The Winter Of Our Discontent

Old man winter has come to Lagos on the Chesapeake. Northern Europeans would often describe the world on the other side as a bleak winter-scape. It makes sense. For them, winter was the scariest time of the year. There was the cold and people huddled indoors, spreading their germs. The food situation in winter was, until recent, a constant concern for northern people.

That said, I generally like winter. When I lived in New Hampshire, the cold quiet nights were strangely pleasant. It’s always very quiet when the temperatures dip down near zero at night. I don’t mind the snow either. Shoveling has become less fun in my dotage, but the exercise is good for me so I don’t mind it. I’m not sure I could live in a place without some chance of an honest winter.

This week I have the usual variety of items in the now standard format. Spreaker has the full show. YouTube has the four longer segments from the show. I am up on Google Play now, so the Android phone commies can take me along when out disrespecting the country. I am on iTunes, which means the Apple Nazis can listen to me on their Hitler phones.

This Week’s Show

Contents

Direct Download

The iTunes Page

Google Play Link

Full Show On Spreaker

Full Show On YouTube

The Rackets

There was a time, back in the 1990’s, when it was fun to read the American Spectator magazine. Three things stick in my head about it. One is the fact that they would fail to print some months or it would be very late. They always had money trouble. The other thing was the irregular size of the thing. Of course, in the 90’s, the distinguishing feature was the Clinton-hating. The only person who hated the Clintons more than R. Emmett Tyrrell, was his financier, Richard Melon Scaife. Those two really hated the Clintons.

I think the last time I bothered to subscribe was maybe a decade ago. I hit the website once a week, but a search through my logs tells me I have never posted about anything contained in the American Spectator. The only writer I recognize while scanning the site is Ben Stein, who I’m glad to see is still alive. For some reason I was under the impression he was dead. Apparently, it remains popular. I checked the Alexa rankings and it is ranked #13,562 in the US. That means it is as popular as the most read alt-right web sites.

That’s a good entry point for understanding the commentariat. The Spectator is actually owned by a 501(c)(3) named The American Alternative Foundation. That appears to be a trade name. The real name is The Alex C. Walker Educational and Charitable Foundation, founded in 1968. A look at their tax returns says they have about nine million in assets and they take in about half a million in contributions. There are no paid employees listed on the tax return, so it is probably run by family members of the founders.

The interesting thing is the foundation’s mission, according to the website, is to promote environmental cleanup in Pittsburgh. How the American Spectator fits into that is a mystery, but it is a reminder that that these sorts of organizations take on a life of their own, usually becoming something the founder never intended. The reason for that is they are vehicles for rich people to funnel money into activities that they would just as soon not see their name attached. Then their is Robert Conquest’s Second Law.

Anyway, that is one reason publications like the American Spectator survive, despite not having many paying subscribers. They exist as a platform to promote ideas popular with rich people. It’s not just the underlying funding mechanism. It is the nexus of not-for-profit think tanks and educational outfits. For example, here is a story that I spotted in the Spectator the other day, about the decline in test scores. This is an increasingly popular topic with the people highly skilled at not to noticing things.

At first blush, it looks like the sort of banal political blathering that makes up most of the commentariat. “We have to fix the schools” is one of those phrases that has become a bit of joke on the Dissident Right, but it remains wildly popular with Progressives and Conservative Inc. One reason for this is it helps finance that nexus of non-profits and unread publications that keep an army of liberal arts majors in six figure positions. The article in question was produced by an outfit calling itself the American Principles Project.

The American Principles Project is a 501(c)(3) think tank founded in 2009 by Robert George, Jeff Bell, and Frank Cannon. According to their mission statement, they are organized to promote immigration reform, education reform and religious liberty. I’ll note that what they mean by immigration reform is open borders. The foundations Latino Director is former Bush hand Alfonso Aguilar, who argued after Romney lost that immigration restriction positions would cost the GOP the 2016 election. Ooops!

If you look at their tax filing, you’ll see they take in a couple million a year in grants and donations. This is enough to pay six “scholars” an average of $140,000 per year, plus expenses. One of the scholars appears to be Maggie Gallagher. Double and triple dipping is a common practice in the think tank game. Having a spot at a foundation, plus a contract with a cable outlet and a range of side projects, means even a C-list chattering skull can live a very comfortable life, without having to work very hard.

Normal people wonder why the media is so corrupt and the answer lies in the financial arrangements. Cable news channels exist only because cable monopolies exist. The monopolies exist because they are sold by the government. The rich people who own these channels hire people to extol the virtues of rich people. The think tanks and foundations provide the content and experts, so the news presenters can have an easy time celebrating the rich people. It is a closed loop designed to close off alternatives.

The same is true on the print side of the media. The small sites like the Spectator cannot afford to pay writers, so they let think tanks post their agit-prop on their site, posing it as commentary. This helps promote their causes and it helps promote the people, who can decorate their CV with a long list of publications that have found their work so compelling, they just had to publish it! The media, at all levels, is a racket financed by monied interests in order to promote the policies and programs that are good for rich people.

There is a lesson here for the alt-right. The reason the people in charge are so desperate to demonize critics and declare their issues taboo is they want to scare away the financial support. There are a lots of rich people who sympathize with the alt-right, the Dissident Right and immigration patriots. What they need is a way to support the people they wish to support, without it being very obvious. That’s the reason the 501(c)(3) was created. The political class wanted to conceal their money laundering from the public.

Lessons of Identity

One of the remarkable things about identity politics is that the only group of humans not embracing identity politics are modern western white people. That’s not entirely accurate, as some elements of the white population embrace identity politics. It’s just not white identity politics. The groups that do embrace some form of identity politics, seem to look for groupings that are, to one degree or another, anti-white. That’s the reality of identity politics. It is not just a thing whites don’t do. It is something that only anti-whites do.

You see this in the election results from Alabama. Blacks hate white people and they have been trained now to see Trump as the face of white America. Blacks in Alabama correctly saw the election as a referendum on Trump and raced out to vote for the other guy. You can be sure that few of them had the slightest idea about the other guy. They just saw famous blacks supporting him, so they went out and voted their skin. The preliminary numbers show that black turnout was up compared to 2016. Blacks like identity politics.

“Bible believing Christians” were largely responsible for Moore winning the primary, but they have proven to be an easily manipulated identity group. They will vote for “their guy” but at the first hint that their guy does not tick all the right boxes, they will abandon him. In contrast, their guy can be a flaming liberal like a Jimmy Carter, or warmongering neocon like George Bush, and they will flock to the polls for him. The primary identity of “Bible believing Christians” is their desire to be embraced by the people in charge.

Homosexuals are another group that revealed themselves in this election. Matt Drudge was campaigning against Moore from the start, simply because Moore is very old school on the sodomy issue. That’s the definition of single issue politics. In that David French post I wrote about yesterday, he had a section on the gay stuff. National Review is now run by a homosexual activist, Jason Lee Steorts, who ran off Mark Steyn for repeating a fifty year old gay joke. Gays are homosexual first, everything else a very distant second.

The funny thing about identity politics in America, something the alt-right guys talk about frequently, is that whites are the only definable group that does not engage in identity politics. If every identity group in America was asked to send a representative to a flag convention, whites would be the only group not present. If someone did show up, he would have no idea what sort of flag to wave. He would probably just take one of his “I’m So Sorry” t-shirts and wave that around. No one would find this the least bit remarkable.

When it comes to politics, at least, the only definable feature of white identity is self-sabotage. That was on full display in Alabama. Moore was cast by the Left and the so-called Right as the white identity candidate. They were not explicit, but that was the message they wanted to send. White voters responded to this by staying home. The political class will spend the next year crowing about the result. They should be proud of their work. It’s no small thing to get a far Left candidate elected in Alabama.

The biggest lesson of the Alabama race is something that the Dissident Right has been discussing for years now. The American political class has evolved to thwart anything resembling identity politics among majorities. Cosmopolitan globalism cannot work unless the population is deracinated and atomized. The whole point of our politics is to prevent anything resembling a transcendent majority to counter the power of the semi-permanent political class. Social-democracy only works if everyone is at one another’s throat.

That’s a big reason why the political class has locked shields against Trump. It’s exactly why they despise Bannon. While Trump is not a white identitarian, he fully grasps the importance of demographics. Bannon is viewed by the political class as a white nationalist in a tricorn hat. As long as America is majority white, any hint of white identity is seen as a mortal threat to the system. They are not wrong about that. If whites start voting their skin, both parties collapse and we end up with a vastly different ruling class.

Finally, there is a tendency for many on the Dissident Right to think that identity politics is an inevitability. That’s the lesson of history everywhere except the white world. Rhodesia and South Africa had white ruling classes. In both cases, whites were just as enthusiastic about fighting one another as in maintaining their position. Rhodesia is no more and South Africa is well on its way toward a white genocide. Even as the bodies stack up and the black parties become more blood thirsty, whites refuse to embrace their identity.

In fact, this is the lesson of Europe. The Mongols and Muslims both found that Europeans were not very good at uniting for a common purpose. Serendipity and geography were the great enemy of these invaders. On the other hand, Europeans have been spectacularly proficient at making war on one another. It’s entirely possible that the competitive evolutionary pressures that advanced the cognitive skills of whites, compared to other racial groups, also makes them unable to cooperate with one another across ethnic lines.

An expression I’m fond of using is “You learn more from your failures than from your successes.” For the people promoting identitarian politics, last night was a reminder that the people in charge are really good at pitting one group against another. They are especially good at pitting oe group of whites against another, so they will fink on their own guys and harm their own interests. Most of the whites who stayed home, rather than vote for Moore, will be out blaming the whites who voted for Moore in the primary.

It’s also a reminder that Trump is not very good at being President. He is not just an imperfect vessel for populist politics. He is a cup with a hole in it. It’s not all his fault, as he is a saddled with a party that is just an extension of the Democrat Party. Last night should be a reminder that this is a long game. Trump will be impeached or voted out of office. His utility was always as a way to discredit the system and damage the Republican Party. That means it will only get uglier, but it is what must be done to break the system.

America’s problem is not demographics. It is the white people currently in charge.

The Life of Bugmen

I take some pride in having pegged David French as a nutter as soon as he started turning up in so-called conservative publications. In all candor, I came to that conclusion before there was hard evidence to support the claim. He just reminded me of every fanatic I’ve ever met. He had the crazy eyes and the fanatic’s tendency to go overboard. The lack of an internal governor is the hallmark of the fanatic. Now, of course, French is well known as a NeverTrump loon, with a bad habit of wrapping himself in the flag.

In addition to being a crank, French is a good example of the soulless bugman that is now a feature of Conservative Inc. These are establishment men, who stand for nothing, because they traded away whatever integrity they possessed for a small salary and place in the system. In addition to peddling conspiracy theories about President Trump, they are now tasked with convincing conservative voters to vote against their own interests. Now, that means voting for Doug Jones over Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race.

The trouble is there has never been a more stark choice for conservative voters. Roy Moore is staunchly pro-life, while Doug Jones wants to put abortion mills in the nation’s grammar schools. Moore is an immigration patriot, while Jones is an open borders absolutist. Moore is a social conservative, while Jones embraces the Progressive social agenda. Of course, the big issue is that Moore will be a reliable vote for Trump’s judicial nominees, while Jones will be another vote against anyone to the right of Chuck Schumer.

This glaringly obvious set of facts presents a problem when trying to convince conservatives to not vote for Moore. The first card played by the bugmen is always to dismiss the target as unqualified. That was the game they played with Trump, dismissing him as a reality TV star. In the case of Roy Moore, they keep insisting that he has wacky ideas about the law and government. Unsurprisingly, that’s the first point in that French column. David French is not clever enough to be anything but ham-handed in his work.

If they cannot use their claims to authority as a means to dismiss the target, they resort to character assassination. This was the tactic they tried on Trump, by trying to paint him as a sexual predator and abuser of women. Somewhat comically, the bugmen played this card on Moore, planting absurd stories about him from 40 years ago. Bugmen lack a spine, as well as a soul, so they just assume everyone is as weak-willed as they are, when it comes to standing up to pressure. They always get this wrong.

In the end, the only thing left for these guys is to lie, and that is the one thing that comes naturally to them. Somewhat amusingly, French finishes his column with:

Anyone who tells you that your choice is limited to pro-abortion Doug Jones or an incompetent, unfit apparent child abuser like Roy Moore is simply lying to you. If you are a faithful conservative, you can write in a different name or stay home. You can reject the choice served up by the plurality of Alabama GOP primary voters and simply say, “If you want my vote, you have to do better.”

Elections in America are almost always binary choices. This election is a binary choice between the Democrat and the Republican. If conservatives listen to the bugmen and stay home, Jones will win. That’s how it works. The inescapable logic of French’s argument is that he wants Jones to win. He lacks the guts to say it, but that’s what he is doing. The whole point of his effort against Moore, and the work of other bugmen his handlers have deployed, is to damage Moore so that Jones is able to win the election.

That’s the irony of these efforts. Conservatism is, if nothing else, a practical acceptance of the world as it is. The choice in an election is between two less than ideal options. If there is ever a time when you have the perfect candidate in a race, it means you are dead and are in heaven, where you get to vote for Jesus Christ. On this earth, the choice is always between two flawed men. French’s argument, in addition to being childish and stupid, is the exact opposite of the conservative position with regards to political choices.

Moral nullities like French like to bang on about their principles. He has the habit of posting pictures of himself from when he was a rear echelon guy in Iraq. It’s a cheap tactic he learned from John McCain. He’s the type of guy Ralph Waldo Emerson had in mind when he wrote, “The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.” That’s because the talk of principles from bugmen like French is just another tool of the trade. His job is promote the interests of his masters. That’s the life of every soulless bugman.

The Fourth Stage Of American History

Over a century ago, Robert Lewis Dabney noted that Northern Conservatism never conserves anything. It makes a show of resisting whatever Progressive fads are currently popular, but in the end it always gives in and eventually, embraces the fad as a principle of conservatism. He was probably not the first to note this, but his description remains the most famous, among those who traffic in taboo thoughts. His description of conservatism as a shadow that follows the Left is a great image that captures their nature perfectly.

The Dissident Right often uses a version of Dabney’s description to describe the modern conservative movement. What gets lost is the fact that Dabney was describing northern conservatives. This geographic split has been erased from the modern mind, as the people who won the Civil War slowly, but surely, erase everything but the history of the North from the nation’s memory. That last bit is critical. One of the distinguishing features of 20th century American conservatism was its Yankeeness.

One reason for this, of course, is that Progressivism is rooted in the North. In fact, it has been pretty much confined to what Colin Woodward called Yankeedom. This map is very useful for understanding the demographic contours of American regionalism. Those dark blue areas are where Lefty walks the streets unmolested. It only makes sense that the loyal opposition would be located in the same areas. The colleges and universities growing the next generation of Progressives, also produce their conservative analogs.

There is another angle to this. There were 15 presidents before Lincoln. Six of them were from Yankeedom or the Midlands. The rest were from the Tidewater or the South. Virginia used to be called the Cradle of Presidents because seven pre-Civil War presidents were from there. Only one post-Civil War president, Woodrow Wilson, has been from Virginia. Of the 30 since the war, 25 have been from Yankeedom or from the Midlands. There have been 19 from parts of the country that fall into the dark blue portion of that linked map.

Since the Civil War, America has been dominated by one region of the country. It stands to reason that politics would be rooted in this region as well. Because Progressives, in various manifestations, are dominant in the North, they have been the driving force in America politics and culture as a whole. Naturally, any reaction to this would be culturally rooted in the North as well. Put another way, politics in America has been a lover’s quarrel between the two halves of Yankeedom since the Civil War.

This arrangement probably would have collapsed a century ago, but world events interceded to lock things in place. The Great War, the Depression, World War Two and then the long nuclear stand-off with the Russians locked things in place. With the nation at risk, any effort to upset the domestic political arrangements would be quickly swatted down. The reason our politics are in a flux now, with the old arrangements collapsing, is there is no longer an exogenous force to lock things in place. Normalcy is returning.

This is why the gap between Progressives and the Buckley Conservatives seems so small all of a sudden. The stand-off with the Soviets was not just a military and political conflict. There was a moral and philosophical conflict. That magnified the differences because it cast them against the backdrop of the larger dispute between Eastern authoritarianism and Western pluralism. Once that back drop was gone, what was left was two sides squabbling over trivial items and competing for the love of financial backers.

It’s also why politics turned into a screaming match after the Cold War ended. There were no big areas of dispute, so they had no choice but to pretend that the trivial differences between the two sides were enormous divides. That was the crucial insight of the Clinton people. Bill Clinton won in 1992 by bellowing about how Bush the Elder did not know how grocery store scanners worked. Clinton, Bush and Obama were basically the same guy, but the political class carried on like like they were polar opposites.

What all this means is that we are in the transition period between the third and fourth phases of American history. The first phase was the Colonial Period that lasted up to and included the Revolutionary War. Then there was the Constitutional Period that lasted until the Civil War. The third period was the Yankee Imperium, that lasted from the Civil War through the end of the Cold War. What comes next is debatable, but it is clear that the rest of the country is going to have a say in the political life of the country.

One thing that is certain is that the political arrangements, both formal and informal, will change as the nation transitions to what comes next. The great centralization of power over the last century to implement the Yankee moral vision domestically and build out the empire around the world is not made for a world of identity politics, regionalization and an empire in retreat. We have legal and political institutions for white people to manage disputes between white people. Those are useless in a majority-minority country.

One final thought on this. These phases of American history have been punctuated by violent conflict. The people who settled and founded the country were not gentle, passive souls. The Colonial Period ended in War. The Constitutional Period ended with the Civil War. It’s not unreasonable to think that this transition period will have its violent elements before we settle into that fourth phase. We live in a low violence time, so civil war is unlikely, but the coming years will most likely feature harsh, regional disputes.

Free Speech In The Custodial State

A point I’m fond of making is that without freedom of association, you cannot have any other liberties. You can have the appearance of choice, like when you stand in the breakfast cereal aisle at the grocery store, but you can never have real choices. The state not only puts you in that supermarket, they put you in the aisle, along with a bunch of other people. In order to prevent a riot from breaking out, the state must supervise your speech, your actions and make sure you focus on picking from the options on the shelves.

Whether or not our rulers know this is debatable. A feature of post-modernism is that the people in charge forget everything learned by prior generations regarding the human condition and human society. People used to know the link between free association and other liberties. It is why the state regulated public airwaves. Because it required effort to avoid speech broadcast over the air, that speech had to fit community standards. Speech that took effort to consume, like pay services, were free from state censorship.

Anyway, the Left is in something close to a full panic over the oral arguments in Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The reason for this is the way Judge Gorsuch questioned the attorney for the homosexuals. He correctly pointed out that the “remedy” for the alleged discrimination, is to force the baker to say things in public that he would never say and that he finds offensive. Gorsuch did not say this, but this is how Chinese communists punished heretics in the Cultural Revolution.

Colorado Civil Rights Commission

Put another way, the “remedy” for those not wanting to associate, in this case do business with, another group of people, is to frog march them into the public square and force them to say things they think are false and possibly evil. Of course, it is the only remedy, short of genocide, that is possible in a society without freedom of association. Once the state can force you to be around other people, people you may not like, they have no choice but to supervise your speech, your thoughts and your every move. You are a slave.

That is the reality of the custodial state. The people in charge see themselves as your caretakers, like a baby sitter or care giver. In reality though, you are their slave, because like a slave, you no longer control your body. They control where it is and what it is permitted to do. In this particular case. the state is trying to force this baker to perform his services for the homosexuals. The efforts to punish him are no different from a slave master flogging a runaway slave. It’s to send a message to the rest of the slaves.

The homosexual Slate writer senses this reality, but he cannot bare to face it because it means questioning the One True Faith. Even worse for him is that homosexuals have created an identity, a sense of worth, based on this notion they are a protected class, given special liberties. A white man can be run out of his job by Antifa loons and no one from the local Civil Rights Commission is coming to his aid. Homosexual terrorists can stalk the nation’s Christian bakers and they get the full support of the state.

What makes this case frightening to the Left is that there is no way for the court to rule in favor of the baker, that does not undermine the foundation of the modern special rights movement. Let’s say they carve out a religious “exception” to the laws providing homosexuals with special status. The court is, in effect, saying that religion ranks higher than sexual proclivity. The gays move down a peg. What happens when the court has to choose between Jews and Nazis? Or Muslims and Jews? It quickly becomes untenable.

This is also why the Court will have no choice but to rule against the baker. The three lesbians and Breyer, of course, are predictable votes against liberty, but Kennedy and Roberts have proven to be reliable defenders of the Progressive movement. Kennedy authored the ridiculous gay marriage ruling, after all. Roberts is smart enough to see how ruling for the baker will unravel the Progressive project, so he will probably come up with some tortured logic to justify the state compelling forced confessions from heretics.

This is the other consequence of eliminating freedom of association. The cost of restoring it always appears too high. Most Southerners before the Civil War understood that slavery was untenable, but the cost of ending it was worse. That’s what’s facing the guardians of our custodial state. They know the regime cooked up to address blacks in the 1960’s can only lead to tyranny, but unraveling it offers near term costs that seem more frightening than whatever comes at some later date. Things will just have to run their course.

It will not end well.

 

Suzy Sunshine

As we descend into the darkness of winter, I’m taking this week to walk on the sunny side of the street. I’ve noticed that my mood tends toward the grim as the days get shorter, so I make an effort to remain upbeat and shake off the natural sense of despair a normal man feels this time of year.

This week I have the usual variety of items in the now standard format. There is no bonus track on Gab this week.  I’m too busy and I’m not all that sure anyone is listening to those segments.  I’m thinking up something different to do on Gab to support the cause.

For this week, Spreaker has the full show. YouTube has the four longer segments from the show. I am up on Google Play now, so the Android phone commies can take me along when out disrespecting the country. I am on iTunes, which means the Apple Nazis can listen to me on their Hitler phones.

This Week’s Show

Contents

  • 00:00: Opening
  • 02:00: The Spanish Flu (Link)
  • 12:00: Xirl Science (Link) (Link) (Link) (Link)
  • 22:00: The NeverTrump Loons (Link)
  • 32:00: Big Tech Is Watching You (Link) (Link) (Link)
  • 42:00: Ben Shapiro (Link)
  • 47:00: Gay Cakes (Link)
  • 52:00: Anarcho-Tyranny (Link)
  • 57:00: Closing (Link)

Direct Download

The iTunes Page

Google Play Link

Full Show On Spreaker

Full Show On YouTube

Lessons From Racing

When I was a little boy, Jackie Stewart, the great F1 driver, was a household name, despite the fact Formula One is mostly a European thing. I no longer recall the brand, but a toy maker used Stewart to sell a slot car toy set. As a kid, that seemed like the greatest toy imaginable. Open wheel racing was a big deal in the 70’s. It is fair to say it was the golden age of open wheel racing. My family was not into racing, but we watched the Indy 500 every year and some of the F1 races that would be broadcast in America.

There is a great documentary on Formula One  that covers the rise of the sport after the World War II, especially the outlandish danger that was a feature of the it well into the 1980’s. Even if you have no interest in racing, it is worth watching. The men who raced in the 60’s and 70’s were incredible personalities and incredibly brave. The film is primarily about how the sport evolved from a deadly spectacle into a safe spectator sport. It mostly uses vintage footage that really brings the feel of the age home to you.

The point of the show is that the sport of racing, not just at the highest levels, but at all levels, was outlandishly dangerous and unnecessarily so. The track owners could have installed safety items like barriers and emergency medical services, but they saw no profit in it. The team owners were only concerned with winning races, so they put no effort into make the cars safe, beyond what would aid the drivers in finishing races. The racers, chasing glory, developed a cavalier culture and proudly accepted the dangers.

This turned out to be an increasingly lethal combination. Even though it was never said, the track owners knew the paying public was attracted to the sport, in large part, because of the wrecks. The car builders did not want to see wrecks, but it was to their advantage to make the cars as fast and light as possible, which meant eschewing safety features like fire suppression systems. The drivers, like all dare devils, had an incentive to take risks, as this is what made their reputations. The result was increasing carnage.

It reached the point where fatalities were so common, the drivers began to organize in order to force the car builders and track owners to improve safety. That’s where Jackie Stewart came into the mix. He was the most famous driver of his day and he took the lead in organizing the drivers and demanding safety measures. The real advance in safety came when Bernie Ecclestone gained control of the TV rights. He was one of the first to realize that TV was going to be the lifeblood of sport. Control TV and you control the sport.

It is a good lesson that is applicable to all aspects of society. At some point, someone has to be in charge and have the final word. The claim that different interests will organically work as a system of checks and balances is true only in theory. In reality, it takes a strong leader to marshal the competing interests toward a common goal. This is where the arguments against great man theory of history fail. There may be multi-generational forces at work, but it is the great man who is the inflection point of history.

It has not been all wine a roses for Formula One racing since Ecclestone seized control of the sport. Having one man run things means, inevitably, his interests come to dominate, to the detriment of the whole. What made car racing attractive to adventurous young men was they could test their wits and courage against others. The homogenizing effects of F1’s corporate governance is slowly killing that spirit. So much so that the greatest name in racing is threatening to quit, unless there are changes to how Formula One is governed.

This cookie cutter approach, that comes with rule by middle manager, is what is killing NASCAR. Television viewership for stock car racing in America is in decline and the tracks are seeing lots of empty seats. The labyrinth of rules governing the building of cars has removed one of the cool aspects. That is, redneck ingenuity at finding loopholes in the rules and clever new ways to go fast. Now, the cars all look the same, the drivers look the same and the familiar PC bullshit is being injected into the sport.

This is another lesson that is applicable to our age. Human beings are designed to be curious about the world. Men in particular are by nature inclined to test the limits, challenge the rules of life. By directing all energies toward safety, predictability and profitability, racing is managing only to make itself boring. Most young people today could not name a single race car driver. Forty years ago, when I was a boy, even red neck Americans knew the big names in Formula One. Those were men who you could admire.

Committees are made up of people who naturally fear the world. They desire to put every animal in a cage, have ever blade of grass the same height and make sure tomorrow is exactly the same as yesterday. That’s what has happened to racing. it used to be ruled by quarrelsome men led by an alpha male. Now it is run by bureaucrats, disappointed that they never became postal clerks. Of course, there are scads of women showing up to preach the gospel of multicultural lunacy. That never ends well.

Theories Of The Crime

The recent developments in the so-called Russian hacking case have proven that it was never about Russia. It was about “other stuff.” This seemed obvious for a while, but now we know for sure. The two main figures singled out as part of some conspiracy to do something with the Russians, were found to have done nothing with the Russians. They have been charged with unrelated crimes. The public statements of Robert Mueller make clear that he is not investigating Russian involvement in the election.

This was not hard to figure out. I posted about this here and here. The chants of “Russian hacking” from the Clinton camp were always ridiculous. Lots of foreign governments meddle in our elections. That’s not new. What they are not doing, because it cannot be done, is “hacking” the election. Instead, the public information has always supported the idea that the people involved in this probe were trying to hide something. The question is what are they trying to hide and why would they go to these lengths?

So, what’s going on?

The first thing to note is that all of the recent scandals seem to include one of the people now involved in the probe into the mythical Russian hacking stuff. Robert Mueller was the delivery boy in the Uranium One deal. He delivered a uranium sample to the Russians on behalf of the United States government. He then handled the investigation of the shenanigans around the Clinton Foundation and the money that came in from Russian sources, just around the time when Hillary was pushing the Uranium One deal.

Of course, Mueller was the mentor of James Comey, who took over for Mueller as head of the FBI. Comey is one of those guys you see in Washington, who is a lot like the career assistant coach that finally gets to be head coach. Everyone loved him as the second banana and assumed he would be a great top banana. He gets the top job and suddenly, everyone realizes why he was a career assistant. Comey’s main role was in the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal, which he managed to botch in ways no one imagined.

Comey’s blundering is reminiscent of Janet Reno. The Clintons picked her to run Justice because she was stupid, incurious and easily controlled by assistants. Reno was never bright enough to realize that her assistants were making sure she never asked the wrong questions or looked in the wrong places. That seems to be the role Comey played in the last years of the Obama administration. He staggered around thinking he was being the good citizen, when in reality he was being controlled by political operatives in the FBI.

Then there is the infamous “dodgy dossier” that was cooked up by a firm called Fusion GPS. This firm is run by former Wall Street Journal reporters. They exist to do opposition research for the political class. What we know is the Clinton campaign paid them for something. The NeverTrump loons paid them for something. The FBI relied on them to justify their Russia probes. We also know they are fighting Congress tooth and nail to prevent any of this being exposed to sunlight. So is the DOJ for some reason.

Then there is the fact that the FBI was bugging Trump Tower. Their justification was, wait for it, Russian gamblers. It’s surely a coincidence and there is no reason to think they were listening to Trump. The fact that the DOJ was routinely unmasking Trump people, so they could listen in on their communications, was probably no big deal. Well, it is was a big deal to General Flynn. The FBI charged him with lying to them, because they had the electronic records contradicting his statement about his dealings with foreigners.

Then we have Obama appointee Rod Rosenstein, who seems to be in the middle of just about everything. There’s a John Dean vibe to this guy. He was the one who wrote the long memo to Trump, recommending that Comey be fired. Then, coincidentally, he was the guy who recommended the appointment of the special prosecutor. Even crazier, he is the guy who picked Bob Mueller’s name out of nowhere to be on the list of options for President Trump. He just happens to be an old friend of Bob Mueller. What a coincidence!

Finally, the last member of the dramatis personae is Andrew McCabe, the second in command at the FBI. He came to fame when it was revealed that while he was leading the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s e-mail shenanigans, his old lady was taking fifty grand from Clinton bagman Terry McAuliffe. Mrs McCabe was running for local office in Virginia and the governor, out of the blue, suddenly took an interest in her political career. He raised a bunch of money for her, just because he is that sort of guy.

Theories of the crime?

The first thing that is obvious is that the same cast of characters keep turning up in these different scandals. Rod Rosenstein, Bob Mueller, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, these names keep popping up in all of the not obviously related matters. Maybe it is a coincidence, but there’s a Tammany Hall feel to it. No one guy is obviously guilty of anything, but criminality seems to hang over them like a bad odor. It’s possible that the FBI has become a rotten precinct and infected some in the Department of Justice.

Another possibility is that these guys were turned by the Clinton machine and they got sloppy in the year prior to the election. They assumed Clinton was going to win, so they wanted to show their enthusiasm and loyalty by going the extra mile during the general election. After all, everyone in official Washington was sure Clinton was going to win for at least six months prior to the election. John Dean went to great lengths to conceal his own perfidy during the Watergate years. We have a gaggle of John Deans here.

Of course, there is the Trump factor. Maybe these guys figured they could clever their way out some embarrassment by maneuvering Trump into appointing a special prosecutor. Then he and his people would not get too curious about this stuff as no one dares take on a special prosecutor. They just assumed Trump would be like a normal politician and roll over for them. Instead, Trump is banging away at them. Suddenly we have serious people saying Trump should fire Mueller and bring in someone fresh.

Back when Trump started running in the primary, I started calling him The Mule, after the character in the Asimov novel. For two years now, everyone who has dared to take on Trump has been blown to bits, usually by their own hand. It is quite remarkable. The arc of the Trump political career is littered with the obituaries of people who foolishly challenged him. The fact that Trump has maneuvered all of the main actors into the same box now, suggests he may have been way ahead of these guys all along.

The Road To War?

The base assumption of the armchair generals and foreign policy experts is that war on the Korean peninsula is suicide for all involved. The South Koreans know that the North Koreans have the capacity to inflict massive damage to South Korean cities. The North Koreans know that any war with the South brings in American air and sea power, which means the end of the Kim regime. Even assuming the Chinese step in to prevent a North defeat, the end result is monstrous for all concerned. As a result, we have a standoff.

That all sounds good, until you read something like this in the National Interest. Gordon Chang’s analysis may be way off base, but you cannot ignore the fact that Washington keeps pounding the war drums. It really does not matter if people outside Washington are listening. What matters is that official Washington seems to be gearing up for war. The Trump administration has been slowly building up offensive assets in the region. We now have three carrier groups operating within striking distance of North Korea.

Maybe it is all a bluff, but why would Washington bluff, if they accept the various war narratives popular with the foreign policy experts? If the North Koreans are sure that the South does not want a war, why would they think that Washington is doing anything other than bluffing? The whole point of saber rattling is so the other side thinks there is at least some chance that the guy rattling the saber is serious. More important, the guy with the saber needs to think he is serious too. Otherwise, you get Obama’s red lines.

There’s also the unknowns. In this case, no one really knows what South Korean and US military intelligence knows about the North Korean military. It is a safe bet that that the US has had spy satellites parked over North Korea for a long time. It’s also a safe bet that the South Koreans have been cultivating sources in the North Korean military. None of this information is made available to the so-called experts and armchair generals. In other words, Washington may be responding to things entirely unknown to the public.

One thing that is known is that North Korea knows they cannot win a war against the South. The proof of that is how they have organized their military. Those artillery pieces on the border are a one-shot threat. They get about 72 hours to inflict as much damage as possible, until US air power takes them out. If they play this card, they forgo their opportunity to send their infantry and armor south. Instead, the North will have to wage a defensive war, hoping the South elects a negotiated end rather than an invasion.

This means their best card to play in this game just about guarantees their destruction, either from a land invasion or an extended air campaign. It would certainly end the Kim family dynasty. That makes the threat significantly less credible. The US can pressure China or make a deal with China, to get help putting the screws to the Kim regime, knowing that the Koreans only have a doomsday card to play. In other words, the doomsday card prevents a US invasion, but does not prevent economic war.

Of course, it’s possible that the math has changed for the Chinese. Right now is peak China economically and demographically. Now is the best chance they will have to resolve their Korean problem. A decade from now, when China has an aging population and the North Koreans have the ability to strike Beijing, the Americans may not be interested in helping with this problem. The best time to address tough problems is when you have the resources to address them. There is no better time than now for China.

There’s also the Trump factor. Previous presidents have been willing to accept the options presented to them by the foreign policy establishment. Trump is psychologically incapable of accepting the options presented to him for anything. Everyone who has done deals with him says the same thing. Trump thrives under pressure, so he puts everyone under pressure. He’s sure he can wheel and deal with anyone under pressure, so that’s how he changes the negotiating table. He creates uncertainty and puts everyone under the gun.

That seems to be what he is trying to do with Asia. On the one hand, he is encouraging Japan to build out their military and take a more active role in policing the region. This puts enormous pressure on China. He’s helping the South Koreans get ready for war, which puts pressure on the North and on their relationship with China. All of a sudden, the US is doing things very different in Asia. Trump’s willingness to change course on a dime, adds an air of unpredictability to him, which always makes Asian leaders nervous.

No one outside the Trump inner circle knows what’s in the works, but the steady buildup of offensive assets in the region is not just saber rattling. To send a message, you send a carrier group and hold some joint exercises with the South Koreans. Maybe after a North Korean missile launch, you pass some more sanctions and give a bellicose speech. What Trump is doing looks a lot like the preparation for a decapitation strike or maybe a sustained air campaign to cripple the North Korean regime. It looks like war prep.