December 6, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11 comments:

  1. The backlash must have been worse than planned -- Trump calls on the Pentagon's Saudi allies to end their blockade of Yemen.

    That this welcome call comes as part of trying to calm down the Muslim reaction shows that those reacting against Israel are also pissed at the Saudis for starving the Yemenis in their quest for power in the region.

    It's the breakdown of "Arab" identity after the Ottomans left as the Middle Eastern hegemon, and have been replaced by the Saudis, Israel, and the US.

    Those trying to hold onto a single regional identity now have to present themselves as anti-(Saudi + Israel + US). Which is not "Arab" (that was in distinction to the non-Semitic Ottomans).

    They're fumbling around for a word, and the best they've done so far is "Middle Eastern minorities" -- Shia, small groups like Lebanese, Yemeni, Syrian, Alawites, Christian, etc.

    Basically, anyone who would be in the crosshairs of the Saudi expansionists who want only their extreme Sunni form of Islam to prevail.

    But the Jews are a minority too, and Israel is small too. Yet they're on the Saudi / American side.

    "Secular" won't do either, since the Iranians are fairly religious, just not puritanical sectarian genocidal zealots.

    Interesting to see them try to define themselves, and the ethnogenesis will probably take a few more generations before it comes up with something plausibly coherent.

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  2. If Trump has allowed the Trump populists to be picked off one by one and let himself get boxed in and isolated he's weak and incompetent.

    If Trump is just going along with the GOP platform because he doesn't know how to turn his own platform into policy he's weak and incompetent.

    If Trump is doing all of this because he never meant to follow through from the beginning he's two faced.

    Pick one and stop making excuses for him.

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  3. I've said ad nauseam since the April coup that Trump was lacking in the godlike quality of omnipotence -- no political capital, being a novice / outsider and totally and overtly opposed to the Establishment's two sides.

    Only his support base is his political capital -- able to marshal them into collective action like chanting things at a rally, or voting in an election.

    And I've been calling for him to utilize this only form of political capital all along. Working with the GOP has gotten him nothing. The greatest and swiftest progress at the societal level was made when he was the leader of a collective movement of citizens.

    He's not incompetent -- he knows the entire score when it comes to what's wrong with the world and how to make it better.

    He's not malevolent -- otherwise he never would've risked and sacrificed so much during the campaign (money, brand value among elites, reputation, etc.).

    He is becoming less aware of the goings-on in the world, since General Kelly has cut off all info that would upset the Pentagon's plan for GOP business as usual.

    The Pentagon brass get 100% of the blame for why Trump may be growing out of touch with things.

    Trump's only personal responsibility may be not wanting to be a mass leader -- perhaps after having been threatened with his life, his family's lives, his fortune wiped out, etc.

    I wish Trump were willing to be a martyr and say "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead" -- but we can't expect that of him. We knew he was a negotiator, and chose him to negotiate with the anti-American elites on our behalf.

    He didn't sign up to be more than that, like a martyr, so it's not right of us to demand that from him now.

    As for the next delegate we send to deal with the elites, though...

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  4. It doesn't add up. If he was trying to make a good faith effort even to negotiate from the positions he ran on he would've made efforts to surround himself with people who were on his side. Instead he brought on a bunch of wall street guys and pentagon people. He did that himself, at the beginning and later on while the populist figures were being picked off one by one. The idea that he was given some kind of ultimatum threatening his family is ridiculous, and if that was possible then no political movement opposing the "establishment" has a chance short of violent uprising. The most likely scenario is that he's trying to muddle through to the end of the term and letting the GOP run policy because he doesn't know what to do. If that is true then he's simply not serious about the platform he ran on and didn't expect or intend to win, or he was serious but now realizes that most of the stuff he ran on is impossible or counterproductive and he has to turn away from it. Either way, nationalist populists won't get what they voted for.

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  5. He *did* try to surround himself with like-minded populists and nationalists -- Flynn, Sessions, Ross, Lighthizer, Bannon, and Miller (junior role).

    What happened to them? The nationalists were purged by the Deep State, acting through the Pentagon brass. Sessions forced into de facto #2 role, with Rosenstein taking his place as AG.

    The trade hawks are still in. If he were a phony populist, Ross, Lighthizer, and Miller would all be gone.

    Perhaps the Pentagon is worried most about nationalism, and purging them first. Maybe they will take out the populists, maybe not -- or maybe allow them to stay, but with no real power to re-industrialize the economy by gutting NAFTA.

    The idea that the Deep State has threatened his family is very credible, especially after he stormed the CIA headquarters and said there were to be no more "columns" (fifth columns) in this building any longer. That was in the pre-coup days, and he obviously got a talking-to about it.

    It doesn't have to rise to that level of threat. They can credibly threaten him with: "Order us however you want, we will not go along with anything that a typical GOP administration would not be doing."

    Mutiny.

    And how is Trump supposed to retaliate? He holds no leverage over them -- no patronage network that he can use to squeeze their livelihood or status, no favors to call in, no friends who control crucial parts of the society (military, finance, food production, etc.) who could wreck society if he were displeased, and so on.

    The only muddling he's doing is trying to figure out how to get anything done when he is being held incommunicado and subject to constant mutiny, as a result of having no political capital within the Establishment.

    And what's so unbelievable that only a violent uprising will wake up the elites? We hope it doesn't take that, but maybe it does. Not advocating it -- you Deep State readers -- but making a scientific observation of societal mechanics.

    The last time there was a major shift toward populism and nationalism, in the early 20th C., there were plenty of collective uprisings that were violent. Mainly by the labor unions, but also the Temperance groups who were destroying saloons and the like.

    Then there was the cataclysm circa 1920, give or take a few years. That saw the northern Appalachian miners, who were trying to unionize the coal mines, taking up arms against the US Army by the tens of thousands (Coal Wars).

    The American and Western elites also got spooked like crazy by the Russian Revolution of the same period. Did they want to end up like the Romanovs, or give the people some concessions?

    Our elites chose wisely.

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  6. Like Agnostic said, Trump had a specific policy platform. The problem is that there is nobody to appoint, since there aren't that many people on his side in government.

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  7. Albionic American12/6/17, 8:17 PM

    We've seen an ongoing propaganda campaign in American churches for the last 50 years now that Israel's existence fulfills some spooky "bible prophecy," instead of showing the ordinary reality that people get ideas from books.

    Christians probably wouldn't have come up with this delusion on their own; some group(s) had to formulate it and insert it into these churches' teaching and keep repeating it to make it stick.

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  8. On the other hand, I do see a lot of comeonnow's points. At times, it doesn't seem like Trump even wants to be president. And especially if those groping allegations against him are true, calling people fat and ugly etc., America could do better.

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  9. Albionic American12/7/17, 7:45 AM

    The belief in "bible prophecy" and its alleged fulfillment in our time also show r-selected thinking, along with young-earth creationism. Christians who believe in the former also tend to believe in the latter, because the real scale of time revealed by modern science makes Jesus' career seem less significant somehow.

    Indeed, the memory of traditions about Jesus could get lost in another few centuries or millennia, if humans manage to survive. Hence these Christians feel the need to compress time in both directions by many orders of magnitude to make Jesus seem important and to give their lives some meaning as historical actors in cosmic events. This results in the radical present-orientation and the deep discounting of the future that we see in religious obsessives who believe in the imminent rapture. Why bother to put in above-average effort to show something tangible for your life and leave assets for your descendants, if you expect to fly off to heaven without notice any time now?

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  10. Middle Eastern Christians oppose this, including those in Jerusalem itself. Yet another Ted Cruz aspect -- angering Christians in the Holy Land in order to give a fleeting sugar rush to Judaizers in Kansas.

    You don't see Catholic (Pope) or Orthodox groups crusading to vicariously conquer Jerusalem.

    It's only from Christian churches that are younger than the Reformation. Without organic roots stretching back to the origin of Christianity, they try to take a time machine back to the Second Temple period to establish roots for themselves.

    ...rather than just join a normal church with existing real roots, and not made-up-yesterday roots.

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  11. The dumbest cuckservative take: "Who cares if this ignites violence and instability? We don't negotiate with violent terrorists!"

    So they concede that there's a gigantic downside, whether you sympathize with such a reaction or hate it.

    What then is the upside for Americans? Jack shit.

    I'm sure it would cause a violent reaction if we got some revenge against Riyadh for September 11th -- but that's coupled with a yuge upside.

    Settling scores, restoring honor, and serving as a deterrent -- it may take us a little while to weed out the traitors in our own government and military, but eventually we will bite your head off if you attack us so flagrantly on our own territory.

    And if we really had our act together, we would "take the oil" and "keep the oil" from Riyadh, to punish them for 9/11. Material wealth upside.

    With these publicity stunts like recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital -- or even if we actually moved the embassy there -- there's no upside to the American people or nation.

    Aside from the backlashes, it binds us closer to the sinking ship of the Jewish State. From now on, they are headed 100% toward becoming the new South Africa. There will only be a one-state solution, the Muslims will take it over demographically or through being more willing to use collective violence, and there will be pogroms like the Jews have never seen before.

    As with the South African apartheid state, we really know how to pick our allies. Forgetting moral matters, it never delivers a concrete pay-off to the American people.

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