The Democrats and Marketing

Published at 10:15 on 26 November 2016

Talking to Establishment Democrats (like I did on Thanksgiving) can be so frustrating.

The executive summary of their arguments went something like this: Donald Trump won because he didn’t play fair. He told lies. Plus, he won because voters were stupid racists and thus too mentally defective to realize Hillary was by far the better candidate.

Me: Well, let’s look at this. Trump lied a lot, no disagreement there. All politicians lie. If you decide to play the campaign-for-office game and play it in such a way that you can’t defend against your opponent using the well-known Big Lie technique, that means you’re simply not competent at campaigning. Sorry.

Establishment Dem: But that’s not fair! And Trump was so racist! And those racist voters voted for that racist! They’re stupid and racist!

Me: Many of those same “stupid, racist” voters voted twice to send a Black man to the White House. Look at the election results for 2008 and 2012 if you don’t believe me. Many of them backed Sanders in the primary (again, look at the election results). Trump actually did slightly better with woman and minorities than Romney (exit polls prove this). Voter racism lay in being willing to stomach Trump’s racism while voting for his message of shaking up a system that’s shafted them for decades. Much milder stuff than actually wanting to be as racist as Trump.

Establishment Dem: Sanders? Come on! You know what the conventional wisdom says about the chances of a Jewish socialist being elected to the presidency?

Me: The same thing your conventional wisdom said about the likes of Donald Trump being elected to that office, and the same thing it said about the UK voting to leave the EU. The best available evidence suggests your conventional wisdom is invalid.

Establishment Dem: Come on, you can’t believe Sanders could do everything he promised!

Me: I don’t. Odds are, if it was Trump versus Sanders, the coattails effect would have given the Democrats the Senate but gerrymandering would have kept the House Republican. So his would be a failed presidency, due to inability to deliver on most promises thanks to an uncooperative Congress. Still, you’ll have to agree that’s a much better outcome than a President-Elect Trump with a solidly Republican congress.

Establishment Dem: (silence)

Really, now, what would you say if you ran a business that was struggling to attract customers, and you hired an ad agency to help correct this, and their advice to you was: “You have no need to do market research or to question your business strategy. The problem is that your customer base is too stupid to realize you have the best products. You must denounce that base for their stupidity, and publicly belittle them until they repent and become your customers.”

You’d say your adman was nuts, you’d fire him, hire another ad agency, and tell all your friends what a total idiot that adman is, of course. Yet that’s just what the Establishment Democrats apparently think is a valid strategy.

And they wonder why they lose elections.

More Things

Published at 08:11 on 19 November 2016

Expect an Economic Crash

Trump wants to deregulate. He also talks out of both sides of his mouth; he’s made noises about reinstating the Glass Steagall Act. Expect the deregulation to dominate. That means a debt-and-speculation-fueled economic bubble. Such things inevitably collapse.

Watch North Korea and Russia

It’s highly likely Kim Jong-Un will want to test the new administration, particularly in light of Trump being on the record as thinking the US/South Korea alliance is a bad deal for the USA. I’ve already mentioned Russia as one to watch. The avoidable war could start due to unwise behavior on Trump’s part in either place.

It is important to not fall for Trump’s own bigotry against Muslims and to assume that the only significant threats come from the Middle East.

Libel Standards are Not Likely to Change

Reason is that these depend on both common law and case law (at the Supreme Court level). It’s highly unlikely Trump will manage to replace a majority of Supreme Court justices. Given that even the existing conservatives on the Court have a history of taking a broad view First Amendment rights, plus the tradition of stare decisis, makes it highly unlikely the Court will reverse itself.

The Odds of Another 9/11 Scale Attack are Remote… Unless

That is, they are remote without at least some degree of collusion, either active (an orchestrated false flag) or passive (deliberately ignoring a threat in hopes of getting a good pretext for war and repression) on the part of the Trump regime. Unlike in 2001, the 9/11 attacks are now part of history; there is simply no valid excuse (such as Bush’s incompetence) for any subsequent administration to not be vigilant against the possibility of repeat attacks on a similar scale.

Therefore, if something similar happens again, the odds of it being a total surprise to those in power are remote. Some degree of collusion will be pretty much a given. Remember, the likely target will be an urban area that didn’t vote for Trump, anyhow. Yes, I believe he is that Machiavellian.

Refining the Most Likely Scenario

Published at 13:23 on 18 November 2016

Some refinements on the scenario outlined here:

After the inevitable terrorist attack(s), repressive measures will be instituted solely in response to the attacks. During the inevitable war that will be started using them as a pretext, repressive measures will be intensified.

One likely series of repressive measures is first requiring all Muslims in the USA to register with the authorities, followed later by imprisoning them in concentration camps. Several key figures in the incoming regime have expressed interest in the legal machinery behind Japanese internment. Shockingly, some of it is still in place, never having been officually outlawed.

The terrorist attack(s) will focus disproportionately on urban areas, for the simple reason that terrorists desire to kill, and there are more potential targets where there are more people. The incoming regiome is probably calculating that this will undermine opposition to their measures in precisely those areas where opposition is currently the greatest.

The chance of the attack(s) being false flags is small but cannot definitively be ruled out. Realistically, any direct regime culpability in them will more likely be due to deliberate incompetence in forestalling them. Note that telling deliberate incompetence from garden-variety unintentional incompetence is not precisely easy.

And I Didn’t Even Mention Below…

Published at 08:21 on 15 November 2016

Trump’s policy of institutionalized Islamophobia will be a huge shot in the arm for Islamic terrorism. Their claim that the USA is an enemy of Islam will for the first time be literal fact.

Domestic, Leftist versus International, Centrist

Published at 06:55 on 15 November 2016

Lets play with the centrist-to-conservstive, internationalist, maintain-the-Empire crowd’s toys for a bit. While I fret about the domestic consequences of this thing from a leftist point of view, the international ones as viewed from a traditional centrist, military and intelligence community view are perhaps even more frightening.

Democracy and freedom being will stop being concerns of the USA. Now from my perspective they never really were a super-big one. But I’m forced to admit they were at least a priority, just one that lost to realpolitik all too often. Now it’s just going to be naked force in places like Syria. Expect our back to be turned on Rojava. This sort of thing will burn away pretty much all of the international goodwill the USA has. It will create misery which will serve as an incubator for more terrorism.

It really is likely that the Russian government was involved in Wikileaks. Yes, this is the typical “the evidence is classified, but trust us” you get out of these guys. But I can’t ever remember them intervening in an election like this. That, plus the Hatch Act, makes the press release likely to be true. Domestically, Trump’s almost unbelievable incompetence led him to not plan a transition due to fear of jinxing the election. So now they’re forced to do one in hurry, off the cuff.

In other words, it appears as if Russia has successfully managed to weaken and destabilize its biggest geopolitical adversary. Will it do something brash and unexpected on or right after Inauguration Day? That would be the time the effect of the ill-planned transition would be maximized and thus the USA would be at its weakest and most vulnerable. The silver lining to this dark cloud is that this would help start out the Trump presidency on such a bad note that it would likely never be able to recover.

Don’t just take my word on all of this. This election has been noteworthy for the number of career national security Republicans who announced they were going to vote for a Democratic president.

Three Political Mea Culpas

Published at 12:42 on 14 November 2016

I Am Sorry for Not Doing My Fullest to Back Sanders

This was part my anarchists’ skepticism of Establishment politics at play, part good old fashioned political realism. If Sanders had prevailed, he’d be a failed president. He’s significantly to the Left of any conceivable Congress, even a Congress comprised of Democratic majorities in both houses. And odds disfavored the latter (though the coattails effect meant it was possible).

But a failed Sanders presidency (leading to one or two terms of garden-variety GOP administrations) is vastly preferable to what we have now.

I Am Sorry for Not Taking the “Trump Will Win” Minority Seriously

The moment Hillary picked Tim Kaine as her running mate, I should have realized it was all over for her. She’s a corporate democrat who is ill-suited to prevail in a world that has suddenly changed. Indeed, I realized the latter at the time, but I failed to fully make the connection between that fact and what the Trump Will Win contrarians were predicting.

I am Sorry for Ever Backing Any Form of Gun Control

This is something I’ve typically been extremely skeptical about, but there have been a few exceptions to this general rule. One of them was this year, when I first signed and then voted for Initiative 1491. What the hell was I thinking? In a year when Donald J. Trump was on the ballot, nonetheless? And confounding the conventional wisdom and opinion polls by persistently doing better than expected? In an election where his opponent was exhibiting signs of being unelectable? What was in my cranium, anyhow, wallpaper paste?

Yes, yes: it’s for the theoretically meritorious purpose of getting court orders to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous or threatening people. That’s a worthy motive (again, in theory). The problem is, with a fascist government (which does not yet exist at the state level but which in a few years might), courts will rubber-stamp any request using any of the available pretexts.

It may in an abstract theoretical sense be best for there to be less, not more, guns in society in a society not in danger of going fascist. However that is not the sort of society we presently live in. It will probably be that this will inevitably condemn society to a higher rate of gun violence and accidental gun deaths. The latter is a price well worth paying for maximizing our chances of defeating fascism and preserving freedom.

The nature of our world is intrinsically dangerous. The pursuit of absolute safety in such a world is a fools’ errand.

I Must Reflect on My Having, to My Shame, a Gramophone Mind

George Orwell wrote one if his typically insightful essays about his difficult in getting Nineteen Eighty-Four published during the World War II years, due to the novel’s anti-Stalinist theme:

It is important to realise that the current Russomania is only a symptom of the general weakening of the western liberal tradition. Had the MOI chipped in and definitely vetoed the publication of this book, the bulk of the English intelligentsia would have seen nothing disquieting in this. Uncritical loyalty to the USSR happens to be the current orthodoxy, and where the supposed interests of the USSR are involved they are willing to tolerate not only censorship but the deliberate falsification of history. To name one instance. At the death of John Reed, the author of Ten Days that Shook the World — first-hand account of the early days of the Russian Revolution — the copyright of the book passed into the hands of the British Communist Party, to whom I believe Reed had bequeathed it. Some years later the British Communists, having destroyed the original edition of the book as completely as they could, issued a garbled version from which they had eliminated mentions of Trotsky and also omitted the introduction written by Lenin. If a radical intelligentsia had still existed in Britain, this act of forgery would have been exposed and denounced in every literary paper in the country. As it was there was little or no protest. To many English intellectuals it seemed quite a natural thing to do. And this tolerance or [sic = of?] plain dishonesty means much more than that admiration for Russia happens to be fashionable at this moment. Quite possibly that particular fashion will not last. For all I know, by the time this book is published my view of the Soviet régime may be the generally-accepted one. But what use would that be in itself? To exchange one orthodoxy for another is not necessarily an advance. The enemy is the gramophone mind, whether or not one agrees with the record that is being played at the moment. [emphasis added]

I have always regarded not having such a thing as something to strive for. Yet here I am, having failed miserably on at least two and perhaps three significant cases at a pivotal moment in world history.

I must redouble my struggle against this form of conformity.

Concluding Remarks

OK, reflection done and mea culpas issued. Lessons learned. We have an incipient fascist revolution to defeat and an antifascist revolution to win. Endless hand-wringing and brow-beating is counterproductive.

No doubt almost all of us have things that we would have done differently over the past year or so, if only we knew what was truly at stake.


Michael Moore’s Latest Prediction

Published at 22:36 on 11 November 2016

Trump won’t last even a single term. He will resign or be impeached. Moore’s logic as to why is spot-on, based on easily observable characteristics of the man, and based on easily observable characteristics of the Republican Party. Read the article for the full details.

Let’s hope it comes to pass, sooner rather than later, and before great damage is done. There’s plenty of reasons to dislike Michael Pence, but at least Mr. Pence is not a sociopath who is mystified as to why using nuclear weapons might be a bad idea.

A Reason for Hope

Published at 12:59 on 11 November 2016

This has got to be one of the most straight-talking pieces I have seen an Establishment politican write. That there are voices inside the system that realize how profoundly different this transition is, and refrain from the standard rhetoric of transition, is encouraging.

Plus, there are reports that military and intelligence officers are contemplating resigning or engaging in internal resistance to Trump.

Governments do not exist as tangible entities. They are merely groups of people cooperating with each other. If those people choose to not cooperate, or to cooperate in ways contrary to the leaders’ wish, a leader can be rendered powerless.

Adolf Hitler would be a mostly forgotten, sad, and largely harmless footnote in history if at the crucial time great masses of Germans had simply refused to obey him. This is not hypothetical; the Nazis were given precisely this treatment by the peoples of both Denmark and Bulgaria, when they tried to implement the Final Solution, the result of which was that virtually all the Jews in both nations were saved.

It Gets Worse: Much, Much Worse

Published at 14:28 on 10 November 2016

Once there’s a convenient war going on, the repressive measures against “disloyalty” can be introduced.

Note that neither the war nor the repression need not be planned in advance. Trump could very well at this point in time have no inkling of a plan for a war anywhere. It’s just that, given the world we’re in, more terror attacks are inevitable. Once that happens, given Trump’s temperament, both the war and then the oppression become almost inevitable.

Garden variety American conservatism is of only very limited potential help in stopping either (and absent efforts from conservatives, given the makeup of Congress, effective efforts cannot be made). This is because conservatives tend to be patriotic and to conflate questioning in-progress wars with disloyalty to country.