April 10, 2017

How to decide if "It's 4D chess, chill out" vs. "As it appears, start worrying"

There's lots of confusion among Trump supporters about what the meaning is of the administration's greater moves toward regime change and potential confrontation with Russia. Do we conclude that it's all part of a 4D chess strategy, perhaps involving other players like Putin, and there's nothing to get so worried about? Or do we conclude that it's the straightforward scenario of heightened conflict in the M.E. and/or Russia?

I've already explained why I think Trump truly has not changed his views deep-down -- he has been too consistent and vocal on them from at least 2013 through the early part of this year, on regime change in Syria. Rather, he's being maneuvered into that position by the military faction of the Deep State, who can credibly threaten to weaken their military support for his authority, at which point he cannot effectively govern.

(This is unlike his economic and domestic agendas, where our enemies have nothing to threaten us with.)

Still, it's a hypothesis, and so is the opposite view. How do we decide which case to believe in?

Beliefs are not important in the real world, it is how we behave that matters. So do we behave as though it's a 4D chess strategy, or as though it's as things appear?

This choice boils down to what are the consequences for choosing to behave as though one scenario or the other were true, weighted by how likely they are to be true.

The straightforward scenario should receive a higher probability of being true -- the whole point of calling something 4D chess or counter-intuitive is that it's less likely to be true, given what we observe.

In the case of Syria and Russia, this should be even lower in likelihood, assuming not only counter-intuitive moves by Trump / US but perhaps also by Putin / Russia, whereby these esoteric moves are acting in harmony when these two sides do not have identical goals, and even divergent goals.

What are the consequences if it's just 4D chess? Nothing much comes of it, no major changes, certainly not ones that negatively impact the American people. We breathe a sigh of relief.

The counter-argument is that the 4D chess move pulls off a victory for the ages, with all our foes vanquished and the American people reaping benefits for generations to come. Obviously that is wishful thinking, and even the "don't worry" crowd are downplaying the upside of the 4D chess view -- at most, we avert serious catastrophe, and the Syrian civil war winds down peacefully for the American side.

What are the consequences if it's as things appear, and we're heading toward armed conflict against Russia in Syria? There is no point in guessing an average, since that would be a fat-tailed event with more or less unbounded negative consequences, up to nuclear war that cripples much of the American economy, infrastructure, military, and citizens' lives. However severe, there would be only downside for the American people.

The counter-argument is that we're missing the upside to war against Russia -- e.g., proving once and for all that the "Trump in bed with Russia" narrative is bogus, winning support of media, Democrat politicians, and other groups who were antithetical to his coalition and will always remain so.

This is a phony upside, and as we're already seeing, the conspiracy theorists and witch hunters will never be satisfied, as every attempt to disprove their narrative only strengthens their convictions. "Ha, Trump only lobbed a few dozen missiles that did minimal damage to that airfield, leaving the runway intact -- just the sort of halfhearted PR stunt that a stooge of the Kremlin would resort to in order to throw us off track." Then if he launches a nuclear strike on Moscow, "Wow, someone is desperate to cover up his being controlled by the Kremlin. Trump only dropped one nuke and did not even flatten the city! Nice try to throw us off track."

The straightforward interpretation that we're heading toward a military escalation against Russia is both more likely and far more serious in its consequences -- so that's the scenario that we behave as though it were true.

To end with, let's contrast how this is unlike the several times when Trump's hardcore supporters freaked out during the campaign that he was changing course. For example, that he was opening up to amnesty for illegals.

First, there are concrete decisions made by the administration that point 180 degrees away from Trump's long-standing and fervent views on the topic. The missile strike itself, the public innuendo that Russia knew about the alleged chemical attack by their Syrian client (making them complicit), and on the Russian side, the termination of the deconfliction channel between the Russian and American militaries in Syria, along with condemnations of the strike.

Trump never made any clear action toward amnesty -- he wasn't even President, so how could he have taken any action one way or another? The paranoids were going off of his rhetoric alone, which itself was simply more ambivalent -- not unambiguously the opposite of what he had promised.

Now that he's taken office, this is the only policy on which he has veered off-course from his promises. He killed the TPP, nominated a SCOTUS justice from his original list, stepped up deportations and border defense, twisted arms of manufacturers into bringing back jobs and plants, and signed two separate executive orders to implement the Muslim ban.

None of these were preceded by 4D chess moves, taking clear steps away from his promises, only to return back to them for the win. Trump is a busy man, and there is so much on the Trump movement's agenda. He doesn't have time for playing games or toying with his supporters -- he's hit the ground running, and launched a totally straightforward full-court press on all of his major issues.

That would seem to rule out an emotional fake-out in the case of war, which was another of his major promises. He would have wanted to hit the ground running on fixing our commitments in the Middle East ASAP. But in this area, he ran into an enemy (military Deep State) that has enough literal forces to push back at least for the moment, though hopefully not for the long-term.


  1. "The straightforward interpretation that we're heading toward a military escalation against Russia is both more likely and far more serious in its consequences -- so that's the scenario that we behave as though it were true."

    Who are "we"? Except for you, the readers of this blog, and a few others in paleocon circles, I don't see anyone at all acting like things could lead to a possible "fat-tailed event". Even among people who think it's a bad idea, discussion about worst case scenarios are noticeably missing.

    It's almost like 80% of people think Trump us doing 80D chess, 19% think he's doing 3D chess -just enough manipulating within a controlled operation to avert True Catastrophe.

    Have you seen comments tossed off like, "Man, glad I live in a rural area" "A Glenn Beck Crisis Garden sure does sound good right now, lol" "Would feel real nervous right now if I lived in Tampa"? I have yet to see a single one out of the hundreds, maybe over a thousand I've read since this all began.

    Disconcerting and discombobulating to see virtually nobody, except here, having the reactions I am.

    I'm not freaking out, but I feel like I should just change my name to Cassandra.

    BTW, very good articulation as always.

  2. You're being too generous, it's as simple as this, rightist internet nerds don't understand geopolitical reality. The administration is doing the minimum to reassure our "allies" and the "international community." It would be great if they could leave NATO and pull our military back to our borders overnight, but that's just not going to happen.

  3. That doesn't contradict anything I said.

    Things being as they appear, and marching us toward a military escalation against Russia, is also reassuring our allies and the intl community -- who are just as ignorant, clueless, soft, and reckless as our Deep State is.

    Merely not going to nuclear war against Russia is not as against-the-grain as pulling out of NATO overnight. Retarded argument to equate the two.

  4. Or maybe this event is totally divorced from any particular "direction," multiple interpretations being offered by the administration itself, and all speculation on it is spectacularly futile.

  5. There's no multiple interpretations of the airstrike -- it really happened, and everyone knows it.

    Regime change is not a multiple interpretation, only ambiguity is whether they try it simultaneous with knocking out ISIS or do ISIS first, how a successor would be chosen, etc.

    Innuendo about Russian complicity in chem attack is not subject to denials by other elements of the govt.

    We're not "speculating" in order to find out what's really going on -- we're trying to figure out how to behave given what we can observe. I started out saying that we don't know which scenario is true, but concluded with the "as it appears" scenario is more likely than the 4D / counter-intuitive scenario, and it has far more serious consequences.

    So whether or not it is ultimately true, that's the scenario we should assume is true and act accordingly.

  6. I'm starting to think this may really be more about giving a warning to North Korea given recent events. You're definitely seeing that particular "possible explanation" in the media more. As it is the administration is kind of all over the place at the moment though. I think it's too early to really make a strong judgment. But I think it's a theory worth considering.


  7. granted, i think if they were going to hit north korea, the president would order more than just one strike group into the area and a ton of destroyer escorts and subs. still it does look like trump is attempting some sort of quid pro quo with china over the north korean situation. just judging by his decision to order the strikes during his meeting with xi and subsequent tweets.

  8. They took all the precautions to make sure Russian personnel weren't harmed, hardly marching to war.

  9. Let's warn Korea by hitting Syria. If they had hit a penguin cluster in Antarctica, would the Russians take note?

  10. "hardly marching to war."


    His military sources say they're already spinning up. And don't quibble about the exact number preparing to be sent.

  11. The Korea angle is another rationalization -- there's little potential for WWIII to break out in Korea, even considering China is there.

    Could get bad, but the situation is much more volatile in the M.E. -- Russia, local powers, US, NATO, etc.

    To keep things from getting too risky too early, it would've made more sense to give Korea a slap on the wrist, as a message to Russia, Syria, and Iran (assuming we should be threatening them, rather than working with them, in the M.E.).

    Slapping Syria on the wrist risks an escalation toward WWIII, which is too much to be balanced by the benefit of sending Korea a message.

  12. Russia's Ministry of Defense in the last several hours:


    Минобороны России‏ @mod_russia

    #SYRIA Insurgents are delivering toxic substances to areas of Khan Sheikhoun, Jira airport, East Ghouta and to the west from Aleppo


    Минобороны России‏ @mod_russia
    Insurgents are aimed to attract another reason for accusations of using chemical weapons by Syrian government & provoke new US attacks

    Most of their tweets are in Russian, so this appears to be for American or Western consumption. Appeals?

  13. The basic conclusion I'm coming to (w/ help from one of my favorite memes)...This needs to be done with crying Trump: I never meant to start a war, I just wanted to take the oil

    Putin: I never meant to start a war, I just wanted you to let me in

    1. Just saw the "Trump says not going into Syria" news

      Committed or AB testing, we need to mobilize to THANK him. I'll be calling the WH switchboard tomorrow.

  14. Yes, everyone needs to speak out now. We didn't vote for new wars.

  15. Again, you have yet to supply any evidence that the military wing of the Deep State can effectively leverage Trump. What are they going to do? Stage a coup against him? Order the grunts to disregard the president's authority? We haven't quite reached the stage of banana republic where the military controls society and in any case the lowest ranks largely favor Trump to begin with. If their generals tell them one thing and the president another, most would go along with the latter.

  16. "Take the oil"

    This was probably the biggest contradiction of Trump's: the wars were the greatest mistakes ever, but I always said, "take the oil".

    We know these things were planned out long ago and we know that Trump is a realist on the ME. We know a non-stop scorched earth campaign has been run against him using fake dossiers and Intel that shows up in the MSM. We know it suddenly stopped when he missiled Syria. We also know Trump likes oil. Trump likes oil so much that Exxon Mobile is the Secretary of State, lol.

  17. "If their generals tell them one thing and the president another, most would go along with the latter."

    Maybe, maybe not. And maybe they go rogue along with CIA buddies and stage a foreign intervention that pulls Trump into a conflict. Say, launch coup against Assad a la Iran 1953.

    By the time rogue elements have pulled it off, it's too late to put the toothpaste back in the tube, and Trump has to deal with their big fat mess.

    There's all kinds of ways the military people can weaken him.

  18. Re: "We're not going into Syria," that's welcome news but still doesn't mean we aren't headed toward an armed confrontation with Russia. Just not in the most suicidal way imaginable.

    They are still talking regime change, and that has to be taken off the table before we breathe a sigh of relief. Maybe they will do so after Tillerson's visit to Moscow tomorrow. If not, that is still a sticking point.

    And they're still saying they'll strike Assad again if he uses chemicals "again," still without showing any evidence of the original. Putin said he expects the US to attack Damascus, and blame the destruction on Assad, meaning perhaps drop some chlorine themselves and get the propaganda machine to pin it on Assad.

    Well then, we'd be bombing Assad all over again.

    The invasion plan that they're coming out with now (Mattis talking about it, and a source for Jack Posobiec), is sending in Kurds and Sunnis (jihadists) from Jordan to take out ISIS, and presumably Assad as well, whether simultaneously or one of them first.

    This is not as flagrant as sending in a bunch of Americans to take out Assad, but is functionally the same thing in the eyes of Russia -- taking out their guy, trying to influence who the successor will be, how the map will be re-drawn if at all, who will get which type of military bases installed, and who will benefit from the economic spoils (pipelines).

    To repeat: Russia is the only big country to invest in winning the Syrian Civil War (Iran too). They will expect to get the spoils and be the primary shapers. Fairness and skin-in-the-game.

    If the US tries to derail those efforts, and steal the prize after somebody else took down the beast, they will still be risking armed response from Russia. Just because it would be a mercenary rather than American invasion force doesn't change that calculation for Russia.

  19. http://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/iran-the-destabilizer/

    Giraldi worries about Iran. Reading over it, string of reminders of our bellicosity toward Iran, I'm reminded of another thing people across the spectrum downplay: we have been awful or downright evil with how we've treated so many countries that maybe a couple have growing anger added on top of their gripes. Rape of Russia your average American knows nothing about.
    The bad reputation of Yankees in the South to this day is more a legacy of Reconstruction than the Civil War itself. And the Yankees didn't come back so haughtily 20 years later like we are with Russia. And the Yankees didn't come back to foment political and immorality revolution. And so on and on.

    I'm afraid of blowback. Because we so richly deserve it.

  20. In one of those interviews around the time Ahmadinejad visited New York, or maybe a year after or something, the interviewer brought up how much the Iranian leaders hates America.

    Trump says something like, "Well, and maybe he has some reasons not to like us, y'know..." (Can't find the clip now.)

    I don't know if he was thinking of the 1953 coup in particular, or was just talking like a dealmaker addressing the other side's concerns in general, rather than denounce them and storm off for good.

    That guy who wrote the Unz column should have done his homework, though -- if not original work, at least have someone pass him along the post I wrote on Trump's history of wanting to shift away from Saudis and toward Iran. It's not a secret, and not hard to find out.

    But it's one of those seismic shifts that everyone wants to pretend will never happen -- just like Trump never advocated for single-payer healthcare or a double-digit tax on *net worth* for the top 1% in order to pay off our debt.

    Major re-alignments like that hurt people's brains and make them block it out of sight.

    I like making people's brains hurt, though, so I'm going to keep digging through Trump's old interviews to find out how much more Nader / Bernie material there is.

  21. OT, a light subject: #KS04 race tonight. I know the basic gist of what everyone says about it: the GOP ran an uninspiring TrueCon candidate rather than a populist in a heavily red district. Many Dems have gotten their hopes up about this election, I guess because polling looked good.

    But, I wanted to have a little different fun with it, though, and consider a Maths-intuition angle (emphatically not a feelings/moral angle)...

    Yesterday, I finally decided to read a little about this race that had so many Dems salivating so
    I started reading an article and got a few paragraphs in and read, "James Thompson is pro-choice". Stopped reading because he can't win. The math of the Abortion Litmus Voter dooms him.

    Some (very few) facts:
    *Very lopsidedly Republican, Deep Red district
    (in fact, Trump over Hillary 27 points)
    *Gallup: 23% of pro-life voters say they will only vote for a candidate whom shares their views, 19% for PC
    (I've seen others with a more lopsided skew).
    *Voters are at near parity on the issue

    Okay, so let's consider a little more. If the candidates are in the range of ordinary, it would be impossible for a pro-choice candidate to win with these demographics. And when we look at the Republican, everyone seems to agree he's not at all inspiring and his economic views are bleh. A lot of Republicans will probably be sitting home at the same time #TheResistance is dying for a win after the Trumpening. But this guy's not catastrophically horrible; he needed to be catastrophically horrible for the pro-choice guy to overcome his litmus voter demographics deficit.

    Further, I assume that the redder the district, the more pro-life litmus voters there would be as a percentage of Republicans (and fewer pro-choice litmus voters as a percentage of Dems); I assume the reverse is true in extreme blue districts. I would imagine a very red Alaskan district is more Libertarian red and the number of litmus voters would probably be lower than 23%. Without looking it up, I would assume Kansas to be "ordinary" red to "moral" red with the number probably being close or even higher to 23%.

    Just one final observation from over the decades. The liberal MSM seems to have a fine intuitive grasp of the Abortion Litmus Voter when it comes to liberal locales (no pro-life pol could ever get elected here!!) but they don't appreciate the ALV when it's on the other foot. There, the pro-choice candidate's position is a mere footnote to them. And of course they don't know the numbers involved. Numbers? Polling? What's that?!


    1. We have to wonder if the monolithic MSM, what Steve Sailer calls the Leftstream Media doesn't shoulder its portion of the blame for the country being so dominated by Republicans. They all come from virtually the same slice of the population, nearly same views, sheltered, and coming of age when the trends of insulation have become extreme.

      Dave Weigel, one of the most bitter partisans out there, but typically smarter than most, shows he doesn't understand the math of the abortion litmus voter and wrote two very emblematic articles vis a vis abortion:

      "Without the boogeyman of the Obama administration, and without the threat of Hillary Clinton picking a judge to fill an open Supreme Court seat, Republicans resorted to arguing that Thompson would use constituents’ tax money to fund abortions."

      The implication is that this was a rusty, Hail Mary pass when instead, it was *exactly* what the GOP needed to do given the ALV demographics. Further, this was way down in the article. He mentions that Thompson did beat a pro-life candidate in the Democratic primary, but that is the extent.


      In the other, abortion is brought up to discuss a voter coming up to discuss concerns (we have to guess what they are); it's treated as a minor issue:

      "Thompson talked freely with a voter concerned about abortion, agreeing that society should do more to lower abortion rates. He dismissed a last-minute TV ad accusing him of favoring abortions for sex selection as representing his views to a “ludicrous and false extreme.” His final TV spot featured him shooting an AR-15 as a narrator called him a “fighter who grew up in poverty,” but the National Rifle Association..."

      In summary: Republicans would never have gotten their hopes up, invested $$$ in a promising candidate in a deep blue, partisan district if he had not ticked off the pro-choice box. And if they had tried to run, seriously, a pro-life candidate, the MSM would have come down on them like a bag of hammers.

    2. Just learned that #KS04 is the home of Operation Rescue, as well as an abortion clinic there was firebombed in the 80s, and the owner/doctor, Tiller the Killer, was assassinated in 2009.

      In *this* district, these guys ran a pro-choice Dem. Crikey!

      No wonder the Republicans are eating their lunches, when the Dems have a blind spot that enormous.
      I had *no* idea KS04 was this special. But the numbers don't lie and so it's not surprising.

  22. You have to give credit to Bernie for not being that tone-deaf about local culture war topics -- he's pretty gun-friendly for a Socialist, because he has lots of small-town and rural voters in his state who like guns.

    The culture warrior Dems dropped the hammer over it, but I don't think it made much of an impact. It was more his lack of street cred with the non-whites.

    Dems push the culture war to their own demise. They have forgotten that their wins came from being the relatively less pro-corporate party. Now that Trump has stolen the class issues from them, they only have alienating culture war topics -- sad.

  23. Looks like China is now threatening North Korea if they step out of line further after meeting with Trump. To be clear I still don't support the military strikes in Syria. It was an extremely dangerous, risky move to make. One that may still have unintended consequences.


  24. Interestingly polling seems to confirm a lot of what you were saying earlier in regards to generations. The young in general are more anti-war. But the people most opposed to military adventurism are between the ages of 44 to 30. Meanwhile the Baby Boomers and older appear to have learned absolutely nothing from Iraq. Still stuck in a post-war, Cold War type mindset.


  25. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2017/04/12/why_estes_narrow_win_in_kan_need_not_worry_the_gop.html

    It says that Estes' website's policy page doesn't mention Trump.

    Couple points. First, Estes, if his website is any indication, is another GOP wimp. According to even my local fishwrap (The Red Star Tribune), it's tough to find Trump voters who are willing to go on record as having anger or even regret over Trump. Meanwhile, some of Trump's voters aren't interested in generic Republican dude.

    When you consider the degree to which Trump made gains with independents and erstwhile Dems, it ought to stand to reason that a more typical GOPer running probably isn't going to rout his opponents even though his party did very well as a whole in 2016. In special and mid-term elections, the GOP needs to be careful and needs to understand what the '16 election meant. It didn't mean that running on the Chamber of Commerce agenda was what got you here or will carry you in the future.

    Especially in the Northeast and Midwest, we've got to get candidates who understand economic populism. Guns and abortion have nothing to do with bringing our factories back. I know these things don't happen overnight. But if the GOP continues to run corporate shills who won't "go there" on ethnic nationalist issues, they will lose too much ground too fast and will be done.

    BTW, evidently Brownback has lost a lot of credibility via drastic tax cuts snarling up a lot of things including creating a much bigger deficit, such that even other Republicans criticized him, so running a "system guy" like Estes smacks of the party machinery rewarding a veteran operative/player. No real sense of change, or novelty. In coming elections, the GOP needs to go outside it's comfort zone. Now, they're doing a better job of this than the Dems (witness how a crumbling party let insiders like T. Perez and Pelosi hang onto or get more power), but be that as it may, don't let too many guys stuck on the past's failed ideas get too many shots.

    We rejected the 80's, 90's, 2000's, and Obama era in 2016. And you, the GOP Inc., were a part of that too. Leave the Chicago School behind, and don't get stuck pandering to non-historical Americans.

    "He was rated 100 percent by the US Chamber of Commerce, indicating a pro-business voting record.[citation needed]

    He has consistently supported a low tax and spend policy for government. As governor he urged a flattening of the income tax to spur economic growth in Kansas. In December 2005, Brownback advocated using Washington, DC, as a laboratory for a flat tax.[114][115] He voted Yes on a Balanced-budget constitutional amendment. He opposed the Estate Tax.

    He was rated 100 percent by the Cato Institute, indicating a pro-free trade voting record"

    Fuck that.

  26. "Interestingly polling seems to confirm a lot of what you were saying earlier in regards to generations. The young in general are more anti-war. But the people most opposed to military adventurism are between the ages of 44 to 30. Meanwhile the Baby Boomers and older appear to have learned absolutely nothing from Iraq. Still stuck in a post-war, Cold War type mindset."

    Silents, Boomers, and even some early Gen X-ers just don't get it. We've overdrawn our supply of finances, international good will, and blood. We haven't the means or ability to start more large conflicts or intensify existing conflicts in a way that's beneficial to us in the long run. They're still mega high on the excitement of "America's #1" and "we beat the Nazis". Why are movies about WW2 still popular? Earlier generations rationalize every conflict as a chance to vanquish another dastardly foe. You would think that maybe, just maybe, after we took a crap on "Nam and the Middle East which then slithered down our legs, they might've gotten a clue by now.

    I wonder if people voted for different reasons. Older people voted for an ass kicker who would punch more dictators in the face. Younger people (and the Alt right is primarily born after '70) on the other hand were heartened by Trump's willingness to try and talk things out, feel other leaders/countries out and reach for greater stability.

    How do you tell Boomers that are "best days" (of being an aggressor and bully) are behind us? We've got to loosen the leash. We can't meddle in everyone's affairs any more. It's over.

    When will we get a president who frames Eisenhower's warning on the oval office wall?

  27. "You would think that maybe, just maybe, after we took a crap on "Nam and the Middle East which then slithered down our legs, they might've gotten a clue by now."

    Most of these Boomers came of age just as Vietnam was winding down. They hit their prime in the 80s and 90s and saw the collapse of the Soviet Union, first Gulf War, and general American cultural dominance.

    Despite the failure that was Iraq, many of them refuse to learn the lesson. They'll simply mutter something to the effect that Sadaam really did have WMDs, he just hid them really well...

    The 80s and 90s (3-4% annual GDP growth, unprecedented American international dominance) were simply anomalous decades.

    A co-worker of mine who is also in his 30s were discussing the outsized expectations that our Boomer parents have based on their anomalous experience. "Your house will always increase in value". "Your 401(k) will double every 10 years." These are the kinds of things our parents say, because it happened to them. But they can't see that it won't hold true for us.

    The Boomers are a generation of anti-wisdom, passing down lies, falsehoods, and failed life practices to the young.

  28. It's kinda eerie, how the Boomers are now applying their freewheeling, let's give it a shot attitude towards warfare.

    It's bad enough to do this with your relationships, your finances, your diet, your worship, etc.

    Earlier generations are better off, since they weren't as flaky. The problem with Boomers is that they don't know how to say no, or settle for "less". Being patient, respectful, and restrained might require discipline but it pays off in the long run. How did we expect the generation that couldn't push itself away from the buffet (or from insanely aggressive dieting/workout regimens) to approach diplomacy, anyway?

    Boomers are naive in that they never quite understand the payoff that comes with carefully choosing a path and sticking with it. They're always pushing for more, for better, and they can't ever seem to wait.

  29. "Most of these Boomers came of age just as Vietnam was winding down"

    I had a conversation once with a much older guy (possibly born in the earlier 20's if not earlier) who lamented Vietnam, saying that the US blundered by getting too involved in something it didn't understand. Most Boomers and early X-ers seem to have totally glossed over the horribly unnecessary price we paid in "Nam. On some unconscious level, it's embarrassing and distracts from the imperative of never-ending war/military glorification.

  30. I *quickly* glanced at one of the other special elections, the Montana race, with the Abortion Litmus Voter in mind, per the above...

    Montana has only 1 House Rep
    *Trump +21
    *Registered Republicans +11
    *Montana is a western state, I assume based on that fact alone that it will lean more Libertarian (not necessarily more pro-choice, but perhaps fewer ALVs).
    *The populist Democratic challenger does *NOT* neutralize the abortion issue and is pro-choice (in fact, told a story that insinuated he and his wife struggled with whether to abort their child, which seemed to upset his wife an she disputed).

    My feeling is that the ALV is going to play a strong role here, but not as strong as #KS04. Doesn't look good for the Dem. So, let's look at the Republican, Greg Gianforte, to see if he falls in the range of ordinary. He's very socially conservative and appears to be a #MAGA Republican judging from a quick glance at his Twitter; Donald Trump Jr. is, or is going to campaign for him.
    A more indepth look would yield more, but I don't see anything putting him into the awful range...

    Very likely Republican hold.

    1. I just looked up the governor, he is a Dem who is pro-choice. He very narrowly defeated the Republican for his first term, narrowly defeated Gianforte, the Republican currently running for the House, for his re-election.

      Montana looks like it leans much more Libertarian on this issue after all. I don't know where he stood on this issue previous, but he was able to win re-election. I do not know what kind of Republican he ran against the first time, or what kind of Republican Gianforte was during the race aside from being a culture warrior. Is he now more of a Trump Republican?

    2. Oh, now this is interesting...

      "This election will be a referendum on Donald Trump and this administration," Gianforte said. "We're going to have national attention, and we need every single person in this room to do everything you can to make sure we win."
      "Even before securing the GOP nomination, Gianforte went on the attack against Quist. Gianforte used a candidate forum earlier Monday to paint Quist as an "out-of-touch liberal" in a state that voted strongly for Trump in November."


      So, this guy is going *ALL IN* on tying himself with Donald Trump, and promising to do so was what won him this nomination easily in the Republican party after a narrow-ish gubernatorial loss to the popular incumbent.

      It appears that he is changing what kind of Republican he is, mostly with his emphases best I can tell. First off, he's a rich carpet-bagger and he seems to have been both a Jobs! guy plus a wacky diehard social warrior with some kind of relationship to a Creationist museum (?!?) He appears to be haunted for one time advocating a sales tax while getting rid of the capital gains tax(!) I believe it was the last election, he ran behind all the other Republicans in Montana. Not hard to see why.

      Gun rights are a more salient issue to the right wing Montana voter than abortion is, but how much, is hard to say from the cursory looking I've done. The Democrats seem willing to neutralize that issue, but whether the Dem in the special race has, I don't know.

      In short, the ALV has little sway in Montana, only enough to keep extremist pro-choicers away; other social conservative issues matter more. And they appear well-neutralized enough to allow economic as well as state issues like land rights to come more to the fore.

      Perhaps this race will be interesting after all; it's not the "gimme" that #KS04 was. The Republican at first glance is a mixed bag for we right-leaning populists, but a promise to be a Trump Republican is an incredibly strong move. The race is May 25th and a lot more will surely be fleshed out from these two.

  31. Montana is at the intersection of the godless Pacific Northwest and the libertarian Rocky Mountains.

    It's population is rapidly becoming more and more composed of shitlib refugees from the West Coast or from more expensive Mountain areas like Denver.

    They don't care about abortion.

    1. Guns? I don't have near the intuitive feel for guns that I do for abortion. I do know that their numbers are far fewer than for ALV, but they are VOCAL.
      I'm tempted to think that the problem with liberals for gun restrictions is less that they're anti-gun and more that they're signalling: I talk like a fag and my shit's all retarded.


  32. "Dems push the culture war to their own demise. They have forgotten that their wins came from being the relatively less pro-corporate party."

    Libs, excepting the populists, siding with the corporatist "Fearless Girl" statue over the aggrieved artist, Arturo Di Modica, sculptor of the Wall Street Bull.

    What nobody else is saying, but I will: Fearless Girl is so declasse, she looks *exactly* like what she is: a marketing scheme. No artist would come up with this on their own. Only a marketing firm that's all about the *you,you,you,marvelous, beautiful, powerful, YOU!!!* could create that ugly thing. Not that it's so ugly, but using an object of true passion and art for the bennes is beyond gauche...
    Fearless Girl is the Thomas Kinkade of sculpture except that's an insult to Kinkade whose biggest sin was over-commercialization of his sentimenatality.

    1. That statue put into physical form nearly all ads aimed at women for the last 25 years: you are powerful, you are magnificent, you don't let anyone hold you back...
      Which is why you know that Mahatma yellow rice made with real saffron is the only rice you'll pair with chicken for healthy meals for your family!


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