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An alarming portion of Americans support such discriminatory policies against refugees and Muslim immigrants. We spoke to David Bier, an immigration policy analyst at the Cato Institute — an American libertarian think tank — and Robert McKenzie, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute, to shed light on five key misconceptions used by anti-immigration proponents to stoke fear of Muslims among the American people. Read more

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Trump rode to office, in part, as a crusader against political correctness who wasn’t afraid to tell harsh truths and offend people. But Donald Trump himself has been known to take criticism poorly.

To his fans, this isn’t a contradiction: Trump, especially now that he’s president-elect, really does deserve deference in the name of patriotism. It’s a phenomenon that Alex Nowrasteh of the Cato Institute has labeled “patriotic correctness”: a brand of right-wing hypersensitivity that gets just as offended by insults to American pride and patriotism (like protests against the president-elect or “The Star-Spangled Banner”) as any college activist gets over insults to diversity.

Unsurprisingly, participants in “patriotic correctness” tend to have a lot of ideas about how American history ought to be taught, and are greatly sensitive to attempts to change traditional American-greatness curricula to emphasize the participation of marginalized groups, or to portray the Founding Fathers as anything less than one-dimensional heroes. Hamilton, by race-bending the Founding Fathers and having them speak in an idiom associated with the streets, is the kind of cultural remix they don’t appreciate. (Even though, ironically, Hamilton has itself been criticized for failing to address the founders’ moral complicity with slavery.)

The night after Pence attended the show in New York, the production in Chicago was interrupted during the first act by an outburst from an audience member. Apparently, he’d been incensed by the line “Immigrants: we get the job done”; two songs later, he stood up and shouted “Our side won! Our side won! F*** anyone who didn’t vote for Trump, you don’t belong here!”

The audience member was arrested, but it’s not impossible to imagine that future outbreaks of “patriotic correctness” will happen at Hamilton performances now that it’s been identified as a battleground in the culture wars.


During the presidential campaign, a special performance of Hamilton was held for donors to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda recorded a PSA encouraging Latinos to vote. And Miranda and fellow original cast member Renée Elise Goldsberry performed a version of the song “Ten Duel Commandments,” with rewritten pro-Clinton lyrics, at a Clinton fundraiser that totally earned the cliché “star-studded”: Everyone from Julia Roberts to Lena Dunham appeared.

After Clinton’s defeat, this sort of “celebrity liberalism” is one of the many, many things that’s come in for recrimination. The Clinton campaign’s use of cultural figures to encourage young people to vote has been used instead as evidence that the campaign was out of touch with the needs of most American voters, particularly those in the white working class. Dunham has become one poster child for out-of-touch “celebrity” outreach — Hamilton is the other.

There’s a reason for this: Hamilton’s mass popularity has bred a backlash, mostly centered on how hard it is to get a ticket and the corollary belief that since not every fan of the show has seen it, the rest must be pretending (a belief that only makes sense if you believe that it’s less than authentic to like a show based on its soundtrack).

The people criticizing Clinton’s celebrity outreach (mostly people to the left of the Democratic Party mainstream and urging it to return to economic populism) are also, in many cases, the people who’ve been making the most incisive critiques of not only the phenomenon but the show itself.

To them, Hamilton’s “hard-working immigrant makes good and creates a bank-friendly financial system” narrative (while it’s borrowed from hip-hop tropes about making it rich) is a perfect illustration of how liberalism has used racial diversity as a distraction while selling out to financial capitalism. And the production itself — portraying wealthy slaveholders as people of color, to appeal to people who can afford to shell out four figures for a single ticket — embodies liberal hollowness.

Of course, to date this has mostly been a debate on the left side of the aisle. Hamilton hasn’t come in for conservative backlash before this past weekend. But it helped set up the battle lines that were drawn after Pence’s attendance: that Hamilton, regardless of its racial diversity, is a symbol of a Democratic cultural elite too busy patting itself on the back for being inclusive to care about real Americans.


Over the eight years of the Obama administration, America has become used to having a “cool president.” Barack and Michelle Obama love Hamilton — and since many fans of Hamilton are also fans of the outgoing first family, the connection only serves to reinforce the coolness of both.

But now, for the first time since 2004, we have a culture industry that’s aligned with the out-of-power party — and that is on record criticizing, strongly, the man who won a majority of electoral votes. That opens up the culture industry to accusations of elitism — of being ensconced in coastal bubbles and overplaying the hand given by their wealth and power to think they have something to say to real America.

But this is complicated, in 2016, because the candidate supported by the culture industry also won the popular vote — and won strong majorities among nonwhite voters, in particular. So while the culture industry represents an economic elite, it can also — like Hamilton does — display a kind of “real America” that the incoming administration doesn’t: a racially diverse one.

Hamilton is the perfect illustration of this. It’s a smash hit because it brought virtuoso hip-hop to Broadway — making it something that affluent theatergoers can pat themselves on the back for liking because it has “street cred,” while winning a genuine mass appeal that most Broadway shows don’t.

And Donald Trump, for his part, is much less firmly aligned with one side in these culture wars than, say, George W. Bush was. Yes, his supporters are extremely prone to “patriotic correctness.” But he himself lives in Manhattan — and is reportedly trying to stay there, at least part time, after assuming the presidency.

That sets up Trump and his administration for a lot more clashes with the creative class and cultural celebrities. And both sides, continually, will have a claim to truly speak for the people.

  • Right-libertarian 2012 me: *always wears an ill-fitting tux to barely-formal social gatherings; regularly drinks vitamin water while watching Cato Institute videos; perfected the art of the Tom Cruise soulless smile; watches V For Vendetta and The Matrix ritualistically; thinks "socially liberal, fiscally conservative" is an argument; username "Rational_Classical_Liberal" on; drinks shit alcohol, avoids weed*
  • Left-libertarian 2016 me: *face 40% more gaunt, caused by the sobering realization that 80% of all political philosophy and media is really just bourgeois propaganda; wobbly-lumberjack-male-witch aesthetic; bubbling with frantic ADHD/depression-ridden ideas related to alienation, praxis, and capitalist contradiction; drinks at least two large cups of coffee a day; cultivates a sick-ass pagan altar with a cattle skull and a Karl Marx bust; is going to buy a hobbit house with a small library of leftist literature; smokes quality-caliber weed, avoids alcohol*

Did you know that (according to the conservative CATO Institute) from 1975-2015 not a single act of terrorism was committed by a Muslim from ANY of the countries listed in Trump’s Muslim ban?

Did you know that Trump’s ban only includes certain Muslim nations, while others (specifically ones like Saudi Arabia and Turkey) where Muslim terrorists HAVE come from but in which Trump has business interests, are excluded from the ban?  Did you know there have been almost twice as many people killed by white supremacists since 9/11 as Islamic jihadists?

This is not about making our country safer, this is about dividing our country and increasing hostility toward the United States from abroad.  Why would he provoke other countries? Because that will justify further isolationist and violent measures on Trump and Bannon’s part in the not-distant future.

He is creating an authoritarian regime right before our eyes and he has the full backing of ~30% of the population and more than half of our Congress.

Update @ 4:14pm ET 1/28/17 (via CNN): “Iran says it will ban all US citizens from entering the country in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order limiting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, according to an Iranian Foreign Ministry statement published on state media Saturday.” “The US decision to restrict travel for Muslims to the US, even if for a temporary period of three months, is an obvious insult to the Islamic world and in particular to the great nation of Iran,” the statement said. “Despite the claims of combating terrorism and keeping American people safe, it will be recorded in history as a big gift to extremists and their supporters.” Update: 8:50pm 1/28/17 (via ACLU & Mother Jones): A federal judge in Brooklyn just issued an emergency stay against Donald Trump’s executive order banning immigration from certain predominantly Muslim countries, temporarily allowing people who have landed in the US with a valid visa to remain.

Patrick Jake “P. J.” O'Rourke (/rʊərk/; born November 14, 1947) is an American political satirist and journalist. O'Rourke is the H. L. Mencken Research Fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute and is a regular correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, The American Spectator, and The Weekly Standard, and frequent panelist on National Public Radio’s game show Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!. Since 2011 O'Rourke has been a columnist at The Daily Beast.[1] In the United Kingdom, he is known as the face of a long-running series of television advertisements for British Airways in the 1990s.

He is the author of 20 books, the best known of which are Holidays in Hell, a compilation of O'Rourke’s articles as a free-lance foreign correspondent, All the Trouble in the World, an examination of current political concerns such as global warming and famine from a libertarian perspective.

The Forbes Media Guide Five Hundred, 1994 states:

O'Rourke’s original reporting, irreverent humor, and crackerjack writing makes for delectable reading. He never minces words or pulls his punches, whatever the subject.[2]

His Parliament of Whores is a scathing yet humorous indictment of the U.S. Federal government best summed up by the quote “if government were a product, selling it would be illegal.”

Donald Trump Jr. used the following Skittles argument to justify keeping out Syrian refugees. 

True that if three out of 100 Skittles would kill you, you might not eat a handful. Except his math is way off. 

Between Sept. 11, 2001 and October 2015, approximately 784,000 refugees have come to the U.S. Of those, a grand total of 3 refugees were arrested for “planning terrorist activities.”

So what would that look like in Skittles?

But a swimming pool may even be too small. Way too small. 

A 2016 report from Libertarian think tank the Cato Institute estimated that "the chance of an American being murdered in a terrorist attack caused by a refugee” is absurdly tiny.

Black women and girls ...

* Made up more than 53% of all women stopped by the New York City police in 2013. Meanwhile, black residents as a whole make up 27% of the city’s total population, according to the 2010 census.

* Face an outsized dual threat of sexual and police violence, according to a report by U.S. Department of Justice’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. More than 8% of reported police misconduct is for sexual assault, according to the CATO Institute.

* Are criminalized early in school. Black girls made up 28% of the student body population during the 2011-2012 school year, but were 90% of all girls expelled that year.

* Are highly likely to be killed by an intimate partner. In fact, intimate partner homicide is one of the leading causes of death for black women ages 15 to 35, the Dallas Morning News reports. 

* Only earn, on average, 64% of what white men earn for the same sort of work.

* Constituted 63% of all women diagnosed with HIV in the U.S. in 2013 and have an HIV prevalence rate that’s nearly three and a half times higher than that of white women.

* Were the fastest growing segment of the juvenile population in youth detention centers between 1985 and 1997, according to AAPF.

* Made up 36% of all girls in residential youth detention facilities as of 2010.

* Are disproportionately represented in the rates of murder faced by transgender women.

* Experience eviction at quite high rates. Take Milwaukee, for instance: Black women there represented 9.6% of that city’s population, but 30% of evictions.

* Start businesses at six times the national average, according to the Center for American Progress, but are denied many small business loans and federal contracts.

* Are more likely to die of breast cancer than any other racial group, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The reasons are complex, but include the fact that black women experience delays in diagnosis and treatment.

* Are the only group whose unemployment rate remained stagnant at 10.6%, while the overall rate for workers in the United States dropped from 7.2% to 6.1% between August 2013 and August 2014.

* More than a quarter of black women live in poverty, despite making up a larger portion of the workforce than white and Latina women.

Black women are breaking barriers (specifically high school graduation rates) — but things aren’t getting all that better.
Skittles to Donald Trump Jr.: 'Refugees Are People'
Donald Trump Jr. tweeted out an anti-refugee meme comparing Syrian refugees to Skittles. Skittles parent company Mars deemed it an "inappropriate analogy."

“The Skittles Twitter account hasn’t tweeted in 20 hours, but Skittles parent company Mars tweeted out a statement in the wee hours of the morning, saying that people are people and Skittles are candy:

The thought experiment Trump Jr. proposed has its roots in racist, nationalist alt-right sites, and has been thoroughly debunked. As an American, your odds of being killed by a refugee are 1 in 3.64 billion, according to the Cato Institute. In previous iterations, the meme used M&Ms as an example. They were changed to Skittles as a “subtle” reference to Trayvon Martin, the black Florida teenager who was carrying a bag of the candy when George Zimmerman shot and killed him.”

SMH, Just Like his evil father, Donald Trump, Jr. is a horrible person.

China Abandons One-Child Policy

Today, China abandoned its 35 year-old one-child policy. 

Based on the now debunked threat of overpopulation that was popularized by Stanford University scholar Paul Ehrlich, the communist government subjected the Chinese people to forced sterilizations and abortions. Many new-born babies were either killed or left to die. 

Today, the Chinese population suffers from a dangerous gender imbalance that favors boys over girls at a ratio of 117:100, and a demographic implosion that threatens future economic growth and prosperity. 

The one-child policy is a reminder of what happens when governments are allowed to interfere in deeply personal decisions of individual citizens and their families.

Greece: A Financial Zombie State

Originally posted by mindless-chronicles

It’s not the Walking Dead, but with banks so wounded, Greece is destined to become a financial zombie state. 

Today, banks in Greece did not open their doors. Greece has been moving towards this dramatic final act ever since it was allowed to enter the Eurozone with cooked fiscal accounts in January 2001 – two years after the euro was launched. One Greek government after another embraced the idea that it did not have to rein in fiscal expenditures to match revenues because Brussels would cover any shortfalls.

Learn more…