February 17, 2017

"Shadow" government purged as immune system is re-activated

I'm preparing a longer post on the so-called shadow or deep institutions that supposedly control what really happens in this country, and how such a worldview made conservatives into an utterly impotent group (and by the same token, how they render the liberals and globalists impotent against the Trump agenda).

For now, here's a quick reminder of how powerful the solid government is over its shadow:

While Rex Tillerson is on his first overseas trip as Secretary of State, his aides laid off staff at the State Department on Thursday.

Much of seventh-floor staff, who work for the Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources and the Counselor offices, were told today that their services were no longer needed.

You may remember the Seventh Floor Group (capitalized for ominousness) from a Wikileaks release just before the election:

One revelation in the documents came from an interview with an unidentified person who suggested that Freedom of Information Act requests related to Clinton went through a group sometimes called "the Shadow Government."

"There was a powerful group of very high-ranking STATE officials that some referred to as 'The 7th Floor Group' or 'The Shadow Government.' This group met every Wednesday afternoon to discuss the FOIA process, Congressional records, and everything CLINTON-related to FOIA/Congressional inquiries," the FBI's interview summary said.

Shadow schmadow.

The big change unfolding now is from weak government to strong government (another topic deserving its own post), and the foundation of strength is a robust immune system -- otherwise you will get colonized and compromised by parasites.

Now that the immune system of the body politic is being switched back into the "on" position, all of these opportunistic infections are going to clear right up ("you watch"). They only thrived on such a defenseless host, making their skill / influence / power more illusory than actual.

Although it had been an increasingly more common worldview, now the concept of a shadow government will only find belief among the hardcore conspiratorial minds, with leftists viewing it as their deus ex machina ready to come to their rescue, and rightists dreading it as a mostly unmovable obstacle in Trump's way.

Normal people are going to start laughing about anyone ever believing in such a thing.

February 11, 2017

High energy winning music du jour

Now that the public reverence of victimhood has begun to sober up, the bright cheerful music we feel nostalgia for will no longer strike a bittersweet, ironic note as it did during the Obama years. Now it only harmonizes with our daily mood of never getting sick of winning. Now it will be the Leftists with good taste who feel this music bittersweetly and ironically (more their thing anyway).

Ultimately that will be good for the Leftists' mood -- listening to upbeat music as escapist micro-"resistance" -- rather than constantly wallowing in aggro / emo / pitying / mock-macho music. But given the soaring levels of partisanship, they may put tribal loyalty over both national cohesion and personal well-being.

Hey, your guys' loss!

Vicious Pink, "Ccccan't You See" (1984)

February 3, 2017

Rioters target free assembly, not speech, to prevent rival team's pep rallies

Now that left-wing rioters have shut down non-liberal speaking events at UC Berkeley and NYU during the past week, and recalling their shutting down a Trump rally in Chicago last March, it's necessary to understand what this phenomenon is, and what it is not.

To begin with, it is not about free speech, which is a right to convey statements to an audience, whether the statements are informational or opinion-based. Speech is about communication, and typically the media through which people communicate.

The speakers who have their events shut down can, and do, convey their beliefs and opinions through communications media, reaching larger audiences than they can with a real-life face-to-face talk. And those who disrupt these in-person talks never bother trying to subvert the communications media -- Fox News on cable TV, Rush Limbaugh's radio program, Breitbart's website, and so on.

It is not even about a broader thing called free expression, although that gets a bit closer. Expression includes things beyond statements, such as wearing clothing that identifies you as a member of Group A rather than Group B. But "expression" is, like "speech," too individualistic in focus.

Rather, the target of the rioters is the right to free assembly. Form a gauntlet outside of the meeting place, set a car on fire on the way to the meeting place, detonate a bomb inside of the meeting place -- and most people will shy away from attending such a meeting.

Note that the attendees are not a random sample of the population, but those who already largely agree and identify with the speaker. Unlike free speech, where a diverse and curious audience may be giving the statements a hearing, free assembly is meant to strengthen the existing social, cultural, and emotional bonds of a group.

It is "preaching to the choir," which makes no sense if we thought the point was free speech, open debate, convincing unpersuaded minds, etc. But if the meeting is a kind of pep rally for Team Us, then it makes perfect sense. Anyone who joins after attending is not a skeptic who has been convinced by argument, but someone who resonated with the group-high ("collective effervescence"). If they showed up curious but unaffiliated, they were already mostly persuaded and wanted to see what kind of feeling of belonging the group had to offer.

Free assembly can be twisted into an individual right -- for a particular person to congregate with his fellows in some group -- but the natural interpretation is that it is a right of an entire group to manifest itself somewhere, sometime, for some purpose. It wants to pump itself up, get the members resonating on the same wavelength, and come away from the gathering stronger and more unified.

Denying the group to gather in this way is not meant to restrict their communication about beliefs and opinions, but to weaken the group by leaving its members feeling more isolated than unified. Collective action by such an atomized "group" will not be possible, and the assembly disrupters will be able to push their own agenda as a team with ease.

Thus, the battle over speaking events belongs to the realm of coalitional conflict, and we observe all the signs of a low-level war, e.g.:

1. Physically it resembles a turf war, where a gang is claiming control over some area within public space, kicking out the public and daring them to defend it.

2. Hence the common battle cry: "Whose streets? Our streets!"

3. Disrupters dress similarly, often to the point where it looks like uniforms (a la the Black Bloc), to enhance group solidarity.

4. Disrupters display and rally around a standard (red-and-black flag, Circle-A flag, etc.), to enhance unity of origin and purpose.

5. If the other side is wearing emblematic clothing (MAGA hat) or carrying a standard (Trump sign or flag), the disrupters make it a high priority to capture these emblems and conspicuously destroy them, to weaken group morale of the other team.

6. Collective force is the name of the game, and that is not the disrupters "lowering themselves" to using force, or "hiding behind" their numbers -- that's precisely how one team takes over and defends a territory from another team or from the entire rest of the public.

In their own bizarro-world way, they think of themselves as, and are acting as though they were, a vigilante posse that is breaking up a riotous mob -- namely, Trump supporters going wild at a Trump rally, or whatever it may be. They are everything they accuse the police of being, just directed at a different target -- members of a rival political group, rather than law-breakers.

What then is the solution?

In the short term, if we do attend these events and there is no expectation of the government protecting our right to free assembly, then it would be necessary to beat the disrupters at their own game. See footnote.*

However, this stop-gap solution is not what we're after -- it would be faction vs. faction conflict, and nobody in the general public wants to see that or participate in it, even if they support our side.

What we, and the general public, would rather see is the monopoly on legitimate force being brought to bear on the assembly disrupters, whether it's the local police, National Guard of the state, or federal troops from the US Army.

Obviously those guys are already well trained in coalitional conflict, from the mindset to the behavior -- uniforms, flag, moving in formation, covering each other's back, and generally using collective force to shut the other group out of the disputed space.

And, those guys would be excited and grateful to get to use that training and specialization for a good purpose -- and how much less ambiguous is it, which side is right when one is trying to shut down free assembly for a group of normal citizens?

They would be less inclined to go overboard, being neutral enforcers of the law, whereas a mob of Trump supporters could easily go into overkill mode on their hated enemies.

Most importantly, the signal to the rest of society is that there is law and order, not just a faction of righteous citizens vs. a faction of degenerate citizens, fighting it out in the streets as though we were some anarchic third-world shithole. That gives the shut-down of the shut-downers a legitimacy that allows the rest of the public to support it, and even cheer it along.

That will be a crucial point to make when/if Trump ever has to send in federal troops, or exercise federal control over a state's National Guard (totally legal) -- that the alternative to sending in law enforcement is sending in nobody, in which case either a group's free assembly gets shamefully shut down, or the assemblers form their own counter-mob and we've got factional violence sprawling out of control in our major cities, like it's Medieval times again.

* Assemble and move as a group, if not necessarily in formation. Dress similarly, almost to the point of uniforms. Carry a standard that must be defended. Make an effort to capture their flag, swipe their face masks, and the like. Chant "Whose streets? Our streets!"

And even throw them the occasional punch, kick, shove, etc. Their goal is not to beat the attendees to a pulp, and neither is ours to kill them all on the spot (in which case both sides would simply bring guns). It is merely to demoralize them by showing that we can fuck around with them and they can't get us back as good as we're giving it to them.

You might think about being "outnumbered," but if the Trump supporters (or whoever) are a good size, that's all that's needed. Most of the physical confrontation will be face-to-face, so all their extra numbers far away from the target are wasted. Their ability to mess with us mano-a-mano is a saturating function of their group size.

So even if they had us outnumbered 10,000 to 1,000 -- a unified mob of 1,000 Trump supporters can still shove its way through a mass of 10,000 shitlibs.

There will be thousands of the enemy who will not even have a line of sight to the Trump supporters, let alone be able to get close enough to shout at them, throw something at them, or hit them. Because we will not be killing them, or they us, it's not like the extra numbers are a reserve to replenish those who are fallen.

What is that critical mass on our side where their extra numbers are useless? I don't know. Maybe it's 50, 100, 1,000, but something big.

January 31, 2017

Armed forces rule, lawyers drool

Time to re-visit two posts from a year ago, with the battle between rogue members of the judiciary trying to stump the Trump, and the Supreme Court nomination being announced.

First, a reminder that the Supreme Court cannot enforce its decisions, not even with the US Marshals.

Black students in Little Rock, AR found that out the hard way in 1957 when the Governor called out the National Guard (state militia) to block them from entering the white school buildings, even though the Supreme Court had unanimously ruled years earlier that segregation was unconstitutional. The only thing that integrated them was the US Army, who Eisenhower sent in to trump the state-level militia.

Click that link and look at the pictures -- you have never seen the uniformed and armed soldiers, with their military vehicles, occupying the Central High School campus, nor escorting the black students into the buildings while holding M-16s. That would give you the wrong impression about what ultimately backs up policy, so the media and schools have swept them under the rug and pushed a narrative about the decisions rendered by some bunch of judges.

Ultimately, the Supreme Court pick is not that big of a deal for major issues, which will either be enforced or non-enforced according to the Executive branch's orders.

Second, a reminder with pictures of the teams of uniformed men with guns who got the illegals out of the country back in the 1950s during Operation Wetback. The Supreme Court did not try to get in their way, but then how could they have?

The upshot: Trump holds all the cards here, not just as the Commander-in-chief of the military, but as one who went out of his way to enlist the "generals' generals" on his side before, during, and after the election.

Even if a blue-state governor got the funny idea to call out the National Guard to oppose Trump, they'll get a bitter reminder that Guardsmen are under dual state and federal control. If the National Guard in California had to choose between President Trump and anti-American Governor Moonbeam, which side do you think they'd obey?

There is major trolling potential for the administration, if they did have to send in troops to enforce the law, to point to Eisenhower desegregating the schools in the Deep South. Not to make the accusation that "Democrats are the real racists," but to cause the Left to melt down when deporting illegal immigrants is likened to desegregating public schools. "Y'know, the law is the law, and ultimately the laws get enforced by law enforcement."

Is there any major counter-weight on the other side? No. They have zero support within the police departments, border patrols, or any branch of the military, when it's such a black-and-white choice to make.

We will know there is something to worry about when the Left tries to infiltrate the Army and organize the rank-and-file from within, as they did during the Vietnam War. Michael Albert once said that the Blackstone Rangers, a yuge black street gang, even tried to infiltrate the Chicago Police Department to organize the rank-and-file cops. I couldn't find where he said that, or other confirmation -- but it was the Sixties, so just maybe.

As for now, the Left are going out of their way to alienate all normal people, especially anyone who wears a uniform or carries a weapon as part of their job.

It's unclear to me whether they will prove capable of trying to organize the rank-and-file from within the armed forces. Back during the Vietnam era, there was no partisanship, and the Leftists had no trouble violently revolting against the Democrat Johnson administration that had won in a landslide in 1964 against uber-Conservative Goldwater. And the "all in it together" mindset let them get over their prejudices against anyone who joined the Army, the better to relate to them and get them onto the anti-war side.

Today's climate is the opposite, with partisan polarization like we've never seen in our lifetimes. The military and police will be lumped in with the Trump administration and the evil Republican Party. They won't try to meet the cops or soldiers half-way, gain their trust, and so on, to try to woo them away from the Trump agenda, and leave Trump standing without strong military support.

Today's Leftists are so puritanically partisan that merely thinking about relating to a cop, man-to-man, would be an unforgivable stain on their moral scorecard. Fraternizing with the enemy. And infiltrating a tailgate gathering outside a sports stadium, packed with Trump voters to woo away from their hero, would be sharing a meal with the ritually unclean.

The Left appear to be so hell-bent on antagonizing their nemesis that we won't just see the "dogs and firehoses" of the Vietnam era -- we could see deportations back to the home countries of the agitators, as we had during and after WWI. How many of these Soros-funded protest organizers do you think are non-citizens?

We could see President Trump using the Alien Enemies Act to deport these foreign rabble-rousers, in the tradition of Woodrow Wilson -- or even imprison all residents from that hostile nation, in the tradition of FDR and Harry Truman.

Another major difference with the Sixties, and like the Teens -- today's anti-government protests are so corrupted by foreigners agitating against our own country's nationalism, which looks cynical and pro-whatever country they're from. With the Vietnam protesters, they were arguing over which Americans were right about what American values were. "Peace is patriotic," etc.

Now it looks more and more like a group of foreign scouts trying to open up our defenses so that their countrymen back home can march in and take us over.

I don't think that's going to play in Peoria.

January 28, 2017

Anti-terrorist ban targets weak countries first, then strong ones

Why is terrorist hotbed Saudi Arabia being exempted from the travel ban, while relatively safer countries like Iran are included?

If you look at it from an engineering standpoint, it looks backwards. The ban ought to apply more forcefully to countries that pose a higher risk.

But in the real world, we can't just wave a magic wand and immediately ban Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Turkey, which have wealthy, powerful lobbies in our own country who have compromised key figures at the national level (John McCain being the most egregious example -- the Saudis only love Crooked Hillary Clinton more).

Trump is a pragmatist dealing with real-world relationships, so first he's going after the countries that have no way of retaliating against us, and which do not have powerful lobbies for defense. Failed or anarchic states like Libya, Iraq, Somalia, etc.

Who knows how long it will take to get around to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, but based on how swiftly the Trump team has been moving since before the inauguration, we should not expect them to keep kicking the can down the road.

Notice that he did not include peaceful states like Jordan and Lebanon, let alone more powerful allies like Egypt, with whose leader he's struck up a good relationship.

He could also be using the ban on visas from peaceful Iran as more of a negotiating tactic, since he's long promised to re-negotiate the Iranian nuclear deal, or at least show them that they can't taunt us and seize our sailors without any consequences.

You should only address the need to move from weaker to stronger terrorist-prone countries with those who are arguing in good faith about "Why Trump's ban gets the risks backwards". Michael Tracey types. If it's just an idiot trying to play gotcha games, then just ridicule them by saying, in a whiny voice, "Anyone who doesn't wanna get blown up by terrorists is an Islamophobe!"

In general, we will see the pragmatic Trump administration begin with what is easy to solve, and progress toward harder tasks later. Hence deporting the violent criminal illegals first, and getting around to DACA illegals afterward.

Some have said that Trump has come out all guns a-blazing on multiple fronts, but they have all been easy tasks to go after -- repeal disastrous Obamacare, deport violent illegals, de-fund sanctuary cities, ban travel from anarchic Middle Eastern countries that can't fight back, and so on.

As the tasks get harder and harder, we probably won't see such a multi-front war against Establishment lunacy. Banning travel from Saudi Arabia will be easier if Trump and his supporters have more time to build up the revelation about their role in 9/11, Salafism (still not a common word for the American public), and so on. More details could come out from the 9/11 Congressional report.

Then after we knock that one out, we can move on to another difficult task, like birthright citizenship, which will also take awhile for the administration and its supporters to build the case against it (not desirable, not in Constitution), and how outta-whack it has made the country.

Trump may not need "political capital" since he did not get into office thanks to politicians. But he does need voter capital, and voters are only already aware of so many problems, and already howling for solutions to so many of them. Trump will not have to schmooze and woo politicians, but he will have to inform the general public on the role Saudi Arabia plays in spreading radical Islam, the absence of birthright citizenship in the Constitution -- indeed, in any other country's laws -- and the like.

The good news is that Trump is the world's most expert explainer to a general audience, so at worst the pace slows from a major win every day to every week or month. Still plenty of time to deliver on the campaign promises, and more.

I'm not a believer in 50-dimensional chess theory whenever something appears to be going the wrong way. That's Panglossian wishful thinking. In Trump's case, though, it may simply mean that he's putting the easy tasks first and tough tasks later. I don't want to hear any 50-D chess explanations about why Saudi Arabia should not be on the travel ban list -- it's just dealing with our problems in increasing levels of difficulty.

January 21, 2017

Despite women's march, non-white women turning against white women for voting Trump

Don't be fooled by the mass temper tantrum being staged this weekend: feminism / women's rights / etc. could not be any lower in importance right now, when it's more about race, ethnicity, nationality, and so on.

After the election showed a majority of white women voting for Trump, non-white women (who will always be 99% Democrat partisans) are reacting by tossing out concerns over women's issues and lashing out at "them white hoes" through collective blame and guilt by association.

Reminder that even if you confess to white guilt, the non-white feminists will still rub your face in your collective guilt (and their own collective innocence and bravery), in other words never accepting your confession or penance. You're just supposed to grovel forever.

Can't let the occasion slip by without using it to slam Bernie supporters and further divide the Left:

At least the pretty girls are not so easily cowed by the feminist herd. Here's one Bernie babe:

Since women's issues have not been on the minds of voters, or the plans of politicians, during the entire electoral season, these tantrum-throwers will have nothing to organize around. Building the wall, making illegals leave, bringing industries back, building up the military, etc., offer no way for feminists to inject themselves into the national conversation.

Although when the shit hits the fan over sanctuary cities, we may be wishing that our worst problems were a handful of cat ladies complaining about why nobody listens to them.

Liberals and leftists are in for a rude awakening about how their decadent luxury issues (anything relating to sex) will be dropped like a hot potato, now that the President is going to get tough on bread-and-butter issues. And it's too late for them to re-train in other issues, so they'll be left with nothing to say. The handful of leftists who don't like closed borders will either be in agreement with Trump over economic policy (if honest) or defend laissez-faire globalism and prove they're worthless sell-outs.

Not a good time to be on the Left -- you might as well board the Trump train.

Obama, the ignorable placeholder president

With that guy now officially being the ex-President, I'll re-post a one cheer for Obama take from about a week before the election. Perhaps it'll generate more discussion now that he's formally out, and Trump formally in.

tl;dr -- The Republicans were going to lose in 2008, so the real choice among possible worlds was President Barack Obama or President Hillary Clinton. Obama is a narcissist, but Hillary is a sociopath. And Obama had no larger crony network, unlike Clintonworld.

If the GOP wasn't going to give us a Trump candidate back then, at least we wound up with the lesser of two evils from the neoliberal side.

I don't remember writing about Obama ever before the past election season, and a search of posting history here confirms that. The few times I did, it was about Obama as one of many presidents -- like generational patterns among presidents. Never really about his policies, or effects on the country or world.

In fact, the one time I did back in '08, it was to condemn both him and Bush for trying to sell "the uninsured" as poor citizens, when it included illegals as well.

There are going to be lots of "see ya, wouldn't wanna be ya" remarks as Obama gets lost, but I wouldn't personalize it that much. The problems of his years were far more general and driven by grassroots changes, making Obama mostly a reflection rather than powerful cause of what we don't like about the past eight years.

And it would have been worse under Hillary Clinton or John McCain.

At any rate, the Trump victory is not just going to undo the past eight years, but the past 30 or 40. It's a once-a-generation re-alignment, and our desire to kick someone's ass on the way out the door should be directed at the entire neoliberal and neoconservative practices of the past couple generations.

If it were to be personalized, remember that our main enemies over those many decades have been the Bush dynasty and the Clinton dynasty, both of which have now been thoroughly eliminated from future participation.

After them, Obama has mostly been an ignorable placeholder of a president. Most Trump voters have already forgotten all about Obama, because there was never anything there to remember in the first place.

I wonder if that will anger Obama's groupies even more? -- that we aren't going to elevate him to arch-nemesis status against Trump. At worst, he's just going to be some annoying talking head who occasionally pops up on cable news, and we keep asking when is he going to go away?

Only the bitter hardcore True Conservative types will keep thinking and seething about him, but this group has already shrunken so fast in relevance. Nobody wants to keep hearing about how Obama did this or that -- we want to focus on whose Establishment ass Trump is kicking today, and which industry is re-locating back to American shores this week. Much more uplifting than worrying about some meaningless presidency.

January 17, 2017

Will Trump era make pop music great again?

An earlier post looked at how TV producers are already accepting that their programming will have to adapt to the Trump zeitgeist, whether they like it or not. This parallels the last time the media elites took notice of the Midwest, after Nixon and then Reagan turned the entire map red.

In perhaps another example of how culture is downstream from politics, Billboard looks at how the big acts in pop music may react to the new political realities:

Whether you believe the arguments that difficult political times create great protest music by firing up the punk in all of us, there's no doubt that the upcoming inauguration of Donald Trump is likely to unleash a barrage of heated anthems. Already U2 revealed that they have re-thought releasing their long-simmering Songs of Experience in favor of possibly going back into the studio to write tunes inspired by the current times.

Eminem weighed in back in October with his scathing eight-minute "Campaign Speech," which we can only hope is a first taste of be a precursor to his ninth full-length studio album. Singer Amanda Palmer recently said she thinks Trump is going to "make punk rock great again," but we'll have to wait and see if she's right.

Of course, punk rock was before Reagan and Thatcher, but don't expect this moron to know basic history. They can't even blame Nixon or Ford -- its anti-musical nihilism was a reaction to the larger sense of stagnation and doom during the Jimmy Carter years. Once Reagan and Thatcher took over, nihilistic punk and decadent disco fused into new wave, canceling out the worst aspects of both and producing a cautiously novelty-seeking tone that characterized the Eighties.

Another major change was away from the tortured urban beatnik in folk rock (Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel), and toward heartland rock, with its non-ironic tribute to common people and everyday life outside of elite cities. Everyone knows John Cougar Mellencamp's wholesome vignettes in "Jack and Diane," "Pink Houses" ("Ain't that America?"), "Small Town," "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.," and so on. But just a year before the Reagan landslide, his first hit "I Need a Lover" was about the gritty city -- a winking celebration of faceless "human jungles", druggies, and empty promiscuity.

Still, I don't think we're in for a revival of the '80s atmosphere, as awesome as that would be. Reagan had the whole country on one side, so musicians really had no choice but to appeal to whatever it was that was resonating politically. The 2016 election is closer to 1968, when re-alignment was just beginning away from the New Deal / Great Society and toward Neoliberalism / Neoconservatism. It wasn't a landslide for Nixon, so musicians could go against the political winners and feel supported by a large chunk of the population.

It was also nearing a time of growing civil unrest, which according to Peter Turchin goes in roughly 50-year cycles -- which means we're due for another peak around 2020, after the last one around 1970. That kind of atmosphere naturally encourages musicians to act up more, whether the whole country is on their side or not.

So if anything, pop music is headed in a counter-cultural direction which middle America will largely tune out. And yet without the rising-crime and outgoing social behavior that characterized the mood in 1970, the coming counter-cultural moment will not be as exciting or thrilling, even for the participants.

On the plus side, we may get another "Sweet Home Alabama" in reaction.

January 13, 2017

The media landscape: A guide to the coming collapse and re-alignment events


During the otherwise uneventful lame duck stage, seismic changes are striking the media ecosystem and the intelligence community. They are inter-related, with the deep state operatives feeding BS to the media in an effort to delegitimize the incoming Trump administration. The over-arching narrative is that "Russia hacked the election," a meaningless phrase if altering vote tallies is not involved, but a phrase intended to muddy the waters about how legitimate of a President the next one will be.

This media-spook coordination came to a head with the publication of risible "intelligence reports" that were not verified or even seriously looked into. Any idiot could tell that it was pure BS, but good ol' BuzzFeed and CNN both ran it into mainstream coverage, where it became a fake news story du jour.

Trump savaged both of them during a press conference, and praised those who did not run with it. That's the interesting thing here: only some organizations went with it, and others refrained. Usually the media behaves as a monolith when it comes to trying to delegitimize Trump -- hosting pundits who act aghast when Trump brags about the size of his hands, hounding him to release his tax returns, etc.

When there is variation in their behavior, it reveals fault-lines within the media world that might otherwise not strike us. That may tell us what will rise and what will fall during the Trump era.

Notably, Fox and MSNBC did not take part in the charade. While Fox has been doing worse than historically, it is not in free-fall and is still the leader in cable news. On the liberal side, MSNBC is on the ascent, while CNN is dying. This has been going on for a long time, with cable news fueling the rise of networks with emotional approaches (Fox, MSNBC), and extinguishing those with informational approaches (CNN).

This was covered in an earlier post, although I would amend the term "ego validation," for what is provided by the emotional networks, to "tribal validation". They are about pushing your emotional buttons about group or tribal superiority over rival groups or tribes, not individual superiority over other individuals.


What's surprising is not that CNN acted one way and Fox / MSNBC another way -- it's that BuzzFeed joined CNN. BuzzFeed makes no pretensions to seriousness, whereas CNN stakes its brand value on seriousness. Why is a purveyor of clickbait trash in league with a network that goes out of its way to portray its anchors as sober figures with lofty values?

It is because BuzzFeed, like CNN and unlike Fox / MSNBC, takes an informational rather than emotional approach to its content and its audience. Its clickbait invariably takes the form of factoids, or listicles cataloging a bunch of things. They are meant to add to the knowledge, if it can be called that, of the audience, rather than to push emotional buttons as strongly as possible to validate their sense of tribal superiority.

And if you look at the target audiences of CNN and BuzzFeed, they are more egocentric and atomized than those of Fox and MSNBC, who derive their superiority from group-level affiliations (liberal tribe, conservative tribe).

CNN is a propaganda outlet, acting as a Ministry of Information to spread Establishment narratives. It offers its consumers a sense of individual superiority over individuals for being more in-the-know than others, regardless of group or tribal membership.

BuzzFeed makes no pretense at crafting grand narratives from its information, but its factoids and listicles do make it a lower pop-cultural form of Ministry of Information. How in-the-know are you about Things Only '90s Kids Appreciate about Disney Movies? Or, 9 Floral Prints to Rock This Summer? Or, 17 Positions to Try for Mind-Blowing Orgasms? Etc. You compete against other individuals over who is more in-the-know on these topics, rather than your tribe vs. some other tribe. (We'll cover tribal clickbait in a bit.)

The fact that CNN and BuzzFeed jumped on this story, while Fox and MSNBC avoided it, means that it acted as a novelty-value factoid (for BuzzFeed's clickbait audience) or as a factoid that belongs to a larger narrative about how Trump is compromised by being a puppet of Russia (for CNN's propaganda audience).

MSNBC is not primarily a propaganda outlet -- in the sense of constructing informational narratives -- so they can avoid this piece of BS. MSNBC is about validating the tribal superiority of liberals, and that doesn't require publishing this particular fake news item. They have many other ways to push the emotional buttons of liberals, without publishing obvious BS, whereas CNN almost has to run with a factoid like this since it fits in with their informational approach, constructing a propaganda narrative about Trump being compromised due to something Russian.

Notice that it was BuzzFeed and not Huffington Post that served in the trash role. But then Huffington Post is like a clickbait form of MSNBC, not of CNN. It is geared toward validating the tribal superiority of liberals, and its listicles are about 8 Ethically Problematic Things Trump Said This Week on Twitter, or 11 Environmental Problems That Will Get Worse Under Republican Rule, and so on. It is more clickbait-y than MSNBC, hence all of the gossip / sex position / foodie novelty items on HuffPo that do not clog the arteries of MSNBC.

Like MSNBC, HuffPo could avoid this obvious BS and cheerlead for liberals in many other ways.


This differing behavior among the mass media who are all anti-Trump, has led us to a model of the media landscape based on two dimensions, aside from the liberal-conservative dimension:

First, is the approach informational or emotional? This dichotomy was already studied in the earlier post linked to before. Informational approaches appeal to egocentric audiences, while emotional approaches appeal to tribal audiences. Interest in information and egocentric focus characterizes the autistic or systemizing end of Baron-Cohen's spectrum, while resonance with emotions and tribal focus characterizes the empathetic end.

Second, are the items in the output linked and ordered into a larger whole, or are they intended to be mostly disconnected factoids with no hierarchical structure? This is how general or specific their vision is. CNN arranges its factoids into a larger propaganda narrative, while BuzzFeed makes no connections or grand narratives across its myriad listicles. Fox and MSNBC take many examples of why conservatives or liberals are superior and weave them into a larger narrative about tribal superiority, whereas the output at HuffPo is more like one damned reason after another for why we're better, and not as grand and mythological in its pretensions.

The nature of clickbait will be explored in another post.


Looking forward, we see that the main casualties will fall on the left column of that matrix, those whose approach is informational. If your whole appeal is making your audience more in-the-know, and what you told them is revealed to be pure BS, there goes your credibility.

There is no corresponding factor of credibility among the emotional-tribal outlets. They're judged by how good they are at whipping up their tribe through daily pep rallies.

Even within the informational side, those that are specific / clickbait will withstand the fallout from fake news better than those that are general / narrative. In the hyper-specific model, any given factoid isn't closely connected to any other, whereas in the general propaganda narrative model, one piece of the whole being infected raises the possibility that the whole damn thing is infected.

Especially if the source of infection is an unreliable or fake source, as in the latest case. Any idiot can string together a listicle for BuzzFeed, so no one assumes that if one item is proven wrong, the same author has produced other listicles that could be similarly compromised. In a propaganda outlet, one unreliable source has probably informed numerous items within an entire narrative, making the audience more likely to turn skeptical toward the whole story when just one piece is proven to be BS.

So, sites like BuzzFeed will prove more robust than CNN at being accepted by the public and influencing their worldview and behavior. Fortunately for us, BuzzFeed has no larger narrative that it is pushing, so it getting more attention than CNN is still a win for us in the information war.


What, if anything, will fill the vacuum left by CNN? There is no conservative or moderate version of CNN to expand its territory in that quadrant of the matrix. Fox and MSNBC are qualitatively different in being tribal and emotional, not presenting facts to inform people about what's going on in important topics. BuzzFeed and HuffPo are clickbait, not meant to string items together into a larger coherent story about current events.

For the short term, we will enter a truly post-factual era, where most "news" is opinion-based cheerleading for the audience's tribe.

Perhaps after some time, an entirely new organization will fill the void left by CNN -- informational in approach, and ordering its items into general stories rather than clickbait. It would be more moderate, and would have to be more populist and nationalist than CNN, since CNN's shattered credibility stemmed from it being so stubbornly elitist and globalist (publishing pure BS from the elitist-globalist CIA), during a re-alignment toward populism and nationalism.

The individuals who staff this new organization may come from existing outlets that practice other modes of journalism, where they feel uncomfortable ginning up emotional energy or writing listicles. They just want to report on what's going on in important matters, and doing so in a more coherent narrative form than thematically related tweets. Somewhere that Michael Tracey would fit in.


Getting there, the most important policies to pursue are busting up the media monopoly, which would not only deal the coup de grace to CNN, but would prevent the re-formation of another in its place. Only a mega-giant in the communications sector can take on the role of Ministry of Information.

Even if there were a thousand little wannabe CNNs, they would have to compete over audiences and have to distinguish themselves from one another. Some would be less propagandistic on issue X, others would be more honest on issue Y. Some would cover issues that were being censored by the others for propaganda reasons.

That's the worst-case scenario, which is still a quantum leap beyond where we are now, and does not take a sophisticated complex solution -- just sledgehammer the media monopolies.

December 29, 2016

Sibling rivalry remains worse for generations raised in hyper-competitive era

One major change brought about by the status-striving phase of the economic cycle is intensified sibling rivalry. It's "just another" form of hyper-competitiveness, but one that threatens a core institution which is supposed to be beyond the effects of economic cycles.

No matter when you observe them, Baby Boomers have basically gotten along with their generation-mates within their kin groups -- siblings, cousins, and so on. And of course they got along with their parents, aunts and uncles, etc. Their bonds with these individuals were formed during the accommodating phase of the cycle, up through the 1960s and even into the '70s, which were a transition ("Me Generation") between the New Deal / Great Society era and the Reagan Revolution.

They do rib each other here and there, engage in "a little friendly competition" over inane crap, but overall the roots show from the pre-striver era, and they get along with one another.

The quality of these interactions takes a noticeable drop with Gen X, and really flatlines once the Millennials become involved.

For Gen X, relationships with cousins are distant and awkward, though well-meaning rather than hostile. Similar well-meaning awkwardness among siblings. They reflect the lack of time that X-ers made for others during their proto-careerist adolescence. As with any secular trend, it's worse for the later than the earlier members.

For Millennials (who in this context appear to begin with 1982 births), family gatherings bring out only aggressive egocentrism. They're rehashing what is familiar from their upbringing during the era of high-stakes childhood, especially since the 1990s. In well-adjusted families, this constant status-jockeying may appear less hostile, while in dysfunctional families it will take the form of endless sniping and baiting.

It's not the cathartic "getting it all out there" kind of battle within the family. That has an end goal -- clearing some kind of emotional clog in the system -- which once reached, brings satiety to the participants, who go back to normal for awhile. The oneupsmanship over the most petty shit has no goal other than to draw out the contest into another round. Without any satisfaction to resolve the drama, the gathering ends abruptly and awkwardly with the tension still hanging around undissipated.

These generational differences have been stable, from what I've seen of my family's home movies, at least back to the 1960s. Little Boomers weren't tearing each other to shreds back then, and do not do so now. Once you see home movies from the '80s, it's apparent how even as small children the X-ers and later the Millennials would move family gatherings step by step closer to sibling rivalry death matches.

At this point, it's no longer possible to believe that we will change things directly, and drop our hyper-competitiveness with our siblings. The best we can do is try altering the social climate toward one of accommodation rather than me-first. Making public displays of being sick and fed up with steel cage matches over nothing could at least signal to the next generation that they'd better not continue the practice. Pre-emptive shunning of social behavior that poisons the family.

Getting that message across broadly will probably take another generation or two, but it's happened before, so it can and will happen again.

December 21, 2016

Is the next Star Wars trailer out yet?

Here was my take on the Star Wars pop cultural experience as of 2016, back when the trailer was released for Rogue One (with links to three earlier posts as well). Nothing about the theatrical release has changed my take.

I haven't heard people reciting memorable lines of dialog, re-enacting key scenes, and so on, as though Rogue One were actually memorable, rather than just another forgettable and disposable chunk of pop culture junk food.

I didn't see The Force Awakens, and won't be seeing this one either. This is more to look at how the general public and Star Wars fans themselves are treating the franchise.

Two key paragraphs from before:

What's new to observe with the release of this trailer is just how forgotten The Force Awakens has become, not even three months after its release, and even among its hardcore nerd following. Facebook was filled with spazzy Star Wars shit for a few weeks when the new movie came out, but then... nothing. No quoting favorite lines -- evidently the dialog was forgettable. No references to favorite scenes -- evidently all visuals were forgettable. And no gushing over favorite plot points or themes -- evidently the entire narrative was forgettable...

Like I said, the real drama now takes place across the trailers -- one prolonged masturbatory anticipation, brief climax when it's out in theaters, and hardly any resting period before the next obsessive anticipation. Nerds don't want to enjoy the actual experience, they want to geek out over forecasting what it might be like (reminds me of how they behave in another domain of life).

Star Wars has taken on an almost religious quality for its fan-base, which includes larger and larger swaths of the population nowadays.

So, why continue adding to the Star Wars Bible? It just keeps diluting and weakening the impact of the original movies. Enough of this continuing revelation from one false prophet after another.

Midwits liken religion to an opiate of the masses, but that misses the feeling of satiety that religious people come away from each religious experience with. They're "full" for awhile, until they get hungry in awhile, then they'll take part again. They aren't constantly on the brink of withdrawal symptoms, searching for ever greater dosages to bring about the same painkilling effect.

Rather, this is what the cult of Star Wars has degraded into -- a bunch of anhedonic depressives being supplied by Hollywood with pop cultural opium, as quickly and as regularly as their movie-mills can churn the stuff out. Unlike an actual religion, its practitioners feel no joy, satiety, communion, or community -- no more than a crowd of drug-addicted strangers who file into the same crackhouse to get their fix.

Here's to hoping that in the more prosperous and point-having lives we will begin to enjoy as Trump returns America back toward normality, the general public will no longer treat movies, even supposedly sacred ones like Star Wars, in such a degrading way. And, Hollywood will no longer be supplying them with this Force Awakens / Rogue One kind of crap anymore.

December 20, 2016

Divided Establishment can't even unite around anti-Trump EC votes

In yet another sign of how divided the Establishment remains, there were five faithless electors who chose a Republican -- and these five split their votes among three people (Colin Powell, Ron Paul, and "Tiny Bites" Kasich). Could they not coordinate enough to concentrate their votes into a single individual, for maximum effect?

It just goes to show how hyper-competitive the elites still are, leading to internal fragmentation. Each Trump hater wanted to broadcast their own unique personal style of hating Trump, to show that the other Trump haters are just a bunch of posers who are not as artisanal in their Trump hatred.

The same mentality kept the anti-Trump forces from posing a serious challenge during the primaries. None of the other candidates wanted to fall on their sword for the greater good of the group, and none of the voters wanted to bite the bullet and cast a ballot for the one agreed-upon rival to Trump.

In contrast to these suicidally selfish Establishment types, the society-oriented figures all coalesced around Trump, whether they agreed 100% or not. Ditto his voters. The populist-nationalist movement is strongly united.

It's a misnomer to call the strategy "divide and conquer," when it is really "conquer the divided".

Even the anti-Establishment Left couldn't agree on their protest electoral vote -- of the two who managed to vote for a Democrat, one was Bernie and the other was some Native American activist at the Dakota Pipeline protest. That is just a trendy topic of the past several months, and will be replaced by something else before long. It doesn't have the brand recognition among lefties and liberals, let alone the wider society, that Occupy Wall Street did, for example.

The rest of the Democrat faithless votes were intended to go to Bernie, which is more coordinated than the "boo Trump" Republican votes. Still, one of two that succeeded is like getting a My Chemical Romance tattoo in 2006. It's actually going to be in the historical record -- some random activist from a trendy protest du jour, rather than the figurehead of the movement during the entire primary season and whose name will be associated with it for the near future.

December 19, 2016

Les Miserables at Inauguration?

From Blind Gossip:

While there are reports that nobody wants to perform at Donald Trump’s Presidential Inauguration, that is not true.

In an interesting turn of events, we just found out that the producer of one theatrical show is currently negotiating for their entire cast to perform at the Inauguration!

There are a few details that still need to be worked out in the contract, but it looks like attendees would be treated to more than one musical number from the show.

Although the show’s producer was quite antagonistic towards Trump during the past year, it looks like that is not stopping them from putting the show first!

By the way, this is definitely NOT about the cast of Hamilton! ...

[Optional] Which song from a musical would you most like to hear Donald Trump sing?

The clue is in the optional question, playing on "Do You Hear the People Sing?" from Les Miserables. He's already used that song at a rally in Miami in September, where there was also a projected image of "Les Deplorables" in the style of the play's poster art, with revolutionaries at the barricades.

That was a hit even with the reporters, who will be in too good of a mood to say anything bad during the Inauguration.

It'll also force the elitists to reveal their contempt for middle America and middlebrow culture, as well as how silly and trivial their "highbrow" alternatives are -- getting lectured by AIDS-rotted diversity hires LARP-ing as the founding fathers? Somehow I don't see that playing at the Vienna Opera House...

Another example of culture being downstream from politics!

December 17, 2016

Culture is downstream from politics: TV shows adapting to Trump era

The Hollywood Reporter writes about how TV executives are struggling to make their programming relevant in the age of Trump. They don't know anybody who voted for Trump, and none of their current shows has an even accidental chance of reaching Trump voters. Either they get with the times, or they're effectively off the air.

They're not changing everything abruptly in an attempt to pander, as though pleading for them not to vote Trump next time as long as we keep our promise to make TV shows that aren't all about degenerate cosmopolitans. It's described as more of a shift in tone, toward hopeful and optimistic and away from snarky and cynical. You can smell the feel-good family-friendly sit-coms from here, making the 1980s great again.

This is a good example of how pop culture follows changes in the political and economic realms, rather than the other way around. Andrew Breitbart is frequently quoted to the effect that culture needs to change before politics does ("Politics is downstream from culture.") Here is the summary from a representative post at RedState:

Culture matters. Withdrawing from it is no answer. If you want to change the future of the country, you need to engage the culture and not just expect that the kinds of citizens who vote for your values can be summoned from the hills.

The Trump phenomenon has proven this theory wrong, since he ran exclusively on economic and political topics, ignoring culture (other than to complain about "Why are they remaking Ghostbusters? Are they incapable of making good new movies?"). "Despite" this stance, and despite not altering the cultural foundations of the country, he did indeed summon voters from the hills in Ohio, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Maine, and New Hampshire.

Losing observers from both sides try to reduce cognitive dissonance by chalking up Trump's popularity to being a reality TV star, which goes to explain why his counterpart in the other party enjoyed his own success against all odds. Trump, like Bernie, achieved as much as he did thanks to his stances on the issues, not on personality or fame.

The entire cultural realm had long been, and still remains united against Trump the man, Trump voters, and the Trump agenda. Bernie had some cultural supporters, but not as big as Hillary did, and they did not cut ads for him or introduce him, as though his young supporters needed their candidate to be validated by cultural figures they already care about.

As mentioned in the post about who puts out conspiracy theories and why, the idea that politics is downstream from culture is part of the conspiratorial worldview. After decades of defeat, Republicans and conservatives began to attribute their failures to the Democrats and liberals invading and taking over the major cultural institutions -- schools, churches, the media -- and using this strategic position to influence or brainwash the general public into believing liberal bromides and voting Democrat reflexively.

How did those people explain the heyday of conservatism during the Reagan years? It's not as though the 1980 landslide against all odds had followed the defenestration of liberals from academia, the media, and the Mainline churches, where they have been in control since forever. It was not an attempt to analyze or explain, but to soothe their pain by shifting the blame to external hostile actors instead of their own smug leadership, sell-out politicians, ossified think tanks, and disgraced cultural figures such as the televangelists of the 1980s.

Returning to mainstream TV shows, which came first -- Nixon's defeat of Humphrey, or the release of All in the Family? Archie Bunker arrived to television a full two years after Nixon's first inauguration. A key demographic in the Nixon coalition was working-class whites who were sick of the excesses of the Civil Rights and anti-Vietnam War movements, whether these were rural Southern whites or urban white ethnics.

In 1968, both groups had been loyalist Democrats for generations, but the influx of the Civil Rights movement antagonized them enough to defect at least temporarily (for white ethnics) or permanently (for white Southerners).

The Democrats were apoplectic that such large chunks of their New Deal coalition had been so effortlessly poached by the GOP. It couldn't be because the Great Society policies were failures -- it was because... uh, well, let's explore who these Nixon voters are in sit-com format, contrasting them with their liberal Democrat children. Maybe by portraying them halfway sympathetically and "feeling their pain," we can bring some of them back into the fold.

But culture has minimal influence over politics, so no, these groups did not come back to the Democrat party until a generation later with Clinton in '92, after the Bushies had alienated most of the Nixon and Reagan voters.

It was the Democrats' version of thinking that politics is downstream from culture. It's just that the Dems control the media, so they can translate that mindset into cultural change more than the Republicans can when it's their turn to blame culture for their political failures.

Another show in the vein of All in the Family was Family Ties, wherein liberal Jewish media executives tried to explore the nascent conservative and yuppie phenomena, as the liberal Boomer parents struggle to understand their uber-Republican son Alex Keaton. Nixon did not run as a conservative, but as a pragmatist, law-and-order, liberal-moderate. Reagan's landslide was even more unforeseen to Democrats in the media than was Nixon's, and provoked greater panic to figure out what went wrong.

Family Ties debuted nearly two years after Reagan defeated an incumbent Democrat, again showing that culture follows politics and economics. The producers hoped to pull the Alex Keatons at least halfway toward the liberal Boomer generation, but they resisted and remained GOP loyalists -- although it's worth asking if he would have voted for Trump? Maybe. But maybe Alex P. Keaton put yuppie elitism over party loyalty and voted for Clinton. (Many such cases! Sad!)

Since these political re-alignments tend to have a strong geographic pattern, the TV producers have hinted at portraying the lives of people other than coastal elites, and exploring what makes working-class and middle-class whites in flyover country tick.

I looked through Wikipedia's lists of major TV shows set in various states to see when the last time they actually devoted attention to Trump country. It looks like it was after Nixon's first win, and lasting through the Reagan-Bush years. They had taken parts of the Midwest for granted during the New Deal / Great Society years, when so much pop culture focused on coastal cities (or the Old West). Suddenly they became obsessed with the Great Lakes region, and Chicago in particular, to try to figure out who these defectors were.

Chicago plays such a central role because after Democrat loyalty during the New Deal and Great Society eras, Illinois became Republican from 1968 until 1992 -- and they did not do that without the support of metro Chicago. Wisconsin went Republican in '68, '72, '80, and '84. Even Minnesota went Republican by 6 points in '72. Michigan was a little late to the party, but stayed Republican from '72 until '92. Indiana and Ohio were also heavily Republican during this period, but they were not defectors from the New Deal era, when they were still fairly Republican.

Here are the major TV shows set in the Midwest during the Nixon-Reagan-Bush years, where the locals are portrayed sympathetically, there's a strong sense of place, and the regional culture and economy are not sneered at for not being elite and cosmopolitan.


Mary Tyler Moore Show - Minneapolis
Happy Days - Milwaukee
Laverne and Shirley - Milwaukee
Bob Newhart Show - Chicago
Good Times - Chicago
WKRP in Cincinnati - Cincinnati


Roseanne - Chicago
Married with Children - Chicago
Family Matters - Chicago
Life Goes On - Chicago
Family Ties - Columbus


Home Improvement - Detroit (began before Clinton)

Shows from the Clinton era onward, like That '70s Show or Parks and Recreation that are set in Wisconsin or Indiana, feature liberal cosmopolitan elites doing a mocking blackface performance of flyovers, or portraying the liberal cosmo elite-wannabes stuck in flyover country.

The media elites even became interested in the blacks of flyover country (Good Times, Family Matters), which we still haven't seen despite a two-term black President whose political career began in Chicago.

Outside of the Midwest, the liberal media elites tried to understand other newly Republican areas, such as Connecticut. It was more of a swing state during the New Deal and Great Society periods, but was solid GOP from '72 until '92. The hit '80s sit-com Who's the Boss? set up an intercultural dialog between an urban blue-collar Italian from Noo Yawk working as a live-in housekeeper for a suburban professional WASP (portrayed by a Jew) in Connecticut.

The star of that show, Tony Danza, had also starred on Taxi, set in Manhattan during the dingy stagflation era of the late '70s and early '80s. Even when the media elites did cover the Center of the Universe back then, they focused on everyday blue-collar life at work, rather than the conspicuous leisure of cosmopolitan yuppies that began to characterize Manhattan reality and cultural portrayal during the Clinton years and afterward.

So perhaps in the Trump era, not only will we see a more sympathetic portrayal of whites in the Midwest but in working-class coastal areas, too. If the past is any guide, though, don't expect any of this to be visible until about two years into the strange new times. Right now the media elites are still in the denial and anger stages of grief.

If formerly shrill Civil Rights hippies and Jews can make family-friendly WASP-y sit-coms like they did in the Reagan-Bush years, they can change their tune during the Trump years as well. Unlike the Democrat party itself, the creators of pop culture need to appeal to the mainstream, which has now revealed that it doesn't give a shit about conspicuous leisure, elite degeneracy, and identity politics.

December 15, 2016

Conspiracy theories spring from losing side: Now left-wing, not right-wing

In the wake of an emotionally charged event or situation, attempts will be made to explain how it came to be. Those whose self-esteem is enhanced by the straightforward explanation will latch onto that one, while those who are suffering from cognitive dissonance will resort to a more complicated explanation that leaves their ego intact.

For example, if one presidential candidate gives the other the biggest schlonging in recent memory, supposedly against all odds -- the straightforward explanation is that the winner was more in tune with the will of the people, campaigned better, and was a better person. Supporters of the winner will make that their explanation of the outcome, and enjoy peace of mind from adopting the straightforward story.

Supporters of the loser, however, cannot accept that their candidate was out of touch, campaigned incompetently, and was a horrible human being. That would make those loathsome qualities infect the supporters themselves. So, no, it wasn't that she was those awful things... it was... uh, some nefarious outside force's fault!

Choosing a bogus narrative makes these supporters do increasingly bizarre backflips just to jump through all the logical hoops in order to appear coherent. But they are actually going slowly incoherent, their minds constantly under the pain of cognitive dissonance. Before long, their primary mental operation is dulling pain or escaping pain, rather than thinking, feeling, and behaving like a normal healthy person.

Since the rise of the Democrats after 1992, it was Republicans who began veering off into conspiracy-oriented nutjob territory. First they blamed Democrats for invading various institutions and brainwashing the general public into liberalism and therefore voting Democrat.

During the brief GOP interruption of George W. Bush, the Democrats did the exact same thing, blaming ubiquitous Fox News for brainwashing the general public into being kneejerk Iraq War cheerleaders and voting Republican.

But Bush's presidency was not that great of a departure from what Clinton was, what Gore would have been, and what Obama would be. Liberals suffered cognitive dissonance, but it didn't take really wild conspiracy theories to explain why Kerry lost. Fox News propaganda being on in so many living rooms, is what it boiled down to.

Now that Trump has destroyed the two major political clans in the nation, by a decisive Electoral College margin, and against all odds and all news coverage for over a year -- Hillary voters cannot simply say "There goes Fox News again." Fox has in fact been fairly weak in supporting Trump, but liberals would not let that get in the way of a good rationalization.

They're not going there because they can tell that something much more nefarious is required to explain a far more mindblowing outcome than Bush's narrow win over Kerry in '04. Enter the Russia / Putin / KGB conspiracy theories, which have been under way since the general campaign.

An upset as earth-shattering for liberal globalism could only have come from a force so strongly anti-American and so deeply conservative -- not a bumbling clan like the Bushes. Who do corporate globalists recognize as conservative and at least nominally not one of America's allies? Putin! Again, the accuracy of this characterization doesn't matter: it's close enough for them to latch onto without feeling like they're completely making shit up.

In the Trumpian era, Republicans will no longer be the conspiracy theorists -- that now falls to the Democrats, who haven't been this devastated since Nixon and Reagan.

During the Reagan-Bush era, Democrats grew increasingly conspiratorial about the JFK assassination. That was their last hero, and he was going to do such great things like pull out of Vietnam and save the nation from all the turmoil that blew up under Johnson's escalation of the war. This was only in the back of their minds during the Reagan years, as one after another Vietnam movie struck a chord. It wasn't until the end of the Bush years, though, that it would become so overt, with the movie JFK in 1991.

It got so bad that Noam Chomsky had to write a short book combating the growing conspiracy theory mindset about JFK among liberals and the Left (Rethinking Camelot, 1993).

Expect a similar progression. Democrats will start getting nostalgic for the Clinton years, whether it's associated with Bill or Hillary or other figures.

Bill didn't really want to sign NAFTA and start a chain of events that would lead to the election of Trump. He was a man of the people, and campaigned in blue-collar white areas. So, he was pressured into NAFTA by the FBI and Mexican drug cartels. He had actually prepared a speech denouncing the outsourcing of American manufacturing, sounding strangely like Donald Trump's stump speeches of 2016. If only the conspirators hadn't coerced him into signing it, the Trump era could have been avoided!

The only Republicans left to spin conspiracy theories to comfort their wounded self-esteem is the NeverTrump cucks. They have no numbers in the general population, but they are over-represented in the elite, so we may continue to hear from them now and again, as they commiserate with the humiliated Democrats.

On a final note, this also shows why PizzaGate is not a conspiracy theory. There's no major event or situation where the believers are on the losing side, and are pursuing this story to reduce cognitive dissonance. Nor are the deniers going along their merry way after having won, tuning out the wacko believers -- they are very much tuned in, shrill, and intense in debating the believers.

Rather, what comes out of the PizzaGate investigations will serve as the basis for a campaign of righteous vengeance by the winners. Obama weaponized the IRS against the Tea Party, now Trump will cripple Hollywood and the DC elite by exposing their child sex trafficking rings.

December 12, 2016

Trump slump cycle continues: An excitable system model, with historical comparisons

One thing I noticed and got right about the election season, which as far as I know nobody else did, was the cycle between rising and falling enthusiasm for Trump, both among his supporters and opponents.

During rising phases, his supporters were ecstatic and his opponents said he's not the anti-Christ after all. During falling phases, his supporters panicked about him selling out and his opponents panicked that he would bring about the apocalypse.

Within each phase, the two sides' conclusions contradicted each other -- if his supporters were ecstatic, shouldn't that send his opponents into a panic? And if his supporters were panicking about him selling out, shouldn't that make his opponents cheer up?

So, it was not a factual or rational response, but an emotional one -- turned on or turned off.

This cycle appeared to have an up month and a down month. The down phase was clear during the early part of even-numbered months, while the up phases were clear during the most parts of the odd-numbered month (perhaps minus the end, which led into the next down phase).

I first wrote about this cycle in June, then again in August, and just before the final slump in October, which I predicted in the last post on the topic. I was hoping the rollercoaster would end after the election, but it appears to still be going.

We're clearly in another turned-off phase, where blackpill feelings are palpable among enough of his supporters, while his opponents are in their uncharitable hater phase again. It nominally revolves around his Cabinet picks and transition in general, but as the earlier posts explained, it has nothing to do with what is actually going on in the political world. It's an emotional rollercoaster, so when people are feeling good they'll rationalize current events in a half-full way, and when they're feeling bad they'll rationalize them in a half-empty way.

When was the last time we were in a phase where his supporters were noticeably blackpilled? Early-to-mid October (PussyGrabGate), early-mid August (post-Conventions, Khizr Khan), early-mid June (La Raza judge), early-mid April (abortion punishment, Wisconsin primary), and early-mid February (Iowa caucus and debate). There's no thematic thread that connects all of these, including now his Cabinet picks. It's just an emotional rollercoaster oblivious to factual goings-on.

What kind of model does explain oscillations such as these?

The ones that come to mind are how neurons fire, or how the heartbeat works. There's an external stimulus big enough to cause an excitation that sustains or feeds on itself. A dampener applies and eventually drives the excitation into a calming-down phase. The dampener has done its job and shuts itself off, allowing the excitement level to rise slightly back up to a resting state. Then it fires all over again.

These are called excitable systems, and the best known simple model is the FitzHugh-Nagumo model, which describes how a simplified neuron fires. (Only quants should click that link, but it is a forgotten classic.)

In this case, the external stimulus is the emotional energy being injected into the citizenry from the political figures -- those who are influential enough to inject anything. Here, it's mainly Trump, but also Crooked Hillary and Bernie way back when, along with high-ranking cuck traitors within the GOP. It's not the media, who are reactive along with the rest of the citizenry.

As citizens interact with each other, they spread and feed off of one another's emotional energy. They're feeling better and better about Trump, even if his supporters always feel better than his opponents. But citizens also have a strong inhibitory tendency, so that they don't just fly off into outer space every time they get excited. (The inhibitory force is generally stronger than their self-sustaining force, which is why we're generally ho-hum about politics, or about anything for that matter.)

Aside from their own tendency to dial things down even when excited, the citizens' emotional energy also tends to get drained by naysaying -- perhaps by the media, by other sub-groups within the citizenry, but somebody internal to the system.

Naysaying rises in response to positive levels of emotional energy ("Uh-oh, people are getting excited, better go rain on their parade"). But it also tends to shut itself off in the absence of positive vibes -- naysayers aren't that way all of the time for no reason whatsoever.

In the terms of the neuron firing model, the citizens' emotional energy is like the membrane potential V, the naysaying is like the recovery variable W, and the emotional energy injected by the political figures from outside the system is like the external stimulus current I.

Can such a model not only describe what has been going on this season, but also explain why earlier seasons have not behaved this way?

The neuron model allows for cases where there is only a single spike, as well as repeating spikes. When the external stimulus is weak, there might be at most one spike and not a very large-magnitude one. This is like most elections, where the citizenry (not just political junkies) are mostly tuned out aside from, perhaps, one key moment where everyone got all excited and then went back to not caring anymore.

However, when the external stimulus is stronger, the resting state is not stable, and the spikes keep happening over and over. If any politician has injected higher energy into the citizenry during an election season, it has been the President-Elect. ("You OD on Trump.")

In the model, the external stimulus can rise so high that the resting state is stable, but at a shrill level, where both the emotional energy of the citizenry and the naysaying remain constantly high, rather than going through cycles. We haven't seen that yet. I'm not sure that it even got that bad during the lead-up to the Civil War, but I don't know the month-by-month story to determine if it cycled or remained constantly shrill.

One prediction of this model, which has not been tested, is that if the external energy from politicians is strongly inhibitory -- meaning they're trying as hard as possible to calm the citizens down and do the naysaying themselves -- it would backfire. The citizens' emotional energy level would plunge below its already conservative resting level, and its correction would not merely lead back to the resting state, but instead toward a very large spike before returning to rest (with no cycles).

How unique has this election really been, though? It's certainly been more of an emotional rollercoaster than those within recent memory. But there appear to be rollercoaster seasons every 4-5-6 elections, which tend to come from geographical and ideological re-alignment. A strong third-party vote also shows up during these tumultuous seasons.

The last one wasn't quite this bad, but it was still a whirlwind -- 1992, when Clinton went on his own ups and downs throughout the season, as did Bush who was fighting off culture warrior Pat Buchanan, all while liberals and conservatives began fighting each other. Clinton and Bush both injected much higher levels of emotional energy than had been usual just four years earlier.

This was the re-alignment that ushered in the culture war era, which peeled off California, New England, and the Mid-Atlantic from the GOP (even in '88 this re-alignment was in effect, peeling off the Pacific NW and the Lutheran Triangle). Third party disaffection was Perot.

Some say the 1980 election was highly charged, but that was mostly confined to political junkies arguing over ideology. Among average citizens, there were fluctuations in poll numbers, but not the widespread waves of excitation followed by despair that we've seen this time. Most people were on-board with the "Anybody But Carter" feeling, and it wasn't nearly as nasty as 2016 or 1992.

We have to go back instead to 1968 to find another really tumultuous season. Nixon wasn't quite the firebrand that Trump is, but there was intense energy on the Democrat side as four heavies fought each other for the nomination, and triggered a massive protest at their own Convention (similar to this year). Not to mention the high energy being injected from other political figures, such as Martin Luther King, who got assassinated along with Bobby Kennedy.

This was the post-Civil Rights re-alignment that took away the "Solid South" from the Democrats, who made a strong third-party showing for Wallace.

Before that, the last "give 'em hell" candidate was Truman in 1948, another one where support seemed to wax and wane, as the indefatigable Truman toured the nation trying to keep voters pumped up. Also like 2016, the clueless media and pollsters not sensing any of this, and proclaiming the firebrand's demise before the election was even held ("Dewey Defeats Truman").

This saw the defection of the Mid-Atlantic states to the losing GOP, where they would remain later under Eisenhower, and a strong third-party vote for the Dixiecrats in the not-so-Solid South (a premonition of 1968, relating to segregation). Overall, though, not as seismic of a re-alignment, nor as bitter of a campaign as others like it. This was the Mid-Century, around the nadir of political partisanship and discord.

And without going into too much detail on the others: 1932 (intense energy from FDR about the New Deal during the Great Depression), 1912 (big fight between Taft and Teddy Roosevelt on the GOP side, causing a strong third party showing for TR, who actually won more than Taft), 1892 (incipient Populist rebellion in the Frontier and Mountain states), 1876 (the most contentious ever), and of course 1860 (Southern secession).

I don't know the month-by-month stories in these seasons, but given the unusually high level of energy being injected from the major political figures, I'd bet they were emotional rollercoasters like 2016, rather than having at most one big moment of excitement. The 1860 season may be an example of the model with such a high level of energy being injected from the political figures that there is a stable state at shrill levels and not just waxing and waning enthusiasm for Lincoln, leading the way to the Civil War.

The good news for this time is that even when there was a rollercoaster season, it didn't last forever and ever. After some time in office, Trump and other major political figures will dial down the intensity. He has already begun, although he's still ready to fire off threatening tweets and hold massive rallies where he works everybody up again. Already by the midterm season, things will have quieted down a bit (1994 was rambunctious, but not like 1992).

The only time when a highly intense election was followed by a greater one was 1860 and '64. Again, I kind of doubt that 1860 was a Trump-like rollercoaster, and more of a constantly shrill season that would lead to Civil War. At the same time, this rollercoaster was the closest we've come to constantly shrill levels in a very long time.

Peter Turchin has said that we're in 1856 again, but even assuming that's accurate, I don't see the second peak of political discord being anywhere near the original Civil War (knock on wood). This time around, the Secessionists would be unarmed West Coast pacifists, not Southerners who were born fighting.

December 10, 2016

Media erase news of pedo ring bust; Pedo symbol used by more child welfare groups

A couple quick updates on PizzaGate.

First, in late November the AP reported on a major pedophile ring in Norway being busted, leading to dozens of arrests, including two politicians. This report was picked up by the NYT, WaPo, and ABC, among others. All three major media groups have removed the story from their sites and archives, while it is still up on the AP's own site. See here and in the comments.

A more thorough report from The Independent, UK, mentions that it was a tip by the FBI that led Norwegian authorities to launch their attack. Again we see that the FBI, at least the rank and file, are the good guys among the feds. The CIA are globalist traitors.

The major media have suddenly decided to censor this story because they don't want Americans to have a broader pattern already in their minds, which the PizzaGate revelations could fit neatly into. You aren't supposed to have in the back of your mind a news item about a pedo ring being busted that involved several politicians. Otherwise you might be more accepting of the inevitable reports that John and Tony Podesta from Clinton world are involved in some kind of pedo ring.

Desperately trying to erase this story two weeks after the fact, and on a weekend when hopefully nobody would notice, just shows that there is some seriously damning stuff going on here. The nature and extent of any crimes will be determined by a proper and thorough FBI investigation, but given the kinds of evidence the Establishment has been erasing, it relates to pedophiles.

On that note, a recent post showed that pedo symbols appear on the logos of child welfare and adoption agencies, suggesting they are implicated, perhaps as the suppliers of children to the pedo rings.

Well just a few days later, I've found yet another instance of the same logo that appeared on the San Antonio Center for Childhood Trauma (meant to help abused children fit into foster homes) and Terasol Artisans, the restaurant across the street from PizzaGate Central, Comet Ping Pong. Besta Pizza, also across the street, deleted a pedo symbol (spiraling triangle) from their logo within days of PizzaGate breaking. Days later, Terasol joined in deleting the pedo symbol of concentric hearts from their website.

As I was catching up on the findings from /pol (in this thread), I saw that someone else found that exact same logo on yet another child welfare agency -- Through the Storm Outreach Ministries (Kingstree, SC, a rural black area). Its ostensible purpose is to help homeless and runaway youth, particularly pregnant teens or teen moms. They explicitly say they're going to help them avoid sexual abuse and prostitution.

And yet, there's that logo again (lower-right):

It's the exact same logo, with the transparent background again picking up whatever color is on the webpage it finds itself on.

It's clear how similar this child welfare group is to the one from the earlier post. What's not so clear is why they both share the logo with Terasol Artisans. But if it was damning enough that Terasol removed it entirely from their website within a week of the PizzaGate story centered on two businesses just across the street, it cannot be a good sign wherever it is found.

Through the Storm mentions elsewhere on its site that it provides off-site daycare. So if you're a teen mom, you're not only making yourself vulnerable by wandering into these people's arms -- you're also putting your child at risk. Given where else this logo appears, who the hell knows what they're doing with your small child at the off-site daycare?

Here is the symbol by itself -- try dropping it into a reverse Google Image Search to find other instances of it. You might also try using a graphics program to change the background color to help GIS find other instances. But the foreground color is always orange. Let us know what you find out.

You might be skeptical about two places using similar designs, but in this case they are identical across supposedly independent businesses. And there are now not just two but three of them, in Texas, South Carolina, and DC. They all have a higher awareness and/or coordination in whatever it is they do. It serves as a distinctive uniform logo, not just variations on a dog-whistling design theme.

ADDENDUM: Just tried the reverse GIS, and got an immediate hit -- Joyful Parenting Coaching. Gee, another child welfare professional, imagine that.

ADDENDUM 2: Another hit, also a life coach who deals with children and families, including LGBT and addicted. Former counselor to abused children, and has been a live-in nanny! BTW, from San Francisco.

December 8, 2016

At re-Americanized industries, a new level of job cornucopia

Trump is negotiating to bring back entire industries that used to have a place in the American economy -- such as electronics -- and that will have an additional benefit to job-seekers than simply the presence of more unfilled jobs. That is, since these industries have been sent out of the country for so long, their job openings will be in a "get in on the ground floor" industry, rather than a mature industry that is already well colonized.

Although the first round of applicants won't have the training to put together an iPhone, neither will any of the other American workers.

No clogged arteries in the promotion system, where the job you're looking to fill won't be open because the current occupant isn't being promoted up out of it.

Networking won't be as important, as there's nobody yet to network with in a new industry. Get trained, show up, don't screw up, and there you go.

And unlike other start-up industries that grow too fast and suffer from Gold Rush-style extinction after an initial boom, these industries have already proven their long-term worth and stability in both the United States way back when, and outside the country where the industries are currently located. They are not economic bubbles like "online social media". Making cars, television sets, and cell phones will not be going bust any time soon.

These industries already pay much better than the typical ones the workers would find themselves in -- that's why they were sent outside the country in the first place, to reap profits from labor arbitrage. Now we can add less difficulty getting your foot in the door, and less insecurity long-term.

There will be a boon to white-collar professionals as well, whose jobs are more industry-general rather than specific. If you're already trained as an accountant, you can switch industries from banking to electronics manufacturing without as much trouble as, say, switching from assembling burgers at McDonald's to assembling iPhones at Apple. Without needing as much specific training, the white-collars will be fast-tracked into the new industries.

That's another aspect that is often overlooked in the re-Americanizing of these industries -- they will produce not only blue-collar but white-collar jobs, too. The assembly line workers at a manufacturing plant don't run the whole operation by themselves. These middle and upper-middle class jobs were destroyed alongside the working class ones when the industry was sent out of the country.

Decades down the line, there will probably be class conflict that arises between the blue-collar workers and white-collar managers and professionals within these industries. But for now, they are both in the same boat of wanting the industries to return to this country so they can all get better-paying and more secure jobs.

This parallels the stages of populism after the elite-centric Gilded Age. First, during the Progressive Era, the focus was workers and industrialists teaming up to strengthen the nation's industries (as opposed to doing the bidding of foreign economies and peoples). Then, after that was achieved and immigration shut off, the foreign economic threat receded into the background, and the domestic class conflicts came more into focus, spawning the New Deal era with its tug-of-war between Big Labor and Big Business, as mediated by Big Government.

The neo-Progressive Era under Trump will be characterized by a seemingly strange coalition of workers, managers, and (loyal) company owners, uniting around the common project of re-industrializing the American economy. The Bernie movement was putting the cart before the horse, stressing class conflict at a time when nationalism is needed for populism to succeed. They'll get their turn, in a generation or so.