The Right Wing Extremist Lie

Back at the end of January, CNN announced a job opening for a Senior Writer dedicated to uncovering Fake News. So when on Feb. 4th an article by Reza Aslan entitled, “Facts still matter on US terror threat,” appeared on CNN’s website, I wondered if this article would be one of the first to be exposed by the nascent Fake News department.

In the article, Aslan makes the claim that “Americans are almost seven times as likely to be killed by a white extremist than by an Islamic one” and he links this stat to a New York Times article entitled, “The Growing Right-Wing Terror Threat.” First off, I’m not exactly sure how he got to this number. Here is what I think happened: The New York Times article Aslan links to references a few studies, two of which are important here. One is a 2013 study by Arie Perliger, published when he was with the Combating Terrorism Center, that tracks right wing violence in America. The other is a 2015 study by UNC’s Charles Kurzman that tracks Muslim-American violence. The former study claims American right wing extremism was responsible for 254 fatalities in the “decade after 9/11.” The latter study claims Muslims Americans have been responsible for 50 fatalities since 9/11, a stat which covers the time period from right after 9/11 to 2014. Then the average fatalities per year were calculated for each group: 254/10 years = 25.4 fatalities per year caused by right wing extremists and 50/13 years = 3.85 fatalities per year caused by Muslim Americans. 25.4/3.85 = 6.6. Thus, the stat offered by Aslan that “Americans are almost seven times as likely to be killed by a white extremist than by an Islamic one.”

This of course, is horrific statistics and completely dishonest. In statistics this is called “discarding unfavorable data,” and “data manipulation.” First, he uses selective time frames for each group. For right wing extremists, he chooses a study covering year 2002-2011 and for Muslims he chooses a study that covers post-9/11 to 2014. In both studies, the number of people killed is calculated starting after 9/11. Now it’s silly that we aren’t including 9/11. Can data not occur in clusters? This is not how stats work. If we include the victims of 9/11, deaths caused by right wing extremists are dwarfed when compared to deaths caused by jihadists.

Then, the New York Times article, and studies therein, that Aslan’s article links to is from 2015. More jihadist attacks have been perpetrated since the studies came out that the article references, such as the Orlando nightclub shooting and the San Bernardino attack.

The New America Foundation, a source behind some of Aslan’s information, actually now list the post-9/11 kill count at 94 perpetrated by jihadists to 50 by right wing extremists (the disparity in violence by right wing extremists between studies has to do with the liberal way in which Perliger’s study defines “right wing extremist”). So, Aslan’s information ignores at least 44 fatalities caused by Islamic jihadists. In all, Aslan gets his stat by starting his count after 9/11 and then eliminating any attacks that have happened after the beginning of 2015, despite his article coming out in February 2017.

By the way, what I think actually happened is this: after a quick Google search, whoever did Aslan’s research for him, or Aslan himself, found this article from Think Progress, also from 2015, which has the “7 times” statistic in its headline and references the same New York Times article Aslan references. Aslan then bypassed the Think Progress article and linked the “7 times” stat in his article directly to the New York Times article. Now you see how fake news is made.

Continue reading “The Right Wing Extremist Lie”

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Why the Wall?

Let’s talk about the wall.

This article is written to accompany a fantastic article just written by my friend and colleague, Ben Sweetwood, which masterfully sifts through the hysteria over President Trump’s recent executive order on immigration. Here at Griffwood Post, we constantly seek to challenge the prevailing narrative of the day. We live by an important motto: if everyone seems to be in agreement about something, be skeptical.

Everyone, and I mean everyone seems to have a problem with President Trump’s idea of building a wall along the border shared between the United States and Mexico. This includes those who are left, right, libertarian, and everyone else in between. Some of the consternation has produced perfectly valid criticisms of the idea that should not be overlooked. But I write to contend that the idea to build the wall actually has its merits.

Those on the right, and those who abhor government spending, criticize the wall for its cost and complexity. The wall will indeed be expensive—and the proposed methodology of taxing a portion of the U.S.-Mexican trade deficit does eventually pass the cost of the wall on to the consumer. However, in context, the tax does have implicit benefits to the American consumer beyond the wall. The trade deficit exists because the U.S. exports to Mexico about $60 billion dollars in goods less than it imports from Mexico. However, the entirety of the U.S.’s annual imports from Mexico total around $300 billion. Now, 20 percent of $300 billion is enough to pay for three walls at Trump’s price-point of around $20 billion per year. So the cost, in context, is not outlandish. This is not to mention the benefit of protecting and encouraging American industries that directly compete with Mexican products. And if there is any American president who can spur the behemoth of the federal government to actually build something on time and under budget, it’s going to be Donald J. Trump.

But $20 billion is still $20 billion. That’s a costly project.

Another valid criticism is the complexity of building the wall. The Cato Institute has done a great job of illustrating just how complicated the process will be. Building a wall along this 2,000 mile stretch of the American southwest means overcoming geographical challenges, replacing existing walls and fences, equipping the wall with proper surveillance equipment and, of course, maintaining it. This is not to mention the inevitably long amount of time it will take the federal government to argue the hundreds if not thousands of eminent domain cases that will be necessary to gather the lands needed for the construction of the wall (much of the land abutting the U.S.-Mexican border is privately owned.) The wall may not be feasibly possible in Trump’s term.

But just because something is complex doesn’t mean it’s impossible[1]. We got to the moon, we can build a big wall.

And, yes, I’ve heard the argument that many if not most illegal immigrants come into the country by airplane, on lawful visas, and extend their stay indefinitely. Obviously, a comprehensive immigration reform package would need to address that. But the cartels, the drug runners, and criminals fleeing Latin America are not buying group ticket packages on commercial airliners. They’re the ones taking advantage of the porous border, and they’re certainly the ones we want to stop first.

I give criticisms from the left credence as well, but they are becoming a bit too ‘one-sized fits all’ to have retained their bite. I also abhor identity-politics and think the hysteria around Donald Trump is contributing to a dangerous narrowing of political discourse.

Continue reading “Why the Wall?”

The Immigration Ban Examined

I want to talk about the immigration ban.

However, in doing so, I don’t plan on spending any time on the question, “Is Trump Hitler?” He signed an order temporarily shutting down immigration from certain countries in order to improve the vetting process for said immigrants and thus, make sure Americans are safe. Anyone who doesn’t think the president of the U.S. is well within his right to do that is being hysterical. Furthermore, just because  we pride ourselves on being a country of immigrants does not mean that anyone and everyone should be able to come in at anytime or else we are hateful. That has never been the case. That’s not to say that parts of the Executive Order’s design shouldn’t be critiqued.

But let’s backtrack for a second.

In 2011, after two Iraqi immigrants in Kentucky were revealed to be Al-Qaeda (in Iraq) connected terrorists, President Obama ordered the records of 58,000 Iraqi immigrants to be reexamined and instituted a stricter vetting process for Iraqi refugees. The more thorough vetting process seemed to delay visas to Iraqi refugees. Although there was no official order to delay visas, we can infer that it was the result of the new process by looking at the numbers of Iraqi refugees entering the U.S. by year: 18,251 in 2010, 6,339 in 2011 and 16,369 in 2012. As you can see, visas to Iraqis were slowed dramatically in 2011. Thus, President Obama, determining there to be a potential threat from the refugees, instituted a stricter vetting process, and in doing so slowed the influx of Iraqis. President Trump determined a similar threat, but decided to delay visas completely to seven risk countries President Trump’s action was much more aggressive and wider in scope. Nonetheless, and as much as the media wants to deny it, these are very similar behaviors: both seek to improve the vetting process for refugees from Muslim-majority countries due to fears of terrorism.

But I digress, let’s discuss the Executive Order entitled, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.”
So the Order does a few things, let’s approach the important aspects one-by-one.
1. Bans entry to the US for people born in seven countries for 90 days: Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen
So, this provision, as explained in the Order, is based on 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12) (or H.R. 158) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, signed into law by President Obama in December of 2015. This all has to do with the Visa Waiver Program which allows citizens of 38 countries to travel to the U.S. without a visa. Given the threat of Islamic terrorists infiltrating the country through the program, Congress passed the above mentioned law in order to restrict the Visa Waiver program. The law prohibited people who traveled to Iraq or Syria (or dual citizens of Iraq and Syria) on or after March 1st, 2011 from participating in the program (“Not present in Iraq, Syria, or any other country or area of concern.”)  The law also invested power in the Secretary of Homeland Security (Jeh Johnson) to add countries to this list at his discretion. Thus, within the next couple of months Sudan, Iran, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia were also added to the restricted list.
So whereas the Obama administration didn’t ban nationals from these countries from coming to the U.S. they did force them to get visas, and more importantly, pinpoint them for a stricter vetting process, due to worries about Islamic terrorism.
As for countries left out of the Order, I agree it’s bothersome. But, there’s two obvious reasons countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Pakistan were left out. First, we need them as allies in the region and secondly, they have secure centralized governments that we can rely on for refugee screening….supposedly. I say supposedly because I doubt the diligence with which these countries actually provide us with information on their own people, especially given the attacks we’ve seen around the world from their citizens, but better some countries on the list than none. Afghanistan is really the worst omission given the terrorist groups situated there and it’s lack of power relative to these other countries. Nonetheless, the list was produced by the Obama administration and for reasons that perhaps are better off remaining secret, Afghanistan was excluded.

Continue reading “The Immigration Ban Examined”

Liberal Leaders Meet in D.C. to Discuss Rising Violent Crime in Their Cities

So there was a meeting in D.C. about two weeks ago to discuss the stark rise in violent crime over the past year, especially in cities with liberal policies and mayors. The conclusion: police are “cowering” because of the war against them. And it’s true. Why would NYPD officers put themselves at risk for a leader like de Blasio who doesn’t stick up for them and has even attacked them? In general liberal leaders across the country have destroyed police morale and are contributing to the crumbling of American society. They need to be removed from office, because we are all in danger under their failed leadership. Police killings are fairly rare. Murder in general is not though; Nor is rape, or violent assault. These crimes are all skyrocketing under liberal leadership. But no one cares about the victims of these crimes. All anyone cares about is the rare unjustified police shooting. And so the mob has been riled up against the police under false pretenses. We get the society we deserve.

Please, For the Sake of Human Values, Let Us Not Turn From This

America is facing a horrific scandal. No, this is not about Cecil the Lion (though certainly a troublesome story in its own right), instead this is about something a whole lot darker and more depraved. This is not the story of one man’s psychotic lust for animal heads on his wall, but of an entire system of ethics and morals gone awry. Yes, it’s time for Griffwood to cover the Planned Parenthood scandal, because hardly anyone else will give it a thorough examination.

As you may or may not know the Center For Medical Progress, an anti-abortion organization, recently conducted a sting in which it sent actors to pose as buyers of fetal tissue interested in obtaining specimens from Planned Parenthood (an organization that receives hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars every year). The “buyers” met with Planned Parenthood higher-ups and engaged them in discussions about the costs and techniques involved in the transfer of the fetal parts. All of it was secretly recorded on video and what transpired in the conversations shocked people across the country on both sides of the political aisle.

In this video we see Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Senior Director of Medical Services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola happily nosh away at her food and sip wine as she casually describes the techniques Planned Parenthood Doctors use during abortions to avoid “crushing” fetuses, in order to remove the parts more intact: “We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.” We also see her explain how the Federal Law banning partial-birth abortions is up for “interpretation” and seems to imply that some fetuses could be coming out alive.

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Liberals Should Not Get a Free Pass to Be Racist.

Gov. Bobby Jindal

The other day, Arsalan Iftikhar, an American international human rights lawyer, went on MSNBC to discuss Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s comments about Muslim ‘no-go zones’ in Europe. He remarked “I think Gov. Jindal is protesting a bit too much, he might be trying to, you know, scrub some of the brown off of his skin as he runs to the right in a Republican presidential exploratory bid.”

This is absolutely disgusting. For some reason, some liberals think that because they have created a narrative of the ‘anti-minority right wing’, they have a free pass to be racist, because they can’t possibly…be racist. This is the exact kind of attack that we have seen over and over again on non-white conservatives who choose to espouse non-liberal views. How dare they!!!!

Continue reading “Liberals Should Not Get a Free Pass to Be Racist.”

Convenient Ogres

In a debate of ideas, it’s almost irresistible for the left to throw in “Sarah Palin” as a shining example of everything that is wrong with this country, the conservative movement, or the Republican Party. Six years into a new presidency, it’s still “George W. Bush’s fault” when the economy or U.S. foreign policy isn’t up to par, and America’s motivation for just about anything is “oil”.

I have a theorem called “the rule of 5”. On Facebook, any conservative post made usually only takes about 5 comments from liberals before Fox News is somehow roped into the argument—no matter how unrelated.

To the left, these straw man arguments are conveniently-made ogres.

They are used because they are banners that are easy for the left to rally behind. The left has characterized each of these with a narrative that is so pervasive and unquestionably held, that the truth becomes shrouded. Lobbing a reference to one of these entities into any conversation becomes a tactic of distraction that largely works because the right doesn’t spend enough time deconstructing these narratives.

Let’s consider them, briefly.

Ask anyone what the problem is with Sarah Palin, and the “tolerant” and “pro-woman” left will usually offer an argument that equates to ‘she’s dumb’. Consider Chris Matthew’s comments on MSNBC or Huff Post’s perpetuation of the insult.

In an interview with Katie Couric, Palin didn’t answer a condescending question about which news outlets she read. And why would she? When running for President, any side or brand you publicly favor will inevitably lead to those who favor another brand losing favor with you, which means fewer votes. I wouldn’t have answered that question either.

How about seeing Russia from her house? Fact check any leftist who tries to use this argument. According to Snopes, “interviewer Charles Gibson asked her what insight she had gained from living so close to Russia, and she responded: ‘They’re our next-door neighbors, and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.’” The left’s version of Palin’s answer comes from their own mockery of her on Saturday Night Live, yet that distinction is conveniently forgotten.

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Profitable Alarmism

To U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, climate change is “the greatest challenge of our generation.”  And though he characterizes any who disagree as “a tiny minority of shoddy scientists and science and extreme ideologues”, he spends a good amount of time  trying to shutter dissent. To former Secretary of State and potential 2016 Presidential contender Hillary Clinton, climate issues are “the most consequential, urgent, sweeping collection of challenges we face.”

Without a doubt, smart consumerism and environmental protection are important issues. We must be responsible stewards of the planet we leave to our children. But the language of the left on this issue is of a passion more feverish than they show for all other pressing matters of our time, like the increasingly large size of government or the thugs such as ISIS running rampant in the Middle East.

Why is this so?

The more control the left attains, the more successful it is in its ambitions. Thus, the principal ambition of the left is control over our lives at the expense of our personal freedoms. This is not necessarily by desire, but by nature. For the “progressive” agenda to gain traction, it has to be accepted in full, because it requires a willful relinquishment of our individual abilities to self-regulate. Opposition can mean a derailment of the “progressive” agenda, because leftist objectives are focused on an assigned concept of the greater good projected upon the masses; an inherently unfair allotment of a finite pool of resources (money, land, solutions, etc.) determined by a handful of people in power. Conservatism, of course, is also concerned with the allotment of resources, but by the fair hand of the market and with a renewing pool of resources supplied by innovation and individual enterprise.

Alarmism is an insidious weapon of the left. Alarmism easily achieves two goals for those who employ it: it creates a reason for those in power to break the rules (i.e. politicians can take more individual freedoms away in the name of the ‘emergency’) and it marginalizes opposition. When the left sounds the alarm on an issue, there’s no time to think, just hand over the wheel and they will steer. Consider the Obama administration’s recent move to circumvent the President’s legal obligation to ratify treaties through Congress by seeking to ratify a climate ‘accord’ with the UN. Or, consider the pervasive dialogue of those in attendance at the 2014 People’s Climate March. According to posters, pamphlets, and stump speeches from many in the crowd, the enemy of the climate is capitalism. Street interview footage available on YouTube shows attendees, when pressed, admitting that they advocate for “a whole new society”… a “socialist” one.

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Democrats Pay Black Employees 30% Less Than White Employees

The New Organizing Institute has come out with a study that shows that Democratic campaigns pay their black employees substantially less than their white employees.

The study, which you can find here shows That Democrats pay black staffers 30%…YES, that’s right…30% less than white staffers. The Republicans have a pay disparity too but it is only 11.5% between blacks and whites AND, the overall pay is MUCH better in Republican campaigns for everyone. Republicans pay their black employees about 40% more than Democrats do, though as blacks overwhelmingly lean Democratic, Dem campaigns have many more black employees. So, what does this say about the party that is supposedly “all about minorities?”

If you are wondering Democrats also pay their Hispanic employees 32.% less than their white employees. Republicans on the other hand, pay Hispanic employees only 11% less than whites. Republicans pay their Hispanic employees 42% more than their democratic counterparts.

Now this is not to say that Democrats are discriminating against any certain group of people. We at Griffwood Post will never use that tactic. However, if they want to attack Republicans, business owners, and America in general as racist because of pay inequality then they have to concede that the big biggest racial inequality happens in their own party.