May 2, 2016

Trump’s Alinskyites

Or: Rise of the Trumpanzees

I recently visited a conservative blogsite. Now, I accepted that site is populated by Trump supporters, yet was appalled by much of the anti-Cruz commentary. There were complaints about the sound of Senator Cruz’s voice, and mockery of his physical appearance -- much as those which have come from Trump himself.

Perhaps most distressing though were the attacks on Cruz supporters, including accusations those not on the T-Rump train were drug-addled layabouts, and welfare cheats. In response, I submitted the following comment.

Have we fallen so far as to come to a point where denigration of Senator Cruz supporters, and personal attacks on the candidate are the ‘new normal’ in political discourse? I thought that was the realm occupied by progressives and those who follow the Alinsky playbook.

My comment never made it onto the thread. Instead, it was immediately relegated to the cyber trash bin. That confirmed my apprehensions about many Trump followers. 

It would appear that many Trump supporters have adopted the methods of the left in their desire to push him across the finish line. Their tactics are straight from the progressive playbook -- Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals.

Here is a quick checklist of those tactics which are readily apparent as the T-Rump train rolls on.

RULE 1: “Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.” -- ✔
(Trump constantly touts his wealth, implying his billions alone make him unstoppable.)

RULE 2: “Never go outside the expertise of your people.” -- ✔
(Trump makes grandiose speeches, filled with superlatives, but lacking any specificity on how his grand plans would come to fruition. However, that is ample enough to charge up his followers.)

RULE 3: “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.” -- Pending
(This has been a weak spot for Trump. He has been neither willing, nor able, to articulate what he would actually do if successful in his bid for the Presidency. Even his ‘specifics’ are mere generalities. There is no ‘there’ there.)

RULE 5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” -- ✔
(The commentary from Trump, and his supporters, concerning other candidates is evidence enough to prove they are more than willing to wallow in the mud of personal politics.)

RULE 6: “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.” -- ✔
(The more outlandish a Trump claim or attack, the greater the fervor among those at his rallies.)

RULE 7: “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.” -- ✔
(Trump has been a master of changing horses mid-stream to divert attention away from his lack of actual credentials. First it was the wall to stem illegal immigration, then it was banning Muslims from entry to the U.S., , claims about a “rigged” system, alternating with tangential remarks on “low energy” Jeb, “that face” Fiorina, “lying” Ted, and that infamous “blood coming out of her wherever” comment about Megyn Kelly -- Rinse. Repeat. Start the cycle again.)

RULE 8: “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” -- ✔
(Even when admonished by his spouse and advisers to tone down his personal attacks, Trump continues to go after personality instead of position.)

RULE 9: “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.” -- ✔
(There is already much talk of a ‘revolution’ should Trump not get the GOP nomination. This entails everything from sitting out the election, to actual physical violence against those not in the Trump camp.)

RULE 10: “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive." -- ✔
(One need not look further than how Trump turned blowback on his Kelly comments into a positive by branding those who found it offensive as being in the tank with FOX News and GOP establishment.)

RULE 11: “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.” -- Partial ✔
(Trump’s only real point to date: He is not Hillary Clinton, for whatever that is worth.)

RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” -- ✔
(This has been the hallmark of the Trump campaign.)

I return to my original thought -- Have we really fallen so far?

Dennis P. O’Neil

Addendum: My original comment was eventually released from Trumpurgatory, after an admittedly snide secondary comment about the censoring proving my point on Alinskyite tactics. Squeaky wheels do sometimes get oiled.

October 4, 2012

The Debate: Mitt v Milquetoast

Republican hopeful, Mitt Romney, and current president, Barack Obama, finally met in their first face-to-face battle for the hearts and minds of American voters.  The ensuing ninety minute spectacle was a brutal ideological beat down of unimaginable proportions.  Had the bloodletting lasted longer, Secret Service may have felt compelled to rush POTUS off to a secure location for his own safety.

Despite prior media hype over his debate prowess, Obama was clearly over matched in this contest.  Romney was sure in his answers, while Obama stumbled over basic campaign talking points.  Democrat operatives and Obama supporters quickly offered excuses for this disastrously poor performance, citing reasons ranging from the moderator, to the debate prep team, to Denver’s altitude.  The DNC went so far as to lay blame on Romney for being mean to Obama during the debate.

Body language does not lie.  The man who once famously said, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun,” arrived unarmed to face an opponent wielding a chainsaw – and it showed.  Obama was clearly intimidated by Romney’s command of the forum.  He avoided eye contact with Romney, preferring to stare down at the podium.  Even when defending his own positions, Obama looked and acted weak.  Make no mistake, Obama, “leader of the free world”, cowed before his election opponent.

That should be the takeaway from this meeting.  The man with a “spine of steel” wilted like last week’s daisy under the heat of a simple debate.  Perhaps the DNC was correct, and Romney was too hard on their guy.  However, if Obama channels Caspar Milquetoast when facing a domestic challenger, why should we expect him to stand up for American interests when confronted by leaders from countries wishing to harm our Nation?

Just for the moment, let us concede the Obama supporters' explanations for his performance are valid – all of them.  He didn't want to seem angry.  His debate coaches failed him.  He was distracted by personal events.  He was hypoxic.  The moderator didn't control the forum.  His opponent lied.  Given those circumstances, that he folded like a three-legged card table is even more disturbing.

Team Obama likes to describe the President's style as “leading from behind.”  That characterization has long given me pause.  Why would anyone lead from behind, unless afraid of being in front?  Perhaps it wasn't so much the real Romney took stage Wednesday night, as the real Obama showed his true colors – complete with broad stripe in a primary color between green and orange on the spectrum.

We deserve a President who can prevail as a leader in the face of adversity, a person who does not require scripted speeches, adoring crowds, and compliant media to facilitate intestinal fortitude.  The befuddled, submissive person who debated Romney is not the one to entrust with our Nation's future in this increasingly hostile world.

Dennis P. O’Neil

August 14, 2012

Someone Baked The Baby

Each day we learn of another child left to die an excruciating death, alone, forgotten in a hot car by a negligent parent. During the summer of 2004, an increasing number of such stories led one Phoenix radio host to express his growing outrage over this absolutely preventable carnage.

A twist on the Shel Silverstein poem Dreadful as modified by Barry Young.
Someone baked the baby.
It's rather sad to say.
Someone baked the baby
So he won't be out to play.

We'll never hear his whiney cry,
Or have to feel if he is dry.
We'll never hear him asking "Why, why, why?"
Someone baked the baby.

Someone baked the baby.
This is absolutely clear.
Someone baked the baby.
Cause the baby isn't here.

We'll give away his toys and clothes.
We'll never have to wipe his nose.
The authorities just say, "Well, that's the way it goes."
Someone baked the baby.

Someone baked the baby.
What a frightful thing to do!
Someone baked the baby.
The authorities don't have a friggin' clue.

Outside it was over a hundred and ten.
I guess it’s just a case of, "Here we go again."
Or perhaps, one fine day we will see the end,
Of someone baking the baby.
See to your children first. Nothing – no melting quart of ice cream, no missed few minutes of a favorite TV show, nothing – ever takes precedence over the safety of a child.

Dennis P. O'Neil

June 28, 2012

Gilded Chains Are Still Chains

That SCOTUS upheld the linchpin of ObamaCare should not have come as a surprise. Nor should the reasoning behind their decision. Despite denials, obfuscations, and outright lies offered to the general public during health-care debates, President Obama and Democrat Congressional leaders successfully argued before the highest court that the individual mandate was a tax. This very outcome was foretold by Robert Yates, author of Anti-Federalist paper known as Brutus VI:
"The general legislature will be empowered to lay any tax they chuse, [sic] to annex any penalties they please to the breach of their revenue laws; and to appoint as many officers as they may think proper to collect the taxes... And the courts of law, which they will be authorized to institute, will have cognizance of every case arising under the revenue laws, the conduct of all the officers employed in collecting them; and the officers of these courts will execute their judgments.” 
So, the tax that wasn't a tax is really a tax after all, and the treasure of all productive citizens is subject to plunder. Additionally, the IRS is free to continue expansion plans authorized under ObamaCare in order to satisfy increased financial demands brought on by the act. Something Yates also warned about in his essay Brutus V:
"[T]he power to lay and collect has great latitude; it will lead to the passing a vast number of laws, which may affect the personal rights of the citizens of the states, expose their property to fines and confiscation, and put their lives in jeopardy: it opens a door to the appointment of a swarm of revenue and excise officers to pray [sic] upon the honest and industrious part of the community, eat up their substance, and riot on the spoils of the country.” 
There was another essay of that time, written and signed by twenty-one dissenters after the Pennsylvania Convention ratified the new constitution. In The Address and Reasons of Dissent of the Minority of the Convention of Pennsylvania to their Constituents, they listed among their objections, the secretive, back room dealings and scare tactics employed at the Convention by those in favor of ratification, very much akin to those used by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi while crafting ObamaCare:
"Whilst the gilded chains were forging in the secret conclave, the meaner instruments of despotism without, were busily employed in alarming the fears of the people with dangers which did not exist, and exciting their hopes of greater advantages from the expected plan than even the best government on earth could produce....” 
Now we are faced with a decision on how to proceed concerning this Constitutional, yet arguably bad law. The answer is clear. We must, as Yates suggested, “... rise up, and, with a strong hand, resist and prevent the execution of constitutional laws.” We must do everything possible, and permissible under our Constitution, to unseat and replace those who would burden our Nation with such bad law. To do otherwise means acceptance of those gilded chains.

Dennis P. O'Neil

April 22, 2012

Rethinking the “Bush Tax Cuts”

I no longer support a “Bush Tax Cuts” extension.

Collectively known as the “Bush Tax Cuts”, the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA) and Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 (JGTRRA) made sweeping changes to the U.S. Tax code.

Among other things, EGTRRA and JGTRRA lowered the tax rate on the bottom fifth of income earners by 5 points, from 15% to 10%, a full one-third cut in their tax burden.  Also lowered were the tax rates for the next four income tiers from 28 to 25, from 31 to 28, from 36 to 33, and from 39.6 to 35 respectively.  The acts also increased child tax credits and eliminated the marriage penalty, while lowering the tax rates on inheritances, capital gains, and dividends.

The acts contained 2010 sunset provisions, but were given two year extensions through 2012.  President Obama and Congressional Democrats, in their desire to make the wealthy pay their “fair” share, have moved to block further extensions of EGTRRA and JGTRRA.  They intend to force sunsetting of the “Bush Tax Cuts” and allow them to expire at the end of this year.  Without those extensions, the tax rates will return to their former levels.

That will mean a 13.1% tax increase on the top one-fifth of incomes, with increases of 9.1%, 10.7%, and 12% for the next three tiers, and a whopping 50% tax increase for those in the lowest bracket.  The child tax credit will drop from $1,000 to $500.  The marriage penalty will return.  Estates will be gutted by a 55% death tax.  Return on investment, capital gains, will drop by one-third as the tax rate increases from 15% to 20%.   Dividends, a major funding source for retirement accounts currently taxed at 15%, will be taxed at the same rate as ordinary wages, up to 39.6% for those at the top level.

So, instead of supporting a continued “Bus Tax Cuts” extension, I now stand in full opposition to the “Obama Tax Increases”.  $500 BILLION in tax increases that could cripple an already struggling economy, starting January 1, 2013.

Dennis P. O'Neil

March 12, 2012

Dealing With Trolls

Trolls are those individuals who invade chat rooms and comment threads to post off-topic and the most vile of remarks in order to interfere with a free exchange of ideas and information.

Perhaps most important thing to know about most trolls is they are as insecure in their own lives as they are insignificant yours.  Their inane rants are the products of weak minds attempting to draw attention to themselves and away from the main topic.  Many trolls post their despicable remarks in hopes someone will respond in like prose.  That is exactly the recognition they seek, as it fulfills some warped sense of gratification because they have succeeded in hijacking the discussion.  Consider their unwelcome input a form of mental masturbation.

So, how does one deal with trolls?
  1. NEVER respond to direct personal attacks.  Engaging them only feeds into their sick desires.
  2. Do not acknowledge them directly. Instead, talk about and around them, but not TO them.  Hold them and their posts up for ridicule, but only referenced in the third person. e.g.
    “Can you folks believe the tripe 'TimmyTroll' is spouting? I wish he/she/it would stop the copy and paste of Mother Jones editorials to try and prove his/her/its idiotic point.”
  3. Rebuke their assertions with FACTS, not opinion.  Cite authoritative sources demonstrating the fallacies of their arguments.
  4. Above all, STAY CLASSY.  Remember, you are usually engaging with like minds or those of a differing political philosophy who are truly interested holding intelligent discussion.  Using words or phrases that could be construed as misogynistic, homophobic, racist, or otherwise offensive is an intellectually lazy trap you set for yourself, and only invites trolls to attack.
Following these four basic rules marginalizes trolls to the point they cease to be a problem.

Dennis P. O'Neil

March 3, 2012

Not With Pike, But With Pen

Many, if not most, Americans were incensed by President Barack Obama's hat in hand apology to Afghan President Hamid Karzai for the burning of Korans on a U.S. air base in Afghanistan.  Most disturbing was President Obama's promise of retribution against our own troops by, “... holding accountable those responsible.”  With that, President Obama threw our military personnel under the proverbial Afghani donkey cart, even as rioting crowds murdered them in cold blood.

One patriot, angry with this betrayal, took a few minutes out of her busy day to express her thoughts, then post the video with her version of a proper apology to President Karzi on YouTube and her blog (transcript included).  The video went viral within hours and, before a week passed, had nearly reached the holy grail for Internet videos – One Million views.

Kira Ayn Davis, the self-described “actress, writer, blogger and talker... also a mother, wife, proud American and black conservative... ” seemed awestruck by an overwhelmingly positive response from hundreds of thousands of fellow Americans who shared her sentiments.  As Davis posted on her facebook page:
“Woohoo! Video just crossed 900,000! How should I celebrate 1,000,000?”
I remembered the story of Revolutionary War heroine, Mary Hagidorn, who refused an order for women and children to shelter in a cellar during an expected British attack.  Mary defiantly replied, ”I shall not go to that cellar should the enemy come.  I will take a spear which I can use as well as any man and help defend the fort.”  With spear in hand, Mary took her place along the defensive line, holding her position until the battle was won.

So, to Kira, I humbly offer this counsel: Hold your children close, tell them the story of Mary Hagidorn, and whisper, “This I do for you, not with pike, but with pen.”

Please visit Kira's blog at KiraDavis.net and enjoy her writings, along with those of other talented young conservatives

Dennis P. O'Neil