Dennis Santiago
Dennis Santiago

Picking Nits

Photo Credit: USP News I've been saying for months that nothing would come of the Mueller investigation. At long last, we have a report that says exactly that. There’s no smoking gun; that would have surfaced a long time ago if it existed. There are no major Indictments; and many abandoned minor ones. Mostly, in the grand scheme of things, it’s much to do about nothing. About the only thing the Mueller investigation did prove is that President Donald Trump had some oddball personalities who orbited him. What man of means doesn’t? Mr. Muller was certainly methodical and thorough. Thorough to the point that there aren't really any stones left worth turning. Despite what some people may hope, there’s nothing worth looking into further. And don’t give me any of that Southern District of New York double speak. Any investigation that squeezes stool pigeon after stool pigeon granting immunity to obtain accusations is another dead end. The wait for the shoe to drop game is over. The fat lady is singing. I suspect Mr. Mueller wanted it that way. To have a conclusion that an Attorney General would have overwhelming guidance to either pursue an indictment or let it go. In this case, US Attorney General William Barr quickly determined the conclusion is the latter. And so once again, two years after the November election of 2016, acrimony once again begins by those who cannot believe they have lost again. For me, as soon as I saw the breaking headlines come across the wire feed in my phone, I quickly made the decision that it would be a good day to just ignore television and skip over anything that wasn’t a picture of cats or food on social media. Bye Felicia. Mic Drop Time I’m mentally done with this episode. I have better things to concern myself with besides looking in the rear view mirror. I am much more inclined to focus on the future. Things like how Trump and Bolton will get Korean Peninsula de-nuclearization back on track for instance. The Vietnam Summit did not go well. I sense dissonance between the two American architects, one looking to deal flexibly and the other looking to bargain positionally. The US two headed snake problem very much plays to the advantage of the Chinese and North Koreans while we continue to dawdle. With no Trump-Russia collusion conclusion, maybe the long overdue process of finding constructive ways the US and Russia can work together that should have started on January 1, 2017 can finally get back on track. There’s certainly a need. ISIS as a military force in Syria is gone but the even more complex task of keeping Assad’s Alawites, the Iranians, the Turks, and the Kurds from plunging into chaos is certainly an area where the US and Russia have much to discuss. That and the US needs to recognize that the only other $16 Trillion GDP economy on this planet is seeking influence with Russia while we aren’t. That is not very smart playbook for US national interests. The so-called “Resistance” has harmed these processes and the end of Mueller gives us a tiny window of opportunity to get back in our wheelhouse. We won't win on the world stage unless we have a national agenda united behind our Executive Branch and that means telling Congress to move along. Every one of our global adversaries knows this. Every one of our global adversaries hopes we don't remember how important it is. A distracted America is a loser America. Establishment Elites and Social Justice Warriors Sadly, we have forces within our country that want us to lose even more than our international adversaries. We have a political establishment class dedicated to gridlocking the United States until the 2020 election. These are the haves of our nation, the elites, the betters, the money, the power mongers, the yellow journalists, the ones who would tell us how to lead our lives. We ordinary Americans are the have nots. We are the orphans from political parties gone mad with internal factional fighting that has little to do with us and more to do with the circus theater they use to distract us. Vladimir Lenin used to say that one percent of truth is the perfect amount of cover to sell a 99% lie. That's certainly true today when one looks at the world or of mainstream media news where fair and balanced reporting has been replaced by opinion punditry that cares only about packaging the message to maximize capturing the confirmation bias of target audiences. These too are the haves of our times running rough shod over us have nots. Thank goodness for the discord of the internet with its infinitely segmented social media, a forest of independent websites and podcast networks, and robotic web crawling search engines. Otherwise, alternative views would never be heard. At least for now. Or haven’t you noticed that the Establishment, at the behest of academia’s elites, is trying to clamp down in the internet? The forces of control are predictably tireless. Changing the Game What chance to ordinary Americans stand to take back control? We who are the silent orphans from the political parties who can’t stomach the vitriol of politics because, like refugees from political strife the world over, we are deep down tolerant and caring people who don’t things it’s cool to turn our guns on our neighbors. What rules of change management to we pursue to rein in the haves of our times? Melt the wax in their wings? Pour water on their feet of clay? Bring their egos back down to size? How to we be revolutionary Americans again? Just remember this throughout what follows. Don’t just force the enemy to live within their rules. Force them to live within our rules. And then, break the rules. Because Americans do that. Let’s try a thought experiment together. What if we, the silent majority stopped being silent? What if we turned the rules of radicalism used by those who have been trying to control us against them? Saul Alinsky, author of "Rules for Radicals" When Saul Alinsky wrote his rules for radicals, he clearly stated these were tools for the have nots to take power back from the haves. In 21st century American, the have nots are the ordinary Americans. Therefore, we should be using these rules. So let’s give it a try turning Alinsky philosophy against itself shall we? By the Numbers Alinsky #1: Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have. Santiago #1: Know your enemy’s facts. Power is not about believing what your enemy wants you to think. Power is about knowing where the enemy is advantaged, disadvantaged and just plain full of it. Alinsky #2: Never go outside the experience of your people. Santiago #2: Teach your people to have the insight and expertise to deal with what is going on. Educate your fellow Americans until we’ve negated whatever experience advantage our enemies have, or think they have. Alinsky #3: Wherever possible go outside of the experience of the enemy. Santiago #3: We hold this truth to be self-evident, that all Americans are equal. Always strive to level the playing field. Educate the enemy as much as you educate yourself. Make them know that their denial is what causes them to be disadvantaged, ostracized and losers. Alinsky #4: Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules. Santiago #4: Make the enemy live up to a common book of rules that are based on tolerance and respect among equal Americans. Alinsky #5: Ridicule is man's most potent weapon. Santiago #5: Politically incorrect ridicule is an even more potent weapon. Alinsky #6: A good tactic is one that your people enjoy. Santiago #6: A great tactic is one based on truth. Alinsky #7: A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag. Santiago #7: A clear vision and strategy defeats any tactic of the moment. Great visions, like the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights can be passed from generation to generation. Never forget that the United States is one of the youngest cultures on planet Earth. More important, at this point in time, we are also the oldest continuous government on planet Earth. Think about that for a minute. And then be proud, very proud. Alinsky #8: Keep the pressure on. Santiago #8: Pressure my behind. No one can make you feel inferior without your permission. Or maybe Saul forgot to read Eleanor. Don’t let someone else’s pressure cooker and need to eat Xanax as a food group affect you. Find the elegance in the truth of the moment. Savor the tranquility of your clarity. Let the desperate enemy burn themselves our as you watch and smile knowingly. Alinsky #9: The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself. Santiago #9: Nothing is terrifying when you know what’s going on. And everything becomes almost trivial when you take the time to look at things from multiple viewpoints to really understand how and why one person is triggered by something one way and another person responds a completely different way. Then, nothing phases you. Alinsky #10: The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition. Santiago #10: Alinsky repeats himself. He said the same thing cogently enough in his rule #8. That he had to repeat himself is something I’ve always interpreted as a self-admission that he knows he is in the wrong. I now invoke rule #5 and ridicule him thusly and impolitically just because I don’t like jacuzzi revolutionaries. Bite me Saul. So there. Alinsky #11: If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside. Santiago #11: This is probably the most important counter rule to remember. Bullshit, no matter how loud or eloquent, is still bullshit. Every American should know how to detect it. No American should ever feel shame in politely pointing it out when detected. This is how you disarm the enemy and make them impotent. This is how we will win. Alinsky #12: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative. Santiago #12: Advantage is the most fleeting asset in warfare. All warfare goes from one cycle of engagement to the next. One battle is not a campaign. At each engagement, always begin to turn the enemy’s strength into his next bowl of weak sauce. The objective is to move the enemy to more and more untenable positions until they eventually abandon their agenda on their own because it just doesn’t work anymore. Remember, you are part of an American majority. Share what you learn with your fellow minded Americans. An enemy swarmed by a multitude dies a death of a thousand cuts quicker. Just saying. Alinsky #13: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Santiago #13: Learn to fight con artistry. Don’t be that sucker born every minute. Understand the game being attempted on you. If you aren’t sure, develop trusted resources to find out. Do find the weaknesses in the persona of the attacker and exploit it to throw them off their game. It’s ok to be impolitic about it; remember, they are attacking you. You’re just defending yourself. Freeze on your own terms. Alinsky adopts a classic military tactic called fire and maneuver that allows the enemy to search for your soft spot. But subterfuge is perfectly legitimate in such matters. Suckering a social justice warrior into an argumentative trap where you turn the tables and freeze them on your own terms is perfectly acceptable in political contests. On the last point of Alinsky’s, pick your target, I finally agree with him. You are allowed to pick your fights. You are allowed to refuse to discuss something stupid with an enemy that isn’t making sense. You’re not crazy, they are. I hope you found some if this useful. Here’s all of us ordinary Americans and the common values we share. God bless the United States of America.
20.03.2019
Dennis Santiago
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Originally posted at, https://americaoutloud.com/privilege-with-prejudice/ Source: Associated Press America is rocked by yet another scandal. The latest one by privileged parents bribing a corruptible college recruiting system. As criminal activity goes, it's pretty hard to top federal racketeering. Yet that is what this latest rendition of American affluenza seems to be. Privilege clearly has no philosophical boundary in America given that most of the accused in this case seem to have liberal tendencies. It raises the question of just how far the elite class in this country is willing to go to achieve their aims by any means necessary. It is something that should worry every ordinary American. Those of us lowly citizens relegated to watch our betters make decisions on our behalf. We may argue that this is not so to our hearts content on the circus that is social media; but the reality is but the elites are getting away with it. Next to the story about the scandal over college admission bribery In the Wall Street Journal is a parallel story about the thriving industry of legal manipulations by the elite to place their children into colleges. There are 17,000 college admission assistance service businesses in this country. No! What blows my mind is that WSJ article illustrates that the main thing wrong as far as academia is concerned is that this group of people charged by the federal government did not play by their rules of bribery. There is something fundamentally wrong about our value system highlighted by cases like this. The days of asking what you can do for your country are no more. it's not even about what your country can do for you. Now, it's about what you can get away with. We idolize those who figure out how to cheat the system. In the real world, celebrities, major office holders, heads of corporations, and professional athletes are few and far between. Regardless of that status, everyone is still, in the end, an ordinary American. These days, that's no longer enough to be proud about. Today, if you're not an influencer, you're a nothing. Stepping back and thinking about it, it's a macabre version of China’s social scoring system that seeks to rate how good of a citizen you are in that country. In our system, we seem out to prove who has the biggest of any of the three orifices of our bodies. And it’s extracting a terrible cost. In an America where emotions are amplified by an electronically enhanced sense of confirmation bias, it has turned us into a mean society. Our funniest jokes are demeaning. Our first reactions are snarky at best, indignant on average, cruel far too often. Trolling is considered a skill to be proud of. We are a nation of spineless keyboard warriors who wouldn't last a minute in a real fight. The loudest among us speak with platitudes of promise for their ideals that go hand in hand with declarations of animus for those with whom they disagree even slightly. Pluralism is dead. Tolerance is weakness. To be American is to self-segregate and demand, “Me first!” Researchers who study social media point out a category of people whose lives have revolved around creating images of success online that are juxtaposed with clinical depression in the real world because no one can live up to their artificial self-images 100% of the time. Cell phones are the leading cause of PTSD particularly among younger Americans. Punditry has become an art form not of increasing the clarity of the explanation of topics. Instead, it's become a game to extend the hyperbole of nonsensical arguments as far as possible. Whether it's mainstream media, social media commentary or blogging, the name of the game is justifying one's biases; objectively, really stupid biases. How else to explain something as bizarre as the latest cool kid phenomenon of changing the boundaries of the discussion around anti-Semitism? I mean really folks; that's just stupid. That's the kind of thing that leads to genocide happening again. In America, the concepts of “Never Again” and “Never Forget” are being evaporated and the so-called Establishment is going along with it like a bunch of permissive parents who will tolerate the worst behaviors of their spoiled brat children. That's not going to stop them from one day taking power and murdering people they don't like. And increasingly, they seem not to like anyone. The cancer of the deconstructionist academics who invented political correctness to breakdown the rules of American Society, to make it malleable enough to reshape it in the image of the political theories of their preference, have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. No literally! I mean beyond anything they ever thought. Look at what happened to 1960’s dream of an equal America turning into white women being the newest privileged villain of social justice warfare. Talk about matricide. The equal rights movement was pioneered by white women. This entire phenomenon is best explained by looking at social justice as a bunch of spoiled children becoming unlikable teenage punks. Like all trendy things, the day of reckoning is coming for all of it. It's certainly come for the people that were just indicted for bribing the college admission system. Conspiracy and racketeering are serious transgressions against society. The consequences are justly harsh. If these people are smart, they will plead guilty early. They will hope the court is lenient. They should serve their time humbly. Ponder the cost of their hubris. After that, they can begin to pick the pieces of their lives up and, hopefully, spend the rest of their lives asking what they can do for their country. Someday this “dorm kegger” of malformed notions of the narcissistic powerful dictating to the people in the “cheap seats” will coalesce back to the rules of a complex society based on plurality, tolerance and coexistence. The idea that privilege gives you the right to beat people you don't agree with into submission always ends the same way. Wings of wax always melt; feet of clay always crumble. In America, it's the ordinary people that still matter the most. None of us is more special than another; that’s what makes us special.
Screen captured of FOX and CNN on the 20th of March 2019.  FOX leading with a story of the Nadler committee running into difficulties.  CNN leading with the problems of the Conways. FOX and CNN business calculus is not about politics, it’s about looking for marginal gain in audience share. FOX has likely recognized that they have captured almost 100% of the tv watching conservative audience; and that audience has no alternative venues to watch. Every dollar invested in the right now has very low marginal return on investment (ROI). The calculus says losing 5% of share in conservatives to gain 20% of left leaning viewers is an attractive use of capital. The danger in this strategy is that FOX will become a bipolar two headed snake that no one likes. CNN is the struggling third network in the news. They know they over invested left of aisle and it did not lead to the number one network position in the marketplace. And they were just eaten by AT&T, a very numbers driven company. The calculus says the ROI to hold position with their current business model probably will not pan out. So time to move out of box. The most attractive option analysis fork is to invest in market segments it has near zero share in. That is right of aisle content hoping to win poll position by becoming the icon of fair and balanced news in the hope of attracting the silent disenfranchised viewer base that had given up on tv news. The danger to CNN is that the walk away viewer base won’t come back. The opportunity for AT&T is that they don’t need cable to be everywhere. Which one will win? Who knows. But as a long time student of the news business, I’m fascinated to see things like this unfold.