Answering War Hysteria

According to just about everyone, we are either at war with Iran or about to go to war with Iran. The droning of the Iranian general at the Baghdad airport has unleashed a lot of pent up war hysteria, as well as anti-war hysteria. The neocons are dreaming of another pointless war in the Middle East. The paleocons are warning about how the Iranians will enact vengeance. The anti-Zionists are completely off their leash, making the usual claims about who is really behind all of this.

The truth is, we are not at war with Iran, at least not a conventional war. We have been in a cold war with them since the 1970’s. The temperature rises and falls as domestic politics requires, but it never gets too hot. The main reason for that is Iran is run by fairly competent people. Iran is also much more cohesive than the neighboring countries in the region. Persians have a strong sense of identity that transcends the tribal alliances that dominate in the rest of the Middle East.

Of course, the Iranians now have important ties with Russia and China. The Russians are helping them build nuclear capability and the Chinese are providing them with conventional military technology. Both countries are in bed with the Iranians because Iran sits on large oil and gas reserves. China is starving for oil and the Russians are a player in Europe because they control the gas supplies. Those are strong incentives to prevent a US – Iran war.

At the same time, America is in no position to launch another war in the Middle East, at least not a ground war. Trump can call in drone strikes and maybe air strikes from subs and carriers, but that would be very risky. To get a ground force together would require prepping the public and getting Congress to sign off on it. It would also mean talking Trump into something he has opposed. War is always bad politics. In an election year where his prospects are even money at best, that’s a foolish gamble for him.

History is full of examples where countries bluffed themselves into a war that neither side wanted, so it is not completely out of the question. Israel could blow something up and the neocons running the State Department could talk Trump into believing the Iranians did it. Some rogue element in Iran could do something foolish. Then there are the many guerrilla and terrorist groups supported by Iran. One of them could do something provocative and set us on a path to war.

Even so, the odds are very low that this current crisis lasts more than a week, other than some hotly worded tweets from Trump and bellicose rants from Iran. This raises a few questions. One is why the anti-war people have flipped out as if they were just waiting for a reason to get back in the streets. They were not going crazy when Trump lobbed missiles into Syria. They were silent when Venezuela was on the brink. It’s as if someone flipped a switch and reactivated the anti-war people.

The bigger question is why Trump has decided to take this step. It’s clear he has no interest in starting a war. He has been trying to get troops out of the Middle East for three years now. Taking out this general is a high risk move that could lead to terrorist attacks this year. The White House is warning Congress that retaliation in the next weeks is a possibility. Even if a full blown shooting war with Iran is unlikely, it does not mean there will be no fallout from this venture.

One possibility is that Trump is just dumb and he got bamboozled by the neocons into attacking Iran. They cooked up a story about how this general was plotting a terror attack and he fell for it. This is popular with the anti-Zionists. They believe the neocons are like super-villains, able to hypnotize politicians. They have finally figured out how to maneuver Trump into going along with their schemes. It’s possible. The distinguishing feature of Trumps’ time in office has been incompetence.

The trouble with this theory is that Trump has been pretty good at dodging the neocon war plots thus far. This is not the first time they cooked up a plot to attack Iran. He has even joked about guys like John Bolton wanting to bomb the world. He also avoided the various traps they set with Syria. Trump may not be very good at governing, but he seems pretty well aware of how the neocons operate. He has been as good at shining them on as he has the immigration patriots.

Another answer is that Trump saw this as a chance to break the deadlock over nuclear negotiations with Iran. Think back to how he broke all the protocols in order to get the North Koreans to the table. All prior presidents refused to meet with the North Korean leader, but Trump not only agreed to meet, he pushed for it. His erratic and unconventional management style is an extension of his negotiating style. He likes to throw over tables and create chaos as a prelude to deal making.

Evidence of this is his tweet after the droning of the general. In addition to the boiler plate stuff, he made the point that he preferred to negotiate and the Iranians should prefer it too. In other words, this high risk, high stakes gambit is about breaking the stalemate and getting all the various players to rethink their position. Trump is a legendary bluffer and this is basically a big bluff. He’s threatening unconditional drone warfare unless they come to the table.

The other side of this is he gets a boost with his base who love the fact he took out this general with a drone strike. Despite what the anti-Zionists think, this is a winner for him with his core supporters. If nothing comes of it, he will be able to say he has tried to bring the Iranians to the table, but they will not budge. He played the same cards with North Korea. As a political matter, he gets to be both the tough guy, who drones bad guys, and the peacemaker seeking to talk rather than fight.

Finally, there is the possibility that this is tied into the impeachment process that will get going again this month. Senate Republicans like Mitt Romney and Ben Sassy are wholly owned by Jerusalem. In order to get their vote in the impeachment fight, Trump may be forced to give into the forever war crowd. This attack and the subsequent bluster about more attacks may be the real quid pro quo. If anyone thinks this is too conspiratorial, just look at the anti-BDS campaign.

The likelihood of this scenario leading to war, however, is low as the impeachment lever has a clear expiry date on it. There is an election brewing and Washington needs to dispense with the impeachment issue by February at the latest. That’s enough time to do some drone strikes and saber rattling, but not enough time to gin up support for a war with Iran. Instead it will just make negotiating with Iran impossible for the remainder of Trump’s tenure, which may be the real point.

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The Great Cover Up

Joe diGenova has been talking about the seditious plot to overturn the 2016 election for at least a year, maybe longer. Unlike a lot of the people commenting on this in the mass media, he is not using it to sell books or boost his cable career. He also knows how the FBI and DOJ works from a practical matter. Being knowledgeable makes him a rare guy in the commentariat. Most of the people brought on as experts for the cable chat shows know very little about their alleged areas of expertise.

Regardless, he has been one of the most hawkish people on the Barr investigation, claiming that it is a real investigation with real criminal targets. In this recent radio interview he goes into the details of both the Barr investigation and the ongoing impeachment fiasco. He is a Trump partisan, so his opinions on impeachment are predictable, but his thoughts on the conspiracy are interesting. He probably has access to information from the Trump White House.

The interesting thing about all of this is just how widespread the conspiracy was during the 2015-2016 period. In that interview he talks about former NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers, who is allegedly cooperating with Barr and Durham. What makes the Rogers issue interesting is that he was the original whistle-blower. He is not treated as such, because the media hates Trump and anyone associated with him, but Rogers was the guy who blew the whistle on the spying to the Trump people.

What’s also interesting about Rogers is he seems to have been a good guy, who decided to put an end to the shenanigans with regards to access to top-secret data by FBI contractors. He closed off their access at some point in 2016, which put him in bad odor with the Obama administration. He was eventually pushed out, which suggests the conspiracy has roots into the Obama inner-circle. That may explain why the easy cases to be made against the FBI conspirators are on hold.

That’s the other thing about the Rogers case. As CTH explains in that post, his addition to the story reveals that the use of the NSA database by political contractors working for the Democrats goes back to at least 2012. It is an axiom of white-collar crime that the practice always goes back much further than the evidence initially reveals. Anyone who has done forensic accounting knows this. You find the first evidence of a crime, but it turns out that the pattern goes back much further.

That may be what lies beneath all of this. The great puzzle thus far has been the lack of prosecutions, despite ample evidence. The FBI agents are all guilty of crimes that have been detailed in public documents and the IG reports. There is now proof that Comey perjured himself many times. Just from a public relations perspective alone, rounding up these guys and charging them with corruption seems like a no-brainer. Almost a year into his tenure and Barr has charged no one with a crime.

One obvious explanation is that Barr is running a long con on Trump and the rest of the country, on behalf of the inner party. Robert Mueller was supposed to use his investigation to hoover up all the data so it could not be made public, in addition to harassing the Trump White House. His incompetence meant Barr took over the job and is now hoovering up all the information on the various parties. That way, everyone has an excuse for not doing anything about plot.

One bit of evidence in support of this is the handling of the James Wolfe issue. He was the Senate staffer caught leaking classified information to one of the prostitutes hired by the Washington Post. Big media hires good looking young women to sleep with flunkies like Wolf in order to get access to information. Wolf was caught and charged, but instead of getting a couple years in jail, he got two months. He will come out and land into a six-figure job as a reward for being a good soldier.

An alternative explanation is that what started as a straight forward political corruption case bumped into a long pattern of behavior. In the course of investigating that pattern, the trail went much further back than the 2016 election. If there is evidence of abuse going back to 2012, maybe it goes back further. It was the Bush people, after all, who pushed for the creation of secret courts and secret warrants. Maybe Dick Cheney was listening to your phone calls after all.

It is not just the linear aspect of this. The sheer number of people involved in just the FBI scandal is phenomenal. There are at least 20 FBI people named and dozens of bit players in the media and DOJ. So far, the “contractors” with access to the NSA database have not been revealed, but that could be hundreds of people, given that it seems to have been a free-for-all. The corruption may not only go back a long time, but cover a wide swath of official Washington.

That may be the answer to the great cover up. That’s what we are seeing. This is a great cover up of the biggest scandal in American history. To date, no one has been charged with a crime, despite hundreds of crimes being documented. Many of the principals are now enjoying high six figure lives, based on the fact they were part of the seditious plot to overturn the 2016 election. Instead of the scandal of the century, it is the celebration of the century for the inner party.

One of the signs of ruling class collapse is when they can no longer enforce the rules that maintain them as a ruling class. When the Romans started making exceptions to republican governance, it was a matter of time before someone simply decided the rules no longer applied to them. Perhaps the robot historians will consider Obama our Marius or Sulla. Maybe that person is in the near future. Either way, the rule of law is over and what comes next is the rule of men.

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The Value Of Dumb Ideas

Dumb ideas are a feature of democracy. The main reason for this is the majority of people trusted with a vote are average or below average. Democracy works on the assumption that people work in series. Connect enough of them, no matter their intellectual capacity, and you get enough brain power. In reality, people work in parallel, so the more you connect, the faster dumb ideas flow through society. Democracy is the form of government with the lowest resistance to dumb ideas.

Another aspect of this is that dumb ideas never die. At the risk of mixing science and superstition, dumb ideas are like demons from Hell. They are never killed. They can be exorcised and sent back to the pit, but they always find a way out. Like a demon, they inhabit a new body and employ new tricks, so the dumb idea often looks like an entirely new dumb idea. That’s what you see with the universal basic income. It is an old dumb idea that has come back in a new disguise.

Dumb ideas are not without their utility. Until they are revealed to be dumb, people debate them and that debate says something about the people. The homosexual marriage debate, which feels like a lifetime ago, revealed that the left side of the political class was going insane, while the right side had quit on its stool. In the fullness of time, the surrender on homosexual marriage will be seen as the point where conservatism entered the death spiral. That’s the power of dumb ideas.

In the case of the UBI, Andrew Yang becoming a household name based on his promotion of the idea underscores the bankruptcy of the Left. The reason Yang got so much attention is he is the only guy talking about policy. His idea may be silly, but at least it is an idea. People can hear the proposal and think about what it would mean to them if it was enacted. The rest of the candidates emote about intersectional grievances and social justice. They may as well be speaking in tongues.

Of course, the intellectual bankruptcy of the Left is not a new idea. In the 1990’s it became clear that the American Left had run out of practical road and was veering into the side roads of the bizarre. Conservatives used to crow about how they had many more plans for having the government do stuff. The thing is, the American Right was always just the straight man for the Left. It was never intended to be the star. Their job was to respond to the hijinks of their Progressive partners.

Another side benefit of the UBI is that it resonated with young people on the Right, who tweeted Yang onto the big stage. They were attracted to that promised allowance of a thousand bucks a month. It was mostly a joke, but it revealed a truth about the people moving from conventional politics. That is, there is a slow re-discovery of the fact that the point of government is to serve the people. Public policy is not about pleasing the economy, but about improving the life of the people.

The UBI debate has also leaked into adult conversation. The paleoconservatives are coming around to the idea that the economy is a false god. That wing of conservatism never went down the libertarian dead end, but they did get lost in the wilderness of foreign policy fanaticism. For a long time, they have focused solely on the endless wars and to a lesser extent the slobbering obedience to Israel. This post in the American Conservative suggests that is changing.

Again, the UBI is a dumb idea. Giving everyone an allowance of some figure simply makes that allowance the new zero. Whatever initial benefit people experience will soon be gobbled up by retail inflation as the new money hits the streets. You don’t fix massive inequality by dropping cash into the ghetto. What matters here is that people are starting to think again about government playing an active role in defending society, rather than acting as the great paladin of the economy.

Probably the most important observation that comes from the UBI discussion is that it has no impact on elite opinion. The Democrat candidates on stage look at Andrew Yang and fail to connect his presence with his ideas. Instead, they continue to pose in bizarre ways about intersectional politics and grandiose reform schemes. You would think that at least one of them would notice that a simple idea took an unknown Jackie Chan body double and elevated him to the big stage.

What this reveals, maybe underscores is the right way to put it, is that the political class, particular the inner party political class, is beyond reform. It is just a collection of carny folk hired to perform by the oligarchs. Those oligarchs look at America society in the same way raiders look at a coastal village. They are focused on looting as much as they can as fast as they can. If there is going to be reform, it will come after the current ruling class is wiped out and replaced by natives.

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Impeaching Democracy

The world does not have much experience with democracy. What we know of it comes from the century or so the West been tinkering with it and, of course, what can be learned from the ancient Greek experiment with it. Unlike monarchy or various forms of despotism, democracy has had a relatively short run. We have more real world experience with various types of totalitarianism than we do democracy, so it stands to reason that we are just coming to understand its benefits and liabilities.

One thing we are learning about modern democracy is that it is a myth. The people are not in charge. They get to vote on things and select representatives, but those representative don’t actually represent the interests of the people, who voted them into their positions. The office holders in a modern democracy represent the interests of the money-men who sponsored them. Politicians in a democracy are like prize fighters, in that they are controlled by a management team.

Like a price fighter, one of the demands placed upon a modern politician is that he must at all times seek the attention of the public. Much of what we see in our modern democracies is false drama, designed to gain attention. This is why women have proven to be so successful as politicians. Women are naturally gifted with the ability to get attention, especially through false drama. It turns out that democracy is a form of governance modeled on the beauty pageant.

This is the point of the impeachment fiasco. The Democrats are the party of girls and gay men, so they naturally seek drama. Trump’s great sin is that he is a great showman, so he gets all the attention. Impeachment allows the vagina party to one-up him and force him to pay attention to them. If you look at the people celebrating in the streets, it’s lesbians and middle-aged woman. They are not celebrating because they hate Trump. They are happy someone is noticing them.

Another feature of modern democracy is its insularity. Again, this impeachment fiasco offers some insights. Outside of the rage heads on the Left, no one cares. It’s not even interesting as a civics lesson. Months of marketing this thing by the ruling class media has just dulled interest in the subject. Like the new Star Wars movie, the word it out and the public is not being suckered in by the hype. Impeachment 3, Blowhard With A Vengeance is a box office flop.

Despite public apathy, the ruling class continues to put on their show as if they are in front of a roaring crowd. Besotted old Nancy Pelosi staggered out in a funeral dress, thinking she was giving Mark Antony’s funeral speech. The flunkies, coat holders and seat warmers all took turns delivering their best lines, mostly to one another and the panting press corp. If this were a movie, the critics would give it five stars, while the public would give it two stars and the cold shoulder.

That’s the thing about the French Revolution that is germane here. The Jacobins and the aristocracy were black boxes to one another. At several turns, the King and his supporters in the old order could have avoided disaster, but always read things wrong and made the wrong mistake. At the same time, the rebels could not discern the forces controlling the old order. Both sides were left to guess as to why the other was doing what they were doing. The result was revolution.

That seems to be true with impeachment, as well. The public and some parts of the GOP establishment are baffled as to why the Democrats are doing this. The Republicans are grasping about at the approved list of answers, but none of them make much sense. The public seems to be baffled by it all. Even Trump, who has been trying to use this to drum up support is struggling to make sense of it. The workings of the inner party are a black box, even to the people in Washington.

One reason for this, in addition to the insularity, is the fact that modern democracy needs a ruling ideology to legitimize itself. In this regard, it is no different from communism, which claims to be the most democratic and egalitarian of modern political models. If everyone is in charge, then no one is in charge, so ideology sets the rules and legitimizes the process. Just as with communism, the ideology eventually intensifies and burns itself out, usually in a blood bath.

Now, one always has to consider the nefarious in these matters. That is one of the defining features of modern democracy. The people assume that vice is the primary motivator of their public servants. Greed, sexual perversion, gluttony, envy and so on are the default assumptions when analyzing democratic politics. It is one of the ironies of democracy. The system that boasts of being morally superior to natural hierarchical rule is assumed to be driven by the seven deadly sins.

In this case, many assume, and not without evidence, that this whole charade is a complex move to cover up the Ukraine scandal. Team Trump had stumbled onto evidence that many Democrats were on the take by Ukrainian oligarchs. In order to prevent this from becoming a public issue, they manufactured this phony Ukraine collusion story to then hold impeachment hearings. It is a version of 4-D chess to explain the bizarre behavior of the Left.

In fairness, there may be truth to it. Pelosi was dead set against impeachment until she had a secret meeting with the Lawfare people, who ran the Ukraine scam. Suddenly she was in favor of impeachment. Now they seem to be pushing her to stall sending the articles to the Senate, in order to prevent a trial next year. Ostensibly, they don’t want Team Trump presenting evidence or calling witnesses. The fear is, so the story goes, his team will dish dirt on them and their Ukraine dealings.

That’s a bit conspiratorial, but after learning that the FBI, CIA and the Obama administration orchestrated a wide ranging plot to overturn the last election, it is no longer responsible to dismiss conspiracy theories. It is clear that the ruling class is no longer operating by the official rules. Instead, it is like as a gangster state. Wealthy interests buy favors. The politicians scheme with and against one other on behalf of their benefactors. It is one big corrupt scramble.

In that same vein, this ridiculous drama could simply be the distraction to push through laws that the public detests. For example, Trump will giddily sign off on a defense bill that gives amnesty to Liberian migrants. The whole point of Liberia was to send our Africans back to Africa. Now we are importing them back. No one knows what else the schemers are pushing through Congress, as all the news is about impeachment and the public is turning away from the whole thing.

In the end, it really does not matter what is behind impeachment. It is just another indictment of democracy as a political system. It is a system in which no one appears to be in charge, because the people foolishly think their votes matter. Instead, the people really in charge are the parasites and pirates that feed off the organic social capital of the people. The embrace of democracy is the embrace of a cancer that will eventually weaken and kill the body of the people.

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Repo Men

There used to be a time when the mass media covered the Federal Reserve as if it was Hollywood or a professional sports league. Whenever the Fed acted or the Fed chairman made a statement, it was big news. That has not been the case for a long time, mostly due to the mortgage meltdown. Worshiping the money men was no longer good copy after they came close to blowing up the world. Halfway through the Trump tenure, the media barely mentions the Fed or Fed policy.

Still, the central banks remain the most important government institutions on earth and this is particularly true of the Federal Reserve. They control the global economy, because they control the supply of money and credit. This is why the massive intervention into the credit markets by the Federal Reserve recently should be front page news. Something very big is happening and no one seems to know why, but the Fed is responding to it with $500 billion in new money.

Now, they are not just printing up cash and throwing it out the window. Instead, they are intervening in the repo market to head-off a market crash. For those who don’t know, the repo market is not where repossessed items are sold. The word “repo” is slang for repurchase agreement¹. A repurchase agreement is a short-term funding mechanism where one party needing cash, sells an asset to a party for cash, with an agreement to repurchase the asset at an agreed upon price.

A repurchase agreement functions in effect as a short-term, collateral-backed, interest-bearing loan. Much of what happens in the world of investment banks is reliant on the repo market. In order for these entitles to function, there has to be enough cash available in the system for these transactions to occur. Otherwise, borrowing rates go up, which means the cost of doing business goes up. Taken to the extreme, no cash available means the credit markets lock up.

Since the financial system is like a watch with gears interlocking with gears, one gear seizing up has the potential to seize up all the other gears. A frozen repo market could result in a cash crunch for banks, which locks up business and retail lending. That locks up the Main Street economy and we’re looking at bread lines. The economy, as we understand it, relies on a steady supply of money and credit freely flowing through the system according to the rules established by central banks.

As an aside, if the repo market probably sounds a lot like a pawnshop to you. A pawn shop offers short-term, collateral based loans. You take the family silver into the pawnshop and they give you cash. You agree to come back with the cash, plus interest, to get the family silver out of hock. If you blow the cash on a sure thing and are unable to pay the pawnshop, they take ownership of your item and sell it for cash. So yes, the financial system is built on the logic of the pawnshop.

Now, this move by the Fed is very curious. Clearly, something has caused this problem in the repo market, but no one seems to know the cause. It’s serious enough that the Fed’s balance sheet, currently at $4.1 trillion, will surpass its all-time high of $4.5 trillion. For several years now the Fed has made clear its intent to shrink its balance sheet. Therefore, this problem is serious enough to cause the Federal Reserve to change course and blow up its balance sheet.

The question is, what’s going on?

One possible answer is bad rule making over the last decade that has rewarded banks for hoarding cash. Instead of lending to one another, they are sitting on cash reserves. The risk-reward is better than short term lending. This could be due to a combination of market factors created by Fed policy and regulations on banks regarding their cash reserves. In other words, the government has created a distorted short-term lending market, through regulation and Fed policy that discourages short-term lending.

Another, more worrisome cause is that central banks have built a low-interest rate trap for themselves that they cannot escape. In lowering rates and intervening so aggressively in the market to stave off collapse a decade ago, they have created a system that cannot exist without low rates and aggressive intervention. Efforts to restore rates to historic norms or attempts to shrink the balance sheets of central banks threatens the very existence of the global financial system.

In such a scenario, the system controlled by the central banks becomes increasing complex with every intervention. Currently, the Fed does not know why the repo market is broken. They are simply reacting to the short-term effects. Their actions, however, will be part of the problem to be solved, a problem they don’t fully grasp. By the time they do understand the issue, they may have been forced to make additional interventions that further change the complexity of the problem.

Of course, a world of permanently low interest rates and unlimited intervention by the central bank is not a world controlled by the central bank. Rather, the central bank is now controlled by the system it created. The main weapons the central bank has used in the past to address systemic failure are no longer available. Taken to its logical conclusion, the financial system is a run-a-way train. The Feds do what they can to keep it on the tracks, but eventually, the inevitable happens.

In the long run, the story of credit money may be that it is simply a complex way to pull forward the benefits of economic activity, for the benefit of a few. Eventually, all of the pain avoidance with low interest rates and central bank intervention consume all of the economy to pull forward. Those accrued costs are reversed out all at once and system collapse in the result. The resulting political fallout then topples over the liberal democratic order and we enter an entirely new age.

That may sound overly apocalyptic, but consider how political institutions must weather a crisis. The people must not only want to preserve those institutions, they must trust the people running them. A great systemic collapse of the economic order would need a lot of trust in the political order to avoid revolts. At no time in the West has the current political order be less trusted. It needs the good economy to survive. That sound a lot like a house of cards waiting for the wrong decision.

¹Short primer on repurchase agreements.

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Right-Wing Cosmopolitanism

The British election offers a good opportunity to see the detachment of official conservatism from the people they pretend to represent. Most of the conservative chattering class was quietly hopeful of a Labour Party victory. They would be justified in opposing what they sneeringly refer to as populism. Boris Johnson is a boorish loudmouth, who has an uncanny appeal with working class people, despite being a man of privilege. He’s the sort of guy conservatives think should not exist.

What baffles conservatives about Boris and Trump is that neither man goes in for the dorm room libertarianism that has come to define conservatism. They proudly talk about spending money on things like infrastructure projects and government services. They think the government should make the lives of the citizens better. The economy, as far as they are concerned, is about serving the people, a concept so alien to modern conservatives they confuse it with socialism.

Of course, what baffles conservatives most about these types of politicians is they don’t seem to care very much for the cosmopolitan types, who decorate the salons of modern conservatism. Johnson won on the strength of his appeal the sort of native Britain, who no longer goes to London, because London is full of foreigners now. Similarly, Trump won on his appeal to whites in flyover country, who worry that their country is being turned into Brazil. Conservatives are baffled by this.

So much so, they just assume it is an illusion. Andrew Stuttaford, writing in National Review recognizes the facts of Johnson’s victory, but then says, “If the Conservatives are to repeat last night’s success in the next general election (currently scheduled for 2024) they will want to claw back some of those London voters.” In other words, despite the results, he remains convinced that the path to victory is chasing the non-white cosmopolitan vote in the cosmopolitan areas.

This is the same psychosis we have seen in America with conservatives. They demand the GOP bankrupt itself chasing a few black votes, at the expense of the vast number of white votes it can easily gain. It is a form of Stockholm syndrome. Conservatives have been captured by the Left for so long, they have now completely internalized the morality of the Left, to the point where it is natural for them. They just assume one sacred black vote is worth more than every single white vote.

Of course, people in cults cannot process disconfirmation, so they look for ways to explain the contrary results within the context of their beliefs. Quickly after the results were known, the so-called conservatives blamed the results on the antisemitism of Jeremy Corbyn. Also in National Review, Michael Brendan Dougherty claims “Under Corbyn’s watch, Labour became a party in which anti-Semitism started to have free rein.” Yeah, that’s what caused millions to vote Tory.

Not to be outdone, the neocons are blaming magic miasmas that brought with them a foul odor of socialism. The Trotskyites at Bill Kristol’s new Persia-based outlet are blaming it on their old enemies in the party. Charlie Sykes writes, “And make no mistake about it, Corbyn’s Labour party platform was a progressive, democratic-socialist fever dream.” You see, according to these guys, Brexit and nationalism are wildly unpopular, but the scary socialisms is even more unpopular.

Another point here is that the so-called conservatives were completely taken in by the last-minute campaign by the mass media to claim the election was tight. One reason is they really wanted to believe it. Another reason, a more important one, is that they always trust the Left. They instinctively trust the left-wing media, despite having been lied to so often. It’s not an institutional trust or a desire for it, but a natural comfort for the sorts of people who control the left-wing media.

That is because conservatism in the English-speaking countries has become nothing more than right-wing cosmopolitanism. These are people who live in cities as strangers to everyone around them. Community is not based on history or tradition, but in a shared ideology. Ben Shapiro made this clear when he said “And by the way, I don’t give a good damn about the so-called “browning of America.” Color doesn’t matter. Ideology does.” This is the essence of cosmopolitanism.

It’s also not conservative. The reason conservatism exists is people naturally attach to their kin, their land and their traditions. This is the bulwark against radicalism, which seeks to replace normal human relations with ideological ones. Most people, as the saying goes, are conservative about what they know best. That means in the English -speaking world, most people are naturally conservative. It is this vast majority of whites that is now alien to the cosmopolitan conservatives.

This is why the first project of an authentic alternative is to claw back the mantle of conservatism from the cosmopolitans. Let them drift back to their kind in the party, to wrangle over false consciousness and the finer points of ideology. The authentic alternative to this is not a slightly different ideology, but the rejection of ideology as the foundation of politics. In order for there to be a genuine alternative politics, the cosmopolitan conservatives must first be driven from the temple.

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The Trip Down The Stairs

In the year prior to a presidential election, Thanksgiving is usually when primary races for party nominations begin to come into focus. Donors have had most of the year to assess the candidates and the voters are starting to pay attention. The first test is a little over two months away, so all of the candidates have their people in the field. The boots on the ground test is one of those unofficial measures that tell us something about the organic and financial support for each candidate.

According the polls, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is the favorite to win the Iowa caucus, currently polling at 25%. Warren and Sanders are tied for second at a little under 20% each, while Biden is at 12%. The Iowa caucus is not a great predictor, but it does tend to winnow the field. That means the four plausible candidates at the moment are the four at the top of the polls. The rest of the field is in low single digits. Mayor Bloomberg does not appear to be running in the state at this point.

New Hampshire has always been the bellwether and the numbers there tell us it is a four human race as well. The latest polls have Warren, Buttigieg, Sanders and Biden clustered together in the teens. Tulsi Gabbard is the only minor candidate showing any support, which bears watching. New Hampshire has a habit of elevating a minor candidate when the leaders appear weak. Gabbard is the chaos option for frustrated voters in the state. Bloomberg could also be an option.

Nevada and South Carolina are where Biden finds the most support. He leads the polls in both states, mostly on the brown vote. Biden’s support for Obama has turned into what appears to be unshakable support from non-whites. It is too early to tell if that is legitimate, but so far, he looks like the only option for blacks. Maybe after weak showings in Iowa and New Hampshire blacks abandon him. Voters tend to cluster around a winner, even if the winner is not their first choice.

What we have thus far is a field of candidates that all look like second and third tier players in a normal election. They are boutique options, appealing to a narrow slice of the party, while not appealing to the broader party. Buttigieg, for example, is popular with boozy wine aunts, but wildly unpopular with blacks. Warren is popular with the power women, but very unpopular with men. Biden, of course, is popular with blacks, but the rest of the party thinks it is time for his nap.

This is why Bloomberg has jumped into the race. He is a nasally weirdo from another planet, but he has enough money to buy the election. Despite being a very odd little guy, he is more normal than the other options. He can also offer the rage heads in the party an option that will fight Trump on his turf. Bloomberg will outspend Trump and he will be every bit as abrasive. The symmetry of two New York billionaires screaming at one another in 2020 could be too much to resist for Democrats.

Of course, what this suggests is the Democrats have no political talent in their ranks, which is why they have a field full of weirdos. It’s also a field of geezers. Warren, Sanders and Biden are in their 70’s. The younger options in the field are devoid of natural political talent and exist only because the donor class has to hire someone to play these roles. The Democrat primary is like a Broadway musical pulling people from the crowd, because they are short of professional performers.

In some respects, the Democrats are experiencing what the Republicans experienced in the 2016 cycle. It was a field full of nondescript nothings. It was why Trump won and why Bloomberg has a chance this time. In the 2016 debates, it looked as if all of the other candidates were in black and white, while Trump was in color. Voters could overlook all of his issues, because he was the only human option. That could be what gets Bloomberg a shot to win, assuming he gets on stage.

The bigger picture suggests the political system is in rapid decline. This generation of politicians has been in power for thirty years. They have done nothing to develop the next generation. In fact, they have prevented the talented from entering the system, in order to avoid the competition. The result is the next generation in the system is even more deranged and bizarre than the boomer generation. If Buttigieg is the future of democratic politics, democracy is on life support.

That’s what we are seeing. The political class is not a reflection of the people. That’s not how democracy works. They are a reflection of the system that recruits and develops the politicians. The reason the quality of candidate is in decline is the system itself is in decline. Both parties are now controlled by narrow interests at odds with the general public and needs of the country. The reason the general election will feature two septuagenarians is the system is running on fumes.

This is what decline is like. People on this side of the great divide like to think the end will be dramatic collapse or tanks in the streets, but that’s unlikely. Instead, it will be fits and starts down the uneven stairs of cultural decline. Trump is one of those steps with a long tread. The next few steps will have high risers and short treads. At some point, elections just stop happening either due to lack of interest or the inability of the political class to stage these made for television dramas.

At some point, a crisis will come and the public will have no confidence in the political class to address it. Some faction within the political class will use that to seize power and take control of the system. A temporary suspension of elections will slowly become permanent, as order is restored. America will no longer have the demographics or cultural will to operate the old system. The next step down is some form of authoritarian rule that manages the decline a bit better than the chaos of democracy.

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Ukrainian Mysteries

One of the puzzles to the impeachment stuff is why certain elements of the ruling class think this is a productive use of their time. The impeachment show put on by the Democrats last week struck most people as boring and weird. It was mostly a parade of people with funny sounding names babbling about inside baseball. There’s also the fact that the guy appointed to be the master of ceremonies gives people the creeps. Adam Schiff looks like frog peeping through the ice. He is a very odd man.

The bigger issue is no one seems to know what the crime is at the heart of this alleged scandal. We live in an age where the President bombs countries, overthrows governments and sends troops onto foreign soil whenever he likes. Demanding information in exchange for cash hardly seems important. The claim by the outrage mob is that it would have been perfectly fine for Trump to bomb Kiev or overthrow the government, but he crossed the line demanding they investigate criminality.

Of course, nothing in politics is as it seems. This impeachment stuff has other aspects to it. One is the outlandish corruption in Washington. The Biden family appears to have been taking massive bribes from Burisma Holdings, the dodgy energy company that operates within Ukraine. What exactly they were expecting to get is not all that clear, but it must have been worth a lot. They were not paying Hunter Biden tens of millions because he offered wise counsel. They expected something big.

Given the nature of the Washington political elite and Biden’s position within it, it is safe to assume a lot of people were getting paid by elements operating in Ukraine. They played some role in the seditious plot to overturn the 2016 election. Some of the fake information used to defraud the court for FISA warrants came from Ukraine via the Steele dossier and Fusion GPS. Of course, Mueller put Paul Manafort in jail allegedly because he had corrupt dealings in Ukraine.

This small unimportant country on the fringe of Europe seems to play an out-sized role in America politics. People forget that during the Obama administration, the foreign policy elite overthrew the elected government of Ukraine. Victoria Nuland was caught red handed working to disrupt the government in 2014. Nuland is one of those permanent party members who is never affected by elections. No matter who is in the White House, she is part of the team running foreign policy.

Of course, no discussion of Ukraine can be complete without mentioning that our greatest ally seems to have an obsession with the place. The Ukraine impeachment show looked like a Chinese restaurant on Christmas day. It was one Jew after another popping up to talk about the ancestral homeland. As Steve Sailer and many others have noted, American Jews have an obsession with their old stomping grounds in the former Russian Empire. Impeachment was shtetl porn for these people.

The Jewish obsession with that part of the world is a fascinating bit of history that never gets much attention. Third and fourth generation Irish Americans have no interest in Ireland. The same is true of Italians, Poles and even Mexicans. These groups have folded into the white American ethnic group. For Jews, the old country still looms large, even after close to a century. Look at the Russian sector of the foreign policy establishment and it is a sea of little hats.

This is probably why Russia is now a magic word in leftist circles. When the party wants to say something bad about someone, they claim the person is a Russian puppet or fond of Putin. Tulsi Gabbard, who has outrageously taken the position the Democrats had during the Bush years, with regards to endless war, is regularly accused of being a Russian agent by various rage heads on cable. For certain people, Russia will forever be the most hated enemy. The Jews really know how to hold a grudge.

That is one major reason for Ukraine being so important to Washington. It is the dream of these people to have Ukraine included in NATO, thus an official part of Europe. It is a symbolic liberation from the Russian Empire. The people from the Pale of Settlement can then claim to be European. It is an important psychological element animating much of the obsession and paranoia over that part of the world. That old need to not dwell alone is the invisible hand guiding all of this.

Of course, there is the possibility that Jews obsess over that part of the world, because that is where they have hidden the Ark of the Covenant. Instead of a government warehouse in the Midwest, it has been stashed away in the Pale of Settlement. The Jewish people have been there for a long time and their origin story is shrouded in mystery, so maybe that’s the big secret. Is that any more absurd or ridiculous than anything else in the bizarre impeachment charade?

In the end, the weirdness of this whole affair is probably why impeachment has not resonated with the public. All of these odd-looking people with foreign names strike most Americans as outsiders. They are not the sorts of characters that have meaning to them, because these are not people they can relate to as fellow citizens. The pudgy Ukrainian colonel looks like a flunky from a Bond movie. Most Americans wonder why we have a Ukrainian general working in the White House.

What impeachment and the various scandals of the ruling class demonstrate is just how foreign the ruling class is today. These are people so divorced from the daily reality of Americans, they may as well live on another planet. They can’t even put on good political theater now. Instead, it is a parade of their buddies from an obscure part of the imperial establishment. They would have been better served offering up spectral evidence that Trump is a witch. That would be more relatable.

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The Wilderness Of Mirrors

A general rule in democratic politics is that nothing anyone says or does should be taken at face value. James Jesus Angleton famously described the espionage game as a wilderness of mirrors, a term he borrowed from T. S. Eliot. The same can be said of democratic politics. Everyone assumes that everyone else is operating from a hidden agenda, so no one plays anything straight. That is something to keep in mind when examining the weird impeachment show the Democrats are staging.

Conventional wisdom says this is an extension of the long running tantrum that began after the 2016 election. The Left, spiraling into revolutionary madness, is demanding vengeance for 2016. Party leaders, fearing a schism in the ranks, went along with what is a ceremonial process. Pelosi has refused to initiate a formal impeachment inquiry, as that would trigger a legal process that could easily get out of control. Instead, she has gone along with what is turning out to be a melodramatic fishing expedition.

Now, Adam Schiff is mentally ill. That’s not an amusing criticism, but an obvious fact based on his bizarre behavior and deranged demeanor. He is not too far from demanding witnesses play leapfrog while entering the hearing room. He’s not the first party member to serve while suffering from mental illness. David Wu, a congressman from Oregon, went around dressed as a tiger. The reason for this circus could simply be that the lunatics have finally taken over the asylum.

If we assume that not everyone has gone insane and that these lunatics were allowed off their leash in order to serve some other purpose, the question is what? It’s clear that they have nothing. If Pelosi allows this to move to a formal impeachment process, then she would be betting that this nothing stands up to what the White House would offer into evidence, which would be very bad for everyone in the political class. The party leaders are not going to roll those dice heading into an election.

All of this, of course, is against the backdrop of the investigation into the seditious plot to overturn the 2016 election. What should have wrapped up a year ago is supposed to be reaching some sort of denouement. Supposedly CIA officials are hiring lawyers and the Inspector General is ready to issue criminal referrals. U.S. Attorney John Durham is making the sorts of inquiries that suggests he is serious. Despite the foot-dragging, it looks like something may finally happen on that front.

This impeachment charade may very well be a part of some political negotiating going on between Democrats and the White House. The IG report has been delayed for months, so it is not unreasonable to think there is backroom dealing going on that is holding up the release. If there are to be indictments, then those who are indicted will surely consider cutting a deal. This impeachment stuff could be a stall to give the party time to cut deals with those who will take a fall and keep quiet.

There’s also the possibility that this impeachment stuff is a stall for time so the party can figure who did what exactly. One of the interesting aspects of the 2016 spying plot is the number of people involved. If it was a small group of conspirators, this would have been swept under the rug a long time ago. The scale is no doubt slowing the official inquiry, so it probably has slowed the unofficial ones as well. Maybe that’s the real point of the impeachment show. The party is still sorting the issue.

On the other hand, many of the people involved in the impeachment charade were involved in the spying plot. The outside lawyers conspiring with Schiff’s committee, were also involved in setting up the fake evidence in the Russian hoax. Some were working in the DOJ during the plot, while others worked on Mueller’s team. Much of the news “reporting” on this is being done by “reporters” who had worked hand and glove with the conspirators during the plot. We’re back to the lunatics running the asylum.

What could be happening here is that the Schiff committee is really trying to get a handle on what the administration knows about the Ukrainian corruption and the seditious plot. These hearings are about getting administration people to secretly tell Schiff what is known about these scandals, maybe talk about what the IG has been doing over the last three years. In other words, it is not about fishing for dirt on Trump, but fishing for what Barr has on the conspirators.

Another angle to that is the Ukraine plays an absurdly large role in American politics for some reason. The scandals of the Obama years always seem to have some roots in the place. Maybe that reason is a bigger, much scarier bit of corruption involving Ukraine that no one wants made public. At this point, the image of Hillary Clinton’s cackling visage should come to mind. Her off-the books e-mail system seems to have a role in all of this. Maybe she sold Ukraine something big.

There is one other facet here to consider. The genesis of this impeachment stuff was the revelation that Joe Biden and probably many other party members, were taking bribes from Ukrainian officials. That probably ended Biden’s campaign as he has been fading ever since. Maybe this Ukrainian stuff was just a way to get that information into the public domain, either by the White House or by party radicals. This is the sort of scheming these people do as a matter of habit.

Of course, you can go the other way with this and maybe the whole point of this was to get the White House to reveal the Biden stuff. If that came from some other source, the party media could not dismiss it as political shenanigans. By raising questions about Trump and Ukraine, the White House had to reveal what they had on Biden and anyone else getting their beak wet in Ukraine. That’s a bit of 4-D chess, but it is a common practice in politics. Accuse the other side of something outrageous in order to make them talk about it or disclose their own schemes about it.

Then there is the planted story about Obama cautioning the party about going too far into crazy land. These stories are written up and handed to sites like The Hill by the party, as a way to communicate to party members. This brings us back to the decision by Pelosi to allow a fake impeachment inquiry to proceed. Given the lack of public interest and the lack of any evidence of wrongdoing, this whole thing may have been a concession to the crazies, a concession that may soon be withdrawn.

Finally, any rumination on this impeachment charade has to acknowledge the lack of interest by the public. The media had their amplifiers turned to eleven. The actors on cable chat shows were given the right lines and the show opened with as much fanfare as possible. Like the new Terminator movie, it has been a flop. People took a peak and then stopped looking when they saw nothing there. Schiff really thought this was going to be a hit, but he may have been the only one.

At this point, the Cloud People are so divorced from our reality they are left to guess as to what interests the Dirt People. What we could be seeing is the fantasy world of the Cloud People in the inner party’s radical ghetto slamming into reality. They are suddenly learning that the rabble does not share their obsession with the orange golem that haunts their dreams. This impeachment show was just a big ceremony by the ruling class that failed to resonate with the general public.

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Failure Analysis: Alt-Right

With the leaked audio of Richard Spencer’s embarrassing tantrum after the Charlottesville riot, the book can finally be closed on the alt-right. If there was anyone still using the term as anything but an epithet, they will no doubt drop it. The first political movement to grow out of internet culture has come and an ignominious end. While it may no longer be a thing, examining what they did right and what they did wrong, especially what they did wrong, can be useful for dissidents.

The primary reason the alt-right failed was that it was never a coherent movement with an intellectual center. It was just a ragtag collection of people with a gripe about something going on in the culture. There were those who recently discovered Kevin McDonald, so they worked that angle. Others had discovered race realism and figured out why libertarianism was a dead end. Then there were the boys who did not like what was happening with feminism. The alt-right was a grievance society.

Reaction to social trends can certainly be the starting point of a cultural or political movement, but it can never be the end point. If the whole point of your politics is to stand in opposition to something, you’re not part of a movement. You are part of an obstacle that will eventually be removed. That is what literally happened to the alt-right, piece by piece, over the last few years. One tribe of the alt-right after another was anathematized and then marginalized by the Left. Now it is gone entirely.

Now, some would argue that the concept of the ethno-state was the vision of the alt-right, but that was another reason it failed. Richard Spencer would have been more successful claiming he was going to lead the alt-right back to the Shire, so they could reunite with their hobbit brothers. Setting your goal as the creation of a what is basically white Wakanda is not serious. As a theoretical construct to use as a critique of multiculturalism it could have been useful, but as a goal it was absurd.

The thing is, racial nationalism is not a new thing. Arab nationalism was a legitimate movement in the middle of the last century. There was a pan-African nationalism that rose up in the later years of colonialism. Both failed in their stated goals, because race is a terrible way to organize people. Loyalty starts with family, then extended family and finally the extended family of ethnicity. Race is a general grouping of people that corresponds to the big geographical groupings. Race is not ethnicity.

This is why American dissidents need to be careful to acknowledge the geographic diversity of occidentals in North America. The old stock Yankee living in New Hampshire may share the same opinions on biology as a Southerner, but they will remain men from different tribes. This diversity among white people in America is why the people in charge have been so successful. They exploit these differences to turn a majority population into a hated minority. That reality must be respected.

That brings up another failure of the alt-right. It never had intellectual heft. Richard Spencer liked to cast himself as a philosopher, but he was always a dilettante, more concerned with media attention, than thinking about politics. He was a lot like Barak Obama, in that his fans would say he was inspirational, but they could never tell you anything he said that was memorable, other than the gaffes. His innumeracy prevented him from making an affirmative argument about biology.

Otherwise, no one filled the intellectual void at the center of the alt-right. Some of the writers for Counter Currents gave it a go, but they were always a bit wary of what was going on with the alt-right. Others would turn up with an essay here or there, but the movement never attracted anyone who was well read and prepared to articulate the main ideas that allegedly animated the alt-right. Instead, it was Spencer rambling on YouTube videos about Faustian man and the ethno-state.

Of course, one reason the movement failed to attract smart people toiling in the intellectual fields of bio-diversity is the movement had a lot of cranks. In fact, the alt-right seemed to be a crank magnet. It was a freak show of e-celebs, who were never all that interested in politics. Guys like Milo and Cerno are good examples. For them, politics is a vehicle to internet stardom. Serious people interested in serious politics will not get involved with a movement that welcomes freaks and weirdos.

That is the one great lesson from the alt-right. No organization can survive incompetence at the top. Whether you are forming a local group to clean up a park or you are organizing for a larger political goal, you have to have high quality people at the center of it. The alt-right made a fetish of not purging people, but that became a doggy door for the worst sorts of people to enter their movement. No matter how cheeky or clever your internet memes, you can’t win counting on losers.

Self-policing, of course, gets a lot easier in real life organizing. On-line, people are free to play any character they like. In real life, people quickly sort the wheat from the chaff, so excluding grifters and lunatics gets easier. Good people tend to boil off the bad people, through the natural social mechanisms. That is the most important lesson of the alt-right. The internet is not real. It cannot replace real life organizing. If there is going to be a resistance to what is happening, it must happen in the real world.

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 at Starbucks. Thank you for your support!