October 19, 2017

Tax cuts are elites abandoning stewardship over society; Will commoners abandon acquiescence to elite rule?

Now that the same ol' Republican BS about cutting taxes is rearing its ugly head again, we're hearing the same ol' griping about how it's only fair to cut their taxes since they pay the vast majority of the tax revenues. The apology goes that, It's impossible to "cut taxes" without making it a yuge boon to the very wealthy, and of minimal impact for the working class.

But that assumes that the main goal is to lower taxes, and that the inequality aspects are incidental, which nobody believes. Everyone knows the goal is to make the rich richer, whether or not that benefits the middle class, and even if it won't benefit the working class at all.

By now the mask is off: the elites of our society refuse to provide for our protection and prosperity, i.e. to fund the government that provides these large-scale public goods, whether directly or indirectly by establishing the rule of law, regulations (especially over economics), and so on.

The Pentagon still refuses to defend our southern border, or any of our borders for that matter. They turned a blind eye to obvious terrorists who were training on our soil (Florida, run by Jeb Bush at the time) to blow us up on 9/11, and they have refused to exact the slightest revenge against Saudi Arabia, the nation that attacked us and that continues to be the #1 exporter of radical Islamic ideology (Wahhabism). They instead took us on a pointless and ruinous war in Iraq and Afghanistan, who did not attack us.

Our military elites do not want tax revenues to go toward protecting the American people, but toward trying to (and always failing at) extending the empire's borders abroad. The American people couldn't give less of a shit about whether or not we are in control of Afghanistan, but to the brass at the Pentagon, that is a very big deal -- another piece on the chessboard that they may come into possession of.

On the Democrat side, Wall Street still refuses to use banking as a means of building and sustaining the American economic ecosystem. As far as stockholders are concerned, America is only good for corporate headquarters and the executives who run them. Actual productive activity may take place in a foreign nation, or at best in a domestic setting but with an immigrant workforce that works for pennies on the American worker's dollar. That's putting aside that so much of the banks' activity is speculation -- gambling -- rather than productive.

Given our elites' clear contempt for the notion that they have a duty to protect us and help us prosper, it comes as no surprise to see them clamoring for paying even less for such projects than they already are.

Besides, cutting taxes won't dry up their funding for the elite-benefiting bubbles -- they'll just borrow another trillion from China in order to bail out Goldman Sachs or wage war in Afghanistan. Some future group of suckers down the line will pick up the tab for today's elite debtors, or maybe the country will default and suffer a massive credit penalty -- borne by those future suckers, not today's charge-a-holic elites.

No society has had the elites disconnected from the common people for very long. In pre-industrial, pre-democracy times, the elites provided protection by raising standing armies to defend against invaders, personally leading the charge into battle, and so on. They provided the land to live on and to raise food up out of for commoners, albeit with a decent chunk of that food going to the landlords and other elites.

This big chunk going to elites would not materialize without the participation of the masses in a stratified large-scale economy. The elites owe their elite status to the cooperation of the commoners. If the elites only relied on themselves, they would be dirt-poor commoners, too, with no status. A tiny number of people cannot produce what is needed for massive wealth and power. It is their connection to, and reliance on the labor of, their far more numerous subjects.

In return for propping up the elites, the commoners enjoyed a certain measure of protection and prosperity.

Otherwise, why would the vast majority tolerate elite rule? They could simply encircle the elites with their sheer numbers, march them up to the guillotines, and then that's that for the elites. They only go along with elite rule because they're getting enough out of it, enough to stay safe and to earn enough of a living to support their family. The relationship is normally one of symbiosis.

But once the elites begin to hold back on protection and prosperity, they become a big fat parasite on the poor host. Then it becomes only a matter of time before the host tries, by more and more desperate measures, to excise the parasite and begin healing.

Today's elites are so insulated by their constant in-fighting and hyper-competitiveness against one another, that they don't realize how despised they have become by the common people. And once that trust is lost, by continued abdication of their elite duties, it becomes impossible to win it back with just words and promises. They will settle for nothing short of a purge of the elites and a whole new group of leaders, a whole new vision of how society ought to work, and a whole new attitude toward their subjects.

That's why they elected the guy who campaigned against the "rigged system," who expressed frustration with both parties of leadership, and who promised to "drain the swamp" in the nation's capital.

The elites have responded by taking the people's ambassador hostage and running society exactly the way it has been run for the past 40 years. Draining the swamp is not happening (not just at a slower pace than we'd want, but the re-growth of the swamp), the nationalist project has been halted for the time being by the purge of Trump supporters in the national security apparatus, and it still remains to be seen if the populist themes will get any real action like gutting NAFTA and slamming 35% tariffs on corporations who fire Americans in search of cheap labor abroad.

Trump is only one man, with few supporters inside the government or elite factions, and who as a total outsider came into the White House with zero political capital. So we must blame the elites for all of the bad things that are still getting worse. And most people do. They see who the real problem is -- not Trump, but the GOP Congress, its donors like the Koch brothers, and its elite factions like agriculture and the military who insist on cheap labor and open-borders multiculturalism (which empires necessarily are).

The fact that the Republican Party could be pushing the biggest tax cuts for the rich in world history, during at time of populist rebellion among their own party's most hardcore voters, just goes to show how suicidal the party is. It may be beyond redemption at this point, to be replaced by a new second party -- not a permanent third party, but a new second party. It's only happened once before, but that too was during a climate of literal civil war. Maybe it's going to happen again.

Trump re-election theme: "The Republican party -- forget about it, it's dead, it's gonezo. We're going to repeal and replace the Republican Party -- and we're going to get much better policies!"

The Democrats are bound to hang on and ride this whole thing out. People thought after the election that it was the Democrats who were dead, and the Republicans who had become invincible and immortal. Wrong. The Republicans are still hell-bent on suicide, while the Democrats are at least adapting to the new climate. They're not as shrill about identity politics, framing their arguments against Trump / GOP as battling elitists, rather than racists or sexists or homophobes.

To reiterate: the Dems are going to ride it out rather than exploit Republican weakness to triumph like never before. Democrat voters are not as angry with their own party, and do not want to burn it all down like the Republican voters do to their own. That's because Democrats actually deliver for their voters, even if it's just bread crumbs -- better than absolutely nothing.

In this context, there's a big role for Rust Belt Trump voters to play in getting the Democrats to deliver more substantially on their issues that overlap with the populist agenda. "We voted for Trump, so if you want us to vote Democrat for House or Senate, you'd better propose a soak-the-rich tax policy." Otherwise, the Democrats can kiss Trump voters good-bye.

Obviously the Democrats' framing would not be "soak the rich" as though they were victims, but as making the elites give back to the commoners who are the basis for the elites' wealth and power. Otherwise we're going to see wild mobs chopping off heads in order to free themselves of the parasites, and nobody wants the war to escalate that far. They can frame themselves as the calm reasonable mediators between the two classes, and the Republicans as the "let them eat cake" party -- not a hard thing to do, since that's exactly how they're behaving, even after their own voters told them "populism or death".

While the Democrats peel off the populist half of the current zeitgeist, the new second party will peel off the nationalist half. The main faultline in the GOP today is insurgent nationalism vs. Establishment globalism. And since the GOP is already more of the elitist party on economics, they have nothing to offer the populist-nationalist movement.

After peeling off their specialty area, they have to not be so crazy on the other area, which is hard in such a polarized partisan climate. Democrats must say, "Yeah, we're open to closing the borders -- on the condition that American workers get more unionized." And the new second party must say, "Yeah, we're open to single-payer healthcare -- on the condition that only American citizens get access."

In the meantime, keep burning down the worthless, globalist-elitist GOP.

October 14, 2017

Is dystopia bright, lush, & harmonious or dark, bleak, & fractured?

The Blade Runner sequel may not live up to the visuals of the original from 1982, but that's not because they didn't try. The original was one of the first to establish the visual code for dystopian environments that remains to this day -- dark, bleak, and socially fractured.



Original director Ridley Scott laid the foundations for this aesthetic a few years earlier in Alien, although that movie did not rely on a fragmented social atmosphere; all the characters knew and trusted one another, and were part of an organized team.

Mad Max, also from a few years earlier, had the bleak and fractured atmosphere, but not dark.

It was Escape From New York and Blade Runner in the early '80s that really cemented the contemporary look-and-feel of dystopian environments. That continued through The Terminator, RoboCop, Total Recall, right up to today's re-boots and sequels like Tron: Legacy and Blade Runner 2049.

What did dystopia look like before Alien and Blade Runner? Bright rather than dark, lush vibrant and life-supporting rather than barren decaying and life-sapping, and suffering from an excess of social harmony rather than an excess of everyone looking out for Number One.

Here is a whirlwind tour through dystopian environments circa the 1970s:

Star Trek, 1968

Planet of the Apes, 1968

2001: A Space Odyssey, 1969

A Clockwork Orange, 1971

Zardoz, 1974

The Stepford Wives, 1975

Logan's Run, 1976

Logan's Run

The brightness is self-evident, and so is the lush and thriving state of nature -- or if it takes place in an urban setting, the clean orderly and well-maintained structures as opposed to more contemporary urban scenes of filthy crumbling ruins.

You might object that the social atmosphere was still atomized back then -- it would seem to contradict the premise of it being a dystopia if everyone got along happily. But it was the source of atomization that differed -- back then, the creators of these scenes pushed the idea that individuals lost their authentic connections to one another by mindlessly following the herd, going through social rituals whether each individual wanted to or not, and in general having social harmony enforced and regulated by some higher council rather than organically emerging from relations that were freely entered into by the individuals concerned.

In short, they were the libertarians' view of dystopia, where some council had gone too far in enforcing social harmony. Pushing these scenes as nightmarish came right as Western societies were moving out of the Great Compression, where the mindset was reining in your individual ambitions in order to maximize harmony, and into the New Gilded Age, where the mindset is letting individuals do whatever they want, whether or not that destabilized the larger groups that these egocentrists belong to.

The Seventies was the time of the Me Generation -- the Silents and the emerging Boomers who had grown up under Midcentury conformity, taken social harmony for granted, and begun to "liberate" their individual desires in ways that would break down social bonds and societal cohesion. The dystopias from the tail end of the Great Compression reflect that bristling at a moral order that they viewed as "conformity uber alles".

It did not take very long to see where this re-birth of the laissez-faire moral order would lead to -- a new Gilded Age, a new inequality, and a new ethos of Social Darwinism to rationalize the new material conditions.

If everyone is looking out for Number One, group-level structures will crumble as public goods are no longer paid for or maintained, and individuals will become isolated from one another due to the "use or be used" morality. As stewardship vanishes, so will environmental conservation and maintenance -- there goes all that lush and vibrant greenery.

The darkness not only suggests the hopelessness of a dog-eat-dog world, it heightens the sense of nobody is supervising what anyone is doing, as the very first step toward any degree of social regulation. If anyone gets to do anything they want, it is as if they are all acting under the cloak of night.

Contrast that with the libertarians' view of dystopia, where the overly bright spaces give an almost painful sense of being supervised under the spotlight of a council in charge of a Panopticon. You would feel more obligated to rein in your selfish tendencies if you felt you were being watched so powerfully by a group of norm-enforcers.

The sole exception that comes to mind of post-'70s dystopias is Demolition Man from 1993, which juxtaposes both sets of environments -- the bright lush overworld where councils go too far in enforcing harmony and prosperity, and the dark decaying underworld where urchins do their own thing in atomized poverty.



Of course the intended message from the creators was that the well-fed and bubble-wrapped dwellers of the overworld were cruelly oppressing the starving and vulnerable denizens of the underworld. But it can be just as easily understood the other way around -- that their own choice of moral framework determines the material conditions of the two worlds, not that one is imposing its will upon the other. You can either choose to rein in individual desires and be prosperous and safe, or you can choose to let people do whatever feels good and be poor and vulnerable.

Although not the intended message, this movie still shows a deeper awareness of the trade-off than the dystopias of the Seventies, where the bright lush harmonious world was uniformly loathsome and oppressive. They believed that a society could have both the prosperous and safe world of the Midcentury, while also allowing individuals to liberate their desires. They were libertarian utopians who denied the inherent trade-off between liberty and prosperity.

Later entries of Me Gen libertarianism at least admitted that the two conflicted, and that they would choose liberty over prosperity anyway. Here's the classic Dennis Leary rant from the underworld of Demolition Man, where he concedes that doing whatever you feel like at any given moment means choosing an environment where you "maybe starve to death":



Generally speaking, though, the contemporary dystopias have come not from apologists for laissez-faire but from Me Gen members who did not cast their vote for "do whatever" along with their cohorts back in the Seventies. Ridley Scott, John Carpenter, David Lynch, Paul Verhoeven.

They have more of an anti-yuppie attitude and long for a world with more order rather than more chaos, as exciting as chaos can sometimes be, because they value the group's well-being over the sum total of hedonism over all individuals. They come off more as New Deal Democrats than Reagan Republicans or Clintonian neoliberals. And whether they would admit it or not, they would agree more with the vision of how the world looks as delivered by Trump-the-candidate and Lou Dobbs than by Crooked Hillary and Rachel Maddow (being liberals, they would probably agree most with the view delivered by Bernie).

A future post will look at Surrealism, which shares a lot with the Seventies dystopias and also hailed from the Great Compression.

October 13, 2017

Less popular outrage over victims of Dems b/c they're more likely white-collar

It's only natural that the media would collectively do damage control for one of their own, as when Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein is publicly revealed to be a serial sexual exploiter, and perhaps serial rapist.

But why isn't there more on the demand side for coverage of these practices in a major industry? All it would take would be a few journalists at a few outlets with even a few sources coming forward to break the propaganda cartel and meet that pent-up demand.

Even if more big-wigs in the media are outed and shamed for Weinsteinian exploitation -- whether in Hollywood or in the New York / DC media -- I still don't sense that much outrage at the popular level.

Contrast that with the revelations about similar longstanding patterns of sexual abuse by the Catholic church, the Boy Scouts, or public schools where adults prey on children.

The main difference seems to be that the victims in Hollywood are generally members of the elite -- and that their sexual exploitation was part of their induction into the Hollywood economy. If they want the roles, they have to let some disgusting slug have his way with them. If they don't want the roles, they can turn him down.

Now these aren't everyday blue-collar roles in the Hollywood economy that they're getting -- these roles will catapult them into elite status and wealth.

Most observers are going to see this kind of casting-couch exploitation as the actors and actresses sleeping their way into a job, or into a promotion, which nets them millions of dollars in wealth, as well as national and even international fame.

If, on the other hand, they had to sleep with some disgusting creep just to get a cashier's job in retail, or had to tolerate some fat hairy ugly boss feeling them up in the stock room, that would strike most people as real degradation and slavery. They're working class, they get very little out of it, and they don't have sustainable alternatives -- unlike actors and actresses who could make a decent living outside the entertainment or media industry.

The same goes for child victims -- now that would really nuke Hollywood, if the pedophile rings are finally outed and their ringleaders shamed. That is not consensual, not a calculated move to advance their wealth and status in exchange for degrading treatment, and not a career move they made instead of a number of well-paying alternatives (children can only make money by being in entertainment, not by being professionals or managers or stock market gamblers).

I addressed this in an earlier post about prosecuting pedophiles in order to delegitimize Hollywood. The casting-couch stories are not going to wreck Hollywood's moral credibility. Those reports mainly resonate with people who face similar pressures if they want more wealth and status -- other white-collar workers in the media / entertainment industry, and at most white-collars in general.

That might lead to a movement among media workers to seek better working conditions, like not having to let some slithering reptile touch you in order to get the job. But will it lead to a broader outcry from the public and fuel the anti-liberal side of the culture war? Not really.

The anti-pedophile stuff would, though, and that's why the media is far more dogged in doing damage control over that kind of sexual exploitation. A related post is only four months old, yet the offending tweet from a Breitbart reporter and the video clip embedded in it have already been removed from Twitter. They showed Al Franken at a roast of Rob Reiner, telling a story about Rob being molested as a baby and turned out by his well-connected Hollywood father, which was likely an outing in disguise of Rob himself as a serial pedophile in Hollywood.

But it's not just Hollywood that gets a pass for exploiting aspiring or actual members of the elite. Wall Street took rich people for a ride, yet nobody cares about Bernie Madoff's victims because they were just rich scum looking for a get-rich-quick scheme and got burned by the only type of person who would sell them such a scheme, namely a con man.

Silicon Valley replaces American computer coders with cheap foreign workers, either over in India or by bringing Indians here. Yet there is little popular outrage like there is about the decline of manufacturing in the Rust Belt. Again, the coders in Silicon Valley were more elite, and factory workers in Michigan and North Carolina more blue-collar.

This all traces back to the fundamental split between the Democrat and Republican parties, where the Democrats represent the power factions that are more cerebral, digital, and easily scale-able, while the Republicans represent the power factions that are more physical, labor-intensive, and less scale-able. These are differences at the material level -- how they develop their wealth and power -- and not at the ideological level.

Democrat industries scale up easily and are not labor-intensive, so their workers tend to be more elite. Republican industries are more physically rooted, so their workers will be some elite but mostly working-class (fruit pickers and ranch hands, policemen and soldiers, oil and mine workers, stock boys and cashiers at Walmart and McDonalds, and so on).

By their very nature, these two sets of industries are not equal when it comes to portraying their workers as being exploited. White-collar professionals who have to submit to casting-couch hiring practices are not as sympathetic as blue-collar workers slaving away at physically taxing labor.

Some culture warriors will try to score points asking "Where are all the feminists coming out against Harvey Weinstein and Hollywood?" But more to the point, where are all the women among the general public coming out in anger over how Hollywood actresses are treated?

This should be yet another reminder that gender plays little role compared to class, when it comes to collective behavior. As disgusting as Weinstein's behavior is, most women cannot put themselves in the place of Hollywood actresses who make millions of dollars and global fame on the other side of that revolting exploitation.

But some child who gets inappropriately touched or otherwise taken advantage of -- that's something that transcends class and gender. Working-class women would have no trouble relating to those kinds of crimes, and would threaten to destroy Hollywood if it came out that so much of the upper crust there have been serial pedophiles who have twisted and ruined people's lives before they even got started in adulthood.

The real culture war against Hollywood must target those kinds of crimes, which are far more heinous and would resonate with a far broader audience, and not the casting-couch practices that are less offensive and even then primarily to white-collar women.

Ditto for taking on Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and higher education -- expose their exploitation of naive and innocent young people, and they will have zero moral authority left. Not just sexual abuse of their workers, but financial exploitation of youngster consumers who don't understand how the world works.

October 9, 2017

Good news on immigration: Deportations up within interior of country

Finally some hard numbers via WaPo on the rising deportations from within the interior of the country -- AKA real deportations, not fake ones done by turning people back at the border.

From Jan. 22 to Sept. 9, officials deported nearly 54,000 immigrants from the interior, a 34 percent increase over the same period last year, and said that they expect the numbers to climb.

Total deportations during that period were about 143K, so real ones make up nearly 40%.

When they say they expect the "numbers" to climb, that means the count of those deported -- how could it not, as time goes on? Otherwise they mean the percent increase compared to Obama -- if it rose to a 45% or 55% increase or something, rather than 35%.

Other immigrations trends point in the other direction -- a narrowing of the difference compared to Obama over the last half year, since the Pentagon coup in April.

During the first several months of the administration, illegal border crossings were down 60-70%, but have doubled since April, so that whole period is only down 25%. That's still good news, but not the mind-blowing numbers from the early months, before the Establishment hijacking and purge of Trump supporters.

And that good news will only last a little while, as the Establishment stamps out even more of the Trumpists, and as the scare effect wears off in the minds of immigrants.

I expect the same month-by-month picture for real deportations -- a sharp rise compared to Obama during the pre-coup months -- maybe 90-100% -- and a gradual chipping away of that ramp-up during the post-coup months -- maybe 25% -- even if that still amounts to a 35% rise over the whole period.

Extrapolating into the near term requires this month-by-month picture. If the comparison to Obama has been fairly steady over the months, then we can expect sustained good-not-great news on real deportations. If, however, the comparison to Obama started yuge and has been muted by the stability-seeking Generals, the near term projection is for smaller and smaller gains over Obama, until the status quo ante is reached.

Also, even by recent standards, 54K real deportations is small. Obama's early administration deported nearly 4 times that many per year from the interior:

For now, immigration officials said that they are forging ahead with arrests, which are up more than 40 percent this year. But they acknowledged that sanctuary cities are making it difficult to increase the number of annual deportations to past levels.

From 2008 to 2011, which included part of President Barack Obama’s first term, officials deported more than 200,000 immigrants from the interior every year.

I'm upgrading the assessment of where immigration enforcement stands from not-hopeful to maybe-hopeful -- hopeful if we see data showing a sustained or even rising break from Obama, but back to not-hopeful if the majority of the gains were concentrated in a one-off event before the Establishment hijacking, and if things have been heading back toward how they used to be. That remains to be seen.

October 1, 2017

Upbeat bouncy music peaks in 15-year cycles, last peak in 2012-13

Have you noticed how emo, angsty, and nihilistic pop music has become over the past couple years?

The new big releases by Taylor Swift ("Look What You Made Me Do") and Katy Perry ("Swish Swish") sound like crappy rap/bling "music" from the 2000s, not the high-energy anthems of five years ago. I didn't even recognize that that annoying materialistic song about "If I were you, I'd wanna be me too" was by Meghan Trainor until I looked up who sang it -- totally different attitude from her cheerful debut of three years ago (again, the new song being more in the style of the 2000s, a la "Don'tcha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?").

So I went looking through the Billboard year-end charts to see if I was crazy, and no I was not. In the hit songs of 2012 and 2013 there was a peak in tone that was cheerful, carefree, upbeat, and bouncy. I'm talking about the music more than the lyrical content. Several years before, several years after, they sound more melancholic or phlegmatic than they sound sanguine or choleric ("fiesty").

As much as I dislike music after the '80s and hardly ever write about it, even I recognized something was different around 2012-13 and gave credit where it was due. Here is a post from January '13 giving a rare shout-out to a contemporary hit, "Treasure" by Bruno Mars. As this phase was winding down by 2015, I also mentioned "Shut Up and Dance With Me" by Walk the Moon. I kinda liked "Can't Stop the Feeling" by Justin Timberlake from last year, but evidently not enough to post about it. And this year, absolutely nothing.

Going back further in time, I noticed peaks of cheerful carefree music roughly every 15 years -- the late '90s, the early-mid '80s, the late '60s, and the early-mid '50s. Boy bands reliably show up during these peaks, while girl groups usually fall during the more melancholic and nihilistic phases. This left both the 1970s and the 2000s as decades without any concentrated peaks of cheerful wholesome music. But those many periods are the topic for future posts.

For now, a brief look-back at the last peak in case you missed it. I didn't know most of the titles or artist names of these songs until I went from the Billboard chart list to YouTube videos, but I do remember hearing most or all of them. If you were outside the home at all, they were playing on every retail store's sound system. I just thought of it as "H&M music" based on where I heard it the most.

Taylor Swift, "22"



One Direction, "What Makes You Beautiful"



Paramore, "Still Into You"



Icona Pop feat. Charli XCX, "I Love It"



September 29, 2017

After NatSec nationalists purged, econ nationalists now in cross-hairs of Deep State

When the Pentagon junta culminated a months-long purge by expelling Bannon and Gorka, that was it for the nationalists on matters of national security, the military, and foreign policy. Trump is now isolated in those domains regarding his America-first vision.

In a surprise move, junta member General Kelly has now pounced on Peter Navarro, who has nothing to do with national security, but instead has his own policy shop on trade. Aside from Trump himself, he is the one leading the charge to re-negotiate NAFTA for the benefit of American workers.

Navarro has not been fired yet, though he no longer operates his own shop -- Kelly has demoted him by making him answer to former Goldman Sachs President Globalist Gary Cohn, the chief economic advisor to the President.

The Pentagon and the Wall Street banks are the two most powerful oligarchic factions, and both face existential threats from the America-first movement. The Pentagon controls the Republican Party, and Wall Street the Democrat Party. Since the GOP sits in the White House, the Pentagon got the first crack at their nationalist enemies -- those who are anti-globalist on national security, the military, etc.

But now that those threats have been purged, they are happy to help out their frenemy faction of Wall Street in taking out the threats coming from economic nationalists. They're able to unite around the common threat of "crazy" America-firsters.

And it's not as if General Kelly doesn't know the President's orders on trade: see this article that reproduces almost verbatim a scene where Trump is upset that his economic advisors won't bring him tariffs against China. He expresses his displeasure to Kelly, as though the Chief of Staff were there to carry out the President's vision rather than to sabotage it. Kelly repeats it back -- Yes sir, I understand, you want tariffs.

So what does General Kelly do to help the President get his tariffs? He all but sacks the guy who is the biggest trade hawk in the White House. The Pentagon brass are not only our enemies on matters of national security, but now also on the economy.

This may also explain why it has taken Deep State so long to get around to purging Stephen Miller. An earlier post showed that they are taking out the most dangerous threats first, and that means whoever has enough political capital and influence to realize their goals. That put General Flynn first in line -- he has plenty of connections around Washington, at high levels. Miller was formerly an aide for Jeff Sessions in the Senate -- relatively lower on the food chain.

But it's also because Miller has focused more on economic nationalism (trade policy, immigration's effect on wages and cost-of-living) than on our support for jihadist nations who attack us like Saudi Arabia, or on getting along with Russia. That put him in line behind the security nationalists. But with Navarro's head on the chopping block, Miller's turn will be coming up.

What implication does this have for the NAFTA re-negotiation and other trade matters? Back when the trade team first released their guidelines and principles, I pointed out how little attention manufacturing and re-industrialization was getting. Rather, the goals were to scoop up even more goodies for agriculture and finance, who had already made out like bandits on the original deal.

Reminder: NAFTA gutted our manufacturing while boosting agriculture, and vice versa in Mexico -- they got our factories, we drove their farms out of business.

The whole point of Trump's tirades against NAFTA was that manufacturing uniquely makes working and middle-class people more prosperous, and that farming does not ("All we send Japan is beef"). He's correct. Agriculture made the average person poorer, shorter, and sicker. It was not until the Industrial Revolution completed itself that average people gained back their stature, health, and now had immense wealth on top of it. That also narrowed the inequality gap that had grown so wide under agriculture.

Simply put, if the NAFTA re-negotiations do not move our economy in the direction of re-industrialization, they will be a failure for the economic nationalists. We will never have a prosperous middle and working class by toiling in the Nebraska corn fields, and very few of us will be able to start our own farm-to-table boutique bistro to make a good living off of the foodie trend.

It's either manufacturing or poverty.

Just as we saw the globalists hijack the foreign policy, military, and national security domain, we may very soon see them hijack the trade and economic domain as well. We never thought we'd hear Trump join the "Assad must go" crowd, party with the Saudis, or send more troops to Afghanistan. If Navarro and Miller are purged or at best neutered by demotion, we may start hearing Trump say that the new NAFTA deal is not going to bring back many manufacturing jobs, but the wins are gonna be yuge for the farms.

"Folks, so what if we narrow the trade deficit through boosting beef exports rather than bringing back factories?" That'll go over real well in the Rust Belt that put him over the top.

As in the case of the globalist expansionist military, we know Trump won't believe a word of what they make him say. But what choice will he have when all of his potential teammates have been kicked off the field?

At this point, we can safely say that the nationalists have lost the first major game against Team Globalism, which came in two rounds -- the national security round, and now the economic round. But that doesn't mean that it's a one-off game. There will be future matches to even the score.

It looks like there will be one major battle every year in the ongoing war over globalism or America-first. The nationalists decisively won the battle of 2016, first in the primaries and then against all odds in the general election. Only the head-in-the-sand Panglossians can look at the first year of the Trump administration and believe that the nationalists have had the upper hand. Still, that could change in 2018 as campaign season heats up again, when the nationalists will have greater momentum from the general public.

To win in the future, we must be clear and honest about the present. Where are we being successfully attacked, by whom (individuals but more importantly groups and institutions), and who do we send and what do we have them do to repel the attack and then launch successful incursions of our own again?

Fortunately, a larger and larger share, perhaps even a majority of Trump voters have come around to this overall view of the state of affairs. No serious person any longer views Trump as a dictator, as omnipotent, as imposing his will, etc.

Totally mainstream figures like Hannity, Tucker, Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter, not to mention Breitbart / Infowars / Etc., have long ago woken up from the fan-fiction mindset, once the reality of the counter-revolution smacked us in the face. And therefore, so have their massive audiences, else they would be getting tuned out.

Fan-fiction and hagiography not only don't appeal to many Trump voters anymore (only a fringe was ever as hardcore as the meme warriors), that approach doesn't motivate them into action against the saboteurs of the America-first agenda.

It bodes well for the upcoming battle of 2018 that such a large chunk of Trump voters is thinking "Why the hell won't those bastards just let Trump do the job he was elected to do?"

September 27, 2017

GOP re-alignment uncertain: Challengers are cultural Right, not populist-nationalist

In the Alabama primary to replace Jeff Sessions in the Senate, there was no Trumpian candidate -- someone who would argue against our failed imperial foreign policy, or our trade deals that gut high-paying manufacturing jobs while boosting agricultural jobs that pay poorly (and that go to immigrants anyway). Someone who did not see The Gubmint as the problem. And someone who was moderate, agnostic, or uninvolved in social and cultural issues.

Both Moore and Strange were from longstanding factions within the Republican Party coalition, back to the Reagan era -- Moore from the junior partner, the Cultural Right; and Strange from the senior partner, the Chamber of Commerce.

The battle was more of a civil war between social-cultural conservatives and the corporatists who they feel have sold them out. The original deal was that conservatives would support the business leaders in exchange for wins on moral issues. But for over 30 years, the senior partner of the GOP has failed, then refused to try again, and now resorts to insulting the conservatives for continuing to ask for something in exchange for their electoral support. E.g., John McCain calling conservatives whack-a-doos.

The Trump movement is not a weighing in on the Cultural Right side of this breakdown of the old GOP coalition. It doesn't care about social-cultural topics, but not being committed flaming liberals, is therefore totally willing and open to cutting deals with conservatives if that's what it takes.

Rather, the Trump movement is aimed at repealing and replacing the senior wing of the GOP -- the one that controls the economy, the military / national security apparatus, and the government per se. The main themes of the election were re-industrialization rather than de-industrialization (trade), shifting foreign policy focus away from the Cold War (getting along with Russia, re-jiggering NATO, pulling out of Japan, Germany, and South Korea) and toward the threat of radical Islam (Saddam, Assad, and Qaddafi were preferable to jihadists sent from Saudi Arabia), and making America a country for its citizens rather than immigrants.

Some of those topics overlap with the conservative movement, like limiting immigration to preserve American culture, or getting out of bed with jihadist hotbeds like Saudi Arabia. But others cut against the conservative movement, like re-industrialization, the government caring for its citizens by providing free healthcare to poor people so they aren't dying in the streets, and getting along with Russia.

Enough of the conservative voters accepted this re-alignment to deliver Trump the GOP nomination, followed by the disaffected Obama voters putting him over the top in the general for similar re-alignment reasons. ("I don't care about banning Muslims from the country, but we need those factories to come back and re-build the gutted working class.")

This post from March of last year laid out the shifting dynamics of the GOP coalition in the age of the Trump movement.

The path of re-alignment is for the Trumpists to replace the Chamber of Commerce and the Military-Industrial Complex within the "governing wing" of the party, while the conservatives shift their support to the Trumpists in exchange for some cultural red meat ("Stand for Our Anthem") and hopefully this time some real results (the intent to repeal the Johnson Amendment and allow chuches to participate in politics).

So far, there have been no Trumpist wins during these special elections, or for that matter during the 2016 Congressional elections. Trump himself has failed to support the ones who have run, such as Stewart in the Virginia governor's race (where he damn near won anyway, and where Trump's support would carried him over the finish line), or Gray in the Georgia Congressional race. So far the winners have been Establishment types from the corporate governing wing of the party.

But even Moore's victory is from a Cultural Right warrior determined to wring some actual concessions out of the governing wing -- whether that continues to be the globalist elites or their potential populist-nationalist replacements. He is not a Trumpian himself with an economic and governmental focus, though he is willing to cut deals with Trumpians if that's who replaces the Paul Ryans and Mitch McConnells within the governing wing.

Looking forward to the 2018 races, most of the list of challengers to GOP incumbents also seem to be Tea Party types rather than Trumpists. They hail from red states where "anti-Establishment" means the conservative base vs. the corporatist rulers who haven't delivered on their end of the electoral quid pro quo.

The one exception may be Danny Tarkanian challenging Dean Heller in Nevada, a purple / blue state, but we'll have to wait and see where he comes out on trade, foreign policy, and healthcare (Trump is for single-payer).

There's nothing wrong per se for the Trump movement if conservatives challenge and defeat the corporate globalists. What matters is where they stand on the economy and the nature of government -- if their idea of a quid pro quo is to support lower taxes, de-regulation, free trade, and generally painting the government as the enemy rather than something to be taken over for the people's benefit, then they are still stuck back in the Reagan era.

If they can adapt to the Trump era, they will become more electable with disaffected Democrats ("I don't care if the Senator is culturally conservative, as long as he's going to slam tariffs on Chinese imports"). More importantly for their conservative movement, they'll actually stand a chance of getting something back from the governing wing if it's made up of Trumpists, unlike the Wall Streeters who have sold them out for over 30 years.

If, on the other hand, they become puppets of the Club for Growth, Koch Brothers, and other pseudo-conservative groups that buy off the candidates of the Cultural Right in order to direct them toward corporate globalist elite plans within the governing wing, then they will be less electable (may not matter in red states, but will in purple or blue states), and even if they took office in Washington, they would not be advancing the Trump movement of populism and nationalism.

At such an early stage, it is not possible to tell whether things are moving in the right direction. If Roy Moore can channel his conservative tendencies toward a trade war against the Chinese and against our #1 military ally being Jihad University (Saudi Arabia), then we will see signs of the re-alignment coming to fruition.

In the meantime, we need more Trumpist candidates who make their focus populism and nationalism in the domains of trade, economics, foreign policy, and immigration. If all that happens is Tea Partiers replacing the GOPe, it will only intensify the Republican civil war and dysfunction. We need Trumpists replacing the GOPe in a hostile takeover, to work out deals with the Cultural Right of the party.

September 26, 2017

If Bernie had won, would he achieve anti-Establishment goals either?

Apropos of nothing, what if Trump did not run in 2016? Lots more independents would have voted in the primaries for Bernie, and so would have the Democrats who crossed over for Trump. It would have been Bernie vs. Jeb (or whatever other generic Republican) in the general, and Bernie would have won, whether it turned out to be an improvement over Obama's numbers or not.

We're probably going to hear something like this question coming from our sympathizers on the Bernie side, at some point during the first Trump term. "See how ineffectual he is -- why didn't you guys just vote for Bernie in the primaries? He's anti-Establishment, populist, not psychotic about wars, but he actually had political experience!"

The Bernie people need to take a long hard look at how massive and unrelenting the sabotage of the Trump agenda has been, before he even took office. It doesn't matter if you win an election -- that's just the beginning of the war, not the end.

The political and economic Establishment is trying to plunge America into World War III against nuclear Russia, just to get Trump out of office. Do the Bernie people really think there would be any different of a response if the White House were occupied by some other "crazy" guy with "crazy" ideas about lowering the elites and elevating the people?

Like, just because Bernie won an election, the big Wall Street banks are just going to roll over and accept the 2% tax on financial transactions to pay for social democratic programs? Just because he won an election, the drug and healthcare monopolies are going to accept dramatic losses when the government saves a fortune by going onto single-payer ("bulk discount healthcare")? Just because he won an election, the vast majority of Democrats in the Senate and House are going to be charging full steam ahead on issues that they were eviscerating Bernie for during the primaries?

Even Obama got his arm twisted into a troop surge in Afghanistan of 100,000 -- and the Pentagon is not a member of the Democrat coalition that won the election. But when a societal faction is that powerful, they are going to get at least something no matter which party is in the White House. Likewise Wall Street is going to get something from the Trump administration, even though the banks are not part of the GOP coalition that won the election.

So the social democrats should not be so assured that, if Trump had not run, it wouldn't have been Bernie making that primetime address in April about the dire need to bomb the Damascus dictator.

Just as Trump is being given some lee-way on the trade deal front -- although how much is still very much up in the air -- Bernie would be given some lee-way on negotiating drug prices or something healthcare related.

And the diehard Bernie bros and babes would be grateful that at least something was changing for the better somewhere in politics, but they would largely be struck by as much cognitive dissonance as the Trump supporters have been.

They would probably split into separate camps with their own takes on why the Bernie revolution was or was not being fulfilled -- the Panglossian cheerleaders for whom any news is awesome news, the psychologically oriented who would blame Bernie's motives (sell-out) or his knowledge (clueless), and the institutionally minded who would point to how little political capital he has, and how powerful the various factions are that he'd be taking on (Pentagon, Wall Street, etc.).

Nomiki Konst would be regularly pestering Bernie on Twitter about "Daily single-payer update: Medicare expansions yesterday -- ZERO; Medicare expansions since inauguration -- ZERO; next update tomorrow."

Of course, the issues being pursued would be different -- he'd be getting cucked more by Wall Street than by the Pentagon. And the personnel would reflect that -- his authoritarian Chief of Staff would be sent from Goldman Sachs rather than the Marines.

And it is worth wondering whether the overall mix of issues being pursued would be better or worse than the situation with Trump in office. The Pentagon seizing control of the government leads to a military bubble, whose fat-tailed consequences can go all the way up to nuclear war in magnitude. Wall Street seizing control would lead to a financial bubble, whose fat-tailed effects could cripple the economy here and around the world.

I think most Americans would prefer a financial over a military bubble, as the lesser of two evils -- that's why they're more inclined toward Democrats for President in the period where the GOP has become the warmonger party. Wars are far worse than recessions, and nuclear war would be worse than even a severe depression.

At any rate, the Bernie people should put themselves in our shoes and think more rationally about how collective power dynamics work at an institutional level, rather than focus on individual personalities like Bernie and Trump.

Supposedly they're better at thinking that way than the Right, but I've seen little self-reflection from them (at least that they'll admit) that Bernie would witness his anti-Establishment appointees getting purged from the government just like Trump has, and that Wall Street would be running things far far more than they'd thought possible in a populist presidency.

Just like the Trump movement, the Bernie movement did not build any organizations during the campaign, they would continue to be unorganized after their hero's inauguration, and they would therefore have little means of exerting influence over what the government was doing. They were looking up to Bernie almost like a savior, in the same way many Trump supporters did to their candidate. It was more of a hail-Mary pass than an earnest beginning of a long war.

So what would they have done when they wiped their eyes in disbelief on election night, and found out that the revolution had won at the ballot box? Probably what the Trump voters did -- assume that the worst was over, rest assured, breathe a deep sigh of relief, and let Bernie's appointees figure everything out and carry out their leader's agenda.

Then less than three months into the revolutionary White House, President Sanders goes on live TV to defend bailing out another Wall Street bank, after describing how "flexible" he has to be on important issues.

If they think their side of the populist awakening is immune to the counter-revolutionary assault that has been waged against the Trump movement, they are only fooling themselves.

Our enemies are fighting us collectively and are scratching each other's backs, so we need to organize and act collectively, and vote in sympathetic politicians who will freely give political capital to the populist President rather than withhold it and stymie his agenda.

And just as our enemies coordinate in a bipartisan or nonpartisan way, we too need to coordinate with the other side of the populist uprising. If they have the Uni-party, then we must have the Uni-movement.

September 25, 2017

Bi-monthly political cycle entering downer phase

The up-one-month, down-one-month cycle is going to take us into a low point coming up. See the last report from early July, during a relative high point.

After an ebb in the witch hunt, everyone piling onto CNN, the speech in Warsaw, and the meeting with Putin, who could have foreseen what a disaster was coming up in the second half of July and into August?

The public feuding with Sessions, the Alt-Right looking retarded and killing someone at Charlottesville, the purge by the Pentagon junta of the fellow travelers of Mike Flynn, including Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka, and culminating in the Afghanistan troop surge.

I saw all of that coming -- not the specifics, of course, but the fact that after the high we were going to go into a low again, right on the bi-monthly schedule. It's been happening since the beginning of 2016 at least, and I've been covering it with each turning of the wheel.

The most recent peak after the terrible month of August was nothing big, but more of a lull in the hate and witch hunt coming from the globalist elites, and even building some goodwill during the hurricane response, as well as cutting bipartisan deals with Chuck & Nancy.

The current downturn has already begun, it just doesn't feel that bad because it hasn't hit a low point yet.

At first Trump supporters were excited to hear the end of DACA, but then it emerged that Trump simply wanted it codified into law rather than handed down from executive branch over-reach. Then there's the tireless campaigning for Mitch McConnell's stooge in the Alabama special election, which is likely to blow up on Tuesday.

Legislatively, the GOP healthcare charade is going to piss everybody off all over again when it fails sometime soon. The tax reform plans have been revealed to be typical Republican tax cuts for the rich, which neither Trump nor any other populist has had any input into, but which Trump will be pressed into the service of campaigning for just like with the ridiculous healthcare / Afghanistan / "Strange doesn't even know McConnell" bullshit that the Establishment still thinks we're too stupid to notice so long as Trump is its public face.

Left-wing activist judges are poised to strike down the third iteration of the travel ban.

Who knows how this NFL culture war stuff is going to go -- hopefully no retards from the Alt-Right go mowing people down at a football game.

I'd like to end by saying, Let's hope the coming downturn is relatively quick and painless so we can get back to Trump trashing McConnell and other good things. But the nadir is going to hit during October -- famous for its surprises. We're just two weeks away from the date when the Access Hollywood tape blew up. Time to be extra vigilant.

September 23, 2017

Immigration updates on many fronts

First, some sabotage that flew under the radar of the Trump movement at the time: in April, DHS suspended Trump's executive order to come up with a regular report on how bad the sanctuary cities are behaving.

That article is from the LA Times, but all the mainstream media reported on it. The Trump movement did not notice it because it came just days after the Syria strike which signaled a return to regime change, and created confusion about who was really running the Trump administration's foreign policy (turns out: Deep State). We were preoccupied with more pressing matters.

That executive order came from the pre-coup phase of the administration (Jan 25), and was intended to "name and shame" sanctuary cities by providing details about how the local police departments that refused to cooperate with ICE had led to this, that, and the other horrible crime, or had let some despicable criminal off the hook.

It was Trump's attempt to use the bully pulpit to whip up popular anger against sanctuary cities, to which the politicians would have to acquiesce at least a little bit, or else face the angry mob.

Pentagon junta member General Kelly was in charge of DHS at the time, and killed that executive order less than two weeks after its implementation in late March. The excuse is that some of the data was inaccurate -- well then, I guess we can't just write reports with accurate data, we have to terminate the program altogether. (It is still "suspended," more than five months after first getting the axe, so it's as good as dead.)

The lesson: the Pentagon is a globalist organization that sees its job as managing a multinational empire, not defending the core nation, when those two goals necessarily conflict. They care more about not-shaming radical Islam than they do about shaming the crimes that sanctuary cities have allowed to happen against Americans by foreigners.

Previous updates have pointed out that there has been no data released to support the claims by ICE that, while deportations have been lower than under Obama, they have shifted to interior deportations rather than meaningless "deportations" that turn people back at the border.

You'd think that an administration -- and a President -- intent on proving that it's fulfilling the campaign promises to crack down on illegal immigration, would be releasing hard numbers. Something Trump could brag about, like he does with stats on illegal border crossings.

But ICE has been releasing even less data than it was under Obama, including what eventually happens to people who are the subject of a detainer. Do they actually get deported, or not? Neither the open border nor the build-the-wall side will know.

The excuse is that in the lame duck period, Obama changed the rules about what will be released through FOIA requests -- but it's not like Trump hasn't been President for eight months. Plenty of time to roll back a single regulation from the very end of Obama's term.

Clearly the globalists running DHS do not want the information getting out there, because it will show that the ramp-up in detainers being issued has not resulted in more illegals getting deported. And that there has not been a massive shift toward deportations from the interior vs. at the border. They would brag about that data, if it existed, not hide it and refuse to release it.

Illegal border crossings have doubled since April, so now they're only down 25% from last year, instead of 70-some percent in the first months of the administration. The initial "Trump spook" effect has worn off, and pretty soon those levels will be back to what they were under Obama.

Would-be illegal immigrants have figured out that the government writ large is still not enforcing immigration laws, despite the hardliner President ordering them to. Foreigners see a weak system here and take advantage of it.

At the rally supporting Establishment candidate Luther Strange (the first Trump rally I did not watch), the President revealed that the non-wall options are the only ones in the running for the "build the wall" contest among contractors.

I warned loudly about these non-wall bids months ago -- if the government is so intent on building a wall, why are there two separate tracks of bids, with one group being walls and the other group not being walls?

A lot of Trump supporters who didn't read past the headline, or follow up on exciting stories, only heard about the recent announcement of the four prototypes chosen from the wall track of bids. They didn't read the stories from the week or so after, announcing that four prototypes were also chosen from the non-wall track.

At this late date, how can these non-wall bids even still be in the running?

And yet, Trump tried to soften the blow during the rally by saying that the wall needs to be see-through. How about we "just ask Israel" if border walls need to be see-through? Or have a look at the Great Wall of China? Cameras and watchtowers work just fine.

This was not an off-the-cuff remark, as he said the same thing during Air Force One remarks on Sep 12, with the same risible rationalization about "what if Mexican cartels launch heavy bags of drugs over the wall and the patrol agents don't see it coming and they get hit on the head?"

We can take these remarks to mean that Trump has been informed by the Establishment that there will be no Wall on the southern border, but only some kind of fence, easy enough to slip bodies and contraband through, easy enough to cut a big hole through, etc. Just something empty, meaningless, and symbolic so that he can say he "built a wall".

Does the Establishment really think that the legions of rabid Trump supporters are going to forget Trump's repeated visual imagery from the campaign -- "precast concrete plank" that would tower 30, 40, 50 feet high, so high that once you get up there, you're not coming down easily?

I guess we'll see. Obviously the partisan Republicans will go with just about anything that any Republican President does. But the actual Trump supporters who were there from the very beginning in summer 2015? The iffy and alienated white working class from the Rust Belt? I don't see them cheering for Jeb Bush policies just because they're being sold by the persona of Donald Trump.

It's time to start framing the non-wall as a sabotage of the President and his voters by the Establishment, Deep State, etc., to get them angry enough to demand and even protest for a real wall. Rationalizing some ridiculous fence as the Platonic ideal of a border wall will only result in the cheerleader squad getting dunked on endlessly by the worst liberal shills.

We shouldn't make their jobs easy, and we shouldn't betray the American voters just to save face.

P.S. -- to lighten the mood, have a dark laugh at the roll call votes for the 1986 amnesty. House votes and Senate votes.

Republican President signed it.

Republican-controlled Senate passed it, with R's more in favor than D's. Although majorities of both parties were in favor, 20% of R's voted against, but 40% of D's voted against. Democrat Senators voting against amnesty: Gary Hart, Joe Biden, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, and Bill Bradley.

Dem-controlled House passed it, with D's now more in favor than R's (partisanship). Still, some notable exceptions: Harry Reid voted against amnesty, and so did John Kasich in perhaps his only good vote ever.

If the Dems can re-orient back toward the working class -- a very big if -- I trust them to build a real wall before Republicans would. The GOP is simply too controlled by the Chamber of Commerce and the large farm owners who insist on feudalism as their business model. If Americans won't become serfs, then the immigration system must have open borders and/or unchecked guest worker levels.

Foreign labor flooding in means the death of unions, and with them the evaporation of millions of reliable Democrat voters -- who will not be replaced by reliable immigrant voters, since immigrants don't vote, Hispanics don't vote, and Hispanic immigrants really don't vote.

First the Republicans failed to learn that lesson -- they alienated far more Americans than they gained by pushing amnesty for illegal Hispanics. Now it may be the Democrats' turn -- they will destroy more of their own rock-solid voters than they will bring in through illegal Hispanics (who don't vote).

September 15, 2017

DACA amnesty in exchange for trade wars?

No sane person will claim that Trump got a good deal by promising amnesty for the DACA people, and perhaps more via their families who can and will be brought in, without getting a single concession from Democrat leaders on the issue of immigration -- deporting millions of non-DACA illegals, building the wall, lowering legal immigration, harsh penalties against employers hiring illegals, or de-funding sanctuary cities (Sessions proposes to only take away one-half of 1%).

Obviously, if that's the extent of the deal, then Trump got schlonged big-league.

However, most commentary has not discussed the big news that the other, opening topic at the dinner with Chuck and Nancy -- and excluding Ryan and McConnell -- was trade and China policy. Economic nationalist Commerce Secretary Ross was sitting in on the talk, albeit with Wall Street chaperon Globalist Gary Cohn.

And unlike their blanket dismissal of helping the Republican-controlled White House cut taxes for the rich ("tax reform"), the Democrat leaders did not flat out reject whatever Trump proposed they help him with regarding trade and re-industrialization.

Why would they? Their party has a far better record than the GOP, who seek a return to a pre-industrial agricultural economy where the people are peasants and servants. Schumer has voted against most of the anti-factory / pro-mega-farm trade deals, and Pelosi may have voted against some of them too. On the big one, NAFTA, Schumer voted against, but Pelosi voted in favor. Majorities of Democrats in both houses at the time voted against.

Bringing back manufacturing would mean millions of new voters for Congressional Democrats -- union members -- and in crucial states that cost them the presidential election, namely the Rust Belt.

Giving amnesty to the DACA people was already in the works, since the entire trend has been towards weaker immigration control than under Obama, reflecting both the Obama holdovers as well as the Bushie originals and the boarding party Bushies who now control the government.

The only question was, would Trump get anything in exchange? The Republicans sabotaged every move he made toward "America first", from foreign policy to immigration to trade. OK, no deals to be made there -- how about trying to get something good from the Democrats, who are in a weaker bargaining position than the Republicans?

Trump himself is in the weakest negotiating position any President has ever been in, since he does not have any history in politics -- no connections, no built up goodwill, no favors owed, no trust from the other politicians. Nor does he hail from one of the elite power factions that control society, like the military or the banks, who are the only groups outside the government itself that the politicians would take orders from.

Nobody in government faces consequences from not carrying out his orders, so they are free to either ignore him or outright sabotage him. And that's exactly what we've seen so far.

Since Trump is in no position to dictate terms, he will have to give more at the negotiating table -- being the one who invites the other party, asking them what they're willing to do rather than repeatedly threatening to walk, and making larger and longer-lasting up-front concessions.

Still, he wouldn't be dealing with them if he wasn't getting anything at all -- and he knows that more phony "border security" isn't going to accomplish anything on immigration. But if he gets their help on trade, where the GOP is resolutely opposed, that could at least amount to something.

With no effective authority inside Washington, and therefore having to surrender on the nationalist front, at least for now, Trump faces the choice of which wing of the victorious open borders army to sign a peace treaty with. It's either "amnesty in exchange for more wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan," or "amnesty in exchange for a potential trade war against China or Mexico".

It is the opposite of 4-D chess -- it's called trying to make the best of a bad situation, where you have no power and are at the mercy of two groups who hate your guts, but who you may be able to play off against each other to receive relatively less harmful treatment.

The junta controlling the White House has been sent by the Pentagon, not Wall Street. At least the Democrat leaders do not represent the faction that has held Trump hostage since April. He can work with them more freely, in a quid pro quo fashion, whereas his own party's factions have escalated a military takeover almost since he took office.

We still don't know whether anything concrete was agreed to on trade, let alone if the Democrats would actually honor their word after wringing amnesty for the DACA people, and then some, out of the immigration hardliner President.

But it sure as hell beats the alternative of trying to get anything good from the Republican side of the aisle in the inevitable amnesty of the DACA group.

September 8, 2017

Is amnesty suicide for the Dems or for the GOP?

Now that the DACA people are going to be amnestied, the next move by globalists will be to broaden it to other groups who are slightly lower on the sympathy scale, potentially including all 20 million illegals by the final round.

Immigration hardliners argue that mass amnesty is suicide for the GOP, since immigrants lean so heavily Democrat. They are trying to argue to Republican party leaders that, even if they despise their voters, they should at least back off of amnesty in order to ensure their own survival as a major party.

This is a naive argument, which explains why it is never listened to by the GOP. Most immigrants, legal or illegal, are heavily concentrated in safe states -- mostly deep blue ones like California and New York, but also deep red ones like Texas and Utah. Millions more newly legalized citizens with voting rights in California will be no big loss to the GOP there, as the party effectively no longer exists in that state.

What about turning red states like Texas into blue ones? That also will not happen, because most of these immigrants are Hispanic, and Hispanics do not vote, even when they are eligible. This covers blue state cases as well -- they will not get even further blue, as their Hispanic immigrants will not vote either.

The most recent year of good voting data is for the 2012 presidential election, as studied by the General Social Survey, the gold standard in social research (large national probability samples going back to the 1970s). Let's review the cold hard facts on voting participation. We will stick just to people who are even eligible to vote, assuming the best-case scenario for immigrant advocates who want them to be able to vote.

Among immigrants -- those residing outside the US at age 16 -- only 46% voted, vs. 71% of native citizens.

Among Hispanics -- regardless of race or immigrant status -- only 44% voted, vs. 73% of non-Hispanics.

Within the Hispanic population, only 28% of immigrants voted, vs. 51% of native citizens.

Again, those are all considering people who are already eligible to vote.

The voting rates for all groups are lower in the West South Central region, which is basically Greater Texas. So the largest red state is in no danger of being flipped blue by low-voting Hispanics, immigrants, or Hispanic immigrants.

The only large state that could be affected is the swing state of Florida -- but then Florida has always been a swing state, back when it was mostly white, and right up through 2016 with its heavy Hispanic and immigrant population. So the GOP may reason that it has little to lose there if there are more immigrants.

An earlier post showed that large non-citizen populations do not affect how a state votes, but rather how much of a force multiplier it has. The number of Congressmen sent to the House is determined by resident population, not citizen population, so that states with lots of immigrants get more Representatives in Congress than they should. That is reflected in their weight within the Electoral College when it comes time to choosing a President as well.

But the GOP has already given up trying to be a national party that can field viable candidates for President. They lucked into the presidency in 2000 when the full Florida recount showed that Gore won among voters. They could have legitimately won in 2004, although who can say how much of that was due to the incumbency effect that resulted from the botched election of 2000. But maybe W. Bush could have been the Republican Jimmy Carter and won by a hair, serving only one despised term during an otherwise unbroken string of victories for the other party.

Of course Trump did better than W. Bush could have ever dreamed of, but he ran against the GOP, and the GOP did everything it could to stop him, and continues to subvert him well after he's taken office in the White House. So they still have no pretensions of being a national party to contest the presidency.

And although making Congressional representation reflect citizens only, rather than any old residents, could give Republicans better numbers in Congress, it also might not. The main shift would be fewer reps from the Sun Belt, with its enormous immigrant populations, and more reps back to the Rust Belt, where hardly any residents are immigrants.

In some Rust Belt areas like Ohio and Indiana, that would give more Republicans to Congress. But it would also mean more reps from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and upstate New York. Maybe those new districts would go to Trump-style Republicans -- but that's a nightmare for the GOP leadership. Otherwise they would go to Democrats. Almost certainly not would they become new corporate-friendly warmonger Republicans that the leadership desires.

So the GOP can rationally argue there is little downside to its electoral prospects from giving amnesty to all illegals and even throwing the borders wide open. At least up until the point where immigrants do begin to overwhelm the safe red states in voting numbers (different from resident numbers, since immigrants don't vote).

What about the upside? Well, the GOP is all about cutting labor costs to employers to boost corporate profits. They represent various specific sectors like the Pentagon and energy and agriculture, but they also represent a sector-general class of managers and investors. This managerial and investing class will continue to make a killing pursuing the off-shoring policies it has been getting for several decades now. Instead of off-shoring, it can also bring the cheap foreign labor here through immigration.

In addition to making managers and investors in general happy, the GOP program of open borders and free trade will also make one of its major elite factions happy -- agriculture. These mega-farms are highly profitable not only because of heavy subsidies from the government, but also because they hire cheap foreigners to toil in the corn fields, dairy pastures, and meatpacking plants.

The free trade agreements have all served to remove manufacturing from the US and give it to the other cheap countries, while improving agricultural exports from the US and wiping out the farms of the newly industrialized cheap countries. "Trade" is not general, it is specifically taking the form of American food traded for manufactured products from the cheap countries (clothing, cars, electronics, etc.). That's why Trump always used to complain that while Asia sends us cars by the shipload, "all we send them is beef".

From the GOP's perspective, car companies and auto workers unions do not contribute to the Republican coffers or political capital within Washington, while the mega-farms of agribusiness do, so why would Republican leaders try to make Detroit happy instead of Omaha? Especially when these large-scale farms and ranches all lie within the Great Plains, where the reddest of red states are found, while manufacturing plants are in purple states at best, and deep blue states at worst.

The Republican party's grand vision is to reverse the Industrial Revolution and have a nation's residents toiling in the fields, or performing menial servant labor waiting on people with money. They want us to go back to the feudal ages, where the GOP will enjoy the support of the landed aristocracy.

Therefore, it makes perfect sense that they would want to import hordes of field-toilers and servant-peasants from parts of the world that never launched their own Industrial Revolution. Especially when there is no electoral downside. Any self-preservation argument to the GOP leadership is doomed to failure, because they know better than you do what is good for their own preservation. They will only chuckle at your naivete.

* * * * *

On the other hand, large-scale immigration is a disaster to the Democrat party, whether they know it or not.

Sure, you could say as I just did about the GOP, "They would know better than you what is in their own interests as a party," but then the Democrats just got wiped out in a historic upset, losing many states that were solid blue for decades -- Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, a district in Maine, and essentially Minnesota (spoiled only by a third-party conservative).

So far, zero states have flipped from red to blue due to demographic replacement by immigrants. Rather, it has been white liberal yuppie carpetbaggers who have recently flipped red states blue. They are a far larger population size, they are all eligible to vote, and they turn out at high rates.

But now we've seen six medium-sized states defect en masse from the blue column, showing that it is the Democrats who are truly out of touch with what preserves their party. Not immigrants, but the (white) working class in the Industrial Midwest, who have much higher labor union membership rates than others around the country. Like yuppies, union members are already eligible to vote, are organized politically, and turn out at high rates. If you lose enough union rank-and-file support, kiss the Midwest goodbye.

There are about 15 million union members today, equal to estimates of the illegal immigrant population. Which group is more important to keep, if their interests are opposed and will not come as a combined bloc?

Back to the GSS statistics: for eligible voters, 81% voted among people who are union members or are married to one, vs. 67% among non-union households. And they are not clustered in deep blue or deep red states. Compared to non-union voters, union-linked voters were more likely to come from blue safe-havens like the Mid-Atlantic and Pacific regions, but also from the East North Central region (OH, MI, IN, IL, WI), and presumably the Great Lakes by extension.

Only Illinois is a deep blue state, and Indiana a deep red state. Ohio is usually a swing state, and although Michigan and Wisconsin voted reliably blue, it was not by a large margin -- enough for Trump to steal them away by appealing to Rust Belt working class whites.

As an inverse of the GOP, the Democrat party does not rely on the generalized corporate managerial and investing class, although it does have the backing of specific factions like Wall Street and Silicon Valley. It also relies on labor unions, and enough of them are still industrial unions rather than public sector service unions -- at least in the key Rust Belt states, rather than safe states like California.

Once those manufacturing plants are destroyed through off-shoring, the new workers in the cheap countries will not be joining unions, let alone voting in American elections for the pro-union party. So there goes millions of reliable Democrat voters. Even if the plants are kept in America, but operated by cheap foreign labor, the immigrant workers will not be unionized, and again -- bye-bye millions of reliable Democrat voters, in crucial states no less.

It is out of self-preservation that the Democrats have opposed the free trade deals for decades. Enough of them are neoliberals who vote with the majority of Republicans to push them through, and only neoliberals are allowed to become Democrat Presidents. But the majority of Congressional Democrats in both houses have opposed them, from NAFTA to permanent normal trade relations with China to CAFTA to South Korea to Trade Promotion Authority for negotiating the TPP.

Yep, the Republicans are so rotten that they make us find a few good things about the voting records of some of the most horrendous Democrats ever to serve -- Chuck Schumer, Hillary Clinton, Barrack Obama, Harry Reid, Sherrod Brown, even Bob Menendez, voted against most or all of these anti-factory / pro-mega-farm deals.

It's not that the Democrats look after their constituents better than the GOP does. It's that the Democrats' constituents include large numbers of organized labor in high-paying sectors like manufacturing, whereas the GOP looks after the landed aristocracy in the Plains. The only sector with a large number of employees who vote reliably Republican, and whom the GOP looks after, is the military.

But that just means the GOP tries to inflate military bubbles so that more and more members of the military have "something to do somewhere around the world," rather than use them effectively for specific purposes when our national interests are clearly defined and large in magnitude. Most of that labor is not put toward truly productive use, and those guys could be creating far more value as engineers for an auto company, logistics experts for steel mills, and quality-control for tool production.

That is a large chunk of potential Democrat industry-related voters that could be stolen from the GOP if only the Democrats would more forcefully promote the re-industrialization of the economy, and demand an America-first defense policy to replace our failed and crumbling globalist empire.

* * * * *

It turns out that the Democrats have more to lose in the short and medium term from amnestying the millions of illegals, opening the borders, and off-shoring our manufacturing. That's why the GOP has always been the main vehicle for the cheap labor lobby. If the Democrats don't reverse course on immigration, they will lose the Rust Belt forever.

They are pursuing amnesty and open borders out of identity politics and multiculturalism, which is a crazy parasitic growth destroying their party. They are not doing it out of rational electoral calculations, let alone being part of the cheap labor lobby -- or else they would have signed onto all of those free trade deals.

On the one hand, it makes it more likely to get through to them since there is a rational basis for them to give up amnesty, vs. little rational basis for Republican leaders to give it up. On the other hand, if the party is emotionally hijacked by identity politics warriors, they may not be able to respond rationally. It's all still up in the air at this point, although the number of progressives coming out with "yeah but" arguments about immigration (Thomas Frank, Peter Beinart) is a welcome sign.

The Trump movement has already burned down the Republican party, which refused to serve the people. Now that Trump is beginning to cut deals with "Chuck and Nancy" rather than Ryan and McConnell, maybe the next phase of the movement will be rehabilitating the Democrat party. "Factories over foreigners" and "Medicare for all except those who must go back" -- that's how they win back the Midwest.

GSS variables: vote12, race, hispanic, reg16, region, union

September 6, 2017

Veto bill that only condemns violence from the Right

A bipartisan Swamp team is trying to send a bill to Trump's desk that only condemns hate and violence when it comes from the Right. They're still trying to win the game of getting him to disavow only one side, and protect the far more violent other side.

Trump should preemptively threaten to veto this bill unless it is amended to condemn hate and violence when it comes from the Left, calling out specific groups like Black Lives Matter, Antifa, etc.

To give himself cover, he can cite the recent broad condemnation of Antifa by the mainstream Left, including Nancy Pelosi. The Establishment has already started to sour on its pet militia after a successful campaign to collectively blame the entire Left for Antifa violence, which has forced Democrats to disavow the paramilitary group by name.

Bonus points if he gets the bill to use the specific phrase "many sides" in its condemnation of hate and violence no matter which of the many sides it may come from.

September 1, 2017

Globalists still winning on immigration, on all fronts

Time for another reality check on monthly immigration data and trends, with greater importance now that the DACA program is heading toward definitive action soon.

First, remember from this earlier post that we will be able to tell which side in the immigration battle is winning based on the immigrant group who first receives collective treatment from the government.

There are 20 million illegals -- too many to deal with individually, who must be dealt with as groups. Globalists seek to amnesty and citizenize all groups of illegals, nationalists to deport all groups of illegals. But constraints make each side rank immigrant groups from highest priority to lowest priority. Because the battle is public, each side chooses its most sympathetic and winnable cases first, its least sympathetic cases last.

The two extreme groups are the DACA people, who were brought into the country illegally as children, who bear little blame for being here illegally, and serious criminals, who chose to invade the country illegally and on top of that are a public menace.

The globalist ranking is to amnesty and citizenize the DACA people first, and serious criminals last. The nationalist ranking is the opposite: deport the criminals first, and DACA people last.

Criminals are not being deported as an entire class, only here-and-there as individuals, perhaps at a higher rate than under Obama, but not collectively.

The DACA people are going to get collective treatment soon, and it is going to be amnesty and citizenship rather than deportation. Although Trump may end the DACA program per se, he will not be deporting the "Dreamers". Rather, the political process by which they are amnestied and given citizenship will shift from an over-reach executive action given by Obama (DACA), and toward a normal legislative bill by Congress and signed by the President that will be upheld by the Supreme Court.

Globalist Republicans in Congress are already crafting the legislation (see here and here). That will allow the globalists to win the first major battle on immigration (they already won the first minor battle by neutering the Muslim ban), while letting Trump save face in a loss for the nationalists by nominally "ending DACA" (while still giving them amnesty and citizenship rather than putting them in line for deportation, let alone actually deporting them).

Moving on to The Wall, the prototype stage is still delayed from summer until winter, and the globalists running DHS are still allowing half of the proposals to be non-wall solutions. Always read past the headline: "The four companies [just announced] each proposed concrete walls. DHS expects to announce contracts for four non-concrete wall prototypes next week."

Sorry, but the non-wall solutions should have been killed at the beginning. We didn't chant "Build Anything Other Than a Wall!" at the Trump rallies. The fact that they are going to make it through the finals means it is more likely than not that one of these non-wall proposals will win, given who runs DHS, although that is not fait accompli just yet.

As for legal immigration levels, the globalists controlling the State Dept have kept them as high as they were under Obama, no change from the last report to that effect. The July numbers for immigrant and non-immigrant visas are well within the range of the other months of the Trump administration. Recall that the #1 source of illegal immigration these days is people who get a non-immigrant visa (say, as a tourist) and then over-stay the time allowed, residing and working here permanently.

The monthly average for immigrant visas is now 48K vs. 49K last time; for non-immigrant visas, it is now 836K vs. 826K last time. Extrapolating to 12 months at these levels (and there are only five months left to reverse course), we can expect 572K immigrant visas and 10 million non-immigrant visas during the first year of Trump. These estimates are basically unchanged from the last report.

Both of those estimates are still above most years of Obama. For immigrant visas, only 2016 saw higher numbers; for non-immigrant visas, only 2015 and '16. The decrease from last year is marginal.

Since an earlier post on deportations, there is still no evidence that they have shifted from at-the-border turn-aways to within-the-interior removals. And the total of the two remains lower than under Obama. Sanctuary cities still face no de-funding (one-half of one percent of their budget, under the Sessions plan). Still no collective action to punish employers for hiring illegals. If anything, I've noticed that the illegals working at McDonald's and Wendy's have come back within the past several months, after a brief disappearance during the early months of the Trump administration, before the Establishment hijacking in April.

The only area where there may be improvement is refugees. They have fallen by double-digit percentages, although they are not a major category of immigration to begin with (in the thousands per month, rather than tens or hundreds of thousands that are brought in under immigrant and non-immigrant visas). I would also not be surprised if the State Dept globalists are not simply playing a shell game, and giving would-be "refugees" one of the two larger kinds of visas (immigrant or non-immigrant).

We will keep our eyes peeled for solid evidence that nationalists are winning on any front of the immigration war, but this year has been one of losses. That could change next year, with the mid-term elections heating up for globalist Republicans who find themselves vulnerable in a climate of immigration restriction.

That seems to hold for other fronts in the Trump movement's war against the Establishment -- losing year when there's no election, winning year when there are elections. After all, the Trump movement has close to zero supporters throughout the entire government, and elections are one of the few ways that the citizenry outside of DC has to collectively influence policy.