The Lovers, Of Dreamers, And E(lon Musk)

“Two movies on a single screen.” That’s how Scott Adams described the American reality right now. We are all watching the same events unfold, but we are seeing those events from two perspectives. Consider the very popular book and play Wicked; that’s a re-telling of “The Wizard Of Oz” from the perspective of a Wicked Witch. If you’ve read the book, then you now have two perspectives on that story — but you likely prefer one of the two, and consider it to be the “real” perspective.

When it comes to the “Dreamers”, the between 1.8 and 3.6 million illegal/undocumented immigrants who were brought here by their parents, the “red” and “blue” movies are, as you’d expect, quite different. Rather than get caught up in the numbers of how many “Dreamers” are in the US military (about 900, considerably less by percentage than native African-Americans) or how many are in prison (about 1,500 — which is also considerably less by percentage than native African-Americans), I just want you to look at the two people above. Try to get a sense of who they are, what their story might be, and which side of the Narrative they serve. Then we can talk about them.

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More Pertinently, When Will They Love Their Kids More Than They Love Getting Raw-Dogged By A Stranger?

Crisis actors. It’s not a phrase I’d heard prior to this week, but after the school shooting in Parkland, FL it’s become a part of the conversation. Some people say that these tragedies are “false flags”, bolstered by a passage in a rather infamous conspiracy-nut buff book in which the author details methods by which the government encourages school shooters. Others are troubled by the idea of an FBI agent’s son giving talking points to victims as he supposedly interviews them right in the middle of the shooting. There’s also something just a bit squicky about the rapidity with which the media rolls out coordinated talking points on gun control even as people are still dying in their classrooms — to say nothing about the insanity of CNN promoting voting rights for 16-year-olds.

(The conspiracy theorist in me says that this “16-year-olds should vote” crap is part of a general campaign to normalize pedophilia, but that’s a discussion for another time.)

For the moment, however, let’s use Occam’s Razor and let the simplest explanation suffice: these school shootings are real, they are not the product of hypnotism or even violence-inducing anti-depressants, and they are happening in more or less the reported fashion — in other words, there are no mystery shooters or deep-state agents getting involved. The question any sane person would ask is simple: why are they happening?

As it turns out, there are some simple statistical correlations that lead to some extremely unpleasant conclusions.

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If You Have Powerful Enemies, Watch Out For The “Head Shot”

I’m in the process of watching The Wire all the way through again, mostly because I’m doing a lot of air travel and I’m too lazy to read all the books I should be reading during that time. One of the more interesting aspects of the show is how often its creator, David Simon, used real people from the Baltimore streets instead of trained actors. The most commonly-cited example was Snoop, who actually killed someone on the streets prior to acting on the show, but there are at least six Baltimore cops, including two former commissioners, who are on the show in one role or another.

During the first season, a fellow named Ed Norris plays a wisecracking cop who keeps saying that someone needs to fix the department. It’s an inside joke; Norris was actually the police commissioner at the time. After his time on “The Wire”, Norris did six months in jail thanks to a prosecutorial technique known as the “headshot”.

I didn’t know what the headshot was until this morning. I kind of wish I still didn’t know. If you’re ever owned a home or a rental property, you’ll want to, as they say, read all about it.

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Turns Out That W Is Just Alright With Us Now

You knew it was just a matter of time, right? That good ol’ boy, George W. Bush, is now seen favorably by nearly two-thirds of the nation’s populace. According to the latest CNN poll, W has a 61% approval rating, as opposed to just a 33% disapproval rating. If you’re playing along at home, this is almost a complete flip from where he was on Barack Obama’s Inauguration Day, when he had just a 34% approval rating. Freaking democrats approve of W, 54-41.

Even more mind-boggling is the fact that W had the highest disapproval rating of any president in history during his final year in office. 71% of Americans disapproved of Bush’s job performance in May of 2008. So what gives?

In your humble author’s opinion, it has a lot more to do with the current president than W, himself. In order to understand a little more, let’s take a look at how we viewed another president of the recent past—William Jefferson Clinton.

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The Next American Civil War, Like The Last One, Is Blue Vs. Grey

Last week, one of our readers suggested that I read “I Can Tolerate Anything Except The Outgroup”, a long and detailed post by psychiatrist Scott Alexannder on his Slate Star Codex site. You’re encouraged to read the whole thing if you have time — it’s about 10,000 words — but if you don’t I’ll boil out the three critical parts for you in bite-sized portions. They are:

0. Tribal America
1. Never A Coward Where The Muezzin Calls
2. Just A Touch Of Grey

I will also do something that Mr. Alexander does not do, and that is: attempt to pinpoint the reason for our transition from communities to tribes.

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Five Thousand Keywords For Redneck

Tomorrow I’m going to write a longer post on the idea of “Red Tribe” and “Blue Tribe” as discussed in an article recommended by one of our commenters here. Before I do, however, I want to pre-discuss an idea that figures very large in the essay: the idea that very few of us have any regular and significant acquaintance with people who possess a genuinely different set of beliefs from ours. Never before has our society been quite so completely segmented — not by race, color, or religious creed, but by adherence to common fundamental assumptions. If you believe that “no human is illegal” and that there should be no barriers whatsoever to immigration, chances are that you don’t have regular interactions with people who want to Build! That! Wall! and so on. If you think that owning a personal firearm is an essential part of being an American citizen, then chances are that you don’t hang out on the weekends with people who donate to anti-gun causes.

The reasons for this are many, but I’d suggest that the primary and most substantial force behind this voluntary segregation is our move from physical communities to virtual ones. And before you tell me that your life isn’t like that at all, I’ll explain further.

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What I Learned From Watching The Gorilla Channel

If you’re a “citizen of the Internet”, or one of the “Twitterarti” — in other words, if your job is so short on actual work that you can spend your day on your phone or computer keeping up with the latest tempest-in-a-teapot — then you’ve no doubt heard about the “Gorilla Channel”. If you haven’t, here’s the story in a nutshell. The author Michael Wolff has written and released a book about President Trump, whom he calls “aberrant” although he sang a different tune when he was writing the book. Although I haven’t read the book (and probably won’t, I don’t care for detailed psuedo-insider portraits of things that happened just months ago) it is being widely reported as being thoroughly critical of Trump, often to a degree that worries pundits on both sides of the aisle.

Yesterday, a Twitter humorist who goes by the handle of @PixelatedBoat decided to publish a fake “excerpt” from the book. It’s far from the first time he has done something like this, as you’ll see. But this time was special — because his parody page, which claimed that Trump spent 17 hours a day kneeling in front of a television and talking to gorillas, was taken as absolute gospel by a variety of heavy-duty left-wingers, including a few writers at the New York Times.

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Things That Happened Before Trump Got Elected Are Definitely His Fault—Just Ask MSN

In a move that shocked precisely nobody, Macy’s is closing seven stores and laying off 5,000 workers across the country. In addition to being predictable because of the rise of e-commerce and the never-ending retail slump that likely ends with brick-and-mortar becoming a thing of the past, it’s predictable because Macy’s originally announced this plan in August of 2016. The only real news to come out of this was the naming of 7 of the 100 stores that are doomed under the original plan.

The particularly astute among you will notice that August 2016 is several months before January 20th, 2017, which is when President Donald J. Trump took office. In fact, it’s even a few months before November 8th, 2016, when Donald Trump was elected. So why are MSN, USA Today, and others acting like this is news today?

Simple. There’s been too much good news in the financial sector since Trump was elected, and, specifically, far too much good news since he signed his tax bill into law. Time to incense the readers a bit. Predictably, it worked.

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Did Trump Kill Obamacare? Depends On Whom You Ask

The Individual Mandate. Man, what a complicated and twisted path it’s taken.

Obama, himself, was against it before he was for it. in 2015, Vox said that it was “absolutely necessary” to making sure that Obamacare could be implemented. By forcing healthy individuals into the marketplace, it would lower the premiums for everybody else by spreading the cumulative risk around. If healthy people opted not to buy insurance, then the plan wouldn’t work.

The Supreme Court ultimately ruled by the slimmest possible margin that the mandate was constitutional—not because the federal government can force people to buy a product, but because the federal government does have the right to compel individuals to pay tax—undermining candidate and President Obama’s promise that taxes on the middle class wouldn’t be raised under his administration.

So, despite every liberal in the world screaming at the top of his lungs that President Donald J. Trump is a “moron” and an “Orange Droolius,” Trump beat the Democrats at their own game with his tax plan, which he signed into law earlier this month. Rather than try to “repeal and replace,” an effort which has failed massively in the Senate, Trump decided to simply repeal the individual mandate tax. Say what you want about the guy, this was some brilliant shit.

But did it kill Obamacare?

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