Trump Fu

In the last couple of weeks, it seems that everyone has celebrated and castigated Trump, sometimes on the same day. Examining the range of opinions on Trump’s presidency so far is like looking through a kaleidoscope. No matter how gently you hold it up to your eye, you see something different than last time you looked through it. In normal times, it is easy to know where everyone stands. The Liberals think the Republican president is Hitler and they think the Democrat is Jesus. The Right adjust accordingly.

With Trump, all of the pundits are standing in the darkness, silhouetted by a wall of light and sound. We can sort of see them moving and we hear noises, but it is hard to know who is saying what about whom. Every once in a while a face from the crowd pops into view and says something good or ill about Trump. One minute Bill Kristol is sneering about Trump and then all of sudden Lindsey Graham is praising Trump. The Alt-Right is one minute hooting about Syria and then praising the new border push.

It really is exhausting, but it is part of how Trump plays the game. It is a good reminder that traditional metrics are not much use when judging Trump the politician. It’s also why he mowed down the GOP field with a cell phone and a twitter account. It was not that he broke their rules. It was that they wasted a lot of time complaining about Trump breaking their rules. Meanwhile, Trump was out giving voters a reason to support him. It is a classic form of political distraction that Trump has adopted to the modern communication age.

Similarly, Trump is wildly unpredictable, at least he seems unpredictable. That’s a big part of how he plays the game. He wants everyone to think the range of choices for him include some collection of unknown options that no one has yet to consider. That keeps foes on the defensive, making them tentative, even when they have the advantage. By appearing to have no clear strategy and routinely breaking old habits, Trump appears to be a wild man, who is capable of anything. Therefore, there’s no way to plan for him.

The big weapon Trump has in this regard is his willingness to attack unexpectedly. He always looks to attack when everyone is sure it is foolish to do so. He went to the very pro-military state of South Carolina and called John McCain a loser for getting shot down and captured by the Vietnamese. He questioned McCain’s conduct as a prisoner. The media howled about how he went too far, but his opponents suddenly got very nervous as they realized they could never relax around Trump. He could attack at any moment.

Another thing about Trump  that makes him an extreme outlier in national politics is that he is not an ideologue. Most of our politicians are quite stupid. All of their intellectual energy is focused on the endless scheming and game playing that is politics. What passes for ideology in American politics is really just a laundry list of policies aimed at buying votes from interest groups. That’s why they sound like robots. They stick to the script, even in the face of a public revolt, because that’s the safe and easy way to do it.

That’s not Trump. He is not married to any policy. In the campaign, he would regularly say something one day and then take it back two days later when it proved to be unpopular. It is safe to assume, for example, that Trump has zero interest in health care. He’ll sign off on anything that is popular with the voters. He’s also willing to dump a bad policy without worrying a bit about being called a hypocrite or inconsistent. Trump is practical about these things. If it does not work, he tosses it aside and moves onto to the next thing.

This will be terribly frustrating for partisans, but Trump is a goal oriented guy. The never ending circus has a point. In the case of the Syrian attack and the blow up with the Russians, it is looking like the point of it all was to play a little domestic politics, but a whole lot of international politics. The way he handled the Chinese leader last week is looking like a game to get the Chinese to do something about North Korea, in order to save face. The “Crazy Trump” act hurling missiles at Syria is excellent cover.

It’s easy to read way too much into these accounts, but the Chinese are now saying extremely bellicose things to the North Koreans. Bush and Obama used every trick they knew to get the Chinese to address the North Koreans and failed. Suddenly, the Chinese are issuing ultimatums. It could simply a be a coincidence and China has been planning to rid themselves of the Kim family for a while, but it is hard to imagine anything like this happening under the last four presidents. They lacked the boldness to try it.

None of this is to suggest that Trump is going to be good for our team, however you interpret that. It’s just that using the old metrics to assess Trump is a category error. He’s not a regular politician and these are not regular times. No one should have imagined Trump as their white knight. At best, Trump flips over the tables and creates enough chaos to give those outside official Washington a chance to join the fight. Trump the Destroyer of Worlds is going to be exhausting for everyone. That’s just part of the deal.

The Wages of Proportionalism

Ethical theories like utilitarianism, say that an action is right or wrong, depending on the consequences it produces. A deed is judged as good if it has a good result. The intentions of the actor are of little or no consequence, because what matters is the final result. Similarly, the deed has no intrinsic morality because the morality is entirely dependent on the results. The most common expression for this is that the ends justify the means. Most of what we think of as the Left falls into this ethical category.

The obvious alternative to this is what Jeremy Bentham called deontological ethics or deontology. This loosely means the knowledge of what is right and proper. A Catholic, for example, acts in accordance with the teachings of the Church. A lawyer conducts himself in accordance with the demands of Lucifer. The act is good or evil intrinsically, regardless of downstream outcomes. What matters is the fidelity to principle or a moral code. The means justifies the ends is the most common formulation of this.

Then there is Proportionalism, which was discussed in this post with regards to how our rulers manage race relations in the current age. That is the ethical theory that says it is never right to go against a principle, unless a proportionate reason would justify it. For example, discrimination is always wrong, unless doing so mitigates some greater wrong. Affirmative action is the policy of discriminating against living whites, based on their race, in order to address the racism of white people too dead to be punished.

The obvious danger of utilitarianism and pragmatist is that it gives license to all sorts of horrible things. A despot, for example, can kill wantonly, claiming it is necessary in order to achieve some greater purpose. Similarly, a pathological adherence to principle, or simply adherence to some bizarre moral philosophy like Nazism, can lead to monstrous ends. Even so, there’s at least a principled argument to be made in order to limit or block the despot and the zealot. There are rules against which they can be judged.

In the modern age, our rulers are quick to point out these things when criticizing whatever it is they are railing against at the moment. They favor Proportionalism because it allows them to make the rules up as they go along, in the moment, in order to take maximum advantage. Proportionalism lets them bet both sides of the wager. When it suits them, they can assiduously apply the rules. When the rules are inconvenient, they can claim that a rigid adherence to principle is not in the public interest.

This moral ambiguity has worked reasonably well, but it is proving to be their undoing as we see with the ongoing spying scandal in Washington. The political class is now faced with an impossible choice. They can pretend that none of this happened and hope Trump stops dumping details about it into the alternative media. That’s pretty much what happened with the Susan Rice story that was handed to Cernovich. That’s an unknowable unknown because Trump plays by a different set of rules and has unknown motives.

There’s also the problem of letting what Team Obama did go unpunished. It sanctions this sort of activity and exactly no one wants the executive having that sort of power. Imagine if a soulless sociopath like Clinton had won the election and had the power to unleash the intelligence agencies on her enemies. On a regular basis, assassins would be gunning down political figures on the streets of Washington. The organized and brazen abuse of power that went on in the last year cannot be left unaddressed.

That, of course, leads to the other unpleasant option. Investigating the former staff of the former president for the crime of domestic espionage and perhaps conspiring to undermine the election is no small thing. After all, that former president is the most precious trophy of the party that runs Washington. That party has been willing to excuse just about anything in order to win political fights. No one knows what sort of dirt Team Obama has at their disposal to use in a bloody political war over this.

That brings it all back to Trump. This latest twist was rather obviously a White House caper. They had the goods on Susan Rice and probably several others so they found a willing outlet. This is one of the oldest political tricks. You find an obscure reporter looking to make a name for himself and you give him the scoop of his lifetime. In this day, a blogger works even better because they don’t have to clear things with a boss. Picking Cernovich is the sort of flourish that a guy like Trump would find amusing.

It’s also a reminder to the political class that Trump is a fast learner and he is willing to play the hardest of hardball. Trump is a leverage guy. He always looks at what he has in order to leverage it to get something else. He’s just turned this Russian hacking nonsense into a weapon he can now use on the political class. The Republicans don’t want to go to war with the Democrats and the Democrats don’t want anymore of their soldiers getting dimed out to ambitious bloggers looking to make a name for themselves.

It is the inevitable end to Proportionalism. In the 90’s, the Left made all sorts of compromises in order to win elections with the Clintons. The Right decided to do the same the following decade with Bush and the neocons. As a result, the political class lost their moral authority. Team Obama had no reason to obey the rules, because no one was obeying the rules. There was always some proportionate reason to justify violating principle. After all, they let the IRS caper pass. Why not some domestic spying?

The Truth About Health Care

Humans live in a finite world. The universe may be infinite, but the world of man is finite. There’s only so much stuff. Because there is only so much stuff, there’s always going to be a shortage of the stuff that people tend to like or need. It’s not always a desperate shortage, but there’s never enough so that everyone can take what they want. There’s always going to be one more hand reaching for the last item just after it is gone.

This is a basic axiom of life and one of the foundation truths of economics. It’s even a foundation truth of communism, which assumes scarcity can only be mitigated, but never fully eliminated, by the elimination of profit. Economists of all stripes work from the assumption that scarcity is an immutable fact of the human condition. The question they wrestle with is how to increase supply and distribute the results.

What this means is that all goods and services must be rationed. Since there’s never enough to meet the maximum demand, there has to be some way to say “no” to people demanding the goods or services. The most common way to do this is price. The poor guy who wants a Mercedes is told he cannot have a Mercedes by the big numbers on the price tag. This is how the supply of luxury cars is rationed.

The other way to ration goods and services is for men with guns to take control of the supply and create rules for who can and who cannot have access to the stuff.  Rocket propelled grenades are not very expensive. An RPG can be had for around $500 and the rounds are about $100. The government, at least in America, controls the supply of RPG’s and determines who can have them. In other words, the government rations the supply of RPG’s in America.

This is an iron law of economics. All goods and services are rationed. This is true for health care too. There are no exceptions to this law. Thus, the First Truth of Health Care: No health care plan or system can ever be taken seriously unless it addresses, up front, how it will say “No, you cannot have it” to people who want it. At some point, someone has to tell the patient they cannot have whatever it is they want or need.

In America, rationing is mostly done by price, but increasingly the state is taking over this role. In Britain, most people are denied services by the long lines for those services. The long wait times for basic services is a form of rationing. If you can deliver X per day and the demand is for 2X, you solve this by giving people numbers and having them wait a long time until their number is called. This is socialized medicine in nutshell.

The fact is, most people could pay out of pocket, for their health services. It is only when poor people get old or have accidents when they need someone to pay for their medical care. Most middle-class people should be able to put away a little every payday to reserve for their later years. That is, if they were not being taxed into poverty by the current system in America that has seen prices rise five times the inflation rate.

Thus, the Second Truth of Health Care: The current insurance model is just a wealth transfer from the middle-class to the health care industry, in order to cover the cost of poor people and the metastasizing layer of people who live off the system. Those is really just a tax. Most people use about 5% of their plan for themselves, the rest is used to pay for poor people and the army of people who work in the system.

That’s the thing politicians never want to discuss, which is the whole reason they are talking about health care in the first place. How does a modern society pay for the poor, who cannot afford needed medical services? How to we address the free riders on the system? More important, how much are we willing to pay for the health services to the poor? There’s a limit to all of this and that’s the question that always has to be answered.

Of course, one of the paradoxes of modern life is that you can get very rich off the poor, which is why liquor stores and furniture rental shops dot the ghetto. In the social welfare game, the point is to lay a massive guilt trip on the public, and grease the right political palms, in order to get the middle class to look the other way as their money is siphoned off for one program or another for the poor, always administered by a rich guy coincidentally.

Thus, the Third Truth of Health Care: Health services are a massive skimming operation. Today, the one area of the economy that “grows” is the health care industry. Every year, more and more people pile into that wagon, mostly in administrative roles. The number of nurses and doctors does not grow very much, but the number of bureaucrats grows like a weed.

Then you have the pill makers, machine makers, research people and lawyers. There are always lots and lots of lawyers. The health care industry is massive and government dependent. It’s why rub rooms are now called message therapy centers. They are angling to get it on the racket, by having their service declared an essential health care service. That way, you will be paying for some guy to get a happy ending.

That’s why reforming health care has become an impossibility. As soon as anyone makes any noises about fixing the system, the army of lobbyists, hired by every vested interest, shows up to bury the reformers. If they are not able to kill the idea of reform entirely, they set about corrupting it into another grift that their clients can use to get a free shot at your wallet. The only people not represented in these efforts are the voters. They get no say.

This is the main reason Trump’s efforts to address the problems of ObamaCare failed last week. What Ryan and the other crooks in the GOP were hoping to do is pass a bill that made it easier for their paymasters to skim money from the rate payers, while providing fewer services. Ryan’s bill was just an attempt to help the people feeding at the trough get a little fatter off the middle-class. Its failure suggests we have reached the end phase.

Talk to anyone responsible for paying health insurance premiums and they will tell you that the rates are reaching the point where they cannot be paid. When premiums are going up by multiples of inflation, there can be only one result. Once rates pass a certain level, people stop paying those premiums. You get black markets, non-compliance and a system that can only persist through brute coercion. Soon after you get collapse.

The Political Class Murders Itself

The point at which the Roman Republic moved from republic to empire is generally placed at the point when the Senate granted Octavian almost unlimited power and he adopted the title Augustus. Some historians argue it was when Caesar crossed the Rubicon or when Octavian defeated Antony at Actium. The implication is that once the transition was started, there was no turning back. The more useful analysis is to think of it as a process, with roots in the Republic, that evolved to the point where dictatorship was inevitable.

The die was most likely cast when the Republic began to compromise its own rules for limiting and distributing power. The system they had created was a reflection of the tribal realities of the early republic. In order to keep any one family from gaining too much power, they systematically limited the time anyone served in office. The system also forced an apprenticeship on those who went into public life. This had the benefit of making public men buy into the system. Therefore they were willing to defend it.

That meant the system had a policing mechanism to sort out enemies before they could cause trouble. An ambitious young man could not skip any steps on his way up the ladder, so once he got up the ladder, he was not agreeing to any changes in the process. Defending the system was a way to defend one’s prerogatives, but also a way to defend the system from lunatics. Verpus Maximus may be smart and talented, but he was not only going to wait his turn, he was going to do all the jobs necessary to prove his worth.

This system started to break down with the rivalry of Sulla and Marius. Sulla was the first man to hold the office of consul twice. He also got away with marching an army on Rome itself, in order to defeat his rival, Marius. Both of these acts were supposed to be disqualifying, but exceptions were made for expediency. Sulla sided with the Senate so the Senate bent the rules to serve themselves. A good case can be made that this is the point when it was all over for the Republic.

It was just a matter of time before someone used Sulla as a precedent.

It is a good lesson to keep in mind as the politicians in the Imperial Capital wrangle over what could be a very dangerous scandal for them.

House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes declared Wednesday that members of Donald Trump’s transition team, possibly including Trump himself, were under inadvertent surveillance following November’s presidential election.

The White House and Trump’s allies immediately seized on the statement as vindication of the president’s much-maligned claim that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower phones — even though Nunes himself said that’s not what his new information shows.

Democrats, meanwhile, cried foul.

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the intelligence panel, cast doubt on Nunes’ claims in a fiery statement and blasted the chairman for not first sharing the information with him or other committee members.

Schiff also slammed Nunes for briefing the White House on Wednesday afternoon given that the Intelligence Committee is in the middle of an investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, including possible collusion with the Trump team.

The political class chased Nixon out of town for talking about the use of the FBI and CIA as weapons against political opponents. The rule in politics has been that the use of the IRS or the intelligence agencies was expressly prohibited. There could be no exceptions for obvious reasons, as it would give these bureaucracies dangerous power. That was the lesson of Hoover. If the CIA or IRS are allowed to use their powers to gather dirt on elected officials, then they can control elected officials. That’s the end of democracy.

Of course, there’s another reason to take certain weapons off the table in politics. That’s self preservation. In prior ages, where the winners had the losers killed, the challengers would always have as their goal, the death of the current ruler. That prompted the ruler to get ahead of the curve and have any potential challengers killed, before they could be any trouble. This was Stalin’s game and he just about gutted the the intellectual and political elite of Russia in the process. They still have not recovered from it.

That’s what makes this so dangerous. It’s now clear what happened. The Obama people started spying on Trump once he had the nomination or perhaps even earlier. They may have started earlier with an eye on helping the Republicans knock him off in the primary, but that’s not clear. They figured that Clinton was a lock so they were not careful about covering their tracks. The Clinton people are as dirty as it gets so they were not going to be ratting on anyone over it. If anything, they would expand on it.

This is where the Russian hacking story comes into the picture. Once disaster struck and Team Obama realized they had a problem, they needed cover, so they started with the Russian hacking nonsense. They would then claim that it was all an accident and they were just trying to prevent Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale from attacking our democracy! It’s also why Obama signed a retroactive Executive Order giving cover to the intel agencies for their domestic spying activities. They were creating a cover story.

The complication is that it appears that at least one person has perjured himself over this and that one person is FBI Director Comey. There’s no way to square his testimony with these new revelations. The best he can do is split hairs and claim he was not part of the spying effort. Of course, there’s no way to touch him as he runs the FBI. In fact, there’s no way to investigate any of the intelligence organizations. This is the point where many of the robot historians of the future will say the American political class murdered itself.

Unless there is some will to address it, and that’s highly unlikely, we now have a new normal where highly politicized intelligence agencies are used by both sides to discredit one another and discredit any attempts to reform the system. It’s no longer a game of rules. It is a zero sum  game of power and that cycle only ends one way, with someone marching their army on the capital and taking control. As with Rome, whoever emerges as the dictator will not have murdered the system. The system will have murdered itself.

The Destroyer of Worlds

Since Trump has entered the White House, the Left has been spinning bizarre fantasies about how the Trump team is part of some super-secret Russian conspiracy. You cannot turn on the television without seeing a liberal nutter hooting “Russian hacking!” To date, no one has bothered to explain what that phrase is supposed to mean. The implication is that through some special magic, the Russians caused the voting machines to register results in favor of Trump. They don’t come out and say it, but that’s the game.

A big part of this lunacy is the fact that the Left was sure that Trump could not win the election. It’s not that they were sure they had the better choice. It was that they were completely convinced that there were no circumstances where Trump could become President. They were so sure, in fact, that they had all of official Washington convinced of this as well. A month before the election there was no one in either party talking about a Trump victory. In fact, the topic of debate was the size and scope of the Clinton victory.

This belief was so pervasive, that both parties spent the summer plotting how they were going to configure themselves after the disaster. Team Clinton spent the summer figuring out how they could use the landslide in order to steamroll the Republicans and enact their agenda. The Republicans were similarly planning for the onslaught and how they could somehow preserve themselves after the election. The day after the election, the stunned looks on the faces of everyone in the political class made this hilariously clear.

There’s another aspect to this that has become abundantly clear over the last couple of months. Both parties wanted to see Clinton win. The Republicans, at least the leadership, liked the setup under Obama. They got to pose as rock-ribbed conservatives fighting Obama, without ever having to do anything. Democrats liked that Obama was just issuing executive orders and bypassing the parliamentary process. The Washington ecosystem was at equilibrium as long as everyone on both sides played their part.

The proof of this is the fact that the GOP has no plans ready for the 2017 legislative session. They have been talking for years about ObamaCare and now we know they never planned to do anything. The same is true of taxes, which is the one thing Republicans like doing. They have no plans for anything, not even something symbolic. They not only have no plans, they are still staggering around in shock, not sure what they should be doing. Suddenly nothing makes sense to the people inside the bubble and they are scared.

In a world where the rules no longer apply, it quickly becomes every man for himself and that’s what is happening in Washington right now.The Left accusing Trump of colluding with the Russians is not just a reckless political attack. It’s war on the very system of governance. It’s the sort of thing that goes on when the political system is breaking down. Trump’s charge that Obama was spying on his campaign makes perfect sense in light of what see happening. The evidence of some sort of Nixonian skulduggery is pretty strong.

Of course, in a world where the scrupulous following of protocol is essential to maintaining the status quo, a break down in the rules puts everyone at risk. That seems to be Trump’s game here with the spying charges. The establishment has tossed out the rules in their effort to attack him, so he is threatening to further bust up the system, which works to his favor and to their disadvantage. it’s a foolish game the Left has decided to play as they have much more to lose in a world without rules.

There’s another aspect to this. Trump has fewer skeletons in his closet than any president in generations. In Washington, that makes him a very dangerous man. All of these guys have shady deals in their closet. All of them bend the rules to reward themselves and their associates. No one says anything about it because everyone is dirty. Washington is a lot like a corrupt police precinct, where everyone is on the take so no one dares rat on anyone else. Trump’s life is an open book so he does not have to play along.

That’s probably why he went nuclear over the weekend. He’s looking around at a city full of crooked politicians calling for investigations so he is turning the table and threatening to open the investigation up to everything. Imagine Trump coming out and asking for a special prosecutor to look into Obama, Clinton, the IRS people, the DOJ and maybe even the FBI itself. There’s a lot of people in Washington with a lot to hide and Trump certainly knows it, which is why he is going on the attack over the tapping of his offices.

A long time ago I pointed out that Trump was The Mule, the character from the Asimov novels. Trump is the destroyer of worlds, not because he has some grand vision of the future and wants to plow under the existing order to make room for his utopia. He is the destroyer because the old order can only exist if Trump does not exist. His rise to the White House is the nullification of the established order. It’s why Washington is going for total war to destroy him. They see it is a matter of survival.

It’s probably too late. The Mule has arrived.

It’s All Fake

Back in Obama’s first months on the throne, Rick Santelli, a TV personality, was “reporting” from the floor of the stock exchange. He responded to a question about Obama’s housing plan with a rant about socialism, finishing it off with a call for a new Tea Party. Whether it was spontaneous or choreographed is hard to know, but at the time people took it to be entirely spontaneous. Santelli is a carny barker prone to getting carried away on the air and his rant had the feel of an old fashioned stem winder.

Regardless of the intent or the execution, the rant went viral and the Tea Party Movement was born. Middle America was ready to be pissed off due to the terribleness of the Bush years, so Obama’s poor start put the normies in a fighting mood. Before long people were showing up at town hall meetings, dressed as Samuel Adams, giving their congressman the business about reckless government behavior that had made a hash of things. Since the Democrats were the majority, they got the brunt of the abuse.

It did not take long for the moonbats to declare the whole thing a racist conspiracy cooked up by the twelfth invisible Hitler in league with the eternal cyclops of the KKK. This was when the fake hate crime stuff got its start as a daily phenomenon. It was also when it became apparent to a lot of people that the news is mostly fake. The increasingly deranged Nancy Pelosi, slurring about “Astroturf” was so weird, it begged a challenge, but the news people carried on like it was manifestly true.

The claim that middle aged suburbanites, dressed in tricorne hats, were paid agents of a nefarious conspiracy was so nutty that the response from the press should have been laughter and then derision. After all, it has been known for decades that the Left uses rent-a-mobs. They pay people to show up and hold signs. Unions have been doing this since the days of Jimmy Hoffa. For the Democrats to clutch their pearls and call the Tea Party inauthentic should have been too much of a farce for even the very liberal press corp.

I’ve often wondered if that was when a lot of people started to think the corruption in Washington was worse than they imagined. The corruption of the Tea Party by Conservative Inc surely turned a lot of people to the dark side, but the priming agent may well have been the AstroTurf stuff. It was so obvious that the media was coordinating their coverage with the Left, it was hard not to notice it. The game was rigged and nothing in the media was on the level. It was not just bias, it was collusion.

The question is, how fake is it? The answer may be, more fake than you think.

A majority of online and social media defenders of Obamacare are professionals who are “paid to post,” according to a digital expert.

“Sixty percent of all the posts were made from 100 profiles, posting between the hours of 9 and 5 Pacific Time,” said Michael Brown. “They were paid to post.”

Since so much of the mass media is now intertwined with social media, the authenticity of social media is a useful proxy for the authenticity of the mass media. It’s right to assume that social media is mostly fake.

The largest network ties together more than 350,000 accounts and further work suggests others may be even bigger.

UK researchers accidentally uncovered the lurking networks while probing Twitter to see how people use it.

Some of the accounts have been used to fake follower numbers, send spam and boost interest in trending topics.

On Twitter, bots are accounts that are run remotely by someone who automates the messages they send and activities they carry out. Some people pay to get bots to follow their account or to dilute chatter about controversial subjects.

“It is difficult to assess exactly how many Twitter users are bots,” said graduate student Juan Echeverria, a computer scientist at UCL, who uncovered the massive networks.

Mr Echeverria’s research began by combing through a sample of 1% of Twitter users in order to get a better understanding of how people use the social network.

However, analysis of the data revealed some strange results that, when probed further, seemed to reveal lots of linked accounts, suggesting one person or group is running the botnet. These accounts did not act like the bots other researchers had found but were clearly not being run by humans.

This would explain the strange disparity in followers you see in Twitter. I’ve had people with tens of thousands of followers post a link to this site and the traffic was a few click throughs. On the other hand, a Ricky Vaughn tweet would net thousands of hits in minutes and it would last hours. That told me real humans were reading his timeline. It also suggests that those follower counts for allegedly famous people may be fake. We know people have bought followers for social media, but the scale has never been examined.

That may be changing. ZeroHedge used on-line traffic tools to figure out that major news sites have most likely hired Chinese click farms to help them game their traffic numbers, even though these sites are blocked in China. These sorts of solicitations come through the contact page of this site on a daily basis so it is nothing new. If the big major sites have succumbed to temptation in order to fraudulently boost their traffic counts, it is safe to assume all of them are doing it.

None of this surprises those who turned to the dark side when Darth Vader was still in knickers. The JournoList scandal was thrown down the memory hole, but the hate thinkers still remember it. The rampant fraud on Facebook with regards to their advertising is starting to impact on-line ads. That was entirely predictable if you have been following these things. But now, the general public is noticing that not only is the news fake, the people behind it look a lot like people our betters have been warning us about for years.

What may push everyone over the edge is the mother of all fake news stories, the entirely fictional Russian Hacking™ scandal. There is nothing about this that passes the laugh test. No one can even explain what it is the Russians supposedly did. No one can explain how Trump people talking to Russians is different from everyone else who regularly talks with Russians. It’s as if the media has been infected with a rage virus. Of course, it’s obvious that the hysteria is part of an orchestrated campaign to undermine Trump.

In other words, it’s all fake.

And it will end poorly.

We Need A Tom Doniphon

Recently, the nation’s cat ladies have been asking the rest of us, “Aren’t you afraid that Trump is going to become a dictator and start bullying journalists and judges just to get his way?” Of course we’re all suppose to start from the premise that Trump is Hitler reborn and just looking for a reason to impose martial law. The fact that Trump has assiduously adhered to the rules of the game to this point is just proof that he is Hitler. After all, Hitler won an election too and we all know how that worked out.

My answer to that query is, “No, I’m not afraid Trump will do all those things. I’m afraid he won’t do those things.” For the last three decades, probably longer, the guys allegedly on the side of the rest of us, have been obsessed with playing by the rules. The thing I don’t fear is that Trump will “go too far” or fail to respect the rules of the game. I don’t care about those rules anymore. Those rules are the bars of the cage. What we don’t need now is a guy obsessed with procedure. We need a guy willing to break the rules.

We have reached a point where it is heads they win, tails we lose. The game has been rigged to make reforming the system within the rules an impossibility. When a majority of the people favor a policy that the managerial class opposes, the policy gets hamstrung by the rules of the game. All of a sudden, the process is sacred. When the managerial class wants something for their masters, they change the rules so it either flies through or simply happens without anyone noticing. The process is not all that important.

All the blather about America being a nation of laws is just cover for the fact that ours is a lawless nation ruled by lawless men. An obvious example is the Ninth Circuit judges, who have fabricated a legal justification for throwing sand in the gears of a wildly popular executive order issued by President Trump. These are not men enforcing the law or respecting the laws. These are men who hold the law in contempt. All that matters to them is obedience to the weird secular cult we have come to call Progressivism.

If what it takes to break the stranglehold this cult has on society is a dictator willing to toss a few judges from a helicopter, then sign me up for dictatorship. I’d much prefer to live in a society where me and my neighbors meet once a month to govern ourselves and our community, but that’s not on offer. What is on offer now is the post-modern theocracy that uses the corrupted and degraded tools of 18th century liberalism to maintain its grip on society. Squads of government men rounding these people up in the middle of the night sounds pretty good right now.

Totalitarians attempt to change the world and human nature, by controlling all aspects of society, including the granular aspects of the political system. It’s what makes reform impossible as we are quickly seeing with the opposition to Trump’s policies. It’s not that they object, on policy grounds, to the very mild reforms that are being proposed. What is at issue is the very concept of the all encompassing world state. To permit reform is to permit questioning and that can never be tolerated.

The only way to break the totalitarian stranglehold may be with a an authoritarian willing to bust down doors and crack some heads. Authoritarianism is only concerned with political power and as long as that is not contested it gives society a certain degree of liberty. You can still have judges falling out of helicopters as we saw with Pinochet, but the people can still go about their lives, free from the hectoring of secular fanatics living off the tax payers. Trump ordering the execution of the 9th Circuit is not ideal, but it beats the hell out of being ruled by angry lunatics from San Francisco.

The main argument against personal rule is that the person eventually dies. Then you have to hope the next guy is not crazy or dangerous. That’s also an upside to authoritarianism. Trump is not going to live forever. What follows is not likely to be another authoritarian. Pinochet eventually gave way to a form of self-government. The reason Chile did not suffer the same fate as Venezuela or Argentina is that Pinochet had most of the secular fanatics shot and tossed into a pit. As a result, Chile came out of the other end of the Pinochet years looking pretty good.

America is headed for a bad end unless things change quickly and radically. The suicide cult that has control of our society is not going to stop until we’re all dead. At some point, you have to use every means necessary to prevent a catastrophe. If that means Lindsay Graham winds up in pit covered in lime, so be it. If Bill Kristol has to write his tantrums from exile in Israel, I can live with that. In order to have a world run by Senator Ranse Stoddard, you first need a Tom Doniphon to do the dirty work of clearing out  Liberty Valance.

La Muerte Blanca

The other day, I was told about a young girl who was found dead at her home by her mother. The girl had graduated high school and was attending junior college. She had been out with friends and, presumably, taking drugs. Somehow she arrived home and went to bed, never to wake up. The girl was otherwise a good kid from a lower class home, but she made a mistake that turned out to be fatal. The exact cause of her death is unknown to me, other than it was a drug overdose, but the story is a familiar one.

The cultural revolution of the 60’s is often celebrated by the Left and Baby Boomers, but it was a disaster for the lower classes in America. The most obvious example is recreational drugs. In the 60’s, smoking weed and experimenting with narcotics was for college kids living off their parents at a university. By the 70’s, the drug culture had settled into the lower classes, along with all the other excesses of the beautiful people. It’s not an accident that crime took off, violence rates increased and we got an underclass.

Ever since, the great fear facing every parent, but especially those in the lower classes, has been the call on a weekend night from the police, telling them their kid was dead or in the emergency room for a drug overdose. Being poor or working class has never been an easy life, but the corrosive effects of recreational drugs have put a trap door under these people. Most are lucky enough to avoid a horrible mistake, but for many, the drug culture proves too much. They make the fatal mistake or throw away their lives for a buzz.

According to Kaiser statistics, whites make up 82% of opioid overdoses. Most of the drug overdoses are among the young, but older whites are killing themselves at record numbers as well. That means the spike in drug deaths is not driven by youthful foolishness or ennui. Instead, it is being driven by more white people using more potent drugs. The consensus is that the over-prescribing of pain killers has driven a rise in heroin use. Once the Feds cracked down on prescription drugs, addicts turned to heroin.

The temptation is to blame the culture or blame the profligate degeneracy of the modern age, but that would not explain the spike in youth overdoses. A middle age man offing himself is understandable to anyone who has hit middle age. Young people, even in terrible situations, naturally have hope. The better answer is that this is a case where supply drives demand. There used to be high barriers to potent opioids. Today, they are cheap and you don’t have to jam a needle in your arm to use them.

All of that means little to that mother who went in to wake her daughter, only to find her dead from a drug overdose. People can come to terms with a kid going bad and throwing their life away on drugs and crime. When a normal kid who seems to be headed in the right direction drops over dead from something they got at a party, people wonder what’s going on in the world. They naturally look to their rulers for answers. If people were suddenly dying from a virus in these numbers, it would be a national emergency.

That’s not to say that the drug war is a good idea. After decades of squandering billions trying to stem the flow of drugs into the country, the result is the opposite of what was expected. Illicit drugs are cheaper, more diverse, more widely distributed and more normalized than when the drug war started. By any measure, the war on drugs was lost and drugs won. That’s why our rulers don’t talk about drugs or the drug war much anymore. It’s just one of those things that has been quietly forgotten.

There’s also the fact that drugs are mostly a downscale problem, something that does not touch the Cloud People so they don’t care about it. The mothers in Cloud Country are not fretting about junior riding the dragon. He’s parked in front of his XBox all day, playing the female character, because he is questioning. The drug issue is mostly a Dirt People problem now. It’s blacks slinging on street corners and crackers getting loaded in an apartment complex far away from the people who run things.

That said, it is important to note the direction of the drug flow. America has never had a problem with drugs pouring in from Canada or Iceland. The flood of cheap narcotics into America starts in Mexico. When heroin had to be imported from Asia, it was not easily attainable and the quality of the product available to the poor was quite low. Now that Mexico has take over the production and distribution, heroin is suddenly cheap, potent and plentiful. This is also true of meth, which is now made in volume in Mexico.

This sort of thing does not happen in Canada because Canada is a responsible country with mostly responsible leaders. They would use the tools of the state to cripple the large scale production of narcotics. That’s not the case in Mexico, where the political class provides cover to the drug cartels and helps them violate US laws with regards to banking and border access. Putting pressure on the Mexican political class, to crack down on their narcotics trafficking and their human smuggling over the border, would have an impact on the heroin problem in the US.

Up until now, our rulers have not seen fit to put any pressure on the Mexican rulers about the drugs and human smuggling. Real countries with patriotic leaders have no tolerance for other countries protecting pirates and drug cartels on their border. They hold the leaders of those border countries accountable. Globalists have no duty to their citizens as citizenship does not exist. America’s ruling class has nothing but empathy for the Mexican ruling class and nothing but contempt for the Americans people, especially the founding stock.

That may be changing as Trump is the first pro-American president we’ve had in close to three decades. Trump seems to get that the way to address the border problems, including the drugs, is to hold the Mexican elite responsible. They need America much more than America needs Mexico. If the cost of tolerating the drug cartels and human smuggling gets high enough, the Mexican government will do something about it. It can never be eradicated entirely, but it would not take much to sharply reduce the flow of drugs and people over the border.

Maybe then the White Death will begin to subside.

The Cloud Party Declares War

When the Muslim Brotherhood “won” the 2012 election in Egypt, most of the world just assumed Egypt was going to go down the road to Islamism. Either a slow trot like we have seen with Turkey or perhaps a faster pace into something closer to Iran. That did not happen. Instead, Egypt ground to a halt as the civil service and military, which are intertwined, refused to cooperate with the new government. The result was a sort of coordinated work slowdown and the Brotherhood got the blame for it.

That was not the only reason the Brotherhood failed. They had no idea how to run a country and they never had the depth of support they assumed. Still, the bureaucracy set itself to stymieing Morsi, so they simply stop functioning. People still showed up for work and manned their posts, but they got nothing done. It was a good lesson in how a modern country works, even one on the fringe of modernity. Real power is not in the office, but in control of the system. He who controls the bureaucracy controls the nation.

That comes to mind after Trump has been in office for little more than a week. His initial flurry of executive orders has dominated the news cycles, simply because of the infantile theatrics of the Left. Adult toddlers throwing tantrums at the local airport makes for good TV, especially when the people covering it are toddlers themselves. What has gone unnoticed is the fact that the Republicans appear to have settled on a  strategy similar to the Egyptian bureaucracy. They will slow walk everything Trump wants out of Congress.

So far, the Senate has approved the national security appointments because to do otherwise would make them look bad. The education secretary is still bottled up for some reason. Allegedly, everyone in the GOP would just as soon scrap DoE, but they are making a big issue of this nominee. The AG nomination has similarly been slow walked by the Senate. Of course, the traitor John McCain is stirring up trouble over the DHS appointments. The result is there will not be a full cabinet for months.

The bigger issue is the fact that the GOP Congress has no plan to repeal ObamaCare or pass tax reform. It’s pretty clear that the people we thought were secretly supporting Clinton, people like Paul Ryan, really thought she was going to win, so they never bothered to prepare for this. The result is all their big talk after he election about major reforms and repealing ObamaCare was just talk. They were planning for surrender and suddenly found themselves with a President ready to sign off on major reform.

That’s probably only part of it. The fact is, the leadership of the GOP has more in common with the Democrat Party than the emerging Trump Party. Despite the election results, they cannot let go of their belief that the winning hand is to turn the country into a flop house for the refuse of the rest of the world. Globalism is their creed and they will not let go of it just because the people hate it. They are sure Trump will fail so they are going to work hard to make it happen, After all, a prophesy that does not come true is not much use.

Then there is the bureaucracy, which appears to be organizing itself in opposition to Trump in the early going. Senior people in the State Department made a big show of quitting the other day. The acting Attorney General is instructing her department to sit on their hands over challenges to Trump’s immigration orders. It’s all small time and petty, but with the aid of the media it’s becoming cool for the governing class to throw sand in the gears of the Trump administration. At least that’s the hope in DC.

All of this points out the underlying reality in Washington. There is the Cloud People Party and an insurgent Dirt People Party. The Cloud Party and its donor class hate Trump and the people he represents. If you look at the funding sources from both parties, it comes from areas Hillary Clinton carried 2-to-1. According to this Brookings study, the 472 counties that Clinton won last year accounted for 64 percent of the nation’s wealth, while the 2584 counties that Trump won accounted for the remaining 36 percent.

There are plenty of Republicans who support Trump and a surprising number of people in the bureaucracy who know reform is long overdue. Some of the harshest critiques of the state you will hear come from people in the system. There’s also the fact that Trump is proving to be an exceptional political athlete. He has a knack for baiting the media in order to gain public support for his positions. No person has moved the Overton Window further to the right than Trump has done in my lifetime. It truly is amazing.

Even so, the next year will be about the Cloud Party conspiring to undermine the Trump administration, while Trump figures out how to work around the system to undermine the system. His immigration order is a foreshadow of what is to come. Instead of looking for compromise, Team Trump will go big in order to trigger the political class and their media to overreact. This tends to turn off the public and thus turn the Cloud Party assets into liabilities, as we are seeing with these ridiculous protests.

At some point, the Cloud People will shift gears, but for now, the game will be Trump picking fights and the establishment going bonkers.This gives Trump cover to do some important stuff, like we see with the H1B executive order. While the Cloud People are wailing about the so-called Muslim ban, they did not have time to notice the order to shake up the visa program Silicon Valley uses to screw its employees. This sort of cat and mouse game is how an insurgent party must use its speed and agility to overcome the establishment’s size.

Playing With Fire

The Trump inauguration featured the usual array of public nuisances and troublemakers that are now a feature of public events. If world leaders meet in a city, that city has a riot by anarchist loonies bused in by guys like George Soros. If a country celebrates one of their traditions, lunatics show up to ruin it for everyone. In this case, paid employees inspired supporters of Democrat pressure groups showed up in the Imperial Capital to harass citizens as they attempted to enjoy the spectacle of crowning our new emperor.

I’ve long argued that public protests are anti-democratic, anti-liberal and an assault on civilized order. They are unnecessary in a social democracy. We have elections where the issues of the day can be debated. There’s simply no need to be out in the streets causing trouble. These people yesterday were not there to raise awareness. They were there to intimidate and frighten people. While we cannot ban such things, the punishments handed out for causing trouble should be draconian. Put the rioters in a city jail for a couple of years and this comes to an end.

Normal people will tolerate a fair bit of this, just as long as they can avoid it when going about their business. There’s also an entertainment factor that gives these rioters some room to maneuver. The press loves covering these idiots and people will watch it on TV. Of course, most of the nation’s press corp wishes they could be rioting and looting so they pretend that the rioters are a serious, organic response to oppression. The struggle myth remains a powerful force in Progressive politics.

Property destruction used to be the preferred action of these rioters as it avoided the moral hazard of physical confrontation. If they rumbled with the cops, they could get a beating or worse. If they assaulted people on the streets, something similar could happen. Plus, judges are tough on perps who attack innocent bystanders and cops, while they are lenient on property crimes. Insurance pays for the damage and the miscreants don’t have any money, so it is easier to just let the rioters go.

That’s changing as we keep seeing with Trump events. These lunatics show up and throw eggs, batteries, urine bombs and worse. There were reports that rioters were crapping in their own hands so they could fling it at people. Milo Yabadabadoopolis keeps having his events cancelled because the authorities worry about potential violence. Given that a guy was shot at his last event, it is not an unreasonable fear. It’s the extreme version of the heckler’s veto. Instead of shouting down the person on stage, the heckler opens fire on the audience.

The question that comes to mind is when do we see the other side of this. So far, it has been all leftist crazies assaulting normies, who quietly take it. To their credit, the normies know the media is looking for a reason to blame all of it on them so they have adopted a passive approach to it. Videos are posted on-line and appeals are made to the authorities to do something about the violence. The assumption is the public will side with the victims over the lunatics, even if the press does the opposite and blames the victims.

So far, it has been remarkable that nothing serious has happened. These protesting lunatics are not terribly clever. All it would take is a bit of forethought to lure them into an ambush. How long before some armed normies turn up at an event and wait for the lunatics to give them a reason? The fact that it has not happened is encouraging, but maybe we have just been lucky. There are a lot of young men at Trump events. The alt-right is mostly young men. Young men tend to push back.

The other side of this is something that came to mind watching Richard Spencer get attacked on the street while doing an interview. At the risk of breaking the code, Spencer is an attention hound, who I suspect set this up hoping something like this would happen. Doing an interview on the street in front of the lunatics is just asking for trouble. The video was posted by his followers and he has been talking about it nonstop ever since. It’s good public relations for him and his cause. It makes him sympathetic, but also gives him street cred.

Of course, young men looking for street cred of their own will see this as a chance to be part of the action. They can stand guard while guys like Spencer conduct interviews and give speeches. This has been the attraction for black militants since the 60’s. Given the choice between wearing cool outfits and carrying a gun or submissively taking a beating from the cops, young black men naturally are drawn to groups like the Panthers, the Nation of Islam and recently, Black Lives Matter.

It is another example of the dangerous game being played by our Progressives rulers. While the public becomes increasingly dissatisfied with the current order, the ruling class becomes increasingly hostile to the people. By encouraging this sort of mayhem we see outside public events, they are encouraging a response to it. I don’t have much interest in Spencer and the preppy Nazi stuff, but if I’m forced to choose between him and the anarchist rioter, it is not a hard choice.

I’ve been making the point for a while now that Trump and his election are a warning shot across the bow of the ruling class. The public is increasingly frustrated by the unresponsiveness of the ruling class. Reform is long overdue. The support for and election of Trump is that message. If the ruling class ignores it or actively subverts it, what comes next will be much worse. The status quo is untenable, but we are not at a crisis. More videos of citizens being assaulted by leftist mobs and people start thinking the time for half measures has passed.