December 14, 2017

Democrats winning from hatred of GOP business as usual

What initially appeared to be a topsy-turvy re-alignment election, where the Republican party would have become more populist and nationalist as it aimed to keep together the Trump coalition, has instead been hijacked by the standard policies of the interest groups that control the GOP.

Being a party in terminal decline, they have no results to showcase despite their control over the entire national government, and at best a widely hated tax cut bill.

Trump did not distinguish himself from the Republican retard show during the primaries by shouting about tax cuts, cutting social security and Medicare, and beefing up our military footprint around the world.

With nothing to satisfy the Trump coalition of populists and nationalists, and if anything only rejecting those voters' priorities while insulting them as a bunch of bigoted racists for wanting a decent standard of living for their fellow Americans, it comes as no surprise to see voters rejecting the GOP whenever they can.

In the early special elections, this total betrayal was not yet evident to everyone, and voters were willing to either give Republicans the benefit of the doubt, or were still in 2016 mode, full of Trumpian enthusiasm about making the GOP work for them for a change.

But especially since the last of the Trumpists were purged from the government by the Pentagon junta in August, which also saw a reversal of the America-first goal to GTFO of Afghanistan already, the administration and Congress have kicked it into high gear on governing as though this were the Jeb Bush or Ted Cruz presidency.

Voters have noticed, and they are not happy. Certainly the Trump voters are not satisfied with what has so far been delivered -- or not delivered -- but they can no longer count on independents and Democrat crossovers to save their ass. The GOP has burned all bridges with anyone who isn't a hardcore Republican partisan, and even that minuscule group is dissatisfied.

The rejection of Republicans can no longer be blamed on the race being held in a blue state like New Jersey or a purple swamp state like Virginia. Now one of the reddest states in the union has elected a Democrat to the Senate for the first time in a quarter of a century.

The common denominator is that these have been later races, after the public has given up hope on the GOP re-aligning itself to match the Trump campaign that won against all odds.

As the GOP goes even further into widely hated territory, like cutting away the social safety net programs, we can expect even greater rejection at the ballot box, including the 2018 midterms.

Do the Dems have what it takes to win those midterms? They won in Alabama not by putting up a cultural liberal of color who wants yuppie economics (Obama), but a conservative-to-moderate white dude running on reviving the New Deal populist programs that developed the Deep South out of its agricultural past.

Doug Jones was a staffer for the last Democrat to represent the state in the Senate, Howell Heflin, who was a conservative that fought for protectionist trade measures and consumer protection.

As long as the Democrats adhere to their recent string of wins by running moderate vanilla white guys (or gals) who don't want to cut the good stuff out of government, they can easily win against the Party of Stupid even in red states.

The Alabama election proved yet again that even red staters don't care that much about the culture war anymore. Remember, Trump dominated the Deep South in the GOP primaries -- not Lyin' Ted, with his Bible held high before he puts it down and then he lies.

Clueless observers keep referring to "the 10 Democrat Senators up for re-election in states that Trump won" -- it's too bad that Trump will not be running in any of those races. At least, not Trump the candidate of 2016. To the extent that he tethers his reputation to the GOP agenda, he will be on the ballot, but he will not perform as he did in 2016 when his reputation was burnished by disavowing the usual Republican crap.

No, it will be the results of GOP governance on the ballot. And at the current rate, we can eliminate Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania as toss-ups. Ohio is held by a trade hawk running against someone endorsed by the Club for Growth in the Rust Belt, so that's likely not going to change hands either. Florida is a swing state, even for Trump, so that's hardly in the lean-red category either. West Virginia has an old school Democrat who's been incumbent forever. Three of the others are in the Midwest (MO, IN, ND), where the Dems are not flaming liberals. Only one is in more solid red territory (MT).

These states in and around the Rust Belt were psychotic for the Trump campaign, not for the tax cuts and culture war distractions that are the standard fare from the GOP. If they are not given what Trump ran on, why would they reward the Republicans in Congress for sidelining the Trump agenda?

Then there are the vulnerable Republicans, which is really all of them at this point. None of them has stood out to defend Trump against the GOP leadership, the Deep State witch hunt, or anything else. Especially Corker and Flake -- their betrayal will dampen enthusiasm so much, it may not matter who their intended replacements are. Voters will just be sick of their party. And Heller was already vulnerable in blue-state Nevada.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Dems net 1 or 2 seats, resulting in an effectively divided or slightly Democrat-leaning Senate.

And you know what, populists? That's a good thing, not a bad thing. The Republicans have given us neither populism nor nationalism, have adamantly promised never to do so in the future, and have insulted us for demanding them. At least the Democrats will pass out some breadcrumbs on populism, and will deliver even more if we play hardball with them leading up to the elections.

"Gee, it would be a pity if we merely stayed home due to lack of enthusiasm... that might not do enough to swing the election your way. We could do even better and turn out for your party, if you were to offer us single-payer healthcare, break up a media monopoly, slam 35% tariffs on off-shored production, etc., while shutting the hell up about cultural liberal crap."

"And BTW if you try to impeach Trump, we reserve the right to storm your offices and put your necks in the guillotines."

Americans are rapidly getting past this partisan obsession about which team "puts points on the board". Especially the generations after the hyper-competitive Silents and Boomers, who retardedly turn every political topic into a pointless Super Bowl match. And what if the point just put on the board is going to make America worse? We don't want points at any cost.

If widespread disaffection with the GOP can produce wins for conservative-to-moderate lite populists in the Deep South, it can do so anywhere else.

It looked like the Trump election was going to re-make the Republican party, but perhaps it is going to re-make the Democrats instead. Hey, whoever wants to cater to our needs can have our vote -- we don't care which team it is.

The only bumps along that road will be the clueless partisans on the Democrat side, who will read into these red-state victories that there's a secret underground army of soy-swilling liberal homosexuals and minorities who have finally decided to show up like a deus ex machina. Sorry liberals: you only win by adding moderates and conservatives to your side, or depressing their turnout for the other side (if their side doesn't already depress its own turnout).

Democrats can only retake the Senate by running more Howell Heflins, not Jon Ossoffs. Steelworkers, not Starbucks.

If Democrats manage to decouple their liberal cultural crap from progressive economics, the sky's the limit.

December 11, 2017

Unlike GOP, Dems yielding somewhat to their insurgency

As we near the end of the first year for the GOP administration and GOP control of Congress, the "hostile takeover" of the party by the Trump insurgents has not materialized. Maybe sometime within the next three years, they will relent, but for now they show no signs of compromising with their anti-Establishment populists and nationalists.

It's not simply that the Trump revolution hasn't taken over the GOP agenda 100% -- we know change doesn't happen that fast. But the GOP hasn't done anything to appease us, and are continuing to implement the same ol' Republican BS that we voted against during their own party's primary, where we whooped Lyin' Ted by 20 points, Boy Wonder by 25 points, and everyone else by even yuger margins.

The GOP is a party intent on blowing up their own headquarters rather than allow it to fall to a hostile takeover by the Trump legions. OK, blow it up, and we'll bulldoze the rubble and build a new second party over the foundations of the old one. Not exactly Plan A, but we can go with Plan B as well.

For some perspective on what non-suicidal parties look like, let's see what the Democrats have been up to after getting shut out of all branches of government, and subject to ever greater cries for radical change coming from the Bernie revolution.

They formed a Unity Reform Commission to address how rigged the Democrat primary system is against insurgent candidates. The URC has recommended slashing the number of superdelegates by 60% and making them bound instead of unbound. That still has to be voted on by the full DNC, along with other potential changes to make the primary process easier to participate in.

The GOP primary was just as rigged, only it was through a subtler form of delegate theft, threats to re-write the rules, etc., in order to block an insurgent like Trump and choose some party-approved puppet through a contested convention. Party Chairman Reince Priebus kept making these threats through late April, long after it was clear Trump would win the nomination among voters -- and by a landslide.

The GOP also deliberately fielded over a dozen candidates in order to break up support for everyone but the anointed one -- supposedly Jeb Bush, but as it turned out, Donald Trump.

And has the RNC formed a unity commission with Trump supporters to hammer out changes to the nomination process, to prevent these sabotages from happening again? Nope.

When it comes to throwing dead weight people overboard, the Democrats for the most part have shut out the Clintons and the broader Clinton world from the party. The Bernie people were already opposed to the Clintons for ideological reasons, but they're getting shoved out also by the Obama camp, who are closer in policy to the Clintons but who are at war with them for control of the Establishment wing of the party.

Have the Republicans as a whole -- politicians, media figures, donors, etc. -- made a decisive break with the Bushes or the Romneys? No: Romney is angling for a Utah Senate seat if the elderly Hatch retires, and from there a presidential run again. So far it is Trump himself who is trying to woo Hatch into staying in office, rather than 2/3 of the GOP telling Romney to go get lost. Plus his niece is the head of the RNC; even if she's better than her uncle, it shows that their clan is still in power in the party.

And the Bushes and the broader Bush network have not been disavowed and thrown under the bus by another Establishment camp like the Romneys or the Kochs or the whoevers. It's only the dyed-in-the-wool Trump supporters who want to see the Bushes and their cronies sent into exile -- and we are not getting help from any Establishment faction like the Bernie people are receiving from the Obama camp, in tossing out the Clinton camp.

The various elite GOP camps are all united in not wanting the Trump camp to gain an inch more of territory within the party, even if one elite camp were to gain at the expense of a rival elite camp.

Donna Brazile, from the Obama camp, has not only thrown the Clintons under the bus -- she wrote a tell-all campaign book about it, and has done long interviews with Bernie-supporting reporters like Nomiki Konst for Bernie-supporting media outlets like The Young Turks.

Where is Reince Priebus' tell-all book that throws the Bushes or the Romneys under the bus, in order to boost his own Wisconsin Mafia camp? Where is he telling that story and ceding ground to Trump-supporting reporters like Roger Stone for Trump-supporting outlets like Infowars?

On policy, the Democrats could have done the easy thing and just go into reactionary mode -- preserve what we already have won from the GOP attempts to roll it back. And yet 17 members of the Democrat caucus in the Senate -- Bernie and 16 Dems -- have signed onto single-payer healthcare. Not a far-left change -- every other modern country has it -- but still a fundamental change to the American system of getting raped to death by healthcare monopolies (HMOs, pharma, etc.). Much more of a change than Obamacare, which did not even offer a public option to buy into a single-payer system.

Where in the world is the GOP counterpart to this? Something that GOP legislators normally wuss out on, but have decided to compromise with the insurgents of their party and acknowledge which way the winds are blowing within their party and the nation? Where are the 18 GOP Senators who want to slash legal immigration numbers, a la the RAISE Act? Or any big change on immigration, for that matter?

In fact, there are just 2 Senators supporting it, Cotton and Perdue. This is even more of a slam-dunk policy for Republican voters than single-payer healthcare is for Democrat voters. But the GOP refuses to serve its customers -- when it isn't trotting out politicians reviled by the party's own voters, like George W. Bush, who proceed to call them all bigots for voting for change.

Democrats could have played it safe and made identity politics the basis for their attack on the Republican government, but they have largely opted for the critique that their insurgents would resonate with -- based on class and economics, rather than race, gender, and gayness.

Where are the Republican politicians who are attacking Democrats for not being populist enough or nationalist enough, to make their partisan attacks resonate with their own voters? Instead they are doing just the opposite -- slamming Democrats for not caring enough about wealthy people and gigantic corporations ("job creators" AKA slave drivers), and for not letting America take on a greater "role in the world" (globalism, not nationalism).

And as I reviewed here, the insurgent Dems like Bernie and his people are not only trying to understand the insurgents of the other side (us), they are holding rallies to try to win them over by acknowledging their concerns and treating them seriously. Bernie alone is doing more to talk to Trump voters about populist policies than any of the Republicans are -- including Trump himself, unfortunately, who has decided (hopefully just for the time being) to be the public face of the corporate elitist agenda of the GOP.

Obviously Bernie is not sincerely trying to convert them away from nationalism, but he is finding common ground on populism and trying to get something done on this overlap area. I've noticed a similar postmortem on 2016 from far-left revolutionary types like Michael Albert from ZNet -- the white working class wanted populism, and Trump was preaching it more credibly than Clinton was. Trump voters aren't evil racists, and we need to reach out to them sincerely and win them back to not voting Republican.

The GOP is not reaching out to the white working class who voted Trump for populism and nationalism, but nor are they trying to win over people who voted for the other party. At best, they're trying to assuage some of the McCain / Romney voters who defected to Clinton -- yuppie scum who prevented the party from winning either of those elections, and who it turned out were not crucial to winning the 2016 election either. Some group to try to win back.

They should be saying, "Why did only 12% of Bernie voters go for the GOP in the general? It should be 25% next time." And then go about trying to persuade these populists who voted Democrat that the GOP was truly, honestly in a re-alignment process toward populism and away from corporate elitism. Give them something concrete to point to from Congress or the executive branch.

But the Republicans are not trying to win over even more Bernie voters -- probably the craziest idea for party growth, in their minds. And yet 12% of Bernie primary voters chose Trump, vs. only 2% of Hillary primary voters. That's obviously where the growth potential is for the GOP, not the tiny handful of yuppie Hillary supporters who might switch if promised a big enough tax cut.

But bringing in more and more Bernie supporters would be worse than letting the Trump legions take over the GOP. The GOP does not want to become influential, let alone wield power -- they want to preserve the sanctity of their failed and rejected corporate globalist agenda.

This is not even to speak of the run-of-the-mill program of greater checks-and-balances on the Democrat side. There are numerous Democrat Congressmen who want to cut down to size the primary power faction that controls their own party -- Wall Street banks. And who form and staff new institutions to work toward that end, like Warren's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Where are all of those Republicans who want to cut down to size their own party's primary power faction, the Pentagon? Rand Paul, and that's about it. And he hasn't created and staffed an agency that works to rein in the excesses of imperial expansion from the military brass.

It's not to say that the Democrats are anti-Wall Street -- they are controlled by Wall Street, but they at least push back somewhat, and allow more open discussion about what their controllers do wrong. You do not see any pushback, even rhetorically, against the imperialist Pentagon by Republicans.

The GOP is so opposed to wielding power when they supposedly have it, that they will not even attack the other party's institutions -- the banks, the internet tech companies, the media (other than rhetorically), the higher ed bubble and university administrators, and so on. They're too busy fighting their opposition on the other side of the globe. "America last", or maybe "America whenever we get around to it".

Lastly, it is Republicans who are trying to drive the insurgent choice of the people out of office. All chairs of the relevant committees in the Russia witch hunt are Republicans, since they control both houses of Congress. All of the heads of the relevant agencies are Republicans, like Sessions and the de facto AG Rosenstein at the DoJ. Comey and Mueller are both Republicans, and we see how well they're ceding ground to the Trumpian insurgency.

We can't compare that to how a Democrat insurgent like Bernie would be treated if he had been elected President. I'm sure he too would be subject to sabotage by leaders of his own party -- but I doubt it would rise to the level of trying to railroad him out of office, after purging every one of his populist appointees from the Cabinet. Maybe the Democrat power elites would only purge half of his populist appointees, and would not hold impeachment dangling over his head like the sword of Damocles.

The Democrats are not more moral or democratically inclined. They are simply willing to negotiate the terms of their surrender if it becomes clear they are losing, so they can save their own skins as much as possible. They are pragmatic and opportunistic. The Republicans are also not moral or democratically inclined -- but they're not even willing to negotiate when their Establishment agenda has gotten absolutely creamed in back-to-back elections (GOP primary and general from 2016). They are puritanical and dogmatic, hell-bent on self-destruction rather than serve another master.

So be it, then. In the meantime, populists who voted Trump should try to help the Bernie people take over the Democrat party and get some real results there. They're not going to give us a 50% reduction in legal immigration, or deport 10 million illegals -- but then neither is the GOP. We were hoping they would, but the verdict has come in, and they will not. Nationalism will have to be the basis of a new second party after we repeal-and-replace the GOP.

December 6, 2017

It's turning into the Ted Cruz presidency, with empty sop to evangelicals on Jerusalem

As the GOP Establishment, led by the Pentagon brass, has captured the Trump movement for the time being, there have been periodic gripes about, "Did Jeb Bush win the election after all?" The point was well taken -- the power factions pulling the levers (Pentagon, agribusiness, oil, Wall Street), and often the particular individuals in charge, would have been right at home in a Bush White House. Not in a White House devoted to populism and nationalism.

Trump won the GOP primary by running against the policies that have been unfolding, except the few areas of overlap with the usual Republicans, like appointing conservatives to the courts. If we had wanted an increased military presence in the Middle East and Afghanistan, still aligned with the jihadists, as well as tax cuts uber alles and eliminating the social safety net -- we had over a dozen other choices who were offering some variation on that theme.

We chose the one guy who campaigned against the typical Republican bullshit.

But over the past few months, after the Pentagon junta had purged the Trump supporters from the government and cut off the people's President from the people, Trump has resigned himself (for the time being) to performing an anti-Establishment role that is more palatable to the Establishment -- namely, the Ted Cruz culture war schtick.

Jeb Bush most definitely would not have taken on the NFL for its anti-American policy regarding the national anthem, would not have ordered trannies out of the military, would not have been slamming the liberal media day in and day out, and would not have pandered to evangelical Judaizers in the Great Plains by "announcing" or "declaring" that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, while still signing the usual waiver that prevents the US embassy from actually being re-located there from Tel Aviv.

Could we imagine these things coming from Ted Cruz, though? Absolutely. Along with "ripping to shreds" the Iran nuclear deal and other actions, symbolic or real, that would energize the Tea Party base against both the liberals and the Establishment GOP-ers like McConnell and Ryan.

So far, these have been the biggest and happiest winners of the Trump presidency -- the hardcore Republicans who preferred or even voted for Cruz over Trump, but who still lost the primary battle by 20 points.

(BTW, where are the empty symbolic sops to the populist voters from the Rust Belt who ushered Trump out of the GOP primary and into the White House?)

The evangelicals in the Deep South were crucial to Trump winning the primary, so it's only fair for them to get something -- but they aren't the psychotically Israel-obsessed kind of Christians that are found more west of the Mississippi. They are focused on practical aspects of Christianity and religion -- like repealing the Johnson Amendment so that churches can organize and act politically.

They are the Jerry Falwell Jr. types, and while they no doubt agree with the symbolic act on Jerusalem, they were hoping more for real change within America itself about religion and Christianity, like repealing the Johnson Amendment.

It would take more courage for the President to "declare" that private businesses can discriminate against homosexuals for religious reasons, whether not wanting to sanctify a Satanic form of marriage (between same sex) by baking their wedding cake, or not wanting homosexual predators to molest young boys in their church or the Boy Scout troop that they sponsor.

And as supposed head of the executive agencies, the President could actually try to make that happen -- issue a directive to the DoJ that they are not to go after Christian bakers or church heads who object to serving homosexuals for religious reasons.

On "moral majority" issues, he could go about breaking up the pornography industry. That would be an actual crusade with actual results important to evangelicals (and non-religious conservatives). Again, as head of the executive agencies, he can supposedly issue directives to get the ball rolling. On this topic, he'd even pick up a little bipartisan support from old school feminists who think pornography is uniquely degrading and exploitative to women.

Proclaiming that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel does nothing to advance the concrete religious interests of evangelicals in the United States. It's just an empty endorphin rush for the minority of Christians who LARP as Second Temple Jews, who fixate on the Old Testament and rarely quote from or preach about the message of Jesus and Paul from the New Testament (Revelations is catnip for them, though).

These represent steps backward, not forward, in the attempted re-alignment of the GOP and its constituents. The hope was that Trump was going to give something to evangelicals, as opposed to the usual GOP practice of ignoring them altogether, but that it would ween them off of their apocalyptic emotional Judaizing, and steer them toward a more down-to-earth focus on how to strengthen Christianity and its institutions right here in America.

And that the opening salvos from Trump in a culture war would lead to further and more concrete changes to the institutions he's targeting.

Trolling the media is fine, but he can do that -- and did do that -- without being President, or even a candidate. Now that he's President, it's time to trust-bust the media monopolies and rob them of the leverage that they wield in the great big struggle among elite factions (their gatekeeper role in the flow of information).

Slamming the NFL is fine -- but he can do that without holding or even running for office. Why not cut all funding from pro sports teams who receive any governmental support, financial or otherwise (i.e., all of these parasitic corporations), who do not enforce a Presidential directive that all players who are capable of standing, will stand for the national anthem?

Now that he's President, it's time to hit the enemy where it hurts.

As for the enemies of evangelical Christians, they are not the Palestinians, like them or hate them. Directing evangelical attention to the Israel-Palestine conflict is a pure distraction. The enemies are the anti-Christian forces operating right here in America, like judges who want to force Christians to sanctify Sodomite weddings by making one of the ceremony's sacred things (the wedding cake), akin to forcing Muslims to cater a "bacon lovers" party. Or laws that prevent churches from organizing and acting politically. And on and on.

But with Trump having been sealed off so hermetically by General Kelly of the Pentagon junta, this kind of feedback is unlikely to reach him. We know that Trump is not ideologically driven toward this Ted Cruz stuff -- he's doing it out of reciprocity for his supporters. But he's being misled about who his supporters were (not the emotional Israel-firsters), and what they want (repeal Johnson Amendment, not symbolic stuff on the Holy Land).

The longer that the GOP manages to hold Trump hostage, the more the administration will congeal into the Lyin' Ted presidency, with the usual GOP garbage going on in the real world and culture war distractions to keep Trump voters from noticing or caring about being robbed by "their own" party yet again.

December 5, 2017

Non-reformist reforms for Trumpism

As the populist-nationalist insurgency attempts to re-align the Republican party, or to repeal and replace it if re-alignment fails, we need a simple rule-of-thumb for judging whether a particular policy is worth supporting, or whether it should be altered to better suit our goals.

Since we are aiming at taking the GOP and the nation as a whole in an entirely different direction from where we're currently heading, we need to be wary of little changes that don't allow further changes to be built on top of them. That would be like laying a few stones for a bridge that needs to cross a mile-long chasm.

We understand that the bridge won't be built in a day, all at once -- but the process of laying stones must allow further stones to be laid, all of them connected eventually into a single cohesive bridge. A process that slows or halts its own growth will never get completed -- and half a bridge only leaves us right where we already are.

The Left gets this better than the Right, which has always had a problem with "the vision thing" and taking short-term actions with a long-term strategy in mind. *

Fortunately, that means the Left has already figured out a lot of the strategy stuff in general and neutral terms -- the Right only has to substitute their own goals into the framework instead of Leftist goals.

The Leftist social philosopher Andre Gorz came up with the phrase "non-reformist reform" to distinguish between reforms that would ultimately leave the status quo in place vs. those that would build and build toward altering the status quo at a fundamental level. That means that the same policy could be pursued in a reformist way, where it is not going to lead to larger and more sweeping changes, or in a non-reformist way, where it does lead to fundamental changes.

For example, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour -- if the campaign doesn't address why wages are so low to begin with, and how much wealth there is to go around at the top, merely raising the minimum wage will leave those forces in place and prevent fundamental change, which aims for $15 an hour wages without having to rely on minimum wage laws.

The campaign could point out how wages are low because American workers are competing with lower-wage workers in foreign countries (off-shoring), or those same people brought here as immigrants (legally or illegally). After slashing labor costs by pitting American vs. foreign workers, the stockholders of these companies reap the benefits in the form of higher profits. This is one of the main drivers of inequality.

Moreover, the rich are not getting richer because they invented some useful new thing, or have improved the production process in some ingenious new way. They've simply replaced higher-paid workers with lower-paid workers -- gee, it takes a real genius to come up with that business model. It involved no ingenuity, creativity, risk, or utility to others -- it only required sociopathy from those making the hiring-and-firing decisions.

Allowing their profits to soar, and those of American workers to plummet, from this process of off-shoring and immigration, is to reward sociopathy -- not to reward risk-taking or other entrepreneurial values.

Fighting for a higher minimum wage with this framework in mind would lead to calls for a return of jobs and industries that have been off-shored, as well as an end to immigrant labor (legal or illegal). That is a long-term vision that would introduce fundamental changes in the American economy, where cheap foreigners are no longer included as a structural release valve for the wages that the stockholders have to pay workers.

American workers would earn higher wages -- without needing a minimum wage law -- a new class of jobs would be introduced back into the American economy (manufacturing especially), and corporate sociopathy would be stigmatized to the point where managers fear the wrath of the mob, and don't think about resorting to cheap labor as their Plan A for profits. Instead, they would have to invent new useful things, or find more ingenious ways to do existing tasks than their competitors.

Of course, there's always the question of how far the fundamental change is intended to go. Even among the Leftists debating these non-reformist reforms, some groups may have wanted social democracy like they used to have in Scandinavia, others may have wanted to do away with private ownership of capital, others may have wanted public ownership plus a central planning board instead of a market, and so on and so forth.

The point was not to debate how revolutionary they were -- they already understood that some were more so than others -- but to think about how to achieve their ultimate goals, regardless of how far out-there they were compared to other Leftists.

Turning now to the Trumpist movement for populism and nationalism, we can see that most of the changes made since the transfer of control from the Democrat to the GOP administrations have mainly served to preserve or even enhance the status quo, and that the Trump movement must make more conscious efforts to re-direct any major policy in the populist or nationalist direction.

The GOP healthcare bill was clearly not going to steer healthcare in a more populist or nationalist direction. They did not seek to lower drug prices by negotiating with the drug monopolies, let alone a public option or single-payer that would have given the people even more leverage over the HMO and drug elites. Nor did they seek to cut off immigrants from government-funded healthcare programs.

A non-reformist reform in healthcare would have been, "Medicare for all, except those who gotta go back". That's what Trump meant during his campaign: "We have to take care of our people," which would have been a fundamental change to the reigning GOP values about "let everyone fend for themselves, except for the well-connected who can hijack the government for their own purposes".

The GOP tax bill shows the same intensification of the status quo, especially if they move onto gutting the social safety net afterwards under the pretense of controlling the debt explosion due to tax cuts. It is not punishing the elites who have driven our country over a cliff, nor those who expand globally at the expense of domestic workers.

A non-reformist reform in tax reform would have been, "You'll get your corporate income tax cut once 90% of your production is done here in America" or "We'll give you income tax cuts, but also 35% tariffs on off-shored production" to reward only those stockholders that are pro-American rather than amoral globalists. That would shift the reward structure from rewarding profits per se, no matter how sociopathic and society-wrecking the process was for earning those profits, to rewarding profits that came from pro-American and society-enhancing activities.

On to matters of nationalism, the immigration policies have so far preserved the status quo as well. The tiny uptick in deportations from within the interior are a welcome change, but will not come anywhere close to expelling the 10-20 million illegals here (off by 2 or 3 orders of magnitude, IIRC). A tiny uptick leaves the big picture in place -- you can illegally enter the United States, and the overwhelming odds are that you will never be deported. And everything that follows from that demographic shift -- lower wages, higher cost of living, fragmented culture, lower trust among diverse groups, etc.

A non-reformist reform in immigration would be to step up the rate of deportations so that at least 10 million illegals could be cleared out by the end of eight years. That's 1.25 million per year, which is what the Eisenhower administration managed to do during Operation Wetback in the 1950s, only we would need to sustain that rate for eight years. This would be paired with a drastic decrease in legal immigration, a la the RAISE Act (which is currently dead in the water even among GOP politicians), to keep our deportations from being canceled out by new arrivals.

And the rationale would be improving the standard of living for the American working and middle classes (higher wages, lower cost of living), not just protecting us from gangs like MS-13. Framing the immigration battle as primarily about violent crime and drugs would leave the GOP orthodoxy in place.

When the DACA people get their amnesty, a non-reformist reform would be to tie it to deporting an even greater number of illegals. Say, once 10 million illegals have been certifiably deported, then and only then will we give the DACA people amnesty. Giving them amnesty before collecting an equal or larger concession vis-a-vis immigration would be a movement-halting decision.

Nationalism in foreign policy has had the worst fate, since most people consider it boring and out-of-sight out-of-mind. But we've wasted trillions of dollars that could have been better spent on Americans and America, or not borrowed to begin with. And all in order to maintain our military presence in Germany, South Korea, and Japan long after the threat of Communist expansion has ceased to exist.

Indeed, rather than moving to "re-jigger NATO" away from Cold War concerns and toward the present and growing threat of radical Islam, we have admitted a new member from Eastern Europe (Montenegro), and are listening to the aspirations of others surrounding Russia (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, and Georgia -- where the NATO-led uprising by Saakashvili in 2008 was easily put down by Russia). We are not moving to expel Turkey for supporting the political version of radical Islam (Muslim Brotherhood), let alone are we moving to bring in Russia -- the main force in thwarting jihadism in the Middle East, with its decisive intervention in the Syrian War.

We have only ramped up our commitment to the jihadist kingdoms who are the source of radical Islam as an ideology, and as a militia movement -- mainly Saudi Arabia, but also Qatar and the UAE. We have taken stronger measures against the secular nationalist leaders in the Middle East, such as Assad, and we are building toward a major confrontation with the non-jihadist nation of Iran.

Non-reformist reforms in foreign policy would be to draw down our presence in Germany and Eastern Europe, to ease off of Russia -- or to jump right to admitting Russia into NATO. We have to get along with Russia in order to beat back radical Islam. The Eastern European countries already in NATO would not serve to put pressure on Russia, but to halt the flow of Muslim migrants coming through Southeastern Europe (Greece especially). That would also provide the basis for kicking out Turkey, who is funneling Muslims into Europe like there's no tomorrow.

We could also draw dawn our presence in South Korea and Japan, which are more than capable of defending themselves against North Korea. And the main reason that NK developed nukes was to deter the US from attacking it preemptively, not to take over SK or Japan.

These moves out of Eastern Europe and East Asia would build toward the fundamental change of using the military for successful defense of the homeland, not failed imperial expansion. Partnering with Russia against radical Islam would provide the basis for shifting away from our alliance with Saudi Arabia.

"Sorry haters, but getting along with a nuclear superpower is more important for our national security than getting along with a bunch of fanatic Muslims who blew us up on September 11th and still have not paid the price for it."

So no matter how current events transpire, we should keep an eye more on the trajectory rather than isolated snapshots. Where have things been leading to so far, and where do they appear to be leading based on the latest events? We want our changes to be non-reformist reforms, not just feel-good isolated incidents that ultimately lead nowhere, let alone changes for the worse in the current direction.

* This is because liberals are adapted to K-selected environments, where population density is high, the niche is near saturation, and resources per capita are stretched thin. Conservatives are adapted to r-selected environments, where population density is low, the niche has just opened up and has plenty of room for growth, and resources per capita are abundant. Naturally, those who face grim prospects are going to have to be better at long-term planning than those who live in a world of seemingly boundless low-lying fruit.

The level of social complexity is also dramatically different, with liberals coming from highly complex social units. Conservatives have rarely had to face survival in such highly complex environments, so how can they be expected to appreciate how they work, let alone try to successfully manage them?

In niches marked by abundance, the highest social unit is the extended family clan. So conservatives can understand politics where the individual, family, and clan are actors -- but not where larger and more complex groups are actors, such as Wall Street or the Pentagon, or the party coalitions of (Wall St + Silicon Valley + media) and (Pentagon + Energy + Agribusiness).

December 4, 2017

Bernie de-converting Obama-Trump voters over GOP BS

The Democrat party may be out of touch, but it is not suicidal, and has spent the year since Trump's upset victory trying to improve their electoral prospects.

They've figured out that the Clintons are dead weight and chucked them overboard, while retaining the Obama camp who are less hated but still about as neoliberal.

They've left the Russia witch hunt mostly to their lackeys in the media, since the voters they need to win over don't believe the hysteria (but the hysteria does draw in the small niche of cable news addicts).

And most importantly, they've made their opposition based mainly on class and economic issues, rather than scream "racist sexist homophobe" all day long. They tried that early on with the pussy hat march, the "not wanting to get blown up by radical Muslims makes you an Islamophobe" campaign during the travel ban -- but it didn't work. They've learned and switched to economic issues.

Those are the issues that Trump defeated them on during the campaign, but which have been hijacked by the typical Republican bullshit once the GOP took over the executive branch, combined with their control of Congress.

Trump ran on delivering the best of both worlds for independent voters -- populist on economics, nationalist on culture, immigration, and foreign policy. The Pentagon junta has purged the nationalists out of the government, beginning with Flynn and ending with Bannon, so there goes that plank of the Trumpist platform for the time being. But of course the Democrats are not about to challenge the Trump administration on not being sufficiently nationalist.

That leaves the populist themes that have been contradicted by the standard GOP playbook of inflating bubbles for the sectors that control their party (military, agriculture, energy), cutting taxes on the rich and corporations, and slashing spending on the social safety net.

Trump ran on preserving the social safety net against the usual Republican attempts to destroy it, pairing tax cuts with tax hikes in the form of big fat tariffs that would penalize companies that have replaced American workers with foreign workers, and drawing down military spending by shrinking our global footprint where it is no longer useful (Germany, South Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan) and negotiating down the prices from the military-industrial complex. *

That is what won over enough Obama voters in enough states to win the Electoral College. The nationalist, America-first themes won over Republican primary voters tired of globalism, but the general election was mostly about populism.

When these voters see what is going on during the Trump administration, they're going to be less enthusiastic the next time around and may completely ditch the GOP in 2020. Michigan was already a razor-thin win, and Minnesota (Trump + third-party spoiler), Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania were not much wider. Forget flipping Maine. Ohio, Iowa, and North Carolina look safer, though Florida will still be a toss-up (not that populism will help there -- it is a destination for individualist yuppie transplants).

If Democrats claw back Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, they will win with 278 votes in 2020.

Against that background, they are sending Bernie Sanders out to hold rallies in Rust Belt states to try to win back the Trump voters who voted on class issues, by pointing out how opposite the results have been from what he campaigned on.

And he's not doing a bad job -- too early to tell how many he'll win back, but it's not just mindless boo-ing Trump, slandering Trump voters as bigots like George W. Bush did, or foaming at the mouth about Russia like a liberal media moron.

Here are videos of the same speech in Dayton, OH (jump to 49:00) and Reading, PA (53:00). Trump won both counties. Dayton's county had not voted red since 1988, although Reading's county had voted Obama '08 and Romney '12.

Bernie starts off saying he sympathizes with Trump voters, says their pain is real, they're not racists, and what Trump promised during the campaign were good things -- healthcare for all, no cutting the social safety net, Drain the Swamp, drug companies are ripping us off, trade deals should bring back manufacturing jobs, etc.

He tells the few boo-ers in the audience not to boo Trump voters or the issues that Trump ran on. (His audience at rallies are mostly partisan retards who can only voice approval for universal healthcare if Bernie rather than Trump is promoting it.)

Then he lists the various ways in which the agenda being pursued so far contradicts what Trump ran on, and calls on Trump to promise to veto any bill that betrays his promises from the campaign regarding the social safety net, drug prices, etc.

He's insightful and pragmatic enough to put most of the blame on Congressional Republicans, who everybody hates and who deserve the blame for where things have gone so far. But he doesn't quite go as far as the truth, to portray Trump as being isolated and held hostage by "his own" party, which would make Trump more sympathetic, and perhaps antagonize Trump voters into a bitter GOP primary campaign rather than just switching over to Bernie-style Democrats.

It would be the most devastating blow he could deliver to the opposition party -- "I understand where you were coming from, but you voted for Trump and wound up with the GOP instead." As it is, he portrays Trump as having lied and deceived voters during the campaign. Not believable, given the immense punishment he took and the sacrifices he made without any guarantee of victory.

A more crippling frame would be that Trump intended to do everything he said during the campaign, but that one man -- and an outsider at that -- was not enough to overcome the machinery of the GOP while in office. Maybe that doesn't win over his voters to Democrats, maybe it just drives the Republicans back into civil war. Either way, that's the way he should be framing it.

In these social media videos that edit together the sound bites from the rallies, the Bernie team even uses Trump's own TV appearances from the campaign to emphasize what he ran on. I think that has the effect of neutering the wrong claims of Trump being a deceiver -- we can tell from his voice and face that he sincerely wants to do what he's saying.

However we have to hold the GOP's feet to the fire, we have to do it. And Trump's feet, to the extent that he has chosen to hitch his wagon to the falling star of Republicanism. Backing away from "let's let Assad stay in power" we can understand -- the Pentagon elites and CIA could have threatened to assassinate his family and have the IRS seize his family's wealth.

But they're not literally holding him hostage over tax cuts for the rich and destroying Medicare. He has more wiggle room there, and should distance himself as far as possible from austerity measures.

It's time for some kind of campaign about "Trump voters against GOP economics". It would be best to partner with the Bernie people, since they are organized and we are not, and since it would emphasize the bipartisan support for the social safety net, protectionist trade deals, and universal healthcare among citizens (if not among the elites).

We should set aside the fact that they are not America-firsters -- because neither is the GOP, and Trump's "own party" has taken extreme measures to railroad the Trumpian nationalists out of the government. If both parties are globalist for the time being, we might as well strategically ally with the one that is more open to populism than corporate elitism, while trying to build a better America-first party to repeal-and-replace the Republican party.

* Remember when, during the transition and pre-Pentagon coup, Trump negotiated down $600 million from the F-35 contract going to Lockheed Martin? He must have gotten a talking to by the military elite, and has not tried to get more bang for the buck on military equipment ever since. Indeed, Congress delivered an even larger defense budget than what Trump had asked for.

December 1, 2017

Steinle's killer let in by Reagan / Bush, supported by GOP employers

In all of the partisan shrieking about Kate Steinle's murder, it has escaped everyone's notice that her killer was let into the country by a Republican President, deported more often by Democrat than by Republican Presidents afterward, and was economically supported by employers in sectors that control the GOP rather than the Democrat party.

Here is an LA Times article from 2015, when the murder was still fresh, with as much biographical information on Jose Garcia Zarate as I've been able to find on the internet. He was illegally brought over the Mexican border sometime before 1991, as a juvenile (a DREAMer!), and presumably after 1981 -- otherwise he would've been covered by the 1986 amnesty. That means it was either Reagan or Bush Sr. who let him in.

We keep hearing that he was "deported 5 times" -- three times under Clinton (in '94, '97, and '98), once by Bush Jr. (in '03), and finally by Obama (in '09). During the 25 years he was here from his first red flag -- a drug conviction in 1991 -- to 2015 when he killed Steinle, Democrats were President for 3/5 of the time. Yet they executed 4/5 of his deportations.

Hardly asleep at the wheel -- if anything, that would have been the Bush Jr. administration, or the Reagan / Bush team for letting him in way back when (and for issuing the amnesty that triggered further illegal immigration from Mexico, including Zarate's parents).

How did he earn a living here in El Norte? The only info I can find is from the LAT article, which describes him as having been "an itinerant laborer in four states". He came through Texas and Arizona, presumably California is in there, and some other state in the Southwest. That is mostly red state country.

And in which sectors of the economy does an "itinerant laborer" work? Probably not those that make up the Democrat coalition of informational sector industries -- finance, tech, and media -- nor presumably from lesser members of their coalition like the education sector or any labor union (scab labor go home). Those sectors, especially the major members, have hardly any jobs at all, and they all require a verbal person who speaks English.

No, we can be sure he was hired by Republican material sectors -- agriculture, "small business" (some shitty food shack in a suburban strip center), union-busting contractors, etc.

Democrat sectors of the economy are not labor-intensive and do not rely on cheap labor to boost profits. GOP sectors are labor-intensive, and do rely on cheap labor. Therefore, that's who hired him and everyone else like him -- not the local public school, unionized factory, bank, newspaper, web programmer, or other Democrat workplace. Not necessarily because Democrats are more moral or civic-minded, but because their material interests do not benefit from cheap labor that speaks no English.

Without the Republican sectors turning to cheap labor to boost their profits, Zarate and all the other itinerant laborers would never have been able to earn a living here, and would not have been induced to immigrate here with the hopes of stealing a labor-intensive job.

"But they would've received welfare" is a lame excuse to try to pin this back on Democrats. Republicans have already gutted welfare so that it cannot support someone who has to pay American prices for housing, food, etc. Immigrants may collect welfare, but that does not sustain them -- they do that by stealing jobs from Americans in labor-intensive sectors.

The same goes for blaming sanctuary city policies on Democrats. They flourished during all eight years of Bush Jr's presidency, and what the hell did his administration ever do about it? They were more lenient than the Clinton administration on illegals.

And now that the GOP controls the executive branch again, where the hell is the destruction of these sanctuary policies? Remember that pseudo-AG Sessions' plan to "de-fund" sanctuary cities only amounted to withholding one-half of 1% of their federal funding! Those cities must be shaking in their boots at these typical Republican levels of grandstanding.

Democrats take the blame for sanctuary city policies to the extent that they are an urban-oriented party that controls the large cities where these policies are enforced. But that doesn't let the state and federal GOP off the hook -- they should have crippled the mayors and police chiefs in these cities decades ago. Send in the federal military like Eisenhower did to clear out the illegals -- somehow I don't think the San Francisco Police Department is going to win a fight against the US Army, especially when they're defying federal immigration laws.

All the Republicans do is whine about sanctuary cities to win over nationalist voters, without doing anything about them in order to appease the cheap labor-seeking economic sectors that control their party.

And of course today's globalist military elites would never dream of sending in the troops to kick foreign invaders out of our country -- why, those illegals may end up serving in our military like any other interchangeable cog residing on our magic American soil, no matter where they came from!

Like the other labor-intensive sectors, the military / police / etc. expand their operations only when they get more bodies into their workforce. And if American bodies are unwilling -- wages are too low on farms, don't want to risk death just to defend jihadist kingdoms -- then they have no trouble bringing in foreign bodies to take their place.

Degenerate empires have a knack for relying on foreign mercenaries, whether hired abroad or imported as immigrants. Nothing could go wrong from the Roman army becoming staffed entirely by Germanic tribesmen -- could it?

So let's cut the crap about blaming the urban death and decay wrought by immigrants on municipal-level Democrats, when state and national-level Republicans have refused to rein in any of it whenever they have had control over the executive branch. That's what national-level stewards are supposed to do -- swoop in when there's a failure at a lower level. But no, they'd rather fiddle while Rome burns, and by the way collect higher profits from all the cheap labor that these immigrants bring to GOP economic sectors.

When it comes to crime prevention and law enforcement, Democrats are like the clueless child saying "I'll do whatever I want, I don't have to follow your rules, DAD." Yeah, well where are that child's parents, the supposedly more mature and disciplinarian party when it comes to crime?

The Republican party is 100% OK with immigrants raising crime rates -- not only because they're trading that in exchange for cheap labor and higher profits, but because they won't bear any of the costs. Republican elites may rely on cheap laborers from the city, but they live in the suburbs. When their day laborers go driving drunk around their own neighborhood, or shoot up pedestrians at their local convenience store, that will be urban Democrat residents paying the cost -- not suburban or rural Republicans.

As in every other case that angers nationalists, this comes down to "I'm actually more disappointed in the Republicans," as Trump kept saying during the campaign. In order for the nationalist movement to grow, the Republican party must shrink.

GOP does the hiring even if Trump does some firing

When news arrives that Trump is firing someone who is bad for America, Trump supporters should not just release a flood of endorphins because our guy got to say "you're fired!" to an enemy. The question is -- who is the replacement? Will that person be even worse for America?

There is no such thing as the ability to fire, without the ability to hire the replacement.

At the top level, personalities do not matter -- they are just interchangeable cogs in the great big machine. Within institutions, there are job descriptions, not individuals.

If jihad-enabler #1 gets fired from a top government slot, only for jihad-enabler #2 to take his place -- it is as if the first one had not been fired in the first place. There is a top slot open for a jihad-enabler (job description), and they don't care who in particular fills it (individual #1, individual #2), as long as they are good at carrying out the tasks listed in the job description.

The NYT says that Pentagon junta member General Kelly has a plan to move Tillerson out as Secretary of State, to be replaced by current CIA head Pompeo, with Senator Cotton to take over at the CIA.

Pompeo has become a foaming at the mouthpiece for the Deep State during his brief tenure at the CIA, and will be far worse than Tillerson as our country's chief diplomat. Ditto for Cotton taking over at CIA, where he will be an even greater hawk, especially on Iran, than even Pompeo was.

With Cotton's departure from the Senate, we also lose one of the few Senators willing to champion a bill to slash legal immigration (the RAISE Act), just as we lost Sessions to his do-nothing position as symbolic Attorney General, where Rod Rosenstein is the de facto head of law enforcement. (And Roger Stone says Sessions will be out as AG, de jure, by around the end of the year. A total waste for him to have left the Senate.)

The only Trump-sympathizing Senator left for them to clear out of Congress is Rand Paul.

We are not getting good replacements for Sessions, Cotton, or hypothetically Paul. Whether it's a Tea Party figure like Roy Moore, or a corporate shill like Luther Strange, neither is going to be one of the few good Republicans in the Senate like Sessions was.

To choose another example, Reince Priebus was a dirty traitorous rat, but he was less powerful and connected than General Kelly, who took his place. Under Kelly's watch, Trump is effectively shut off from anyone not approved by the Pentagon junta, whereas Priebus was a doughy ineffectual hack who had no control over people seeing Trump, talking to Trump, and passing along information to Trump.

Then there was the firing of James Comey -- only to be replaced by yet another swamp creature with bipartisan support, nudge-nudge wink-wink. Hell, if Trump fires Mueller, maybe de facto AG Rosenstein will appoint another special prosecutor to look into whether that firing constitutes obstruction of justice.

Comey, Mueller, Tillerson -- they are just the particular occupants of an ongoing job description with tasks that include spying on Trump people, dangling impeachment over Trump's head, and strengthening ties to jihadist nations. If these individuals don't perform those tasks well, or if Trump decides to fire them for some other reason, they will be replaced by individuals who will try harder to carry out these anti-American tasks in the job description.

In order for the populist-nationalist movement to truly score a victory, we must eliminate that job slot entirely -- or at least those tasks in it that are anti-American, like keeping a leash on the People's President with the threat of a bogus obstruction charge. Or when the job description of the Secretary of State changes to include the task of "getting along with Russia" rather than "getting deeper into bed with Jihadi Arabia".

When we put harder pressure on the Establishment to do what we voted for in the election, this is what we must target -- the job description, not the individual. We don't have a vendetta against James Comey, longtime protector of Clinton criminality though he may be -- we want to see the FBI Director's job description no longer include the task of subverting the outcome of the voters' election, if that outcome displeases the elites.

And when we point out how much worse Pompeo will be than Tillerson, it's not because he's bad on a personal level -- but because he's going to work harder at the anti-American tasks in the current job description of Secretary of State. Especially under a GOP administration, when the description includes potentially kicking off a War on Terror 2.0 that targets Iran instead of Iraq, rather than a country that has ever attacked us like Saudi Arabia (9/11).

For that matter, if the current administration turns out to be a let-down, we should not put too much of the blame on Trump -- he's only a person, not the job description. And he ran on, and tried his best in the first 70 days, to radically alter the job descriptions of every high-ranking government officer.

The Pentagon faction of the GOP coalition out-maneuvered him beginning with the silent coup in April (Syrian regime change), and railroaded his most powerful ally (Flynn). This counter-insurgency managed to keep the job descriptions just how you would expect them to be under any old GOP administration, including the tasks to be performed by the President -- rant about cutting taxes, leave the southern border unsecured, arm jihadist nations, and call out only Democrats (rather than confess what the people already feel, that "I'm actually more disappointed in the Republicans").

The same could be said of Obama, Bush, Clinton, Reagan, etc. -- the power factions that made up the coalition of the party controlling the White House created the job descriptions, and staffed them with individuals who either carried out those tasks or were replaced by others who would. Obama campaigned on Hope and Change, populism lite, only to turn into a figurehead for the big Wall Street banks, who control the Democrat party. If he hadn't complied with those tasks, he would've been replaced by someone who would.

There is going to be a lot of personnel turnover during this administration, so we have to zoom out and see if anything is really changing in what the new vs. old personnel are doing.

So far, there has only been one group of substantial changes in personnel -- the purging of the Trump supporters from the national security apparatus, beginning with Flynn and ending with Bannon. They were most definitely not replaced by people who were similar-enough to those who had gotten fired. General McMaster is just another Cold War-mindset, jihadist-enabling war-loser. And nobody has even replaced Bannon -- at the current rate, it would be Bill Kristol.

November 27, 2017

GOP hijacking of Trump agenda nearly complete

The first warning sign that the GOP Congress would not be yielding to the overall themes or specific items of the Trump agenda, as developed during the primary and general campaigns, was the near unanimous re-election of Paul Ryan as Speaker of the House just a few weeks before the inauguration of his nemesis in the party, Donald Trump.

The two are completely opposed on major policies, and they have a poor working relationship owing to the campaign-season feuding over which direction the party would be taking. But Ryan did not single-handedly re-elect himself as Speaker -- the entire GOP caucus in the House, minus Thomas Massie, did that.

That was a loud-and-clear signal that they would not be working with the Trump movement, on neither a policy nor a personal level. The GOP Congress would continue pursuing the same ol' BS, and Trump could either join their stampede over the cliff, or remain on solid ground yet politically isolated and publicly marginalized.

Trump decided to give the crooked Congress the benefit of the doubt, even after they preemptively stabbed him in the back with the re-election of Ryan as Speaker. The result was to make himself the standard-bearer of a legislative agenda that began with trying to ramp up corporate rape in the healthcare sector, when he has argued for years in favor of universal healthcare ("single-payer," "socialized medicine").

Despite that failure, the agenda is moving on to tax cuts for the rich, when the elites ought to be soaked for having destroyed the nation's economy, government, population, and culture -- you broke it, you bought it. When Trump was considering a third-party campaign in 2000, he proposed soaking the rich with a wealth tax in order to pay off the national debt.

And during the 2016 campaign, he regularly mocked the idea that all we need to do is give more tax incentives to corporations for them to return production to this country -- they just take the money and run. We need those big fat 35% tariffs, but those are nowhere to be seen in the GOP tax reform bill.

Whether or not that effort succeeds, the next big item will not be infrastructure -- supposedly the third major focus from earlier in the year. Back then, people debated whether the GOP Congress and Trump should have led with that, and score an easy bipartisan victory that would boost his popularity among all citizens, and begin building his pile of political capital with Congress critters on both sides of the aisle.

The GOP-ers said, We'll get to that after the really important stuff -- like corporate rape in healthcare and tax cuts for the rich -- which, by the way, will be difficult wins if they are won at all because the partisan approach leaves no margin for error, which will destroy his popularity among all but hardcore GOP voters, and which will probably not build his political capital since he will not have been part of a team that delivered the goods.

Now it looks even worse -- not just that Trump has wasted so much time, effort, goodwill, and political capital on the usual Republican crap, before getting to the good stuff, but that the GOP Congress will not be putting together a big infrastructure bill at all.

He got suckered by the worthless Republican politicians in Congress, and he should immediately cut off his cooperation with them. Politically isolated or not, at least he would not throw himself over the cliff for no reason like the rest of those retards.

For the time being, though, he appears to still be going along with their agenda. Instead of infrastructure to "rebuild America instead of Afghanistan," what are we moving onto after tax cuts for the rich? Why, gutting what's left of welfare!

Swamp-supporting defense contractors and Wall Street bankers will continue getting richer than God from make-work government contracts and bailouts, but if you're a poor white family that voted for or at least supported Trump, your reward is going to be having the rug pulled out from under you.

And so much for the "What the hell do you have to lose" angle for urban black voters. Plenty to lose, as it turns out. Not that blacks were a key element of the Trump coalition -- not at all -- but it will still be part of the larger hijacking of Trump's campaign themes by the typical Republican bullshit.

To the extent that Trump did touch on welfare during the campaign, it was to point out what a damning symptom it was of a great big festering underlying disease -- the eradication of good-paying jobs in this country. Trump is not an "ideas, values, and culture" airhead -- he is a pragmatic materialist, and said that poor people have turned to welfare because the economy offers them nothing dignified and prosperous to do. He did not insult them as having moocher values or a culture of slacking off.

He posed the emptying of the welfare rolls as a reaction to the flood of high-paying jobs back into this country, motivating them to go looking for work again. He did not get the cause-and-effect arrow backwards like the conservative movement, which believes that high-paying jobs will result from emptying the welfare rolls first.

On the contrary, without larger structural changes -- such as the re-introduction of manufacturing plant jobs for the material sectors, and trustbusting in the informational sectors to create more workplaces and more jobs -- kicking people off welfare will only have them taking the low-paying, benefit-lacking, no-security-having jobs that are already on offer from the latter-day slave-drivers who hire and fire today's workers.

Welfare is not only a way of cushioning the blow from random bad luck. It is a way to let workers go on strike until employers agree to higher wages or better conditions. Unlike union membership, it is not a collective form of bargaining and therefore packs far less of a punch. But it is a government policy that gives the worker a little extra bargaining power against the employers who only want to pay $5 an hour. It is pushing employers to make their workplace more appealing than collecting a pittance on welfare.

The only welfare reform that Trump ought to be pursuing is cutting off all immigrants, whether legal or illegal. We need to "take care of our people," not try the impossible task of making 10 billion foreigners enjoy middle-class lifestyles. Then declare an immigration moratorium, since they are far more likely to use welfare services than Americans are -- keep the system from getting burdened even further.

But the main focus should be: You crooked Republicans will get your welfare reform when you impose 35% tariffs on off-shored manufacturing, and when those jobs come flooding back into this country to give people good enough jobs that they won't need welfare.

That will paint the GOP into the rhetorical corner of arguing for welfare elimination not as part of an effort to give low-income Americans good decent jobs, but solely to squeeze more cheap labor out of the American population. If they won't work for $5 an hour, they won't have the welfare payments to fall back on -- so $5 an hour it is, and the cheap labor lobby wins again.

The GOP is not too far from using the police, intel agencies, and the military itself to force poor Americans into literal labor camps. If you're able-bodied, we need you to go to work -- for $5 an hour, or else.

Fiscally, welfare accounts for none of the budget or the national debt. It is of marginal priority for getting the nation's finances in order, which are thrown outta-whack instead by the government inflating bubbles for Wall Street and the Pentagon.

At this point, it is probably better that the Democrats take control of Congress. Then Trump won't have to decide whether to pursue suicidal policies or remain isolated. True, he'd have to get on board with some of the awful Democrat agenda items -- but at least we'd get some good things from them, too. The moribund Republican party is intent on just riding out their last years without having their bedridden rest disturbed by any drastic changes coming from within the household.

As for the medium term, the Trump supporters ought to build a new second party to replace the Republicans. Re-alignment of an existing major party was the ideal solution, but the GOP refuses to yield and re-align. They will go down with their sinking ship that we have torpedoed, rather than allow us to board it and make it sea-ready again, for a new crew steering it in a new direction.

A new second party arose from the first Civil War, and another will arise from the second.

November 20, 2017

Why do Democrat elites exploit subordinates more than GOP elites do? How can it be solved?

Almost all of these #MeToo accusations of sexual exploitation by male superiors over their female subordinates hail from Democrat-controlled sectors of the economy, primarily the media and entertainment faction of the elite.

The culture war view is that the Democrats are the liberal group, and liberal morality and values is more likely to lead its believers to sexually exploit other people ("do whatever feels good"), while conservative morality and values provides at least some degree of negative feedback over the sexual desires of its believers ("keep it in your pants").

But we've seen how unconvincing the focus is on culture, ideas, values, and beliefs, and are turning toward a cold hard materialist analysis of how society works. We reject the view that Democrats commit far worse sexual exploitation simply because of a difference in values. That field of moral psychology (Haidt) shows that liberals are concerned mostly with factors of harm and fairness, while conservatives are concerned with those, plus factors of authority, in-group loyalty, and purity.

And yet sexually exploiting someone goes right against the norm of "do not harm others" or "do not treat others unfairly," e.g. if they are lesser in status than you. If liberals committed worse offenses than conservatives due to values, it would have to be on something that violated norms of authority, in-group loyalty, or purity.

Liberals are more likely to sexually role-play as a nun and priest, I'm just guessing, compared to conservatives who would find that sacrilegious, whether they were religious or secular conservatives. But not sexual exploitation, which goes against the central -- and sometimes only -- norm of liberal morality, "don't harm others, do provide for their well-being".

The clue that material economic forces are at work is that this exploitation takes place within a career setting, where the woman is looking to advance her material status by climbing the hierarchy, or getting into the industry in the first place, while the man is well established in his wealth and power within the industry. He acts as an economic gatekeeper, whether he will be a direct employer (casting couch) or an indirect favor-doer.

The central split between the elite factions that control the Dems vs. the GOP is that Democrats represent the "informational" economic sectors that scale up easily, where profit growth and market share expansion are not dependent on the costs of labor and materials, while the GOP represents the "material" economic sectors that are physically constrained and are limited in their growth by man-hours. Dems represent finance, online tech, and the media / entertainment. GOP represents the military, energy extraction, and agriculture.

But don't both of those sides have an employment hierarchy where a low-ranker has to navigate patronage networks? And aren't there gatekeepers on both sides who could exploit their subordinates in order to allow access to the material flow of resources upstream of the gatekeepers?

Yes, and both sides will practice exploitation, even sexual exploitation, of subordinates. Both sides will be hit by accusations. Still, one side is going to show far worse behavior and be hit by far more, and far more damaging, accusations. Why?

Since the informational sectors don't rely on building up large numbers of employees and various layers of supervisors and managers, they have far fewer job slots necessary to operate at the same level of domination as a material-sector industry.

Going from a small-sized internet "farm" like when Google began, to the vast digital plantation that it has become, has not required it to hire orders of magnitude more digital "farm hands" or supervisors of those hands, or regional managers of those supervisors, etc. They can keep the same order of magnitude employees and managers, yet expand to dominate the entire global search engine market, and suck up all of the lucrative ad revenue going into that market.

With a literal farm that raises crops or supports the grazing of livestock, it is exactly the opposite. Or with expanding the scope of the military, or the scope of an oil company, or a manufacturing industry, or a chain of brick-and-mortar stores.

In informational sectors, the demand for labor is very low. And yet the supply is sky-high -- who these days is not looking for a job that lies within, or is dependent upon, the sectors of finance, tech, and media / entertainment? Especially with the explosion of the higher education bubble, where entrants into the labor market are expecting to get into a forward-looking info-age career.

In material sectors, the demand for labor is relatively higher because the top-level bosses cannot further expand their fiefdom without hiring more subordinates at all levels. Their corporate greed and authoritarian streak is equal to that of their info-sector rivals, but they cannot act on it to the same degree without going out of business. They rely far more on the cooperation of large numbers of subordinates, who cannot be exploited so badly or so shamelessly as they are in the informational sectors.

A media mogul like Harvey Weinstein can say, "Either you blow me, or you won't work in this industry at all," and back up that threat. He only needs one lead actress for the next big-budget film he's producing, and there are literally thousands or even millions of other women who would be willing to blow a fat ugly disgusting old geezer if it meant they'd get millions of dollars plus a shot at fame.

The same goes for the small handful of conservatives who are big media players. It's not about liberal or conservative, but the nature of their economic activity.

A woman who wants to open a fast-food franchise, or a hairstyling franchise, does not have to go to a small number of big-wigs and allow herself to be sexually exploited by them in return for permission to operate another store within their brick-and-mortar chain. The head honchos at McDonald's do not have just one spot opening up, a la the aspiring lead actress -- they have dozens, hundreds, or thousands of new stores they'd like to open up.

And material sectors offer no fame because they do not scale up to the national or international level easily, so nobody will know who you are just because you own a McDonald's or Great Clips franchise, whereas they very well might if you got a role in a Hollywood movie or a talking head spot on cable news. That draws fewer attention-seekers into the material sectors, making the supply of labor there less tolerant of bad behavior in exchange for a shot at fame.

Being physically constrained, firms in material sectors tend to be less monopolistic. It's harder to just declare or to buy off the government and get control over a larger fiefdom. You have to physically acquire it, physically staff it, physically provide raw materials and equipment, physically over-see its operation -- and physically defend it. Expanding the fiefdom of an informational firm usually involves abstractions like contracts -- legalistically acquiring a new plot through M&A, legalistically downsizing and consolidating the combined workforce, and defending its fiefdom in court.

More monopolistic firms can exploit their workers more, because where else are they going to work? There are only five corporations that control all of the media and entertainment sector -- and if Fox spins off everything except Fox News, the entertainment industry will only have four in total control. You either tolerate the exploitation from your media bosses, or you are out of the industry altogether and forever.

If you want to operate some kind of mass-appeal franchise from a chain, and locate the store in a suburban shopping center, how many hundreds or thousands of choices do you have? Supposing the representative from McDonald's demands sexual favors -- then you go with the zillion other fast-food chains, or with the zillion choices in hair salons, or clothing, or other retail. No BJ required to break into the "brick-and-mortar franchise" business.

So the widespread exploitation within Democrat industries has nothing to do with differing values or morality, but with the differing nature of their economic activity. Depending almost not at all on more man-hours in order to expand their fiefdoms, and with so many seeking employment, these easily scale-able and monopolistic informational industries can get away with more mistreatment of their workers compared to their elite rivals in the material sectors.

This also points to the solution of the problem -- it is not to try to teach the Harvey Weinsteins better morality, or give them sensitivity training. That targets values and beliefs, which are immaterial, as it were. These industries need to be broken up into more companies and de-scaled in the size of their fiefdom, which will cut down the gatekeeper ability of the corporate chiefs, as well as create orders of magnitude more jobs now that there will be dozens or hundreds of new media organizations of comparable size with each other.

It will also slash the profitability of each of the five media giants, giving them less wealth as well as less power.

We must radically change how these economic organizations are set up, if we want to change the behavior of their leaders. That goes for the material sectors, too -- they may be relatively less exploitative than the informational sectors, but it's not a high bar to clear to be less of a sex abuser than Harvey Weinstein.

Trustbusting must be a top priority in the new revolutionary age of the Trump-Bernie insurgency.

November 16, 2017

Why don't Democrat elites need tax cuts?

One of the sharpest divides between the Dems and GOP is tax policy, with Republicans never having seen a tax cut they didn't push for, and Democrats resisting the cut.

The standard story based on the different values and conceptual worldviews of the two parties is that Republicans argue on grounds of fairness that we must allow rich people to keep more of their money, whether annual income or accumulated wealth, while Democrats argue on grounds of providing for the citizenry that we must not cut taxes since that will deprive the government of funding for its public goods and services.

But, remembering that ideology is just a rationalization of crude underlying material interests, we reject that approach and ask instead -- why don't Democrat elites benefit from tax cuts, in the way GOP elites do? They don't ask for tax cuts because they don't get much out of them at a material level, not because they have a system of inviolable values that leads them inexorably toward that policy conclusion.

Democrat elites may get something out of tax cuts -- how could they not, when the rich pay most of the taxes, and all elites are rich? But they don't get as much as the GOP elites would, so tax cuts would shift the "balance of power" toward the economic factions that control the GOP. Societal control is a zero-sum game between warring coalitions of economic sectors.

So, what about the nature of their industries makes the GOP elite factions gain far more than the Democrat elite factions from tax cuts or tax reform?

Recall that the Democrats represent the informational industries that scale up easily, where the cost of materials and labor are not rate-limiting steps on profit growth or market share expansion. Finance, media, digital / internet companies. The Republicans represent the material industries that are physically constrained and are rate-limited in their growth by the cost of materials and labor. Military-industrial complex, agriculture, energy / resource extraction.

Rather than try to solve the problem at the general level first, let's start with a particular example and get some intuition. Consider the estate tax -- this is a tax not on income, but total wealth owned by a person. When this person dies and wants to pass that wealth on to others, it is taxed. Only estates valued at over $5 million are subject to the top tax rate of 40%, affecting only the top 0.2% of estates. So, only the incredibly wealthy are affected by the estate tax.

Still, why aren't stinking-rich Democrats calling to abolish the estate tax like their stinking-rich GOP rivals? Because the form of that wealth differs -- for an elite Republican, it may be a mega-farm in the Great Plains worth $10 million, while for an elite Democrat it may be a bank account with $10 million in it. One is material, the other is virtual. The material is particular and distinct, the virtual is general and fungible.

When it comes time to avoid the tax man, wealth in a form that is physically constrained will be harder to hide, while wealth in a form that is fungible and intangible will be easier to "move" out of the cross-hairs.

Tax laws are enforced by governments, and there is no government above the level of nations -- no international army that conscripts soldiers from the entire global population, no international IRS that levies taxes on the entire global population.

So "moving out of the cross-hairs" of the tax man means getting that wealth outside of the jurisdiction of the United States government -- or of the British, German, etc. governments. The safe spots that the global rich use to hide their wealth from their own government's taxation and other regulations are tax havens like the Cayman Islands, Swiss banks, and so on.

Yet some factions of the rich can move their wealth into bank accounts in the Caymans or Switzerland far more easily than other elite factions.

That great big farm in the middle of Kansas may be worth $10 million, but that doesn't mean they can literally uproot the farm, transplant it onto the physical land within the borders of some tax haven, pass it on entirely to their inheritors, and have it continue to serve as a form of wealth to the inheritors at a similar value.

Digging up a mega-farm, moving it over, transplanting it, etc., would cost more than the value of the farm itself. The climate of the tax haven might not be the same as where the farm came from, the host's subterranean geology might be hostile to the transplanted farm, and so on and so forth.

Even if the physical environments were a perfect match, how are the inheritors supposed to derive income or wealth from a farm that now lies in the Cayman Islands? Is it going to yield the same level of output, sold at the same prices, producing a similar income stream as when it was back in Kansas?

Maybe it was heavily subsidized by the government's farm bill back in the US, and since the Cayman Islands are tax-free, they don't have much revenue to direct toward farm subsidies. And then there's the cost of shipping their corn or soybeans to other countries, since the Caymans and Switzerland are not big enough in population to give a similar demand for corn or soy as there was when the consumers were the American population.

The farm also provided living space for the owning family to build large houses and keep a watch over the crop cultivation -- are the inheritors going to relocate to live in the Caymans in order to stay physically connected with their farm, and to check on its operation?

These difficulties in avoiding the jurisdiction of the tax-payer's national government will generalize from mega-farms in Kansas to all material sources of wealth -- an oil field in Texas cannot be shipped out and parked in the Caymans, and neither can a coal mine in West Virginia, or a defense industry factory in South Carolina (for reasons of national security, these are the least likely factories to be off-shored).

Because the informational sectors of the economy do not rely on material production, they don't own a whole lot of real assets -- some choice real estate for their corporate headquarters, a nice home or two, but not the very life-blood of their company, which are instead based on abstractions like contracts.

That means a far larger share of their total wealth is financial, i.e. stocks and stock derivatives, as well as some cold hard cash. It's not that material sector elites don't also own a lot of stock -- but as a share of their total wealth, it's smaller because of all the real assets in the mix (barrels of oil, head of cattle, soldiers under command, etc.).

And the easily scalable nature of informational sectors means that they are more globalist in supplying customers. Aside from some client states (including a few big ones), the Pentagon does not own or control the militaries of the rest of the world. The oil companies do not own or control the oil in oil-rich nations (those dreams died in the 1970s when all the Middle Eastern countries nationalized their oil fields). Nor do the mega-farms in the Great Plains own or control the farms in other countries.

They compete with the militaries, oil fields, and farms of other nations, but do not always wipe out the competition. Especially since the 1970s, the military and oil sectors have largely failed to take over their international competitors. The big farms have done relatively better, especially with NAFTA opening up the Mexican market to highly subsidized American agriculture that comes with low prices.

The informational sectors, however, have totally swamped their international competitors. They are not only the only game in town in America, but in most of the rest of the world. Google, Hollywood, Wall Street investors.

That means that a far larger share of profits will be earned abroad for informational sectors, and a relatively larger share earned domestically for material sectors. And since income in the form of profits is effectively taxed where it is made, the informational sectors can more easily avoid the IRS, which only has effective jurisdiction over profits made in America. And since the informational sectors are generally the only game in the entire world, they can bully foreign governments into not taxing them very much.

Given how lengthy the tax code is, this overview has only scratched the surface. But the basic intuition is pretty clear -- because the informational sectors are more global in operation, and hold more of their wealth in financial assets, it is easier for them to dodge the tax man in America. And even if they would benefit from a tax cut here, it would benefit their rival factions of the elite stratum even more, and tip the balance of power toward their enemies.

It has nothing to do with liberal or conservative "first principles," and let us never speak of "values" again when analyzing tax policy.

In terms of fairness, the material sectors do have a point that they are unfairly taxed compared to the informational sectors. But the solution is not to let both sides of the elite get away with abandoning their subjects -- it is to rein in the informational side and soak them as well as the material side. Break up these info-age monopolies so that they cannot earn so much profit abroad without having to spread that wealth around back home, and threaten to seize the assets located in America from entities who stash so much of their wealth in tax havens abroad.

November 8, 2017

Did Gillespie get any Bernie supporters? Populism or death, in the Trump era

GOP Establishment candidate Ed Gillespie lost the Virginia governor's race by nearly twice the margin that Trump lost the general election, showing that whether or not Virginia likes Trump, they really can't stand the same ol' Republican bullshit.

Perhaps the partisans have forgotten already, but you don't win elections by adhering to the same losing base. You have to either drive up the turnout of your existing base, or you have to convert people who voted for the other party last time. These are not kneejerk partisans you are converting, but the large chunk of independents.

Trump won the election by flipping Obama voters from high-population counties in states that have been blue for decades. These were largely white working-class, as well as the exceptions among college-educated suburban whites who aren't worthless yuppie parasites, and who don't want to see the working-class get flushed down the toilet.

According to exit polls, Gillespie did somewhat better than Trump among non-whites, but somewhat worse than Trump among whites -- and contrary to incessant propaganda, minorities are still in the minority in this country. Losing a small percent of a big number is worse than gaining a small percent of a small number.

Gillespie tanked relative to Trump among families with incomes of $50-100K, which is working and lower-middle class.

He did worse than Trump among Democrats, who are the largest group by party affiliation. He also did worse among liberals and moderates, although better among conservatives.

And although he did as well percentage-wise as Trump in the Appalachian west of the state, turnout was way down, giving the hill and mountain people less impact against the suburban Swamp dwellers in the north.

All this points to a failure to mobilize the Trump coalition -- the white working class, and anyone sympathetic to their plight (the shrinking pool of responsible steward elites).

According to post-election data, Trump won 10-15% of Bernie Sanders voters. See this analysis from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, as well as the American National Election Studies (web interface here). The ANES shows only 3% of Hillary primary voters going for Trump, and I couldn't easily find out what the CCES says -- but presumably small there too, given the Sanders-Trump voters not being Democrat partisans and not being big fans of Obama or identity politics.

If the GOP tries to convert the type of people who supported Hillary in the rigged primary, they will keep losing. They will do about 4 times better percentage-wise going after Bernie supporters, and since the popular vote was fairly even between Bernie and Hillary, the sheer numbers will be far greater as well.

Three of the Democrats who helped to sweep the VA House of Delegates were endorsed by the Bernie organization Our Revolution, in a state where Bernie lost the primary no less. So clearly the Bernie wing is energizing and turning out voters. Wouldn't it be nice if enough of those voters chose the Our Rev candidates for the House, but then the GOP candidate for Governor?

But -- who are we kidding? The Republican party is as likely to court Sanders supporters as Elizabeth Warren is to hold a pow-wow with Trump supporters.

Fully one year after the historic upset Trump victory, the GOP still refuses to re-align itself to be a populist rather than elitist party, or a nationalist rather than globalist party. So what if Gillespie spoke harshly about MS-13 and crime -- where was he saying that immigrants, legal and illegal, drive down wages for the working class, and drive up the cost of housing? Where was he saying that we need to pull our military out of most of the rest of the world and begin spending that money rebuilding America rather than rebuilding Afghanistan? Where was he saying that China and Mexico are eating our lunch on manufacturing vs. poverty-sustaining agriculture? ("All we send them is beef.")

He's a dyed-in-the-wool Republican corporate globalist sell-out traitor, so of course he's not going to go against the GOP orthodoxy on any of those issues, let alone all of them together like Trump did.

And on the populist issues, where was Gillespie saying that the government should pick up the tab so that poor people won't be "dying in the streets" because they can't afford a hospital bill? Or that we need to negotiate drug prices from Medicare D, and tell the drug companies who've "taken care of" our politicians to go suck it?

If you can't even muster the populism level of Eisenhower or Nixon, don't bother running. Stay home and just kill yourself.

Which is exactly what the Republican party is intent on doing -- riding out their terminal decline with as much phony honor as they can to numb the pain.

That goes for the would-be insurgents within the GOP, too -- if you're not going to say all the things Trump said during the campaign (re-jiggering NATO, Saudi Arabia is ripping us off, give the poor free healthcare, bring back manufacturing plants by the boatload), don't even bother running. Putting on a fig-leaf of wanting tougher "border security," even "a wall," is not going to cut it. Trump just got the ball rolling with toughness on immigration. It was a much broader theme of "America first" in every domain of society, from the military, to the economy, to the government itself.

If you're not for "America first" across the board -- what do you offer to weary independent voters? They will just choose the party of comfy stagnation rather than suicidal chaos.

Unlike most Trump voters, I was actually ecstatic last night that the GOP got clobbered all around the nation. They refuse to submit to the re-alignment, so they are officially a party not just without an electorate -- but actively hostile toward it. (See also George W. Bush insulting all Trump voters as racist bigots. We still need to send his ass over to the Arabian desert where he can get beheaded on video by his jihadist buddies.)

The more the GOP wastes, the more the New Second Party grows.