Liar’s Poker

The case of General Flynn, which has dragged on for years now, may finally be reaching a denouement. He was charged with and pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI during the Russian collusion hoax. For reasons that have not been clear, he was never sentenced. Now it appears he may never see jail and will instead see his case dropped and his guilty plea vacated. New evidence shows he was framed by members of the FBI and Department of Justice.

As is standard procedure in this age, state media has been silent on the matter, but alternative media sources are reporting on the release of classified documents hidden by the government from Flynn’s defense team in violation of the law. Thousands of documents held by his former defense team and hidden from Flynn and his new attorney’s until now have also been released in what appears to be a damage control operation by the law firm Covington & Burling.

What these new FBI documents reveal is the FBI and Department of Justice carefully planned to entrap General Flynn by tricking him into making inaccurate statements about his activities during the campaign. They did this because they wanted to remove him from his post in the White House and hoped he could be manipulated into making accusations against other administrative officials. Then they systematically lied about what Flynn said to them in his interview with the FBI.

Compounding this is the fact that the FBI and Departmental of Justice systematically withheld all documents that could be used by Flynn in his defense. One way they did this was to hide them in the special counsel operation. This prevented anyone, not just Flynn’s defense team, from discovering the plot. The sudden release of long withheld documents by Covington & Burling suggest they may have been part of the plot to entrap Flynn and get him to plead guilty to a crime.

At this stage, only a partisan fanatic thinks the principals in this whole Russian collusion caper were operating in good faith. You could make the argument that their behavior was unethical, but not necessarily illegal. Even if their actions violated the law, you could argue they did so in the belief they were within the bounds of the law. With these new revelations, it is clear they knew they were breaking the law in an effort to frame General Flynn as part of a much larger conspiracy.

One thing that is now confirmed with these new revelations is that the Special Counsel was always just part of a larger effort to cover-up this conspiracy. In fact, that was the whole point of it. The FBI and DOJ officials involved in the conspiracy would hide all of the evidence inside the counsel’s operation. This would make it impossible for the defense lawyers to access and very difficult for Congress to access. It would also prevent the administration from looking into it.

Another outrageous aspect to this case is that it appears that Flynn’s original defense team, Covington & Burling, may have been in on the plot to frame him. It’s not all that clear at this point, but the best that can be said of their actions on behalf of their client is they are the worst law firm in the country. They exist because they have resources and know how things work in Washington. Despite this, they made the sorts of errors TV writers would find too ridiculous for a legal drama.

There’s also the fact that this sort of behavior by the FBI and DOJ is business as usual, which underscores the corruption. This is not a couple of renegades. This is just how things are done by the government. They frame people for crimes then work to prevent them from getting a proper defense. The FBI has a long history of framing the innocent, but it was always confined to the field offices. Now it is clear that the institution is rotten from the head to the tail. It is hopelessly corrupt.

It is also increasingly clear that the weaselly Rod Rosenstein was the man tasked with orchestrating the cover-up after the election. He manipulated Sessions and Trump into firing Comey and then agreeing to the Mueller charade. The only purpose to that operation was to cover up the illegal spying. Then there is Comey, who claimed under oath to be the guy who ordered the Flynn investigation. He may have arrogantly admitted to initiating multiple Federal crimes.

Of course, the big question in all of this is whether Washington is so hopelessly corrupt that none of this amounts to anything. In banana republics, the judge in the case would be assassinated or intimidated into ignoring the facts and sentencing Flynn to jail. We may not be there yet, but the lack of any substantive investigation into the FBI corruption suggests no one will be charged with anything. The principals in this scandal are now in high six figure positions in Washington, living the good life.

Now, it is possible that Bill Barr was not prepared for the scale of corruption that has been revealed in this case. He may have truly thought it was a few bad apples that went off on their own. Once the scale of the corruption was known, he had to change course and bring in outside help. It’s just as possible that he is part of the problem. He is friends will most of these people. His role in this could simply be part of the how Washington is neutralizing Trump and preparing him for expulsion.

There is one puzzle that gets no attention. Why would the government keep delaying Flynn’s sentencing after he agreed to the deal? They said he was cooperating, but he had nothing to offer them and they knew it. Perhaps he was just a prop to maintain the greater narrative of the Russian hoax. By dragging out his process they could feed fake news to state media, claiming it was from Flynn. That’s seems to be a too cute by half, given the reality in Washington, but it is possible.

Ineptitude is always a possibility. There’s also the fact that highly corrupt institutions tend to have lots of internal intrigue and conflict. The old line about thieves sticking together is a myth. The corrupt man has no honor. As a result, the last stage for the corrupt institution is when the people inside beginning to scheme against one another to the point where they undermined their mutual efforts. Maybe that’s where things are in Washington now. It’s just one big game of liar’s poker.

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The Narcotic Of Outrage

The legacy right-wing media is working hard to breathe life into the story about Joe Biden sexually harassing a women decades ago. Tara Reade has been turning up on conservative chat shows to tell her story. Evidence to support her claims has been circulating around the internet. One can’t help but be impressed by the effort to locate old television show clips and old acquaintances familiar with the event. That, of course, raises suspicions about who is behind this effort.

As usual, the so-called conservatives are flabbergasted to learn that the media is working hard to ignore the story. The same people who were hyperventilating about the goofy old women accusing Bret Kavanaugh are now too busy fabricating stories about hero nurses to bother with politics. Here’s a piece by Reason Magazine wondering why the media is ignoring the story. Here’s a post by National Review about the media’s double standard. They are shocked by the hypocrisy.

Most people on this side of the great divide no longer pay attention to this stuff, as it is like watching an old movie that you liked at the time, but you now realize was not very good after all. The Legacy Right has not aged well. In fact, a lot of people struggle to admit that there was a time when they were really into this stuff. The truth is though, almost everyone on this side of the great divide used to be really into these tales of left-wing hypocrisy. It mattered for some reason.

That’s the thing though. Why is anyone still fascinated with this angle of attack at this point in time? If you are under the age of 90, the so-called double standard has been a feature of politics your entire life. The complaining about it has been a staple of your politics until you made the journey over the great divide. The complaints never change and they never have the desired impact. It turns out that the people in charge are not swayed by appeals to their virtue or appeals to their sense of fairness.

It is one thing to play the long game. It is quite another to keep performing the same rituals over and over expecting some miracle, only to see nothing change. Even the truest of true believers starts to doubt after a while. Yet, the Official Right never seems to waver on this stuff. When Brett Kavanaugh was being assaulted, they did the same things they did when Clarence Thomas was assaulted. In fact, they were giddy. It was like they were working from a script.

It’s not an age thing either. It would be understandable if the people performing these rituals were old guys who spent their life doing this dance. The Reason writer is in his 20’s according to his bio. The National Review writer looks like he may still be in high school, but is probably fresh out of Hillsdale or Yale. If you are over 50, you have seen three generations work from the same script with the same results. A cynical person would suspect that this is not entirely an accident.

There’s no doubt that the people paid to stand around yelling at trains perform these rituals because they are told to do so. The people funding the Official Right are the same people funding the Official Left. This level of politics is intended to be theater to sustain the illusion of choice. You, the active citizen, are supposed to pick a team, put on their jersey and yell at your television every night. The political-entertainment complex has its formulas just like television and movies.

The puzzle though is why so many people fall for it. You can be sure that the people who read Breitbart will be fully enraged by the hypocrisy. The comment section there will be full of ritualized grunts and groans to signal unhappiness over how this poor woman was treated by old hairy legs Biden. They will be in ecstasy when Trump retweets a story about this or maybe likes a Tara Reade tweet. The campaign probably has that event on the calendar for this summer.

It may seem pointless to wonder about this, but any effort to alter the political dynamic must first start with breaking this conditioning. Simply pointing out to these true believers that their outrage is wasted does not work. If you went into the comment section of Breitbart and pointed this out, you would get shouted down as some sort of commie liberal. The same is true with social media. Confront these people on Twitter and they will just block you. They are programmed that way.

For a very large swath of right-wing people, even many on this side of the great divide, valiantly losing is a powerful narcotic. That’s at the core of the “let it burn” chorus regarding the coming economic depression. There’s some deep-seated belief that only through utter destruction can the sins of the modern age be washed for the collective soul of the people. It’s the other side of following the hypocrisy script. Instead of shared outrage, it is shared despondency.

That probably is the real narcotic of these quixotic battles we keep seeing. They provide a sense of security and community in a world where being “right-wing” means being an isolated individual in perpetual competition with his fellow citizens. The alternative to the Left has always been the lonely isolation of individualism, with the exception of these outrage rituals. Like solitary woodsmen coming into the village for a festival, it is a time to reestablish their humanity.

This is the trick of alternative politics. It’s not about grand plans or sophisticated meta-political discussions. It is about offering an alternative community. Libertarians, despite the ridiculousness of their cause, hang together because membership in the community provides a sense of belonging and bestows upon them a sense of dignity. That sideline they imagine to be the high ground is not a lonely place. Imagine a similar movement built around something based in observable reality.

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The Loss Of Dignity

If you step back and think about it, the normal man can probably list a dozen things he cannot say in public that he grew up hearing on television, usually as jokes. Then the jokes were no longer welcome in polite company and soon they were deemed “not funny” by the sorts of people who worry about such things. The same was true of simple observations about the world. Somehow noticing the obvious became impolite, then it became taboo and finally prohibited.

The reverse is true as well. Middle-aged men can probably think of a dozen things that were unimaginable or unheard of, which are now fully normal. Of course, normal is one of those things that is now prohibited. It implies that something can be abnormal or weird and that itself is forbidden. The proliferation of novel identities and activities that demand to be treated with dignity and respect is a function of the old restraints having been eliminated. When everything is possible you get everything.

The strange thing about all of this is there is seemingly no point to it. The proliferation of new taboos was not in response to some harm being done. In most cases, the taboos are about observable reality. The people turning up in the public square with novel identities or activities demanding respect did not exist very long ago. If they did, not one was curious enough to look into it. The public was happy to ignore people into unusual activities, as long as they kept it to themselves.

Of course, none of what we generally call political correctness is intended to be uplifting or inspirational. The commissars of public morality like to pretend it is inspiring, but that’s just a way to entertain themselves. These new identity groups are not demanding the rest of us seek some higher plane of existence or challenge our limitations. In fact, it is always in the opposite directions. It’s a demand to lower standards and give up on our quaint notions of self-respect and human dignity.

In the Demon In Democracy, Polish academic Ryszard Legutko observed that liberal democracy had abandoned the concept of dignity. This is the obligation to behave in a certain way, as determined by your position in society. Dignity was earned by acting in accordance with the high standards of the community. In turn, this behavior was rewarded with greater privilege and responsibility. Failure to live up to one’s duties would result in the loss of dignity, along with the status it conferred.

Instead, modern liberal democracy awards dignity by default. We are supposed to respect all choices and all behaviors as being equal. There are no standards against which to measure human behavior, other than the standard of absolute, unconditional acceptance. As a result, the most inventively degenerate and base activities spring from the culture, almost like a test of the community’s tolerance. Instead of looking up to the heavens for inspiration, liberal democracies look down in the gutter.

Dignity comes from maintaining one’s obligations to his position in the social order, but that requires a fidelity to a social order. It also requires a connection to the rest of the people in the society. In a world of deracinated individuals focused solely on getting as much as they can in order to maximize pleasure, a sense of commitment to the community is not possible. Democracy assumes we are all equal, therefore we have no duty to one another as duty requires a hierarchical relationship.

In the absence of a vertical set of reciprocal relationships, we get this weird lattice work of horizontal relationships, elevating the profane and vulgar, while pulling down the noble and honorable. The public culture is about minimizing and degrading those who participate in the public culture. In turn, the public culture attracts only those who cannot be shamed or embarrassed. The great joy of public culture is to see those who aspire to more get torn down as the crowd roars at their demise.

The puzzle is why this is a feature of liberal democracy. Ryszard Legutko places the blame on Protestantism. Their emphasis on original sin and man’s natural limitations minimized man’s role in the world. This focus on man’s wretchedness was useful in channeling our urge to labor and create into useful activities, thus generating great prosperity, but it left us with a minimalist view of human accomplishment. We are not worthy to aspire to anything more than the base and degraded.

It is certainly true that the restraints of Christianity limited the sorts of behavior that are common today, but he may be putting the cart before the horse. The emergence of Protestantism in northern Europe was as much a result of the people and their nature as anything else. Put more simply, the Protestant work ethic existed before there was such a thing as a Protestant. The desire to work and delay gratification evolved over many generations out of environmental necessity.

Still, culture is an important part of man’s environment and environmental factors shape our evolution. It is not unreasonable to say that the evolution of Protestant ethics magnified and structured naturally occurring instincts among the people. With the collapse of Christianity as a social force in the West, the natural defense to degeneracy and vulgarity has collapsed with it. As a result, great plenty is the fuel for a small cohort of deviants to overrun the culture of liberal democracies.

Even so, there does seem to be something else. Liberal democracy has not produced great art or great architecture. The Greeks and Romans left us great things that still inspire the imagination of the man who happens to gaze upon them. The castles and cathedrals of the medieval period still awe us. The great flourishing of liberal democracy in the 20th century gave us Brutalism and dribbles of pain on canvas. The new century promises us primitives exposing themselves on the internet.

There is something about the liberal democratic order that seeks to strip us of our dignity and self-respect. Look at what happened in the former Eastern Bloc countries after communism. Exposed to the narcotic of liberalism they immediately acquired the same cultural patterns. Fertility collapsed. Religion collapsed. Marriage and family formation collapsed. These suddenly free societies got the Western disease as soon as they were exposed to western liberal democracy.

The reaction we see today is not due to these societies being behind the times, but due to seeing the ugly face of liberal democracy. It is much like the reaction to the proliferation of recreational drugs in the 1970’s. At first, it seemed harmless, but then people realized the horror of unrestrained self-indulgence. That’s what we see in the former Eastern Bloc. Their leaders still retain some of the old sense of things and are trying to save their people from the dungeon of modernity.

That still leaves us with the unanswered question. What is it about liberal democracy that seems to lead to this loss of dignity? It is possible that such a fabulously efficient system for producing wealth is a tool mankind is not yet equipped to handle without killing ourselves. Maybe we are just not built for anything but scarcity. Want gives us purpose and without it, we lose our reason to exist. Either way, without dignity, we cannot defend ourselves and the results are inevitable.

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Human Progress

One of the most remarkable and perhaps most relevant aspects of communism is how it regressed from an idealistic and inspirational world view to nothing more than a deeply flawed engineering project. Communism started out as a set of beliefs about liberating mankind to reach its full potential. It was not about material goods or political power, but human accomplishment. By the time the Soviet empire collapsed at the end of the 20th century, it was about making enough toilet paper and boots.

The early communists, including Marx, looked at work and the pursuit of material goods as a burden on mankind. Capitalism turned men into slaves to their own desires for wealth and property. This crude desire for material goods made them easy to exploit by the capital class. The point of overthrowing the capitalist system and replacing it with communism was to free man from that burden. The resulting material prosperity of communism would allow mankind to reach its full creative potential.

The Soviet empire that emerged from the Second World War was noticeably short on talk about mankind reaching its full potential. The practical necessity of feeding, housing and clothing its people consumed the regime. The great dream of a post-scarcity world of mankind united in brotherhood had given way to figuring out how to produce enough necessities to prevent rebellion. The last half of the 20th century was communism trying to keep pace with capitalism in the production of consumer goods.

In contrast, what we call western liberalism or liberal democracy started from the opposite end. Dating and locating the origin of what we call liberalism is a topic for endless debate, but it is reasonable to say it is an English thing. The rise of parliament in England as the counter to aristocratic rule followed by the Industrial Revolution is as good an origin story as any for liberal democracy. Its purpose was to increase individual liberty so men could pursue their own material interests.

Similarly, the American revolution was about government control of economic activity and tax policy. There was plenty of grandiose language in the Declaration of Independence about the human condition, but the founding generation had no dreams of a post-scarcity world or the universal brotherhood of man. The end game for liberalism was to leave people to live their lives in peace. Liberalism was about freeing men from their duties to grandiose schemes of other men.

The Jacobins, of course, had grand notions about the universal rights of man, but that was all about the individual. Sure, a political system that respects the natural rights of man would be fairer and more equal than monarchy, but that does not necessarily lead to some great advancement in the human condition. A free society of equals would be free to just live mundane lives as farmers and merchants. More important, they have no duty to advance mankind past his present condition.

That’s the funny thing about the last half of the 20th century. The progress of the two great competing ideological systems was in the opposite direction. The idealistic communists gave up their big dreams and focused on the basics of providing material goods for their societies. The practical minded liberals slowly abandoned the simple goals of individual liberty and started to dream of spreading democracy to every corner of the globe. Liberalism emerged as the great dram of mankind.

At the end of the Cold War, it was largely understood that central planning and communism were unworkable as economic policies. Only a fool would compare the material results of communism to capitalism and think the former had any hope of competing with the latter. As Fukuyama explained, the West has reached the end point of its intellectual development. Liberal democracy had triumphed over all competing ideologies and was now the only moral option.

You can probably write a very long book on how liberalism evolved, developed and matured in its struggles from the Magna Carta to the end of the Cold War. Maybe the starting date would be the English Civil War. It first triumphed over aristocracy, then fascism and finally communism. In the end it matured from a simple desire to set men free to pursue their own interests and individual potential into a fully developed dream of setting mankind free from his natural condition.

That would be a great book if it were written in the first years after the Cold War, but the decades since have revealed something else about liberal democracy. That is those grand dreams are nothing more than decorations. Having reached the post-scarcity world dreamed of by the communists, western liberals look around and see that there is nothing to inspire them. There is no moving past the human condition into some next phase of man. There’s just work and consumption.

The last few decades can best be described as a thrashing about by the American ruling class and to a lesser degree the minor ruling classes of Europe, looking for a reason to exist. Having conquered nature and want, defeated all ideological challengers, liberal democracy looks around asking what was the point? If the end of the long cycle of history was simply work and consumption, why did mankind make the journey and struggle to get to this point in its development?

Of course, it must be noted that the high point of communism was citizens lining up at stores only to find the shelves mostly bare. It was order being imposed by neighbors spying on neighbors. The great triumph of liberal democracy is now people lined up outside stores that are increasingly short of product. Like the communists, the liberals now rely in neighbors to spy on neighbors and the fearful to bully the skeptical. There’s no getting around the fact that America is no longer a free society.

Maybe in the end this is the fate of all ideology. The communists started with lofty goals and dreams of transcending the human condition. They descended to the greatly reduced goal of making enough stuff to survive. Liberal democracy starting with the practical goal of individual liberty, got the ideology bug and began to dream of a world beyond the human condition. It too is now collapsing into less lofty goals, like maintaining the basics of civil society and material existence.

Perhaps the great lesson of the long intellectual development known as the Enlightenment will be that the danger to humanity is the ideologue. Genuine human progress is the systematic removal of those who dream of something beyond the human condition. True enlightenment is the embrace of man’s humanity and his innate desire to work, enjoy the fruits of his labor and spend his short existence with friends and family. Human progress is simply the embrace of humanity.

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The Plague Of Heroes

Given the facts emerging about the Chinese flu virus, the panic should be subsiding, but too many people are too invested in the panic, for personal and political reasons, to let this thing go away quietly. Instead we have a new round of drama as the heroic politicians listen to the heroic TikTok workers about when they can safely stop tormenting people over what is looking like a real life example of this famous quote. If it ever was, it is no longer about public safety. Instead it is about the drama queens.

Here in Lagos, the local dictator has issued an edict requiring everyone to wear their underwear over their heads if they go outside. That’s a slight exaggeration, but not that much of one. The requirement to wear masks, something unavailable for months, means people are wearing all sorts of outlandish get-ups. More than a few times I have seen women with what looks like feminine napkins on their face. There have undoubtedly been men wearing briefs on their heads just to go outside.

At this stage, demanding that people wear masks is nothing more than a punitive measure to humiliate the public. That move may have made some sense two months ago, but at this point there is no health reason for it. Instead, the politicians and TikTok heroes have got to justify what is turning out to be something closer to the infamous War of the Worlds panic than a legitimate public emergency. To admit reality at this point risks bruising their tender psyches, so we suffer on.

The plague of heroes is just not limited to crooked politicians and portly women in hospital scrubs. Corporate America has decided to remind us that they are not there to make money selling product. That’s crazy talk. No, they are here as a good steward of the community, because they care. They really care. You see, we’re in this together and in this time of crisis, nothing is more inspiring than videos of corporate commissars looking concerned while wearing masks and standing six feet apart.

At the retail end, it appears there is a race to see which company can come up with the most ridiculous ways to torment their customers. At the market I normally solicit, they now require people to line up outside, like the Soviets were fond of doing. That means an hour wait to enter the store, not because it is busy, but because only if we are united can we beat the virus. That’s on a sign outside the store. There’s a good bet the senior management is not heroically standing in any such lines.

I can’t help but think that is part of what’s happening. By turning the nation into a weird form of North Korea. the new class gets new perks. Instead of standing in long lines dressed like idiots, they will soon have private shops where they can shop like normal people in a normal society. The next phase of liberal democracy is concierge shopping to go along with concierge health care. You see, who we are is a nation of equals with one set of rules for the Cloud People and another for the Dirt People.

The hero nonsense does not stop with the boot to the masked face. Just as happened in communist societies, fanatics are now rising up among us to hector the rest of us about our adherence to the new rules. This plague first started on-line with the “Cucks and Karens”, as one commenter called them, tone policing anyone questioning the mass idiocy we see all around us. Now they have spilled into the real world, furiously looking to heroically tell people to keep their distance.

Since I will not stand in the idiot line for the market I usually solicit, I went to another market that is not as heroic. They have a fat broad making sure everyone entering is dressed like a train robber. The greeter has not become the enforcer, but you don’t have to stand outside like a moron. This store serves the working and middle-class, while the really heroic store serves managerial types. There is a strong correlation between class and the willingness to suspend the sense of disbelief.

Inside the store they have arrows on the floor, meaning you have to walk up and down every aisle in a specific order. Apparently, heroism now means having to examine every product on every shelf before you leave the store. This is actually dumber than the Soviet-style lines to enter the store. No one is going to traverse the whole store because they forget to get something in aisle one. As a result, people are violating the edicts and going about their business like sane people used to do.

I was one of those sane people, going against an arrow to get something when a Cuck and Karen in their TikTok costumes said something to me about the arrows. The Cuck did the “Sir! Sir!” bit, but I just ignored him. After I got what I wanted, I turned around and he was saying something, but I could not hear it because my hearing is not good and he was talking through his sissy rag. I was ready to ignore him, but then he did the same “Sir! Sir!” bit to an old guy who was violating arrow policy.

Having reached the age where I no longer bite my tongue in public, I said to the guy, “It is bad enough we have to put up with nonsense, we don’t need idiots like you pretending to be the police of us.” He then heroically said something about it “being about all of us” and I reminded him that the most likely way for him to end up in the hospital was to keep talking. The old guy, heroically chimed in with a vigorous “Fuck you, asshole” and a middle-finger at Cuck and Karen.

The Boomers get a lot of grief from certain people and some of it is surely justified, but the only rebels I see in my travels these days are old-timers. This was not the first time I’ve seen an old person tell one of these prissy heroes to do an unnatural act when confronted about a mask or other dumb stuff. All the butch young guys are sheltering in place, heroically self-isolating while whining about the Boomers. The growing protests we see are almost all old people. Zoomers ain’t our heroes.

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!

Wither The Bernie Bros

Lost in all the excitement of the government crackdown this past six weeks has been the fact that the Inner Party crushed the Bernie Bros. The party did not just outmaneuver them like they did in 2016, but they humiliated them. Their champion was forced to endorse the first Alzheimer American to run for president, while hiding in one of his mansions during the crackdown. The party made clear that they will not tolerate any more nonsense from the Bernie Bros going forward.

It was an impressive performance by the Inner Party. Once they decided it was time to end the Sanders nonsense, they wheeled around after the South Carolina primary and eliminated everyone but Alzheimer Joe, forcing each candidate to endorse Biden in a well-choreographed media blitz. They also had the media ready to promote each event through all of the official channels. Compared to the fumbling and bumbling of the Outer Party performance in 2016, it was a masterful show.

From the establishment perspective, the matter is resolved. Much as the Outer Party believed they had eliminated Buchananism forever in 1996, only to see themselves eaten alive by the cancer of Bushism, the Inner Party is sure they have put their crazies back in their boxes for good. They will tolerate brown bomb throwers like Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, because they are useful decorations. In the new, hip Inner Party, Maxine waters is replaced with wacky New Arrivals.

That said, what Sanders revealed in his two presidential runs is there is a substantial portion of the Democrat coalition that is uninterested in neo-liberalism. Like many people flying the White Nationalist banner, these people don’t like modernity very much, but have no way to look past it for an alternative moral framework. Instead, they look backward to a long gone past for an alternative. For them, it is industrial age socialism. They dream of being serenaded by folk singers as the rally against capitalism.

Unlike the people drawn to the former alt-right, the Bernie Bro world is much more colorful and culturally diverse. The alt-right was almost exclusively suburban, middle-class white boys. The Bernie Bros are disaffected young working-class whites, left-wing Jews and educated New Arrivals. The New Arrivals have benefited greatly from the current system, but are frustrated that they are slated to be nothing more than decorations for the Inner Party, so they are looking elsewhere.

The Inner Party is betting the New Arrivals will choose to stick with the plan, as being relegated to the outer darkness of political obscurity does not pay as well. People like Rashida Tlaib and Ocasio-Cortez are not giving up the endless attention to lock arms with the dumpy and depressed children of old white working-class America. Instead, they will be the party spear throwers. The Inner Party will feed them new ideas to champion and they will sell them on party media platforms.

The radical Jews in the Bernie Bro movement are small in number and easily dealt with, as they are a permanent feature of the American Left. That leaves the white working-class element. Like the hard-core greens, who followed Nader out of the party, but sort of drifted back in, these voters seem less willing to fall in line with the Inner Party mandates. Many voted third party in 2016 or voted for Trump. This time most of these voters will simply abandon the election entirely

Now, the numbers for this cohort are not easy to figure, as there is not much in the way of polling to determine the size and characteristics of these voters. Since the Inner Party just wants them to die, the polling outfits and media are not allowed to look too closely at their issues. We’re left to guess by using what we see on social media and from the primaries in 2016 and 2020. Against Clinton, Sanders got 16 million votes. In 2020, he got half that in a truncated crowded race.

That means the size of the cohort is between those two numbers, but once you strip away the New Arrivals and adjust for other factors, the real range is between 5-10 million people or about 3-6% of the total vote. In other words, it is not an insignificant portion of the voting pool. It’s why Trump continually makes overtures to those voters whenever he talks politics or economics. It’s also why the Inner Party is now anathematizing the Bernie Bro media personalities.

That’s probably the best way for the Inner Party to handle these people. If they marginalize their leaders and media personalities, they have no rallying point, so they cannot organize themselves. All of those “dirt bag left” YouTube characters better get familiar with D-Live and other fringe social media platforms. They also better get ready to be treated like lepers at the Democrat convention. They will be purged from all sanctioned platforms. The valley of the damned will be getting crowded.

Now, it must be mentioned that the kookier elements of the now defunct alt-right think they can build a red-brown alliance with the Bernie Bros. Counter-Currents did a long post on the ridiculousness of these ideas. The “wignats” as the author calls the remains of the alt-right movement, are delusional. Too much of what defines the Bernie Bros is an opposition to crackpots embracing fascism. The grand Red-Brown entente is as likely as a Muslim – Zionist grand bargain to rule the West.

One amusing aspect of the Brown overtures to the Red side is the Browns are using the language of Marxism to do it. They try to explain to the Red that they are suffering from a false consciousness and need to examine who really controls their lives. It’s not a lot different than Breitbart types trying to own the libs by showing how much more anti-racist they are than the Democrats. Instead of “Dems Are The Real Racists” it is “White Nationalists Are The Real Socialists.”

In the end, the most likely result for the Bernie Bros is the same that we have seen with the patriotic white working class. Unable to move in any direction without compromising something vital to their identity, this group has just faded from the scene. Trump brought them out of the shadows to some degree in the 2016 general election and may do so again in 2020, but after that they will disappear from the electoral map. The Bernie Bros will follow the same path into obscurity.

The reason for this is that political movements based only in grievances are short-lived and ones based in incoherent grievances are even shorter lived. That is the common thread to the proposed Red-Brown alliance. Both sides answer to “what are you rebelling against?” is “what have you got?” They don’t know why they are unhappy and they don’t know what they want if not the present, so they rummage in the past for the trappings of meaning, fraternity and purpose.

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!

The Lock Down Blues

Since the pandemic crackdown started, the question was when would people start to realize that this was a huge blunder. In the first weeks, people were both scared and excited about what they were being told was coming. On the one hand you had the rush for supplies in order to camp at home for weeks. On the other hand, you had the excitement for an unplanned holiday at home. A month ago, most everyone was ready for a couple of weeks of curve bending and movie watching at home.

We are at the other end of this thing now. People have done all of the fun stuff they can do at home. It’s just tedium now. For many the fear of not having an income is beginning to take center stage. Small business is getting to the point where many will have to close up shop for good. Fear of the virus has now subsided for all but the most hysterical and fear of ruination is now beginning to fill the void. People are getting antsy and want to go back to their lives now. This is not fun anymore.

The streets are starting to get more crowded now. A week ago, you could ride around Lagos and not see a soul walking or driving. The weather has improved, so many more people are outside. More cars are on the streets. Most business is now thinking hard about going back to near-normal in the near-term. They don’t want to be too far ahead of the government’s crackdown orders, for fear of lawsuits, but they are pushing to end the madness and return to something close to normal.

That’s the thing that no one has considered. There will be real economic hardship this summer due to the crackdown. People will also be sharing their crackdown stories with friends and co-workers over the coming months. People will certainly notice that they don’t know anyone who knows anyone that got the virus. As these antibody tests confirm that the fatality rate was much lower than advertised, people will begin to wonder if this was worth the consequences.

Adolf Hitler said, “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” We are seeing a real-time test of that aphorism. For a while now, our rulers have fooled most everyone with the virus panic. Some people, like the curve-benders, will remain convinced the virus panic was necessary. They have no choice now. The question is will the bulk of the public conclude they were fooled into the Great Flu Panic?

This is where the aphorism breaks down. People seem to be quite happy being fooled on a regular basis. The rulers and the media have to mix things up, but being fooled into believing in some great threat to “who we are” is a feature, not a bug. Then again, prior hoaxes and panics have been cost free. People could enjoy them from the comfort of home and still go outside and keep their job. This time, there will be a real cost to this elaborate morality tale. Maybe this time is different.

Either way, we are about to move into a new phase of this madness. What will be the short- and long-term consequences of the crackdown? The stock market seems to think the V-shaped recession is the way to bet. The political class is hoping for devastation, as they think they will rid them of Trump. Economist can’t seem to agree on what comes next, as this has never been tried. There’s lots of red lights flashing in the debt markets and the supply chain. The next months will be interesting.

Maybe that will be how everyone forgets about this month of living like lepers and treating everyone like they stink. Before people can start to think about why they were locked in their homes, they will be directed to the next drama, the financial and economic panic of 2020. Perhaps the lesson here is the circus part of our bread and circuses is the government creating increasingly reckless panics seeing if they can blow it all up. Maybe this is all for their entertainment.

This week I have the usual variety of items in the now standard format. Spreaker has the full show. I am up on Google Play now, so the Android commies can take me along when out disrespecting the country. I am on iTunes, which means the Apple Nazis can listen to me on their Hitler phones. The anarchists can catch me on iHeart Radio. I am now on Deezer, for our European haters and Stitcher for the weirdos. YouTube also has the full podcast. Of course, there is a download link below.

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!

This Week’s Show


  • 00:00: Opening
  • 02:00: The Rich Get Richer (Link) (Link)
  • 12:00: The Debt Bomb (Link) (Link)
  • 22:00: The Food Chain (Link) (Link) (Link)
  • 32:00: We Don’t Know Nothin’ (Link) (Link) (Link) (Link) (Link)
  • 42:00: Rule By Corporate Pirate (Link)
  • 47:00: Paranoid Weirdos (Link)
  • 52:00: A Post From The Others (Link)
  • 57:00: Closing (Link)

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The Spirit Of The Age

There are two general ways in which people follow the law. One group is careful to stay within the letter of the law. If there is any question about their compliance, they have well thought-out arguments about the precise meaning of each word and phrase within the law in question. The other group is concerned with the spirit of the law. They understand that language is not always precise, so they think about what the lawmakers intended when they crafted the specific law in question.

Both approaches, as is true of every human activity, are prone to corruption. The letter-of-the-law side will play fast and loose with the definition of words, often feigning ignorance about the meaning of common words. The famous sociopaths Bill and Hillary Clinton have always been fond of this. Bill famously challenged the meaning the word “is” in one of his depositions. This is probably the most extreme example of tactical nihilism ever committed. The Clintons were trail blazers.

Corrupting the spirit of the law is a tougher process. It requires the corrupt to recast history in order to mischaracterize the intentions of the lawmakers. The usual form this takes is another type of tactical nihilism, in which the corrupt claim the people who wrote the law never intended its current use. The gun grabbers like to play this trick when talking about what the Framers meant when the put the right to bear arms in the Bill of Rights. They simply lie about what can be easily confirmed.

Because restating the past is difficult, the corrupt tend to congregate in the letter-of-the-law end of the pool. We see that with the seditious conspiracy to overturn the 2016 presidential election. The people involved were wholly invested in finding loopholes and exceptions in the letter of the law. During the virus panic, some information has been declassified, showing how these guys parsed the law. Supposedly there is an investigation into all of this, but that is probably a myth.

The dynamic at work leading to this conspiracy was something like this. Someone high up in the Obama administration decided to use the surveillance agencies for domestic spying, which is in direct violation of the law. There’s a mountain of testimony from lawmakers, who crafted the laws creating these powers, that they were to never be used to spy on Americans. Even today, grammar school children are told that only despots spy on political opponents, so the intent of these laws is clear.

That’s why the Department of Justice, the FBI and the CIA have ignored the spirit of the laws and instead focus in the letter of the law. Like Bill Clinton warming up for a deposition, they pored over every word of the regulations in order to craft fraudulent warrants and court filings. They did so in a way that could allow them to muddy the waters if they got caught, by claiming simple errors of fact were just honest mistakes, not an effort to mislead the court and get around the law.

This is the nature of the subversive. The reason he focuses on the letter of the law is because he is at war with the spirit of the law. His first step in killing the law and what it represents is to strangle its spirit by denying it exists. First, he denies it in his mind then he denies in his actions. You see that with the FBI agents involved in the Spygate conspiracy. They hated that they could not spy on Americans, so they first denied they should not be doing it then found a way to do it.

This is not a unique to the FBI. It is just one of the many corrupt institutions in present day America. You see this hatred for the spirit of the law in the Senate’s conduct during the FBI scandal. They surely know the laws in question were never intended to be used as political weapons, but they don’t care about intent. From their perspective, the law is for the commoners they try hard to avoid. You’ll note that Richard Burr sits on that committee, the guy fond of trading on his insider information.

In The Spirit of the Law, Montesquieu observed that every form of government has a principle that motivates the citizenry. In despotic societies, it is fear of the ruler that inspires the people. In aristocratic societies it is the love of honor or the desire to attain greater rank and privilege that inspires the people. In republican societies, it is virtue that inspires the people. By virtue, he meant the willingness to put the interests of the community ahead of private interests. To sacrifice for the greater good.

Montesquieu can be forgiven for not anticipating the development of what we now call liberal democracy. Even the most radical mind of his age would have scoffed at the idea of giving women and criminals the franchise. They would have doubled over in fits of hysterical laughter at the assertion that all people are equal. They surely would have assumed you were mad if you suggested there were more than two sexes. Not so long ago, what we take for granted was beyond the realm of imagination.

Still, it is worth considering what it is that motivates the citizen in the liberal democracy, as it is certainly not virtue or honor. We see that with our public officials. They may seek rank and privilege, but only through the most craven and dishonorable means available to them. They are happy to sacrifice your interests for their greater good. In fact, the only time they work together is when it is time to siphon off more of your greater good in order to top off their tanks of greater good.

That leaves us with fear as the great motivator, but not fear of the despot. Instead, it is a fear of the law itself. Every new law brings new opportunities for the liberal democratic ruling elite to torment the public. Since words have no meaning and the spirit of the law is strangled in its crib, the law is whatever the ideological enforcers happen to think it means in any given moment. The public is left to the mercy of a ruling class filled with self-righteous anger at the people over whom they rule.

This is the spirit of our age, the liberal democratic age. The great fear of the law is actually a fear of order and stability. A hatred of it, in fact. The liberal democratic regime needs to feed its sense of necessity and it can only do so in a crisis, so it creates panics and emergencies. What we are seeing in this virus panic is the full flowering of liberal democracy. It is a world of the forever present, because it is without law and a world without order. It is a world with no tomorrow.

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!

Cosmopolitan Provincials

In a time of crisis, whether self-inflicted or naturally occurring, you learn a lot about people in how they react to the crisis. They say pressure reveals character, but in the context of something like this pandemic crackdown, pressure reveals your place in relation to the center of cosmopolitan globalism. Not in a physical sense, but in the economic and cultural sense of it. The closer you are to the center, the more enthusiastic you are for the mandatory shuttering of society.

It is one of those things that transcends politics, in that you see people who normally disagree sharing the same side now. The people involved in political media, for example, are all on-board with the crackdown. In fact, they think it should go on forever, as it gives them something to squabble about in a meaningless way. The people in the vast unproductive sector of the economy, like the media and politics, have no stake in the economy, so this is just another thing to fill their time.

In another sense, the cultural sense, this event has revealed the provincialism of the typical city dweller. It is fair to say that if the hot spot for the virus had been Appalachia, it would barely rate a segment on the cable chat shows. Because the center was New York City, the home of the media centers, it is the only thing worth discussing. The most provincial people on earth live in New York City and media people are some of the dumbest, making for the perfect storm.

For example, the people protesting the crackdown are people with a real stake in society, as in a job and bills to pay. They are not motivated by esoteric debates about political philosophy. They don’t have a walk-in closet full of moral signifiers they use to display their membership in narrow identity groups. They just try to live their lives the best they can under the conditions set for them. The conditions are becoming untenable now, so they are making as much noise as they can about it.

The typical cosmopolitan looks at these protests and just assumes the people doing them are ignorant and confused. “Don’t they know how dangerous it is out there?” the cosmopolitans incredulously demand. The fact is, the protesters know exactly how dangerous it is out there – not very dangerous at all – and they are willing to bet on their own judgement about it. The cosmos, on the other hand, know only what is told to them by the mass media. They let the system decide these things for them.

That is one of those things that does not always turn up when times are easy. If you live in or around an urban center, you grow used to being bossed around. You get used to depending on the system. The Manhattan media employee rides subways, walks past cops and relies on a vast system to supply her with food. She thinks she is tech savvy because she has a lot of cool apps on her iPhone. In reality, she is like an oxpecker living on the rhinovirus of the cosmopolitan system.

In contrast, the guy living in a distant suburb or flyover country spends most of his time away from the state. He depends on the supply chain, like everyone else, to put stuff in the stores, but he works in the supply chain. He has some idea how the stuff magically appears on the shelves. He drives his own car to those stores and has to rely on himself to get it repaired when necessary. His days are not filled with self-actualizing, but rather the mundane tasks of living.

Real or imagined, the person living far away from the epicenter of cosmopolitan globalism has a sense of independence. Government is not a visible part of his everyday existence, so he does not instinctively trust it. The boys and girls living outside the economy, whether on a campus, in a government job or in some corner of the vast, unproductive part of the economy, they trust the system completely. They have to, because it provides so much of what makes up their life.

Who is more deluded about reality is debatable. We may get to find out if the crackdown lasts much longer. Parts of the supply chain are breaking. It will not be long before shelves are empty of essentials. The people sure they can make it without government may get to test that theory. On the other hand, the cosmos living in the urban areas will find out if the system that makes their life possible can protect them. Cosmopolitan globalism is about to enter the blast furnace of reality.

This raises a question, of course. The system imagined for us by our ruling elites is highly urbanized and dominated by the government and its agents. Social credit systems may be run by tech companies, but they do so on behalf of the same people who control government. They imagine the future being a cleaner, glass and steel version of Manhattan, where people are like corpuscles in the system. In such a system, does it make sense to maintain the charade of democracy?

The current crisis gives us a hint. The people constantly yapping about “our democracy” were quick to pull the plug on the primaries. If you’re willing to send cops after people walking on the beach, just to make a point about who decides who can go outside, you’re probably going to have no qualms about ending the voting charade. What’s the point of asking the people when you don’t really care what they think? You can be sure that the urban rubes will go along with it.

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!

The Mule’s Work

When Trump miraculously won the election in 2016, the smarter observers saw that he was not going to be a reform agent, but a chaos agent. Through the ballot, the public had injected a foreign body into the political system. How the system would react to that foreign body was unknown, but after three plus years the results of the experiment are coming into focus. What we are getting is chaos. Everything about the old order is suddenly in question, as everything about it is breaking down.

The most obvious example of the chaos is the old political order. For almost a generation, national politics was Red Team versus Blue Team. Both sides agreed on most everything as they were financed by the same people. Red Team wanted to be more naked in its slobbering than Blue Team over the men behind the curtain, while Blue Team wanted to be more hysterical than Red Team. Otherwise, no matter which way the people voted, the policies never changed.

Three plus years of Trump and we have prominent national politicians calling for a moratorium on immigration. Trump just claimed he signed an executive order temporarily halting all immigration. Whether or not this is true is entirely unknown, as Trump says all sorts of things that mean nothing. That’s not the point. What matters is that things that were forbidden just a few years ago are now being said in public by people who care very deeply about the taboos of modern society.

Of course, the chaos that will soon matter most to people is the chaos in the economy, which is beginning to get real and real fast. When oil futures hit levels never seen in our lifetime, we are in a different world than existed a few years ago. The nonsense about oil trading below zero is just news hype, but there is no avoiding the fact that the world is suddenly awash in BTU’s. What’s just as significant about this event is that according to the experts, it was not supposed to happen.

That’s the thing to keep in mind about the chaos that is raging all around us. The emerging liberal democratic order promised stability and predictability. Instead of booms and bust in the economy, it was supposed to be gentle slopes up and down as the central bankers steered the ship. Oil markets would no longer be the victim of forces beyond the control of suppliers. Instead, prices would be steady as producers coordinated with world government to temper supply.

What happens in a world suddenly awash in BTU’s? No one knows. Similarly, no one knows what happens when world government tries to turn the economy back on after they have had enough of the pandemic. In fact, no one knows if they will actually try to do it voluntarily. Local officials have gotten the whiff of authoritarianism in their nostrils and they like it. They may find out they like suppressing the minor protests that have been flaring up the past week. We are in uncharted territory.

What we are seeing is the work of The Mule. In the Asimov novels. The Mule is a special character, so special in fact that he is assumed to not exist. In fact, according to the known rules of the universe, he cannot exist. Because he does exist, thus invalidating the rules of the universe, he is the ultimate destroyer of worlds. His ability “is to reach into the minds of others and “adjust” their emotions, individually or en masse, using this capability to conscript individuals to his cause.”

This is Trump. In the primary, he won mostly by causing the Republican Party to go insane and destroy itself. In the general, the media went nuts and convinced the Democrats they had nothing to fear. In Washington, the establishment has taken every opportunity to discredit itself in a mad quest to deny the reality of Trump. In this pandemic, the masters of the universe seem to be determined to do everything they can to invalidate themselves and legitimize their enemies.

The madness of self-invalidation is probably just starting. Due to the crack down on economic activity, things like advertising buys have halted. So much of the internet economy, particularly the media, depends on the belief that money spent on ads and marketing is money well-spent. It was never true, but the new reality will suddenly bring that into focus. In whatever comes next, spending lavishly on ads and marketing data harvested by social media companies will be minimized.

To date, no one has figured out how to make a large-scale media enterprise work on subscriptions alone. Small-scale operations can make it work for the same reason small business can make it work. They have low overheads and focus only on providing the customer with what they seek. Mass media is mass propaganda, financed by corporate ad dollars. In other words, it is not just the political establishment finding itself in a new chaotic world of uncertainty. Its media arm is there as well.

Obviously, the biggest bit of chaos that the people in charge have yet to confront is the world after the crackdown is lifted. We have about 30% unemployment at the moment and the signs of increased economic slowdown. People forget that in the early weeks of the crack down, there was a rush of economic activity. That has subsided and firms are now starting to hear crickets. The curve benders fear a second virus wave, but wait until they get a look at the second layoff wave.

At the various lemon parties, the sobbing and moaning about Trump was understandable, as they never understood what Trump meant. Their politics are immature and based solely on what is presented to them in the media. Like children, they giggle when happy and cry when sad. Similarly, the “Orange Man Bad!” loons could never get past their hurt feelings to grasp the significance of Trump. As the chaos rages, these two camps now cheer like toddlers at someone shaking keys.

For the simple minded, the rising chaos brings to mind their preferred result, which they imagine is right around the corner. In reality, we are just entering the interregnum described by Guillaume Faye, in which the West lurches from crisis to crisis as it tries to reconcile the incoherence and contradictions of liberal democracy. In other words, Trump is not just the end of the old order, but the starting point for a period of chaos, as the world tries to create a new “logic of the universe.”

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!