Achilles Heel on Sleeve

The modern political left wears its Achilles heel on its sleeve and shows no signs of nearing an intervention.

I’m generalizing of course. Some self-identified leftists get it; and I still occasionally refer to myself as a leftist — but I’ve stopped fighting for the term. The amount of time and energy people waste arguing over who gets to call themselves what label is astounding. More and more, I call myself non-ideological.

As many leftists continuing blocking and defriending into smaller and smaller echo chambers, one question grows louder and louder from within: who is dividing the left?

I’ll answer that later. But first, as someone who’s trying to unite both the left and the right, I have some probing questions for the modern left.

Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi

What does a Trump supporter look-like?

Is a Trump supporter a Caucasian American? Is he a straight cisgendered white man? Is he Russian?

Mohammed Bin Salman, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia

How do you identify Trump supporters? Are they ignorant? Are they racists? Are they Islamophobes? Are they Nazis? Are the misogynist woman-haters?

Dina Habib Powell, Trump’s Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategy

What message does this movement have for the 21% of non-whites who cast their vote for Donald Trump in the 2016 election? What questions does the left have those 8 million Americans?

Are the 8 million non-white Trump voters the most easily persuadable group, or the least?

How do they compare with the roughly 1.5 million Jill Stein voters of all races (maybe 1 million white Stein voters)?

Why did 1/8th of black men vote against their own self-interest?

Why did 1/3rd of Latino men vote against their own self interest?

Why did 1/4th of Latina women vote against their own self-interest?

I guess some people are so dumb that they’ll vote against their own self interest! And if they still stand by their vote, they must be really stupid!’

More on this later…

UAE Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba and Obama’s National Security Adviser Susan Rice

What does a “non” fear-monger sound like?

Do they tell you to punch Nazis? Do they urge you to vote Democrat no matter what? Do they say more must be done to stop the Russian menace?

Did they spend the entire election cycle warning that Trump must not be able to have the nuclear codes? What if they said it about Hillary too?

The left is against hate. No need for elaboration. ‘Only trolls pretend not to understand what being against fear and hate means. It’s self-explanatory. People who spread fear and hate are bad

well, of course it’s important to help make oppressed groups aware of the dangers they face. And of course we are justified in our hatred of the dangerous bigots who are destroying the world. You’re just being a troll!

‘PUTIN SENT CYBER ARMIES OF TROLLS TO SPREAD MISINFORMATION!!!’

BLOCK!!! DEFRIEND!!! REPORT!!!

What does a “non” conspiracy-theorist sound like in 2017?

Huma Abedin, Otaiba, Powell
Sources cited Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi, as the central figure behind the meeting.
Details of the meeting remain unclear, but the pretences of the secret arrangement centred around Russia shedding its alliance with Iran. The UAE shares the Trump administration’s animosity towards Tehran, and Zayed hoped the meeting would help Russia distance itself from the Islamic Republic, according to the Post. Zayed reportedly asked Putin in 2016 to end its relationship with Iran.
But the Post reported that Moscow demanded major concessions, such as the easing of US sanctions, for it to consider the proposal.

What does the term “conspiracy theorist” even mean today, considering what’s happening in the world? Everyone is a conspiracy theorist now, whether you admit it or not.

White House officials defended Trump. “This story is false,” said Dina Powell, deputy national security adviser for strategy. “The president only discussed the common threats that both countries faced.”

Can it be a “conspiracy theory” if it’s also happening right out in the open and no one denies it? Can something be a conspiracy theory even after the “respected”, “non-conspiratorial” mainstream news outlets have published it for all to see?

Powell and McMaster coordinated with the Defense Department to firm up the $110 billion U.S.-Saudi weapons deal in time for Trump to announce it over the weekend.

This isn’t Breitbart. This isn’t RT. It isn’t Wikileaks. And it isn’t Alex Jones... It’s Obama’s former national security adviser speaking to the “Resistance” press:

The purpose of the meeting was part of an effort by the UAE to persuade Russia to curtail its relationship with Iran, including in Syria, according to the Post.

Conservative Pro-Trump sources are not necessary for this conspiracy theory. Again, it’s right here:

Kushner was accompanied in the region by deputy national security adviser Dina Powell and Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt.

But if you want more confirmation, there are leaked emails too. By the way, the Center for American Progress is run by Neera Tanden and was founded by John Podesta:

When Politico’s Michael Crowley wrote an article titled “Trump to welcome Egypt’s dictator” in April, quoting human rights specialists on the brutal crackdown campaign launched by Al-Sisi, Al-Otaiba emailed Crowley accusing him of “having something against Sisi”, despite being “one of the smartest and most thoughtful journalists in the business.”
Crowley replied with a warning that Al-Sisi’s crackdowns against Egyptian civil society could lead to more extremism. At the end of their email exchange, Al-Otaiba forwarded the emails to US Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell, writing: “FYI. This is generally what we’re up against.” Crowley refused to comment on his correspondence with Al-Otaiba.
Al-Otaiba has found some in Washington who supported and sympathised with his efforts, while others refused to budge. An example of a supporter is Brian Katulis of the Centre for American Progress. Days after Al-Sisi met with President Donald Trump in Washington, Katulis emailed a detailed agenda proposal for Egypt to present to the White House via Powell.

No surprise here if you’ve been following along:

I wonder what Jared Kushner and Dina Powell discussed on their secret Saudi trip…

Any chance they got a heads up that Trump-supporter Prince Salman was about to consolidate power? Any chance they helped him do it?

Amid rising regional tensions, Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday accused Iran of what could be “considered an act of war”, blaming Tehran for supplying the Houthi group with a missile that was fired towards Riyadh but was intercepted by Saudi air defence forces.

But Al Jazeera is run by those Russia-sympathizing Qataris. I might as well post propaganda straight from mother Russia:

The deputy crown prince is not only a gambler, but also a person who likes to foolishly raise stakes. In an unusually underrated interview that he gave to Saudi television in early May, he threatened to invade Iran. “We will not wait for battles to start in Saudi Arabia, but we will work to ensure battles erupt in Iran,” he said.

Does this scare you? Does including this article make me a fear-monger?:

It took the Turkish parliament more than ten years to acknowledge something which is known and carefully documented: Five so-called non-nuclear states including Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Turkey have stockpiled and deployed in their various military bases 150 tactical B61 nuclear weapons directed at Russia, Iran and countries in the Middle East. Nobody seems to be concerned and the matter has not been the object of media coverage.

How do I report this story without being a fear-monger?

Russian senators Franz Klintsevich and Viktor Bondarev put forward a suggestion to deploy Russian military bases “within spitting distance from the United States.” The senators believe that such a step will be an adequate and sobering response to the deployment of US missile systems near Russian borders.

If we have another Cuban Missile Crisis and no one is around to report it, does it make a sound?

You can go on the Huffington Post and watch clips from Morning Joe where Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough wonder aloud: what is happening in Saudi Arabia?

…But they already know. Here are a few highlights from the Huffington Post’s excellent expose of Yousef Al Otaiba back in 2015. They’re capable of doing real journalism, when they want to:

In the summer of 2010, Otaiba appeared at the annual Aspen Ideas Festival. He was interviewed on stage by The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, who asked if he thought the U.S. should launch a strike on Iran in order to stop its nuclear progress. “Absolutely, absolutely,” Otaiba said. The audience quickly realized something unusual was happening. In an attempt to be sure that Otaiba hadn’t misspoken, Goldberg phrased the question several different ways and got the same answer. The Aspen comments became global news, and Iran publicly called for the UAE to remove Otaiba from his post. His friends recall it as a low moment.
And yet Otaiba had merely stated in public what Gulf leaders were saying in private, as cables released by Wikileaks would later show…
…There is a group of powerful women in Washington who hold a private luncheon at the end of each year that can run up a pricey tab. The gathering includes lobbyists, publishers and women with philanthropic foundations named after them. The group always seeks someone to foot the bill, and after Otaiba arrived in D.C., he soon popped up on its radar. One member of the group recalls someone asking, “Who’s the new person in town? Maybe Yousef will sponsor this.” She adds, “He was very quickly known as an easy source of money with no strings attached.”
And when Otaiba throws a party, he doesn’t take half-measures. He’s headlined a cancer research gala in New York that featured performances by Beyonce, Alicia Keys, and Ludacris; when he threw a surprise 50th birthday bash for Joe Scarborough, it led the next edition of Playbook, the tipsheet of the D.C. establishment…
…Otaiba’s influence will only continue to grow. Either a Republican or a Hillary Clinton administration would share his saber-rattling approach to the region. And as the former White House aide explained, the UAE is now too important to U.S. policy for Otaiba to lose his standing in Washington, no matter who occupies the White House.

A little more than a week ago I read one of the most audacious-hilariously-idiotic-amazingly-stupefying lies I’ve ever read in a news publication. A national security adviser claims she and her former boss at Goldman Sachs conspicuously stand up and leave the room as soon as anyone mentions Russia… and Vanity Fair wrote it down without even asking a follow up question! This is what power looks like:

According to a source, advisers in the West Wing are on edge and doing whatever they can not to be ensnared. One person close to Dina Powell and Gary Cohn said they’re making sure to leave rooms if the subject of Russia comes up.

So who is dividing the left?

The left is already divided. The pizza has already been sliced. You can make more slices, but you can’t make fewer.

Exploiting and co-opting left-wing politics has become pretty much effortless.

Libertarians, Evangelicals, Business school-types, Gun-enthusiasts; the modern right has its divisions too, but they are ideological divisions. These are divisions based on ideas, therefore they can be negotiated.

The modern left can’t resolve its divisions; not so long as it’s a coalition of Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Gays, Muslims, Women, and straight white male allies. Their differences cannot be negotiated.

So when I ask the left: who is the least oppressed group? …Everyone knows the answer. It’s the straight white men! … Applause

But when I ask: who is the second least oppressed group? …

Okay, who is the most oppressed group? …

Who is the second most oppressed group? …

Okay, maybe this question is easier: is it in the “self-interest” of working class white men to vote for Trump?

No, of course not, because Trump is a corrupt con-artist!’

And herein lies the problem… everybody on the left is being told simply to act in accordance with their own “self-interest”. This mindset is ubiquitous. There’s hardly anyone who doesn’t talk this way. But if left-wing politics is just about “self-interest” for every single group including most white men, then what remains to distinguish it from the political right?

By in large, the left has forfeited the argument. The debate is over which side has the better sales pitch — not whether or not every single aspect of American society should be built on competing sales pitches. ‘Vote for our team and you’re gonna save a lot more dough. It’s in your self-interest!’

(For more on this: Left-wing Cognitive Linguist George Lakoff has spent decades researching and documenting the failure of left-wing self-interest rhetoric.)

Self-interest is a type of morality. But so is self-sacrifice. So is courage. So is selflessness.

It is in the self-interest of the oligarchs that Americans remain divided between left and right, Democrat and Republican. It’s in their interests to perpetuate a system of mutually reinforced unaccountability -where everything is always plausibly blamed on the other party and therefore nothing is ever anyone’s fault. Then, after the cameras are gone, everybody who plays the game gets VIP at the party with Beyonce.

Joe Scarborough is doing what’s in his self-interest by agreeing not to criticize the Emirate monarchy.

Mika Brzezinski is doing what’s in her self-interest by constantly reminding everyone in Washington that she’s the person who introduced Dina Powell to Ivanka Trump.

Alicia Keys and Ludacris are doing what’s in their self-interest by performing for Otaiba.

The editors at Vanity Fair are doing what’s in their self-interest by refusing to bite the hand that feeds them.

And Prince Salman and Prince Nahyan are doing what’s in their self-interest by spending one hundred million dollars on women because someone from the Trump administration convinced them it would buy lot’s of good PR before their next war starts.

You’d have to be an asshole to be against more money for Arab female entrepreneurs.

Prince Salman is not reforming Saudi Arabia by fighting corruption — that’s incidental. But so long as the modern left is determined to only fight white enemies, the right-wing gets a conversational monopoly. On this subject, like many others, there is no resistance.

The left has gone through its training manual, studying the alt-right “dog-whistles”, learning who Richard Spencer is, learning who George Papadopoulos is, eagerly awaiting the opportunity to punch those pathetic Nazis… and winding up their fists… until they look up and see: Dina Powell, Yousef Al Otaiba, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and Mohammad Bin Salman standing where the Nazis are supposed to be. And the left pauses for a moment and thinks: the training manual didn’t call for this. ‘What’s going on? What do we do? Help!

Oh never-mind, false alarm; Resistance press says the enemies of Iran are just like the Russians!’:

Jared Kushner, Gary Cohn, Ivanka Trump, and Dina Powell

Forget Mika’s bloody face-lift.

Forget Megyn Kelly’s… wherever.

Check your sleeves before you go to battle.

You might already be bleeding from your arms.