March 29, 2018

The disintegration of the GOP during '18 and '20, as Reaganism gives way to Bernie-ism

With each round of fluctuating polls that show the Democrats' consistent lead widening and narrowing ahead of the midterms, it's important to focus on the big picture.

We'll start with an overview of long-term political cycles, and come back to the current climate of midterm elections and the 2020 presidential election.

* * *

Political cycles take place over all sorts of time scales -- from the daily news cycle, the annual legislative cycle, the midterm and presidential electoral cycle, and the regime or paradigm cycle.

The last one tends to get left out because it lasts over multiple elections, lasting decades, making it hard for people to personally remember the previous stage of the cycle. (Who remembers when Democrats had a lock on the voters of "the Solid South"?)

We're currently in a paradigm set by the Reagan revolution of 1980, which overturned the FDR paradigm of 1932, which supplanted the McKinley paradigm of 1896, which modified the Lincoln paradigm of 1860, which overturned the Jackson paradigm of 1828, which supplanted the Jefferson paradigm of 1800.

Going back so quickly to our nation's founding is possible because we're not bogged down in the dozens of individual elections, let alone the hundreds of annual snapshots. There is a structure above the level of elections that groups them into paradigms spanning several decades, allowing us to take steps backward 40 years at a time.

Within each paradigm, the elections play out in stages described by political scientist Stephen Skowronek. The trailblazer radically alters the paradigm that came before, and his party enjoys at least three consecutive terms to change as much of society as they can. Then there is some pushback from the opposition party, although generally staying within the overall paradigm set by the dominant party. Then control returns to the dominant party, who extends their original paradigm.

As the paradigm runs out of gains to make, a would-be reformer from within the dominant party rises to substantially alter the paradigm from within his own dominant party. Thwarted by all the institutions and factions of the dominant party, who have no interest in radically altering the paradigm that has brought them such seemingly everlasting success, the would-be reformer falls from grace, earning a reputation as a do-nothing, and leaving a sour taste in the mouths of anyone looking back on his administration.

Then a new trailblazer comes along from the opposition party, who therefore faces none of the institutional constraints of the internal reformer, and succeeds in implementing a new paradigm where his do-nothing predecessor had failed. And the cycle repeats.

Why doesn't this paradigm shift happen with earlier presidents from the opposition party? Because voters must first be of the mind that they're giving the dominant party One Last Chance to substantially reform itself, before they lose all confidence in the old dominant party and choose to give a broad mandate to the old opposition party to blaze a new trail.

* * *

These themes were explored in this post and comment discussion, looking at the striking parallels between the presidencies of Trump and Jimmy Carter, as well as the parallels between rising Bernie and rising Reagan of the late '70s.

Skowronek refers to these attempts to reform from within the dominant party as "disjunctive," and as time goes on, we see more and more of the pattern filling in with the Trump admin. Every time he tries to cut against the Reaganite orthodoxy -- most notably on industrial policy (trade, tariffs) -- he notches a small symbolic win or is wrestled back into the old way of doing things by the Establishment of the party (the entire party).

Still, the Reagan party cannot tolerate these small departures from orthodoxy, since they are intended as a slippery slope that will undo the entire edifice built by their party over the past 40 years.

And they are even more threatened by Trump's more substantial change in rhetoric and values compared to standard Republicans -- trade deficits are killing our workers, we've wasted seven trillion dollars in the Middle East, we're going to build a wall on the border, I don't want people dying in the streets just because they can't afford health insurance, and so on and so forth.

While these pronouncements do not result in sweeping policy changes, they nevertheless take voters out of the old mindset, and open them up to supporting radical change by somebody who actually can deliver the goods. The GOP knows that Trump cannot be that change agent, shackled and neutered as he is by the GOP itself, but they also know that they sure as hell aren't going to make radical changes either.

In the back of their minds, the Establishment realizes that Trump is paving the way not only for the destruction of the GOP, but for the election of an unshackled reformer from the opposition party -- Bernie Sanders, or someone like him.

Bernie's party is not beholden to the Chamber of Commerce or National Association of Manufacturers (Dems voted against NAFTA in both houses of Congress). So he can slam heavy tariffs on off-shored manufacturing or foreign steel and not suffer a loss of support from his elite factions. Ditto for winding down our failed military occupations and expansions all over the world -- his party is not beholden to the Pentagon for elite support.

* * *

Returning to the midterm elections, what does the "stages of the paradigm" theory predict?

An earlier post looked at the record number of Congressional retirements from the dominant party, which also showed up in the last midterm election of a disjunctive president, in 1978. That disjunctive president began his term with his party controlling both the House and the Senate, as does our disjunctive president.

As part of the loss of confidence in the dominant party, they lost seats in both chambers of Congress, although they still remained above 50% and held control of all government for the second half of Carter's term. After Carter's failures, the Reagan revolution of 1980 also took control of the Senate, though not the House.

What about earlier disjunctive administrations and their midterms? See this history of party strength in Congress, with both charts and tables.

The last disjunctive president before Carter was Hoover, elected in 1928 at the end of the pro-industrialist paradigm of the Progressive Era GOP, before the labor-oriented paradigm of the New Deal that was chosen in '32. Hoover began with his party controlling both chambers of Congress, but during the 1930 midterms -- after the Great Depression began to discredit the pro-business party -- they lost seats in both houses, yet still barely held onto full control of government.

The next presidential election in 1932, Hoover's party lost all three elected bodies to the trailblazing Democrats under FDR's leadership.

Before Hoover, the last end-of-an-era president was Cleveland during his second (non-consecutive) term. Elected in 1892, he began with his Democrat party controlling both chambers of Congress. During the midterms, they lost both houses to the Republicans in the wake of the Panic of 1893, which discredited the laissez-faire Bourbon Democrats who Cleveland represented, and paved the way for trailblazing populist Republicans, who kept all three bodies for decades after McKinley's victory in 1896.

Before Cleveland, the last disjunctive president was Buchanan, elected in 1856 as the last of the Jacksonian Democrats before the Civil War shifted control to the trailblazing Republicans under Lincoln. He began with his party controlling both chambers of Congress. In the 1858 midterms, they lost seats in both chambers, losing the House outright while still holding onto the Senate. No progress was being made to avert secession by Southern states -- the pro-slavery Dred Scott decision from the Supreme Court was delivered since Buchanan's inauguration -- so voters lost confidence in the dominant Democrats to solve the problems of sectional tensions over slavery.

The next presidential election, the trailblazing Republicans under Lincoln won the White House, kept the House, and picked up the Senate for total control.

Before Buchanan, the last disjunctive president was John Quincy Adams, elected in 1824 as the last of the Jeffersonian Democratic-Republicans, as the Era of Good Feelings would give way to the sectional tensions of the Jacksonian era. Adams was the only disjunctive president to not begin with his party controlling both chambers of Congress -- they had the House but not the Senate. During the 1826 midterms, the dominant party lost seats in both chambers, enough to lose the House on top of already not having the Senate.

The next presidential election, the trailblazing Democrats under Jackson won the White House in addition to keeping control over both chambers of Congress.

Before John Quincy Adams, the last -- and first -- disjunctive president was his father, John Adams, elected in 1796 to continue Washington's largely Federalist program. His party began with control of both chambers of Congress, and unique among disjunctive presidencies, did not lose seats during the midterms (1798). They neither gained nor lost seats in the Senate, and picked up a few in the House.

This lack of lost seats during a disjunctive midterm could be due to the largely uneventful nature of Adams' first two years, at least regarding intra-party relations that could reveal the party to be a fragmented do-nothing party. The major split within the Federalists came after his response to the XYZ Affair (pursuing peace rather than war against France), which fell during the second half of his term. The unpopular Alien and Sedition Acts were signed during the summer right before the 1798 midterms, so any anger they generated must not have caught on fast enough to throw his party out of either chamber of Congress that autumn.

The next presidential election, the trailblazing Democratic-Republicans under Jefferson won the White House and swung both chambers of Congress for full control of the government.

* * *

Wrapping up, it seems certain that the midterms during the current disjunctive presidency will see the dominant party lose seats in the House, although not necessarily enough to fall under 50% and lose control of the chamber. They ought to lose seats in the Senate while still retaining control, but the map this year just happens to work to their advantage -- mostly breaking even.

Voters are growing anxious and moving into getting sick of the do-nothing GOP that is not delivering on the president's promise of radically altering the party away from Reaganism -- especially on trade, immigration, and war.

The next presidential election, the trailblazing Bernie Democrats will win the White House, gain even more seats in the House (flipping it if they haven't already in the midterms), and flip the Senate for total control. Republicans cannot gloat about the '18 Senate map without looking at how much they stand to get clobbered in the '20 Senate map, which will piggy-back on a wave of populist discontent with the elitist globalist GOP during a high-turnout presidential year.

Below the federal level, the map of governors' races in the '18 midterms looks to upset a lot of Republicans in the Great Lakes and New England, as their populist voters are sick of the GOP being a one-trick pony of cutting taxes to boost corporate profits, and as the Dems re-align away from trying to push social-cultural liberalism on a moderate electorate, while emphasizing quasi-populist economic issues.

* * *

Disillusioned populists who voted for Trump would do well to cut their losses and abandon the sinking ship of the Reagan party. The more Trumpian populists that invade the rising Democrat party, and the earlier that they do so, the more that the new Bernie-style party will be shaped away from the flaming social liberalism of the dinosaur Dems and toward a truce in the culture war, as populist material issues become paramount.

That includes getting the Democrats to pursue immigration restriction -- not as a culture war issue, but as a populist issue. The GOP will not deliver on that issue even when it controls all three elected bodies of the federal government -- let alone when it gets shut out of influence during the upcoming re-alignment favoring the Bernie Democrats.

If the Bernie people don't take up the issue during their initial stage of three consecutive terms, it will be because suicidally partisan Republicans didn't want to pollute their tribal purity by forging a winning alliance with populists from the other party. Younger Trump populists who are not dyed-in-the-wool GOP-ers will be the influential group in that regard, not the hidebound Boomer-publicans.

March 28, 2018

Citizen q on Census will benefit blacks and white urbanites, in mostly-blue Rust Belt

The inclusion of a question about citizenship status on the 2020 Census would help the effort to fairly represent Americans in their own government.

Districts for the House of Representatives are apportioned based on population size, which also affects the weight that a state has in the Electoral College when choosing a president. And there's the matter of how much resources need to be allocated to an area to serve the Americans living there. Our government exists to serve us, not foreigners.

Illegal immigrants should not get any representation in our government or receive government spending. They will have influence over the government and receive services from the government when they return to their home countries, who have sole jurisdiction over them.

Temporary legal immigrants -- whether Indian tech drones or Mexican farm hands -- are still not citizens and don't have voting rights for the limited time they're here. So they too should not be influencing our government, and all costs associated with their being here should fall on their employers, not the broad American taxpayer base.

On such a hot-button issue, there's a lot of confusion, and as usual the Right has bought into the bogus picture of reality presented by the Left -- only differing on whether they like it or hate it.

Early in the 2016 campaign, I discussed at length what effects there are from giving Congressional districts based on resident population rather than citizen population, and followed up in a post from last fall.

The effects do NOT include illegal immigrants voting in our elections, which is the main hysterical talking point from the Right. Hispanics are the main immigrant group, and they do not vote even when they are American citizens. Immigrants don't vote, and Hispanic immigrants really don't vote -- only 28% of those who were even eligible to vote (excluding illegals) did so in 2012. Obviously illegals are going to vote at even lower rates.

Even if they did, they are located in deep blue and deep red states where they will not make a difference in the outcome -- California will be blue even if only white people voted, and Texas is red despite all the Hispanics there.

The true effect is not on partisan balance, but on the strength of the state's vote for president.

California may be blue no matter what, but it has an unfair outsized effect on the presidential election if they have 55 vs. 45 votes due to their larger population of non-citizens. And since the number of districts in the entire country is fixed, if California has more influence, that means some other state has an unfair under-sized influence.

Those are states that have minimal non-citizen populations, but are still large enough in population to deserve many EC votes -- mostly these are in the Rust Belt, like Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, and Indiana.

Within the districts that are unfairly awarded to places with large non-citizen populations, it's not as though the illegals themselves are voting for the representative -- remember, they don't vote. It is their employers who do the voting, akin to the slavemasters from the old South having a say in government, while their slaves did not, even though the slaves counted toward population size and therefore number of representatives.

So the current system gives an unfair advantage not to the immigrants themselves, but to the latter-day slavemasters who employ illegals and temporary legal immigrants, largely in the Sun Belt.

What would happen if we apportioned districts fairly, according to citizen populations? Here again the Right is clueless because they buy into the bogus picture presented by the Left, only differing in liking it vs. hating it.

The wrong conclusion is that the change would penalize blue states and reward red states, penalize Hispanics and reward whites, and although they don't explicitly say so, they're assuming it will penalize urbanites and reward more sparsely populated areas (that completes the gestalt of typical Republican voters).

First, the second-biggest loser after California would be deep red Texas, along with other Sun Belt red states like Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, and the swing state of Florida. Blue state losers aside from California would be New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Virginia, and Massachusetts.

More importantly, where would these districts go to? Mostly to other blue states -- Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania -- and the swing state of Ohio. Oregon could pick up one as well. Some red states might gain a few, like Tennessee or Missouri, and Indiana for sure. But generally speaking, red states don't have large populations -- whether resident or citizen -- so they're not in a position to get awarded more districts.

So the main change would be from the Sun Belt to the Rust Belt.

Within a state, the districts would go to where there are large populations -- meaning cities, not small towns or rural areas. When Michigan gets a few more districts, they will go to the Detroit metro rather than the Upper Peninsula. In Wisconsin, they will go to the Milwaukee metro rather than the north. In Ohio, to the Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati metros rather than Appalachia.

Because districts go to higher populations, and since the Democrats are currently so urban-oriented, the change would not only leave the partisan balance roughly the same -- it would preserve the urban orientation of the party and its goals in Congress.

Finally, within a metro area, the change would disproportionately benefit African-Americans because they're more likely to be urbanites than whites are. If Detroit gets two more representatives in Congress, you can bet that both will be black themselves and will be representing black communities. Ditto for Milwaukee, Cleveland, etc.

Urban / suburban whites will pick up a little more representation, but the chief effect will be to reduce the influence of white slavemasters in heavily immigrant areas, and to boost the influence of African-Americans from places that have been relatively uncolonized by immigrants (like the Rust Belt, where economic prospects are not as great as elsewhere in the phony bubble economy).

On every level, the demographic implications still favor the Democrats if anything.

The change would be entirely within the Democrat party, then. Take away districts and resources from California, and give them to Michigan. Take from one urban metro, give it to another urban metro. Take from the white employers of illegal Hispanics, give it to the African-American working class.

Such an internal shift within the Democrats would be part of their overall re-alignment -- winning back the Rust Belt, focusing on their core non-white group (African-Americans) rather than unreliable non-white groups (Hispanics and Asians), and emphasizing America rather than a multinational Tower of Babel.

There will be a smaller shift on the GOP side, taking away from Texas and giving to Indiana, although again taking from one urban metro and giving to another urban metro, and taking away from white slavemasters of illegal Hispanics and giving to African-American workers in Gary. With more districts going to disproportionately black metros, Indiana, Missouri, and Tennessee will become slightly less red, but still red. Ohio has always been a swing state, and would probably stay one.

In pushing for a fair apportionment of Congressional districts and federal funding, the nationalists on the Trump side should reach out as much as possible to Rust Belt Democrats and the African-Americans of the large metro areas in the Midwest, since that's who the natural allies are. They will be beneficiaries more so than white rural Americans from tiny farm states.

Point out to Michigan Democrats that their state will gain from California's loss, that it's only the white slavemasters in California who are losing anyway, not the immigrants for whom Michigan Dems might have sympathy, and that Michigan's gain will disproportionately benefit their African-American communities.

This should be a slam dunk to get bipartisan support for within the crucial Rust Belt region -- both on the Trump and Bernie sides. Elsewhere support will probably split along partisan lines, but the Rust Belt has enough people to swing the overall debate.

March 25, 2018

Ban everything harmful and polluting: The new nonpartisan Temperance movement to undo the bipartisan libertinism of our neo-Gilded Age

A major shift in the zeitgeist is turning away from the laissez-faire individualism of the past 40 years, and toward regulation in the social interest. It's popping up in various disparate issues -- assault weapons, pitbulls, sugary drinks, drugs, pornography, etc.

So far it is an inchoate shift in attitudes, rather than a consolidated united front movement, but it's going to get there at some point in the near future. The near-term goal should be to highlight the commonalities across the new attitudes, and to band together politically to achieve all of them as part of a single new movement to regulate chaos in order to prevent societal destruction.

That would reverse the reigning orthodoxy, akin to Social Darwinism, of letting anyone do anything and hoping that the optimal outcome (for individuals or for society) will result from unfettered behavior.

In this post we'll be focusing on social-cultural issues, even though there is a similar shift on more economic issues (banks, social media companies, immigration, inequality, etc.). This is like a new Temperance movement, which is running in parallel with a new Progressive economic movement -- just like they paired with each other during the last struggle to overturn a laissez-faire Gilded Age.

* * *

As revealed by a new poll from Fox News, the rearguard Conservative Movement (TM) has failed to win the argument on gun regulation.

Put aside particular items like banning assault weapons or requiring background checks, and look at which general goal is more important -- protecting the right of citizens to own guns, or protecting citizens from gun violence? A bit over 50% say protection from gun violence, a bit over 40% say protecting gun rights, and under 10% are undecided.

Those figures do not depend on class or age / generation. Men, whites, and Independents are split evenly, when they should have been decisively in favor of gun rights, to balance the expected anti-gun views of women, non-whites, and Democrats.

Gun nuts have only focused on preserving their hardcore libertarian base -- gun owners, Republicans, white Evangelicals -- and alienated the middle enough to make them 50-50 allies at best. Like all extremist interest groups, the gun nuts will either not accept those numbers as true, or they will dismiss their relevance and refuse to try to win back the middle.

They will shrink even further into their echo chamber, ramp up their already high level of anti-social paranoia regarding gun-grabbers advancing toward them in a great big confiscation apocalypse event -- which would now seem to be confirmed by how ambivalent the average American, not just the typical liberal Democrat, has come to feel about their cause.

* * *

As the extremists retreat further from attempts to reach out and make deals, the opportunity arises for those who are not rabidly pro-gun or anti-gun to strike grand compromises. As detailed in an earlier post, I don't see these being compromises on a particular issue, with endless haggling over the precise kind and degree of regulation on firearms. Rather, the side screaming for more gun regulation will more or less get their way -- in exchange for giving up to the other side on some separate issue, where there will be much greater regulation, for example on immigration (regulated downward).

Trading more gun control for more immigration control may seem a bit too random of a pairing, though. So perhaps the trade should be one form of harm-based regulation for another. Liberals are rabidly anti-assault rifle, but also rabidly (as it were) pro-pitbull. Conservatives (distinct from libertarians) are pro-gun and anti-pitbull. In a stylized trade, both sides would agree to remove assault rifles from the population of firearms, and to remove pitbulls from the population of dogs.

If the conservatives felt like pitbulls were not enough to make the trade worth it, make it violent criminals instead. If the goal is to reduce the threat of violence, remove both assault rifles and violent felons -- not by killing them off, just keeping them locked up instead of turning them loose back onto the general public to commit further violence.

Or conservatives could push for a trade related to preventing harm -- preventing pollution, degradation, and other forms of degeneracy. In exchange for banning assault weapons, both sides agree to ban red light district activities like strip clubs or legal marijuana shops.

Liberals have their own puritanical views on food and drink, so maybe there could be another trade within the framework of preventing pollution -- the Right gets a (figurative) war on drugs, while the Left gets a war on sugar. Both sides would be spared the sight of people who viscerally disgust them -- junkies for the Right, fatties for the Left.

* * *

These have mostly been material things that could be subject to bans, but there are also informational media that could be subject to regulation in the social interest. During the golden age of the 1950s, government censors prevented all sorts of "bad influences" from showing up in comic books, movies, and music -- today that would have to extend to internet media and video games.

Pin-up posters were fine, but hardcore pornography was illegal. Alcohol was OK, but not marijuana. Violence in movies was fine in moderation, but not gore. Sexual innuendo was allowed in pop music lyrics, but not graphic descriptions. Certain profane words could not be said on TV, radio, etc.

Those were all aspects of mass media that conservatives wouldn't mind seeing a return of.

On the other hand, right-wingers were not allowed to use their own taboo words, and had to make arguments with terms that were not socially offensive per se. Whatever they said privately, in the mass media for public consumption, they said "negro" rather than "nigger," "fairy" rather than "faggot," "tramp / hussy" rather than "slut / whore," and so on and so forth.

Again, in private situations they could say taboo words, or make taboo gestures like the middle finger or jerking off. But in a social and public space like the mass media, these were not allowed.

Would conservatives be willing to bring back "words you can't say" in the media, including those that free speech / libertarian right-wingers might prefer to use themselves, in exchange for bringing back "images you can't show" in the media?

Liberals are more abstract and verbal, and are more sensitive to offensive words, while conservatives are more corporeal and visual, and are more sensitive to offensive sights.

The danger of censorship, on the verbal side, is going beyond regulating isolated words to entire ideas regardless of which specific words are used to express them. On the visual side, the danger is going beyond regulating discrete images to entire scenes or events regardless of which images are used to convey the gist of who did what to whom (e.g., banning all scenes that convey sexual behavior having taken place, rather than just hardcore pornography).

So the compromise in regulating the media would likely be restricted to the discrete items, rather than broad bans on ideas or scenes.

* * *

The main laissez-faire objection to these bans is that they won't be effective -- you can't make bad things go away just by passing laws against them.

First, they certainly do reduce the level of bad things, and that's what we're looking for.

But more importantly, the effectiveness of these public campaigns to "ban X" does not only come from the direct results of the ban. It comes also from the change in norms that is signaled by the broadly popular, publicly supported, and lobbied-for ban.

When drugs and porn are banned, people get the idea that substance-based and sexual degeneracy are socially "out," so they start dialing down their inclination toward degeneracy, lest they be perceived as deviants and treated as pariahs by others.

The ban is like a social pressure -- threatening ostracism if others do not adhere to the new norms that are signaled by the ban. Without a highly visible norm that everyone knows is there, how can violations of it be policed (somewhat by law enforcement, but really by your fellow citizens)?

Perhaps a tacit norm is fine for policing an enduring problem, but then when a new problem emerges, there may need to be an overt concerted effort to signal a norm against it. That will be more likely when technology is the driver -- promiscuity is an old enduring problem that everyone understands needs to be policed, whereas hardcore porn videos streamed into an internet-capable device are new, and require a more overt regulation. Ditto for assault rifles or hand grenades, as compared to earlier weapons.

That's how it worked to drive tobacco consumption, and cigarettes especially, out of the public sphere. The government could raise taxes and limit access to cigarettes all they want, and it would make a decent dent alone -- but reinforced by the greater social pressure that the restrictions had signaled, they all but wiped out cigarette smoking within a single generation.

Banning high-carb food and drink, banning porn, banning assault rifles, banning pitbulls -- all would unfold the same way as in the war on cigarettes. Some direct effect, backed up by an even more powerful social pressure.

* * *

These problems are not going away, and the dam has already begun to break on the laissez-faire morality of the last 40 years. Hardcore libertarians on any issue -- allow all guns, allow all porn, allow unlimited pot, allow unlimited sugar, etc. -- are losing the argument, and have begun to grate on the average person's nerves, especially when they attempt to give an overarching framework to justify their views. It boils down to embracing chaotic destruction-creation, and Social Darwinism will improve society by separating the strong from the weak.

We see where unregulated chaos and Social Darwinism has gotten us, and we don't like what we see, unless we're Boomers who have been shielded from the consequences of their decisions since they were babies.

"I don't know how to define dystopia -- but I know it when I see it."

Now is the time for striking grand bargains on regulating these social-cultural issues, not doubling down on all-or-nothing partisanship.

"Sunday Morning," Strawberry Switchblade (1984)

"Sunday Morning," Strawberry Switchblade (1984)

March 24, 2018

Conditions for DACA amnesty: Affordable housing in 1% zip codes, $25 minimum wage, paid by 1% hosts

Since it seems inevitable that amnesty will be granted to the DACA people, whether or not it's also given to the voluntary grown-up illegals, the populist-nationalist Trump supporters should begin thinking about contingency plans to minimize the damage.

The overall goal is to prevent the enablers of illegal and legal immigration from burdening ordinary Americans with the costs of immigration while enjoying none of the benefits, which instead have gone to the wealthy in the form of cheap labor (business employment, or domestic servants).

Our goal is simply to make the elites have skin in the game regarding demographic replacement.

The political landscape is shifting in a populist direction, so that when Democrats become the realigning party for the next several generations (after decades of Reaganite Republican dominance), it will be Bernie-style politicians and activists who shape society.

These populist Dems feel sympathy for DACA people not only because of multiculturalism (their main difference with populist Trump supporters), but because of their being relegated to second-class citizenship despite being brought here involuntarily, akin to the slaves of the antebellum plantation South.

As a sidenote, a pact must be made between the Bernie and Trump populists to repatriate as many of the voluntary illegals as possible -- that solves the problem of their being second-class citizens here (they will become first-class citizens in their home countries), and does no one an injustice who was brought here involuntarily.

Populist Dems will eagerly support a Trumpian program to make the elites shoulder the costs of illegal immigration, whereby the DACA people would become permanent legal residents and workers -- but only on the condition that they receive affordable housing and employment in 1% zip codes, within the state that they're currently residing in, and that these two needs will be paid for by the municipal governments of these 1% zip codes. Monthly rent under, say, $1000 for a family of four, and a $25 minimum wage. All numbers indexed to inflation.

That prevents mass population transfers to places with low immigrant populations, and gives the DACA people better roots. The state they're living in is "the only place they've ever known" -- not some state with low immigrant populations to which they might be moved.

White people in California, Texas, and Florida will not like this -- but that's tough shit for them for living so close to Latin America.

White people in the Midwest and the non-coastal Northeast will be fine with this -- and that's their reward for not abandoning their roots just to chase fleeting yuppie career prospects in the Sun Belt.

For that matter, African-Americans will be fine with this, perhaps outside of Georgia, where there might be a real fight between DACA people and longtime black residents of the state.

Even within the state, it ensures that working and middle-class Americans will not be paying the price of immigration -- assuming they don't work in 1% zip codes, they won't be competing with the DACA people for employment, and they won't be competing with them in the housing market either, as they live in bottom 99% zip codes. Cultural and demographic replacement would be confined to the groups who have enabled and benefited from immigration -- the elites, not the middle or bottom of the class pyramid.

And by restricting the funding of these programs to municipal governments, middle and working-class Americans would not have to foot the bill for immigration's effects either. Worst-case scenario, levy a national-level tax on the 1% to pay for DACA assimilation programs.

One-percenters who don't want to live next to DACA people can slum it in a 10% zip code, and it won't be the end of the world.

Whatever the particulars shake out to be, the overarching goal is to team up with the rising populists of the Left in order to prevent Americans below the elite stratum from having to pay the many costs of the mass immigration of the past couple decades.

Among themselves, populists on the Right can say things like "demographic replacement" or "cultural homogeneity," but it's probably better to keep quiet about that in mixed company. Definitely do not use alienating phrases like "shithole countries" that will torpedo any chance of achieving the main goals -- which are not to trigger the libs with politically incorrect taboo words, but to improve the material and cultural conditions of the American people.

March 23, 2018

Can Bolton last through summer before getting purged?

He is the worst pile of garbage that Trump could have chosen to replace the already dismal McMaster with. Interventionist hawk obsessed with regime change and totally ignorant of history, making him charge all the more recklessly into disaster.

Even the personality cultists aren't bothering to argue that he's ackshually a good choice -- only that the God-Emperor will use his magical powers to prevent Bolton's toxic waste from contaminating anything of consequence, so don't worry.

Why not pick someone good, then? Or someone who's merely crappy? Why the worst possible cartoon choice?

Here, it's not the Deep State twisting Trump's arm -- maybe that was true when they railroaded Flynn out of the WH, to be replaced by a standard-issue general from the Pentagon. But neither General Kelly nor General Mattis were pushing Bolton onto Trump -- if anything, they'll resist his nutjob extremism.

For that reason, it's possible that he'll get railroaded out in short order. The Deep State could leak damaging private conversations he has, or they could just let him make a fool out of himself before a national audience like the Mooch did (not a tall order for a nutjob), and use that as the pretext for Kelly to shove him out the door.

Naturally his replacement won't be a non-interventionist, given the pattern of who they let stay in the NSA position, but it would be an interventionist who isn't as insane as Bolton -- which opens the job to just about anybody.

Several commentators on MSNBC last night wondered whether the appointment of Bolton would trigger the departure of Mattis and/or Kelly ("moderating forces"), but it's really the other way around. Somehow I think the Pentagon generals have more political capital than some psychotic flunkie from the Bush Jr. admin.

That doesn't mean that he can't fuck all kinds of things up in the meantime, and it's not to excuse Trump from royally fucking up such a key appointment. Still, I'd be surprised if he lasts through the summertime feuding season of hot tempers.

Normally we don't root for Deep State purges, on principle, but I can't think of anyone objecting to this one getting shown the door sooner rather than later by the generals who he's bound to make enemies of.

March 22, 2018

Fake trade war to protect white-collar info sector, not blue-collar manufacturing

A key element of the supposed realignment of the GOP is the inclusion of blue-collar workers from industry and manufacturing -- courting their votes, to flip crucial Rust Belt states, in exchange for dramatic policy shifts away from the Reaganite orthodoxy of de-industrialization and globalization.

Over a year into the would-be realignment presidency, the White House and Congress have very little to show for it. I sounded the alarm in a post last summer, right after the list of US priorities was released for the re-negotiation of NAFTA. There was nothing in it about manufacturing and re-industrialization, but only intensifying the benefits to agribusiness and perhaps getting the finance and info-tech sectors a slice of the action by entering the Mexican market, which they did not get the first time NAFTA was negotiated.

Today Trump will announce tariffs against China as punishment for their theft and coercive measures regarding intellectual property developed by American companies. Whether they steal it outright, or insist on handing over source code, trade secrets, etc. as the cost of doing business in their large market, China has been sapping the revenues of the developers of intellectual property for decades now.

The tariffs are intended to correct that form of bad behavior, and will only be lifted once China eases up on its parasitism of American IP developers.

Unfortunately, that does nothing whatsoever to help out blue-collar workers in manufacturing or industrial commodities like steel, and it does nothing to help re-industrialize our economy. It is entirely aimed at economic activity that is informational rather than material and productive. And those whose jobs are endangered by Chinese bad behavior on IP are white-collar professionals with already handsome salaries.

As our manufacturing companies have off-shored their production to countries where the cost of materials, labor, and regulation is cheap, they have kept in this country the informational tasks like design and marketing, as well as the organizational tasks carried out by senior management.

Informational tasks are not so labor-intensive -- you only need a certain amount of designers working a certain number of hours to design the thing you're going to produce, whether the production levels will be in the tens, thousands, or millions. So there's little benefit to sending these tasks out of the country to cheap-labor hot-spots.

Plus, if the cheap-labor country also gets ahold of the design and other informational secrets, what's to stop them from taking over the entire process from design to production -- leaving the American originators to only market and distribute the off-shored product? That would imperil the jobs of high-level professionals and executives, not middle managers or assembly-line workers -- and American executives are not about to commit career suicide en masse.

So, support for this form of "trade war" against China (or whoever else) fails to qualify as realignment toward the interests of blue-collar workers and the re-industrialization of our economy. It only benefits the elites of the two parties -- corporate managers from the manufacturing sector on the GOP side, and the IP professionals on the Democrat side (including not only the developers but the lawyers who defend it). And it only leaves in place the de-industrialized nature of our economy, striving instead to protect info-tech and globalist management careers.

True realignment will be signaled by a trade war aimed at re-shoring the material production of industrial commodities like steel and finished manufactured goods like clothing, electronic devices, and cars.

On that front, so far the evidence is that the Trump admin (and obviously the cuckservative GOP Congress) have surrendered.

The US Trade Rep Lighthizer, despite being more of a hawk, has already said that they have given up on trying to get a higher American-made content into cars made in the NAFTA countries, which was the only fig-leaf item they began asking for, regarding re-industrialization.

Contrast that with campaign-Trump's promise to "put a 35% tax on every car, truck, and part" coming in from Mexico, so that it wouldn't make sense for American car companies to keep their factories in Mexico, and would bring them back here to avoid the tariff.

Lighthizer and others on the White House economic team have also said that Trump's initial announcement of steep tariffs on steel and aluminum have been totally neutered, as all major exporters of steel into the US will be granted exemptions.

Reflecting this sabotage of the plan to re-industrialize, the stock price of US Steel had risen by a few percent during the week that Trump made the initial announcement, but has since fallen by 20% as it has become clear that the Establishment continues to veto Trump and his trade hawks on re-industrialization -- and as it has become equally clear that Trump continues to show no desire to actually fight the Establishment when they veto his announcements, preferring to focus instead on the theatrics of the announcements themselves.

As the Establishment's co-optation of the "America-first" insurgency proceeds, now we can add "economic nationalism" to the list of subverted plans. It began meaning re-industrialization of the US economy, to benefit blue-collar workers in the Rust Belt (and in the case of industrial commodities, the company owners as well). Now it means keeping our economy de-industrialized, but struggling to protect the yuppies by keeping the white-collar professional and managerial jobs here.

We've seen this co-optation already succeed in the domain of foreign policy and war, where "America first" now means the same ol' false song of globalism, and failing to prop up our crumbling empire, only with different rationalizations -- from championing democracy and human rights, to who gives a damn if our #1 ally is Medieval jihadists who blew up the World Trade Center on September 11th?

We've seen the same co-optation on immigration as well, going from a campaign that pledged to deport millions of illegals, end sanctuary city policies, question birthright citizenship, unapologetically use the term "anchor baby," curtail legal immigration especially for guest-worker visas, and end for good Obama's executive amnesties -- to an administration that will end up not even putting a dent in the illegal population numbers, does nothing to sanctuary cities, refuses to even bring up anchor baby citizenship, ramps up guest worker visas, and trades a massive greater-than-DACA amnesty in exchange for no change in legal immigration until 10 years (i.e., never).

Oh, and building The Wall -- which has now, for the second year in a row, been reduced to pathetic funding to extend existing fencing for 30 miles. That's not what the mobs chanted at the Trump rallies -- "Extend, existing, fencing! For only, thirty, miles!" And who was going to pay for that wall? Mexico -- through all manner of executive branch actions (increasing fees on visas from Mexico, taxing remittances into Mexico, tariffs on Mexican goods, etc.) that did not require a single assenting vote from the cuckservative Congress. Trump doesn't even bother adding that part in when he gets heckled by his own crowds about building The Wall.

Devotees of the Trump personality cult may not notice any of these developments, but they are most definitely being noticed by the small sliver of cautious Obama voters who decided the election in Trump's favor.

That's why all the momentum has swung in the Democrats' direction since roughly the end of last summer, when General Kelly purged the populist-nationalists from the White House on behalf of the Establishment. Decisive Trump voters figure if they aren't going to get realignment from the GOP, they'll try their luck with a realignment from the Dems -- and so far, the winning Dems have been those who walked away from multicultural liberalism, focusing on quasi-populist economics instead of liberal social issues.

The realigning Dems have come out against Nancy Pelosi being the Speaker the next time the Dems take back the House, unlike the ossified Republicans who have not pledged to kick out Ryan and those like him if the GOP were to keep the House. Sadly that included Trump himself, who was happy to keep on Ryan as Speaker after getting showered with empty flattery from the notorious brown-noser.

The labor unions and steel country are a natural Democrat base, so when the Bernie-style Dems take over the government, there will be real advances toward re-industrialization. Realignment has never taken place from within the party that set up the orthodoxy to begin with, and this time will be no different -- the Reagan regime will be undone by a realigning figure from the opposition party, such as Bernie Sanders.

March 14, 2018

Electoral death as admin becomes more Republican, less Trumpian

In case it's not clear yet to Trump supporters, let the Pennsylvania special election be a further reminder in a series of reminders since these elections have begun -- there are no other Republicans who will run on, let alone put into effect, the major issues that scored the president an upset victory.

That means: economic nationalism and re-industrialization, a non-interventionist military, restricting immigration, and leaving the social safety net in place -- if anything, adding single-payer healthcare into the mix.

The Republicans are only going to run on the zombie-Reagan agenda that ruined our nation in less than a generation, and that voters are sick to death of -- especially the post-Boomer generations who did not get in on the ground floor of the looting of our country. These Reaganites include Bill Clinton types who simply presented a mild pushback against the overall agenda, while inflaming voters with anti-American multiculturalism in the social domain.

There is no such thing as "the Paul Ryan GOP" or "the RINOs in the GOP" or "the GOP Establishment" -- that is the entirety of the party. Trump is totally sui generis, and that's why they savaged him so brutally during the primaries of 2016, and why they continue to obstruct his anti-GOP agenda on tariffs, trade, war, and so on.

The GOP is not "going to learn" from the lessons where "Trump taught them how to win". They are an ossified party at the terminal stage of hegemony. How long can they be given to learn how to win? Trump destroyed their vision back in 2016. If they're still ignoring his winning platform, they will not be pursuing it anytime soon. "Give them another year, two years, three years" is not going to convince a normal person. More realistic is 15-20 years, when they will be the mild pushback party under a new Bernie-style paradigm that will last for several generations.

Indeed, the only party showing signs of learning from bruising losses is the Democrats. Bernie has 16 co-sponsors for a single-payer healthcare bill, most of whom endorsed Hillary and painted him as too pie-in-the-sky just a couple years ago. They flipped deep red seats (Alabama Senate, PA-18) by running white guys who talked about social obligations to the bottom 80% of the class pyramid, rather than SJWs. And the only elected officials who are openly in favor of Trump's tariffs and trade war have been Dems.

The Republican party's vision for the future has been utterly rejected by voters as too bleak, too anti-American, and too Social Darwinist. Voters want radical change, now, and they threw their weight behind Trump in order to thoroughly transform the party from within. Since dominant parties at this late desperate stage are too ossified to reform themselves, next time the voters will go for more of a firebrand from the opposition party (Bernie or someone like him).

The alienation of the voters from the GOP will only accelerate in the next years of the Trump administration, as the personnel continue to shift in a more neocon direction.

Some populists and nationalists were hopeful when the Bannonites were in the government -- they got mostly purged last year, with only a few trade hawks remaining (and they aren't promoted to the top, or allowed to see their policies become implemented without dilution).

Some moderates were hopeful when the Manhattan Democrats in the Javanka faction looked like they could influence policy. They are getting purged and demoted as we speak.

That removes any source of heterodox, unconventional, breath of fresh air politics coming from a GOP administration, which will only get more and more typically Republican as General Kelly consolidates his influence on behalf of typical Republican power groups like the Pentagon.

Nobody who took part in a "change election" wanted to see the outcome be George W. Bush: The Resurrection, but that is largely where things are going. Remember: even W got steel tariffs. And remember: the Iraq War didn't kick off until his third year.

As bad as people like Tillerson and Cohn have been, just wait until it's Pompeo and Kudlow. If you hated McMaster, wait till you get John Bolton. It's a final desperate attempt to shock the corpse of Reaganism back to life -- supply-side economics, Cold War interventionism and proxy wars, and austerity on social spending at home (unless you work for a defense contractor or Wall Street bank).

Most of this is beyond Trump's control, as he's only one guy with minimal political capital. Whenever Trump does some firing, the GOP does the hiring. But as time goes on and he goes along with their agenda rather than fight for his own agenda, against his own party, he too will lose some of his luster in the eyes of formerly hopeful voters. We wanted someone who would fight the Republican Establishment, not become their enabler and rubber-stamper.

But regardless of how much voters blame Trump personally, they will give up on the hopeless GOP.

All the action is taking place on the Democrats' side, and since the shake-up and re-alignment is just getting started, Trump supporters can get in at the outset and make a real difference. Unlike the hardened fossil of the GOP, which cannot be reshaped, the Democrats are more like a pile of wet clay that has not been shaped, let alone baked, just yet.

If one of your pet issues is not represented there, it's because you're wasting your time on Republican business fags. The only major Trumpian issue not being championed, yet, by the Dems is restricting immigration -- but then, neither is that being delivered by the Republicans, who control the entire government. Unlike the locked doors of the inward-looking GOP, the gates of the Democrat party have been left open and unattended -- so just invade their territory and dig yourself in as the immigration restriction camp of the Dems.

Like it or not, you're going to have to modulate your anti-immigration message if you want to reach a national audience. Make it less about the threat of violent crime, which is a typical losing Republican theme. Would it matter if we're demographically replaced by hordes of docile Chinese drones rather than gang members from El Salvador? Make it more about cheap labor, and sheer numbers -- the country is full, with too many Americans already struggling to make ends meet. Much more in line with Democrat themes than failed Republican themes about violence, crime, and death.

March 13, 2018

If Lamb loses, blame Hillary outburst and her media amplifiers

After the Democrat candidate in Pennsylvania's special election has gone so far out of his way to distance himself from Nancy Pelosi, in order to win in a Trump district, Crooked Hillary Clinton rears her ugly head.

To share what brilliant insight with the rest of the world? That she won in the places that account for so much of the nation's imaginary stock market bubble wealth, and that everybody who voted against her wants to see black people back in chains.

Just when you thought she could not out-do herself in self-parodying a neoliberal corporate shill who clumsily tries to distract the angry masses with identity politics -- there she goes again.

Since the latest poll shows a slight advantage for the re-aligning Democrat, who is pro-gun and pro-union, if victory slips out of his hands at the last minute -- blame Crooked Hillary's latest deluge of toxic waste upon an electorate that wants nothing more than to see her shut up for good.

Even more importantly, blame the corporate liberal media for funneling her waste through their propaganda pipelines into everyday Americans' households. The journalists are so short-sighted, and so emotionally retarded, craving any fix they can get that says, "You're the best and brightest, and your enemies are scum."

They can't see five seconds into the future, where blasting that message is going to anger voters into lining up against the likes of Crooked Hillary, even if it means holding their nose and voting for another corporate globalist Republican.

The liberal media's job, if they want to help their party take back control of the government, is not to provide the Hillary Clintons of the world with a megaphone -- but to muffle her face with a pillow whenever she opens her big fat toxic wordhole.

March 10, 2018

GOP will sabotage Trump-Kim summit and trade war, as with all other unorthodox proposals; Real change only after Bernie revolution

Regardless of their approval or disapproval of the announced summit between Trump and Kim Jung Un, most observers are still lost in their fairyland view of politics being a war of contesting individuals, rather than of institutions. Ditto for their takes on the recent announcement of tariffs on steel and aluminum. See, for example, this take about his staff shake-up, and this take about Trump playing by his own rules.

In both cases, Trump the individual has "gone rogue" against most of the White House staff, especially those whose role is to preserve the status quo from the would-be re-aligner. But more important than irking the individuals who occupy these status-quo-preserving roles, Trump is threatening the material interests of the institutions on whose behalf these individuals are acting.

With the GOP in control of the government, that means the material sectors of society that are labor-intensive -- the military, manufacturers (not their workers), energy, and agriculture. The senior member of this GOP coalition is the military, whose distinct leverage in the struggle among elite factions is their control of the use of force -- directing where it goes, in what amount, and toward what ends.

Lacking any institutional support from his own party -- indeed, drawing their ire -- has made Trump largely unable to carry out the major reforms he was elected to do. This is unlike the proposals that are more of the same for the Reaganite party -- such as corporate tax cuts and putting conservative judges in the courts -- for which he suddenly receives overflowing support from his party.

Let's look at the prospects for the two recent unorthodox announcements on tariffs and North Korea, while remembering the track record the GOP institutions have had whenever Trump attempted a major change to the status quo (pulling out of Syria and Afghanistan, forcing NATO to pay 2% GDP, making South Korea pay for THAAD, leaving the social safety net alone, talking up single-payer healthcare, immediately restricting immigration, building a border wall, and so on and so forth).

Trump has been able to refrain from joining new entanglements that we were not already involved in, such as leaving the TPP and the Paris Climate Accords before we actually signed the papers. But not getting into further messes is not the same as pulling out of those that we are already in. And the two recent announcements involve messes we have already been in for decades -- de-industrializing our economy, and occupying the Korean peninsula.

First was the announcement of stiff tariffs on steel and aluminum, which were watered down in less than a week. Now there are exemptions for Mexico and Canada, who are among the largest exporters of steel into our country, and there will be two weeks for the other major exporters to get exemptions, on the basis of being friendly allies who don't pose a major threat to us.

That makes it likely that exemptions will be won for the EU, based on Germany and Italy being NATO allies with major US military bases, even though those two are also among the top exporters of steel. Likewise exemptions for major steel exporters Japan and South Korea, the latter having already asked for theirs after setting up the Trump-Kim summit.

Perhaps there will be tariffs on the metals coming directly from China, but not much comes from them that way -- they "transship" their steel to other countries, who then import it into the US. While every little bit helps, watering down Trump's initial announcement of "no exceptions" will largely preserve the status quo on de-industrialization of our economy.

Trump was able to make the announcement because one of the main globalist saboteurs had recently been fired (Staff Secretary Rob Porter), and because Trump was hopping mad and looking to lash out after Hope Hicks had gotten fired. The trade hawks Ross and Navarro struck while the iron was hot. They did succeed in getting an announcement made of a major trade action, but within a week, the lawyers and other institutional actors clawed back most of the substance, leaving it largely symbolic.

Even symbolic concessions are unacceptable to the GOP, though, as they have all come out vehemently against the watered-down version. They see it as the first trip down a slippery slope, at least rhetorically but also substantively.

The only institutional support Trump has received has been from labor unions and Democrat politicians -- from the rival party, in other words. Producers of the industrial commodities are happy, of course, but they are not squarely within one party's coalition or the other. They get screwed by the manufacturers of the GOP coalition, who insist on cheap materials for the things they make (leading them to seek cheap foreign steel), and they are not an informational sector that naturally fits into the Democrat coalition.

But since the informational sectors that make up the Democrat coalition are not directly threatened by higher material costs -- as most of them don't make anything -- they would be more welcoming of the industrial metal producers, if they could help pack an extra electoral wallop. With the Rust Belt looking iffy for the Democrats, the informational sectors will be required to recruit the industrial commodities producers to win back Ohio, Pennsylvania, and perhaps Indiana (the #1 steel state).

Reflecting the de-fanged nature of the tariffs scarcely one week after their announcement, the stock market has continued to shoot upwards. They sense there is no coming trade war. Even within steel stocks, although they rose several percentage points on the initial announcement, they tumbled by several points on Friday when it became clear that we would be granting one exemption after another to the major exporters.

They'll probably be somewhat up for the year, with at least some tariffs going into effect, but it is not the re-birth of the steel industry as it initially appeared -- and that is all thanks to sabotage from the GOP. Only by throwing in with the Democrat coalition that is insensitive to the cost of metals, will steel be re-born during the Bernie revolution.

The military link to the gutting of the steel industry cannot be overstated. The major steel exporters have so much money sloshing around to invest in their steel and manufacturing industries because Uncle Sam provides so much of those nations' military needs, operating at a giant loss to our nation (aside from the military itself, for whom perpetual global occupation is an endless massive gravy train).

This again points to the Democrats being the future saviors of industry, as the senior sector of the GOP coalition will never permit the withdrawal of forces from major steel producers Germany, Italy, South Korea, and Japan. That is the only way to suck money out of their industries (as they must pay for their own militaries), and re-allocate American money into industry (as we transfer it out of the military budget after exiting those countries). Democrats are not beholden to the military-industrial complex, so they're the only ones who can make withdrawal happen.

Now as for the proposed summit between Trump and Kim, we see the same disconnect between the president's individual announcement and the actual implementation by institutional forces in the aftermath. Media figures obsess too much over the theatrical part of government, and Lord knows Trump is the master at that stuff.

But the Pentagon is not just going to sit idly by while Trump agrees to meet Kim without pre-conditions. Indeed, not even 24 hours later, Press Secretary Sanders repeatedly said that the summit would only take place once there were concrete and verifiable steps taken by NK toward de-nuclearization. No country would take those steps before talks even began, so this is the Pentagon's veto of the whole summit.

As with the watered-down tariffs, maybe there will be some minor symbolic action (not a face-to-face meeting with Trump and Kim), but the military-industrial complex will not permit talks or negotiations to proceed without pre-conditions about denuclearizing. Their goal is to wipe out the North Korean government just like they did with Saddam Hussein or Qaddafi, despite promising not to destroy them if they just gave up their weapons of mass destruction. If Kim agrees to unilateral surrender, of course the Pentagon is not going to pass up that opportunity. But that is not happening, so the Pentagon remains dug-in.

To the extent that any progress is made toward peace on the peninsula, it will be led by the dove faction in South Korea, who now have control over the presidency. That has allowed rapprochement to take place between the North and the South, but there must be a similar dove faction in control of the American government for the whole process to succeed. That means a Democrat government during the upcoming Bernie revolution, perhaps guided by Tulsi Gabbard as Secretary of State or Defense. It may also require a dove faction in control of Japan, which they do not have right now.

By "dove" faction, all this means is one whose material interests do not benefit massively from US occupation of the Korean peninsula. The American producers of industrial commodities fit the bill -- their interests have become decimated by our military occupying SK, which has freed up SK's government to spend money on their steel industry and manufacturing without having to spend money on their own national defense. Without these subsidies, South Korean steel would be much more costly and less competitive against American steel.

It doesn't matter if steel executives and manufacturing workers don't drive to work singing, "If you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair." They will support withdrawal of our military from Asia purely in pursuit of their own material interests. Leaving our military over there provides a gigantic subsidy to foreign steel.

So, regardless of how Trump the individual feels -- or how Bernie Sanders, the individual, feels -- it is these institutional forces that will continue to shape our policies at home and abroad. We will not expect a major change regarding North Korea until a Bernie-style revolution takes over, probably during the next electoral cycle, bringing with it a mandate to make good on the promises of populism and de-globalization that sent Trump into office -- only this time, with the institutional support, or at least the absence of obstruction, for the governing coalition to deliver the goods.

March 7, 2018

Would you self-defend me? I'd self-defend me: The crypto-tranny appeal of gun-nut girl propaganda

One of the major changes that the NRA has made in their propaganda over the past few years is to feature women rather than men as the empowered subjects. They've also made some of them black women, but the change is strictly on gender rather than race, as they have not featured black or Hispanic men wielding guns -- probably not the image the NRA wants to associate itself with.

At first I wrote these ads off as typical cuckservative appropriation of liberal frameworks -- true female empowerment, true women's liberation requires owning guns, or else you're easy prey for the predatory men always roving around out there.

But in the aftermath of the Parkland school shooting, and the deluge of gun nut messaging that kicked in to prevent any talk about gun control, I've noticed that their "girl with a gun" message is something different. It is not aimed at women, but at men.

First, the typical spokeswoman is attractive and portrayed in a highly sexualized and almost fetishistic way -- not a pretty girl in common everyday clothing, or a Plain Jane. The eroticized portrayal clearly appeals to men rather than women.

Second, the guns are typically large rather than the supposed handgun that a woman might realistically carry on her for protection. That appeals to men, who get off on bigger guns.

Third, women rarely indulge in elaborate revenge fantasies about those who have harmed them -- or self-defense fantasies, which are a sub-class of revenge fantasies, where the person fantasizes about preventing the harm that the offender was trying to do to them.

And to the extent that women do think about these scenarios, it does not involve guns, let alone assault-style guns featured in the gun nut propaganda -- maybe poisoning, character assassination, or hiring a hitman if guns must be used. Women do not get that psychically invested in direct violent confrontation. That's men, especially those who get picked on or are easily intimidated.

Fourth, men are overwhelmingly the customers for guns, and therefore also for gun-related propaganda. They are more likely to live in a household where there's a gun (37% vs. 29% for women, during the 2010s), and are more likely to own the gun in households where there is one (84% vs. 34% for women). Data are from the General Social Survey.

The number of guns owned is a heavily skewed distribution, where a very heavily armed 3% of the population owns 50% of the guns, and most of the remainder of gun owners only have a few. We can be sure the heavily armed are men. So, manufacturers will be targeting men (a certain kind of heavily armed man) when they seek to sell the most products, and club operators will be targeting men when they seek to recruit heavily armed enthusiasts.

Thus, ad campaigns that feature eroticized attractive women carrying AR-15s who are fantasizing about getting revenge or preventing the bully from beating them up, belong not to the genre of "We can do it!" feminism, but to the genre of "butt-kicking babe" masturbation material, where the guy fantasizes about being an erotic girl who gets off on violence in a male-typical fashion.

I call this type of sexual deviance "latent transgender" or "crypto-tranny," and detailed the profile at length here and here. They are similar to the autogynephile types of trannies, who are heterosexual but who don't want to get physically involved with women -- either from awkwardness or total narcissism -- and who therefore view themselves as the object of their own lust, requiring them to take on both male and female sexual attributes. Unlike overt trannies who cross-dress, wear make-up, and otherwise try to "pass" as women, these crypto-trannies do not, even in secret.

The explosion of the crypto-tranny phenomenon has not been appreciated or discussed much at all. If its symptoms are noticed, the observer tends to write it off as a woman who the guy fantasizes about fucking, rather than a woman who the guy fantasizes about being -- and perhaps also fucking, in that autogynephile way of thinking. They aren't just looking for a tomboy who can hang with the guys, and who happens to be sexy -- they are looking to be that sexy tomboy themselves, and play with themselves.

These are the kinds of guys who unironically confess to fantasizing about "If I were a girl, I'd stay at home all day and play with my boobs in front of a mirror," while feeling aroused in their male sex organ. In their fantasy, they have both huge tits and a hard dick.

Here is a typical example of gun-nut girl propaganda, with NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch:

The eroticized rather than a no-nonsense portrayal of the woman speaks for itself, and the large gun gives her a masculine persona. But more than that, they clearly portray the gun as a dick -- it could not look more phallic in the upright position with the base at hip level, nor could the eroticized way that she's holding it.

"Hands off my gun" would be a sexual double-entendre for a man, not for a woman: "This is my rifle, this is my gun; this is for shooting, and this is for fun." It does not represent some kind of sex toy that she would use on herself, since she would be using the gun on someone else. Getting a thrill from spraying bullets out of the tip is clearly more like an ejaculating dick than a toy that women might use on themselves.

What could make better bait for crypto-trannies? How about being a woman who had not just one but two big dicks to stroke while staring at her large breasts in the mirror as she fantasized about violent revenge against bullies?

Or the favored fantasy of crypto-trannies that involves someone other than themselves -- girl-on-girl, where the guy does not project himself into the place of a stand-in male, but into one of two or more babes:

Earlier posts here and here examined the rise of female bloodsports and butt-kicking babe roles in movies as a kind of pornography for the crypto-trannies. Now we can add "gun nut girl" propaganda.

A recent post showed that gun nuts are libertarians rather than conservatives, so it's not surprising to see that they are more likely than the average person to have sexually deviant fantasies -- certainly more so than the average conservative. Libertarianism implies tolerance of all forms of deviance, as part of the larger laissez-faire prohibition on prohibitions.

Like, as long as no one else gets harmed or defrauded by it, then go on ahead and fantasize about being a long, dark-haired babe with big boobs, rocking a red dress and stiletto heels, fondling your big black gun as you anticipate the cathartic thrill of spraying a stream of bullets from its tip. Especially if it's to get back at those bullies who keep messing with you.

Gun nuts never fantasize about vigilantism in the service of a conservative cause in the sexual domain, like shutting down a pornography studio, a brothel, a strip club, a dirty magazine / movie vendor, a sex toy shop, or a gay nightclub. That would fit into their overall fantasy of filling the void left by an ineffectual law enforcement system, only standing in for the police's role as vice squad enforcers. But then libertarians do not recognize the legitimacy of vice laws, so what is there to stand in for, in their minds?

The last popular persona of a gun nut who became a vigilante for a conservative cause was Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver, who shut down a brothel and freed an underage prostitute. He was disgusted by cross-dressers and other deviants he saw every night -- he did not share their fantasies about being a woman or anything weird like that. He just wanted to be the nice protector-and-provider male for the alluring girl-next-door Betsy.

That was right as the gun nut culture was emerging, though, in the later part of the 1970s, when the libertarian approach to politics (deregulation of laws, including gun laws) and morality (consenting adults) began to take over.

We will know that the zeitgeist is returning to the conservative morality of the Midcentury when NRA ads return to themes of being a responsible provider-and-protector male, with scenes of hunting, confronting burglars, and patrolling the neighborhood with a posse when bad guys are on the loose.

Degeneracy will still prevail as long as the ads convey themes of solipsistic masturbation as you imagine yourself to be a babe staring at her own boobs in the mirror while fondling your dick-gun.

GSS variables: owngun, rowngun, sex, year

March 6, 2018

Make them pay for their own militaries, and repudiate debt, if they escalate trade war (NATO, Japan, South Korea)

If the entire GOP-Koch apparatus is going to come out of the woodwork to subvert Trump's would-be trade war, then his only power is rhetorical. But that can still do a lot of good toward shifting us out of the Reaganite regime and into the Bernie regime.

Since he's already covered how much our working and middle classes are impoverished by free trade, which only benefits the very top of the class pyramid, the next major issue he should thrust into the national discussion is how our military is complicit in the de-industrialization program.

Wealthy countries like Germany, Italy, Canada, Japan, and South Korea do so much manufacturing and heavy industry, making themselves net exporters rather than importers. Their governments have so much money to invest in their own domestic industries because they do not have to spend the tons of money it takes to operate a national military.

Why not? Because the empire-seekers among the Pentagon brass are only too happy to provide the military power for these nations, operating at a gigantic monetary loss for America, in exchange for getting to brag about how many squares they occupy on the global chess board.

Ordinary Americans do not benefit from the Pentagon occupying more rather than fewer chess board squares -- otherwise we would've seen those benefits a long time ago. It's not like the Pentagon just started providing the military for Germany and Japan yesterday. That goes all the way back to the aftermath of WWII.

Partly this was to prevent the Axis powers from re-militarizing, and partly it was to push back against the Soviets via NATO. Both reasons have evaporated in the meantime, so we ought to pull out entirely.

The Pentagon does not use its occupation of these chess board squares in order to send valuable stuff back to America, like the old system of using force to raid the resources of other countries. They don't even charge rent to the host nations!

The Pentagon provides us with absolutely nothing in return for our funding their global occupation to the tune of trillions of dollars, which will eventually bankrupt the nation as all endless wars have done.

Thus, our fruitless globalist military occupation worsens not only our fiscal deficit -- spending so much on the Pentagon's overseas operations and getting no return on our investment -- but also our trade deficit, allowing those nations for whom we provide the military to re-allocate what should be their military budget into domestic industries, and then importing from them all the things that we forgo manufacturing ourselves. After wasting so much on military occupations, we have nothing left to invest in our industries.

This presents us with two powerful trump cards in dealing with these nations during a trade war.

First, when they retaliate against our initial tariffs, we will pull out our military, and they will have to shift tons of money from subsidizing their industries into providing their own military for a change. That will instantly shrink our trade deficit with them -- they will be manufacturing and exporting less, and we will be manufacturing and exporting more, after we re-allocate that part of our military budget into industrial investment.

And second, we can repudiate the massive debt that we owe them. It is no surprise that these nations are also among the largest holders of our national debt (along with China). They convert their trade surplus with us into buy orders for US treasury bonds, which are a form of a loan that we agree to pay back with interest in the future.

Because our national debt has grown to such unsustainable levels, at first due to military imperialism but now also due to bailing out the financial system for the past 10 years, we will not be able to pay back all of it to every nation that we owe money to.

The natural targets for not paying back the debt we owe are those countries who have benefited so much and for so long from our provision of their military needs. The only reason they could invest so much in manufacturing, sell those goods to us at such high surpluses, and then convert that into US treasuries -- owning so much of our debt -- is that we gave them a free military.

Repudiating the debt we owe them is simply collecting on the unpaid debt that they have been running up with us for decades, by enjoying the benefits of the US military providing their national defense, while not having to pay what it costs. It is a settling of debts owed between two parties, rather than unilateral default.

We will do that also for the massive debt we owe to OPEC nations, as the Gulf jihadist monarchies have enjoyed the use of our endless military spending, without having to pay for it.

The only large holder of our debt who we cannot economically destroy by withdrawing our military, as we do not provide their military, is China. That will be more of a straight-up economic war, although we are still left with plenty of reasons to consider repudiating (at least a big chunk of) the debt we owe them to be settling a debt that they actually owe us -- such as their ripping off of our intellectual property, counterfeiting, adulterating substances they send us (like infant formula), and so on and so forth.

Trump came back to these themes over and over during the campaign, but nothing has happened on them since he took office. As with tariffs, the reason is that he would be directly attacking the material interests of the elites in those sectors of society that control the GOP -- manufacturing owners, energy companies, mega-farm landowners, and the globalist branches of the military.

The GOP is not going to let one guy weaken the party's own elite sectors, just to benefit the working and middle classes in America. Why would they? Just because he won an election? What a quaint idea!

As with tariffs, Trump may be able to pull off some small change here or there -- maybe getting the NATO countries to pony up the 2% of their GDP that they promised to compensate Uncle Sam for providing most of the military budget. That is still not happening for the main beneficiaries like Germany.

Maybe instead of polite dialog to beg Germany to pay 2% of GDP toward NATO, Trump simply holds a press conference or roundtable discussion where he "announces his intention" to pull our military out of Germany, saving us an absolute fortune while not affecting our own national security one bit. Then pointing out how we will re-allocate that military spending toward industrial spending, while Germany must do the opposite -- then let's see what happens to those trade deficits!

Whether or not that goes through (unlikely with the GOP in full control of the government), it at least shifts the Overton window in the anti-imperial, pro-industrial direction. That will tee up the full shift in policy for the upcoming Bernie regime, whose party is not beholden to manufacturing owners seeking to cut the cost of materials and labor, oil companies looking to do business in the Middle East, or the Pentagon looking to preserve its pointless global footprint just cuz.

The Democrats are beholden to the finance sector, tech companies, and media, but these do not have such vested material interests in running massive endless trade deficits through free trade. They won't get harmed by high tariffs on materials since they don't manufacture anything, and they have no need to provide the military for wealthy nations.

At worst, Facebook, Hollywood, and Goldman Sachs do not get unrestrained access to China's market -- but most of that is already bound to happen anyway. And those sectors will still make boatloads of money purely from the American market.

In the larger project to de-globalize American society, we cannot lose sight of the crucial role that our military brass play in entangling us within the great big over-extended global system.

March 2, 2018

Trumpism's enemy is still GOP mainstream, not Never Trump fringe; Way forward is alliance with Bernie

As the partisan reactions to Trump's potential trade war reveal, it is not the Never Trump fringe but the mainstream Republican party that is still the most formidable obstacle to carrying out the agenda that he campaigned on.

The Never Trumpers feel the same way as the mainstream GOP on policy, they just refused to flatter and court Trump the man, or endorse Trump the persona, in order to get out of him what they all want on a policy level -- tax cuts, deregulation, and the rest of the zombie-Reagan agenda.

When it comes to policy that cuts directly against the Reaganite agenda, suddenly we find out that the GOP has not "become Trump's party" as we continuously hear -- not one iota. They all immediately came out to slam the proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum, defending global elite investment and profiteering from cheap off-shored production rather than sticking up for the American working class.

We saw the same thing when Trump had his cabinet officials go out and say "We're not in the business of intervention anymore, so Assad's fate will be left up to the Syrian people". Just a few days later, the Pentagon vetoed that decision and plunged us into an indefinite occupation of yet another country in the Middle East, where we now have thousands of Americans, are amassing a private Kurdish army along the border of Turkey (a powerful nation and NATO ally who we may go to war against because of muh Kurdish freedom fighters), and provide air cover and propaganda for the jihadist militias that we were supposed to get out of bed with. Ditto for trying to get out at long last from Afghanistan.

And we saw the same pattern when the hardliners on immigration tried to use the GOP's unique opportunity to get through a real pro-American program to wind down legal immigration, deport illegals, all while throwing a major bone to the amnesty crowd by legalizing millions of DACA people. The GOP mainstream blocked even this weak solution -- you can imagine how outraged they would have been if the deal had been a moratorium on legal immigration, and amnesty for DACA people tied to deportations of non-DACA illegals.

These observations should temper the dismissive and triumphalist tone toward the Never Trump fringe, as in this column by Scott Greer at Daily Caller. Sure, the Never Trumpers per se have no mass support -- but then neither do most of the mainstream GOP-ers, and yet they're in power, controlling all three elected bodies of government, and running constant interference on the populist-nationalist agenda that won Trump the White House. The donors are the same way -- funding only the failed Reaganite policies that they've been funding for decades.

A party consists entirely in its politicians, its lobbyists, its party apparatus, its donors, and its sectors of society that use it as a vehicle to advance their material interests. Pundits and so-called influencers play little role, and since the Never Trumpers all come from this category, they are indeed ineffectual and irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

But the fact that the National Association of Manufacturers and the Chamber of Commerce are still major institutional players, sending armies of lobbyists, who will manipulate legions of GOP puppets in government -- that's why the GOP is never going to give up its war on Trump's tariffs, or on his preferred non-interventionist military policy.

As such, there are zero candidates being fielded by the party who support steep tariffs and trade wars, de-scaling our wasteful and failing global military footprint, and sealing the borders and deporting illegals. There will be zero in 2020 as well, other than perhaps Trump himself. There is no way for Trumpian Republican voters to vote for more of what they wanted in his 2016 campaign.

Maybe the party structure will be successful in ending these tariffs early, or killing them before they're even signed (remember, yesterday was only an "announcement" of the president's intentions). Or maybe they'll last through the 2020 election, at which point the GOP as a party will see no more use for Trump and his fellow travelers -- they'll be grateful that they extracted a massive corporate tax cut out of him in 2017, but that's not worth what they would perceive to be an endless trade war that would erode the profit margins of the material sectors of the economy that control the party.

That's when an old-guard giant of the party like Romney -- or, in a pinch, Kasich -- comes along to dethrone Trump during the 2020 primaries. "While we applaud his approach to taxes, sadly these gains will be dashed to pieces by the wrecking ball of a trade war, and no party can allow such a self-inflicted act of destruction." This attempt may be unsuccessful, as it was for Ted Kennedy when he tried to unseat Carter in 1980, but it will be enough to severely wound the incumbent president during his re-election.

This is what happens at the end of a political regime (the disjunctive phase, in Skowronek's model). The would-be reformer from within the party is frustrated by so much institutional inertia, as Carter was in his attempt to undo the New Deal that his Democrat party initiated and had coasted on for decades. True reform will come from the opposition party, a la Reagan taking a sledgehammer to the New Deal for real (the reconstructive phase). The formerly dominant party will now only be able to push back marginally from within the new framework set by the newly dominant party (the preemptive phase, a la Bill Clinton being a slightly less Reaganite follower of Reaganism).

In the present, that means there will be so much institutional obstruction from Trump's own party that he will be largely unsuccessful at carrying out his agenda. Like Carter, who deregulated the transportation sector but not much else, he'll be able to get something done here or there on trade and re-industrialization -- but nothing widespread. And yet even this small amount of decisive breaking with the received wisdom will prove too offensive to the old guard that they will want him ousted. See again all the GOP reactions to just one set of tariffs, from every section of the GOP spectrum (aside from voters, of course, but they do not govern).

Rather, it is the Democrats who are the most happy and supportive of the potential trade war, whether politicians or organizations who belong to the party's coalition (like labor unions). This sets up the Democrats as the successor to the Trump agenda on trade and re-industrialization, obviously under the reconstruction of a Bernie Sanders type leader, not a multicultural Reaganite like Hillary Clinton or Nancy Pelosi (one of the few Dems to vote in favor of NAFTA -- not even Wall Street puppet Chuck Schumer voted for that free trade deal).

The same goes for Trump's plan to disentangle the American military from so many of our occupations all over the world. That gets only minimal GOP support, from libertarians like Rand Paul or Mike Lee, and is much more aligned with the Democrats.

All that remains is taking an entirely class-based approach to restricting immigration and deporting illegals, and the Bernie reconstruction will take over every major element of the Trump campaign. And single-payer healthcare, which Trump has favored for a long time on both moral and cost-efficiency grounds.

Trump supporters who came from a populist-nationalist background should reconcile themselves to these historical patterns of regime change. It will be Bernie-style Democrats who carry out most of the Trump agenda for real. The Republican party will get another chance within those new boundaries as a "slight pushback" party, akin to Eisenhower and Nixon during the New Deal era of Democrat dominance. The Republicans in a Bernie era would be just like him on economics and politics writ large, but differing in some minor way that would let them win a victory in between Bernie and his same-party successors.

It is only on that far longer time-scale that the Republicans will win back power over the government, and rule in a populist-nationalist fashion. First the Bernie-style reconstruction will get three or more terms (as all reconstructive phases get), and then the descendants of Trump will fill in for a few terms.

That's 15-20 years down the road, though. In the meantime, the most important job is to break up the current moribund GOP coalition, and to strengthen the Bernie takeover of the Democrat party. Vote in the Democrats' primaries for populist candidates (there being none on the GOP side), and then in the general election as well.

Trumpian Republicans will never be able to govern on their own terms when the institutional structure forces them to be perpetrators of Reaganism, but only when they are the "slight pushback" party in a regime dominated by Bernie-style Democrats.