Did 50% of Americans vote for Trump?

Did 50% of Americans vote for Trump? The simple answer is no. 

There is a certain intellectual dishonesty in conversational shorthand when we don’t acknowledge it as shorthand. One example is the idea that about 50% of Americans voted for Donald J Trump, or that about 50% of Americans voted for Hillary Rodham Clinton. At first glance, the issue might not seem obvious.

How could 50% of Americans vote for Trump, if they didn’t even vote?

The United States currently has about 320 million citizens. That’s people who were either born here or who have been naturalized. This includes convicted felons who have lost their right to vote, as well as people who are too young to vote.

Of that 320 million, about 78% (250 million people) are of voting age, meaning that they are over 18.

There are about 200 million registered voters in the United States, which means about 63% of Americans are registered to vote, and about 80% of those who can register have actually registered.

America is chronically regarded as having very low voter turnout when compared with nations around the world. How many registered voters actually voted in the 2016 election? About 140 million people — about 44% of Americans, 56% of possible voters, and 70% of registered voters.

So, how many people did vote for Trump (and Clinton)?

Donald Trump is the president of the United States because he won the electoral college, a process where each state is worth a certain number of votes (its senators plus its representatives) and whoever wins the popular vote (gets the largest number of votes) in that state gets all the electoral votes. By this process, someone who has a smaller number of popular votes can get more electoral votes and win the election.

Trump received about 63 million votes. that’s about 45% of votes cast in the election — but it’s only about 32% of registered voters, 25% of possible voters, and 20% of American citizens.

Well, Hillary won the popular vote, but she’s in a similar position, with about 66 million votes, or about 47% — 33% of registered voters, 26% of possible voters, and 21% of Americans.

So What?

Some people claim that the US is going down the drain because “50% of people voted for Trump”, acting as if criticising the election of Trump is indicting half the nation. The truth is only about 20% of Americans voted for Trump.

So no, half the country did not vote for Trump because less than half of Americans voted. But, of those who did vote, about half chose Trump, and the same can be said of Clinton.

Truly, the majority is silent.

Transcript for Sargon of Akkad #2

This is the second post in a series about Sargon of Akkad’s YouTube videos.

Here is a copy of the first transcript.

The second video which is currently available is titled “Anita Sarkeesian Doesn’t Understand Words (Feminist Frequency)” and is noticeably longer than the first, reaching 26 minutes and 28 Seconds.

What’s this video about?

In this video, Anita criticizes the treatment of female superheroes when it comes to the depictions of their suffering and death, and questions the motivations of the writers of these storylines.

Responding to her, Sargon draws attention to her poor understanding of
the male audience’s thoughts, feelings, and attitudes towards the situations she discusses. He objects to her emotional treatment of the situation and criticises some of her positions based on either their basis or consequences.

While Sargon begins with a somewhat confrontational and dismissive tone, as the video goes on he becomes more exasperated and dumbfounded by Anita’s positions, until he reaches a breaking point of pity toward the end of the video. We are greeted by tonal whiplash as he responds to the close of Anita’s remarks with resentment at anger, which, given the situation, is perhaps justified.

Click here for Sargon of Akkad transcript #2, “Anita Sarkeesian Doesn’t Understand Words (Feminist Frequency)”.

Why Pay Attention to Sargon of Akkad?

Continue reading “Transcript for Sargon of Akkad #2”

Michelle Goldberg’s “Pre-Interview”

Michelle Goldberg

Before the Munk Debate on political correctness began, the moderator interviewed each participant individually. This is a paraphrased summary of Michelle’s pre-debate interview.

I was originally hesitant to participate in this debate because there are a lot of things that people consider “political correctness” which I disagree with. However, when I saw that Jordan Peterson was going to be here, I decided to come, because nearly everything he considers political correctness, I consider to be progress. I’m not sure about Stephen Fry.

How would you respond to the idea that the core idea of the enlightenment is the ability of the individual to assert themselves, and to speak their minds, regardless of the harm?

I believe that we are the intellectual heirs of the enlightenment because we look to expand human freedoms and are not beholden to traditional structures. Peterson’s idea that the social order is fragile and must be protected at almost any cost seems to me to be at odds with enlightenment thinking.

Additionally, I consider the dichotomy between individual assertion and the rights of groups is false. In the United States, groups had to fight for the right to assert themselves individually.

It will be interesting to see how this will play out, because of the fact that there will be three countries with different cultures represented here. It’s possible that we will have different ideas about free speech and hate speech, especially considering that the hate speech laws in Canada and UK would never be accepted in the US.

Do you think that identity politics is dangerously tribal, that it removes our ability to find common ground?

Politics is the contention of opposing groups with different interests. The question is: “which groups?” In the United States, identity politics has been criticised as replacing class-based distinctions and therefore undermining the New Deal coalition. But the problem with that is that the New Deal coalition fell apart in response to the Civil Rights movement.

Do you feel the #MeToo movement has turned into a cultural panic?

It’s interesting to me that this is a question we are asking. Only a few weeks after the movement began, people had already begun to ask the question. If you look at who has been affected, it’s been men who have a large number of women making very serious allegations. It took two trials to send Bill Cosby to prison. In the case of Harvey Weinstein, women had evidence that they had been paid to silence them. No one has faced a Stalinist inquisition or lost their job based on McCarthyist rumor.

People are panicking because men are finally being held accountable for their actions, which is something we haven’t seen before.

Do you think men need to move aside and make room for women and other historically disadvantaged groups?

What we’re asking of men is actually simpler than that. For example, never take your penis out at work. And if you have an all-male panel making decisions about women’s issues, maybe stop.

But, there’s a big disconnect between what we’re actually asking men to do, and what they think we’re asking them to do. We’re not asking anyone to go through some sort of Stalinist re-education camp.

Do you think that, in a certain way, this issue boils down to people wanting more civil public discussions?

Yes, I think people want better manners. If you look back at the requests made in the name of political correctness in the 80s and 90s, many of them just seem to be common decency now. You wouldn’t really even think of using these words anymore.

We went through a process where at first people were upset, and balked at using new terms. Over time the useful terms became natural, and the awkward ones fell out of use. I think the same will happen again.

You can read a transcript of Goldberg’s interview here. It has been edited for style, meaning that things such as “um” and “you know” have been removed, and grammar corrected.

You can view the original video of the interview here. 

This is part of a larger series focusing on the Munk Debate on Political Correctness.

The United States Must Not Bluff


Due to positive media coverage, the American public does not understand how Obama’s policies have negatively impacted the American military, and have actively undermined our ability to carry out effective foreign policy and negotiations worldwide.

Ignorance of the Situation

Uninformed General Positivity Regarding Obama

During his presidency, many Democrats and mild Leftists had a generally affectionate attitude towards Obama. Several factors created this atmosphere.

The first factor for this attitude was the historical nature of his achievement. He was our first clearly black president, and this was heralded as “smashing the glass ceiling” for black Americans nation-wide and even considered by some to be “the end of racism” in America generally.

He was also raised by a single parent. Though she was married to his father during his early childhood, they were separated much of the time. Additionally, she was married to her second husband for only a few years. He lived with his grandparents for a few years in order to finish his high school education in the United States. He was a shining example of overcoming adversity. While some have claimed that he rose out of poverty, this seems not to be strictly true.

He is also lauded as proof of what we will call the “community ascendancy” model, where someone who begins as a community organizer slowly climbs through positions of political power, before becoming an important force nationally (and in this case internationally). This gave hope to many people working at the lowest levels of politics that if they continued to put in the long hours for little or no pay, that they would eventually achieve a great deal of power and influence, which is not the reality for most low-level political players. It is, however, a useful fiction to retain hardworking talent without appropriate pay or room for advancement.

The second reason for this admiration grew from his mostly positive political campaigning, and reluctance to openly denigrate his opponents. Through his years as an organizer, Obama understood the importance of giving people a deep-seated motivation for supporting him. He chose not to focus on himself but made every effort to embody hope itself. To stand against him was to stand against the hope of a better life and better world.

He captured a popular longing for hope, especially among younger people, and played into a longing for increased American power on the world stage, which people felt had been lost during the Clinton and W. Bush administrations. He embodied a nobler, more lofty vision of the world and America’s place in it. He promised to elevate us to become the greatest voice for morality at the international level.

The third reason for positive views of Obama was sustained favorable media coverage. Generally, the media portrayed the administration in a positive light and only covered a few scandals. One key point to consider is if the administration actually lacked scandals, or if they were hidden because protecting his legacy was more important than exposing wrong-doing and questionable choices, out of fear that admitting shortcomings might lead to setbacks for the groups which he was considered to represent.

And finally, Obama had a polished, urbane style. President W. Bush represented a moderate form of Evangelical Conservatism, and as such he was an unassuming Southern every-man: He did not deliver polished soundbites, rousing speeches, or motivational exhortations; he did not stage well-choreographed visits to foreign countries or invent inspiring photo opportunities; he did not attempt to manipulate the press into covering him well, instead thinking that his policies would speak for themselves. Obama, by contrast, was well spoken, hired excellent speech writers, and understood the importance of PR in maintaining a positive public image. He spoke and acted in ways that Americans expected of a world leader, and never wasted an opportunity for positive news coverage.

Handling of Obama’s Detractors

Due to the positive view of Obama held by the public and the news media, criticisms of the president were assumed to come from irrational thoughts and fears, rather than well-reasoned positions or fears about the eventual effects of his policies and actions.

Chief among the charges levied against those who opposed Obama, regardless of their stated reason, was a charge of racism. It was the idea that those who opposed Obama’s “clearly brilliant” positions and policies must have been opposing them from a sense of racism: they either didn’t believe that a black man could have any ideas worth implementing, or that Obama’s ideas were good, but that they could not be allowed to work, because then everyone would have to admit that African-Americans were just as smart and capable as everyone else. While in a few cases these accusations may have been warranted, the vast majority of the time they were thrown around in a thoughtless and insulting way, leading to a great deal of resentment.

The second common rebuttal was that the person criticizing the president was a conservative with an “irrational fear” of progress. These charges were frequently tied back to racial ideas, meaning that people often stated that someone opposing Obama was irrationally fearful about African-Americans becoming co-equal citizens, or were panicking about a minority group rising up to oppress them as repayment for historical wrongdoing.

This ties into the last accusation, of failing to understand the “new era” of international cooperation and expanded equality. Detractors were accused of being ignorant of, or too stupid to understand, Obama’s vision for complete equality and freedom for all Americans. Or, if they were able to understand it, they were either too religious or bigoted to support a “clearly enlightened” point of view.

Few would consider the idea that maybe the policies were naïve or potentially harmful, but rather that those who opposed them were obviously just too bigoted, fearful, stupid, conservative, or religious to accept what was “the way forward” in the world. This form of alienation and degradation of detractors, some well-meaning, may be a reason that American politics has shifted toward those of Donald Trump and other figures like him. Democrats and mainstream leftists may be more to blame for the election of Donald Trump than they would like to believe.

Cracks in the Narrative

Initial Signs of Different Information

While during the Obama administration news coverage of his administration was generally positive, after the election of Trump, it very quickly became nostalgia about “the good old days”. While most news coverage since Trump’s inauguration has centered around his own actions (at times very much out of the norm for the president and even downright shocking on some occasions) there have been some conversations around Obama’s legacy. Some of the statements during these conversations should give Obama’s admirers pause.

The first very public statement which credibly criticises the Obama administration comes from Johnson during R Tillerson’s confirmation hearing for Secretary of State. Johnson states, “The United States’ influence and prestige and respect in the world is probably lower now than it was six or seven years ago.” A moment’s reflection should lead many to consider that this may, in fact, be true. Is the Middle East more stable than when Obama took office? Are we more closely allied with and trusted by European nations? Are tensions with Russia lower? Has progress been made in regard to North Korean relations? Do we have a more fruitful relationship with China? While Obama may not have directly caused these changes, he is responsible to the degree with he did, or did not, address them. On the bright side, at least, he fostered more normalized relations with Cuba.

Following Johnson, there have been a few statements given by former military and defense officials which are important to note. They have given these statements calmly and quietly, and did not draw attention to them even on the programs where they were given. Due to this quiet, nonchalant delivery, we should assume that these statements are not politically motivated, but rather unfortunate facts which should be addressed as soon as is possible, in a non-partisan way.

And finally, there is what is perhaps the more shocking indictment of Obama’s administration, in the form of a document produced by John McCain.

McCain’s Nail in the Coffin

As chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, John McCain put forward a whitepaper in the early days of the Trump administration entitled, “Restoring American Power”. This document takes a straightforward, no fuss approach to admitting the failure of Obama’s policies regarding international diplomacy and the US military. There has been absolutely no effort to hide this report, and it is freely and clearly available on the front page of the Senate Armed Services Committee website.

The situation which McCain presents in this document is extremely troubling. It shines a very bright light on the very real difficulties currently endured by our military. These indignities threaten our safety at home and our interests abroad.

“Restoring American Power” paints the picture of a military which faces a shrinking budget, a lack of soldiers and training, a lack of munitions and vehicles, aging fleets and infrastructure,  neglect of emerging technological threats, as well as a complete lack of congressional support.

McCain’s assessment of the situation is this: politically motivated cuts to the defense budget are crushing our ability to defend ourselves while failing to correct the deficit. The military is falling behind year after year, and even if we take appropriate action, it will take at least five years to remedy current deficits and operational deficiencies. That means five years before we are able to modernize our forces and achieve superiority in emerging theatres cyber-counterterrorism.

Implications Moving Forward

Based on the information that McCain outlines in “Restoring American Power”, America is over-extended on multiple fronts — it cannot afford to enter into any more conflicts because it is struggling to maintain its current positions. To put it another way: America is bluffing.

Despite the reality of the situation, American foreign policy is becoming increasingly aggressive, ending Obama era foreign policy without first correcting the damage of Obama era budgets and military philosophy.

We are increasingly relying on threats of force, up to and including nuclear force, without the real power to back up those threats. And other countries, both our allies and our adversaries, are realizing the emptiness of these threats. Europe has begun planning for the possibility of future conflicts without American aid. Russia, China, and North Korea are beginning to flaunt their newfound powers, showing that we are either unwilling or unable to check these aggressions.

Now, of course, bluffing has its place. In times of dire need, bluffing can be a calculated response in a desperate situation. Playing on a history of overwhelming force or victory, a small vulnerable force can bluff its way to either victory or safety. This relies on explicitly on a knowledge of and a fear of these previous victories, and an unwillingness to risk defeat.

Ignorant bluffing, however, puts us in a poor position. While bluffing can be a tactical strategy, we are not using it for that reason. Instead, our foreign policy assumes that we have a strong military (which we don’t) and uses that threat of a “strong” military to intimidate other nations into agreeing with us.  What if some nation were to call us on our bluff? We are inviting disaster.

While military leaders do not want to broadcast these weaknesses to our enemies, they are increasingly aware of it and are becoming more willing to test us. It is necessary for the American citizen to realize the situation, as their sense of patriotism should motivate them to correct situations faced by the military, understanding that this situation threatens our continued safety and security. If we don’t correct this situation, we allow our adversaries to continue to play to our weaknesses and exploit the public’s ignorance.

We must make every effort to influence world events from a position of power, rather than relying on bluff. A bluff will inevitably be challenged, and the defeat that follows it will be devastating.

More Information

If you have not read McCain’s whitepaper, “Restoring American Power“, I would strongly suggest that you do.

My Uncle is in ICU

Today is my aunt’s birthday, and we drove to a town pretty close to us to run some errands before we came home, so she could get ready to go on a date tonight with my uncle. They were going to see a concert together and had already bought the tickets.

When we first came home, everything seemed fine, but after a few minutes, my uncle started to have what I thought was a migraine, so I went into my room to be quiet, expecting him to take some Excedrin and lie down. But he couldn’t get up by himself. My aunt helped him into the bedroom and then I heard her calling the ambulance.

I put away our pets and the Fire Department and Ambulance arrived. My uncle is a diabetic and his blood sugar was over 350. If you’re not familiar, a blood sugar should hover around 100 usually. With a blood sugar number this high, it is possible to experience a diabetic coma or other very serious problems. His blood pressure was also outrageous, so they took him straight to the hospital.

At location, they realized that he had suffered a heart attack, in addition to this diabetic event. They placed a balloon into his heart to see what was going on. Based on what they saw, they ended up placing two stints. He is currently recovering in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Due to today’s events, I apologize that I have not posted today, and may not be able to post tomorrow.

Rex Tillerson

While Rex Tillerson is not a celebrity in a traditional sense, he is important as well as interesting. While he is best known for being Secretary of State in the early part of the Trump administration and a long-term CEO of ExxonMobil, Tillerson is active well beyond that, in both a professional and philanthropic capacity.  And, while it may surprise some because of his business background, he shows a strong sense of both justice and moral duty.

For these reasons, Tillerson has served on what seems to be an endless series of committees and boards. Many of these are not well known publically, and so information on the time and duration of his contributions, as well as what those contributions actually are, seem impossible to track down in any specific way. Where possible, I will be sending out rounds of emails and letters to try to determine this information, and provide updates as available.

Views on Climate Change

One thing about Tillerson that might surprise a good number of people are his views on climate change. While he makes no comment the effects that human activity have on observed global changes in climate and weather patterns, he readily acknowledges that they exist, and that dealing with the situation is important for the world moving forward.

In fact, during his time as CEO of ExxonMobil, he encouraged the organization as a whole to acknowledge the facts around this issue, and to conduct research into the changes which are occurring globally, what can be done about them, as well as investments into “alternative” energy sources, including the conversion of algae into oil (currently the subject of an ExxonMobil TV commercial).

And, perhaps even more surprising to some, are his views surrounding Carbon Tax and the Paris Agreement. He heartily and openly supports both, understanding that measures which only target one country or group of countries will, in the end, prove to be ineffective. As this is a global issue, with global contributors, it requires a global solution. Countries which are currently industrialized do not produce the highest emissions, but instead, countries which are in the process of industrialization, such as China or India. Therefore, any meaningful solutions must cover most, if not all, nations.

Ties with Russia

It’s no secret, and there is absolutely no question, that Rex Tillerson has deep business ties with Russia. He himself is quite open about the fact, and it was central to many of the questions asked during his confirmation hearing. These ties began well before he became CEO of the company. His contact with Russia probably began in the period where he served as president of Exxon Yemen starting in 1995, but are obvious beginning in 1998 when he became responsible for operations in Russia and the Caspian Sea.

It has been reported that the relationship between Putin and Tillerson began during Yeltsin’s presidency. Since his presidency was 1991-1999, and Tillerson began very active participation in the Russian scene starting in 1998, that they most likely became closely acquainted in the 1998-1999 period.

Additionally, Exxon owns a “summer home” which is very close to one owned by Igor Sechin who is the leader of the Kremlin’s siloviki, and has been described as the second-most powerful man in Russia (Putin being the first). Due to the proximity of the homes, Tillerson visited Sechin often.

All three of these men have worked together to craft agreements in regards to oil drilling within Russia. Tillerson has opposed sanctions against Russia, and in fact, has even been awarded the Order of Friendship by Putin for his contributions to the development of the oil industry in Russia.

Further Information

For a more detailed overview of Rex Tillerson, I have created a 5-page document which highlights important relationships and organizations to which he belongs, including the name of positions he held in Exxon and the timing of these positions.

Click Here for Rex Tillerson Overview

Jordan Peterson

Jordan Peterson is a Canadian professor of Psychology and international best-selling author,  who has recently come to international attention due to statements that he has made in regards to feminism, identity politics, and issues around political correctness.

Is he a member of the Alt-Right?

While there have been some attempts to connect him to the “alt-right” because members of the movement read his works and invite him onto their programs, that characterization relies on a lack of examination of what he says and writes. On a number of occasions, he actively criticises members of the alt-right for buying into identity politics or other intellectual traditions he considers to be harmful.

Support by his Fans

Back before he achieved his current level of notoriety, Peterson began his YouTube channel, posting the lectures he gave at the University of Toronto. And, since it was YouTube, everyone was able to access his lectures for free. He began a Patreon account so that his fans, if they wanted to, could donate money to him on a monthly basis to support his efforts.

Over time, as he became more well known, he attracted more fans, and more people began to support him via Patreon. While fans decide if they will donate, how much, and are free to cancel their future donations at any time if they want to, he currently receives about $50-60K (USD) per month.

This has drawn outrage from some of his critics, who feel that he is somehow swindling or fleecing his fans, because they are simply giving him money, with no product or service in return for their money. This, however, shows a lack of understanding about the nature and aim of Patreon. Fans are, in fact, receiving something in exchange for their monthly donations in the form of continued videos from Peterson, as well as the book which he published this year.

Further Information

For a more detailed overview of  Jordan Peterson, I have created a 3-page document with a timeline of his education, employment, and publishing history.

Click Here for Jordan Peterson Overview

Here is a link to a directory of information I have compiled on Jordan Peterson.