The Case Against Trump

Note: Is the man in your life a lifeless lump on the couch? Is the little lady acting more like an old lady? Need to add some spice to your life? Then head over to Minter & Richter for a jar or two of their hot sauce.


The January 6 committee has finally wrapped up its work with a series of criminal referrals for Donald Trump. Exactly no one is surprised by this result, as this was obviously the point of the charade from the start. The only people surprised by the ending are the cranks and crazies that still bang on about Trump. The one interesting thing about this is that it highlights the defining feature of the people who compose the core of the anti-Trump cult.

There are two big questions with this latest development. The first is whether the Department of Justice will go ahead and indict Trump. Merrick Garland has been under intense pressure from the crazies to throw Trump in jail, but he has so far found a way to avoid deciding. He just appointed one of their favorite goofballs to operate as a special prosecutor. It was a delaying tactic, much in the way that the appointment of John Durham was a way to run out the clock.

Garland is a bloodthirsty fanatic like the rest of his cult, but he understands the danger of bearing his fangs in public. If he makes it too obvious that his cult no longer has any respect for the people or institutions of the country, there could be trouble. These people believe deeply in the power of narrative, so the narrative builders are busy inventing new stories to provide the content creators in the media. These things take time, so the final call is probably months away.

The other big question is whether this is good for us. There are a few schools of thought on the whole throw Trump in jail business. The conventional school is that even though everyone knows this is Stalinist nonsense, it is another blow to his brand, which is dying from a thousand cuts right now. The cumulative effect of these assaults is slowly marginalizing Trump. At some point, Trump will have to agree to go out with a whimper and thus leave his supporters without a leader.

That seems to be the thinking of the anti-Trump cultists. They think they are the white hats with the support of the public. The counter is that Trump is once again blessed with the best enemies. Just when people get tired of his act, his opponents remind the world that Trump stirs the passions of the most loathsome, vulgar people at the center of the current crisis. No man has been blessed with the volume of free media as Trump and this is just more free attention.

There are other scenarios for how this plays out. Garland could formerly charge Trump and then the Republicans mount a “totally spontaneous and authentic” campaign to remove him from primary ballots. In the same way they engineered Congressman Steve King’s exit from politics, they would run the same scam on Trump. By coordinating with the other party, they would pretend they are simply protecting the party from this obviously bad man.

From a dissident perspective, this would be manna from heaven. No one would be fooled by this and it would bolster the case for boycotting the party. The only thing keeping many people engaged with Republican politics is the hope that the highly corrupt leadership could one day be replaced. Trump is their symbol of hope, so his engineered removal by party leaders would be the final straw. Millions of Trump voters would suddenly start thinking about boycotting the system.

Even if the Republican party sits this out, Trump getting hauled away in chains is good news for dissidents. Given what has been revealed about the FBI’s involvement in censuring speech on-line and the DOJ running a domestic spying operation on Congress, it is hard to not see the bananas in this republic. Biden having his political rival thrown in prison on manufactured charges would instantly vaporize support for the system as a whole.

George Washington famously said that the last act of any government is to loot the treasury, but he turns out to have been wrong. In pre-ideological societies, this was probably a fair observation. Like the rest of the Founders, Washington was deeply influenced by the English Civil War. He had ancestors who fought on the side of the king, so it was more than just historical. In the age before ideology, money was what eventually broke the legitimacy of government.

In the ideological age, the final acts of the government are about snuffing out the last flames of love the people have for the cause. The Soviets eventually made even the most loyal communists cynical. Mao had to murder a lot of people, but eventually the ChiComs lost faith in communism. Of course, the final acts of revolutionary France were to bring the Jacobins to meet Madame Guillotine. As with marriage, when the love for the cause fades, the relationship soon dies.

That is the way to look at this Trump business and all the other stuff that has been revealed over the last decade. The loathsome degenerates parading across the political stage rely on public faith in the system. Every outrage undermines that faith until a tipping point is reached. Maybe it is Trump being thrown in a dungeon or maybe it is something else, but the tipping point is always closer than we think. Godspeed anti-Trumpers, Godspeed.


If you like my work and wish to kick in a few bucks, you can buy me a beer. You can sign up for a SubscribeStar subscription and get some extra content. You can donate via PayPal. My crypto addresses are here for those who prefer that option. You can send gold bars to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. Thank you for your support!


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Above Time Coffee Roasters are a small, dissident friendly company that makes coffee. They actually roast the beans themselves based on their own secret coffee magic. If you like coffee, buy it from these folks as they are great people who deserve your support.

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Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link. If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


Trump 2.0

In the before times, Bill Buckley would claim that he could know everything about a man’s politics based on his opinion of Israel and abortion. These were clarifying issues that did not easily allow for nuance or ambivalence. If you had any politics at all, you had an opinion on these issues. To some degree it is still true, but the clarifying issue of this age is Donald Trump. You cannot engage in politics at any level without having a position on the most famous pitch man in history.

All politicians, once they become famous, evoke strong opinions. This is due to the hive mindedness of the ruling class. For them, the friend-enemy distinction has come to dominate every aspect of their being. They have imposed this binary mindset on the culture so everyone, even the least informed, feels they must have a strong opinion on everyone and everything that is in the news. These opinions are moral signifiers that users wear like badges to indicate group affiliations.

Trump is something different. His biggest fans can and often do talk about his many faults as a politician. They can list all of the failures of his administration, while also praising him as a man and president. Many have fallen into a cult-like trance, but most of his fans are clear-eyed about the reality of the man. Despite his many faults and failures, they remain loyal to him because of what he represents. He is the ultimate protest candidate for people not allowed to protest.

For dissidents he has mostly been an amusing bull in the China shop, creating havoc among the beautiful people. Lots of people on this side foolishly thought he was going to be a something other than Donald Trump once he got into office, so they are still a bit salty about Trump, but they did enjoy the show. Others saw Trump as a chaos agent who created havoc in the enemy camp. The demise of conservatism was underway, but Trump swung a wrecking ball through it.

Last night Trump made it official. He will be running for president in 2024 and he is the prohibitive favorite to be the Republican nominee. The usual suspects are now rushing out to play their role in the drama. Here is state media making sure the drones in their cult know that Donald Trump hates democracy. The yesterday men of conservatism are doing their same old act. Then you have the moral panic crowd promising to be as ridiculous as ever.

Many on this side of the great divide are not thrilled by this. Again, some are still salty over falling for the god-empower stuff. Others, like RamZPaul, think Trump is too old and want someone younger. Ron DeSantis is half Trump’s age and seems to hold most of the same views as Trump. Having a young and more predictable version of Trump has obvious appeal. DeSantis has also shown that he understands government and could possibly get something done as president.

The other issue with the reboot of the Trump franchise is that his act feels dated now, like a now out of clothing style. When Trump bulldozed his way through the primaries and then the Clinton campaign, it was hilarious because it was refreshing to see someone give these people the business. His name calling and snide comments are not as funny now. His targets are just as loathsome, maybe more so, but Trump’s attacks just lack the same punch as 2016.

American politics is not kind to second acts. Pat Buchanan had a great run in 1992 but was largely ignored in 1996. Ron Paul had a similar run in 2008, but his 2012 reboot was a flop. Ross Perot is another example. Trump stands out because he won the primary and the general election, but like his populist predecessors, he will face strong headwinds from an audience not fond of reboots and sequels. That and the GOP will call in their vote counters this time around.

That is the critical question for dissidents. Is it better that they steal the 2024 election from Trump or is it better that they steal it from someone else? What happens if the GOP assembles their dream ticket of Nikki Hailey and Tim Scott only to see the magic of mail in votes hand the election to Biden? That is the other piece of the puzzle that has been ignored. It now appears likely that Joe Biden will be the first zombie to top the ballot for a major party.

On the other hand, what if the GOP rigs their primary this time and they assemble their dream ticket despite strong opposition from the voters? Pulling shenanigans on DeSantis or someone else would not get much attention. If they do this to Trump, it will be a disaster for the party. Given the corruption and incompetence of party leadership, this is a very possibility. Keep in mind that Democrats did this to install Joe Biden as their nominee in 2020, so it a strong possibility.

There is plenty to chew on for dissidents with regards to Trump 2.0, but now the debate must shift from whether he should run to how best to take advantage of it. Trump made the call and he will no doubt spend 2023 barnstorming the country doing rallies and media events to keep himself in the news. As with 2016, this has to be viewed as nothing more than an opportunity to change some minds. Who knows? Maybe Kanye West will join him on the campaign trail.


If you like my work and wish to kick in a few bucks, you can buy me a beer. You can sign up for a SubscribeStar subscription and get some extra content. You can donate via PayPal. My crypto addresses are here for those who prefer that option. You can send gold bars to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. Thank you for your support!


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Above Time Coffee Roasters are a small, dissident friendly company that makes coffee. They actually roast the beans themselves based on their own secret coffee magic. If you like coffee, buy it from these folks as they are great people who deserve your support.

Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link. If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


Lesson Of Trump #3

Note: I have a post up behind the green door on the 1997 movie The Devil’s Own, starting Brad Pitt and Harrison Ford.


Perhaps in the future, this day will be called day zero of year zero, signifying the official closing of one era and the start of a new one. The installation of Joe Biden as president marks the end of the old civic nationalist America and the beginning of the new managerial state. Competitive elections and open debate of the old era have been swept away in favor of ceremonial elections and speech codes. The managerial class has formally seized control of the country.

No one can look at what is going on in the country and think any of it is normal or that returning to normal is possible. Even if Washington wanted to return to normalcy, the last few months cannot be unseen. Joe Biden will take the oath of office behind layers of razor wire, guarded more than a full army division. The imperial capital looks like it is under occupation and it very well may remain this way. The new regime is extremely paranoid, convulsed by increasingly bizarre conspiracy theories.

This is the big lesson of the Trump years. The nature and psychology of the managerial class began to transform after the end of the Cold War. Little by little it was becoming a closed and insulated culture sitting atop of the general culture. The system looked the same from the outside, two parties competing for votes and the right to dispense the benefits of power, but inside it was changing. It was becoming a distinct culture and the people in that culture were becoming class aware.

Viewed in this context, the 2016 election of Donald Trump was the catalyst for the final phase of this process, the end of which is unfolding now.  The political system in America is now a closed shop, like a sports league. Just as you cannot buy a sports team without first being approved by the other owners, you can no longer win a federal election without first being vetted by the managerial class. The razor wire barriers are the manifestation of this closing of the managerial elite.

It is not just the political marketplace that has been closed off. America is no longer a market economy. This is another thing that has accelerated into plain sight during the Trump years. The shuttering of the social media site Parler is a great example of how the marketplace no longer exists in a conventional sense. All of its vendors gave up their business with the company, because the people running those firms are loyal to their class, not the abstract principles of the marketplace.

This will become increasingly clear as the new regime takes control. The big economic players like the banks or the tech giants are no longer subject to the marketplace in any meaningful way. For example, if angry consumers swore off Amazon, not much would change for Amazon as they control the logistics for the companies those angry consumers would use in place of Amazon. Mastercard can black list anyone because they are a part of a cartel that has no competition.

This will be the hardest lesson for people to accept. Every generation of Americans walking the earth right now has been conditioned to believe the marketplace is the final arbiter of all disputes. Despite all that has gone on, most people cannot accept that there is no marketplace in large swaths of the economy. They still respond to the bogeyman of socialism, despite the fact America has been a socialist country for close to a century now. We are now a command-and-control economy.

Of course, all of this is coming with something even more ominous. For example, the tech giants volunteered to work with the FBI to get the protestors they have now labeled insurrectionists, which is an important change in tone. This public-private partnership comes naturally, as the people involved see one another as members of the same class, at war with the same enemy. Silicon Valley is officially the signal intelligence arm of the surveillance state.

This year the regime will roll out the Covid passports, which will be required to get on public transport. Soon, they will be required to do anything. This is the beginning of the social credit system, where your internal passport is essentially a report card that is constantly updated based on your behavior. It starts with public health but will quickly moves to public safety. Surveillance capitalism will come into full bloom tarted up with the language of public safety and defending democracy.

In total, what the Trump phenomenon has revealed is the America most people thought was their country is gone. Politically, economically, demographically, and culturally, the old American has been replaced with this new society. The great reset, as the new regime bills it, is a dictatorship of the managerial class. That class is now largely closed off to the rest of us. Just as the nomenklatura had the house on the embankment, the managerial class has the walled institutions.

This is why the new regime is willing to bust up many of the institutions that had been instrumental in creating. Public distrust of the media is no longer important, as the new class is no longer subject to the voters. The media companies no longer worry about the audience, because what are you going to do, start your own Amazon? Create your own Hollywood? Mitch McConnell supports another impeachment, because he knows the party system is a farce. His loyalty to his class is what matters.

Michael Anton was right that Donald Trump was the Flight 93 president. Like that flight, the story was motivated by hope, but it was doomed from the start. Like that flight, it crashed and now can only serve as a warning and a rally point. For the new regime, it is a warning that their subjects will fight back if given the chance. For the rest of us, it is reminder that we can fight back, but success is not guaranteed. Resistance only works when no one has any illusions about what is being resisted.


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The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link.   If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte.

Lesson Of Trump #2

One of the ironies of the Trump phenomenon is that his most ardent supporters and his many opponents focused on the man, when it was never about the man. Ten years ago, no rational person would have picked Donald Trump as the face of populist discontent, much less the most consequential political figure in generations. When he ran, it was assumed it was a publicity stunt, as he had spent his life as an entertainment gadfly, finding ways to draw public attention to his real estate schemes.

Yet, as the Trump era draws to a close, both his supporters and his enemies have developed a political cult around the man. His supporters are sure he has some last trick up his sleeve to do something to save the country. His opponents are sure he has some trick up his sleeve to steal their democracy from them. So much so, in fact, they have turned the tiny internet fad called QAnon into a subversive conspiracy. There are more anti-Q fanatics now than genuine followers of it.

The thing is, Trump was always an opportunist. In fact, he is the extreme expression of the opportunist, which is how he went from Queens landlord to one of the most famous and successful real estate developers in the world. Real estate, especially the business of high-profile resort properties, is about opportunity. You find a deal before everyone else and cash in before the next big thing. Trump got rich finding the next big thing before everyone else realized that it was the next big thing.

Trump got into politics for all the same reasons everyone else runs for office in a modern liberal democracy. He wanted affirmation. Unlike the narcissistic robots that fill up both parties, Trump saw an opportunity outside the system. The swelling ranks of disaffected whites, unhappy with both parties, looked a lot like a neglected property with tremendous promise, if the right investor came along. Most important from Trump’s perspective, they were a motivated seller.

The first eager seller was Ann Coulter, who was one of the most prominent celebrities to get on the Trump train. Well before anyone thought Trump was a serious threat to the Republican nomination, she was saying he would not only win the nomination but win the general election. Queen Ann completely bought into Trump being the daddy she had been waiting for her whole political life. She went to war for Trump the man, believing he was the answer.

She was not alone in thinking Trump was the savior. The alt-right that had been forming up on-line in the Obama years also went all in on Trump. They convinced themselves he was the American Pinochet. Mike Enoch of The Right Stuff jumped on the Trump train with the same enthusiasm as Ann Coulter. Richard Spencer was a full-blown MAGA man. The alt-right went to war for Trump in the 2016 election, so much so that even Hillary Clinton felt the need to notice them.

The trouble is, Trump was never that man. He could never be that man. He could never have won the nomination and the general election if he was that man. Only an opportunist with no regard for what he was saying could have gamed the system the way he did in 2016. Unlike Pat Buchanan and Ross Perot who came before him, Donald Trump won because he was not constrained by the truth. Like every opportunist, he was only focused on exploiting the opportunity.

Of course, when this reality became too obvious to ignore, many people jumped off the Trump train and became droning critics. Like jilted lovers they could not stop talking about how the mean old orange man did them wrong. They were not wrong to point out Trump’s faults. Their error was in thinking he was their savior or that any man can be the savior in this political system. They were sure and remain sure that you can vote your way out of the defects of liberal democracy.

There are three lessons here. One is that Trump could never have existed without the realty of the masses that supported him. He was just a front runner, a guy who jumped to the head of a wave of people coming to terms with the fact that we are entering a new era of politics. With or without Trump, those people exist and will continue to exist with the same grievances and concerns. Just because the dull knight vanquished their champion, does not mean they cease to exist.

Another lesson is there is no way to reform this system. The sort of person who can win an election is either a careerist sellout like every member of the GOP or an outlandish outsider with no ability to govern. The only way forward for dissidents is to focus on building outside the system. A third of all adults and close to half of white people no longer think the system is legitimate. Every day the people in charge convert more people to this view with their authoritarian actions.

The final lesson here is that the old political labels are no longer relevant. That is what the Trump era demonstrated. It is no longer about conservative versus liberal or red team versus blue team. It is not socialism versus capitalism. It is about those who live in the lie of liberal democracy and those who live in the truth. If you live in the truth, you not only oppose the people running the system, but you also oppose the system that allows these criminal aliens to rule over us.


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link.   If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte.

Lesson Of Trump #1

Note: The Monday post is up on Taki. The general theme this week will naturally be about the installation of The Pretender onto the throne. I also have a movie post up behind the green door. If you are not a subscriber, you need to be.


As the military begins the process of installing The Pretender as the figurative leader of the American Empire, it is a good time to take stock of what has happened over the last five years. From the perspective of political psychology, the world all of us inhabit today is a vastly different one from the world of 2015. This includes the dissident right, which has been transformed by the Trump experience. In the before times, politics was all shades of gray, while today it is in black and white.

An obvious example is Conservative Inc. The Obama years were tough for those rackets, as it became clear to many conservative people that these guys cared more about how the Left thought of them than in advancing their issues. Compounding it was the refusal to address the failures of the Bush years. Even so, they really thought they could keep peddling hyper-violent Progressivism to conservatives, as long as they decorated it with pictures of Reagan.

That racket smashed onto the rocks of the Trump experience. Traffic for the old school neocon sites collapsed. The Weekly Standard folded. These people revealed themselves to be a blend of old school confidence men and petulant, nasty liars who hate the people they claim to represent. They still have an audience of chumps unable to smarten up, but otherwise Conservative Inc. has no audience. They exist because the Left thinks they are useful for now.

Further to that point, Libertarian Inc., a subsidiary of Conservative Inc., has also been exposed as a long con. The stripping of our ancient liberties by global enterprise should have been a great cause for libertarians. After all, systematically stripping people of their ability to exist is pretty much what libertarians claim to oppose, but the major organs were silent. A combination of graft and perfidy kept them focused on echoing Progressive talking points about the evil Donald Trump.

This has revealed something else. The dissident right is not ready to be the Dissident Right, despite the growing numbers. This is a problem that dates to the 1980’s when Conservative Inc. started to purge dissenters from their ranks. Instead of working to build new structures outside of and opposed to official structures, dissidents kept trying to get back inside the official tent. The result has been a ragtag army living on the land outside the walls of the city. It remains so.

Probably the biggest change, one we see evolving in front of our eyes as the military is called in to install The Pretender, is that the parties are a fiction. Until very recent, most dissidents thought the way forward was to work through the two-party system and get “our guys” into office. Again, this dates to the 1980’s. Buchanan tried and failed to unseat the neocon Bush. Perot tried and failed with his third-party to cleanse the land of the neocons. Trump tried and failed to reform the Republican Party.

The reason all these efforts failed is the party system is a fiction. The core of each party holds the same opinions on the important issues. They are bankrolled by the same collection of billionaires and international interests. The parties have tentacles that reach into various camps, but the main body of the system serves the people who bankroll American politics. A politician with close ties to the CCP can maintain his seat because the Chinese are a major backer of both parties.

This is the big change for dissidents. Trump was the last opportunity to keep dissidents engaged in the fiction of democracy. His own perfidy and his treatment by the political class has disabused dissidents of their faith in the system. The people in the streets at the Epiphany Uprising were not there because they still believe in the Republican Party, Donald Trump, or the system itself. They were there, being cheered by tens of millions from home, because dissidents lost their faith in the system.

Further to that, it is finally dawning on dissidents that what motivates the Cloud People is not what motivates the Dirt People. For generations, the Right insisted that the Left is driven by the same logic as everyone else. This was always false, and part of the long con played on the public. This is, in part, why conservatives lost every battle in the culture war. The people on the other side of the barricades, celebrating their victory over us, are not us and they do not think like us.

This is probably the most important lesson of the last five years that is finally sinking into the thick skulls of the dissident right. The Cloud People are not motivated by greed or a lust for power. They have those things. They are motivated by a sense of identity that starts with a hatred of the Dirt People. Their sense of self begins with not being anything like the people over whom they rule. This is why they hated Trump. He was an intruder from the other side injected into their world.

While many are disappointed with the Trump years and Donald Trump the man, the last five years have been a clarifying experience. The anger, emotion, disappointment, frustration, even the violence, are the result of a fog lifting. Five years ago, most people were sure about politics. Now that the fog has lifted, people are looking around and seeing it was always a big lie. The people who perpetrated these lies are on the other side of those barricades, giving the rest of us the finger.


Promotions: We have a new addition to the list. Havamal Soap Works is the maker of natural, handmade soap and bath products. If you are looking to reduce the volume of man-made chemicals in your life, all-natural personal products are a good start. If you use this link you get 15% off of your purchase.

The good folks at Alaska Chaga are offering a ten percent discount to readers of this site. You just click on the this link and they take care of the rest. About a year ago they sent me some of their stuff. Up until that point, I had never heard of chaga, but I gave a try and it is very good. It is a tea, but it has a mild flavor. It’s autumn here in Lagos, so it is my daily beverage now.

Minter & Richter Designs makes high-quality, hand-made by one guy in Boston, titanium wedding rings for men and women and they are now offering readers a fifteen percent discount on purchases if you use this link.   If you are headed to Boston, they are also offering my readers 20% off their 5-star rated Airbnb.  Just email them directly to book at sales@minterandrichterdesigns.com.


For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte.

Reno To Damascus

As the Trump story arc reaches a conclusion over the next few weeks, there will be a lot of writing and talking about the meaning of the last four years. The racketeers of the conservative movement have already concluded that the last four years were just an anomaly and they can go back to the same old rackets. Like career criminals, they learn nothing from the past. Others appear to have been chastened by the experience and are coming out of the other end questioning their old ways.

One of those post-Trump men appears to be the editor of First Things, the conservative religious journal founded by Richard John Neuhaus. The editor, R. R. Reno, published this in the old left-wing magazine Newsweek, in which he sounds more like Pat Buchanan than the typical conservative. In fact, his essay probably would have been accepted by the old paleoconservative journal, Chronicles, as an olive branch to mend the three-decade rift between First Things and the paleos.

What makes Reno’s post interesting is that he was a fervent anti-Trump advocate the last four years. He participated in the now infamous National Review symposium, in which they demanded the rules of the Republican Party be changed to prevent Trump from winning the nomination. His contribution was to offer up the left-wing slur that Trump was a fascist in a business suit and that the people supporting him were stupid and disgusting. They were “trumpster diving.”

There seems to be a great deal of spiritual distance between the 2016 R. R. Reno and the 2020 R. R. Reno, at least in tone, if not substance. In fairness to Reno, he has not been a running dog lackey of Conservative Inc. He has been more of a barking dog around the conservative caravan, as it follows the Left from fad to fad. Often a critic, but never an opponent and always there by the caravan at each stop. He is a critic of conservatism, but one welcome at their events.

This is not a new posture by Reno. During the 2016 Republican primary he made some very sensible observations about Trump and the dynamic in the primary. While most of the conservative racketeers were in the streets rending their garments to show their liberal masters, they were horrified by what was happening, Reno noticed the obvious and was willing to say it. That said, he made sure to underscore that he thought Trump was a “dangerous figure in our public life.”

This is not the first time the First Things crew has struggled to maintain their position as friendly critic of conservatism. Back in 1992, they found themselves in a similar spot when Bill Buckley was purging the paleocons. Most of what First Things claims to support fall on the paleo side, but the money and good living were on the neocon side, so they threw in with Buckley. As George Washington once said, no man is so virtuous as to refuse the highest bidder.

Now, to be even more fair, Reno and the First Things crew could simply be working the same racket they have for years. On the one hand they advocate traditional conservative positions on culture, economics, politics and so on, while publicly opposing anyone that attempts to build a political movement on those issues. They supported the Buchanan message, but not the messenger, for example. They sympathized with the Trump voters, but opposed their candidate.

We will know soon enough if the social conservatives from Conservative Inc. had an epiphany during the Trump years. The rally scheduled for January 6th in the Imperial Capital is both unprecedented and a harbinger. Unlike the Buchanan or Perot movements, the Trump movement will outlive its founder. The people who voted for Trump did so knowing that the time for reform is running out. Many now think it has run out and it is time for something to replace the corrupt system.

Where the establishment social conservatives like R. R. Reno come down with regards to things like the America First movement, led by Nick Fuentes, will reveal if they are just running the old grift or have had an awakening. CPAC is next month in Orlando Florida and AFPAC will be holding their event there at the same time. Last year AFPAC drew hundreds and this year will be even bigger. The people getting tens of thousands in the streets of DC are building a genuine movement now.

For social conservatives like Mr. Reno and the First Things crowd, Fuentes and his groypers should be their ideal vehicle. They can be a little coarse, for sure, but that’s true of all young people. Otherwise, they make a clean presentation and are not afraid to express their Christian faith as part of the politics. While the First Things people are at CPAC next month, they should consider swinging by AFPAC. Mr. Reno could sit down and have a chat with Fuentes. It can be arranged.

The question for social conservatives with regards to politics is what compromises should be made in order to participate in the system. This was the dilemma faced by Buckley and his conservative movement. In their case, there was no compromise they were unwilling to make in order to have a place at the table. For social conservatives to avoid the same fate, they will from time to time need to back someone who is willing to go inside and flip over those tables.

That should be the takeaway for someone like R. R. Reno. Trump was always an imperfect leader, but he was available and willing to go inside the Temple and toss over those tables. He was never a savior, just a disruption in the system. The people who voted for Trump understood this, for the most part. They knew if he busted things up, then it would open the door for the social changes long advocated by social conservatives and the writers of journals like First Things.

The great mistake of the American Right was to accept the proposition that the Left gets to pick their leaders. The Left told them to jettison Buchanan and the paleocons, so they did and got nothing for their trouble. One lesson of the Trump phenomenon is that this does not have to be the rule. Social conservatives can pick their own leaders and make their own tables. That should be the lesson to the leaders of social conservatism as they come to terms with Trump.


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The Lessons Of Trump

An old bit of wisdom is that you should never try to con a con man. This advice is not aimed at con men, of course, but at honest people. Grifters are intuitively dishonest, which means they instinctively work every angle to some advantage. Normal people are simply unable to think like this, even when they are trying to do it. Their scruples get in the way of their scheming. This is something that Trump should have had in mind when he took office four years ago. It was his first mistake.

Trump came to Washington thinking he was smarter, more clever and more resilient than the people he had mocked for so long from his couch. There’s no question that most people in politics are stupid. Without a government grift, they would end up peddling replacement windows door-to-door. But politics in a liberal democracy does not select for smart people. It selects for clever and ruthless people. Washington is the major leagues for the most clever and ruthless.

To his credit, he did outfox them from time to time, but after a while, they began to get the measure of him and figured out how to out-clever him. The FBI scandal is a great example of how they simply outmaneuvered him to delay the process. More important, they got him to drop it as a campaign item. What should have been a key part of his campaign as a populist champion went unmentioned. Time after time Trump tried to play their game and every time he came up a loser.

Similarly, Trump came to Washington under the mistaken impression that his opponents would follow the rules and abide by their own rhetoric. After all, he won the election, the people have spoken, time for the winner to enjoy the fruits of victory. That’s how it is supposed to work in a democratic society. From the very beginning he assumed these people would play fair, despite the fact he knew they spied on him in the campaign and tried hard to cheat him out of his victory.

This is a great example of the civic nationalist disease. This is a malady that is most pronounced in men of Trump’s generation. The civic nationalist loves rules and fully expects his enemies to play by those rules. In reality, the ends justifies the means mentality of the Left has poisoned the entire ruling class. These are people devoid of honor and virtue. Playing by the rules, especially their rules, is a sucker’s play, one Trump never figured out in his four years.

No matter how many times the political class kicked him in the groin, he refused to accept this reality. The strange thing is he campaigned in the most unconventional way, preferring rallies to the formula popular with the political industrial complex. He was a refreshingly unconventional politician in his campaign, but he was thoroughly conventional in his governance. In office, he played by the rules of Washington, while Washington made the rules up as they went along.

Probably his biggest mistake in office was in not seeing the FBI scandal as a purely political affair, rather than a legal one. He was conned into thinking it should be handled by the courts as a criminal matter, when he should have used it as a political hammer to bludgeon official Washington. By the election, all of the classified information should have been leaked and revealed. This would have kept Washington petrified about what he may release if they got too aggressive with him.

This would have fed into the subplot of his campaign. It was always Trump the reformer against the political class. Instead of working with Republicans like he was one of them, he should have treated them as part of the problem. Trump needed to be Harry Truman running against a corrupt establishment. He would have accomplished more and he would have provided a clear reason to support him 2020. Instead he kept trying to be accepted by people who detested him.

Stylistically, Trump the salesman was an amusing bit of comic relief in the 2016 election that probably won him the benefit of the doubt. The trouble was, he kept selling his voters after he had won. The campaign is about promises, while governance is about delivering on those promises. Trump did some good things in office, but he never spoke of them, instead preferring to keep promising to look into new things and maybe do other things. It quickly rang hollow with his voters.

The great lesson to learn from the Trump era is that winning the crowd is useless if you don’t have a plan to put it to some purpose. Trump is not an ideologue, which allows him to be pragmatic. That’s a great asset in politics, as long as you have the secret list in your head of things you want to do in office. This is what makes the Left so powerful as a social force. They never lose focus on their goal. They know why they seek power, so they adapt and keep moving forward.

Trump never seemed to know what he wanted to do in office. Like all civic nationalists, he has this vague notion in his head of what America should be, but he was never able to translate it into policy. The closest he came was the many administrative changes made to the immigration process. He never spoke of those, because like all civic nationalist, he preferred to dream of the mythological America where everyone happily abides but the rules of the republic.

There are many other things that can be put in the list of mistakes by Trump over the last four years, but the overriding theme is this. Trump never rose above the petty and practical to grasp his historical moment. Like everyone else is Washington, he had no vision of the future. As a result, he got bogged down into the swamp he promised to drain, playing petty politics, squabbling over small issues. The moment called for a man of vision, but instead got a pitchman from Queens.

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For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte.

President BoomerCon

In his most recent podcast, John Derbyshire makes the point that there is little hope of getting any sensible immigration reform out of the current Congress. Paul Ryan is an open borders sock puppet, determined to undermine any effort at reform. Even if the House managed to pass something, the Senate is unlikely to take it up. They have no interest in the topic, beyond amnesty. Just as important, President Trump has largely lost interest in the topic, other than the occasional tough talk about illegals and his promised wall.

This reality is vexing to immigration patriots, who correctly see this as a bit of a betrayal, as well as a supreme act of stupidity. Cracking down on illegal immigration is very popular and most voters now support curbs on legal immigration. A big reason why Trump is in the White House is his tough talk on immigration. This is what set him apart for the dullards in the GOP primary and what motivated working class voters in the general. In theory, at least, the failure to follow through on immigration should be bad for Trump and the GOP.

That’s not the case. Trump has a higher approval than Obama and Reagan at the same point in their terms. That’s not entirely a fair comparison, as both inherited economies in severe recession, as well as massive reform projects. On the other hand, both came in with a massive mandate to push through their reform agendas. Trump, in contrast, entered office with a hostile uniparty and a divided public. Throw in a berserk mass media, gripped by the NeverTrump fever, and it is quite remarkable that his polling is so strong.

It turns out that despite what the cool kids of the alt-right have to say about the Boomers, pleasing that generation turns out to be good politics. Trump is of that generation, born in 1946, so it is not surprising that he would be good at appealing to those voters. He’s also a guy who understands the mathematics of politics. Boomers are a bit more than a third of the adult population, but close to half the voting population. This is because older people vote in higher numbers than younger people. Pleasing half the voters is good politics.

Boomer politics, of course, are very close to what we call civic nationalism. Even those on the liberal end of the spectrum tend toward the orderly and law abiding, even though they embrace big government solutions. It makes sense. Baby Boomers came of age in a prosperous and orderly age, when America was still close to 90% white. That means they continue to have a high trust in political and social institutions. Despite what his critics say, Trump has operated like a good government conservative who believes in the system.

Take a look at his two big achievements thus far. One has been the systematic dismantling of the regulatory regime that had built up under George Bush and Barak Obama. This is one of those civic nationalist things that appeals to people who believe in the fundamentals of the country. Similarly, his tax bill fits in with the general sense that all Americans need is a little freedom and to keep some of their own money. Put the two together and Trump’s big achievements are right out of the CivNat playbook.

Of course, Trump’s growing obsession with the black vote is right in the wheel house of the baby boomer voter. Despite 70 years of failure on race relations, the Boomers still believe blacks can be fully integrated into white America. More important, they still seek the approval of blacks, which is why getting a selfie with one of the three blacks at CPAC is a phenomenon on twitter every year. Trump getting the seal of approval from Kanye West resonated with his base, which is why he made such a big deal of it.

So far, the best way to describe Trump’s presidency is as a rollback of the past three administrations to something closer to Reaganism. In fact, Trump seems to be using Reagan as a model. Look at his approach to North Korea. Rather than the bellicose approach of the neocons or the indifferent appeasement of the neolibs, Trump has brought back Reagan’s peace through strength doctrine. It’s a different age and a different set of circumstances, but the underlying philosophy is right out of the Reagan playbook.

Getting back to the immigration issue, what Trump seems to understand, and what immigration hawks have missed, is that baby boomers have not abandoned their immigration romanticism. They still think it is groovy that people come to America “yearning to be free” just as long as they do it legally, get a job and pay taxes. In other words, there has been no change in attitudes with regards to immigration as a cultural or racial issue. Boomers still think immigration works, as long as you have the right laws.

Trump appears to have figured this out so he has modulated his immigration approach to be heavy on the illegal side, but supportive of the legal side. That explains his strange obsession with giving the DACA people amnesty. It’s not just an effort to drive a wedge into the Democrat coalition. Trump wants to be seen as supporting the immigrants “who have followed the rules” because he knows his voters get weak in the knees over that stuff. He wants to be the guy who supports immigration, as long as it is by the rules.

The lesson here is that American politics is still controlled by baby boomers, whose politics are rooted in an America that is fading away with them. While this cohort dominates elections, their attitudes will be the center of gravity for our politics. As a politician, Trump has figured that out , so he has adjusted to it. What that means is the Overton Window has not moved all that much, with regards to the big issues facing our society. The actuarial tables need more time to make that happen.

Reality Returns

All of the usual suspects are freaking out over Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum. Most of it is by silly people. Some of it is simply the innumerate throwing yet another tantrum about the bad man who vexes them. Some of the hysteria is due to the fact that people in the chattering classes were sure they had talked this bit of reality into going away for good. Reality, however, is that thing that does not go away when you stop believing in it. The reality of trade is now back.

The amusing thing about trade debates among the chattering classes is that they never bother to mention the trade-offs that come with trade policy. Trade is like any other public policy. It is all about trade-offs. Our rulers, however, were sure they had sacralized their preferred set of trade-offs a long time ago. It turns out that the only people on whom this worked were the innumerate numskulls in the press. The rest of us remain skeptical about “free trade.”

Trade between countries is a net benefit to both countries. Open trade with Canada means they can sell more beaver hats and hockey sticks to Americans, thus making the typical Canadian richer. Similarly, it means Americans can sell more apple pies and boomsticks to Canadians, thus making the typical American richer. In reality, there will be Canadians who suffer from free trade with America and Americans who also suffer in the exchange. That is how the world works.

While the hockey playing folks of northern Virginia will benefit from cheap hockey sticks from Canada, the suddenly unemployed hockey stick makers in Minnesota are the ones paying the price for it. Similarly, the apple growers of Canada get stuck with the bill for the suddenly cheap apple products in Toronto. The hidden cost of free trade is a lot of people you do not know losing their jobs. When you are the guy getting the pink slip, the cost is not hidden and that has a social cost, as well.

Now, trade can be beneficial to both countries in that it promotes efficiency. The lazy and unscrupulous hockey stick makers in Maine, suddenly have to compete with the crafty canucks. This means better hockey sticks, but also less waste. Protectionism, like all public polices, comes with a cost too. That cost is more often than not carried by the consumer. Worse yet, it often promotes the sorts of corruption of public officials that erodes public trust in institutions.

That is why the ruling class is in a panic over the Trump trade policies. It is not about the cost of steel and aluminum. It is not about the possibility of retaliation. The real fear here is that Trump is re-opening the debate about trade. It means all of these trade-offs that come with trade between nations will have to be discussed. The billionaire class that has benefited from the current set of polices, is in no mood to defend their fiefs from the rabble. So, in waddles the clown army.

The current trade regime, has proven to be the boondoggle critics like Pat Buchanan warned about 30 years ago. Open trade with Canada, an English-speaking first world country, is mostly beneficial. Trade with Mexico, a third world narco-state that now operates as a pirate’s cove, has been a disaster. NAFTA has made Mexico a massive loophole in American labor, tax, environmental and trade policy. A loophole ruthlessly exploited by alien predators like China.

The current trade regime is also at the heart of the cosmopolitan globalism that seeks to reduce nations to a fiction and people to economic inputs. This neoliberal orthodoxy has eroded social capital to the point where the white middle class is nearing collapse. It is not just America. The collapsing fertility rates in the Occident are part of the overall cultural collapse going in the West. Slapping tariffs on Chinese steel is not going to arrest this trend, but it does open the door a debate about it.

That is the reality our betters would like to avoid. What defines France is the shared character and shared heritage of the people we call French. What defines a people is not the cost of goods or the price of labor. What defines a people is what they love together and what they hate together. It is the collection of tastes and inclinations, no different than family traditions, which have been cultivated and passed down from one generation to the next.

Even putting the cultural arguments aside, global capitalism erodes the civic institutions that hold society together. Instead of companies respecting the laws of host nations and working to support the welfare of the people of that nation, business is encouraged to cruise the world looking for convenient ports. There is a word for this type of work. It is called piracy. Global firms flit from port to port, with no interest other than the short term gain to be made at that stop. Globalism is rule by pirates.

That is the reason for the panic in the media. To question “free trade” is to question the arrangements that keeps the current regime in place. It may seem like a small thing, tariffs on steel, but it is the sort of thing that can unravel the entire project, because it legitimizes the sorts of questions that threaten the regime. To his credit, Trump seems to get this, which is why he has pressed ahead with this. He is flipping over an important table in this fight.

Not My President

There is a debate in dissident circles about the political acumen and the integrity of President Trump. One side looks at all the zigzagging and flip-flopping on DACA and concludes that Trump is just a liar, who has figured out how to con well-meaning white Boomers. The other side looks at the same issue and sees a strategy intended to move the ball forward on the immigration issue as a whole. His latest antics over the gun issue, however, suggest that is he is just a stupid bullshitter who got lucky.

The gun issue has always been the one thing in American politics where you can reveal both the integrity and the intelligence of someone. Gun grabbers are always very stupid or very dishonest. Sometimes they are both. The 2A people are often just reflexively opposed to gun grabbing, without having thought it through, but gun grabbers are never honest or informed. It is the main reason that the NRA has been successful. They have been blessed with an enemy incapable of honesty and unwilling to learn the facts.

Now, that enemy includes President Trump.

Trump knows even less about the gun issue than he does about marital fidelity, so no one on the 2A side figured he would be our champion. The assumption was that he knew enough to avoid the topic and not get in bed with the gun grabbers. On an issue like guns, doing nothing is usually the best course. Most states are sensible on guns, so letting the states handle it is good for us. Instead, it turns out that Trump is making the classic Republican error of taking advice from his enemies.

It would be one thing if Trump did the rope-a-dope, promising to sign a bill that everyone knows has no chance of becoming reality. Shining people on like he is doing with DACA is standard politics. This gun grabbing lunacy he is spouting is damaging to the cause of gun owners and it reveals Trump to be a mendacious blockhead, with no idea why he is in the White House. It is no longer possible to argue that his maneuverings are super-clever 4-D chess. Trump is simply an unreliable liar.

What is most offensive to the 2A community about what Trump is doing is that he is legitimizing that which our side has worked for generations to de-legitimize. One is using non-democratic methods to get around the people on gun control. His plan to ban bump-stocks by fiat is dangerous lunacy on its face. Worse yet, his endorsement of extra-judicial confiscation of guns on mental health grounds, elevates a crackpot scheme of the Left to something worthy of public debate.

Put another way, this jackass has undone generations of hard work by the very people who put him in office. Not even that feckless nitwit George Bush did something this egregiously stupid. Even Barak Obama was unwilling to go this far. This idiocy is right up there with Poppy Bush breaking his tax promise in order to get the Democrats in Washington to like him. It worked. They loved him, which was why he was a one term president. Trump is now setting himself up to follow Bush into the void of stupidity.

Now, the counter argument you will hear is that Trump is just playing more 4-D chess and this will amount to nothing. Well, a smart politician would know enough to not do that with this issue. This is not a parlor game. The pro-gun voter has no sense of humor on this stuff and they have zero tolerance for limp-wristed politicians too afraid of the girls to do the right thing. Speaking only for myself, I would vote for a gay black Muslim over Trump right now. That is right. I would vote for Obama over Trump.

I think everyone who voted for Trump understood they were getting a guy who would be long on bullshit and short on tangible accomplishments. The point of voting for him was to send a message, but also legitimize populist issues. Trump was the guy who would flip over the tables and discredit the status quo, opening the door for ambitious politicians to run on patriotic issues like immigration reform. Trump would maybe do a few things, but the real work would be up to those who come next.

So far, Trump is looking like he is not going to deliver anything other than blowing his own horn every day. Worse yet, the trade-off for his vanity will be the undermining of the one cause that truly defines what is left of old stock America. By legitimizing gun-grabbing and executive fiat, he has just made it possible for the next President Obama to DACA the gun issue, by issuing new gun laws via executive order. Trump is proving to be one step forward and ten steps backward.

The one lesson of the Trump era is to not put too much stock in what Trump says. He is, after all, a bullshitter. He is also a guy who will wheel on a dime if he senses he is on the wrong side. He is rather shameless in that regard. Still, the damage he has done to the cause of gun rights is incalculable and it will not be forgotten. Unless he eventually signs off on some bold pro-gun laws, lots of his voters will choose to spend next election day at the range, rather than cast a vote for a duplicitous gun grabber.