Walking Away From The Deal

A good salesman, in the business of providing a complex product or service, will tell you that his first step in any deal is to see if there is a deal to be had. He will assess the potential customer to learn if there is a need and if the prospect knows there is a need for the product or service. Assessing needs and motivations is a big part of determining if the salesman should commit his time to the deal. Finally, he tries to assess the prospect’s willingness to actually commit to a potential deal.

The purpose of evaluating a prospect before engaging in the sales process is to avoid wasting time with tire kickers and people who simply lack the means to do a deal. The salesman is really selling time, when you analyze it. He has so many hours to work on and close deals. Every hour wasted on some guy, who has no money or is really not interested, is time that could be spent on a real opportunity. Talk to any good salesman and you learn that they are really good at managing their sales time.

Politics is a lot like sales. A candidate has so much time to ask voters for their support, so the campaign has to be as efficient as possible. In politics, the game is to motivate the natural supporters of the candidate and demoralize the supporters of the other candidate, in order to sway the stupid and uninformed. The stupid and uninformed, often called “swing voters” in America, will go where they think everyone else is going and they judge that on enthusiasm. They bet the strong horse in the race.

The way this has to work in a democracy is the successful candidate has to be seen by the opposition as someone with whom they can strike a deal. In other words, the supporters of the opponent have to look at the other side as people with whom some compromise can be reached. That’s why in America, the candidates are strident in their primary races, but become conciliatory in the general election. They want the other side to know they are going to sit down and strike a fair bargain.

Accepting the results of the election is a vital part of any popular form of rule. In fact, it is the most important element. If the losing side thinks the winning side will use its power to crush them, then they will revolt against the system that makes them vulnerable. That also means the winning side will be motivated to crush the losing side, because they will assume the losers not only will revolt, but try to crush them as soon as they win the next election. Politics becomes a blood sport.

This desire to make a deal is why Progressives have run wild in American politics, especially over the last few decades. Their opponents in every election are white civic nationalist types, who are always willing to accept the results of the election and work with the other side on a good deal. Progressives, in contrast, use this willingness to do a deal to ram their agenda through when they win. When they lose, they use the same intransigence to bottle up any effort of the winners to push through their agenda.

If you want to understand why Buckley conservatism is headed to the dustbin of history, this is the place to start. They were always so ready and eager to do a deal; they never could walk away from a bad deal. They would win an election and then cut a deal with the Left that was a complete sellout. The joke among dissidents in the Bush years was that the greatest thing that could happen to you is to find yourself across the table negotiating a deal with a Republican. It was like hitting the lottery.

Now, the reason the Left wins even when they lose is not because they are shrewd or even that the Right is dumb. It’s that they reject that central premise of popular government, where the losers accept the results of an election and the winners reach a fair bargain with the losers. For the Left, what is theirs they keep. What is yours they seek. This is the central cause of the ratchet effect in American politics. One side exploits the rules, while the other abides by the rules.

The question that has been on the minds of dissidents for a long time is when will people wake up to this reality? When will those civic nationalists and good government types realize that they can never bargain in good faith with the other side, because the other side never bargains in good faith? Unless and until the good citizen accepts the cynicism of the Left, not necessarily embrace it, but just accept it, elections will always be heads the Left wins, tails the Right loses.

Conventional critics of conservatism and the Republican Party work from the premise that a more jaded approach will work. Not only will it result in better bargaining, it will put the Left on notice that they will not get to play by their own rules. Put another way, if the Right gets as good at politics as the Left, then the system will work and elections will once again have meaning. There has always been a battered wife syndrome with conventional conservatives, who blame themselves for the failure of democracy.

This line of thinking always assumes that the non-Progressives, to use a better term, will continue to support the orderly democratic process, but be more aware of the way the Left does politics. You can have the civic nationalist dream of orderly democracy, but with a clear-eyed view of the Left. The results of an election, in terms of the resulting policy, will then reflect the voting. It’s the same system, except the Republicans are not treacherous sellouts and morons.

Putting aside the probability that this is an impossibility, that the “opposition” is really just a creation of the Left, why would anyone want this? This sort of politics, which is what Buckley conservatives now talk about in response to their decline, is like volunteering to live in a viper den. A deal where one side cannot be trusted to abide by the terms is not a deal at all. It is why contract law does not exist in low trust countries, like in the Arab world. Why make a deal that no one will respect?

In the context of American politics, what happens when most white people figure out that the other side will never cut a deal with them? There will always be suckers, who never give up hope, but what happens when the majority of whites realize they can never make a deal with their opponents? How long before this realization leads to the conclusion that they can never live in the same country as their opponents, because their opponents hate them and want them dead?

Most likely, the typical white person looks at the madness engulfing the political class and thinks the fever is bound to break soon. Maybe Trump winning in 2020 or the Democrats nominating a shrill crank like Warren will break the spell. Older folks talk about how the 1960’s eventually burned itself out. Lots of normal white people think something similar will happen this time. What if it doesn’t or what if whites simply get tired of waiting for their opponents to snap out of their rage?

The good salesman, who realizes the prospect is not an opportunity, finds an expeditious way to exit the process. He’s no longer willing to commit time to the deal, because there can never be a deal. There is no deal. This is where dissidents often insert their favorite collapse fantasy, mixed with their favorite revenge fantasy, but no one really knows how this would work. If a large portion of white people are no longer willing to play the Left’s game, will the Left just let them walk away?


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Affirming The Alternative

Something everyone outside of conventional politics agrees upon is that the establishment conservatives are no longer useful or relevant. Whatever you want to call the super set of groups making a claim to right-wing politics, but outside of conventional politics, the one thing that ties them together is an antipathy to Conservative Inc. The criticisms vary in tone and specificity, but everyone agrees that the starting place for a new opposition to the Left is replacing the current Right with something new.

In fact, it is the failure of so-called conservatives that has fueled the rise of populism, neo-nationalism and various dissident movements. If you look around at the various tribes milling around the right-wing fringe, all of them are a response to some failure of conventional conservatism. The alt-right grew out of libertarianism, for example. The identitarians and race realist passed through paleo-conservatism. The paleocons, of course, have been around since their purging decades ago.

The absolute failure of conservatism needs to be more than a rallying point for a loose coalition of the dispossessed. This is not an age calling for a longer list of people purged by Conservative Inc. What is required is a replacement for so-called conservatism that will provide a true alternative to what is offered by the Left. This is something many among the dispossessed have suggested. Paul Gottfried, who gets credit for coining the term alternative Right, has been arguing this for years.

While more and more people are flowing into outsider politics, looking for an alternative to conventional conservatism, there is no agreement as what should come next. The paleocons have gone further than anyone, but their imagined replacement is mostly just a reset to the time before the neocons outmaneuvered them in the 70’s and 80’s. It is a conservatism of yore that is free of the baggage train of failure and perfidy that has come to define modern conservatism. It’s what conservatism should have been.

Other groups are far less sober minded. The alt-right never got around to thinking up a new metaphysics. They spent their time recreating an aesthetic from a bygone age that was intended to shock, rather than celebrate a new ideological movement. The closest they came to imagining an alternative Right was borrowing the idea of an ethnostate from fringe Russian thinkers. Otherwise, the alt-right was just a collection of complaints decorated with some racist and fascist language and imagery.

Other groups among the dispossessed are even less coherent in what they want than the alt-right. The neo-reactionaries want to return to the age of kings, but with the modern material items produced by liberalism. The neo-nationalists and populists, like the paleocons, mostly want to return to a convenient starting point in the past. Theirs is not a critique of liberal democracy, but of its constant companion radicalism. Like Marxists, they argue that real liberal democracy has not been tried yet.

The truth is, none of these approaches can get very far, because at their core they accept the base assumptions of liberal democracy. That means they embrace the core principles of the Left. Those being egalitarianism and the blank slate. They may place some qualifiers on these, but ultimately, they start with the assumption that there is a universally preferable form of human organization. That form of human organization assumes people are all the same with the same human potential.

In this regard, this age is not calling for an alternative Right. There’s no need to rally the guerrilla forces, aged and withered, having hidden out in the ideological and political jungles for generations, in order to reclaim the high ground of liberal democracy. Even if they were able to fight, that fight has been long over. The reason the Left holds the high ground, controls the institutions, is they won the moral argument. They now get to control the moral paradigm, altering it in order to win each fight.

When thinking about what replaces conventional conservatism, the starting point must be this dynamic. The Left controls the moral framework. This allows them to alter every political battlefield by manipulating the shared reality that is the public space. Since democracy is about persuasion, rather than truth, they can easily tilt the battle field to make their job easy. They win because the Right keeps charging up the hill to attack the institutions controlled by the Left, who always enjoy the moral high ground.

For there to be an alternative to conservatism, it must therefore be a genuine alternative to the Left. In other words, what is needed is not so much an alternative Right, but an alternative Left. What’s needed is a new radicalism that starts first with the understanding that we are entering a new age. The ideologies and moralities of the past age, the Industrial Age, are not relevant to the technological age and they are impotent and impractical for the demographic age.

The reactionary and violent multiculturalism on the Left is, in part, a response to this looming reality. The prevailing orthodoxy of today, is the result of the radicalism in later-stage liberal democracy that reached its peak in the last century. Peak liberal democracy, was also peak industrial society. The so-called radicals of today, are just the established order, kitted out in the outfits of yesteryear’s avant-garde. There is nothing radical about the modern Left. They are all reactionaries now.

The anger expressed by the Left toward various challenges, real and imagined, is like a child throwing a tantrum, frustrated at a toy. Their anger starts from the secret sense that their moral framework is no longer relevant. They are unable to quantify or even comprehend it. They just sense it, like an ill wind. Like primitives confronted with some natural mystery, the men and women defending the established order are in a defensive panic at the shadow of change falling on the West.

The new alternative must start where all radicals start, as a rejection of the founding principles of the prevailing order. There is no universally preferable form of human organization, morally, ethically or practically. Human beings are not all the same, born with the same stock of natural talent. Further, humans are not infinitely malleable, able to be shaped into whatever society designs.  These values may have had utility in the prior age, but in this age, they are a liability that must be abandoned.

Whether one chooses to call what comes next an alternative Right or something else, it must be a genuine alternative. The main reason conventional conservatism failed in its opposition to the Left is that it was not an alternative to liberalism. It was a slightly different implementation of it. What replaces conservatism cannot start from the same error, but must be a radical departure from both Left and Right, as commonly understood. It must be a radical alternative to the prevailing morality.


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Unraveling Impeachment

In the days after the election, when the Left was howling about Russian collusion, it was clear they were hiding something. The theory they were pitching was so ridiculous, it had to be about something else. The mendacious mediocrities in mass media could be convinced it was real, but that’s their job. Normal people always knew the claims were absurd. We later learned that the Russian hoax was part of an effort to conceal the seditious plot by the intelligence community.

The Russian collusion hoax is a good place to start when trying to unravel the latest impeachment panic. That caper was about getting a special prosecutor named before Team Trump could figure out what was happening. Mueller, the horse-faced flunky, would provide cover, while greasy operatives on his staff would hoover up anything related to the FBI caper. The whole affair would be sequestered while they figured out how to get rid of Trump and anyone too curious about what happened.

Put another way, the point of the caper was never really about Trump. He was just a useful pivot point in order to address a different issue. They were much more concerned about people like Devon Nunes, who were doggedly pursuing the case. The special prosecutor was a way to end-run Congress and pests like Nunes, so the whole thing could be hidden from public view. If not for a few Congressional Republicans, there would never have been a need for the Russian collusion hoax.

It’s pretty clear that this new gambit is being run by many of the same people who were involved in the original caper. It has the same signature. There is a fake whistle blower, who was purpose built for the task. His claims were systematically leaked to the media, so the Democrats could pretend to be outraged and demand an investigation. The media was ready for a full onslaught of impeachment stories. Like the Russian collusion hoax, this one is highly coordinated with the press.

If the last impeachment hoax was about covering up the FBI spying and seditious plot to overturn the election, the question is what are they trying to cover for now? The original investigation of the FBI seems to be heading in some strange directions after Barr took over the case. Reportedly he is on official business in Italy. That has the Democrats going bonkers, as it suggests he is looking into the CIA role in the Russian collusion hoax. They seem very worried about Bill Barr all of a sudden.

The thing that has been ignored that probably is important is that Pelosi was trying to put an end to the impeachment stuff until recent. When she went to meet with her caucus over this whistle blower stuff, the pundits assumed she was going to squash the whole thing. Instead, she came out of those meetings fully on board with not only impeachment, but fast tracking it. Maybe her caucus was in revolt and she felt she had no choice or maybe she learned something and felt she had no choice.

Regardless of the internal dynamics of the party, this latest impeachment frenzy seems to be related to what Barr has been up to lately. This post at Conservative Tree-house goes into a lot of detail, but what stands out is the Mifsud item. It was his involvement with Papadopoulos that allegedly set off the FBI probe. If he is actually a CIA asset used as part of the larger plot, then that changes things considerably. It now brings the CIA into the mix as co-conspirators in the seditious plot to overturn the election.

That could be why the CIA had one of their people work with the Democrats to create the whistle blower story. They are worried that they are now in some jeopardy. Their concern may be that they have been secretly listening to Trump’s official calls with foreign leaders. Notice that the Democrats are now claiming the transcript the White House provided is a forgery. They could only think that if they were told there is stuff missing from the transcript, by someone who saw the original.

In other words, the first impeachment hoax was about covering up the FBI plot to overturn the 2016 election. This latest impeachment hoax is about muddying the waters in order to conceal CIA involvement. The hope is the Democrats and the media can someone gain jurisdiction over the whole thing and prevent public disclosures that will be very bad for the CIA. The FBI spying on politicians is bad, but the CIA working for foreign countries to spy on politicians would be devastating.

The thing that does not make a lot of sense is that the Congress cannot take over an investigation like a special prosecutor. Perhaps that’s what the game is here. They will dirty up Barr while claiming to investigate this latest hoax, then demand another special prosecutor. That would explain why they are in such a rush to get started. As we saw with the first hoax, this one may not be about Trump at all. It may be about taking out someone who is asking the wrong questions about the right people.


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Too Corrupt To Fail

In all of the big institutional scandals, there is always a question that rarely gets addressed and that is, how did it go on for so long? By the time the thing starts to become public, the number of people involved, either actively or passively, has reached a point where it became impossible to hide. In some cases, the issue at the heart of the scandal just became a normal thing to the people inside the institution. For some mysterious reason, no one raised the alarm until much too late.

The best example of this is the Catholic Church scandal. By the time the story of the homosexual priests was public, the Church was infested with them. The lavender mafia had taken over whole orders. The number of pederasts had reached a point where moving them around the system was just a part of the administration. As people started asking questions and making claims, the system rallied to defend itself, without much thought about what it was defending. The corruption was systemic.

Something similar protected Jewish perverts like Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein from being exposed. In both cases, lots of people knew these men were involved in degenerate activities, but no one dared say it publicly. In the case of Weinstein, the excuse was that outing him would be bad for the career. In the case of Epstein, the excuse was he had dirt on powerful people. No one knows if that is true. It’s one of those just-so answers to avoid having to think much about it.

It seems that corruption has a dynamic that starts with the first flexing of the rules that are supposed to control the institution. Somewhere along the line, it becomes expedient to overlook some minor infraction. Like a cancer, the exception making starts to spread through the system. At first, a small number of people are breaking rules and tolerating the rule breaking. As each new person learns of the practice, he is a smaller minority relative to the set of rule breakers. Thus he is less inclined to oppose it.

At first it is a handful of senior people, for example, involved in some sort of minor shenanigans that violates the spirit of the rules. The first person to learn of it is faced with taking on that cabal of senior people. Alternatively, the rule breakers are junior people, but their bosses look the other way, because they have other political interests or they are just too lazy to address it. Either way, the potential whistle blower is always outnumbered. That alone is often enough of a discouragement.

At some point, another dynamic kicks in. Those who cannot tolerate the corruption, but lack the courage to do anything about it, are boiled off. They move on, leaving behind a mix of cowards and corrupt. Of course, the corrupt flock to corruption, so the institution becomes a magnate for the type who like rule breaking. Before long, you go from a system where rule breaking is not tolerated and the rule breakers fear exposure, to a system where rule breaking is normalized and rule enforcers fear exposure.

The best example of this is the rotten police precinct. In every case, the corruption begins with a small number of cops. The good cops try to do something about it, but run into lazy or fearful superiors, who refuse to address the issue. Those cops either move on or find a way to justify their silence. Other cops either tacitly support the bad cops or justify their willful blindness in some way. Before long, the rotten precinct becomes an organism with its own immune system and defense mechanisms.

Put another way, the corrupt organization or system becomes too corrupt to fail, as everyone has some reason to protect it. For some at the heart of the corruption, the reason is obvious, but all around them are people who fear being shamed for having said nothing or fear being implicated for having looked the other way. The fallacy of the sunk cost becomes an operating principle. Everyone assumes there can be no turning back, so the corruption accelerates until eventually it does collapse.

This dynamic of corruption is something to consider when trying to sort out the many scandals engulfing Washington. For eight years, the media was celebrating the fact that there were no major scandals under Obama. They never said it, but there were no big scandals under Bush. The Scooter Libby stuff was the only thing that approached major scandal status and that was only because the press was bored. Otherwise, it was just eight years of partisan howling about trivial matters.

Yet, Trump hits town and the city is hit with a tsunami of front page scandals. The fact that most are hoaxes and the rest are scandals those hoaxes are intend to obscure, suggests something about the system. It sees Trump as not only a foreign body, but a threat by reason of being a foreign body. He’s the new precinct captain taking over a rotten precinct or the new bishop with a reputation for piety. The defense mechanism of the corrupt organization just assumes virtue is a vice that must be expelled.

This would explain why the whole system seems to have reorganized itself to defend even the pipsqueaks in the system. Andrew McCabe should be a perfect fall guy, as he is high profile enough to be a nice trophy, but not so high up as to be important to anyone in politics. Yet, he has been funneled millions of dollars by the system, through jobs and speaking fees. His legal defense fund quickly filled up with millions of dollars from Washington lobbyists. The system wants him safe.

Something similar is happening with the fake whistle blower story. The system saw that Trump people were looking into the Biden stuff. Instinctively the system responds with the fake whistle blower, so the democrats can bellow about impeachment, rather than defend Joe Biden. Why not just let this very corrupt old man go down in flames so Warren can be the nominee? The thoroughly corrupt organization lacks the ability to sacrifice any part of itself, so it instinctively defends the whole.

This video of Rudy Giuliani talking about the Biden corruption is interesting for a number of reasons. One is the level of corruption. It does appear China bought Joe Biden, while he was Vice President. Putting that aside, Giuliani seems to be realizing, as he is talking, that Washington is just like the organized crime he prosecuted back when he was making a name for himself in New York. It is an organism whose purpose, in addition to the corruption, is to defend itself against exposure.

Back during the mortgage crisis, the expression “too big to fail” became a catchphrase for justifying government support for the banks. Something similar is at work in Washington, in that it is too corrupt to fail. It’s not that so many people depend on politics as usual. It’s that the graft and corruption is so wide spread, no one thinks they can afford even a little exposure. The business of Washington is now concealing the fact it is thoroughly rotten. The business of the empire is organized crime.


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The Ghost Of Alexander Butterfield

For reasons that no one can quite explain, the Democrats are once again roaring about impeachment. This time they are promising to have a meeting about holding a hearing on whether or not to start impeachment proceedings. For his part, Trump seems to be enjoying this more than usual. He gets to stand in front of the cameras and unload on the “fake news” and Joe Biden’s crooked son. This is his element. He is a man who likes to be in the middle of the whirlwind. He loves this stuff.

The core story here is a puzzle. The Democrats demanding impeachment are relying on someone pretending to be a whistle blower. This person cannot possibly have information damaging to Trump. There is a strong suspicion that this person is another menopausal nut like Blasey-Ford, the women who accused Brett Kavanaugh of being Jack the Ripper in another life. Given that the same team of lawyers behind that stink bomb were involved in the FBI plot, it’s a smart bet.

Of course, all of this is great political theater and that is the point of it. People get paid a lot of money to go on television and conjure complex four-dimensional strategies for why this is happening. No one in the Washington media knows anything that is not handed to them by someone in government, so they are left with reading those scripts or playing make believe. For a week or so, the impeachment show will be center stage, then the dogs will bark, but the caravan will move on.

As far as why the Democrats are stepping on this rake, the most likely answer is they need to make noise. Joe Biden is on video bragging about getting the Ukrainian prosecutor fired. That prosecutor was investigating a shady deal involving Biden’s shady kid and some other Democrat connected people. Screaming impeachment is a useful distraction. Biden gave a presser yesterday and the media largely ignored it, because they were told to focus on the Trump impeachment flap.

It’s important to remember that this is not about Trump or Biden. What this is about is the corruption that went on during the Obama years. We know, for example, that several Senators were colluding with the FBI plotters. While no smoking gun has been unearthed, it seems likely that Obama’s inner circle knew about the plot. Then there is the Clinton factor. No one really knows what she was auctioning off out of the State Department and no one wants the public to know about it either.

This is probably why Trump is grinning like a chimp over this Ukraine stuff. It’s another chance to bring that story into the sunlight. Trump has been trying to get the classified documents surrounding the FBI case released for a year now. His AG, Bill Barr, is sitting on them as the political establishment works to prevent the disclosure. The more the media and the Democrats demand documents and testimony from the Trump administration, the greater the odds of an Alexander Butterfield moment.

Alexander Butterfield was a White House staffer in the Nixon years. He revealed the existence of the White House taping system, during the Watergate investigation. It was his testimony that changed the nature of the scandal. Investigators suspected there was a recording system, but they had no way of knowing. In questioning Butterfield about another matter, he revealed that there was a taping system in the Oval Office and most important, everything was being taped. It was the turning point of the scandal.

There has always been speculation that the Butterfield story was not just serendipity, but that he was maneuvered into a position to make the revelation. The famous scene of Republican lawyer Fred Thompson questioning Butterfield during the televised hearing was completely staged. It was a made for television event that spelled the beginning of the end for Nixon. Soon, there were demands for the tapes and public opinion flipped against Nixon, who resigned the next year.

Theatrics aside, the lesson of the Butterfield story is that you never can know what will slither into the daylight once you start turning over rocks. The Trump administration is in possession of a lot of classified material related to the political corruption of the last administration. They can’t just dump it into the public domain. A big ugly political fight with the Democrats, heading into an election, is perfect cover for putting someone in front of Congress to accidentally on purpose say something important.

This is why Pelosi has no intention of holding formal impeachment proceedings. It’s far too risky to her party. She may be high on happy pills all day, but she is shrewd enough to know such a hearing would be very dangerous. Of course, this is why Trump seems to be daring the Democrats to open the hearings. It’s good politics, but it also creates the sort of atmosphere conducive to letting things slip into the public domain. Thanks to this Ukraine flap, we now know Biden’s political campaign is over.

The trouble for Pelosi and the Democrats is their media and back bench is staffed with the sorts of lunatics they have been courting for decades. The Washington press corps is full of hysterical females, convinced Trump will stuff their uterus with Bibles and sew their legs shut. The Democrat back benchers are cranks and dingbats like Ocasio-Cortez and Corey Booker. Keeping these loons from rushing into the minefield may prove impossible. Trump seems to think so, at least.


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Questions

A good rule to live by in modern America is that you can never be too cynical. No matter how negative your view of something, particularly politics, you are most likely being naive or optimistic relative to reality. If you go back a few decades, you’ll find that every cynical joke about how things will get worse turned out to be sunny optimism, at least with regards to politics and culture. Sadly, the doomsday predictions about economics, meteor strikes and other catastrophes turned out to be false.

As the Biden – Ukraine story begins to unfold, that old rule about being too cynical starts to look prudent. The degree of corruption in the Obama years among the Democrats is beyond what even the cynical imagined. So far, this looks like Joe Biden, while Vice President, pressured the Ukrainian government to give his crooked son a pass on some crooked energy deal in Ukraine. Biden’s son was being paid fifty grand a month for what appears to be a no-show job in a business about which he knows nothing.

Financial shenanigans are nothing new in politics, but this rises to a whole new level, which raises the first question. How crooked were these people? It’s one thing to use your influence to pressure a business for favors to a relative or political ally. This appears to be an effort to manipulate foreign policy in an effort to funnel cash to the son of the sitting VP. This is much more flagrant and much more dangerous than shaking down a contractor or taking a bribe from a donor.

This is not some one-off thing with Biden’s kid. His crooked dealings in China have long been part of the background noise of the Democrat primary. He’s also been into shady dealings with domestic financial firms and lobbying shops. The picture that emerges is of the loser son, who uses his family name to facilitate get-rich-quick schemes. He’s protected from scrutiny by his famous father. This is not Hillary Clinton level corruption, but the flagrant and reckless way in which it has gone on is amazing.

Speaking of Clinton, the effluvia of corruption that surrounds Hillary Clinton’s time in the Obama administration adds some context. The assumption has been that she was selling favors out of the State Department while she was Secretary of State. She was also eyeball deep in the Uranium One scandal. You can’t help but notice how the old Soviet Union keeps playing a role in these stories. The whole Russian collusion narrative takes on a new meaning in light of these revelations.

Of course, this not only leads back to the Russian collusion hoax, but to another question that naturally flows from all of this. How stupid are these people? Take a look at the recent Biden flap. It has been known for a while that the Trump administration was trying to get that story in the media for a year. It was ignored for the obvious reasons, so they appear to have pushed this whistle blower story. The media took the bait, only to learn that it was not the smoking gun of impeachment they imagined.

Now, this may have been dumb luck on the part of Team Trump. In politics, it is better to be lucky than good. Luck in politics is to be blessed with very stupid opponents. That seems to be the case here, but at a much wider scale. Biden had been bragging in public about throwing his weight around with the Ukrainians when he was VP. Rudy Giuliani had been pushing this story for a year. It should not have been too hard for the media to see what was coming, but they fell for the story anyway.

The question of competence is even stronger when you bring in the seditious plot run by the FBI against Trump in 2016. There was never a reason to do this. All Clinton needed to do was run a reasonably competent race and make sure to grease the Democrat machines in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. Instead they went for the insanely complicated entrapment plan. Cartoon super-villains in the movies are more sober minded with regards to their schemes than these people.

This brings up something else. Why did they go after Paul Manafort, who was also involved with the Ukrainians? The assumption has been that he was low hanging fruit, but now that it is clear Biden was involved in similar dealings with Ukraine, the case takes on a new dimension. Maybe going after Manafort was about protecting Biden and by extension the Obama administration. It could be serendipity, but if you were going to look into Biden’s corrupt dealings, paying a visit to Manafort in prison is a good idea.

When Hillary Clinton arrived in Washington, her first move was to seize the raw FBI files on the political class. At the time, it was alleged she did this to get dirt on Republicans, but everyone knows Republicans are harmless. Given that Clinton operatives eventually made it to the top of the FBI, it brings that scandal back to life. Is it possible that the point of that caper was to seed the FBI with Clinton operatives? Maybe that caper was really about turning the FBI into an arm of Clinton Inc.

That sort of thinking raises the obvious question as to the purpose of the Obama administration. It is looking more and more like it was taken over by Clinton cronies and Obama was just a decoration. The most cynical said Obama was a figurehead and the real power were left-wing ideologues. Maybe the real power was the Clinton graft machine that had slowly consumed the Democrat party and the political class of Washington. Team Obama was just assimilated by the Clinton Borg.

Every time a new rock is overturned, new questions arise about what went on in the Obama years. They always seem to have some connection to Hillary Clinton, which raises a lot of other questions. The main question, of course, is will we ever get the answers to any of this. The answer to that is where we started. You can never be too cynical these days, with regards to politics. That means we will never know the truth of these scandals and we will never reach the end of them either.


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Coaching Markets

In America, a fall Saturday often means watching some college football or possibly heading off to tailgate at the alma mater. Sunday is for the NFL, which remains the top television draw, despite its problems. For much of the country, Friday night is for the local high school games. Some parts of the country play their high school games on Saturday morning, but for most it is Friday night. In Texas, high school football is a two billion dollar business. Americans love their sports, especially football.

Currently, the two best coaches in the game are Nick Saban, who coaches the Alabama Crimson Tide and Bill Belichick of the NFL’s New England Patriots. The fact that the ancestors of both men are from Illyria is an interesting fact. Not only are both the best of their era, it is possible they are the best ever. Both men have a similar style of managing their programs and both are known for being something less than charming with the media. The shadow of Diocletian is very long.

Anyway, the thing that stands out about Saban and Belichick is they are smart men, who are excellent organizers. They are gifted at working within the constraints of the game and the constraints of their situations. They are not married to a style of play, instead adapting to the talent on-hand and the state of the game. They are known for getting the most from each player, often creating a niche for the player that did not exist. They also adapt to their staffs, shuffling people in and out of their organizations.

The thing is, what makes both men remarkable is that they are exceptions. Coaching football is a very lucrative profession in current year America. Bill Belichick is thought to make close to $15 million per year. Nick Saban makes $9 million per year. Both men are probably worth over $100 million at this point. In the case of Belichick, he could be worth a quarter billion or more, as he surely has been given investment opportunities unavailable to most people. Sports teams are owned by oligarchs.

Now, for two of the greatest of all time, that is probably justifiable, but further down the talent scale, the money is still very good. All over the NFL, there are head coaches making millions per year for being very bad at their jobs. There are lots of assistants making big money for being bad at their jobs. Many assistants, are often known to lack the talent to ever be a head coach, while others are simply happy to be a mediocre NFL coach making a very good living in the game.

At the college level, the cost of mediocrity is most obvious. Many of the college head coaches are dumb people, even by the standards of sport. Will Muschamp coaches the University of South Carolina football team. He makes over $5 million per year. He is not very good at coaching football. He got fired from his last high paying gig and he will be fired from this one. He’s not alone. The game is littered with guys who are not all that bright, but somehow rise to the top of the profession.

If libertarians were right about anything, this would not be the case. There is very little government interference in the coaching business. These are contract employees, so they can be fired at will. Moreover, the colleges seem to be immune from charges of discrimination like private business. Blacks are wildly under-represented in the coaching business. There are few Jews in the management side. Women are just about non-existent in the game. Sport is free to be a free market for coaches.

In theory, the lucrative salaries and the lifestyle should be a magnet for smart young people in America. Every year, thousands of young people head to Hollywood and New York hoping to be a star. They want to be famous. You would think something similar would happen with coaching, where the money is great and you don’t have to have sex with guys like Harvey Weinstein as a condition of employment. Smart young people should be flocking to sports coaching trying to make it big.

Of course, something similar should be true of politics. Congressman and Senators are not pulling down football coach money, but they live a great lifestyle. They also get perks like the right to trade on their insider knowledge. Paul Ryan, for example, went to Washington penniless and retired with a net worth of $6 million. He landed in a seven figure job bribing his fellow colleagues. That should draw hundreds of candidates into every race, but politics is largely a closed shop, despite being democratic.

There’s not point here, other than that to point out that “natural markets” don’t exist, even in the absence of government. There’s almost no government role in the football coaching business, but it is a closed world controlled by relationships and insider information among the coaches. The same is true of politics. In theory, anyone can run for Congress. In reality, they allow in only those they want in. The Senate is the world’s most exclusive club, followed by the House and the football coaching fraternity.


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Constitutional Failure

A decade’s long refrain from principled conservatives and civic nationalists has been that the problems of America could be cured by returning to the constitutional principles as defined by the Founders. The principled conservatives have, of late, be much more enthusiastic for the alleged principles of the Declaration, while the civic nationalists stick with the Constitution as written. The trouble is, the cause of the present troubles, the source of what ails current year America is the Constitution itself.

Constitutions can be written and unwritten, positive and negative. American has a mostly written constitution, while the UK has an unwritten one. By unwritten, it is understood to mean there is no single controlling document. Instead, there are customs and precedents that have been in place for so long that most citizens think these are, in fact, laws yet they are not. There are laws originating from these customs and precedents, but ultimately, tradition is what frames the political order.

Then there are negative and positive constitutions. A positive constitution is one that details the duties of government. These duties could be to the citizens or they could be the duties of the defined entities within the state. The negative constitution, in contrast, lists the powers of the state, the division of power within the state and the limits of the power of the state over the citizens. The American constitution, as originally conceived, is a negative constitution. It sets limits on the government.

That’s the theory, but in reality, constitutions are a blend of the written and unwritten, as well as a mix of positive and negative law. In the American system, traditions and customs have arisen that seem like laws. Legislatures have passed laws obligating the government to perform certain duties for the citizens. Of course, there is the that divide between those who see the constitutional order resting on the Gettysburg Address and those who see it still in the Bill of Rights. Ours is a blended system.

There’s something else about constitutions that goes unnoticed. That is they define of the roles of the power centers of society within politics. For example, the Founders understood that real power in America was local. In each of the former colonies, there were local elites who welded real power. Because they were sane men, they knew real power always rested in the upper reaches of the natural hierarchy of man. In the new constitutional order, those power interests needed a defined role.

The Senate, which was the body representing the local elites, was given an important role in the new political order. Since there was no such thing as a national elite, and no one wanted such thing, there was no role for a national elite. Instead, the Senate was the body that would represent the states, which were controlled by the local elites. Through the state legislatures, senators would be chosen to represent state interests in the new federal government. The Senate is the rich people’s house.

There is the first problem with the Constitution. In the 18th century, a national elite came in one form and that was a king and the aristocracy. The king had national interests, as he technically owned the society over which he ruled. He also had the power to exercise his rights, either directly or through the network of aristocrats, who were often his kin. This was not something Founders had or wanted. They had just fought a long war with the king to establish their local rule over their domains.

Therefore the idea of a national or global elite was anathema to the Founders, so there was never a role defined for this type power center. Further, subsequent changes to the Constitution have stripped the states of their power in government. The Senate is another democratic body. As a result, local elites have no voice in national government. Compounding it, there is no definition and therefore no limit on the national elites. National and now global interests operate outside the constitutional framework.

That’s the other defect in the constitution. An unwritten political order requires those with power to exert their power. In order to maintain power, elites of all types must actively assert their privilege, often with calls to tradition and custom. In a written system, the bias is toward defending prerogatives and privileges. The law becomes the ultimate source of authority, because it is the lines separating the various power interests within the political order. Everyone has to be a lawyer.

Because the American written constitution never defined a role for national and global elites, they are free to exert their power as much as nature will allow. Because they only confront resistance from those constitutionally limited institutions, playing defense within the law, they have been free to expand to the point where they now transcend the political order. It is why appeals to the law to restrain the aggressive behavior of woke capital is pointless. The law is constrained from acting.

It is why, as absurd as it may sound at first blush, a third house of Congress could be created to resolve this asymmetry. The moneyed interest bribing Congressman and Senators would be prohibited from that practice, but be provided a chamber of their own with power to counter the House, Senate and Executive. The new house, perhaps, would be given the power of the purse, since they pay the taxes, while the House would be given power that reflects the interests of the modern citizen.

This would be resisted by the elite, so it would never happen, at least not without a revolution. This is why efforts to curb the flow of money into politics have failed. The people giving the money have no reason to support such a change. It’s why abolishing corporate taxes would be most resisted by the corporations themselves. It is through the tax code that corporate interests can most influence Congress. Without a reason to lobby Washington, they can’t be there to exert their power over politics.

The expansion of democratic elements into the American constitutional system has added another set of problems, the illusion of choice and the illusion of power. Voters think the parties offer real options, when the options are controlled entirely by the undefined elite. They also think the power of their vote has real value. This blinds the citizen to the reality of his political order. Democracy magnifies the defects of the written constitutional order, resulting in the current instability.

This is why calls to return to the old order or even the order of the second founding is a primitive response to the problem of design. Even if it were possible to roll back to such a system, the power relationships would not change. In fact, a smaller government, as originally intended, would be weaker and less able to fend off the predations of the power elite elite. Put another way, if the roots of the problem are the defects within the Constitutional order, fidelity to that order is the problem, not the solution.

Of course, if the plan is to revolt in order to put the old political order back on the throne, then that leaves open the option of revolting and creating a new political order that reflects the realities of the current age. The original Constitution was about codifying the victory of the Founders, who revolted against the old order. A revolution against the old order of today, a successful revolution, will inevitably result in codifying the victory of the victorious revolutionaries. The new principles will reflect their sensibilities.


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Brought To You By The Letter R

Something you cannot help but notice, if you spend time scanning the political sites, is the growth of sponsored content. Breitbart will often have stories labeled “Sponsored Content” at the top, but otherwise they look like the rest of their stuff. This is content they are paid to post on their site. In the case of political sites, this content is generated by an industry group or lobbyists, who then pay the site for the opportunity to post the content, much like an advertiser. Hence the name “sponsored content.”

There is also something called “white box” content in the trade, which means it comes without attribution. Someone or some group with an agenda will produce a story and either give it to a site or pay them to take it. Part of the deal is the site gets to claim it as its own work. They will format it to their style and put the name of a writer they claim as their own the byline. The anti-BDS people use this to place stories unfavorable to the BDS movement into so-called conservative publications.

This is dishonest, at the very minimum, but it is a common enough practice that no one seems to care about it. Just how much content on these political sites is produced by concerned interests in Washington is hard to know. The stuff labeled as sponsored content is easy to spot, but the white box stuff is a mystery. Some of this white box content is quietly provided directly to friendly freelance writers, so even the site publishers do not know the real author of these pieces.

For example, how much of Cathy Young’s work is truly her own? Her content is clearly from a very specific perspective. It coincidentally matches perfectly with people like Max Boot, Jennifer Rubin, Bret Stephens and other neocons. Oddly, these people push an agenda the Left violently opposed not so long ago, yet all of these people now work for far left scandal sheets like the Washington Post. In the case of Young, she turns up in so-called conservative sites and far Left sites. What versatility!

There’s another aspect to the political writing game. This is the part tangled up in the Washington hackarama. This is where political consultants, connected individuals and members of the permanent political class use the political sites as a form of advertising for their services. They produce content for the sites and either give it away or in some cases pay for access on the sly. Instead of representing some anonymous interests, the point is to get their name in circulation.

An example of this is a recent article in National Review. It is a post suggesting Huey Long deserved to be murdered because he was a populist and everyone knows populists are the worst people. The writer is listed as Ellen Carmichael, “the president of The Lafayette Company, a political-communications firm.” A few minutes searching around and you will learn that she started in local Louisiana politics right out of diapers and has now moved to Washington as a consultant.

One way to get her name out to potential clients is to post stories suggesting things about her partisanship, her ideas and so forth in the sorts of sites read by people in the political business. At this point, National Review has no audience outside of Republican politics. It is pretty much a trade magazine now. They are happy to take this sort of content, as it is cheap and it fits in with their model, which is to wield as little influence over American politics as possible, while remaining in business.

Now, this is just one example, but multiply this, the sponsored content and the white box content over hundreds of times a month. It is not unreasonable to think that a large portion of what shows up on political sites is created by the hackarama. A lot of the cable news content is produced this ways, as well. For example, all of the Middle East content on mainstream sites is probably the work of The Lobby. Whether through friendly writers or directly through their own staff, it’s all agit-prop now.

From the dissident perspective, this is a useful starting point when discussing politics with normal people. Most readers of normie conservative sites are unaware of the fact lots of the content is really just product placement. The fans of Ben Shapiro don’t know he is pretty much just an actor, hired to promote certain positions. Instead of harping on the latter, the way to awaken normie is to talk about the former. Your Boomer uncle may love Israel, but he really hates being lied to, so go with that.

This may seem like another good reason to burn Washington to the ground, put the inhabitants to the sword and salt the earth afterwards, but that is a foregone conclusion at this late stage. It is another example of how the political system is corrupt beyond any reasonable hope of reform. Washington is a closed system ruled by a uniparty of permanent residents. It’s the Borg. When parts die off or are expelled as waste, new people are absorbed and assimilated into the system.

This reality of Washington is important to understand when examining the Trump administration. He came to town promising to reform Washington, but the Imperial Capital is beyond reform. It operates like a unitary organism now. Any attempt at reform will unleash antibodies to isolate and kill the foreign object. Those antibodies show up in the media. Washington now exists solely to perpetuate itself. To reform it is to kill it, which is no longer reform, but another word that begins with the letter R.


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The Louder He Talked Of His Honor

Last week, Catholic University hosted a showdown, of sorts, between David French and Sohrab Ahmari. Their dispute started when Ahmari posted this piece on First Things, declaring jihad against Frenchism, which he described as a passive-aggressive approach to the culture war with the Left. It got a lot of attention in conservative circles, mostly because they were happy that anyone was talking about them at all. Here is the video of the show down and here is a summary from American Conservative.

The event itself was typical of the pseudo-academic culture you see around conservative politics at this level. There is the superficial collegiality and the carrying on like this is a meeting of two intellectual giants. An essential element of this culture is the displaying of credentials, as well as the recognition of those credentials. That’s why the opening was like dogs sniffing each other’s butts at the park. Ahmari brought a gift to signal his submissiveness to French, who he considers a superior.

This is, of course, why French agreed to the thing in the first place. He was certainly told that Ahmari is a light weight, who could land a few punches, but was incapable of delivering any hard blows. Ahmari appears to be a guy, who has sampled dissident writing, but is not well versed in the arguments against Buckley conservatism. As a result he was left to flail around while French was able to safely keep the conversation to theoretical topics, rather than the failings of Buckley conservatism.

That is, of course, a game the Buckleyites learned from libertarians. When the conversation is about practical issues, like fighting the Left over cultural turf, they shift the focus to theory. When confronted on theory, they take a deep dive into the weeds of some narrow policy topic. That’s what French was doing with Ahmari. He kept shifting the topics to legalism and constitutional theory, in order to avoid talking about the fact that conservatism has been a colossal, multi-generational failure.

That’s what was a bit disappointing about Ahmari’s performance. A better equipped debater, a dissident for example, would have turned French’s arguments back on him with relative ease. His claim that the Founders wanted a neutral public space, for example, is laughable nonsense. The Founders were white Christians, who assumed they were founding a white Christian country. More important, they were practical men who understood what was required to maintain their people.

Think about it. These were men who revolted against the prevailing order, against centuries of tradition, in order to impose their way of life on their lands. Not only were they willing to overthrow centuries of tradition, they were willing to kill their countrymen in order to found their nation. They were also quite explicit in their motives. They founded a nation for their people and their posterity. By the definitions of today, definitions David French supports, the Founders were white nationalists.

Of course, the neutral public space argument is a justification for not fighting the Left over cultural turf. By claiming a principled claim in support of an open and neutral public space, it rules out doing anything that could actually win the fight. After all, defending the public square from complete domination by the Left, means pushing them out of some portion of it. That would violate the sacred principles of principled conservatives, so they not only refuse to do it, they prevent others from doing it.

Something that never gets mentioned by dissidents is that this line of reasoning contradicts basic Christian teaching. To cede the public space on principle is to agree, in advance, to not proselytize. To preach and proselytize means staking out space in the public square, regardless of the consequences. The very founding of the Christian faith was on the bones of those, who martyred themselves to spread the word of Jesus Christ in the face of violent opposition.

That of course, raises the question as to just how sincere David French is in his religious conviction. He waves his Christian faith around almost as much as he waves around his military service, yet he is not willing to risk much for it. The Gospels are pretty clear on this point. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. Jesus instructed the rich to give away their riches and follow him. Surely, salvation is worth some principles.

This is where dissident Christians can find a niche in dissident politics. There is a long tradition of Christians preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ in the face of fierce opposition from authority. To be a dissident is to reject the authority of the prevailing orthodoxy. To be a dissident Christian is to know the source of all authority. The way forward to a society built around natural association is also the path to a society where Christians can proselytize and lead their fellow man to salvation.

This is what the backers of Frenchism fear. A militant, optimistic and aggressive Christianity would be wildly attractive to disaffected white youth. Imagine young guys in camo flash mobbing public events, while reading Scripture. Imagine them employing the protest tactics of the Left, but in favor of faith. That’s why millions are poured into Christian groups to advocate the surrender model. Their leaders get very rich while leading their flocks away from the public space.

None of this is new material, which is why David French has become the clown nose of Buckley conservatism. It’s not about ideology or theology with this guy. David Frenchism is about celebrating the choices of David French. From his adoption of an African to his JAG service, it’s always about his public acts of piety. That’s what jumps out from the video of that event. Watching him in action, the line from Emerson comes to mind. “The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.”


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