Ruy Teixeira is a Lonely Prophet

Ruy Teixeira isn’t sure the Democrats look very good as an upscale party pushing boutique concerns. Fundamentally, I agree, but on pragmatic grounds. The Dems already tried this: the “commanding heights” of the economy and culture do NOT give you access to the hearts and minds of the plebs. To be sure, things aren’t going swimmingly for Team Red, either. Both parties are still functionally insane given the ongoing fun of Realignment.

But if Team Blue’s political axioms are correct, they should OWN the electorate right now, and they don’t. If the Acela Corridor hates trump, despises DeSantis, and literally views anybody who votes Republican as a fascist, perhaps they should ask themselves: “what are we doing so wrong that working-class people would rather vote for fascists than for us?”

(hint: privileged white woman Robin DiAngelo lecturing minorities about who they should and should not hang out with *defines* “not a good look.”)

It’s not “messaging,” and it’s not “evil corporations.” Dems RUN most of said corporations, own 90% of the media, and control nearly all U.S. education: the “commanding heights” of U.S. finance and culture are fully-owned subsidiaries of the Democratic Party. It’s not working for them.

Mahan’s Revenge

For my Three Raving Fans:

I had the immense fortune to have lunch with a retired Vice-Admiral today (these people live in the stratosphere, socially speaking, and I’ll likely never meet him again). We were part of a wide-ranging discussion, and agreed on a number of things regarding Taiwan and its defense (the Navy with the biggest number of ships usually wins, declaring that we’d defend Taiwan was an unusual move on POTUS’ part, utility of the Malacca Strait, etc etc), but the Big Thing is tht the Navy is badly under-hulled. A ship can only be in one place at a time, and we have an endless hunger for missions without the hulls and crews to supply that hunger.

This matters. The U.S. Navy enforces Bretton Woods, thus making the Global Economy possible (for those who are confused, c.f. Alfred Thayer Mahan).

There aren’t enough ships.
There is no appetite for adding new ships.
There is no confidence that our shipyards can actually PRODUCE anything quality of late (outside of their dedicated boosters).

Whatever can’t go on forever, won’t.

Ergo: crew exhaustion with no relief in sight mandates that missions will be restricted. For the most part we’ve already (quietly) left the Middle East. Allies are standing up naval forces with whom we will cooperate, but on their terms, rather than ours (bc we are not an Empire, and Bretton Woods is not the Delian League).

Watch for us to take a very economic view of future missions, because in our current geopolitics we can’t leave the First Island Chain. China is imploding under the weight of its own endemic misrule, but is still a potentially lethal threat to its neighbors while it thrashes about… and if push comes to shove, we simply don’t have the hulls to enforce global nautical peace *and* hold China at bay. So those hulls must be used effectively and parsimoniously.

Cartel Blues

Geopolitical Fact: some countries become empires even reluctantly, because they have security problems to which they can only see force as a solution, when stronger countries are bordered by weak states.

Expect “the Cartel Problem” to have legs. Just like alcohol prohibition created Al Capone, drug prohibition created the cartels. Mexico’s weakness as a state has created real security problems for the U.S. on a semi-regular basis.

The big solution to the Cartels’ influence along the border is to recognize that substance abuse is a medical issue, not primarily a legal one. Doing coke or heroin has real consequences for the abusers and those who live with them, but *adding* the problem of a legally-mandated black market which radically increases the profits for selling in that market (and thus creates money-laundering problems which also fund sexual trafficking), is not helpful.

The U.S. is not politically mature enough to look this problem directly in the eye, since majority coalitions in both major parties far prefer a paternal “punishment system,” which also provides massive opportunities for local graft and theft-under-color-of-law to unethical political operators on the local and state level.

We also have the cultural problem that Nortenos are the Mexicans most likely to suffer from cartels while also being the Mexicans most sympathetic to the U.S. culturally, with a strong combination of pro-family values (normal across Mexico) and a strong entrepreneurial instinct (not common in most of Mexico). While returning cross-border fire is a no-brainer which probably won’t hurt US-Mexican relations, cross-border raids on Cartel members is likely to inevitably dredge up memories of 1848 and the early 20th century. We want to avoid that.

Pre-Election ReAlignment Shifts

For my Three Raving Fans: Realignment continues apace and the assumptions of a year ago are no longer valid as the ground shifts underneath both major parties.

1. Team Blue could not afford/did not bother to engage in any progressive-oriented advertising for the Superbowl. This is a bit of a theoretical surprise, as NFL has been progressive/woke-friendly of late. ((n.b., “woke” is used as a pejorative in some circles and a positive in others, I will often use it rather than “progressive” simply bc fewer syllables).

This is *not* because Team Blue has jettisoned its issues sheet. As Ruy Teixeira continues to note, Team Blue is failing BADLY at addressing working-class concerns, and is particularly hampered by what he refers to as the “Fox News Fallacy.” (i.e., don’t reject the legitimacy of counter-arguments out of hand simply bc they come from somebody you don’t like. Blue’s habit of deciding that you only “get to have an opinion” if you’re “current approved not-a-fascist” is hurting the party among the working class, particularly hard-hit minority working-class neighborhoods wracked with violent crime).

Instead, something different is going on: the Fed has ended effectively-free “cheap money” at the investment level. This cuts directly into the amount of money that big Team Blue backers like Silicon Valley and Hollywood can throw around. The money is tight now, layoffs are everywhere, and when you spend money, that money needs to make a profit, not merely advance a desirable side good. That’s why good old fashioned cabs are now easily competitive with Uber/Lyft for most areas: the “Free Ride” is over, and unlikely to return for a generation. That changes the calculus of the investor class which pays for most of both parties’ public marketing, but Team Blue *particularly,* since Tech, Hollywood, and the University Patronage System ((i.e., in reality, Harvard is a REIT with an academic department attached to it)) are big major movers which flat-out own the “commanding heights” of mainstream pop culture.

2. Team Red has seen Nikki Haley throw her hat in the ring for 2024. This is another major sign that Trump’s cachet has gone down in flames. It’s not an accident that Team Blue openly helped Trump’s candidates in 2022: his populist candidates were easier to beat than the moderates and conservatives Team Red would normally nominate. While openly demonized by Team Blue per Partisan Tribal Mandate, Haley is a mainstream conservative of the more pragmatic sort who has made a long career out of carefully examining her chances before throwing her hat into the ring (her “gimme line” is that she’s never lost an election and doesn’t plan to start).

Trump is currently favored in polls vs Biden for 2024, but his cachet among Republicans largely remains tied to populists, QAnon types, and working-class disaffecteds who are currently considering Team Red because Team Blue gives them lip-service but governs according to issues that are only relevant to people living wayyyyy up Maslow’s Hierarchy, rather than barely surviving paycheck to paycheck in the face of rampaging inflation and increasingly-tight credit.

The trick is what happens on campaign. The 2024 map favors Team Red for massive gains in the Senate if they don’t screw up. Will they? That depends on the degree to which DeSantis and Haley recognize that working-class voters are truly disaffected and up for grabs, or whether Trump can pull a comeback in the face of overwhelming opposition not just from Team Blue, but from the Republican Party itself (none to happy with how he hijacked them for four years and sucked all of their oxygen out of the room, but well understanding in retrospect why he was successful in doing so).
If you’re like me and follow politics not as a “team member,” but to understand how the historical currents shift around and why various folks choose to act the way they do, these are really interesting times.

The Working Class Isn’t Dumb

For my three raving fans:

Here is a *Defining* feature of American Political Realignment (caps bc if you’re *not* one of my three raving fans, it’s important to understand that this is a regularly-occurring feature of American politics that is quite UNLIKE Parliamentary politics). The two major political parties get so captured by small political coalitions driving their specific interests that they no longer address the fundamental concerns of the rest of the country. Their politics gets so focused on boutique issues and destroying the opposite party that they fail to stand for anything that an average person cares about.

When this happens, both parties become ripe for political takeover, dissolution, or both. In the meantime, they hemorrhage support from the rest of the country, because what the Parties have to offer no longer really addresses the concerns of the majority of the population. Eventually the parties wise up and figure out how to capture a broader share of the electorate, the parties become more broadly-representative again, and Realignment ends.

I’ve discussed this a number of times, but as I was doing this background reading, I thought this Gallup poll illustrated the issue quite nicely. Right now, most of the working class is up for grabs — both parties pay lip-service to it in public speeches and claim to absolutely bear the mantle of its protector…while privately, other political constituencies are radically more powerful, and their concerns win, over and over again. Both political parties are like phone-sex operators who breathlessly promise everything the people who are having literal nightmares about affording food and shelter worry about…. but they consistently fail to deliver.

And because people aren’t stupid, they notice.

State of the Yeah, Okay.

For my Three Raving Fans:

1. Russia continues destroying its future by shoving mobiks into the front-lines, because the Russian political class* is culturally incapable of admitting wrong or declaring defeat absent outright collapse. Russians don’t enjoy civil society — they have NEVER enjoyed civil society. Like the PRC’s slaves in China, there is no buffer or barrier between them and their openly-murderous State. Putin came to power murdering his own citizens and he will continue to do so until stopped. The mobiks are victims too, and it is entirely possible to devoutly hope that they are TROUNCED on the battlefield, without losing sight of the fact that most of them are there only because there are people behind them who will shoot them if they try to flee or surrender.

*as outsiders we need to be granular here. Most Russians have even less say in what their governments do than Americans do. Since the KGB/FSB still runs Russia, this term effectively refers to the FSB, the mafias (same people, different branding: Russian mafias work for the state the same way Chinese Triads do theirs), and the Russian Orthodox Church (significant numbers of higher-ranking ROC clergy are in fact wealthy FSB-appointees, and while there are devout, kind, and gentle ROC members world-wide, the *organization* operates as an arm of the RU gov’t)

2. MASSIVE earthquake in Turkey. Nightmare-fuel force at, iirc, 7.6, in one of the worst possible locations for it to happen. If you pray, this is a good week for it, because the casualty count from this is going to be appalling.

3. China is squawking a little over the balloon incident and claiming force majeure, but China’s MFA uses enough weasel-words that the only people it’s really going to influence are people who were more or less already tankies anyway. China’s real problem continues to be its economic implosion, and it’ll be interesting to see if it’s NON-“wolf-warrior-diplomacy” was just to impress the High Priest Vulture Elite at Davos, or whether the PRC has realized just how deep a hole it’s dug for itself, and that it needs to build scaffolding rather than shovels. (Don’t count on it, sadly.)

4. Iran and RU to cooperate to create Shahed factories for continuing to bomb Ukrainian civilians. This will last as long as the regime does. Since the Iranians, like the Russians and Chinese, would like something better for their lives, but UNLIKE the latter, are actively and regularly engaged in truly massive, widespread protests, there is halting hope that eventually the IRGC and Theocrats fall. Don’t hold your breath — experience shows that people in this situation tend not to step down gracefully.

I’m going very light on domestic news, as this is a State of the Union Address week and everything will be politicized all to hell. The basics:

1) We’re in recession, inflation is appalling, and the labor participation rate is starting to crater as the last of the Boomers begin hitting the exits as retirees. That means that MY generation, as Xers, are finally kinda-sorta expected to be in charge.

No. Roe v. Wade guaranteed that there are far too few of us for that to be the case (no politics here, but you don’t lose 600K-1MM+ kids/year w/o that having a demographic impact, as Eastern Europe can vouch). What is actually going to happen is that those very senior Boomers who can will “hang on until they’re carried out,” and they will largely be replaced by well-connected and precocious Millennials. SOME Gen X folks may finally get that job in Academia or similar fields they’ve been pining after for decades now, but for the most part this is now turning into the Millenials’ and Zoomers’ worlds. (I’m bullish, since I like and respect both, though the Zoomers more).

2) Labor participation is going to bottleneck the slow and steady “re-shoring” of American manufacturing as supply-chain logic dictates that “nearby is expensive, but so is geo-political risk.” The big employment hits are going to be hitting the white-collar positions rather than blue-collar Americans for once, and this will be loudest in places where AI starts to dislocate the bottom rung of skilled and semi-skilled white-collar labor.

3) “Team Red” has largely settled its political debate — it’s now a populist party with some mild leftover Conservative characteristics from the 80s (largely voters who will be ignored except during election years, but who have nowhere to go because Team Blue is openly hostile to religious lifestyles). Trump’s toast and his influence is waning rapidly, though many of his followers don’t know it yet (because they also pretty much have nowhere to go). Team Red’s hucksters are selling fiscal conservatism right now on a strategic level, but make no mistake, populists *spend.* Maybe not to the “printer goes brrr” level that Team Blue does, but nothing resembling fiscal sanity is coming from either party any time soon.

“Team Blue” is still in some turmoil, but the 2024 electoral map looks like any remaining aspirants to the “Blue Dog” mantle are in deep trouble. Those who seek to remain have a seriously uphill battle compared to Deep Blue Progressive Strongholds, with Wall St., its sub-players Hollywood and Big Tech (increasingly constrained by the death of easy money), and the Environmentalists fully in charge. This argues strongly that Blue will come out of realignment in 2024 and that we’ll have more-or-less static political coalitions moving forwards after that. The big Realignment change will be older voters having cognitive dissonance as they have difficulty reconciling the political parties they grew up with compared to the ones they have now.

Most Self-Defense (probably) Isn’t What You Think It Is

I’ve done martial arts for a long time and I currently teach historical fencing (and lightsaber based on historical fencing, which is Great Nerdy Fun). One recurring theme I keep seeing is “how can we adapt historical martial arts techniques for self-defense?”

Frankly, we could, but it’s mostly not worth worrying about. Yeah, I know how to handle a knife and consider myself to have an above-average chance at handling somebody who’s coming at me with a knife in a non-ambush situation…but for the most part, for most Americans, “learning knife fighting” is an imaginary solution to an imaginary problem, and largely serves as a psychological booster for violence-obsessed young men to feel better about their place in the world. Helpful? Sure.

But the REAL self-defense problem looks very, very different than what you see discussed on Youtube.

Political and/or State Violence: in America, so long as you can avoid mob violence surrounding protests and keep away from those mass-shootings which happen to be politically motivated, this is cake. It’s no accident that the histrionic, hysterical predictions of our country’s Barking Moonbat Haters Of That Other Party consistently fail to materialize.

Social Violence: humans are a shockingly peaceful species by comparison to the rest of the world, and for most people, most of the time, avoiding social violence is as simple as “be respectful, don’t engage when presented with road-rage behavior, and avoid excessive contact with public consumption of alcohol.” There are exceptions, but they tend to be very specific and highly-contextual.

Social Predation/Criminal Violence: Crooks mostly get killed by other crooks. Semi-feudal gang/cartel violence is invisible to your average member of the public, with the real problems being lack of civil order because of political failures preventing prosecution, and trafficking of young men and women for purposes of sexual slavery. Very basic social and situational awareness covers most of this category, and martial arts techniques are only occasionally helpful here. Understanding “victim selection” and how to avoid looking like a good target for crooks is more important, though facility with an arm-bar could potentially help here and there, now and then.

So if these aren’t what self-defense is really about, what IS it?

Social Parasitism. And it is endemic to human societies.

Humans are relatively non-violent, but social parasitism is everywhere (it’s not just scammers). It takes the form of unreasonable demands on your time, energy, and resources. It crops up as requests for wildly unreasonable favors combined with Great Arguments For Why You Can’t Say No. This includes a significant percentage of instances of ongoing emotional and/or sexual abuse. It appears everywhere as the weaponization of its victims’ ethical standards against themselves or to stave off the victim’s friends from helping them “wake up” to realize they’re being taken advantage of, whether it’s criminals posing as homeless beggars (or more regularly, organizing gangs of beggars and running them as ruthlessly as a pimp runs a group of street-walkers), or the bum on the corner who can’t couch-surf any more because they’ve already burned every single person they know, and the people who do know them are so sick of their shit that they’d rather let them be homeless than put up with them any more. It’s the “grown-ass adult who can never seem to wipe their own ass and take care of their own shit, and yet somehow this is now your problem and your responsibility.”

The human parasite’s weapon of choice isn’t a knife in a blind alley: it’s words, and the constant pleading for special favors and unwarranted aid backed up by guilt trips, gas-lighting, and other forms of emotional manipulation. You can tell The Parasite by how they instantly cease even pretending to be friendly or civil once the victim of their pleading finally cuts off the gravy train.

If working-class America suffers radically-higher instances of criminal violence due to lower community resources and political neglect, and mostly-higher instances of social violence because of the widespread abuse of alcohol, it is keenly aware of “the parasite problem,” simply because these people tend to either refuse to hold down a meaningful job, or else have a hard time doing what’s required to do so. Working-class Americans often have a keenly-honed sense for who has requested how many favors, and whether they’ve made good for what they’ve asked. Working-class communities also tend to shun/reject those who are deemed parasites, leading to the “here’s a human who always has a lot of friends, but for some reason they’re all people they’ve recently met rather than long-term buddies” phenomenon (this is one of the ways you can play “spot the parasite”). That said, ALL social classes in America suffer widespread and rampant social predation, and those with the time and energy to kick back and read random blogs in the Internet would be well-served to develop three things:

  1. The ability to say “no.”
  2. The ability to say “hell no, don’t ask me again.”
  3. The ability to recognize wheedling, gas-lighting, and abuse where it’s being used to prevent one’s friends and loved ones from doing same.

The human parasite will make “Saying No” as unpleasant as they possibly can. Doing so is “how they stay in business.” If you’re into “self-defense” as a concept, add this to your arsenal of “situational awareness,” and you’ll shocked at how widespread it actually is. It’s a leading cause of human misery, and “saying no” is a lot more effective than an arm-bar for keeping you and your friends happy and whole.

Amazon, Disney, Ideology, and Story

So I’m on Youtube. And Youtube is BRUTAL on Disney and Amazon lately for the MCU/Star Wars/ LOTR adaptations and expansions. But part of why they’re brutal on Disney is wokedness issues, while the “other” side says “you’re all bigots who hate representation.”

I’m here to tell you, it ain’t that at all. It’s not the ideology, it’s the laziness. Amazon and Disney seem to be getting worse rather than better over time, falling into the trap of creating facile, low-effort “content” rather than working hard to create “compelling stories with inspiring characters.” Both are capable of doing much, much better.

Two recent, if not current counter-examples:
1. Arcane. It’s worldview and general characterization is woke from top to bottom in a crapsack world without a single functional family in it. It’s also a masterpiece, with sympathetic characters who have agency and motivation, rather than being simple cardboard ideological stand-ins, and who, like real world people struggling with Big Issues, frequently screw up and make terrible decisions, because the price of the *good* decisions is unthinkably high and more than the market will bear. The writing is compelling and the artwork and animation are leagues beyond, cleverly managing to portray character, setting, *and* motive in a way that no amount of bland genero-fantasy landscape CGI from Marvel can match. (Netflix, be on notice: this is your masterpiece, sitting right next to similarly-ideological pieces that are doing nothing to stop you from hemorrhaging viewers. More quality and less “content” will save you, though).

2. The Expanse.
Literally a meditation on bigotry, privilege, and hatred, set in the High Frontier. Awe-inspiring visions of Heroic Space and what it COULD be clash with the tragedy of “how it actually is,” as the powerful maul the lives of the weak, simply because they can, while the weak struggle to figure out how to be strong, without turning into precisely the evil that they hate with such clear justification. And the plot devices *work.* No recent fiction with powerful, three-dimensional, nuanced female characters? The show’s most influential protagonists are almost ALL beautifully-written, three-dimensional, frequently awe-inspiringly heroic women who hold their own next to completely capable men (rather than the more recent phenomenon of failing what I call The Reverse Bechdel Test, aka, “are your female characters so pathetic that you have to make your story’s males into idiot losers to make them look good?”). If depth and strength of character was a muscle group, these ladies would spank most of the MCU’s recent characters and send them back to day-care. Two of them reach *Ellen Ripley* levels of “your very name invokes awe.”

The irony is that Amazon *picked up* this IP off SyFy, ran it for three seasons, and slam dunked it, the only consistent viewer complaint being that the last season was simply too short (which kinda happens when one of the actors portraying a main character gets cancelled because of serious #metoo issues). And they picked up that material and ran it all the way into the end zone without doing the kind of violence to the franchise that has Tolkien fans screaming into their coffee cups. Instead, they took the source material and remained as true to it as a t.v. adaptation can get. The results are immensely compelling, and I’m hugely looking forward to seeing which of its characters my teenage daughter might consider a compelling role model.

People aren’t stupid, and they aren’t uncritically ideological: if you make really GOOD stuff that espouses worldview with which they don’t identify, they will still watch…. precisely because it’s good stuff. Audiences don’t at all mind viewpoint-diversity, so long as they’re entertained by compelling story. And if you put out lazy, low-effort schlock, no amount of ideological agreement between your producers and your viewers is going to keep your IP from collapsing as all but the least demanding of them stroll to the exits and don’t look back.

August 2022: An Awful Accelerando

For My Three Raving Fans

1. International Institutions Sell Out To Russia
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is not going well, but it’s still finding time to intentionally commit lots and lots of war crimes, such as torturing POWs and then burning them all to death in their lice-ridden POW camp at Ohlenivka. These POWs only surrendered to Russia because the UN and International Committee of the Red Cross guaranteed that they would receive proper treatment under the Geneva Convention.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International put out an absolutely incendiary piece ignoring all of Russia’s horrible crimes but accusing Ukraine of intentionally endangering civilians by not putting its military units out in wide-open fields. The facts that Russia puts tube and rocket artillery in the middle of a nuclear plant and uses them to shell civilian areas, or that Russia has been intentionally slaughtering civilians from Day One, or that Russia has kidnapped anywhere from the very high hundreds-of-thousands to low-ish millions of Ukrainian citizens, dumping them in decrepit mental institutions and rural Siberian backwater hovels, apparently isn’t worthy of their notice.

Here at Happycrow’s Eyeball Factory, we consider the Red Cross and Amnesty International at “go die in a fire (at Ohlenivka) status. The AI reporter who wrote the report (which AI has backed) is currently covering Sudan, a place where Russia has undermined the democracy and is looting the place of gold.

2. The Armenian-Azerbaijiani War Is Back On.
Per the terms of the previous ceasefire, Russia was to guarantee that both sides behaved. It was a diplomatic masterstroke turning the entire region into a Russian condominium. But there were two problems.
a. Russia, as usual, lied. It allowed Armenian troops into Nagorno-Karabakh, where soldiers were explicitly banned, while pulling a “wotchu gonna du” on Azerbaijian
b. Russia made the terrible mistake of arguing from amoral force, and then squandering that threat by getting bogged down in a similarly dishonest, amoral war in Ukraine.

Long story short? Azerbaijian isn’t afraid of Russia and isn’t tolerating Armenian troops where they’re not supposed to be. Armenia is a “democracy,” sort of, and Azerbaijian is a dictatorship, but in this case, Armenia is the bad guy here, and has been a crybully from the inception, its own PM’s “wotchu gonna du” move being what precipitated the war in the first place.

Without Russia being able to back up the Armenians, Azerbaijian’s answer appears to be “kick your ass.”

3. China Goes Ballistic (over Taiwan)
We now know how China planned to respond to Pelosi’s visit — by pulling trigger on a long-arranged set of live-fire exercises over and through Taiwanese airspace in a show of, get this, amoral force. China has banned Taiwanese food imports, which must make some bureaucrat happy, while China’s miserable citizens are forced to stick with often-literally-toxic homegrown food.

Long answer short, China is run by fascist villains, so if you buy snacks, investigate your local Asian markets for awesome Taiwanese stuff you can buy to support them.

4. Hunger Stalks Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, one of China’s first and most dramatic debt-trap victims, is now said to have roughly of a quarter of its citizens suffering real hunger. What’s anybody doing about it? The answer is “not much,” and certainly not India, on its doorstep.

(India doesn’t much like Sri Lanka, and is already famous/infamous for being a classic “triangulator” on the global stage. India does what’s good for India, and while individual Indians may care about how people in the rest of the world are doing, India’s federal and regional governing caste (and that is still very much what it is) care much less about the well-being of foreigners than they do their own poor. And that amount is famously “near empty-set.”

5. China Calls Canada To The Carpet
Canada didn’t fight the latest G7 announcement condemning China’s behavior, and Beijing made its displeasure to Canada well-known.

Why Canada? Well, the dirty secret of North America is that, for all its preening, Canada’s human rights record actually isn’t all that good, with its Liberals particularly known for having an absolutely Orwellian authoritarian streak. This is actually common across a lot of the Anglosphere — we tend to espouse high ideals, but when the chips are down or the High Priest Vulture Elite get their meal tickets threatened, the “little people” tend to catch it right in the mouth.

It’s unclear at this point whether Canada will suddenly develop a case of testicular fortitude and tell Beijing to get stuffed, whether they’ll fold, or whether they’ll kick the can down the road mouthing whatever they need to in order to keep China happy (which has mostly been the policy of late).

1. Team Red Fucks Up
For all that this blog tends to make comments about Team Blue, because, well, they’re in charge and for the most part doing a horrible job of things, as one would expect of a party whose own house organs (such as the Atlantic) are starting to say “hey…maybe we shouldn’t just cravenly pander to the extremists out on the Maoist Left all the time?” …. Team Red just committed a doozy of an error by inviting Viktor Orban to speak at CPAC in Dallas.

Whatever you think of Trump, unless you get all your media from MSNBC and thus think the January 6th hearings are the cutting edge of admissable evidence on a widespread armed insurrection controlled by Moscow (lol), most people with poor opinions of the former POTUS tend to think “megalomaniacal dumbass,” not villain.

And that’s the problem. Orban is a villain. He is Putin’s Mini-Me in Europe, whose cronies have robbed Hungary so blind that they’re down to giving away their forests to their crony elite, because they’ve run out of anything else to rob. So where’s the support coming from?

Conservatives are incensed. The Right Wing ousts white-supremacists. Granted, for the MSNBC crowd, that’s anybody to the right of Sinema and Manchin…but there is such a thing as “too far to the right” where the overwhelming majority of Team Red will tell you to go jump in a lake and stop associating with respectable people. This doesn’t exist for Team Blue. Whoever stakes out the most-leftward political position is assumed to have greater moral authority. Team Blue is trying to turn that around, but it’s been thirty-plus years in coming, and Realignment is a slow process.

Important caveat, I am talking about party members, not “Tends To Vote This Way or Accept This Party’s Media Narratives.” If you are not an actual political activist or party member who works with and for the parties, you are a ‘voter,’ not a ‘Republican’ or ‘Democrat.’

While “okay groomer” is in most cases a terrible slander, it has an awful kernel of truth inside it. It is unfortunately true that some of Team Blue’s powerful players have sheltered and covered for actual groomers engaged in seriously creepy shit like trying to sexualize kindergarteners.

Wait, I thought we were talking about Team Red screwing the pooch. What gives?

It’s like this. Orban’s a villain, but just bc you’re a villain doesn’t mean you’re dumb. Orban’s all over this phenomenon when talking to right-wing U.S. media, because it’s an easy way to score points with low-information voters who are legit terrified that some people in the schools think they, not the parents, own the right to raise their kids the way they see fit. And so the Fox Crowd on Team Red, being every bit as gullible as the MSNBC crowd but in the other direction, tends to say “this guy doesn’t like something I don’t like! By Jove, I like the cut of that man’s jib!”

Which is idiocy. And supporting Orban as a prime speaker plays right into the “conservatives love fascist tyrants trope,” because, well…. Orban is a fascist tyrant. If Team Red fawns all over him, it has nobody to blame but itself when those chickens come home to roost, and just as with Team Blue suffering a “we scored cheap and easy wins for a whole generation by pandering to the Maoists, how do we fix this now” hangover, the longer Team Red turn a blind eye to the fact that they’re giving plaudits to villains, the deeper the damage they’re going to suffer.

2. No commentary YET on primaries-and-mid-terms.

The Chattering Class is all over it, but it’s too early for analysis, and I’m not making prognostications at that level of politics, because my goal is to see what the big picture is and not argue for why you or somebody else should believe X, but to describe why “they” do, and how that affects the landscape.

3. People are starting to lose their gourds over Monkeypox.

Stay clean and stay wholesome and don’t do close-contact with exchange fluids with people who have Monkeypox, and the vast majority of the evidence says “you’ll be fine.”

What do we mean by wholesome? Okay, full disclosure. I’m an “out of date ally” who used to live in San Francisco, and although personally I’m straight, I hung out with bi activists working against “bi erasure,” which was still a major thing until very recently. I’ve spent some time in the Castro, and there are a lot of awesome, super-wholesome people in the Castro. But there are, unfortunately, a few people in the community who are making things bad for everybody else by raw-dogging it around and not taking common-sense precautions, and for better or for worse, people still think SF is significant, so that combined with “cheap and easy low-effort headlines” is playing right into the “let’s paint Monkeypox as a gay disease” b.s. — don’t be a victim either way. That headline is obviously wrong, and in the era of drug-resistant gonorrhea and other really nasty STDs, which are widespread in the U.S. population, raw-dogging it in public venues is just hilariously irresponsible.

4. No economic relief in sight for the working and middle class

There’s already significant pushback on the Fed for having dared to raise rates out of the basement, because under Quantitative Easing, the entire economy was rigged to make you rich if you were in stocks, and impoverished if you were A Mere Normie. It is unclear whether the political class will allow even a mild version of “The Volcker Treatment” to go forwards and restore people’s savings or not. The High Priest Vulture Elite prefers investments. Personal savings is already at an all-time low because food prices and housing prices are at enormous highs while we’re in recession. (Yes, we are in recession, no matter how much various actors try to cover for the administration. Recession was inevitable for high-level fiscal and monetary reasons and would have landed on Trump had he remained in office as well. To that extent, Team Blue’s inflationary policies have actually done the country a major favor in the long-term, by forcing the Fed’s hand. The longer that can got kicked down the road, the worse the inevitable hang-over.)

Take care of each other, and be relentlessly wholesome and tolerant with those who disagree with you, especially if they’ve been victimized by a reliance partisan news sources. The High Priest Vulture Elite on both sides of the aisle far prefer to play divide, conquer, and distract, and the only way to avoid becoming a victim of said narratives is to Stay. Wholesome.

More July-End Updates

1. Ragweed season has now hit and I have the allergic pseudo-flu hard. You know, all the covid symptoms but none of the cachet. Whee!
2. I finally have an office! I lack my final (~permanent) certification for my practice, but it’s coming on fast and I’m getting set up.

1. Pelosi Visit
: US/China bracing for whether Pelosi does or does not visit Taiwan. If she does, it will mean massive loss of face for Beijing (which made big threats, will look impotent). If she doesn’t, it means massive loss of face for D.C. (will look like hypocritical cowards, which, tbf, summarizes most of our political class anyway). China takes this seriously enough to have enaged in live-fire exercises over Taiwan in order to get its point across, but nobody serious thinks they’re ready to go kinetic over it.

Meanwhile, China’s economy continues to collapse.

2. Russian War Crimes: Russia caught red-handed repeatedly torturing POWs, forcing them onto psychotropic drugs to render then addled basket-cases, and in several cases castrating/executing them as part of ongoing torture. UN/Red Cross, as usual, nowhere to be found in spite of giving “guarantees.” (Red Cross has pretty much put the nail in its coffin of international credibility now, with a proven track record of always backing the dictator in any conflict. This is part and parcel of “institutional rot,” a major problem in human civic and political affairs). RU now caught blatantly using thermobarics to burn POWs to death, while trying to blame it on Ukrainian rocketry. The claims are laughable at best for a gazillion technical reasons. Nobody is actually fooled, but this is what Moscow thinks will create social disharmony in Ukraine.

Lessons of History: Inflicting Atrocities on the Enemy Galvanizes Your Enemy, Rather Than Demoralizing Them

2.a. Russian International Atrocities: Russian rape of Sudan continues, having destabilized the fledgling democracy and now using its PMCs and handlers to pillage whatever gold it can get. (Meanwhile, the US, incarcerating hundreds of thousands for pot use, are going to trade Russia a known war criminal in favor of a basketball player in the klink for …. pot use. The “our drug war is a racist war against the poor and poorly-connected” headlines write themselves).

Meanwhile, Russia’s economy continues to collapse.

3. Energiewende: Germany: “maybe we made an error and we should pull those nukes out of mothball status, since this winter is going to suck really badly.”

4. Iraq: Say what you want about Moqtada Sadr, the man’s a patriot. With Iranian-backed parties in power planning to install a subservient regime, Sadr put protestors well inside the Green Zone to make it clear that Iraq refuses to be anybody’s geopolitical finger-puppet.

5. South Korea: Massive infighting and hilariously low approval means a big shakeup coming in government. Affects regional relationships, or can.


1. Political Realignment and all its inanity. The Republicans are working to figure out whether they can keep the “pragmatic populism” model DeSantis espouses while divorcing themselves from Trump. The Democrats are trying to figure out how to divorce themselves from their most left-wing activists after promulgating a party culture in which whoever espouses the most left-wing POV by definition owns the moral high ground. This is extra-hard for the Dems because they have the single least popular President of the entire post-WWII era, and that with basically every major nationwide institution bending over backwards to prop the guy up.

It’s a GREAT YEAR to decide not to engage in politics on social media.

2. Massive droughts expected to continue in the Southwest, as La Nina appears to be a lasting pattern. Buckle up, folks. La Nina’s being a real bitch this year, exacerbating the usual fire and flood seasons. Sooner or later, hard decisions are going to need to be made regarding land use in the Colorado River basin, and the wealthy agriculturalists of southern California are likely to catch that hard (thus spiking food prices even higher).

3. Recession is on, and Americans are going into it with record low savings. Some inflation metrics are actually trending the right way, albeit due to demand destruction, but take care of your neighbors, this is going to be “decidedly uncomfortable,” particularly once self-inflicted inflation combines with the drought and spikes meat prices through the ceiling.

4. Oregon to vote on extremely strict gun-control measure. With massive LEO failures to prevent shootings, Team Blue is on a full-court-press to make sure only institutions have access to firearms. That’s going to make politics even uglier, see #1 above.

5. Monkeypox! Is it the new AIDS as some suggest? (No) Or is it a blatant failure of the CDC and NIH to counter an extremely controllable disease literally related to the smallpox disease that is their literal reason for existing as instutions and for which they’ve in theory had actual decades of planning? (“Signs point to yes.”)

That’s all for this time. Be good to your neighbors, and remember, the High Priest Vulture Elite thrives on divide-and-conquer. Be extra good and patient and tolerant to people who’ve gotten sold the “this is all simple if we could only get rid of those evil (insert political tribe here) people in office/power/society.”

July-End News Update

For my three raving fans: another short update


1. Germany: Pride goeth before a fall: electricity is slowly turning into a luxury good in Germany.

So hey, how’s that Energiewende working out for you now?

Problem is, Germany bet its entire economy on Russia being a reliable partner, as defined by political Berlin. That held true while Schroeder and Merkel were in power, as wholly-owned subsidiaries of “Russia, Inc” who always took Russia’s side in international affairs whenever the stakes were high (to the point that Merkel’s blatant backstabbing of Ukraine in 2014 earned her the harsh but entirely justified nickname “Frau Ribbentrop.”)
At this point, though, Germany is screwed. It bet its entire economic future on two postulates:
1. Maastricht deficit targets mattered and Germany could treat the EU as its own private mercantilist empire, with a Euro rigged to destroy most of the EU’s export manufacturing while privileging its own, without repercussions (such as Brexit and the shambolic nightmare of the southern EU nations’ sovereign debt crises). This was insanely profitable for Franco-German banks, but was terrible for the average “EU citizen.”
2. Germany could treat Russia as its own private gas station and raw materials hub, exporting manufactured goods Russia could never hope to make themselves into a country whose oligarchs had no problem being “Zaire with permafrost” so long as they got and stayed stratospherically wealthy. Of course, along the way, Germany didn’t refuse to acknowledge that Russia is a hilariously racist revanchist power who literally regards any territory every controlled by the Russian Empire (‘Soviet’ or not) as People Moscow Has A Legitimate Right To Rule. What they refused to acknowledge was that Germany wasn’t in control of the relationship, and never could be, because contrary to the view from the Bundestag, Germany needed Moscow a lot more than Moscow needed Germany.

Now it has a declining population leading to less domestic consumption, its source for cheap material inputs is under sanctions that even the German public won’t let its leaders evade too blatantly, and, oh, yeah, Russia owns all the inputs and many of the storage facilities for not just its energy sources, but its entire chemical industry as well. In the midst of that, a too-cozy relationship with China, against which it was repeated warned, resulted in China stealing most of Germany’s intellectual property, and the Eurozone is a shambolic nightmare whose economic future, outside of France and the Scandis, looks grim at best. How does Germany pivot to this, particularly while its political class dare not even admit to the challenges for fear of instantly losing its coalition?

2. China. China is reeling from several crises.
First, its diplomatic threat to create and enforce a no-fly zone over Taiwan tied to Nancy Pelosi visiting. Would China shoot her down? Because that’s called “war,” and the U.S. response would be instantly and overwhelmingly kinetic.
Second, The unfortunately long-expected move to begin erasing Cantonese as a language in Hong Kong (much as Shanghai’s dialect was wiped out) is now on, with movements promulgated from Beijing to have schooling carried out in Mandarin. This is a crisis for Cantonese speakers and will exacerbate capital flight from the country.
Third, the bottom has officially fallen out of the property sector, which makes up 26% of China’s GDP. Record numbers of Chinese are simply walking away from/abandoning mortgage payments. China’s government, meanwhile, is pushing additional housing development, because at the end of the day its bureaucrats aren’t stupid, but they’re locked into a system where their room to maneuver is sharply constrained.

None of this is going to be pretty.

3. The war in Ukraine rages on, with the possibility of Ukrainian counter-offensives soon. Russia has kidnapped, by credible estimate, 2.8 million Ukrainians, including nearly half a million children, and without an absolutely overwhelming victory, they will be unable to force Russia to free them. US and NATO gear is helping considerably, but we’re piecemealing in equipment, which is sub-optimal.
4. Sri Lanka remains a basketcase, but it’s not the only one.

1. It’s an election year and people are stupid.
2. The January 6 hearings continue, not because Team Blue thinks it will do lasting harm to Trump (it won’t), but because right now, that’s about all they’ve got to show to try to pump turnout. Team Blue, still in Realignment, is in trouble, because it’s pandered to its most extreme left for almost three years running, and every time those doodz open their mouths, it sends moderate left voters running for the exits, to the point where one can credibly argue that the Hispanic vote is now fully in play, and enough of the African-American vote is in play to jeopardize their standing as a national party.
3. Why the Team Blue focus? Again, because Team Red is more or less not running anything right now, and is mostly made up of “playing to the base in anticipation of an overwhelming landslide in November.” Jury’s out – they could get miniscule results, or they could smash records, and as Team Red has finished Realignment, unlike Team Blue, it is a known quantity and the question is basically “just how far down with the extreme left drag Team Blue down?” Safe bet: not all the way, but pretty far. Never underestimate the inability of fanatics to deride the concerns of anybody who isn’t a fellow fanatic.
4. Inflation continues to absolutely rage, and the Fed is tightening up as it must do. This means that recession is inbound. Lumber and car-finance indicators already show this solidly. Everything else on the domestic side basically pales in comparison right now.

Fore-warned is fore-armed.
Anybody who isn’t solidly and safely upper-middle-class needs to batten down and go into “prepare for things to stay bad” mode. Because the dudes in the McMansions don’t have to care if there’s 15% YOY shelter inflation and the only chicken for sale that isn’t made of rubber starts at $4/lb., but everybody else has to care. A lot. And the only way that’s getting worked out is via a significant contraction where the working and middle classes get to suffer even more while the fiscal elites around whom the entire playing field has been tilted continue to, ahem, Make Bank. But if you know it’s here and plan to play prudently, you can put yourself in a position to benefit from being pleasantly surprised — not all Black Swan Cases are catastrophes.

You think NUKES are destructive?

As Frank Herbert wrote: ~”Power does not inherently corrupt, but it is magnetic to pathological personalities.” Or, in the words of the great sage Dave Barry: “politics is like a septic tank: the REALLY BIG CHUNKS float to the top.”

Welp. The shit is finally hitting the fan.

a) U.S. inflation rates can no longer be ignored (and hence aren’t) by the High Priest Vulture Elite at the Fed and inside the Beltway. The snarking “let them eat cake” politicos who chuckled at “if gas is too expensive for your working-class family, just buy a (50k) electric car like I did, no problem” are now nowhere in sight now that both parties realize this is a question of political survival.

The Fed’s now at 1.75% after years of absolutely distorting EVERYTHING in the economy by shoving it to nigh-zero. If you’re a big minimum-wage-hike booster? Right bark, wrong tree: the Fed consistently making your money worthless while blatantly lying to everybody about inflation is the tree you should be barking at. (9.1 official, after 2+ years of **15 f’ing pc** YOY shelter inflation. See results below when I start lobbing bricks at the OTHER septic tank across the pond.

b) as U.S. HPVE raise interest rates back up to what is would, in a sane world, be considered dangerously low rates (and in the process hopefully start un-fucking the U.S. real estate market so Zoomers and Late Milennials can actually afford to move out of their parents’ houses and into class-C apartments with roommates, as many currently cannot afford to do, and yes, I meant that, CLASS C apts) …. USD has gone to parity with the Euro. Because the worst-kept secret on the international stage (and one Putin has counted upon for years as he stockpiled bullion) is that the Eurozone never reformed AT ALL after ’08. Faced with the overwhelming evidence that the Euro is a disaster, the EU version of the HPVE decided to argue that the Eurozone was semantically equal to the survival of the EU itself and the alternative to the Euro is a return to war-raved Europe (no, really, this argument has been made, and often). The official ECB deposit rate is still NEGATIVE 0.50. So that’s great for the survival of Bretton Woods’ fundamental conceit: EU-zone exports to the U.S. are going to do GREAT under this regime. Until the Eurozone implodes, the EU dissolves, or “something else happens” to crater U.S. demand.

c) Emerging Market loans are priced in USD, and as the global economy goes into supply-chain hell, demographic deflation, and in many cases, the tragedy of “we simply don’t have a credible means of getting business from the outside world bc our HPVE stole all the education money and our workers are blatantly uncompetitive on the global market” means that a stronger dollar makes it harder and harder for these economies to service their debts. Nobody but the Saudis and MAYYYYBE the Turks are going to open a factory in Egypt. And while Bolivia has done shockingly well with its weird brand of ethno-socialism, a strong USD bodes poorly for Central America, perennially torn between right-wing oligarchic kleptocracy, and left-wing communist kleptocracy. The less stable your society, the less attractive you are to foreign investors.

So if you’ve been following the news and thought hunger in Sri Lanka was bad? Now add a USD that is trying to get back into the same zip code of where it ought to be in terms of domestic strength. Now add, on TOP of all this, Part 2 of the 2014 Russian invasion of Ukraine this spring and the fact that Russia is *torching Ukrainian wheat fields.*

Nightmare Fuel.

But watch your High Priest Vulture Elite pronouncements for more gas-lighting and victim-blaming among those who profit mightily by refusing to reform while sending the global economy out of whack in every way. China, for all its top-to-bottom blatant dishonestly and corruption, wishes its military possessed the destructive power wielded by Christine Lagarde plus a telephone.

Thoughts on July 4th

Happy ‘Murica Day.

If the fundamental pretense of American culture is correct — that government exists not as an entity of its own, built by Pharoah (or whatever title Pharaoh styles itself by — Prime Minister, President, King, Prince, it makes no difference) for the purpose of Pharaoh and Pharaoh’s court, but by people, for people, for the purpose of protecting rights which cannot be taken away from them, then those rights are universal, and history can be expressed as the struggle to improve society while respecting those rights.

The rights themselves cannot be improved upon — if one has the right to free speech, that right is final. Every attempt to improve it becomes an encumbrance to its practice, and simply another route back to Pharaoh. Hence the contention built into every free society, as millions wish to improve their worlds, but many fall back upon new “improvements” which turn out to be simply a route back to that sterile world where some people set the rules for others, without any thought of obeying them themselves, nor of obtaining the consent of those who would be so governed. A world in which some *rule* and others obey (or else).

That world is still around us. Slavery remains rampant. Pharaoh remains strong. On July 4, 2022, Pharaoh still has its boot on better than 4 billion people — half the necks of our world. The Great Freedom War has gone kinetic in Ukraine, where those brave people fight for the right not to be Muscovy’s slaves. Karakalpakstan is in the same situation in Uzbekistan. Across the globe, sub-kinetic conflicts rage over who shall determine who else has access to what (often, food).

And America must decide, once again, whether to maintain the promise of Bretton Woods, where we agree to open our markets in ways which no other country does, running immense, lopsided deficits and continuing to guarantee the safety of all international trade, so that our brothers and sisters in the world can trade with anyone, anywhere, in order to better their lives, without the need to fight over spheres of influence, basing rights, and who gets access to secure oil at reasonable prices (and hence can maintain civilization as we know it)…. and who pays $400 a barrel, when they can manage to get it past pirates, hostile neighbors, and hostile neighbors posing as pirates.

If we continue to shoulder this burden, we endure the world’s merciless contempt when we screw it up, which we will, because we are ill-suited to Empire. The benefits of Bretton Woods are universally popular, but the “Pax Americana” is not, and those within our government who feel the temptation to play Pharaoh themselves are astonishingly bad at hiding their ambitions. Or, we can withdraw from the world and say “the world can take care of itself, we have our own concerns.”

I don’t know the answer. I only hope that one day the Great Freedom War will end, and Francis Fukuyama’s incredibly premature notion of “the end of history” (as he defined it) will come to pass. Let freedom ring. For EVERYONE.

End of June News Update

This is less and lower-quality than usual — sorry, June has been an EXCEPTIONALLY busy month personally and professionally. Will do two updates minimum for July.


  1. The war slowly turns in Ukraine’s favor, as western rocket systems allow systematic attack of Russian ammunition depots. Meanwhile, Russian artillery continues to target such militarily-valuable targets as… busy shopping malls. The US will send air-defense systems to Ukraine now that it has become obvious even to the political classes that Russia is intentionally trying to destroy the civilian population.
  2. Russia has defaulted on its loans. Russian-enforced Global famine remains very much in the cards. Russia continues to threaten Lithuania for refusing Russian goods by train to the enclave. this is an EXPLICIT Article-5 call and essentially World War Three if Russia pulls the trigger.
  3. Global oil prices remain stratospheric and will stay that way unless a lot more oil comes onto the market. With US production knee-capped by Team Blue for environmental reasons, this is extremely unlikely. (Former major players like Venezuela would need years to get oil to market). REMINDER — at least a quarter of crude production is feedstock for the petrochemical industry, which makes almost every material the modern world uses. So this matters. With social unrest in Ecuador threatening to take its oil off-market….
  4. India is upping its missile game, which should give Pakistan and its owner China singificant pause.
  5. Zimbabwe has dollarized its economy as it attempts to avoid civlizational collapse.
  6. Saudis providing a half-billion in investments in Egypt in order to prop up its economy. Egypt is in big trouble, having little to offer except tourism and control of the Suez, neither of which is enough.
  7. Brazil’s relatively dry year allowing a quality 2nd corn harvest, which may ameliorate global hunger.
  8. China continues its shambolic economic collapse.


Nothing has changed on the inflation front, though the Fed IS raising rates. All the oxygen in the room is being taken up with SCOTUS decisions this week.

  1. Roe v Wade finally struck down. This one had been coming for a VERY long time (even the late SCOTUS judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg had warned activists for actual years that RvW stood on constitutionally VERY shaky ground and that they needed to be ready, because RvW’s survival was largely political, rather than legal).

I’m not arguing the merits of “the debate” here, and will delete any comment which tries to. My concern is for how these debates shape the landscape.

This “motivates the base on BOTH sides,” and also “stay the hell off Twitter or at least prune your feed carefully unless you enjoy reading angry self-righteous hot-takes from all sides.” If you thought the Culture Wars were bad last year, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

WINNERS: Republicans and Pro-Life Democrats (there are a lot of them, but they don’t get press time because they’re mostly hispanic, and Latino and Latina concerns only tend to get air time for border issues).

LOSERS: 3rd and 4th wave feminists, and the Maoist Left. RvW is THE lynch-pin of 3rd-wave feminism. Unlike 2nd-wave feminism, which promulgated the idea of abortion being a tragic but necessary affair, 3rd-wave feminism sanctified it as the centerpiece of their political movement. 4th-wave feminists and the Maoist Left are in many ways the same people, but the latter lose for a different reason. Team Blue, which had in many ways become their prisoner culturally (until very recently, when The Atlantic, which is Team Blue’s cultural mouth-piece, started sounding the alarm on that), has historically framed RvW and abortion as a “women’s issue,” in stark contrast to Team Red, which does not. With the Maoist Intersectionalists mandating such Orwellian Duckspeak as “nursing persons” and “birthing persons” instead of, well, “women,” this means that when Team Blue rallies out the troops, they’re going to be politely told to shut the hell up. Point blank, the Democratic Party has decided that women DO in fact officially exist now. Expect a classic Circular Firing Squad, made all the more intense by the fact that the Dems are still in the Re-Alignment process.

Whether 1970s-style sloganeering will work is a very different ball of wax, since the “Roe Effect” is very real, with Team Red having on average a stunning 40% more kids than Team Blue — and with America’s dangerously-low fertility rates, it’s not because Republican voters have a lot of kids, but because childless Democrats are increasingly the norm outside of famously family-centric Latino households. The only major Blue States to rank top-25 childbirth per-capita are CA, VA, and MN, and none get higher than 15th place (as of 2020). Both parties will need to consider their messaging accordingly, or else they could wind up with electoral disasters on their hands.

  1. SCOTUS backed a coach for wanting to pray on the field after games as protected free speech. Partisan decision, with Democrat appointees wanting to make public space an explicitly secular zone the way it’s done in France. This decision matters for “who gets to set the rules” purposes almost as much as RvW does, as the opposite decision would have created a precedent for sharply constraining the free speech rights of teachers. Another hard-loss for the Maoist Left.

May End Update

For My Three Raving Fans.

1. The Attempted Russian Genocide of Ukraine continues apace. The immediate race is as follows:
a) Southern Ukraine has exceptional rail coverage, which RU can use to advantage, since it is designed as a rail-based military. And Mud Season is over, giving RU units better maneuver.
b) Ukrainian personnel are receiving training on NATO equipment and will soon be able to enter the field with them in numbers.
Which of these is more telling depends on who makes the most mistakes in the next six weeks.

2. Global Starvation: We were already going to have a very, very bad year due to natural gas supplies being exceptionally tight (and if you like fertilizer and poor people being able to afford food, you need to get over your environmental squeamishness and embrace Natural Gas. The alternative is getting on the “my environmental ethics make me comfortable with children dying of starvation,” train, which may work for financially secure misanthropes like David Attenborough, but which is otherwise, a very bad look and sort of the definition of “let them eat cake privilege.” Sri Lanka already has food-related riots, and now with Russian and Ukrainian wheat and corn off the market (people don’t talk about it, but Ukraine is the #4 corn supplier), those have spread to Iran, with Egypts giving significant and higly-accurate warnings that millions are in danger of malnutrition and/or starvation. Minus exceptional players such as Turkey, the entire MENA region, which is dependent on commodity sales because it can no longer train a workforce up to international standards and therefore basically has nothing else to offer the world except tourism and art, has already devolved to the point where protein is becoming financially inaccessible, and in some places that is beginning to extend to bread.

Iran is exceptionally vulnerable to this, as its citizens are sophisticated enough to know that they would have a stable economy had their shockingly corrupt dictators not wasted all their money on empire-building. “Death to the Dictator” has replaced “Death to America” in big swaths of Iran. (The fact that the matter was mostly compulsory-performative rather than sincere does not change the fact that the former is very sincere, and the Iranian state is reacting to that as one might suspect).

3. Monkeypox scares everybody…kinda. The emerging variant is effectively a form of STD which is transmitted by close contact. It’s bad and we don’t want it, but this isn’t Covid 2, The Awfulling. Fortunately.

4. Labor win in Australia. It’s unclear precisely how that’s going to work out on the world stage, but Australia’s got lots and lots of problems and a shake-up was inevitable. The danger on the world stage is the suspicion that Aussie’s Labor Party will be significantly less willing to confront China in its excesses. While I consider that danger somewhat overblown, for now we’re in the “post-electoral simping/hysteria” stage.

1. The leak of the Dobbs opinion continues to have semi-political repercussions. I say “semi-” because those who are already pro-abortion activists are “owned” Democratic votes and not going to jump ship, and those who are anti-abortion activists are likewise “Team Red Forever.” (I am not going to sink into partisan bromides or vocabulary here, and the only reason I address it at all is the demographic implications for America. As a Gen-X kid whose generation saw almost a quarter of its entire population destroyed due to abortion, I keep a keen weather-eye for how this affects our progress through the genetic filter of “those who don’t want children simply no longer have any.” Also, yes, you read that right. The official figure for GenX is 23%, or 3 out of every 13 children destroyed.)
While I eventually expect artificial womb technology to render this part of the Culture Wars moot, and there is serious progress on just that, to assist those who desperately want children in taking over pregnancies from those who desperately wish not to have them, for now, it remains grist for the kind of political manipulators who love anything that might bump turnout in the midterms by a point or two. That is to say, angry and divisive kabuki theatre Washington, D.C. specializes in. Divide et imperum.

2. As stated, the Democratic Party civil war is looking to be on for real, and the “woke” (i.e., Maoist) side of Left Faction is about to wake up to its horror to discover that the Democratic Party’s financial backers have for the most part tolerated this wing of the party rather than actually supported it (Disney aside: “traditional Hollywood” remains all-in, presumably on the assumption that its bottom-line is unassailable no matter how low its public approval numbers go. They may be right.). A significant number of private companies are quietly backing away from their support for this portion of the Culture War, as they realize that the Twitterati do not, in fact, represent mainstream or even moderately-mainstream opinion in America, and that pleasing the Twitterati is more or less synonymous with alienating and angering vast swaths of consumers who will absolutely cut their nose off to spite their face if that means defending their core cultural identities in the process. Thus Netflix and a significant chunk of other companies removing “high water woke” mantras in their corporate governance. The ideological may be willing to go down swinging to defend their political viewpoints (as a pragmatic libertarian who moved often enough that he never really fits in anywhere, and thus home-rolled his own belief systems about pretty much everything, this is not a pov to which I am any kind of stranger), but the well-heeled donor class actually expects a return for its money, and it’s becoming clear that pleasing 12% of the country while pissing off 36% is a losing proposition.

The trick here is, “what does the rest of the Democratic Party actually believe in,” now that it’s becoming willing to push back on its Maoist Wing? The neo-liberal wing, tied inexorably to the Clinton Faction’s excesses, is doomed. The fact that most people know nothing about Sussman, Durham, etcetera, does not mean that the Clintons are not, in point of fact, in deep shit legally, and their moral credibility is sound only amongst their most bought-in backers, as “the energy” in the party is oriented entirely away from their style of politics.

This matters, because it presages The End Of Realignment and a return to political parties who more or less actually represent their voters’ interests.

3. Economics – America’s middle class is dying. No changes of note there, while they try desperately not to be crushed, resulting in an upper-middle pseudo-Brahmin class serving the interests of the wealthy, and a vast sea of painfully-impoverished “Everybody else” trying to afford rent. Right now we’re teetering between ruinous stagflation and a long-overdue (and hence exceptionally painful) recession. The Attempted Russian Genocide doesn’t help with that — but it’s by no means the cause. Geopolitics will eventually help with that a bit, but there is massive and painful retooling which has to occur, and The High Priest Vulture Elite first has to understand that constantly rigging the game so that shelter and food become every more expensive is not a winning formula for long-term societal wealth.

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