The conclusion to my rebuttal to Daniel Payne’s article appearing in The Federalist on Feb 21st, 2017.
- Was is a smart idea for 50 House Democrats to boycott the Trump inauguration? If 50 House Republicans had boycotted Hillary Clinton’s inauguration, how would that have made you feel?
Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) captured the moment quite well when he said “I would love to attend the inauguration. I’m a member of Congress through your votes. … I value our government. I appreciate it greatly. This president semi-elect does not deserve to be President of the United States. He has not exhibited the characteristics and the values that we hold dear.” (83) You would think that the party of the “moral majority” would applaud politicians making a principled stand. An interesting side note, “…a mere few months ago, then candidate Trump was lambasted by fellow Republicans as a ‘lifelong Democrat’” (84). Apparently the vitriol that the party apparatus had for Trump has disappeared. But I digress.
The number of Democrats, in total, who boycotted his inauguration was closer to 70. Not only Legislators though. The inauguration was boycotted in all 50 states and 32 countries! Celebrities from Sir Elton John, Celine Dion, and Garth Brooks all turned him down to perform. (85) And millions of people took to the streets around the world in protest. There was even a social media boycott. (86)
Furthermore, there is a historical precedent for boycotting inaugurations, starting in 1973 with legislators boycotting Nixon. (87) The NY Times – “Only about half the 435 members of the House of Representatives and the 100 members of the Senate took their places on the Capitol steps to witness Mr. Nixon’s recitation of the Presidential oath of office” (88).
The corruption that sparked outrage then mirrors the corruption that sparks outrage now.
To answer your question, yes, I think the boycott was smart. The Democratic base needs to know that their representatives understand their position and are willing to work to make the changes that the country wants. The boycott was an important first step.
As far as Republicans boycotting, I would have been happy to have just a nice old-fashioned, peaceful protest and not the actual bloodbath Trump and his supporters were threatening. You may recall Trump indicating that he would not accept the election as valid if he lost. “To hear Donald Trump tell it, Tuesday’s results will either save or ruin the country. Americans will emerge from Election Day ascendant with a strong new leader who heeds their cries, or they will plunge into a dystopian future of hopelessness and violence.” (88) Or this gem, “Trump supports warn of revolution if Hillary wins” (89). Etc., etc.
- Why do you think liberals are so receptive to fake news these days, especially after they got so upset about fake news during the election season?
The party of Brietbart, the Drudge report, Fox news, and Alex Jones accusing liberals of fake news. That is hilarious. Need I remind you of the malignant stains upon the Office of the President left behind with each lie Spicer, Conway, Miller, and Trump spew? You have to actually put the year into Google when searching for lies from this administration otherwise it’s nearly impossible to find the relevant documents. I would cite the vast plethora of lies here, but I have done that previously in this essay.
There is an entire town in Macedonia devoted to publishing fake pro-Trump news, boasting of more than 100 fake websites. (90) Conservative mainstay Infowars “Has previously claimed that millions of people have voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election, that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax, and that the Democratic Party was hosting a child sex slave ring out of a pizza restaurant.” (91)
Breitbart called the assessments of Russian interference published by the United States Intelligence community as being “left wing fake news” (92). Rush Limbaugh accuses the “main stream media” as being “everyday fake news” and “just making stuff up” (93) If I may devolve into some ad hominem – Rush is a drug addict, arrested on drug possession (94), who once opined “…that all newspaper composite pictures of wanted criminals resembled Jesse Jackson” (95). He’s also a climate change denier, hates feminists, and has accused Iraq war veterans who were against the war as being “phony soldiers” (96). As far as his qualifications go, he has no formal training in journalism. He spun records and talked about sports.
Yet you hold him up as a source for news over career journalists like Dan Rather (who risked his life on dozens of occasions to reporting on war from conflict zones), or Christiane Amanpour, one of the most decorated woman journalists who spent years reporting from combat zones.
I could go on – famous Conservative pundits: Milo Yiannopoulos (senior editor at Breitbart) now famous for saying “… that sexual relationships between 13-year old boys and adult men and women are in some cases ‘consensual.’” (97), Or Steve Bannon (Breitbart) who published “news” with the following headlines (98):
- ‘The solution to online ‘harassment’ is simple: Women should log off’
- ‘Bill Kristol: Republican spoiler, renegade Jew’
- ‘Trannies whine about hilarious Bruce Jenner billboard’
- ‘Birth control makes women unattractive and crazy’
To your question though, I don’t believe liberals are any more receptive to fake news than conservatives. I do however think that conservatives revel in fake news. If you think that CNN, BBC, and other main stream media outlets peddle in fake news you are demonstrably wrong. Do they get things wrong sometimes, sure. But by and large these outlets are staffed by professional journalists who believe in exposing the truth. Hundreds of journalists have died bringing very real news to the world (99) while Bannon and Limbaugh sat on their asses and made up lies and spread distortions.
- Do you think it’s right to scream at Ivanka Trump because you don’t like her father? Isn’t it unfair to blame a woman for the actions of her father?
No. I think there is plenty to scream at Ivanka for on her own merits. Yes it is unfair to blame a woman for the actions of her father. I don’t get how this ties into your article.
- Do you think its right to denigrate Ivanka Trump’s business because you don’t like her father? Do you believe that women are merely “appendages of the men in their lives”, and thus liable for the sins of their male relatives?
I don’t get how this is a question of right or wrong. I do believe that people are allowed to have opinions and they can denigrate whomever they please. First Amendment and all that. And as previously stated I think there is plenty to denigrate Ivanka and her businesses about on their own merits.
No I don’t believe that women are merely “appendages of the men in their lives”.
Not seeing how these last two questions pertain to anything.
- Do you think it’s wise for liberals to embrace violence as a political tool? Is there any way this tactic could backfire?
I didn’t know that liberals embraced violence as a political tool. What platform are you looking at? I don’t see it listed on the DNCs party platform (100). But I can see why you might think that. When you search “liberal violence” on Google, look at the websites that come up:
Liberals might be surprised to find out that Google’s search algorithm appears to be systematically promoting information that is either false or slanted with an extreme rightwing bias. (101). But Conservatives won’t be. They have spent a great deal of effort and money to infect and game the system.
So no. Liberals aren’t embracing violence. In fact, liberal media outlets like The Washington Post and The Huffington Post are actively promoting non-violence. (102,103). (Contrast that with Conservative outlets calling for violence as described previously in this essay).
But I’m not opposed to aggressive protests. I believe that protestors need to be in the street stopping traffic, blocking doors to make it difficult for Trump appointees to get to work, and generally being disruptive. That’s the point of protesting. To make a point. To inconvenience politicians and make it impossible for them to ignore injustice.
If there is a “backfire” it is from Republicans passing legislation restricting individual freedoms and stepping on human rights. There is legislature pending across the country to criminalize peaceful protest (104). Arizona is trying to get protests added to the racketeering law; this will allow the police to arrest people even if they have not committed a crime, and they also want the police to have the power to seize protest planners property. (105). But you know how the Republicans love individual liberty.
- Is it smart for liberals to claim that “Hollywood” is one of the “most vilified segments in American society right now?” How might such a claim look to average people who, unlike the Hollywood elite, are not rich, not hugely influential and not powerful?
Are you talking about the average people who elected a billionaire who then staffed his entire Cabinet with billionaires? Those average people?
Also, as a friendly debate point, Meryl Streep doesn’t represent “liberals” anymore than Milo represents “conservatives”.
- On that note is it smart for liberals to mock football and mixed martial arts? How do you think people who regularly watch these sports will feel about being mocked?
I believe that liberals are entitled to opinions and I would encourage them to mock anyone they’d like. I believe in freedom. The republicans used to believe in freedom too.
I am continuously surprised at how tender the feelings of conservatives are. I guess a liberal mocking football can cause real psychological trauma to a conservative snowflake.
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren seems to be on the verge of becoming a standard-bearer of the anti-Trump Democratic Party. However, years ago she appears to have lied about being a Native American, possibly to advance her career. Do you think its okay for people to lie about their ethnicity for personal gain?
Your claim that Sen. Warren lied is pretty tired. She says that her family passed on stories and family history that she has native Delaware in her heritage. Furthermore a genealogist has traced her history back determining that she is in fact 1/32 Native American. (106) DNA testing for Native American heritage is difficult for a variety of reasons (107), and even if she had the DNA testing done it would not necessarily be conclusive.
Furthermore, “In 1997 the Supreme Court of Canada, in the Delgamuukw v. British Columbia trial, ruled that oral histories were just as important as written testimony. Of oral histories, it said ‘that they are tangential to the ultimate purpose of the fact-finding process at trial – the determination of the historical truth.’“(108).
Additionally, Snopes reports that the claims that she “appears to have lied about being a native to possibly advance her career” are unproven (109). And, no, it’s not ok for people to lie about their ethnicity for personal gain.
Lies like Ted Cruz’s claims about his father being a rebel leader during the Cuban resistance in the 1950’s when in fact “…he was a teenager who wrote on walls and marched in the streets … not a rebel leader running guns or blowing up buildings.” (110) Or Carly Fiorina lying about making “tough calls to save jobs and to grow jobs” when in fact she laid off 30,000 people during her tenure (111). Do I even need to mention the avalanche of lies and disinformation spewing from Sean Spicer, Kelleyanne Conway, Stephen Miller, or Trump himself?
In summary – Lying is bad, Sen. Warren didn’t lie, and your insinuation that liberals are all about lying for person gain is ridiculous, especially in light of the fact that the current Conservative government has elevated lying to an art form.
- Trump previously signaled his support for banning people on the terror watch list from buying firearms. Do you think the Trump administration should have the power to strip Americans of their constitutional rights even if they haven’t been charged with a crime?
Reasonably sure the President doesn’t have the power to make changes to the Constitution. (112). I do however have concerns about the terror watch list. There are 1600 names added to it every day (113) and it is not clear how one gets added to it. It is also not clear how one gets off of the list after having been added to it. This seems legitimately worrisome.
Having said that – if law enforcement has deemed someone too dangerous to fly why should they be allowed to buy a gun? I think the American gun culture is c-r-a-z-y. Guns.com says there are 347 million guns in America (114). That’s insane. I think we need some kind of 12-step program. Anyway, I’m not going to have a gun debate in this essay.
- The singers Andrea Bocelli and Jennifer Holliday both received death threats for agreeing to participate in Trumps’ inauguration; a shop owner in Franklin, Tennessee, received rape threats after stating her opposition to the anti-Trump Women’s March. Why do you think there people were subject to such vile treatment? Does such treatment say anything important about American liberalism?
I don’t know why these people were subject to this. I guess partly because we have an unaddressed mental health crisis in the country?
Not sure how that has anything to do with “American liberalism”. Oh wait – you are suggesting that liberals threatened them. Of course you are. Because you are a fine example of how papers like “The Federalist”, and “journalists” like yourself are propagating ridiculous lies and propaganda. Your entire article is inflammatory and condescending and reinforces the notion that conservative outlets peddle fake news.
Let me turn the tables and ask you some questions.
- Do you realize that Republicans and Conservatives are both minority positions in the US?
- Do you think that what you wrote does anything other that galvanize the entertainment starved conservative base? And does nothing to heal the widening rift caused by Trump? A rift that in fact threatens to destroy the very fabric of our society?
- Given that the numbers of supporters Trump actually has (statistically very few) that it is smart for this regime to rule like they have a popular mandate?
- Do you think that inflammatory and condescending questions like you presented enhance the reputation of The Federalist or adds anything valid to the conversation that our country needs to have to actually have about our future?
Daniel Cashman, EAMP, MS (AOM),NCCAOM Dipl. of Acupuncture