January 19, 2018

Fire and Fury: The power vacuum left by the cosplay presidency

As we approach the one-year anniversary of the inauguration of the Trump White House, it's worth reflecting on how the unlikely presidency has fared in office. Fire and Fury is Michael Wolff's inside chronicle of the Trump team(s) from the late stage of the campaign up through the assumption of power by General Kelly as Chief of Staff in August 2017.

Although it is being gleefully eaten up by #Resistards looking for validation of their hatred for Cheeto Hitler, the book is not at all a demonography of an Anti-President, and they are not the intended audience. They may be the most likely buyers -- desperate for anything negative about Trump -- but the tone is clinical rather than tabloid, and the overall portrait naturalistic rather than sensationalized.

The inside look also denies them the confirmation they're so eager to find that he truly is a far-right nutjob spoiling to blow up the whole world. From the chapter on the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, he voices his longstanding support for single-payer, just like progressives such as Bernie Sanders:

In fact, [Trump] probably favored government-funded health care more than any other Republican. “Why can’t Medicare simply cover everybody?” he had impatiently wondered aloud during one discussion with aides, all of whom were careful not to react to this heresy.

In the chapter on the decision to bomb Syria, both Trump and Bannon -- another far-right boogeyman to the liberals -- are shown to favor military restraint, pragmatism, and getting along with Russia (although they are ultimately worn down by the interventionist side led by the Pentagon generals):

But Trump was also drawn to Bannon’s strategic view [to "keep the United States out of intractable problems, and certainly don’t increase our involvement in them"]: Why do anything, if you don’t have to? Or, why would you do something that doesn’t actually get you anything? Since taking office, the president had been developing an intuitive national security view: keep as many despots who might otherwise screw you as happy as possible. A self-styled strongman, he was also a fundamental appeaser. In this instance, then, why cross the Russians?

If the book is not a concentrated hate-pill for those who are convinced Trump is the Devil, then neither, obviously, is it meant for consumption by members of the personality cult of Angry-White-Male Jesus -- and for exactly the same reasons. The cultists bathe in endorphin waves from the same conception of the presidency that sends "the losers and haters" into apoplexy. Where one group suffers from Trump Derangement Syndrome, the other suffers from Trump Mania Syndrome.

If their shared conception of the presidency is not true, as is made clear in Fire and Fury, they both will respond to the book not as a realistic account whose various internal pieces are to be evaluated, but as an opaque symbolic object only. There will be reflexive fist-pumping from the Democrats and reflexive hand-waving from the Republicans. Its long-term reception will be like that of The Bell Curve, with the sides switched around, and neither reading it open-mindedly.

Many of the Trump cultists accept that he is not a far-right ideologue, and is actually a pragmatist whose instincts reach toward the progressive Left as much as the nationalist Right. But they, along with the #ShePersisted crowd, all believe that he is an omnipotent God-Emperor single-handedly re-shaping the course of history from the White House, for better or worse.

This is the aspect of Trump's persona that is most exposed as fanciful in Wolff's book. Instead of a mighty central authority hurtling down lightning bolts upon mere political mortals, there is a great big power void left by an absentee would-be god.

According to the inside account, the president spends most of his time crafting his persona of being a ruler, publicizing this persona into the media, monitoring his persona's treatment by media figures (who he binge-watches on a three-screen set-up in his bedroom), repairing any damage they do to his persona, and launching retaliatory attacks of his own on their personas. All of it obsessively focused on mass media personas, rather than the real-world tasks of implementing the agenda he campaigned and won the election on.

We all knew Trump to be an inveterate showman who made his fortune by licensing his persona or brand to a developer's project, and by starring in hit entertainment shows. We assumed this would continue, but may not have expected it to be the primary focus of his finite time and energy in the White House -- as though his career had not changed from "being Donald Trump," only now in a presidential setting.

This impression comports with Axios' assessment of narrative threads from the book that are overwhelmingly true. Roger Stone, longtime Trump confidant and Washington insider, has been saying the same thing for months on Infowars broadcasts, albeit more sympathetically. He really is a cable news junkie, he does have good instincts but little patience for governance, and he's called "dope" by his cabinet members such as General McMaster.

As it happens, Stone is taking notes for a book on the Trump presidency that, so far, does not bode well, although he hopes it turns out better. He places most of the blame on those surrounding the president, who give him misleading or incomplete information, have ulterior motives, and so on. I was struck by how familiar the Wolff account read after having listened to Stone's independent account for the better part of a year now. It's not a partisan or ideological matter, it's there for any honest cold hard looker to observe.

As Ann Coulter pointed out after that clusterfuck of an on-camera negotiation about immigration, Trump only proved Wolff's portrayal accurate, being more concerned with the image-management and stagecraft of being president, while remaining wholly ignorant of most of the basic aspects of the debate -- that he gave such emphasis to during the campaign -- not knowing who stood where, and as a result of not caring about these things, outsourcing all negotiating and decision-making to the Congressmen for him to later rubber-stamp.

As the various factions in the administration discover that the media-oriented president has de facto abdicated his duties and powers as ruler, they scramble to fill the power vacuum. One faction is the Manhattan Democrats (Jared, Ivanka, Cohn, Powell), another is the Republican Establishment (Priebus, Spicer, Walsh), and the last is the populist-nationalist insurgency (Bannon and his crew).

Each faction has their own press secretary, as does Trump himself, which results in constant leaking against the other factions. Functionally, there is no organizational chart, and each faction is equally able to get Trump's ear and lobby him for or against some view or action.

The story is not one of garden variety palace intrigue, as the absence of a strong central power means there is more of a three-way civil war, as opposed to the usual petty backbiting among pacified courtiers.

This period ends when General Kelly assumes the Chief of Staff role, insisting that all requests for contact with the president go through him. That effectively demotes the Javanka family faction, and Kelly outright purges the Bannon faction. That leaves the Establishment GOP types, but they are too ineffectual to be trusted with running the government, so a power figure from the Pentagon -- which is aligned with, and indeed controls the GOP -- steps in to take their place.

That explains why the Trump administration took a far more conventional GOP turn afterward. There were no more populist-nationalists, the Manhattan Democrats took the hint that their party had lost the election, while the GOP-aligned Pentagon had enough institutional power to take over the White House operations.

Yet that would not have been possible if the president himself had not already checked out and burrowed away in the media world of persona construction and destruction.

I've been defending Trump's not-so-Trumpian outcomes as president, arguing that as an outsider novice he came into office with no political capital (rather, with debt, given his salted-earth campaign as a candidate), and that he faced monumental pressures from the institutions of both parties (Wall Street, Pentagon, etc.). At least he could push as hard as possible within those constraints, though, right?

Disturbingly, the account in Fire and Fury is that he checked out from actually governing already during the transition. He gave an eager go-ahead to making Paul Ryan the Speaker of the House again, despite being his antithesis, and immediately outsourced the legislative agenda to Ryan and McConnell, rather than track down other seasoned pros who would better channel Trump's campaign agenda. Ditto for executive-branch decision-making.

We know how that turned out, but the hopeful and charitable view I had was that they had simply out-maneuvered the new guy who had no political capital. Instead it seems like he has always been more focused on the media-persona aspect of being president, continuing rather than changing careers.

The point for Trump supporters is not to throw our hands up and say "Game Over!" It is simply to say we need to temper expectations about the remainder of Trump's term, to realize the institutional pressures we're up against, and to make better decisions about choosing leaders and candidates in the future. They must be eager to carry out the tasks needed to govern, and they should have more of a background in politics.

With another outsider, especially one from a field far removed from politics like media / entertainment, there would only be another power vacuum in their office that would open up a vicious civil war at first, before getting filled by the powerful unelected institutions like Wall Street or the Pentagon.

January 17, 2018

Apple, Foxconn sites are hiring foreigners, not Americans

Populists, if they do not want to get co-opted by corporate globalists, must always ask whether these announcements of "companies moving back" mean the new jobs will go to American citizens or instead to foreign workers, whether they're illegals or are brought in on guest worker visas like the H-1B program.

The first big announcement was Foxconn building a manufacturing plant in Wisconsin. In a three-part expose on their hiring practices (here, here, and here), Lawrence Tabak shows that Foxconn hires almost only foreigners at their existing plants in Indiana and Texas. The technical and professional staff are legally brought in on H-1B visas from China, and the unskilled staff are drawn from illegal immigrants. There are only a token number of Americans at these workplaces.

The situation at the Wisconsin plant will be exactly the same. If it were not, they would make a big deal out of reassuring us that they will be hiring few or no foreigners.

Now comes the announcement of Apple building a new campus in America. It is part of an ongoing PR campaign of desperation to get the American working and middle classes to be grateful for the GOP tax cuts going to corporations and the wealthy, which are supposed to trickle down to us, even though they never have after any of the other times they've run this experiment.

They say 20,000 jobs will be added over the next 5 years, but do not say how many will be at this particular campus rather than any of the other zillions of work sites they run. It will certainly not employ more than their headquarters at Apple Park, which has "only" 12,000 working there. I figure it will be in the thousands at the new campus, which will be something like a call center for customer technical support.

Still, will these new jobs go to Americans? Of course not -- Apple is in the top 20 companies for visa sponsors of cheap foreign labor. They got 2,000 visa and green card workers in 2017, no different from 2016, and both years higher than 2015 or 2014. They have shown no willingness to bend the knee to the "Buy American, Hire American" spirit of the Trump campaign.

They will simply ask for a few thousand more visas in order to staff their new campus, and as a giant of Silicon Valley, they will easily get them. That was probably part of the negotiations -- we will build a new campus here in America, and you guys in the State Department will give us enough guest worker visas to staff it. As long as the unsuspecting Trump supporters don't inquire about who is getting those new jobs, it will be win-win-win for Apple and Foggy Bottom and Trump's image!

Again, if Apple were planning to hire Americans rather than foreigners, they would damn well say so -- it would only strengthen their PR campaign about becoming more pro-American, and assuage doubts from populists and Trump voters. The fact that they do not say that, means they have no good news to share in that regard.

We know that Trump himself has already gone all-in for Silicon Valley's pleas for more H-1B visas.

He kept flip-flopping on the issue during the campaign, with his gut instinct always coming back to "give them guest worker visas".

During the transition, he was won over by "a high-level delegation from Silicon Valley" who begged for more H-1B visas. [1]

And most disturbing of all, he recently said that, "We need workers in this country; we need people to come in and work because I have a lot of companies moving in." [2]

He's talking about guest workers immigrating here on visas, in the broader context of giving amnesty to the DACA people and perhaps all illegals currently here. Whether it's one group of foreigners or another -- it's they who are going to be hired at the "companies moving in" because they're cheap labor replacements for American workers.

With the Congressional GOP having sidelined his populist agenda, Trump will spend the rest of his term frantically scrambling to "put points on the board" and "get a win" no matter how much it benefits the corporate globalist elites and foreign workers.

So from now on, whenever we hear about "companies moving back," we must check to see if they specifically say that the jobs will go to American citizens, rather than some vague statement like "jobs will be created in America". If not, they are going to hire cheap foreigners instead.

And the Democrats, if they want to win more seats in Congress or take back the White House, must hammer this point home to those who voted for Trump. "You were promised a return of good jobs to America, but they hired cheap foreigners instead. We won't allow those companies to exploit the visa system, and will make sure that struggling Americans will get those jobs."

Of course that would require standing up to a major institution that controls their party, Silicon Valley, but they are not that dependent on cheap labor like the labor-intensive sectors of the economy are. They can stand to lose a tiny bit of profit from higher labor costs, if it means taking back the government and staving off an angry mob that wants to demolish the tech giants.

[1] From Fire and Fury:

The president-elect enjoyed being courted. On December 14, a high-level delegation from Silicon Valley came to Trump Tower to meet him. Later that afternoon, according to a source privy to details of the conversation, Trump called Rupert Murdoch, who asked him how the meeting had gone.

“Oh, great, just great,” said Trump. “These guys really need my help. Obama was not very favorable to them, too much regulation. This is really an opportunity for me to help them.”

“Donald,” said Murdoch, “for eight years these guys had Obama in their pocket. They practically ran the administration. They don’t need your help.”

“Take this H-1B visa issue. They really need these H-1B visas.”

Murdoch suggested that taking a liberal approach to H-1B visas, which open America’s doors to select immigrants, might be hard to square with his promises to build a wall and close the borders. But Trump seemed unconcerned, assuring Murdoch, “We’ll figure it out.”

“What a fucking idiot,” said Murdoch, shrugging, as he got off the phone.

[2] From a recent WSJ interview:

Mr. Trump: ...You have a lot of people of those 800 [thousand, i.e. the DACA people], they work hard, they have jobs. We need workers in this country; we need people to come in and work because I have a lot of companies moving in.

And I’m getting a lot of questions like we want to move to Wisconsin, we wanted—like Wisconsin, I have Foxconn coming to Wisconsin; that’s my deal. You know the head of Foxconn, you know he’s a friend of mine. He’s still only moving there because of me. And the governor has been fantastic.

The governor of Wisconsin has been fantastic in their presentations and everything else. But I’m the one who got them to look at it. Now we need people because they’re going to have thousands of people working it’s going to be a—you know—that’s—that’s the company that makes the Apple iPhone.

WSJ: Yeah.

Mr. Trump: Is that—they’re going to build them here, they’re going to build other things here too.

We need people so we have to be a little bit flexible. I don’t want to be so—I’ve had another pledge that I’m going to move companies back into this country. I don’t want to make it so tough that they can’t come back in.

Would you say that’s a correct statement, Gary, we have to have people.

Gary Cohn: Yeah.

January 14, 2018

Immigration is a quantity problem: Mass immigration necessarily draws from shithole countries, not rich functioning ones

Lest we allow the culture war red meat to block progress on immigration restriction, let's answer Trump's exasperated question about why there's so much immigration from shithole countries rather than, say, Norway -- because Norway is already a nice place to live, and you'd have to be crazy to throw away a high standard of living, plus hundreds or thousands of years of historical cultural rootedness in that land, in order to move to America.

So, anyone seriously arguing that our immigration policy should be to import boatloads of Norwegians instead of boatloads of Nigerians must tell us -- where are the boatloads of Norwegians going to come from? Not from Norway, which is a first-world country.

In fiscal year 2017, only 50 people got immigrant visas from Norway. If we shut down immigration for all other countries except Norway, that might rise to 500 -- at most 5,000? It's always going to be a drop in the bucket, and that includes adding all the other first-world countries as well. They already have nice countries that they are deeply rooted in.

Back when those countries had a far lower standard of living than America, there were boatloads of Norwegians, Italians, Germans, Russians, Irish, etc., who immigrated here. The Ellis Island period.

But now that the differential between America and those countries is not very steep, it's not worth the cost (economic and social/cultural) for them to move. Maybe the Balts and Slavs want to move here still, but not the Europeans who we would consider most similar to ourselves.

This reveals the crux of the immigration problem: because it is entirely based on seeking a higher material standard of living, it will only draw immigrants from much worse-off countries than the destination country. And given the size of the global population that is much worse-off than America, that means gigantic numbers -- billions -- who want to over-run our society.

On the demand side, it is the same: wealthy and powerful groups bring immigrants in by the boatload in order to improve the material standard of living for the wealthy and powerful, in other words to serve as cheap labor. That includes employees for a business run by an elite group, or the domestic servants for elites who no longer tend to their own households.

Since the goal is cheap labor, the powers that be would never draw immigrants from another nice country, but only from poor countries. And since their businesses require large numbers of workers, that means boatloads rather than a few here and there will be flooding in.

The paranoid and conspiratorial take on this is that the elites are trying to replace the existing culture or genepool per se. We can put this to a test by contrasting immigration from an alien culture that is rich, like Japan, vs. from a more similar culture that is poor, like Poland.

In 2017, there was essentially the same number coming from either country (1,600 from Poland and 1,500 from Japan). And Poland has only 1/3 the population of Japan, so this is a much larger chunk of their total population who is leaving their homeland to come here. That is not to mention the 3,700 who came from Russia and the 4,800 who came from Ukraine.

When forced to choose, our elites flood us with cheap labor that is culturally similar (Slavs) rather than expensive labor that is culturally alien and in more abundant supply to boot (Japan).

The goal, then, is not to worry about the qualitative make-up of immigrants -- but to restrict their sheer quantity. Quantity is the underlying cause, quality the superficial symptom. If you open the gates to 1 million immigrants a year, who is going to want to uproot themselves from their home country? If you restrict immigration to, say 100 or 1,000 a year, then you could do some real quality control. In 2017, Great Britain sent 2,300 immigrants here -- and some of them may even have been British.

Best-case scenario, we get most of our small number of immigrants from good countries. Worst-case scenario, we win the battle for small numbers, but lose on where they come from -- shithole countries, or a random lottery, or whatever.

Still, 100 or 1,000 Salvadoreans a year -- and nobody else, from anywhere else -- would be a major victory. They would be just a drop in the bucket of our 300 million, and their wage-lowering effect would not be felt, nor could they take over entire communities and disrupt or replace the existing genepool and culture.

Yes, 100 Scots would be better than 100 Salvadoreans -- but we can't lose the war over the sheer numbers just for a feel-good Pyrrhic victory over the source of mass immigration. Which, again, is not possible anyway -- mass migration will necessarily give us the bad countries, not the good ones.

On real-world outcomes, the quantity focus is superior to the quality focus. But it is also rhetorically superior, allowing broader coalitions to be formed and therefore bringing more political capital and will (or at least acquiescence) to bear on the effort.

Face the facts: most Americans are not going to sign onto a movement that allows the number of immigrants to remain mostly the same, but drawn from Northwest Europe and shutting out the Third World. To them it would feel racist, uncaring, elitist, whatever. But if the whole world is shut out together, they wouldn't feel like they were targeting one place or another.

And more importantly, it wouldn't feel elitist because we would not be championing immigrants who are better than us (who could "improve our society"), but trying to make room for and lift up the millions of our fellow citizens who are already here, struggling to make ends meet. The last thing in the world they need is a billion more immigrants to compete against in the already Dickensian labor and housing markets.

Most of those struggling here are white, BTW, as blacks are only 10-15% of the population and the majority of whites are not 1-percenter yuppies with no worries.

Conservatives seem to never tire of making losing arguments and alienating potential allies, especially about race, and especially if they get to feel clever. How clever is it to suggest that there are actually a large number of Northwest Europeans who would want to immigrate here? Just go ask them -- they like it where they are.

Normal people recognize that there are no such hordes of Brits and Swedes trying to immigrate here, and they find it downright delusional to suggest that such hordes would be pouring in -- if not for those CULTURAL MARXISTS who are using all their might to block the wave of Swedes, while waving in the Swazis.

Normal people also recognize that it is the difference in the material standard of living that primarily determines who is let in. Whether they approve, for reasons of lifting up the global poor at the expense of their fellow citizens; or disapprove, for reasons of wanting to keep out cheap labor that lowers the welfare of the American working class.

Secondarily, the elites may want to maximize diversity in order to keep the commoners atomized and not trusting of one another, unwilling and unable to band together against their common elite enemies. Divide and conquer. But as we saw with Poland vs. Japan, they are primarily concerned about maximizing cheap labor rather than cultural diversity.

Rather than a message of "We rock, you suck," restrictionsists should say, "Sorry, but this country is already fuckin' full."

If anything, our population should get smaller, not bigger. We need to simplify, not complexify. We're not a virgin wide-open land anymore with abundant resources everywhere. Our per capita well-being is already stretched thin, as we slam against carrying capacity. Intrinsic growth -- births over deaths -- might make us rise a little, but not nearly like immigration can, where we've added tens of millions overnight.

Facing the problem of clawing our collective way out of neo-Gilded Age scarcity, we care only about the quantity of people who the elites are trying to dump into this over-crowded country of ours. It doesn't matter whether our wages are undercut by Ukrainians or Ugandans, and whether our culture gets replaced by Chileans or Chinese.

Take care of the quantity problem, and the quality problem gets solved automatically -- all while making an appeal that is more truthful, insightful, and bandwagon-jump-on-able. And no pointless debates and endlessly complicated categories and formulas for who is allowed in -- a single, low number, and who cares after that.

Do you want to win over the masses or shout louder into the echo chamber?

January 13, 2018

Trump's pro cheap labor stance signals willingness for amnesty and guest worker immigration

Most of the attention over the past few days has gone to Trump's description of Haiti and Africa as "shithole countries," echoing earlier statements that Haitians "all have AIDS" and that Nigerians would never "go back to their huts" after seeing America.

I'm unsure if he included El Salvador (MS-13) and other Central American countries with the shithole countries, but he did kick off his campaign by describing all the garbage that was pouring into this country from Mexico -- rapists, drug dealers, gang members, etc.

And after a radical Islamic terrorist attack here, as a candidate he famously called for an end of Muslim immigration into this country, and tried to get through a Muslim travel ban via executive order.

These examples suggest that his main opposition to immigration is based on the corporeal threats posed by foreigners -- violence, disease, and drugs. Not unusual for a conservative.

What about the economic impact of hordes of foreigners flowing in? Immigrants come here in order to undercut American wages (still well above the wages in their homeland), and then drive up the cost of housing by adding tens of millions of people to the demand for housing almost overnight.

Trump almost never mentions this, even though it's the main focus for the very few fellow Republicans who are immigration hardliners, like Tom Cotton and Stephen Miller. Improving the lot of working and middle-class Americans was the justification for the RAISE Act (which only has two supporters in the Senate, Cotton and Perdue).

It's doubly odd since Trump's major campaign theme alongside America-first nationalism was populism, rather than helping the corporate elites do even better when they're already so well off.

In a recent long interview with the WSJ, Trump repeatedly defends giving amnesty to the DACA people -- and perhaps the entire illegal population -- on the basis of needing more workers, especially for companies that may move into America:

Mr. Trump: ...You have a lot of people of those 800 [thousand, i.e. the DACA people], they work hard, they have jobs. We need workers in this country; we need people to come in and work because I have a lot of companies moving in.

And I’m getting a lot of questions like we want to move to Wisconsin, we wanted—like Wisconsin, I have Foxconn coming to Wisconsin; that’s my deal. You know the head of Foxconn, you know he’s a friend of mine. He’s still only moving there because of me. And the governor has been fantastic.

The governor of Wisconsin has been fantastic in their presentations and everything else. But I’m the one who got them to look at it. Now we need people because they’re going to have thousands of people working it’s going to be a—you know—that’s—that’s the company that makes the Apple iPhone.

WSJ: Yeah.

Mr. Trump: Is that—they’re going to build them here, they’re going to build other things here too.

We need people so we have to be a little bit flexible. I don’t want to be so—I’ve had another pledge that I’m going to move companies back into this country. I don’t want to make it so tough that they can’t come back in.

Would you say that’s a correct statement, Gary, we have to have people.

Gary Cohn: Yeah.


Mr. Trump: That’s comprehensive [immigration reform, AKA amnesty for all illegals]—well, if we could do that, that’s fine. I don’t know that that’s going to be possible.

Part of Trump's salesmanship is speaking mostly in "floating signifiers" where the audience can fill them in however they want, rather than spelling things out in lawyerly detail, which might turn off a customer if the details are not what they were looking for. While this allows him to build a broad coalition, it also lets him use verbal sleight-of-hand when there's bad news for one audience and good news for another.

Like the recurring phrase "we need people" -- it means nothing on its own, and the listener has to fill in who the people are, what they're doing, and why we need them rather than someone else to do whatever it is they're doing.

In a weak moment, he let the full description slip out at the beginning -- "we need people to come in and work". So he's talking about guest worker immigrants coming into our country on work visas.

Why do we need these immigrants to fill these jobs? The opposition is to native US workers -- they won't be hired at these companies who are bringing in guest workers, or hiring from the DACA population (who already have work permits) or from the to-be-amnestied overall illegal population.

He gives the example of the Foxconn plant that they're planning to build in Wisconsin. Why would he say, in the context of giving amnesty to DACA people and/or the overall illegals, "we need people because [Foxconn is] going to have thousands of people working"? He is saying that most of the jobs created at the Foxconn plant will be going to foreigners, whether they're DACA or guest workers.

I couldn't believe that when I read it, but a search of who these Foxconn workers will be turned up an excellent three-part expose by Belt Mag (covering Rust Belt topics), here here and here.

Did anyone know that Foxconn already has plants in the US? Their own site lists a plant in Indiana, another in Virginia, and the Belt articles describe one in Houston (along with the one in Indiana). So it's not as though this would be the first Foxconn plant in America -- and we can therefore base our expectations for the Wisconsin plant on their track record in their other American plants.

Most people debating the plant are assuming that the jobs will be going to Americans, and are only debating whether they'll be from Wisconsin or nearby Illinois, whether the pollution risk is worth building the plant, how soon the tax breaks will be paid back, etc.

But it turns out that Foxconn's existing plants in Indiana and Texas hire damn few Americans. Most of the professional, technical, and managerial jobs are held by H-1B visa holders from China, and a majority of the less skilled assembly work is done by (generally illegal) foreigners. For language barrier reasons, presumably these foreigners are also Chinese rather than Mexican or Indian.

From the first article (my emphasis):

Of the Foxconn factory in Plainfield, Indiana, some 16 miles west of Indianapolis, these former employees describe a corporate and management culture that treats Indiana workers as disposable; that favors Taiwanese nationals for management and advancement; and that heavily relies on undocumented workers who are carefully distanced from the parent company via the heavy use of temp agencies.

Indiana native Carl Williams spent a year and a half between 2008 and 2010 at Foxconn’s Plainfield facility as a quality technician and later a data analyst. He reveals that a majority of the 900 workers who were employed at the computer assembly factory during his tenure there were undocumented. “On days when word got out that Immigration [and Customs Enforcement] was coming,” he says, “most of the workforce would be missing.” Williams also describes a “wink and nod” attitude by management toward the use of undocumented workers as the facility declined to be certified as an e-verified workplace (an internet based system of checking worker identification). According to Williams, management acted on the pretense that they simply weren’t aware of, and certainly not responsible for, the documentation status of the bulk of the workforce. Williams added that management appeared to be more interested in rock-bottom wages, dodging the cost of expensive benefits, and maintaining their ability to lay off and rehire for seasonal demand.

Andre Morris, who was a Foxconn employee in Indiana from 2005 to 2013, confirms the large number of undocumented workers at the Plainfield facility and also recalls the sea of empty chairs when there were rumors of an impending ICE raid.

We can tell how much the Foxconn plants here rely on foreign labor by the fact that they get constantly raided by ICE.

From the third article, on the state seizing Wisconsinites' private land to build housing for the guest workers:

But Knapp also believes that, even if they could, Foxconn doesn’t intend to hire locals. With an expression of the proud possessor of inside information she lowers her voice and says that her two sons work construction and that their company is currently bidding on an excavation project. “They’re putting in a housing complex, an entire village, for the Chinese.” Meanwhile, she says, a neighbor down the road just a short distance outside of the Foxconn industrial quadrant has been approached to sell land for a condo project. If Foxconn’s past behavior is any indication, the additional housing is presumably for mid-career engineers from Asia who demand less than the average starting salary available to a fresh University of Wisconsin engineering graduate.

So, this Foxconn deal is completely the opposite of how Trump and the GOP have been portraying it -- everyone from the corporate shareholders to the white collar professionals to the blue collar workers will be Chinese, not American. Their profits, salaries, and wages will not go out into America but will remain in the Chinese company town, or sent back home to China. And American taxpayers will be subsidizing this thing out the ass for decades.

It's the opposite of populism, fleecing taxpayers to give corporate welfare; and it's the opposite of America-first, giving all the benefits to foreigners.

This is Trump's model that he chose for the guest worker program, and the raison d'etre for amnestying the DACA people or even the entire illegal population (if only the Democrats would agree to the specifics).

In that recent clusterfuck of an immigration negotiation with Dems and Republicans, Trump said over and over how he'd like to move right on to "comprehensive" immigration reform, i.e. amnesty for all illegals. That was not an off-the-cuff remark, as he repeats it a few times in the WSJ interview.

We knew back during the campaign that Trump was squishy on the cheap labor use of immigration, as he kept flip-flopping about whether he supported curbing the H-1B visa program or letting Silicon Valley magnates bring in as many cheap foreign guest workers as they wanted. His unguided instinct was to always side with the Zuckerbergs, and tell sob stories about the poor foreigners who study at Harvard and then can't get jobs at Facebook.

Then his campaign staffers, probably just Stephen Miller, would have to issue a press statement saying, "No, the H-1B program is exploitative and anti-American, so we're going to terminate it." Then someone would ask him about it, and he'd give his instinctive answer that it was awesome, followed by another reversal statement from Miller via the press, over and over again.

Was that just during the campaign, and then he changed his tune after he won the election? No: in the Fire and Fury account of the Trump transition and early presidency, there's an anecdote about the head honchos of Silicon Valley visiting Trump Tower to push for more H-1B visas, Trump agreeing with them, Rupert Murdoch trying to correct Trump for this anti-populist anti-nationalist position, and Trump blowing off that suggestion.

The president-elect enjoyed being courted. On December 14, a high-level delegation from Silicon Valley came to Trump Tower to meet him. Later that afternoon, according to a source privy to details of the conversation, Trump called Rupert Murdoch, who asked him how the meeting had gone.

“Oh, great, just great,” said Trump. “These guys really need my help. Obama was not very favorable to them, too much regulation. This is really an opportunity for me to help them.”

“Donald,” said Murdoch, “for eight years these guys had Obama in their pocket. They practically ran the administration. They don’t need your help.”

“Take this H-1B visa issue. They really need these H-1B visas.”

Murdoch suggested that taking a liberal approach to H-1B visas, which open America’s doors to select immigrants, might be hard to square with his promises to build a wall and close the borders. But Trump seemed unconcerned, assuring Murdoch, “We’ll figure it out.”

“What a fucking idiot,” said Murdoch, shrugging, as he got off the phone.

Now, most of the response to this vignette was about the exact words that Murdoch used to call Trump, not the fact that Trump was contradicting his campaign themes of populism and nationalism, and blowing off helpful corrective advice on the matter, even when it came from a high-ranking trusted acquaintance. That is what should disturb Trump supporters, and it is confirmed by his spontaneous answers during the campaign, and now by his WSJ interview on why "we have to have people to come in and work".

How do we square this with his stalwart stance against immigration from shithole countries, or terrorist-prone nations, or ones who are not sending their best? He doesn't seem to think that all foreign countries pose a dangerous level of the corporeal threats of violence, disease, and drugs.

Specifically, East Asia gets the "all clear" when it comes to welcoming hordes of immigrants, as long as they're brought in legally and for work purposes, without having to go on welfare. That would dovetail with the support for "merit-based" immigration, rather than a hardline moratorium.

Of course, "merit" simply means that working and middle-class Americans will have their jobs stolen, incomes undercut, and housing prices bid up by a less criminal group of cheap labor scabs. If some of their neighborhoods, and perhaps entire towns, go from all-American vistas to dystopian Chinese ant colonies -- well, that's just what happens when Americans are no longer willing to bust their ass in order to earn their keep.

If we, too, would work for $5 an hour under slave-like conditions with no benefits and suicide nets ringing our factory, then maybe we wouldn't "have to have people to come in and work".

Any nationalist who thinks that any aspect of American culture will survive colonization by the Chinese is gullible, retarded, or ignorant of their track record. Other than not killing each other at the rates that blacks do, most East Asian groups do not assimilate into Western or American culture, particularly the males, who remain disaffected and bitter at not getting dates from the cute white girls all around them.

The Japanese have done better at becoming Western, both in Japan and outside, but that's not who the corporate slave-drivers are going to be bringing into this country as guest workers. No cheap labor to be found in that rich country.

By viewing immigration largely through the lens of "how to import cheap labor to benefit corporate profits," Trump is right at home with the GOP orthodoxy, unlike his stances on most other issues. But as we've seen so far, the only action the government has gotten is on the tiny areas of overlap between the insurgent and the Establishment -- cutting taxes for the wealthy and corporations, bloating the military budget, and getting conservative judges into the courts.

Unfortunately that means there's a high probability that a mass amnesty is headed our way sometime during his term, whether for just the DACA people or all illegals. We might get some alleviation by seeing Haitians deported, MS-13 prosecuted more fervently, and some Muslim nations kept out. But the vast majority of immigrants who are mere job thieves and culture wreckers will pass through those filters, and will likely continue to flood the country through legal immigration, not to mention receive amnesty if they're already here illegally.

Since the overwhelming force bringing in immigrants is cheap labor, we're going to have to rely more on a Democrat populist to keep foreigners out, starting with mandatory E-Verify. Their grassroots are more focused on class threats, rather than the corporeal threats that disturb conservatives, and their elite sectors are not labor-intensive and therefore not so reliant on cheap labor, compared to the labor-intensive sectors that control the GOP.

That seems like the direction that nationalists must begin to frame the immigration restriction argument in -- preventing the working and middle class in America from getting their incomes undercut and their housing prices bid up by cheap foreign labor. That will keep out most of the immigrants, it will appeal to Democrats and Independents (especially the Bernie-supporting populists who are the wave of the future), and it will help Moderates accept it without being tied to conservative appeals about corporeal threats.

January 10, 2018

To defeat amnesty, mobilize blacks against immigrants on economic problems (non-partisan)

As the GOP administration and Congress keep circling closer and closer toward their target of giving citizenship to tens of millions of cheap-labor illegals, rather than sending them home, the populist movement needs all the reinforcements they can get.

So far the main army has been the America-firsters, which includes almost no one in the government but a large chunk of the general population. However, the most fervent immigration restrictionists tend to be conservative Republicans, who are not large enough on their own to shut down the amnesty push for good -- and who tend to be too well behaved to really take the heat to their sell-out politicians, or the greedy employers who bring in all of these cheap-labor foreigners to replace American workers.

That calls for an alliance with a group that has the same enemy, but that can send in more of a rowdy cavalry to make the elites feel the pain. And that group is African-Americans -- the angry, alienated black male youth to provide the firepower (figuratively speaking), and the community elders to harness and direct their fire at the right targets (figurative speaking).

Would African-Americans have to "switch sides"? No, because they are not currently participating in the pro-immigrant movement. They feel left out, and are sitting it out, neutral, leaving them open to joining the pro-American side.

If you look through images of pro-DACA protests, there's almost never any black people who show up. It's only the ethnic groups who are immigrants, and the foreign-born population is only 10% black -- less black than the American population. Here are a few random examples, but search Google Images for "DACA protest" and see for yourself. There's only two or three black faces maximum, and usually zero.

Or have a look at who was protesting Nancy Pelosi for being too weak on DACA, someone who couldn't bend over backwards any further for these ungrateful scum. Although San Francisco is near Oakland, for some reason no black people felt like showing up to protest with these immigrants:

The complete lack of interest among African-Americans for anything pro-immigrant, is a major fracture that the Trump movement should hammer on in order to break them away from even tacitly supporting amnesty and more immigration.

Why would they join the immigration restriction side, though?

Black employment keeps plunging according to the real statistic (labor force participation rate), not the phony "unemployment rate". Cheap-labor foreigners have driven down wages for the unskilled working class, which disproportionately targets African-Americans. Once the immigrants have taken the jobs, and taken the wages, then they're the only ones who can afford the rent, so the black people either have to pay higher rents or move out altogether. Schools and neighborhoods that used to be all black, like Watts in California, have now been ethnically cleansed by immigrants, largely from Central America.

Black people can't stand any of these immigrant groups, whether they're Hispanic, Asian, Muslim, or whatever. In West Coast jails, they are in open warfare along ethnic lines. They drive down the black standard-of-living, which was already low enough, they speak funny languages that hurt the brain for people who speak English, they're taking over the affirmative action and other social services meant for minorities, and lame liberal white people have unceremoniously dumped black culture in favor of Mexican, Indian, and Korean culture.

This places African-Americans in the same boat with Trump supporters regarding immigration. Both face a bleak economic future that will be lower than that of their parents and grandparents, as opposed to the immigrants for whom stealing American jobs means movin' on up from the level of their own parents and grandparents. Both face a lack of investment by the government in their own communities, while it is wasted by the trillions in other parts of the world, like our failed military empire.

And both face a changing American culture where their own culture doesn't count anymore -- albeit two separate American cultures, they both face extinction by the flood of foreigners. Mexican immigrants aren't going to preserve white American culture -- but they're not going to preserve black American culture either. They're going to replace both American cultures with their own, looking down on white and black American cultures as inferior, or at best as something alien to them.

The trick to pull off in forming an alliance between the Red Hats and the Black Panthers, though, is not making it about party voting. Blacks will never in a million years vote Republican -- and that's perfectly fine. Our job as populists and nationalists is not to "elect Republicans" or "preserve Republican majorities" -- that's the job of cuckservative GOP consultants, none of whom want populism or nationalism.

Our job is to improve the standard-of-living for the working and middle classes, and to protect America and Americans from getting overwhelmed by foreign influences.

There can be a Republican wing of that movement, rooted in the Trump supporters. But there can also be a Democrat wing, rooted in the black community. The movement would not primarily be focused on electoral politics anyway -- it would be on coordinating our efforts to raise the costs on the elite class, so that they surrender to our demands for a better standard-of-living for the American people.

It would not be a sappy "let's all get along" attempt at multicultural utopia. It would be more like an alliance between two distinct nations, each of whom share a common interest in protecting themselves from a common threat. Collective economic self-defense.

I think it would actually bring black and white Americans closer together socially and culturally -- but not a whole lot, certainly not to the level where we feel like we're part of one single culture. That will never happen, and it does not need to happen if the goal is only to send out the immigrants and keep boatloads more from flooding in. That only requires a truce to any hostilities between us, and an alliance of convenience.

Since the black side would be less willing to jump on board with a mobilization against immigrants, they will be asking for something more from the white Trump supporter side -- because they're less eager, but also as a sign of good faith that the white Trump supporters won't abandon them or sell them out, an obvious concern if blacks are going to team up with who they view as conservative Republicans.

The natural aid we could give would be to join their movement for better government spending on maintaining their communities. Rebuilding the crumbling roads, getting the poisonous lead out of their water system, turning on the heat in public schools during the freezing winter -- these are all commonsense things that a government ought to be doing for its people. Put an anti-globalist spin on it by saying we're going to spend our money on fixing Flint, not on fighting Fallujah.

Take it one step further by pushing for single-payer healthcare, where everyone gets to go on Medicare, rather than rely on the crappier coverage and treatment from Medicaid or Obamacare. Trump has been pushing that as far back as the 1990s, and it delivers higher quality healthcare at dramatically lower prices.

If an alliance formed, what could blacks do that white Trump supporters would not do?

Living in high-density urban areas, they can congregate more easily than those who live in sparsely populated suburbs or rural areas. The major political and economic buildings are not very far away, so it would not be hard for them to advance on a major target as a unified group. Collective action benefits from population density.

They live in key blue and purple states where Trump supporters are not that numerous anyway, even if they did want to travel from the suburbs and small towns into a big city to surround the state capitol building.

They're more willing to take collective action, rather than sit around complaining individually. White liberals are also comfortable acting collectively, but conservatives will hardly ever form into a crowd to strike fear into their enemy. The closest they've gotten was chanting in unison at a Trump rally -- but Trump is not holding those anymore. Working class whites who are part of a union are more comfortable acting as a group to hold physical territory, but they're generally not conservative Republicans.

They would de-fang the accusations that it's just a bunch of white racists who want less immigration and more illegals sent back. And it would not have the goofy optics of a GOP attempt to turn blacks into young Republicans. The "blacks against immigrants" would be saying we're not Republican, we're not conservative, and we don't really care that much about white people -- but our liberal Democrat black communities are getting destroyed by immigration, too, so sometimes you just gotta work with people who face the same problem. It's not an idealistic fusion to "break down barriers" between two cultures, but a tactical alliance of two cultures that otherwise prefer sticking to their own people.

As such, I don't see there being a whole lot of joint actions between the white and black sides, since it's hard outside of extensive military training to make two races feel like they're part of a single undivided group. It would be more like the black groups would raise hell their way in their areas, and whites would raise hell their way in their areas. But both would have the same target, the same overall goal, and the same basic message to send, just applied to their own groups.

There would be some unity events with both groups -- rallies, marches, protests, etc. But again I see those mostly having a white bloc and an African-American bloc. The whites would have their own way of chanting slogans, their own music being played, and their own fellow-feeling, while the blacks would have their own slogans, music, and fellow-feeling. No awkward attempts to force them to chant, dance, and get fired up in the same exact way.

For those Trump supporters who are skeptical that blacks could turn against the immigrants, just remember that we're due for another explosion of collective political violence circa 2020. Peter Turchin's work shows that these come at roughly 50-year intervals, and the last one hit around 1970, after earlier spikes in 1920, 1870, and 1770 (there's a gap in 1820).

One of the common threads to these outbreaks of group-against-group violence is that one of the groups are newcomers who are economically under-cutting the other group. When blacks moved out of the South during the 1910s, they worked for lower wages in many Midwestern cities -- where race riots would break out in the late '10s and early '20s. Same thing among newly arrived blacks in non-Southern cities during the late '60s.

Only today, African-Americans are well settled in the places they live in. They're not the newcomer group working for lower wages anymore. That would be these many immigrant groups, who are undercutting both whites and blacks. And being from a different ethnic group only exacerbates the tension of some group threatening your material welfare.

That is no less true for blacks vs. Mexicans than for whites vs. Mexicans. Blacks do not feel at all a part of the Mexican group, nor do Mexicans feel a part of the black group. They're from different continents, speak different languages, and have totally unshared cultures. They would have no more difficulty going at it than either one of them would going at it with whites.

In the political zeitgeist leading up to the imminent outbreak of collective violence, it is clear what the major tension is about -- economic stagnation and decline, a government and elite class that has abandoned its people.

Culture-war topics about race per se have grown weaker and weaker, especially among the younger generations -- who will be the ones doing most of the hot activity anyway. It's the well-off Boomers who are still stuck on airy-fairy culture-war topics, while young people with no future are more concerned with the immiseration that keeps getting worse.

That means the primary fault-line will be between those groups who are going through a falling standard-of-living, and those groups responsible for that falling standard by under-cutting them on wages. That means immigrants vs. non-immigrants, rather than whites vs. non-whites.

Notice what the DACA and other immigrant groups are demanding -- work permits, housing assistance, reduced in-state tuition, and other economic matters. They're not protesting about how whites who post taco bowl pictures to Instagram are guilty of cultural appropriation and need to confess their white liberal sins and seek absolution from culture priests.

They are openly pushing for advancing their own material welfare on the basis of being an immigrant vs. a citizen. That naturally makes enemies among those who are already citizens and want that material welfare for themselves -- they're antagonizing not only white Americans but black Americans, too, with these economic demands. Blacks understand that there's nothing in it for them to support amnesty or DACA or more immigration, and that's why they don't show up to those protests -- despite having a natural affinity for protesting.

Since 2020 is right around the corner, the sooner the populists and nationalists recognize these dynamics, the better prepared they can be to take advantage of it.

January 9, 2018

Oprah outcome: Bernie wins primary with over-crowded elitist field

Populists' initial reaction to Oprah's candidate announcement speech may be dread -- even more so if many others like her join the race. Then it will be the Democrats who will be holding a clown car show in 2020.

But that will benefit the Bernie wing of the party, if they manage to run only one candidate, whether Bernie himself or a suitable successor.

Oprah is just going to be another tired and hated identity politics warrior, more focused on her personal story and generic motivational speeches than on re-industrialization of the economy, shrinking our military footprint around the world, single-payer healthcare, and so on and so forth.

And she will definitely have at least one other rival for that sales pitch -- Michelle Obama. Neither of these "strong black women" will step aside for the other, and since they will both be selling the same appeal to voters, they will get similar slices of the electoral pie.

The more candidates there are who are selling one form or another of Democrat politics as usual, the smaller each of those slices will be. They won't take away much from Bernie's share of the pie, since he is such a qualitatively different choice.

Let's say Bernie only gets 45% of the delegates, based on winning over voters who want populism and major change -- but that the remaining 55% are divided evenly among 11 candidates in an over-crowded Establishment field. That leaves each one of the non-Bernie candidates with a puny 5%. Some may do a little better at 10% or 15%, some worse at around 1%. But nothing close to 45%.

In that case, it would start a nationwide riot to give the nomination to anyone other than Bernie. Not even all of the superdelegates could raise a candidate from 15% to 50% -- let alone the lesser candidates who got 5% or 1%. Robbing Bernie of the nomination would require a real bald-faced rigging like re-writing the rules, also bound to set off a riot.

The ideal plan to get a populist or progressive into the nomination, then, is to only run one candidate in that mold. Don't let individual ambition and hyper-competitiveness get in the way of the team movement. Bernie has better name and brand recognition than anyone else, including Elizabeth Warren. He's also more motivating to listen to, compared to Warren's schoolmarm demeanor.

Zogby polling for potential candidates shows Bernie with a solid 10-15 point advantage over Warren, as of late 2017. So the first move is to persuade Warren not to run, and better yet to endorse Bernie early on to solidify his status as the only populist candidate.

Then the goal is to encourage as many candidates to run who would blindly go along with the Wall Street and Pentagon agendas. Ideally they offer different flavors of Democrat politics as usual, to split up the non-Bernie vote.

Offer the strong black woman story, perhaps in two flavors itself with Oprah and Michelle. Offer the gay Hispanic story. Offer the futuristic tech overlord story. Offer the token ethnic on Wall Street story.

None of their substantive policies would differ from one other -- they would simply be rubber-stamping whatever Wall Street, Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and the CIA slid onto their desk. But they would split up the non-Bernie voters, with black women choosing Michelle or Oprah, white male nerds choosing Zuckerberg, tax-avoiding yuppies choosing Andrew Cuomo, etc.

The more hyper-competitive the non-Bernie candidates are, the better. They will spend so much time tearing into each other, and not wanting to be the one to fall on their own sword in order to block Bernie. We want maximum chaos and internecine warfare on the Establishment side -- just like there was among Republicans in 2016, clearing an easy path for Trump, who was from a different universe compared to the rest of them.

The more petty, the more egotistical, the more vapid and devoid of anything to say on real policies -- the more disgusted the non-airhead voters will be, and the easier the choice will be to go with Bernie. "Airhead" voters here meaning those going with identity politics.

The sense of desperation to "stop Trump" and to take back the White House will give these freaks the delusion of grandeur, as though they were heroic for wanting to return to the Clinton-Obama ways of the past. And that phony sense of heroism will keep them in the race for as long as possible, splitting up the non-Bernie vote all the way.

Here is an off-the-cuff list of ideal candidates to crowd the non-Bernie field with:

Hillary Clinton

Michelle Obama

Oprah Winfrey

Kamala Harris

Cory Booker

Mark Zuckerberg

Andrew Cuomo

Al Gore

Julian Castro


In contrast to the backbiting shitshow going on among these Establishment candidates, I'd like to see Bernie pick Tulsi Gabbard early on as the de facto running mate -- a regular opening act to his rallies, a regular surrogate in the media, and a regular activist to mobilize larger networks to GOTV. Supposing Bernie gets the nomination, she's already a familiar presence, ideologically in step with him but making up for his weakness in foreign policy.

She's charismatic, and not that it matters to non-airhead voters, but she can deflect charges of the Bernie campaign being the white guy ticket. Being much younger makes her a credible and reassuring back-up President in case anything happened to Bernie in office.

In general, the image on the populist side would be harmony and productive teamwork, juxtaposed with the cynical individualistic ambition on the Establishment side.

If there's not much excitement going on in the GOP primary -- a big if, assuming Trump is running again after being sidelined by "his own" party for the first term, and assuming further that no bitter Republicans challenge him -- then only Bernie could draw a large number of populist Trump supporters into the Democrat primary. He won't need to point out what horrific prospects they would face if Kamala Harris or Cory Booker were President.

That would also ease fears about him being less electable -- he's the only one who can bring back the Trump voters who generally sympathize with the Democrat side in presidential races. We want populism, not identity politics.

So please, let's encourage as many Oprah Winfreys, Mark Cubans, and Mark Zuckerbergs to run as possible. And lean on Warren to not run herself, if she were considering it, rather than split up the populist / progressive team.

January 8, 2018

Electoral map reflects patronage, not demographics

With more talks about giving amnesty to large numbers of illegal immigrants, the Right is dragging out an old but wrong argument about how amnesty will turn states Democrat, relying as ever on California as the canary in the coalmine.

It is a non-starter, since California is one of the states where Democrats win the presidential vote even among white voters only. During the Bush-Obama years, these states included the entire West Coast, the Lutheran Triangle of MN, WI, and IA, and the Northeast beginning with NY.

So whatever turned the West Coast into a Democrat bastion has nothing to do with race or ethnicity. An earlier post covered this in detail: amnesty would be suicide for the Dems, not the GOP. Dems have labor unions in their electoral base who would get wiped out by cheap foreign labor, their safe blue states do not benefit from being even more blue-voting, and the purple Rust Belt states they won before Trump have almost no immigrants in them.

But let's move onto the topic of how the electoral map changes over time, not just what the cross-section looks like at a snapshot in time. Do demographic changes result in electoral changes?

Within the regions that would defect from the GOP electoral base of the Nixon-Reagan era, it was the Pacific NW states that left first in 1988, with California trailing in '92. Likewise the Lutheran Triangle states defected first in '88, followed by Illinois in '92. In the states with at least some portion lying in Appalachia, it was West Virginia to defect first in '88, followed in '92 by Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Maryland, etc.

The trend in demographic changes was the opposite -- at 60% white circa 1990, California should have fallen before Oregon and Washington, which were still 90% white. Similarly for the Lutheran Triangle states compared to Illinois, or West Virginia compared to Ohio, Pennsylvania, etc. The whitest states flipped blue first within their region.

Texas should have flipped blue decades ago, if demographics mattered. It is scarcely whiter than California in each of the Censuses from 1990 through 2010, and the percentage has declined steadily as well. And yet Texas remains one of the bastions of the GOP at all levels of government.

Turning to blacks instead of Hispanics as the non-white group, they make up the largest share of the population in the Deep South -- another bastion of the GOP at all levels.

And it's not as though all of the various shifts in the electoral maps since our nation's founding are tracking changes in racial or ethnic composition. A good theory explains as much of the data as possible, and the ethnic-oriented theory limits itself at best to the post-Civil Rights era for blacks as the non-white group, and the post-1986 amnesty for Hispanics.

A superior theory views parties as coalitions of elite factions representing the most powerful sectors of society -- banks, tech, media, military, energy, agriculture, etc. These coalitions use the party system to advance their material interests -- whichever party is controlled by the military, will push for higher troop deployments and weapons procurement, and whichever party is controlled by the banks will work harder to deregulate financial activity.

This is similar to Thomas Ferguson's investment theory of party competition, although without having read his books, I'm not sure whether he stresses non-businesses like the military (or the church, in an older time).

Currently the Democrats are controlled by finance, tech, and the media (informational, labor-insensitive), while the Republicans are controlled by the military, agriculture, and energy sectors (material, labor-intensive). It used to be different, though, with the Democrats being the militarist party for much of the 20th century, as their electoral base was the Deep South ("the Solid South") with its heavy concentration of military-related jobs.

As that example suggests, the electoral map will reflect which economic sectors are the major patrons of the local workforce. None of those sectors is uniformly distributed around the country -- there's lots of farmland in the Great Plains, but not in Rhode Island. There's a concentration of tech firms around Silicon Valley but not in Montana, banks along the Bos-Wash Corridor but not in the South, and oil fields in Texas but not in Massachusetts.

Getting back to California, what flipped it blue from 1992 to today, compared to its solid red or swing state status during the previous decades, was the evaporation of the military sector as the Cold War drew to a close. There used to be all sorts of major military installations in California, but many were shuttered by the Base Realignment and Closure program, whose targets were announced in 1988. Any work that was lateral to these bases, or downstream of them, would have dried up as well.

In place of Cold War or WWII-era military activity, the new activity in California circa 1990 and after would fall within the informational tech sector, as well as the finance sector (venture capital) that gave them their start-up funding. It's not as though these sectors provide all employment in the state, but if you're living and voting in California, you are more likely to currently have a job, or be searching for a job, in those sectors rather than at a military base or a farm.

Sure enough, these differences appear even within California -- the Bay Area is the bluest, with its concentration of tech, finance, and higher ed employment, while the red parts of the state are the agricultural plantations further inland, along with the lone major military installation of the San Diego Naval Base.

Since the shift in the electoral map around 1990, there hasn't been much of a change in which parts of the country rely heavily on agriculture or energy extraction (a little more in Ohio recently with fracking). The main change was the downsizing of military-related employment once the Cold War was over, which subtracts a lot of voters from the reliable Republican column.

But those same areas along the West Coast also saw the growth of tech firms, which were related to the former military spending -- most major R&D is paid for by the government, with the Defense Department paying the most. Without DoD-funded research laying the solid foundation, there would be no Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, or Google. These informational firms that supplanted the military bases took the West Coast states from a mere loss for the GOP to a solid gain for the Democrats. They might have turned into purple swing states if they had only lost the military work without any informational sectors to fill the void.

If Texas ever turns blue, it will be for the same reason. It will be hard to flip since it is home to all three major GOP sectors -- military bases, oil fields, and ranches and farmland. But over time, maybe some of those will fade out, and more tech firms pop up around Austin, more finance jobs pop up around Dallas, and more media outlets base themselves there for cheaper office rents. As more residents seek work in those sectors, rather than the material sectors, they will vote more Democrat in order to make a living off of its patronage network rooted in the informational sectors.

The same goes for Georgia, another state the Dems are hoping to flip. But not until there are different major employers. The South and Texas are the regions least affected by the military closures after the Cold War -- the fighting spirit of the Celtic people who settled these regions is not going to let them get rid of all their military installations. So they're reliably Republican as long as that party remains the one controlled by the military.

How strongly is the Southern vote tied to the military? In 1952 and '56, the whole country voted Republican except for the South. This was Eisenhower, not a Civil Rights crusader like Johnson in '64. Why didn't they like Ike? Since the country was enjoying post-WWII prosperity, the main campaign issue was the Korean War -- begun as usual by a Democrat (Truman), who used to be the militarist party, with their Solid South electoral base.

Eisenhower campaigned on exiting the Korean War, which he delivered on, and ended up slashing the military budget in half afterwards since they were no longer in a major war. That's not good for the military patronage flowing to the South, so they were the only region to reject him (both times).

How did Trump win back the Rust Belt for Republicans? He promised to revive a patronage network with them as the beneficiaries -- bringing their manufacturing sector back to life. He didn't have much of a record to point to, but it's not like the Democrats did either (although they do have a superior record on voting against free trade deals). Unlike the West Coast, the Rust Belt did not see a surge in tech or finance companies during the post-Cold War transition away from military employment. So they were left in purple / swing state status.

And they decided to gamble on Trump, the would-be patron of manufacturing. To the extent they notice factories returning, hiring more people, for full-time, benefit-bringing jobs, with good pay, they'll keep on betting on the GOP.

If they don't notice their factories coming roaring back to life, and if Pennsylvania doesn't notice steel rising from the grave, they will dump the GOP as failed patrons and go back to being mild blue states. They don't have much energy production or military bases (outside of Wright-Patterson AFB in swing-state Ohio), although they do have a decent level of agriculture. On the other hand, there's not a lot of tech start-ups, though there are some financial and insurance companies, and large state schools.

It will all come down to who gets the manufacturing sector voters. They ought to be protected by the material sector party, the GOP, but the greedy manufacturing employers have decided to renege on being patrons to the locals and sent their jobs out of the country to be done by cheap labor. They will vote with whichever party wants to slam enough tariffs on their employers to force them to become patrons of their state's economy again.

That would naturally be the Democrats, but we'll see if they can get their act together, while pointing out the failure of the GOP to deliver on Trump's protectionist crusade themes of the campaign.

Pennsylvania would also be helped back into the GOP column by re-opening the massive naval base and shipyard that used to be in Philadelphia -- the nation's first one, and a shame to have been put on the death list early in the post-Cold War era.

I probably shouldn't share that secret, since I've soured on the GOP and would like PA to go back to blue-under-Bernie. But it just shows how little the GOP wants to win the presidency -- destroying patronage networks for large-population states that were not deep red to begin with, and where residents have responded to the betrayal by their former patrons by voting for the other party instead.

So that's what changes a state from being for one party or the other -- changes in which sectors are patrons in the local economy, as well as changes in which party a sector finds itself in a coalition with. Both are subject to change over time.

The least insightful way to analyze politics is focusing on race and ethnicity. It's only good if the goal is anthropology, or the sociology of race and inter-racial dynamics. But not how power is wielded and toward what ends in the political realm, which is rooted entirely in economics.

As for opposing amnesty, that leaves two main arguments: 1) wanting to preserve American culture, and 2) wanting to prevent a lower standard-of-living among Americans as they compete economically with immigrants (lower wages, higher rents).

The standard losing argument is "to prevent one or more states from turning into Democrat bastions". Already you've lost the Democrats, who would be open to the working-class protection argument, as well as most Independents, who want to keep the option open of voting for either party. Plus it ignores what the Democrats stand for -- not long ago, they were the militarist party, then it changed to the non-militarist party. Obsessing over partisan victory per se marks you as an airheaded cheerleader with no vision or direction.

I say focus mostly on the economic argument -- if you can win over enough Independents and Democrats, you will get the same outcome as if you had argued on the much tougher argument about cultural preservation. As long as we keep down immigration and send back the ones already here, we will have preserved our American culture -- regardless of how we argued for it. Just get it done however it needs to get done, and enjoy the cultural benefits afterward.

January 4, 2018

Mediterranean girls covering "I'm Not the Only One" by Sam Smith

This is one of the better songs in recent years -- catchy, though in a more mellow and soulful way, coming down from the frenetic highs of the burst of bouncy music from 2012-'13. The emotional tone is that of someone who is staying in a relationship despite knowing their partner is being unfaithful.

Naturally it should be sung by a girl, but they gave it to different infidelity-prone group instead -- homosexual Sam Smith. His tone is too whiny, making for a jarring mismatch between the juvenile emotional tone and the mature lyrics and sound. It sounds like a bratty little kid playing dress-up as an adult, typical of homosexual relationships.

Looking through YouTube covers of the song by female singers, you find too many that are juvenile in a different way -- from typical Millennials who have never had real emotional contact with other people, let alone in an intimate way. The result is artificial -- overly articulated enunciation, deadpan emotional tone, and just not being able to get in the right mood.

But there are a few decent clingy covers, all of them oddly enough from girls of Mediterranean background -- it must not be an unfamiliar mood for them to get into, of someone who gets cheated on and clings to their partner anyway. You couldn't hear a good cover coming from sexually non-dimorphic Scandinavia. The original version was written and performed by people of Celtic background, so it would be nice to hear a cover by another blue-eyed soul Celt like Adele.

Beginning with the best rendition I could find, here's Dua Lipa, of eastern Med background (Albanian):

Next is Mia Rose of western Med background (Portuguese):

A trip to the central Med (Italian) with Caterina Cropelli:

And finally an honorable mention to Luciana Zogbi (Lebanese Catholic), which is a little too rehearsed (child recital-like), rather than from the soul, but still not as obsessed with emo-diva melisma as the typical cover of the song is:

As the big music studios continue to give womanly songs to the homosexuals to sing, and use women themselves for more masculine roles, you have to rely on cover singers from YouTube to find girls singing girly songs.

January 2, 2018

Where is re-alignment, if cucks keep on cuckin'?

Post examples of the continued cuckservative hold over the GOP writ large (pols, pundits, social media mavens, etc.), to show that re-alignment of the party is not happening.

Or find some GOP Senator calling for heavy tariffs against cheap Chinese steel, or some Ben Shapiro clone calling for America to GTFO of Afghanistan already, or an RNC press release urging no amnesty for DACA unless we've already deported twice as many illegals who are already residing here, to provide counterpoints in favor of re-alignment. (We're waiting...).

Remember, re-alignment means the existing GOP is supposed to bend the knee to the populist-nationalist agenda. Not necessarily because they believe in that stuff -- they emphatically do not, but out of concern for which way the political winds are blowing. To the extent that the existing party and broader Conservative Movement (TM) keeps on with their same ol' bullshit, there is no re-alignment in progress.

Here's some dork on Twitter with over 100K followers (and over 1000 likes so far on this tweet), piggy-backing on an already ridiculous tweet by the guy who used to campaign by calling for an end to birthright citizenship, and using terms like "anchor baby" rather than PC euphemisms:

This is the kind of thing that Trump would re-tweet these days. He re-tweeted sycophant Charlie Cuck of Turning Point USA three times in a day recently, forgetting that these types -- including Breitbart -- were bitterly opposed to him during the primaries until it was all over. They were then, and sadly still remain, hypnotized followers of the Cruz Cuck Cult.

The only good thing to come of the Trump era in the broader culture is Tucker Carlson getting his own show in primetime on Fox. And guess who would never get an interview with Trump? He'd give it instead to another sycophant like the once-great Lou Dobbs or hostile forces whose validation he desires, like Maggie Haberman at the NYT.

Contrast with the shift in tone on the Democrats' side, where they are not constantly wailing about racism, sexism, and homophobia like they were just a year ago. Now they're talking about the class divide, Republican greed, using government to provide for the people's healthcare, and so on and so forth.

There are still SJW dead-enders, but unlike the zombie Right, the Left is not continuing to run 24/7 with the message of "Bake the cake, bigot" like it's still 2013. It's the Bernie wing that's been emboldened, unlike the business-as-usual wing that has been emboldened on the GOP side.

Whatever shake-up and excitement there is going to be in American politics, will be coming from the Democrat rather than Republican party.

December 31, 2017

"New Right" now fully co-opted by neo-cons, with remarks on Iran protests

The failed re-alignment of the GOP has been clear for awhile in the direction of the Trump movement trying to pull GOP-ers toward them, as the Republican party remains exactly as it was before the attempted "hostile takeover" by the Trump supporters.

But now we're seeing an even greater failure in the other direction -- former supporters of the populist-nationalist movement who are now shilling for the corporatist-globalist agenda of the widely hated GOP. If the Establishment cannot drive out insurgents from the political arena, it seeks to co-opt them instead.

They're known as the "New Right" or "Alt-Lite". Mike Cernovich, Jack Posobiec, Stefan Molyneux, Paul Joseph Watson, Cassandra Fairbanks, et al. Mostly active on Twitter, although some do guest host segments on the Infowars shows.

They all began as sincere America-firsters, and all expressed shock and disappointment when the Pentagon over-ruled Trump and decided to bomb Syria, which was obviously not going to be a one-off incident but a prelude to a broader and protracted intervention in that country, completely the opposite of what Trump had campaigned on and exhorted Obama to do in 2013.

Regime change in foreign countries was not supposed to be on the list of priorities for Making America Great Again. With the sudden shift on Syria policy, the US was now committed to regime change against Assad, which remains the open official policy still.

We now have thousands of American troops over there, and General Mattis of the Pentagon junta has declared that we will stay there forever -- no conditions, no timelines, and explicitly not just because ISIS has been defeated.

In the scramble to figure out what was going on, these Alt-Lite figures were all on the non-interventionist side and figured that someone else was pulling the strings on military policy other than the Commander-in-chief. They certainly did not start out as neo-cons.

Cernovich developed the largest networks of inside sources, and laid it all out -- General McMaster, also of the Pentagon junta, was undoing the early transformation that General Flynn (purged by the junta) was bringing to the National Security Council. Flynn was on board with Trump about shutting the door on Cold War policies, and focusing instead on radical Islam.

That meant letting go of regime change in Syria, which was a relic of the Cold War, and which would harm the fight against radical Islam, since Assad's secular pluralist government is a target of the jihadists, making him an ally of ours. For that matter, Iran is a target of the jihadists, who blew up the Iranian parliament just last summer. All jihadists are Sunni (though not the other way around), and Iran is predominantly Shia and pluralist.

One by one, Flynn's people were purged from the government by the brass at the Pentagon and the intel agencies. This culminated in August when Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka were purged, followed by Trump giving a neo-con ventriloquist speech about the existential need for us to send more troops back into Afghanistan. By September, the neo-con purge of Trumpians had been completed.

This left the Alt-Lite people with no more contacts within the government who were friendly to their movement. Now there were only GOP puppets for corporate elitism in economics and imperialist globalism against the usual targets in foreign policy. If the Alt-Lite journalists and activists wanted any access to the Trump administration, they would now be dealing only with hostile forces.

That meant that either they could stick to their principles of America First, and get shut out from all access to the Trump administration -- or grovel before their enemies who had taken over the administration, and get some access.

Groveling isn't enough, though -- the cucks and neo-cons who run the GOP want you to spread their BS message to your large audience, reaching people who the standard GOP talking heads could not reach via Fox News.

The deal is pretty simple: you can do the whole Tea Party thing, being counter-cultural or insurgent against the GOP Establishment, and adapt it for younger online-only audiences. The Tea Party was easily co-opted, so make that the model for the New Right. The Tea Party, only with no Bible thumping or other Boomer-related gimmicks.

But, you are never to criticize major policy decisions -- especially relating to the main faction that controls the party, the Pentagon -- and you are never to criticize the operation of the White House at the upper levels. Be a good team player for the GOP.

In addition to needing sources, there's also the chance that some Zionist donor dangled a bag of money in front of them.

Over the past several months, the New Right has started to sound more and more like the Old Right. Dismissing single-payer healthcare when they might have considered it before, cheerleading the tax cuts for the wealthy and for off-shoring corporations, hyping up Israel as the most important place for Americans to concern themselves with, and laying off their earlier criticism of the Pentagon junta for how it was sealing off Trump from his allies and from any information that might lead him to decide against more imperialism, with Cernovich even giving empty pro forma praise for both McMaster and Kelly.

Some of these changes may have been symptoms of Stockholm Syndrome, where after joining politics as nominal Republicans -- Trumpians -- they began internalizing the standard Republican crap that they had been fighting against just a year ago.

But in their reaction to the current protests in Iran, they seem far more coordinated and centrally orchestrated, using the same talking points and even the same buzzwords ("brave," "heroic"). Some of these talking points cut completely against their brands as they have existed for the past year or more -- like how we need regime change in Iran so that women can cast off their hijabs, and that "this is what real feminism looks like". All of these New Right people are anti-feminist, so what gives?

Clearly this talking point came from the same neo-con think tank borg brain, which tries to persuade American audiences to destabilize another Middle Eastern country and send millions of more Muslim refugees to our shores, by appealing to human rights, feminism, etc. The disseminater of this liberal interventionist talking point did not bother to adapt it to the anti-feminist brand of the New Right figures, leaving its fat clumsy neo-con fingerprints all over the message.

Do the head-level neo-cons really think we're going to forget how these Alt-Lite people responded to the push for regime change in Syria, either during the campaign or right after the bombing of Syria? Some of them went so far as to say they were "done with Trump" after that (misplacing the blame that belongs 100% to the Pentagon and intel agencies).

We're not the typical mindless Republican-voting morons who will rally around whatever a Republican President says we must do. If that's the only people who resonate with this neo-con co-optation of the New Right media figures, then it's not persuading anyone new among their audience. Those of us who used to tune in to Cernovich's scoops about which Trump supporter was getting purged next, can easily detect when he's talking like a ventriloquist dummy with a neo-con hand up its butt.

We can also tell when the dog does not bark. Back when the purge was in full force, Cernovich attacked the anti-Trump staffer Johnnie DeStefano as one of the ringleaders. Well, now Axios reports that DeStefano will assume even greater powers in the new year, meaning there will be even less of a Trumpian influence among the White House staff, and less Trumpian influence over Congress.

Why isn't Cernovich using the occasion to gloat about how he knew the score months ago, and was way ahead of the mainstream media in identifying who this anti-Trump purger was? He loves to gloat about early stories he's broken, but now not if it would end up criticizing the operation of the White House.

As the Pentagon and CIA begin preparing for the War on Terror 2.0 against Iran, who has never attacked us, while giving hundreds of billions of dollars worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia who blew us up on 9/11, the New Right is only going to get worse. It's going to be warmed-over "Axis of Evil" crap from the George W. Bush years. Just when you thought the neo-cons were dead -- a hand shoots out of the grave and clings to your ankle!

The only high-profile Trumpians I can identify who are skeptical or dismissive of mindless, wasteful, and pointless regime change in Iran are Tucker Carlson and Ann Coulter. The only one with a lower profile but still visible in conservative media, is Scott Greer with the Daily Caller (connection to Tucker).

Paul Joseph Watson actually tweeted a link to this post by Moon of Alabama, which makes the case that whatever economic grievances may have motivated some of the Iranian protesters, the Deep State in the US and Israel is not going to waste the opportunity to re-direct them into a full-on regime change operation, which will fail like all the others have.

But then someone must have tapped him on the shoulder, and whispered in his ear that he was supposed to be towing the line about how great it would be for regime change to strike Iran. He also parroted the groupthink talking point from the others in the New Right that these protests could not possibly be part of a Deep State coup, since the mainstream media are not covering them like they covered them during the Arab Spring or Syrian civil war.

It is a facile claim, as the media will soon be covering them, but are not yet clear about how to frame their narrative -- this time, the media's rival party is in power, unlike during 2009 and just after, when their own party was in power and could not be criticized.

Moreover, in between the Arab Spring and the potential Persian Spring, the media's party struck a major deal with Iran when their own party was in power. Encouraging regime change in Iran would certainly disrupt that deal, which they consider one of their party's crowning achievements (rightly so, although you could say it was one of the few things they did that didn't fuck up the world any more than it already was).

Remember: the whole point of the Iran Nuclear Deal was to open the country up to Western investment, which would benefit the finance sector here in America. Since the finance sector is the main faction controlling the Democrat party, it had to be that party that struck the deal. The military is the main faction controlling the GOP, and they treat Iran as an obstacle to their continued military footprint in the Middle East. So like hell the deal would be struck by them.

With the media joining the finance sector in the party system, they are going to now err on the side of not stirring up trouble against Iran. Any regime change or other military operation would threaten the fragile new state of investment by Western banks in that country, which they were so hungry to sink their teeth into that they risked looking "soft on a regional military opponent". They countered by tying Western investment to a moratorium on nuclear weapons development.

So the media wants to have Wall Street's back on not destabilizing Iran.

On the other hand, the media also wants access to sources from the military in case a regime change operation does get under way, so they may decide to let Wall Street's investments in Iran go to pot by spreading the Pentagon and CIA's propaganda about needing to overthrow the government there once again.

For the moment, the media's decision is up in the air. But it does not mean that we are not witnessing an obvious attempt by the opportunistic Deep State to turn protests about economic grievance into a full-on regime change and nation-building operation, destined to fail like all the others before it.