Trump bets his presidency on a ‘silent majority’ Reply

Donald Milhous Trump. I’ve always thought Trump resembled nothing quite so much as the Nixon, Nelson Rockefeller, Spiro Agnew, etc. Republicans from the 70s. He’s not the supply-side dogmatist that emerged during the 80s, and his foreign policy approach is more in the vein of Kissinger’s Machiavellian realism than Reagan’s Crusaderism or the Jacobinism of the neocons. He doesn’t give a damn about the social conservatism of the religious right unless he can get some political mileage out of it. And the Sanders crowd strongly resembles the McGovernites.

Trump’s handling of the pandemic has not been popular, and obviously, he can’t run on the economy. The law and order angle certainly provides him with an opportunity. But the problem is that it’s no longer 1968 or 1972. The fragmentation of the upper-middle class into warring Red/Blue teams with the dominant sectors of the upper-middle class increasingly moving leftward makes a Nixonian strategy less viable now than it was 50 years ago. Think of it as Fred Dutton’s revenge.

By David Siders

Politico

With his law-and-order, tough-on-protesters rhetoric, Donald Trump is betting his presidency it still exists.

The suburbs — not the red, but sparsely populated rural areas of the country most often associated with Trump — are where Trump found the majority of his support in 2016. Yet it was in the suburbs that Democrats built their House majority two years ago in a dramatic midterm repudiation of the Republican president.

Now, Trump’s approach to the violence and unrest that have gripped the nation’s big cities seems calibrated toward winning back those places, in the hopes that voters will recoil at the current images of chaos and looting — as they did in the late 1960s — and look to the White House for stability.

“There’s a lot of concern about the way the Minneapolis police acted,” said former Rep. Tom Davis, a seven-term Republican from the suburbs of Northern Virginia. “But whenever you start looting — and now the stuff’s spread out to Leesburg, it’s in Manassas … the politics takes a different turn.”

In Minnesota alone — where Floyd died and where protests have roiled Minneapolis and St. Paul — the state Democratic Party estimates there are 250,000 white, non-college educated men who are eligible to vote but aren’t registered — more than five times the number of votes Trump would have needed to catch Hillary Clinton in the state in 2016.

“It’s what keeps me awake at night,” said Pete Giangreco, a Democratic strategist who has worked on nine presidential campaigns. “I think there are a lot more people who support this president who didn’t vote last time than opposed this president and didn’t vote last time. That is how they win.”

Trump, he said, “is playing to them, fanning the flames of division instead of what just about every other president in our lifetimes — Republican or Democrat —would do.”

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CIA veterans who monitored crackdowns abroad see troubling parallels in Trump’s handling of protests Reply

The Washington Post has long been known in “foreign policy dissident” circles as the “voice of CIA.” The WaPo is now owned by Bezos which indicates that an alliance has formed between the Deep State and the techno-oligarchs (the rising wing of the ruling class, gradually eclipsing the old monied elites and Sunbelt industries). The Deep State exists to protect the interests of the military-industrial complex on a permanent basis irrespective of shifting political winds and power dynamics elsewhere in the government or the economy.

In recent years, the Deep State seems to have seen the writing on the wall and moved toward the rising ruling class of techno-oligarchs and the new clerisy (see Joel Kotkin). Hence, the seeming alliance between the Deep State, neoliberals, techno-oligarchs, and new clerisy against the Trumpists. The CIA-FBI-DNC-Pelosi-Bezos-Maddow axis. The closest parallel I know of to something like this from elsewhere is the conflict between Turkey’s Deep State and the Erdogan regime. Factions of Turkey’s Deep State actually attempted a coup against Erdogan a few years back.

However, there also seems to be some sectors of the military-industrial complex that have thrown in their lot with Trumpism as well. Elements of Trump’s foreign policy seem rooted in the ideas of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, which is a Kissinger-affiliated group. Some arms merchants such as Raytheon are clearly aligned with Trump (which is why former Raytheon lobbyist Mark Esper is Secretary of Defense).

The surface-level impression I get is that the private civilian sectors of the military-industrial complex (like arms merchants, who are concerned about war profiteering) are more friendly to Trump and his standard Republican “rebuild the military” rhetoric, along with think-tank strategists who favor a more “realist” approach to foreign policy, knowing that the empire is overextended and cracking (i.e. the Steve Bannon types). However, the state sectors of the MIC (particularly the intelligence services and upper strata military) and those with a more conventional liberal internationalist and/or neoconservative perspective on foreign policy, seem to be more hostile to Trumpism.

By Greg Miller

Washington Post

The scenes have been disturbingly familiar to CIA analysts accustomed to monitoring scenes of societal unraveling abroad — the massing of protesters, the ensuing crackdowns and the awkwardly staged displays of strength by a leader determined to project authority.

In interviews and posts on social media in recent days, current and former U.S. intelligence officials have expressed dismay at the similarity between events at home and the signs of decline or democratic regression they were trained to detect in other nations.

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Stock market soars as America burns 1

As I said in the previous post, current events are no skin off the ass of the ruling class whatsoever. If the stock market is soaring, they’re happy. My guess is that the power elite probably sees the insurrection as an exaggerated sports riot, as opposed to a low-grade sports riot such as Charlottesville.

What is happening now is the equivalent of a group of factory workers getting upset over working conditions, beating up the shop foreman, trashing the employee restroom, turning over the water coolers, smashing up some insured and easily replaceable equipment, and, at most, venturing to the offices of the lowest level administrators, maybe punching a few low-level managers and slapping a few receptionists.

In such a situation, top management, the CEO, Vice-Presidents, Board of Directors, Chairman of the Board, major shareholders, etc. would not feel threatened. They would privately laugh and then fire some middle managers for not keeping the employees under control.

These mayors and governors that Trump not incorrectly calls weaklings are merely lower to middle-level managers. Trump himself is merely the CEO. The major shareholders and Board of Directors are the real power. So far things are still going just fine for them. In fact, the capitalist class is already trying to co-opt the insurrection. Soon enough, Amazon will probably start selling riot masks and clothes online.

The great danger is that if the power elite does at some point come to feel threatened, they will show their hand, and the USA will have a Pinochet-like situation (and a real Pinochet, not a carnival barker like Trump).  Americans have zero experience with such situations and are nowhere near being prepared for such circumstances.

My book on the civil war in El Salvador details what real state repression and what a real armed insurgency looks like.

Krystal and Saagar discuss reports that show stocks on the rise as reopening hopes offset concerns over ongoing protests.

Krystal and Saagar debate Trump’s Insurrection Act deployment against protestors Reply

From a purely factual perspective, Trump is correct that what is going on now is a class-based insurrection, and not merely a protest movement, a series of riots, or a crime wave. From a purely legal perspective, the 1807 Insurrection Act does indeed give the President the authority to call out the military to suppress domestic rebellions.

But facts and legalities have nothing to do with power dynamics. Thus far, the military hierarchy has expressed discomfort with Trump’s idea of sending out the military, which is a powerful indication that the true power elite in the US does not yet feel threatened by the rebellion. Instead, they regard the theater of “democracy” to still be worthwhile as a self-legitimating ideological superstructure and institutional framework, Trump’s Spiro Agnew comedy act not withstanding.

The power elite is divided into different sectors and layers, with the managerial class occupying space immediately below that of the power elite. The upper strata of the power elite are those who control the industrial-financial-technological-military-intelligence-nuclear sectors.

If the upper strata power elite truly felt threatened, they would step and use their influence to suppress the rebellion, just as they used their influence to provide themselves with a “bailout” or “stimulus” following the Great Recession of 2008 and the present Great Depression Two. Martial law would be declared. Demonstrations would be strictly prohibited. Protest leaders would be jailed on treason and terrorism charges. That such charges might be untrue is irrelevant. Again, what matters is power dynamics. Dissident media would be ordered to shut down. Looters would be shot on sight. Curfew violators would be rounded up and sent to detention centers.

The next step in the rebellion would then be a full-scale armed insurgency of the kind that is more familiar in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, i.e. a literal civil war.

Krystal and Saagar discuss Trump’s decision to deploy the U.S. military on the protests that continue to unfold over the death of George Floyd.

Tucker: What we’re watching is class war disguised as race war Reply

It’s interesting how en vogue anti-capitalism has now become on both the left and right. On the margins, we see the Antifas carrying a hammer and sickle flag, and the Alt-Right becoming Nazbols. In the mainstream, we see the rise of social democrats like Sanders and AOC on the left, and “national-populists” like Tucker Carlson on the right. In this piece, Carlson sounds like a Marxist.

Keith Preston on George Floyd protests/riots and policing in the US. Reply

This was recording before the results of the independent autopsy were revealed. Also, at the time I mistakenly thought George Floyd had been accused of forging a check as opposed to passing a $20.

The Mindcrime Liberty Show is joined by Keith Preston to discuss the details around the George Floyd incident and subsequent protests and riots. What is the cause of this and are there any historical precedents. Did the lockdown have any effect on this? Why do some many on the progressive and liberal left advocate the FBI or Federal government to intervene considering the at best “shaky” relationship the FBI has to police violence itself espeically considering the fact it considered the civil rights movement its enemy. Keith Preston work can be found at http://www.attackthesystem.com and is the author of books including Thinkers Against Modernity and Attack the System.

Nina Turner: Dr. Cornel West is right, we need more than black faces in high places Reply

I really hope they’re not just now realizing that.

I don’t really consider poor, urban (or rural) blacks to be part of the Blue Tribe. The Red/Blue tribal civil war is between the left and right wings of the upper-middle class, with both sides aligning themselves different factions of the ruling class, and occasionally managing to co-opt sectors of the lower to lower-middle class. Poor blacks are primarily part of the lower proletariat or lumpenproletariat (along with the poorest people among other ethnicities) not the Blue Tribe.

Van Jones does a pretty good takedown of the left-wing of the yuppie class in this.

While the culture war in an internecine rivalry within the upper-middle class, the class war is the bottom 40% (mostly the non-voting sectors) against the upper 20% (the 1% and their managerial lackeys) with the other 40% caught in the middle trying to fight their way up but constantly getting pushed back down.

 

AOC: “Let’s do away with this mythology that the ultra-wealthy move away due to high taxes.” Reply

Who cares if they move away? Fuck ’em. Good riddance.

I’m not at all someone who thinks that “tax the rich” is that way to solve the problem of plutocracy. Taxes are merely a means through which the state extracts surplus value from subjects (extortion) in the same way that the corporate political-legal-economic infrastructure extracts surplus value from laborers (exploitation). Relying on the state to correct the latter problem is like putting the mouse in charge of the cheese. That social democrats don’t realize this shows how lame and shallow their thinking is.

They’re essentially asking the king to exact tribute from the aristocracy in order to fund support for the peasants (rather than collect more knights, swords, armor, and horses, and build more castles). It doesn’t work like that.

 

Don’t Attack Small Businesses 2

From the owner of an Iranian-American owned restaurant that was vandalized by rioters.

Image may contain: night and outdoor

As a small business, we’ve been hit very hard during this pandemic. Last night, we were hit even harder. I came to the U.S over 50 years ago from Iran, a country where there is no freedom of expression. We are proud Americans and call Richmond our home. For 17+ years we’ve opened our doors & our hearts in order to share our cuisine and culture with the community. Opening up our doors today felt different today. We have been told by the news to stay home and stay safe in order to decrease the spread of the virus. Now, we say, please stay safe and please keep our communities safe. Hurting small minorities businesses is not the solution. Thank you to all our neighbors who have reached out to us. We need your thoughts and prayers more than ever.

Protestors Criticized For Looting Businesses Without Forming Private Equity Firm First 1

I have generally found The Onion, Hard Times, and Babylon Bee to be the most accurate and reliable news sources.

Current events represent an advancement for inclusion and progress, and a step forward toward a more equitable society,  based on the principles of equal opportunity, where rich and poor can commit crimes with equal impunity.

The Onion

MINNEAPOLIS—Calling for a more measured way to express opposition to police brutality, critics slammed demonstrators Thursday for recklessly looting businesses without forming a private equity firm first. “Look, we all have the right to protest, but that doesn’t mean you can just rush in and destroy any business without gathering a group of clandestine investors to purchase it at a severely reduced price and slowly bleed it to death,” said Facebook commenter Amy Mulrain, echoing the sentiments of detractors nationwide who blasted the demonstrators for not hiring a consultant group to take stock of a struggling company’s assets before plundering. “I understand that people are angry, but they shouldn’t just endanger businesses without even a thought to enriching themselves through leveraged buyouts and across-the-board terminations. It’s disgusting to put workers at risk by looting. You do it by chipping away at their health benefits and eventually laying them off. There’s a right way and wrong way to do this.” At press time, critics recommended that protestors hold law enforcement accountable by simply purchasing the Minneapolis police department from taxpayers.

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The Anarchist Economic Wars Escalate 6

I know and like Derrick and Will. They both do very good work in their respective domains though, as I suspected, the Minneapolis situation appears to be driving a deeper wedge between anti-capitalist and proprietarian anarchists. I’m generally okay with looting Target, but I’m also generally okay with others disagreeing. In 2016, I knew self-proclaimed and unquestionably sincere anarchists and libertarians who voted for either Hillary or Trump, which for me was a facepalm moment, but nothing I felt any need to hate anyone over. I knew people on “both sides” of the 2017 debacle in Charlottesville who were pissed that I didn’t fully take their “side,” but, hey, I call them like I see them.