerged sentiment – percolating throughout Europe.  Hyper-centralization of European nations is a failure, and only the politicians and bureaucrats and media don’t get it.  National sovereignty is back, and perhaps back with a vengeance.  Marine Le Pen is the strongest advocate for this in French politics, perhaps the strongest advocate since Charles de Gaulle.  If the French yearn for someone like de Gaulle, there is no one but Le Pen to satisfy them.

Fifth, every crime committed by young Muslim men against French girls, every terrorist act in France, every outrage against French values will stir up French voters.  How?  It is hard to see how French voters could be enthused to vote for a bland, hold-steady candidate, much less a leftist multi-cultural candidate.  The bad things bad Muslims do in France will help Le Pen.

The combination of a Le Pen victory in the French presidential election with the Brexit vote in Britain just might be the political catalyst needed to restore the national identities and traditional culture and values of those once great bastions of Western civilization and Christian ideals in Europe.  We ought to hope this happens.  America may be able to stand alone in the world, but we will be much better off in every way if other nations who once shared our values reclaim and defend those values once again.



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Joseph Jakubowski manhunt: Churches, schools on alert as police step up search


Churches and schools were on high alert as authorities in Wisconsin stepped up its manhunt for a man suspected of stealing firearms from a gun store and threatening to carry out an attack intensified Sunday.

The Rock County Sheriff’s Office said Joseph Jakubowski, 32, expressed anti-religious views in a 161-page manifesto he sent to President Trump. Police increased patrols near Janesville churches, although investigators said there was no specific threat.

Authorities have also contacted area school districts to caution them about the search for Jakubowski so they can take precautionary measures, the Rock County Sheriff’s Office said. Many Rock County schools are on spring break in the upcoming week and authorities emphasized there was no known threat to schools.

Over 150 police officers, sheriff’s deputies, and federal agents are on Jakubowski’s trail. Police said he is considered “armed and highly dangerous.” Among the weapons he is accused of stealing were several high caliber handguns and at least two semi-automatic assault rifles. Police also believe he may possess a bulletproof vest and military-style helmet.

A cell phone video was released by the Sheriff’s Office showing the suspect allegedly showing off the manifesto before placing it in the mail. In the video he says “There it is you see it’s getting shipped. Revolution! It’s time for change.”

As investigators continue to follow leads, the FBI has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

Fox News’ Matt Sawicki and the Associated Press contributed to this report.



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Why Do Leftists Hate America?


A few days ago, I caught Trump’s speech to the Building Trades Unions National Legislative Conference.  In a nutshell, Trump vowed to fix the job-killing, out-of-control, crazy regulations harming businesses.  Trump said, “One of my first acts as president was to stop one of the great sellouts of the American worker.”  Calling NAFTA a disaster, Trump said he took us out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  The audience erupted with applause. 

Trump is swiftly dismantling many of Obama’s anti-America agenda items.

It dawned on me: this guy is simply implementing commonsense policies in the best interest of America and her citizens who elected him.  So why is the American left responding with such unprecedented vitriol and bold, treasonous obstructionism?  The simple answer is that leftists hate America and her biblical values.  Therefore, when Trump came along vowing to make America great again, he ignited the leftists’ hate, fear, and rage.  Why such hate for one’s own homeland?

Before you call me crazy, let us review.

During a leisurely Sunday stroll along a San Francisco pier with her dad, Kate Steinle was shot and killed by an illegal alien who had been deported five times but kept coming back to the sanctuary city.  Kate’s last words were “Help me, Dad.” 

Compassionately, Bill O’Reilly asked Congress to pass Kate’s Law, which imposed a mandatory five-year federal prison sentence on deported illegals who keep coming back. 

The American left, the city of San Francisco, Democrats, and fake news media said screw you to the Steinle family, and screw you, American people.  Senate Democrats blocked Kate’s Law.  Why would the left so vehemently oppose this commonsense protection of American lives?

Even now, when Trump has vowed to cut funding to cities who refuse to comply with federal law, sanctuary city mayors are giving Trump and the American people the middle finger.  Why?

The Fort Hood shooting, the Boston Marathon bombing, the San Bernardino shooting, and the Orlando nightclub massacre, to name a few, were Islamic terrorist attacks on innocent Americans.  And yet in every instance, the Obama administration, with high praise from leftists, rushed to protect and defend Islam.  Obama’s DOJ even threatened to jail anyone caught speaking badly of Islam.  Really, folks – why do leftists feel that American lives do not matter when the villains are Islamic?

Remember when leftists cheered Obama for allowing people from Ebola-infected countries into the U.S.?  Finally, pressure from the American people forced Obama to invoke a commonsense travel ban.  Still, leftists accused Americans of being racist SOBs for desiring to keep the deadly disease out of our country.  Why?

For Americans who are not paying attention, do you know that leftists hate the song “God Bless the USA/Proud to Be an American” and even banned it in public schools?  Leftists have made it illegal to say “God bless America” in public school.  Leftists banned wearing American flag shirts to school, calling it racially insensitive.  Incredibly, leftists deem Trump’s desire to make America great “racist hate speech.”  What is wrong with these people?  Why do they hate their and our country so much?

As a Christian, I cannot help but notice that leftists hate America’s Christian roots.  They have a huge problem with the God of Christianity and with Jesus.  Think about it.  Islam justifies beating and killing a disobedient wife and beheading homosexuals.  And yet leftists, who claim to be superior advocates for women and homosexuals, defend Islam.  Meanwhile, they vilify Christians, calling them intolerant haters for simply honoring biblical principles.  At least 90% of leftist sacred cow issues are anti-Bible.  Why?

This continues to have me scratching my head.  Celebs like Rosie O’Donnell, Kim Kardashian, and Madonna support Islam and trash Christianity.  And yet if Islamic sharia law became the law of the land, none of them would be allowed to be who they are.

Clearly, their issue with Christianity is spiritual.  As a Christian, I believe that it is the spirit of anti-Christ.  How dare Jesus be so arrogant to proclaim himself the only way to heaven, saying, “I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the father, but by me.”

Succinctly, here are other issues that confirm leftists’ hatred for Americans.  Leftists put untested illegals in public schools, infecting our kids with old eradicated diseases.  Leftists advocate totally opening our borders to any and all who wish to come here to get on welfare.  Leftists celebrate extreme environmental restrictions on America while giving the world a pass.  Leftists approved of Obama gifting Iran, our enemy and a chief sponsor of terrorism, $150 billion.  Anything beneficial to America or that portrays America in a good light is despised and shouted down by leftists.

My fellow Americans, I humbly ask: why?

Lloyd Marcus, The Unhyphenated American
Author: Confessions of a Black Conservative: How the Left has shattered the dreams of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Black America
Singer/Songwriter and Conservative Activist
mr_lloydmarcus@hotmail.com
http://www.lloydmarcus.com

A few days ago, I caught Trump’s speech to the Building Trades Unions National Legislative Conference.  In a nutshell, Trump vowed to fix the job-killing, out-of-control, crazy regulations harming businesses.  Trump said, “One of my first acts as president was to stop one of the great sellouts of the American worker.”  Calling NAFTA a disaster, Trump said he took us out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  The audience erupted with applause. 

Trump is swiftly dismantling many of Obama’s anti-America agenda items.

It dawned on me: this guy is simply implementing commonsense policies in the best interest of America and her citizens who elected him.  So why is the American left responding with such unprecedented vitriol and bold, treasonous obstructionism?  The simple answer is that leftists hate America and her biblical values.  Therefore, when Trump came along vowing to make America great again, he ignited the leftists’ hate, fear, and rage.  Why such hate for one’s own homeland?

Before you call me crazy, let us review.

During a leisurely Sunday stroll along a San Francisco pier with her dad, Kate Steinle was shot and killed by an illegal alien who had been deported five times but kept coming back to the sanctuary city.  Kate’s last words were “Help me, Dad.” 

Compassionately, Bill O’Reilly asked Congress to pass Kate’s Law, which imposed a mandatory five-year federal prison sentence on deported illegals who keep coming back. 

The American left, the city of San Francisco, Democrats, and fake news media said screw you to the Steinle family, and screw you, American people.  Senate Democrats blocked Kate’s Law.  Why would the left so vehemently oppose this commonsense protection of American lives?

Even now, when Trump has vowed to cut funding to cities who refuse to comply with federal law, sanctuary city mayors are giving Trump and the American people the middle finger.  Why?

The Fort Hood shooting, the Boston Marathon bombing, the San Bernardino shooting, and the Orlando nightclub massacre, to name a few, were Islamic terrorist attacks on innocent Americans.  And yet in every instance, the Obama administration, with high praise from leftists, rushed to protect and defend Islam.  Obama’s DOJ even threatened to jail anyone caught speaking badly of Islam.  Really, folks – why do leftists feel that American lives do not matter when the villains are Islamic?

Remember when leftists cheered Obama for allowing people from Ebola-infected countries into the U.S.?  Finally, pressure from the American people forced Obama to invoke a commonsense travel ban.  Still, leftists accused Americans of being racist SOBs for desiring to keep the deadly disease out of our country.  Why?

For Americans who are not paying attention, do you know that leftists hate the song “God Bless the USA/Proud to Be an American” and even banned it in public schools?  Leftists have made it illegal to say “God bless America” in public school.  Leftists banned wearing American flag shirts to school, calling it racially insensitive.  Incredibly, leftists deem Trump’s desire to make America great “racist hate speech.”  What is wrong with these people?  Why do they hate their and our country so much?

As a Christian, I cannot help but notice that leftists hate America’s Christian roots.  They have a huge problem with the God of Christianity and with Jesus.  Think about it.  Islam justifies beating and killing a disobedient wife and beheading homosexuals.  And yet leftists, who claim to be superior advocates for women and homosexuals, defend Islam.  Meanwhile, they vilify Christians, calling them intolerant haters for simply honoring biblical principles.  At least 90% of leftist sacred cow issues are anti-Bible.  Why?

This continues to have me scratching my head.  Celebs like Rosie O’Donnell, Kim Kardashian, and Madonna support Islam and trash Christianity.  And yet if Islamic sharia law became the law of the land, none of them would be allowed to be who they are.

Clearly, their issue with Christianity is spiritual.  As a Christian, I believe that it is the spirit of anti-Christ.  How dare Jesus be so arrogant to proclaim himself the only way to heaven, saying, “I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the father, but by me.”

Succinctly, here are other issues that confirm leftists’ hatred for Americans.  Leftists put untested illegals in public schools, infecting our kids with old eradicated diseases.  Leftists advocate totally opening our borders to any and all who wish to come here to get on welfare.  Leftists celebrate extreme environmental restrictions on America while giving the world a pass.  Leftists approved of Obama gifting Iran, our enemy and a chief sponsor of terrorism, $150 billion.  Anything beneficial to America or that portrays America in a good light is despised and shouted down by leftists.

My fellow Americans, I humbly ask: why?

Lloyd Marcus, The Unhyphenated American
Author: Confessions of a Black Conservative: How the Left has shattered the dreams of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Black America
Singer/Songwriter and Conservative Activist
mr_lloydmarcus@hotmail.com
http://www.lloydmarcus.com



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Leftism: Freedom Beats Branding


You can’t succeed in the political arena without a brand. On the right, we firmly believe in traditional values and freedoms and that translates to a brand with integrity and pride and it’s easily relatable. Simply put, foundational, conservative values touch hearts and minds because we raise up what people know to be right, even as they are pushed to distrust their own core beliefs. And doing the pushing? The left and the liberal media, of course.

As we saw this past election cycle, however, the left has crafted a brand that can’t last because its foundations are unsound. Crafted from superficial signals ranging from ineffective boycotts to pointless and crude marches, the left is floundering under the weight of its own aggression and hypocrisy.

Failing Religious Freedom

If we had to point to a single reason why the left’s branding is such a disaster, we would have to point to their rhetoric around religious freedom. The left loves to spout off about how important freedom of religion is, why we must respect the beliefs of others, even if those beliefs lead to attacks on our country or a fracturing social foundations. We must respect religious beliefs, the left says, unless those beliefs stem from Biblically-based Christian faith.

The minute anyone speaks from a place of Christian faith, the left rises to the attack, though they brand themselves as the party of peace and reconciliation. Based on their church affiliation, the left went after HGTV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines due to a belief they were “homophobic.” They forced an independent bakery to close because the Christian owners wouldn’t bake a gay wedding cake.

Imagine the backlash if we were to approach Orthodox Jewish people or Muslims with the same kind of aggression — Democrats would be out in droves to declare our party corrupt, anti-Semitic, or Islamophobic. But when they do the same thing to Christians, the left is lauded as being on the side of liberty. Don’t be fooled — it’s exactly the opposite.

Making Meaningless Media

Do you consider Elle magazine and it’s cohorts in the fashion world to be news media? Last we checked, these magazines were densely populated with advertisements, full of makeup and clothing advice, and otherwise empty of real content. They’re ideal for branding — for creating visibility or pushing a product — but they aren’t an outlet for content with any real depth. Unless you’re a Democrat, that is.

In May 2015, in the midst of her mother’s ultimately failed presidential campaign, Chelsea Clinton appeared on the cover of Elle magazine. This was a strange choice as the younger Clinton isn’t a fashion icon, a major political figure herself, or really all that interesting. She’s done some correspondent work, spoken at SXSW, and was named a junior provost at NYU, a university known to coddle liberal and minority students at the expense of real education. Yet, when you look at that cover, it’s clear that there’s an ulterior motive at work. This is an attempt at political messaging, and it’s a lesson in what not to do.

By putting Miss Clinton on the cover of a glossy fashion magazine, the left is trying to simultaneously polish her mother’s image. They’re attempting to remind the public that the disastrous, affair-blighted marriage between Bill and Hillary Clinton perhaps yielded something worthwhile, someone you should keep an eye on. And we should keep an eye on Chelsea Clinton, if only because we can expect that Clinton dynasty to attempt another power grab under her name in the future. It’s the only good reason to turn Chelsea into a cover girl.

Flubbing Free Markets

Liberal politics are at the heart of why there are no jobs left for American workers, so it’s no surprise that in an attempt to fluster the Trump administration, the left called for a boycott of Ivanka’s products. The boycott not only failed — sales are up — but it left us confused. What exactly was the message behind calling for such a boycott? What was it meant to accomplish vis-à-vis liberal politics? We guarantee that if liberals wanted to buy clothes only from people whose politics they agreed with, they would be sewing their own.

Successful political branding is contingent on having a clear message, yet the left’s message is muddled and hypocritical. It’s vulgar — think pussy hats — and an attempt to cloud real debate. If they can create enough misdirection within their own constituency, then perhaps Democratic voters will be too distracted to realize how inconsistent and ineffectual their own party’s politics are.

Ultimately, the left’s brand is headed in a dozen directions at the same time to the point of being completely incomprehensible. They’re so committed to fighting disparate aspects of our politics, to targeting narrow statements, that they’re unable to see the big picture, including the places where their own actions and beliefs contradict their attacks on ours.

You can’t believe in religious freedom for everyone but Christians. You can’t boycott Ivanka’s products and support the economy and workers. You have to choose a message, and the left hasn’t been able to complete this simple task. How could we trust them with anything more?

You can’t succeed in the political arena without a brand. On the right, we firmly believe in traditional values and freedoms and that translates to a brand with integrity and pride and it’s easily relatable. Simply put, foundational, conservative values touch hearts and minds because we raise up what people know to be right, even as they are pushed to distrust their own core beliefs. And doing the pushing? The left and the liberal media, of course.

As we saw this past election cycle, however, the left has crafted a brand that can’t last because its foundations are unsound. Crafted from superficial signals ranging from ineffective boycotts to pointless and crude marches, the left is floundering under the weight of its own aggression and hypocrisy.

Failing Religious Freedom

If we had to point to a single reason why the left’s branding is such a disaster, we would have to point to their rhetoric around religious freedom. The left loves to spout off about how important freedom of religion is, why we must respect the beliefs of others, even if those beliefs lead to attacks on our country or a fracturing social foundations. We must respect religious beliefs, the left says, unless those beliefs stem from Biblically-based Christian faith.

The minute anyone speaks from a place of Christian faith, the left rises to the attack, though they brand themselves as the party of peace and reconciliation. Based on their church affiliation, the left went after HGTV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines due to a belief they were “homophobic.” They forced an independent bakery to close because the Christian owners wouldn’t bake a gay wedding cake.

Imagine the backlash if we were to approach Orthodox Jewish people or Muslims with the same kind of aggression — Democrats would be out in droves to declare our party corrupt, anti-Semitic, or Islamophobic. But when they do the same thing to Christians, the left is lauded as being on the side of liberty. Don’t be fooled — it’s exactly the opposite.

Making Meaningless Media

Do you consider Elle magazine and it’s cohorts in the fashion world to be news media? Last we checked, these magazines were densely populated with advertisements, full of makeup and clothing advice, and otherwise empty of real content. They’re ideal for branding — for creating visibility or pushing a product — but they aren’t an outlet for content with any real depth. Unless you’re a Democrat, that is.

In May 2015, in the midst of her mother’s ultimately failed presidential campaign, Chelsea Clinton appeared on the cover of Elle magazine. This was a strange choice as the younger Clinton isn’t a fashion icon, a major political figure herself, or really all that interesting. She’s done some correspondent work, spoken at SXSW, and was named a junior provost at NYU, a university known to coddle liberal and minority students at the expense of real education. Yet, when you look at that cover, it’s clear that there’s an ulterior motive at work. This is an attempt at political messaging, and it’s a lesson in what not to do.

By putting Miss Clinton on the cover of a glossy fashion magazine, the left is trying to simultaneously polish her mother’s image. They’re attempting to remind the public that the disastrous, affair-blighted marriage between Bill and Hillary Clinton perhaps yielded something worthwhile, someone you should keep an eye on. And we should keep an eye on Chelsea Clinton, if only because we can expect that Clinton dynasty to attempt another power grab under her name in the future. It’s the only good reason to turn Chelsea into a cover girl.

Flubbing Free Markets

Liberal politics are at the heart of why there are no jobs left for American workers, so it’s no surprise that in an attempt to fluster the Trump administration, the left called for a boycott of Ivanka’s products. The boycott not only failed — sales are up — but it left us confused. What exactly was the message behind calling for such a boycott? What was it meant to accomplish vis-à-vis liberal politics? We guarantee that if liberals wanted to buy clothes only from people whose politics they agreed with, they would be sewing their own.

Successful political branding is contingent on having a clear message, yet the left’s message is muddled and hypocritical. It’s vulgar — think pussy hats — and an attempt to cloud real debate. If they can create enough misdirection within their own constituency, then perhaps Democratic voters will be too distracted to realize how inconsistent and ineffectual their own party’s politics are.

Ultimately, the left’s brand is headed in a dozen directions at the same time to the point of being completely incomprehensible. They’re so committed to fighting disparate aspects of our politics, to targeting narrow statements, that they’re unable to see the big picture, including the places where their own actions and beliefs contradict their attacks on ours.

You can’t believe in religious freedom for everyone but Christians. You can’t boycott Ivanka’s products and support the economy and workers. You have to choose a message, and the left hasn’t been able to complete this simple task. How could we trust them with anything more?



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