Book Reviews: Comparing and Contrasting Never Enough by Michael D’Antonio and MAGA Mindset by Mike Cernovich

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You can't get away from Donald Trump. He's the President. As with Barack Obama, Trump has those who worship his every move and those who hate his stinking guts.

But I am not here to praise him nor to bury him. No, I'm not even here to talk politics.

I'm here to talk books.

Regardless of your personal feelings, Trump is President. And it's always interesting, at least to me, to learn about our elected officials and see what makes them tick. Because, to be honest, one has to be a little touched in the head to want to go into politics. And so, I read (actually, listened) to two books about the man, one that painted him in a distinctly negative light, and another that was far more flattering.

Let's face it: Whether you love him or hate him, Donald Trump is an interesting cat. And he did beat both a veritable army of GOP insiders and the most favored candidate in American history, to win the election.

[Full disclosure: I voted for the guy. Mainly because, as a reluctant Republican, I have grown so disgusted with the party as I have with the Democrats, and Washington in general, that I relished the idea of sending a giant, human middle finger to the entire establishment. Regardless, one does have to admire his ability to accomplish what he sets out to do, even if you dislike him politically or personally. I felt much the same about Barack Obama (whom I did not vote for, twice–but still, the man knows how to accomplish what he wants and is also an interesting guy. There's a lesson there for all of us.)]

First up, the more "negative" book, Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success by author and journalist Michael D'Antonio, published in 2015. I know that in 2016 D'Antonio updated the book and re-christened it The Truth About Trump, but I listened to the audio version, borrowed by my wife from our local library for me to listen to during my many long car trips between the D.C. Metro area and New England I had to make in the recent past.

Reviews of this book call it “A carefully reported and fair-minded account" (USA Today), “A brisk and entertaining read, drawing on interviews and documents and distilling decades' worth of news coverage to tell the story of Trump's childhood, family, business deals, and political forays” (The Washington Post), and "Balanced, well sourced, and perfectly timed" (Financial Times (UK)). Me, I find these claims of balance and a lack of bias laughable.

Let's get it out of the way: D'Antonio clearly does not like Trump. That said, the book is meticulously researched, well-written and constructed, and sheds a lot of light on Trump and what makes him tick.

Trump's family history is pretty fascinating, with his hellraising and, quite frankly, dishonest and kind of sleazy grandfather (who first built, and then lost, the family fortune), to his father Fred who, through hard work and good timing, nearly single-handedly rebuild the family fortune, to Donald himself, the story of the Trumps is one of sheer determination and will. No one will tell ANY of these men that they cannot do something, and they all have a knack for sniffing out an opportunity and exploiting it . . . even if that involves some unsavory steps along the way.

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What D'Antonio discusses definitely raises some red flags (and sensationally hints at far more sinister doings without much in the way of evidence, but I digress) about Trump's temperament and proclivities–his penchant for stretching the truth, if not outright lying; his habit of bending the rules to benefit himself and his family, if not outright breaking them; insinuating that he is a virulent racist and anti-Semite with no real proof; his cozy relationship with corrupt attorney Roy Cohn . . . but was it enough to make me pull the lever for his opponent? Absolutely not. For all of his vices–greed, arrogance, women, and a pathological inability to not fight back seem to be Donald's vices–to me at least, Hillary Clinton was far worse.

And yet, through it all, Trump comes across as an enthusiastic builder with an almost childlike sense of wonder about everything. One can imagine him looking at a building he fought tooth-and-nail to get built and being like, "Holy cow, can you believe it?" He clearly also believed in his designers and architects, going to the mat for many of them. And he, obviously, believes in himself.

He also tends to, let's say, exaggerate his accomplishments and disparage those of his opponents with stereotypical New York bravado. Continue reading “Book Reviews: Comparing and Contrasting Never Enough by Michael D’Antonio and MAGA Mindset by Mike Cernovich”

Movie Review: Silenced: Our War on Free Speech

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There’s so much talk about free speech these days. But what does “free speech” even mean? Why does it matter?

As Americans, free speech is our “first right,” from which our other rights flow.

Free speech is constitutionally guaranteed in the First Amendment, arguably one of the greatest codification of fundamental human rights in existence, as one of our God-given rights.

Even if you don’t believe in God, you have the right to free speech by nature of your being a human.

Despite the importance of free speech to American society, even those not “plugged in” to contemporary politics and culture can sense a narrowing of what is acceptable speech and what is not, about political correctness and the unwritten list of things one can and cannot say.

Is the government behind the increased stifling of free expression these days? Or is this political correctness and silencing of the “wrong” speech coming from somewhere else?

These are the questions asked and discussed in Silenced: Our War on Free Speech, the new documentary film from Loren Feldman (director) and Mike Cernovich (producer). And as an original Kickstarter backer of the film, I was lucky enough to have the chance to watch the film before it’s release.

As Harvard professor and First Amendment lawyer Alan Dershowitz says in the movie, we’ve largely won the free speech battle against the government. Our current culture of censorship, silence, and intimidation is coming from ourselves.

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Silenced is a film I am proud to have helped make possible, even in small part.  

I’ve written about Mike Cernovich before, the mindset expert who made a name for himself with his book Gorilla Mindset, and, most recently, with his journalism and political activism. Silenced, his first film, explores Americans’ current obsession with censoring each other and what it means for the future of our politics and culture.

And while Cernovich himself is on the political right, don’t think this is a “political” film. There are many guests on the left, in the center, and those whose politics no one knows. And regardless of their personal politics, they all share a common belief: Free speech is vital to a free and open Western society. Choke it at your own peril. Continue reading “Movie Review: Silenced: Our War on Free Speech

Free Speech for All…Including Celebrities

When the Colin Kaepernick controversy first began, I tweeted something pretty bitchy and reactionary, mainly because I have a distaste for celebrities–I wasn’t thinking so much about the issue he was protesting or how he did it. 

And the particular issue isn’t what this post is about either. I’ve given my thoughts on that issue here

What I want to talk about goes back to what kind of culture we want here in the US, and what free speech means. 

I’m not speaking legalistically, just culturally. So many these days call themselves “Free Speech Activists” or “Free Speech Extremists,” but what does just even mean?

Volume does not equal righteousness. I suppose this is why celebrities popping off irks me so much, even though I fully support their right to think and say whaveher the hell they want. What bugs me is that we seem to give them extra credence because they can amplify to a degree is regular folk can’t match. 

Technology is changing this, of course, giving regular people the chance to opine and get a message across. But even with non-celebs, we fall into the trap of thinking that “he who is loudest is right.” 

This is different than “he who is loudest, wins.” That is true. 

And this is at the root of why celebrity “activism” used to bother me. It seems like they have an unfair advantage.  Continue reading “Free Speech for All…Including Celebrities”

Why #DNCLeaks Won’t Change Anybody’s Mind

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If you follow politics on the Internet–since the mainstream media is covering up this story–you’re aware that the professional muckrakers at Wikileaks yesterday released almost 20,000 emails from members of the Democratic National Convention. These emails show, among other things, how the DNC colluded with the media to defeat Bernie Sanders and helping ensure that Hillary Clinton received the Democrat Party nomination for President.

None of this is really a surprise to anyone who has been following this election, or American politics in general. The media is aligned with the Democrat party and coordinate stories with them? You don’t say.

The difference is that past belief was based on circumstantial evidence. This is all direct.

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But I’m not here to talk about the political angle. One, it’s not surprising to me, and two, Mike Cernovich at Danger and Play has been doing a much better job of discussing the details of the emails.

This story has many other fascinating layers to it, and I’m interested in it less for the politics and more for the insights into human nature.

Mind you, this is just based on my own observations about human nature. I am not a professional psychologist or psychiatrist, nor do I want to be.

With that disclaimer out of the way, here’s my conclusion about what these leaks mean:

I don’t think that the information contained in these leaks, showing the corruption of the DNC, the media, and the Clinton campaign, will change anybody’s mind. Continue reading “Why #DNCLeaks Won’t Change Anybody’s Mind”

Nine Lessons from the Law You Can Apply to Your Life

I make fun of the legal profession a lot here, because let’s face it, it’s so easy.

In fact, I have a hypothesis about lawyers you that I’ll expand upon in a future post, but I’ll share it with you now. It’s called the LAWYERS RUIN EVERYTHING HYPOTHESIS OF CURRENT EVENTS, and it goes like this:

If something in American society seems so stupid, so counter-intuitive, so messed-up, and so unfair, the chances are incredibly high that at some point in time, lawyers were involved in making the decision.

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But I have not come to bury the legal profession, but to praise it.

That’s right! There are actually certain lessons one learns in law school and in the legal profession that can be transferred to your everyday life. Now, they’re not quite as bad-ass as Ed Latimore’s “Important Lessons From Fighting You Can Apply To Your Life,” but that’s why Ed’s Ed and I’m me.

While I don’t litigate anymore, trial practice taught me some skills that have helped me in all areas of my life.

So without further ado, here are Nine Lessons from the Law You Can Apply to Your Life: Continue reading “Nine Lessons from the Law You Can Apply to Your Life”

My Guest Post on This Dad Does

Neil White is a cool guy from Scotland who runs the best fatherhood blog around, This Dad Does. I found him on Twitter via Mike Cernovich linking to Neil’s review of Mike’s book Gorilla Mindset. After reading that, I started poking around Neil’s site and quickly became a fan. 


Inspired, I even started blogging myself (see my review of Gorilla Mindset here.) I have written about Neil before, but in case you missed that post, allow me to quote myself:

Fatherhood has made something of a resurgence recently, and thank God for that. Thanks to people like Neil White, there’s a ton of good information out there for dads and dads-to-be. This Dad Does covers so much it’s tough to summarize, but here goes: money, fitness, relationships, time-management, man-skills, home repair, motivation, mindset, cooking…and yes, I’ve missed a lot.

As you can see, This Dad Does tackles a lot of subjects. What I like best about the site, aside from Neil’s writing, is that he gives actionable tips in each post and he isn’t shilling for anybody. His advice is 100% real, and it’s great as a father to have his site as a resource.

So imagine my surprise and delight when Neil asked me to do a guest post on This Dad Does. Of course, I agreed, and Neil has just posted it today:

How Classical Literature Makes You A Better Dad

Enjoy, and be sure to keep reading This Dad Does. Neil will have to write a guest post here sometime soon!

Find Neil on Twitter @ThisDadDoes and on Instagram here

Follow me on Twitter @DaytimeRenegade

And check out my Instagram here.

Why the Future Is Bright

The world is a cruel, crazy place, but don’t despair! Despite all of the evil and insanity, we have every reason to be optimistic for the future.

Am I crazy? Nope. I just recognize the fact that chaos creates opportunity. It’s the principle of creative destruction: Creation of the new and better oftentimes requires the destruction of what no longer works. And while nature abhors a vacuum, I don’t think that this time the forces of command and control have the upper hand. Here’s why: Continue reading “Why the Future Is Bright”