Why Anti-Trump John Pavlovitz is being “Tone Policed”

John Pavlovitz

To read John Pavlovitz’s blog post, you’d think the country was just fine and dandy, and the government generally respected the Constitution and tried to serve the people – until Trump came along!

He complains that his Trump supporting friends are “tone policing” him by asking him to be more constructive rather than just raging against Trump.  He then seeks to justify his rage with a list of points, complaining that these Trump voters are giving Trump a free pass.  I’m going to go through them piece by piece.  He actually does have a few good points…a few.

Mr. Pavlovitz complained, “I haven’t heard a peep from them privately or publicly over the past eighteen months:” and then proceeded to his list.  I’ll start with the ones we more or less agree upon, and then work my way down.  (My comments are in direct response to Mr. Pavlovitz)

Not when he said protestors at his rallies should have been roughed up.

Fair enough, though I’d point out that many Trump supporters faced threats of violence entering those rallies, and when Trump cancelled one rally due to threats of violence, he was mocked.  Trump’s opponents aren’t so innocent.

 Not when Elizabeth Warren was silenced and persisted.

 I’m with you on this one.

 Not when kneeling black NFL players were called sons of bitches.

I’m with you here too!  They are kneeling, not making some obscene gesture.  I support Kaepernick and what he’s trying to do.  And guess what?  Trump is actually planning to meet with him and Kanye West to discuss race relations.  Yes, Trump should’t call them “sons of bitches”, but at least he’s open to reconsidering his position after some reflection.  Maybe Kanye’s gettin’ through to him?

 Not when Evangelists offered public prayers for predatory Alabama senators.

That was a low point for the Evangelicals.  I’m so glad Doug Jones won!

Not when the vile Access Hollywood video surfaced. 

 Right, the private conversation between Trump and two other people where Trump bragged about how because he was rich and famous, women LET HIM grab them.  It’s disgusting, but it’s also his personal life.

Not when refugees were stranded at airports.

I’m sorry things are so tough for people on the other side of the world.  But where were you when Obama was bombing the crap out of Libya?!  Where were you when Sec. of State Hillary Clinton was sending weapons to dangerous rebel groups in Syria?!  You know, the very place these refugees are coming from?  Why do you think Syria has a refugee crisis in the first place?  Because of Trump?  (But there I go deflecting, right?)

Not when they were bulldozing Standing Rock burial grounds.

What did Trump do that was any different from what Obama was already doing?  I realize the Republicans used to blame Obama for problems that began during the Bush era, but two wrongs don’t make a right.  Or do they?


Not when Sally Yates was unceremoniously terminated.

Right, right, right.  It’s fine to dig into every detail of Trump’s relations with Stormy Daniels 11 years ago, but looking into whether he was wiretapped by the FBI?!!!!  A travesty of justice to even suggest such a thing!  Gimme a break!

Not when Nazis and racists in Charlottesville were called “fine people.”

First off, Trump did not call “Nazis and racists” “very fine people”.  All you have to do is listen to his entire statement.  He said there were others there that were not involved with the white nationalists, who just wanted to support the statue of Robert E. Lee, and it was them that Trump called “very fine people.”

Not when tens of millions lost healthcare under the cover of night.

I’ll believe that you weren’t deliberately dishonest in the last one, but not this time.  No, repealing the individual mandate is NOT “tens of millions” losing “healthcare under the cover of night.”  He didn’t take away anyone’s healthcare.  He took away a tax burden, a penalty for not buying healthcare.  I, and tens of millions more, now have the freedom to choose whether or not to buy healthcare.  My body my choice, right?

Not when he tweeted taunts at North Korea.

 This is what you’re outraged about?

Not when the #MeToos were victimized a second time.

 Not sure what you’re talking about here.  I can only speak for myself, but I’m cautiously optimistic about #metoo.  I don’t want it to turn into a witch hunt, but as the father of a daughter, I’d like her to grow up in a better world where women who are harassed or worse can stand up for themselves and get justice…so that this happens far less often.

We’re not as blind as Pavlovitz thinks

Nothing moved them to say anything, nothing burdened them enough to rouse them from their silence, nothing offended their sensibilities significantly enough to merit even a whisper.”

Many of us do criticize Trump on issues when we think it’s called for.  I was very critical of Trump for his tweet that he was banning transgender persons from serving in the military.  We’re just taking Trump with a grain of salt, rather than being absolutely for him, or absolutely against him.  I’m sure Pavlovitz knows some pro-Trump fanatics who really would support Trump if he killed a man in the street, but few of us fit into that category.

But we’re also weighing the alternative, and keeping things in perspective.  The only thing unprecedented about Trump is his tweets and rhetoric.  None of his actions are any more shocking than what you can find in previous administrations, except his trade policies, which are long overdue!  (Thank you Trump for finally doing something about our crippling trade deficits!)

Many of us #eventrumpers, the kind of people who voted Obama and then Trump, we haven’t forgotten that it’s possible to disagree with good people.  Having a different political view doesn’t make you the devil.  Sadly, Trump Derangement Syndrome has the effect of making anyone who voted for Trump appear to be a demon from the 9th circle of hell.

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Trump’s Tariffs Bring Jobs

AmericanIndustrialLandscape

This will be a chronicle of news stories of how tariffs are bringing back American jobs.  I will add any news story from a reputable source that shows how any tariff in America (particular from the Trump administration, but not limited to it) have brought back the jobs.  If you have any such stories, please share the link in the comment section, and as long as it is a reputable news source, I’ll add it to my chronicle (and happily share a link to your cite upon request).  The purpose here is to arm the people with information.  Stories like these will be reported in media, usually local, but then forgotten and ignored by national media, so I want to arm us with facts that we can use to persuade our misguided fellow Americans who are still drinking the free trade koolaid.

Republic Steel Restarting Lorrain Factory, Adding 1000+ jobs following Trump’s Steel Tariffs, from WKYC (CBS) Channel 3 in Cleveland, OH

Aluminum Worker Thanks Trump For Tariffs, From White House’s Youtube Page.  (I first saw this on DC Whispers)

US Jobless Claims Decline to Lowest Level Since Jan. 1973 , a Bloomberg article published March, 29, 2018; weeks after Trump implemented the steel and aluminum tariffs and announced plans to hit China with about $50 billion in tariffs.

Trump’s Tariffs Could Work“, from Thom Hartmann, a real progressive with integrity.  No wonder MSNBC doesn’t want him.

Why Trump’s China Tariffs Aren’t Crazy” In Yahoo Finance, by Rick Newman.  While this article criticizes the steel tariffs, it’s generally supportive of the more recent tariffs on China.

Sources on the harm of “free trade” are getting harder to find, as they get buried under a barrage of neoliberal propaganda and cherry-picked studies from well funded think tanks.

The High Cost Of The China-WTO Deal” by economist Robert E. Scott with the Economic Policy Institute.  This economist explains the harm that had already been caused by “free trade” up until 2000, and argues against the “free trade” being pushed by Clinton in 2000.

 

I’ll scour the internets for more.  Send me anything you have.  I do realize there’s a trade-off, that tariffs can also cause some retailers or dock workers to lose jobs, but I contend that it is a net gain when we have a massive trade deficit.  Mainstream media makes a fortune on retail advertising, and retail thrives on overseas sweatshops.  Inevitably, mainstream media will be very favorable to “free trade” and will try to frighten us with talk of “trade wars” and by only focusing on the jobs lost, not those gained by tariffs.

A little about me: this issue is very near and dear to me.  At 11 years of age, Ross Perot ran for President for the first time in 1992.  For the first time in my life, I got really excited about politics and a presidential candidate.  I walked the neighborhood talking to people and encouraging them to vote for Perot.  At the core of Perot’s message was to protect America’s manufacturing sector, so that we would maintain a strong tax base, and not bury ourselves in debt.  Had we listened to Perot, I don’t think we’d be over $20 trillion in debt now, and the Great Recession of 2009 would have just been another minor business cycle recession.

We Should Be Relieved That Trump Used Note Cards

TrumpsNotecards

Ask yourself this.  In a room full of students and parents of shooting victims, including a man who just lost his 18-year-old daughter – Do you want THE Donald Trump speaking to them off the top of his head?

The Trump presidency warrants many criticisms.  Probably more than anything, Trump is criticized for what he says.  He speaks carelessly off the cuff, he offends people, and rather than apologizing, he doubles down.

When I saw the snippets on the morning news of Trump’s conversation with these parents and victims, I sighed in relief!  Trump actually spent more time listening than talking.  He was sensitive (yes, Trump!)  He chose his words carefully.  Even when it came time for the most controversial part, when he proposed arming school teachers*, he proposed this about as tactfully as anyone could.

So how does a man like Trump manage to conduct himself professionally in such a sensitive situation?  He does exactly what Obama did for every one of his great, optimistic speeches – he plans his words.  Obama used the teleprompter, while Trump used good old fashioned note cards.  A teleprompter wouldn’t have been practical in that setting anyway.

Yet for some reason, Washington Post’s Aaron Blake has a problem with this.  In Wapo’s Analysis section (though this would have been more suited to Opeds), Blake claims that Trump’s note cards show a lack of empathy.**  Now, if I had a history of saying horribly insensitive things on the spot, and I wanted to show empathy; I’d be sure not to say anything on the spot, and furthermore, to show that I put some serious thought into what I would say.  If I had a history of over-talking people rather than listening, I’d show empathy by forcing myself to not fall into that bad habit, and instead, I’d listen for a change!

I know it’s a disappointment to those who enjoy sensationalizing every careless word that comes from Trump’s mouth, every awkward hand gesture, every golf game, and every socially awkward appearance he makes with Melania; but Donald Trump actually handled himself well this time.  Like it or not, Trump will almost certainly be our President until 2021, and possibly until 2025.  Wouldn’t we rather him do whatever he needs to do to conduct himself professionally and presidentially, than continue to speak off the cuff just because it makes for entertaining news?

But don’t worry Mr. Blake.  This is Trump we’re talking about.  Maybe next week he’ll insult a girl scout, or bump into an old lady with a walker or something.  You can go to town on that.

 

Note(s):

*For the record, I think arming school teachers is a recipe for disaster, and definitely oppose making this a national policy.  I’m mainly worried that in a chaotic classroom, a teacher might forget to lock it, and the wrong student will get a hold of it.

**Though Wapo published this article, they placed a video at the front of it showing clips from Trump’s meeting with these students, and you’ll see a very different Donald Trump in those clips than the one portrayed by the article that follows.  It seems Blake is alone (or in the minority) on this issue at Wapo

***Note that I don’t fault Wapo simply for publishing this article, though as I not so subtly hinted above, I think it belongs in Opeds.

Trump Creepin’ on Clinton? Gimme a break!

Ermagerd!  He’s so creepy!

To my fellow travelers on the Trump Train, here’s how we should deal with this absurd claim that Trump was creeping on Hillary in that second debate.

Donald Trump is married to the beautiful, intelligent, exotic Melania Trump.

donandmelaniatrump

Yeah, Hillary Clinton’s got nothin’ he wants!  Boom!  I’m out!

 

How did America remember what “socialist” means?

BernieSandersfromMSmithArticle

I’m used to boomer generation “conservatives” equating socialism with communist dictatorships.  The boomers lived most of their lives during the Cold War era in constant fear of the communist menace.  I expect better from my fellow millennials, however, particularly the well-educated.

Marion Smith, Executive Director of “Victims of Communism” , has written an ignorant piece of red bait for Politico called “How did America forget what socialism means?”   If I were to write something with that title, I’d argue that decades of fear during the Cold War era, combined with manipulation by right-winged pundits had caused the boomer generation to forget what socialism means and instead equate it with the Soviet Union, as though Soviet style communism was the inevitable result of any attempt at a socialist economy.  As I’ve explained in one of my educational podcasts , Socialism actually can refer to a wide variety of economic systems so long as the means of production are publicly owned and the public decides the distribution of wealth.  Socialism can be anything from total communism to a community of farmers who have decided to collectively organize and share the fruits of their labor.

Mr. Smith’s article shows a picture of Bernie Sanders on the front, and then goes on to discuss the horrors of dictatorial communism, including that of the Soviet Union, China, and Cuba in particular.  His organization, “Victims of Communism”, does an excellent job of documenting the horrors that continue in Cuba.  At no point in this article, however, does Smith explain how this is in any way caused by socialism more broadly, or that it has anything to do with Bernie Sanders.  It pretty much amounts to, Cuba is socialist.  They do horrible things to people.  Bernie Sanders is also socialist.  Therefore…

It reminds me of Dinesh D’Souza’s “2016 Obama’s America” where D’Souza spends an hour or so cherry picking details like how Obama Sr. was a Kenyan revolutionary.  Many of those Kenyan revolutionaries were communistsObama Jr. loves his father and cried over his grave.  Obama must be a communist!

The kind of socialism advocated by Bernie Sanders is not Soviet style, nor Cuban.  He advocates the kind of Democratic Socialism professed by nations in northern Europe like Denmark.  If you want to criticize Bernie Sanders by criticizing Denmark’s economy, or the economies of other such systems in northern Europe, that’s fair game.  But Sanders advocates nothing close to the kinds of dictatorships seen in these countries that identify as “communist”, such as China, Cuba, etc.  Besides, China’s system would be more accurately described as “authoritarian capitalism” .  75% of China’s economy is privately owned.  The corporations exploit workers and make enormous profits, while being backed by the authoritarian “Chinese Communist Party”.

Smith is so disappointed that most of our millennial generation has “forgotten” the meaning of socialism.  By this, he means that we don’t have the same knee-jerk reaction to the word “socialism” as the half of the boomer generation with 24/7 Faux News echoing through their homes.  But these millennials haven’t “forgotten” what socialism means.  The boomers forgot.  The millennials are remembering.  The boomers on the right are still fighting the Cold War.  Someone really should inform them that the Berlin Wall came down.

I’m forgiving of the old.  They are set in their ways, and their worldview has been shaped by experiences that I’ve only read about in textbooks.  But for Mr. Smith, there’s no excuse.

Best Kos article ever…but it still sucks!

I just got taken for a ride by a very clever article about discrimination in the Daily Kos.  While I have some conservative sentiments, I’ve never cared for the “take back America” mantra.  Last I checked, America was never taken from us, so I’m not sure from whom we’re supposed to take it back.

This Kos article, by someone named Steven D, initially addressed that mantra, which caught my eye.  The first half of it was an interesting account of young Steven’s life in N. Carolina towards the end of the “Jim Crow” era, as a white northerner.  It was very courteous of him to note that these kinds of segregationist norms were uncommon in S. Dakota “probably because there were so few black people living in the Northern Plains states.”  I’ve never appreciated how white northerners criticize the south for all of our history of racial strife, when they up north so rarely had to deal with it, so I’m glad Steven D notes that very important difference in circumstances.  Well, even though I’m about to rip into this article, I’d still encourage you to read it, because the first half really is an excellent primary history source of segregation in 1950s North Carolina.

Now for the ripping. 

While I agree with some of the points that followed, in particular that our criminal justice system continues to discriminate against blacks; in typical Kos fashion the article goes on to make ridiculous hasty generalizations against conservatives, and a series of other fallacious arguments I will explain.  For one thing, Steven D seems to be suggesting that conservatives who say “I want my country back” want to go back to Jim Crow.  I will admit that most such conservatives (who are more anachronistic than conservative by the way), most of them cherry pick the past.  They probably want the prosperity and patriotism of the 1950s, and chose not to remember the segregation, much less the very high tax rates of the era.  But while their memories may be selective, they are not racists, they are not closet racists, and furthermore, it is indeed possible to look to the past, maybe try to re-implement parts of the past you like while leaving behind the parts that you don’t.  I for example would love to make America a manufacturing power house again, like we were in the 1950s.  We don’t need segregated schools to have manufacturing jobs, and it would be absurd to tell me “you can’t cherry-pick, if you want to go back to the 50s, you have to have segregation too.”

What bothered me most about this article is that it engaged in the all too familiar leftist victim group umbrella tactic.  That is, after deeply discussing racial discrimination in the past and present, it jumped into LGBT issues, feminism, Latinos, and any other “victim group” that the monolithic left seeks to homogenize into their narrow-minded political movement.  The article made a clearly false claim about feminism – “Feminism as a movement did not exist until the late 60s and early 70s.”  What about the women’s suffrage movement of the 19th and early 20th centuries?  What about great classic feminists like Mary Wollstonecraft, who encouraged equality in education, reason and modesty?

Religious Freedom is a Problem?

The article then begins to attack religious freedom itself as a mere excuse for discrimination.  So, if a cake decorator is religiously opposed to same-sex marriage, and therefore refuses to make a wedding cake for a gay wedding, that is to be called “discrimination” and the cake decorator punished?  So, you’re entitled to your religious beliefs, but if they offend the left, you have to violate those very beliefs in public…because they’re offensive?  As so often with the cleverly bigoted left, this is compared to the 1950s when blacks were refused service at restaurants.

Here are three reasons why that comparison is absurd.  1.  In the 50s, the discrimination was widespread, and blacks were being denied very basic necessities such as hotels when they were on the road, food when they were hungry, etc.  This greatly diminished their quality of life.  One religious cake decorator refusing to make a cake will not diminish the quality of a gay couple’s life.  There are plenty of cake decorators who don’t care, and would make them a cake.  To compare one entitled gay couple who still had their wedding to a poor black family in the 50s who slept in their car because the hotel “doesn’t serve coloreds” – that is an insult!  2.  Gay is not black.  A black man walks in, you know he’s black.  When racial discrimination is allowed, it’s far too easy to do so and degrade blacks in every way.  The same would be true of any other skin color.  A gay man walks in, do you know he’s gay?  Some gay people don’t “act gay”.  Some straight people are “metrosexual” (I’ve been known to set off a few gaydars myself).  3.  There is a difference between refusing service simply because someone is gay, and refusing to be involved in a same sex wedding ceremony.  While I am not against same-sex marriage myself, as an American, I will defend the right of fellow Americans to practice their religion as they see fit.  This is not “discrimination”, it is freedom.  To punish a cake decorator who refuses to make a wedding cake for a gay wedding is not ANTI-discrimination, it IS discrimination.  This leftist tactic of comparing everything they hate to Jim Crow racism is a clear poisoning the well fallacy.  Well, I don’t want to be racist, so I guess I’ll have to make a cake of a same-sex wedding ceremony.

This next part isn’t even good enough to be absurd

Of course, this is the Kos, and if you think what I’ve discussed above is the worst in this article…just read on.  The article also made a beyond absurd argument that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana will somehow effectively discriminate against, well, any group the Kos wants to appeal to.  Here are Steven D’s words – “Their efforts encompass attempts to limit the rights of a far wider range of people, from the poor, young people and students, women, Latinos, immigrants, the disabled and, of course, blacks.  Anyone who thinks otherwise is frankly delusional.”  WHAT?!  I’m sorry, but due to my religious beliefs, I can’t serve poor people…that’s what Jesus would do.  HUH?!  Sorry, but I can’t serve coffee to you students who are cramming for an exam because, religion.  REALLY?!  Where did Steven D come up with this nonsense?

I found the ending to be the most offensive and insulting of all.  Again, Steven D’s words – “I certainly don’t want a country where anyone can discriminate against anyone else of whom they do disapprove and escape liability for that immoral and otherwise unlawful act under any pretext, be it freedom of religionracial superiority or traditional values.”  In the name of white supremacy, the Reverend Clementa Pickney and eight worshippers were murdered at an AME Church in Charleston S. Carolina – while exercising their freedom of religion!  There’s a long a tragic history of black worshippers being murdered by white supremacists, and their churches being burned down.  To equate white supremacy to freedom of religion is an insult to the memories of every black worshipper who was murdered.

Why this article still sucks

I’m not frustrated by this article because it comes “from the left”.  There’s plenty of respectable leftist sources, such as The Nation and….The Nation…. I’m not even frustrated by all the ridiculous points I’ve now refuted, as I expect nothing less from the Kos.  I’m frustrated because this article actually had potential.  I’m not saying Steven D couldn’t make these points effectively.  With some basic critical thinking skills he could have made a plausible argument for why gay is the new black, or that it is wrong to refuse service for a gay wedding.  I’d disagree, but I’d at least consider it a respectable article.  But instead, what starts out as a very interesting first hand history lesson quickly degenerates into the kind of left-winged bigotry for which the Kos is notorious.  It is the worst kind of bigotry, as it is often in the name of anti-discrimination.  But discrimination in the name of anti-discrimination, is still discrimination.  If I as a Christian call for religious freedom, then argue that, say, Muslims do not believe in religious freedom*; and therefore Muslims must not be allowed to practice their religion because they are a threat to religious freedom, I would be a hypocritical bigot – no better than the ones at the Daily Kos.

I, too, “want a better country”.  But part of that depends on maintaining those aspects of our country that do work well.  The first amendment, amongst other things guaranteeing freedom of religion, has always served us well.  I’m not prepared to sacrifice that freedom in the name of anti-discrimination.  I’d rather use my first amendment rights to persuade my fellow Americans, than deny their first amendment rights in order to force their actions, which will never change what is in their hearts.

Note(s)

*For the record, I acknowledge that Islam, like Christianity, could be cherry-picked to justify suppressing religious freedom.  But like Christians, the average Muslim especially in America simply wants to practice his/her faith and has no desire deprive others of the same freedom.  If anything Islam has a better history of religious freedom, considering that they at least acknowledge some other faiths as “people of the book” and that during the Crusading era of the Middle Ages, Christians and Jews did have religious freedom for the most part in the Islamic world while the same courtesy was clearly not extended in the Christian world.

My Piece on the Charleston Massacre