Cost of free speech –

Even as I write this, I have to be careful.  Most people walking around think the freedom of speech means you can say anything you want and can’t be jailed or fired from your job.  The truth is, freedom of speech ONLY prevents being locked up by the po-po for saying what you think, to a certain extent.  For example, you can’t yell “fire” in a crowded movie theater, unless there is a fire.  You can’t say “bomb” on a plane.  So, for the most part, if you hate Trump or Hillary, you cannot be jailed for it.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t be fired for it.

I am a lifelong moderate.  I had a 20 year relationship with the moderate left, and a 2 year relationship now with the moderate right.  The politics and vitriol in the last few years have actually been now scaring me.  Let me paint a picture for you…

As a moderate leftist, I spent those 20 years engaging in debate with my friends on the right.  I fought for gay rights.  I fought for inclusivity.  I fought for equality.  Most of my friends were on the right, and we had many spirited debates over the course of that time.  I enjoyed trying to understand what they were thinking, and I tried to get them to understand what I was thinking.  Sometimes it got heated, but most of the time it was very open and friendly.

In the last 2 years, I have moved slight right.  Things I started seeing that I had championed on the left were suddenly viewed as “racist”.  For example, I supported the border wall in 2006.  So did the democrats and republicans.  600 miles of border fence/wall/boundary was created.  Virtually no one comes in through there.  Suddenly, it is now racist to want the wall.  This is the same view I had 10 years ago, but the left SHIFTED their position further left.  Rather than debate me on the merits of whether this is good or bad for the country, now if I differed in opinion from them, I was labeled a racist.  It was to try and paint me in a label that was negative, to force me by fear of a label to reverse my position.  To conform to their ideology.

Furthermore, any position I took up on the right that I agreed with I suddenly was met with other labels from my LEFT friends.  They made ME their enemy?  I would ask them about their thoughts on topics, and when I would try to share mine – I somehow invaded their safe space.  I was somehow triggering  them.  I was not permitted to present my side, with the same logic I used to defend them for 20 years.

I’m now seriously concerned.  I’m concerned that if I do not think the same as you, that this could cost me my career.  I am concerned that a “groupthink” is going on, and if you do not fall in line with this groupthink, that you will be threatened.  You will be “outed”.  You will be under duress to accept the standards and norms or face the penalty of loss of your status quo.

This, friends, is terrifying.

My friends are both left and right, with even a couple of crazy libertarians thrown in there for good measure.  I try to treat all of them with respect.  What I’m finding today, is I cannot have legitimate discussions with my friends on the left.  This, also, is troubling.  The new method of debate is to shut down dialogue and shout someone down, whilst throwing labels at them.   Are these labels deserved?  Is that a debate tactic that is healthy for this country?

I can honestly tell you when the Republicans shut down Merrick Garland, this began a war in which I don’t think Republicans had any clue what was coming next.  I think they won the battle and may have lost the war.  This one supreme court justice has now caused so many issues, delays, and disruption of the normal operations of our government that I believe it almost triggered a silent revolution.

Enter Jordan Peterson.

Any of you that have spent a few minutes on YouTube recently see him all over the place.  I believe I may have listened to about 10 hours of his videos so far.  He might be one of the most intelligent people on this planet today.

Why am I bringing him into the conversation?

He’s become a hero to the moderate/rightist causes.  He has described himself as a liberal, and he, too, felt that the left pushed him aside.  He has become famous because he got in trouble at the University of Toronto because he refused to comply with a LAW that required him to address a transgendered person by their preferred pronouns, one of approximately 31 pronouns.  For those of you who don’t know, this is like instead of calling someone “she” or “he”, you might call them “zee” or “zer”, or some combination of that.

As a right-leaning person, I have also stood up for transgender rights on this space.  One of my biggest issues is that these people have a ridiculously high suicide rate.  I treasure people as a whole, and feel that yes, while these people are different, they don’t deserve to die over it.  I want them to live, be free, and live the life they want to live.  But Mr. Peterson was under fire because of a federal law which REQUIRES speech.  He felt it was infringing upon his freedom of speech.  It struck a nerve with me, and I, too, support his position.  He contends that without the law, perhaps over time, if the speech is normalized, he, too, would use it.  But, not under the duress of a law which would do so.

This interview sort of put him on the map.  If you are on the left, you might see this and, if you are not running to your safe space, you might at least appreciate the argument from the right.   He has become my most recent hero, at least through the clips I’ve seen.

But he does present a picture that many of my kind feel – that our freedoms of speech (and even thinking) are being challenged to the point where if we even think differently than a leftist groupthink, that we will lose everything.  That is terrifying.

 

Trump?

I haven’t written much about our orange-haired friend lately.  There’s ups, downs, and everything in between.

For those of you who don’t know, I spent my teens playing chess in some pretty high level tournaments in the country and did fairly well.  Had I continued on that path, I might have hit a rating of 2100-2300, which is pretty good, but not grandmaster level.  At the age of 15, my rating was close to 1700, which put me in some pretty good company at the state and national levels.

Chess is just a game.  I know this.  But what it teaches you to do, at the core level, is plan and strategize using a collective assortment of tactics such as forks, pins, sacrifices, flanking – all while understanding position, momentum, tempo, and space.

As someone who was pretty competent in the game of chess, I see Trump differently than a lot of people.  People on the right just think “MAGA!”, and people on the left think “Hitler”.   This is someone who needs analysis.  Maybe not for his character, but at least to understand his toolbox of tactics.  Maybe under another leader someday, these tactics can be used again, with perhaps a more palatable politician to whichever party you pull the level for.

I want to start off with the opening.

  1. Stormy Daniels.  Given the fact that he was on his third wife, a billionaire, and cheated on his previous wives, many voters just assumed he has been with women.  An affair of any nature does nothing to impact him with his voters, as this was baked into the vote.  I’m not excusing it, but this is a 12 year old affair.  The problem the left has is that this tactic has been used to discredit many leftists over the years very successfully.  My first recollection is Gary Hart, then Bill Clinton, then even John Edwards.  What’s of interest here is there is no accusation of anything other than a consensual relationship, with a person who admits he’s flawed, and no child was born from this.  If you want a voter base who has also given a free pass to a candidate, look up JFK.  So, Stormy isn’t anything that’s going to kill his base.  Pawn to e4.
  2. His cabinet.  What I noticed during his campaign, was he sacked people at different times.  While I didn’t get it at first, I now have an appreciation for this.  And these people he fired are devoutly loyal to him (for the most part).  Let’s look at a few things.  First, he had Corey Lewandowski to get him involved with the campaign.  When things started to get messy with the primary, he brought in Paul Manafort to navigate through the primary voting process.  Finally, after Manafort got him the primary victory, he brought a woman in to soften his image and get him some women votes in the general election.  He brings in people for specific jobs, and when they accomplish this, he thanks them for their service and may use them later in another capacity.  Reince Preibus was brought in to scope the GOP prospects for the cabinet and other leading positions.  Over time, Trump then got everyone appointed, got the “standard operation procedures” down, then began making adjustments.  I read something about “the hatchet man” which was brilliant.  What many of you see is “chaos” in the white house.  I see him bringing in executives to accomplish big things, then adjust after those were met.  The left focuses on the twitter and fluff, while he is free to then direct policy using a lot of this as distractions.
  3. Unpredictable.  What many of you don’t understand is that you can’t understand him.  He’s not predictable, for the most part.  In warfare, this can then result in an asymmetric attack.  If an enemy cannot predict your attacks, they cannot properly defend against them.  This was one of the big attractions with Trump.  It was “status quo” politician against someone who wanted to challenge the system.  I don’t doubt Clinton could have kept on with Obama’s legacies for 4 years.  But there was so much shit going on in the world, the electorate was looking for something different.  The way he packaged himself with stadiums full of people at rallies with little scripting going on – this is something that appealed to people rather than the bland speeches written by someone else.
  4. Politically incorrect.  This was a direct assault on the far left, and this appeal was the same appeal that links to the Jordan Peterson crowd above.  While mainstream media and TV shows are trying to tell you how you are supposed to think, there is a counter-culture out there who is saying, “what in the hell is going on?”.   He has cursed at rallies, using F bombs.  He’s insulted people and groups.  And while there’s an aspect of this that does appear to be a bully, there’s also an element of this that appears as an alpha male who doesn’t give a shit what you think about him.  If you compare this to EVERY politician who is refined and polished, the politically incorrect aspect of him IS part of his schtick.  How many politicians over the last 30 years have said they were a “change agent”.  How many of them did you believe?  This guy gets up in front of 20,000 people and drops the m-fer bomb.  He was not worried about polling people for what they thought.  He knows EXACTLY the cord he is tugging, and it’s the counter-culture who is fighting back against being told they must comply or lose their jobs.

 

The middle game

In chess, once you develop your pieces, you now start to formulate strategies and employ your tactics.  For this, you must have an opening that is fully developed.  A few months ago, he stated he was “close to having the cabinet he wanted”.  This, to me, is the end of his opening.  When he let Reince Preibus go, he then started to shuttle in some of the people he was looking to have run things using more advanced tactics.  The opening was to get appointees in place.  Once the appointees got there, the wheels of government can now move when tactics are implemented.

  1. Formulate attacks and analyze your pieces.  While many of you thought he was taking us to nuclear war with North Korea, many of you did not notice he was having a lot of talks with Xi Xinping of China.  Major super powers have countries they influence, and in some respects, are responsible for.  These are the secondary countries.  Many of these secondary countries then have influence on tertiary countries.  What Trump did was use the a frontal assault with Kim as well as work closely with China to influence N Korea.  While the brinksmanship escalated, China then summoned Kim to China for a talk.  A week later, it was determined North Korea would meet with Trump, and even met with South Korea for the first time.  From what I hear, the end to that war will be officially signed.  By mid summer, we may have a de-nuclearized North Korea with inspections.  While he was meeting with XinPing the first time, at dinner, he ordered the bombing of Syria.  I don’t think that was a coincidence.  Trump does relish the “crazy” label from the left because you are making his foreign policy easier to do.  We tried 30 years of talks with them.  A heavy hand, coupled with the assistance from China AND crippling sanctions, may have been a winning combination.  We don’t know yet, but this looks promising as a strategy.
  2. Jobs, money, and the economy.  For many years, companies were hoarding cash.  It appears with lower taxes in place, the economy is booming and wages are significantly higher with unemployment at 3.9%, the lowest in 20 years.  This is the fork.  Pelosi was calling tax breaks “crumbs” and with a strong economy, and the left wanting to raise taxes, this could help win mid-terms.  These numbers needed to be solid in order to stave off a democrat offensive at the end of 2018.
  3. The wall.  This is a strategy meant to symbolize a re-commitment to our country.  It is no mistake that Roseanne’s reboot of her show have scored high ratings.  Tim Allen’s show is coming back.  It was cancelled by ABC despite being one of the highest rated shows on the network.  We are being told it’s “racist” to have a wall, meanwhile the counter-culture who voted Trump in is comprised of democrats and republicans.  In Pennsylvania, where I live, 76,000 democrats switched parties so they could vote for Trump in the primaries (I was one of them).  Make no mistake that the people who favor enforcing the laws on the books and building the wall have the better argument, and the left culture who is calling people “racist” for this view are, in fact, driving more people to his side.  So, while the mainstream media wants to paint a picture – their viewers do not share this picture and slowly are pushing people to the side who, in a bipartisan fashion, voted for the wall in 2006.
  4. Leaks.  By getting rid of Preibus and bringing in a 4-star general, the leaks have mostly disappeared in the White House.  If he was to take his plans to the next level, he needed to continue his element of surprise.

The end game

I’m not quite sure Trump re-runs.  Maybe he does.  But he is not the first famous person to run for office, and won’t be the last.  Trump, to me, is someone who is ridiculously smart.  While many of the left think of him as a buffoon, he has had a lot of success in a lot of arenas.  Yes, he’s failed, but this is par for the course for many entrepreneurs.  Find anyone on the planet who owns 10 or 20 companies and ask them if they’ve ever had failures.  Last I checked he ran over 500 companies.  In addition, he was talented at TV too.  So, he was great with real estate, running 500 companies, made a successful TV show, and now, as a political novice, won the Super Bowl as a rookie quarterback?  While the narrative of him as a clown can be appealing to you, it is also how the left underestimated him in 2016.  I’d advise you re-think that if you have a chance of beating him.

  1. The legacy.  I feel when all is said and done, he is trying to give back to this country.  Many of you may feel this is his ego, but I really have to ask you, what fucking balls someone must have to wake up in the morning one day and say, “I’m going to be president of the United States”.  Like, there is a level of excellence, smarts, ambition, perseverance, and flexibility to adapt.  He was worth several billion dollars, had a supermodel wife, and was 70.  And he signed up to work 18 hours a day under secret service watch, getting threatened 24×7.  He did not need this job.  His legacy would have continued for another couple hundred years through his fortune and name.  To me, he wanted to give back, and felt he was the right person for the job.  Now, everyone on the left can disagree, and they may be right.  But I ask you, who the F wakes up one day and says they are going to be president and DOES NOT have an ego the size of Texas?  Just because you hate him does not make him any worse than Clinton.
  2. Executive in chief.  This is what I wanted from Perot.  Someone who was an ass kicker, who comes in and runs the government like a business.  He’s cutting bitches.  He’s removing red tape to get shit done.  He’s removing shitty regulations that have put our government on hold and stagnating development.  He runs this country as an EXECUTIVE, and not as a politician.  I feel this may indeed pave the way for the Bloombergs of the world (if he wasn’t 76).  I feel that you don’t need to be the best senator or governor to be the president, I think you need to know how to run organizations, and to be able to run a board of alpha types and steer the cruise ship.
  3. Salesman in chief.  What many on the left missed was Trump is a salesman, at heart.  He spent about a third of what Clinton did on the election.  His messaging (while you despise it), was highly effective for those he was targeting.  The fact that the left made “MAGA!” into some sort of 1950s racist message played very poorly for them.  For people like myself, it was trying to restore cities to greatness and bringing jobs back.  To someone else, it meant something else.  It was the genius of the marketing – each person had some glimpse of what used to be good, and they found hope in that message.  Hillary’s message of “I’m with her” almost sounded self-serving.   Where Trump’s message targeted sectors from all income groups and ethnic groups, the Left’s message was “vote for a woman”.  I feel that his superior salesmanship may be studied in many more elections to come.  The traditional thought was if you outspend your opponent, you will win.  Trump specifically targeted the rust belt states and made jobs and MAGA his primary message.  Clinton avoided those states, mostly, and spent a lot of time in NY and California – states she was going to win by a landslide.  While Trump was out hustling votes in key strategic areas to win the electoral college (as it was designed), Clinton raised $1.2 billion and spent weeks at a time off of the campaign trail.  Anyone who has ever taken a basic marketing class can grasp at this level how he crushed her.  I can see this type of strategy used in 2020 against any left challenger.  Now, with a strong economy and foreign policy at his back, the left needs to bring another message than identity politics.  While their hearts and minds may be with this message, this is not the sales strategic that will defeat Trump in 2020.

 

Thanks for reading.  Yes, I scratch my head at some things Trump does.  I felt Bush was a good man but in over his head as an executive.  I felt Obama was an amazing speaker, but lacked true leadership at the executive level – he spent a lot of time with bare knuckle Chicago style politics.  Trump can come off as “unhinged”, but actually is quite brilliant when you boil down what’s going on.

Lastly, I had been saying from the start this collusion thing was a steaming pile of shit.  The questions I’d really start asking is, “was the FBI wiretapping Trump and his campaign at the behest of Obama”.  There’s some serious questions going on at the “deep state” level.  Some of those recently dismissed at the FBI intimated there were plans in place even if Trump did win to then sink his presidency.  The FBI has been slow walking documents to congress, it’s OVERSIGHT BODY, essentially trying to tell congress to pound sand.  There is a lot of sketchy shit going on, dating back to the IRS and Lois Lerner.  There’s been a shadow government of sorts that has been trying to derail the GOP for the better part of 6 years.  Now, Obama, Kerry, and Clinton can’t shut up about Trump and our foreign policy – threatening to derail any treaties a sitting president may try to negotiate.

I’m concerned that my support of the president of the united states may someday cost me my career.  Let that sink in.  And then you tell me what the cost of free speech is in this country when you fear supporting a president?  And, you also voted twice for his predecessor.   But none of that matters, because I’m somehow now an enemy to a party that pushed me out of it, despite my opinions never changing in those 20 years.

Here’s to a more sane and quiet 2020 election.  Or, get your popcorn out.  I think everyone is done arguing about this on Facebook, or at least I hope.  It’s been stressing on families and friendships.  Can’t we just get back to a day of Slick Willie cheating on Hillary, George Bush committing war crimes, or Obama telling us we can keep our doctor?  Why must Trump be compared to Hitler when he’s clearly not, and the right to speak/think is actually being restricted by the left?

What exactly is the cost of free speech?  Can you rationally disagree with me and present arguments to me without calling me names?  Can you see me as a fellow American who wants good for this country and may share a different view of how that is achieved than you?

Can we just get back to being able to argue rather than people bitching about being triggered or want a safe space?  The world is a rough place, and we should celebrate our differences rather than forcing everyone into one blender of thought.

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