The Closing of the #Cuckservative Mind

Sometimes, when you hear a new word, it clicks with you because it provides a word that you feel has been missing from the lexicon and has been desperately needed.  Sometimes, you understand the word from the first time you see it, just based on its roots and construction.  And sometimes, a new word sounds so funny that you laugh on first hearing it.

And sometimes it’s all three, which is how I felt when I first saw the word, cuckservative in my twitter feed a few weeks ago.  The fairly obvious roots of it are the words cuckold and conservative.  Cuckold meaning a guy who’s wife cheats on him, and he may end up clueless, raising someone else’s kids or a fetish in which guys get off on watching their wives have sex with other guys, and conservative meaning, “hey you kids, get off my lawn!”

Although the word’s origin go back to over a year ago (on the internet that’s decades) to the 4chan bulletin board.  It seems to have bubbled up lately on twitter and has lead to some hilarious and biting internet memes. As far as a definition goes, there are dozens of them and since none of them are any more official than anyone else’s, I’ll add what I think it means: A conservative who seeks approval from the left and accepts their framing and worldview.

The use of this word has caused a full scale civil war on the internet right.  Well, maybe I shouldn’t say cause, since there has been a civil war on the right for years.  Sometimes it’s a cold war, and sometimes it’s a hot one, like the one the Tea Party has been engaging with the establishment Republicans.  Spoiler alert, but it looks like the establishment won, with the exception of a few dead-enders.  I predict a long period of reconstruction as Tea Partiers are processed through re-education camps.

Insults usually require an element of truth to be effective.  Being called a stinky head scores zero points unless you in fact, have a stinky head.  But that’s why this word has been so effective.  The targets get it, and fight back in ways they just wouldn’t normally do if the word wasn’t hitting the bull’s eye.

Radio talk show host and Fox commentator, Erick Erickson, was one of the early victims and played right into the hands of his enemies.

When you are on the right and are calling other people on the right racists, that plays right into the hands of…the left.  To be fair, a lot of the attacks are coming from racists and white nationalists, but that doesn’t mean that the word is their property.  To try to spin it that way fits in to exactly into my definition of cuckservative.

Daily Caller writer Matt Lewis was another conservative writer (or cuckservative writer if you prefer) who took the word to task for racism, sexism, anti Semitism, and homophobia; the Four Horseman of the Left.  Of course, he did it in the interweb pages of The Daily Beast, not exactly fertile ground for the right, but the perfect place to attack the right in full view of the left, in the hopes of winning their approval.

However the accusations of racism are not without merit, as a scroll through the internet memes for cuckservative make clear. However if you are a conservative target of the cuckservative meme, or a left wing observer; racism is the only point of this slur.  Ahh…to host my own show on MSNBC now!  Not quite an impossible dream considering how they’ve fired and cleared off the air waves of their considerable dead wood lately.  It would be so easy…”Hatepublicans in a Civil War!  The racist base of the party attacking the few moderates with a racist slur!  Is this the Southern Strategy all over again?  When will these hateful old white men die already?”

In real life though, this exposes a real rift on the right that breaks down along a few areas:

Immigration:  The Republican Party Inc. and all of its candidates for President, support some sort of amnesty for illegal aliens.  Oh it’s couched in tough talking avoidance code words like “secure the border” but ultimately the entire party establishment accepts the inevitability of some sort of amnesty for illegal’s already here.  However that is not where the typical Republican primary voter is at.  They don’t want any amnesty, and until it’s taken off the table, it’s a magnet for new illegals. So anxious is the Republican establishment for amnesty that upon Romney’s defeat virtually every Republican who could get near a TV camera blamed the loss solely on Romney’s self deportation remark.  It so defied common sense that the base of the party ended up shaking its head at the stupidity of its leadership.

This goes a long way to explain the “mystery” of Donald Trump, which isn’t really much of a mystery unless you happen to be a cuckservative.

Culture Wars: Conservatives have a pretty clear record of failure from abortion to gay marriage.  Of course, conservatives didn’t start the culture wars.  They’ve been on the defensive since the beginning, but if the culture changes you can’t fix it with politics, but Republican candidates are still running on abortion, over 40 years after Roe v Wade.  No, there will be no rollback on abortion, gay marriage, or anything else so stop acting like if you’re put in office, you’ll change it.

Concentration on Trivia:  The country has big problems, mostly caused by the left, and the Republican establishment acts like the solution is just another tax cut away.  The last time the Republicans had control of both Houses of Congress and the Presidency, they got wars and the first new entitlement program (Medicare Part D) since the Great Society.  Nothing that Republicans actually wanted.  And those tax cuts?  Gone with the wind.  In other words, after Republican rule, the government was bigger, with more regulations, and government programs, than it was before.  The utter uselessness of expending time and effort passing budget resolutions that will promise to balance the budget in ten years when not a single step will ever be made to actually balance the budget no longer looks like a victory for conservatives and instead looks like a dodge.

Meanwhile, the Democrats had real goals.  When Obama came into office, with a Democratic Congress, he began a sweeping series of measures to grow government that lead to what has been a Democratic Party goal for decades, national healthcare.  With Obamacare, he took a major step towards that.  Yet if you asked Republicans what goal has the Republican Party had for decades that that they would like to accomplish, it’s likely that if you asked 10 different Republicans you would get 10 different answers, and all of them would be defensive measures; to roll back some aspect that Democrats have already put in place that they actually have no intention of ever repealing.

Oh and tax cuts.

So if I refer to conservatives who fit the definition of cuckservative and get called a racist for my troubles, who cares?  As someone who has been called a racist more or less continuously since the beginning of the Obama administration because of my principled opposition to stupid Democratic polices, the word has been stretched into meaningless, and constant repetition of it has drained it of meaning.  However if you are the type of conservative who would rather shut up or change your position in a debate because you’re afraid of being called a racist, you might be a cuckservative.

 

Bernie Sanders out Trumps Trump

Democratic candidate and progressive favorite Bernie Sanders had a “conversation” with the liberal talking points website Vox (conversations being what the site calls its interviews) by liberal wunderkind Ezra Klein, who famously claimed that the US Constitution was confusing because it was over 100 years old.

Ah, the liberal intellectual.Bernie Sanders

Most of the interview was fairly boilerplate, with Sanders describing what he means by being a Democratic Socialist, and went through a litany of all the things he would like to regulate, tax, and give away for free.  Pretty standard stuff until the interview hit upon the issue of immigration, and Sanders started making Klein’s head spin.

Ezra Klein: You said being a democratic socialist means a more international view. I think if you take global poverty that seriously, it leads you to conclusions that in the US are considered out of political bounds. Things like sharply raising the level of immigration we permit, even up to a level of open borders. About sharply increasing …

Bernie Sanders: Open borders? No, that’s a Koch brothers proposal.

Ezra Klein: Really?

Bernie Sanders: Of course. That’s a right-wing proposal, which says essentially there is no United States. …

Ezra Klein: But it would make …

Bernie Sanders: Excuse me …

Ezra Klein: It would make a lot of global poor richer, wouldn’t it?

Bernie Sanders: It would make everybody in America poorer —you’re doing away with the concept of a nation state, and I don’t think there’s any country in the world that believes in that. If you believe in a nation state or in a country called the United States or UK or Denmark or any other country, you have an obligation in my view to do everything we can to help poor people. What right-wing people in this country would love is an open-border policy. Bring in all kinds of people, work for $2 or $3 an hour, that would be great for them. I don’t believe in that. I think we have to raise wages in this country, I think we have to do everything we can to create millions of jobs.

Heh, a Koch brothers proposal…

Klein was totally unprepared for the thought that Sanders might actually favor some restrictions on immigration.  But Sander’s progressivism isn’t the same as Vox’s or most of the mostly white crowd that’s attracted to the Sanders candidacy. Sanders is an old time class struggle leftist.  He would be much more comfortable with labor rights and issues rather than the identity politics that is required of current Democratic and progressive politics.  That’s why Sanders was so blindsided at the Netroot Nations conference.  He would have been much more comfortable with #workerslivesmatter rather than the #blacklivesmatter, which he was finally browbeat into acknowledging.

But the modern left isn’t concerned with workers (or working for that matter).  They’re trying to reach various identity groups as identity groups.  Jobs are too boring compared with the excitement of sitting in a coffee shop updating your social media with snarky comments.

Sanders old fashioned “protecting American workers” shtick was so unnerving to Vox that they had to publish a rejoinder in praise of open borders and call for supporting a policy that would allow every poor person in the world to come to the US.  They still love Bernie, but they want everyone to know that he’s wrong on this issue.

It’s too bad Vox doesn’t allow comments on it’s articles.  It would be a far more interesting website.

I find it interesting that the two insurgent, non establishment campaigns, even though they are on opposite sides politically, seem to be much closer on the immigration issue than any of the more “mainstream” candidates.  Trump and Sanders both seem to want to put American workers first.  Why does that have to be a fringe position?

 

Trump’s Wild Card

Ever since Donald Trump entered the race last month, the Republican battle has been upended in a way no one would have predicted.  Although he is derided as a clown and a bozo in both the main stream media and in conservative media and Republican Party circles, his speech announcing his entry into the Presidential race I found strangely compelling, as did the rest of the world.Trump

But we apparently heard different things.  If you are a member of the mainstream media, or an establishment Republican, what you heard was this:

“I’m Donald Trump, I’m super rich, and I hate Mexicans.”

That’s not what I heard.  What I heard was a not very coherent, but rarely heard appeal to the working classes of both parties:

-The country is in serious trouble.

-We’ve gotten the short end of trade deals, particularly NAFTA but also with Japan and China.

-The US is being taken advantage of.

-Illegal immigration is hurting us, not helping us. It’s bringing in crime, drugs, and illegals are stealing jobs.

-GDP and Employment is dropping, and the labor participation rate is skyrocketing.

-We need to bring jobs back to this country.

-The whole world is laughing at us, and I’m going to change that.

If you hadn’t heard his official announcement, it’s understandable if you think his oversized media attention is due mostly as a result of his celebrity status and his entertaining take downs of other Republican candidates.  I’d urge you to listen to it.  Yes, being a celebrity is part of it, but what everyone is trying to obscure is that if you take his mish mash of statements and boil it down, it comes down to a very clear policy direction.

Economic Nationalism.

Economic Nationalism used to be a fairly common populist trend in US politics, but in a certain sense, both parties have abandoned working class issues in favor of establishment concerns.  The Democrats started to abandon the working class after the New Left take over that begin during the 1968 Democratic Convention.  They support Labor Unions, but not labor.  The Republicans picked up the language and culture of the working class beginning with Reagan, but never went beyond the cultural concerns.  At this point, neither the Democrats nor Republicans provide more than lip service to real working class issues.

So multibillionaire real estate heir Donald Trump sounds like a breath of working class fresh air compared to the platforms of all of the other candidates. Illegal immigration cuts directly into wage rates for the unskilled and semi skilled working classes of this country, yet both parties to various degrees continue to support the idea; Democrats because they are courting future voters, and Republicans because they are courting a current low wage workforce with no employment or legal rights.

Opening trade with China and the expansion of NAFTA has resulted in losses on the order of one million to 3.7 million US jobs. Combined with the real threat that automation poses to both low end and high end jobs, the future isn’t very bright for the average worker, and even less bright for those on the left hand side of the Bell Curve.

So with 16 Republican candidates and 4 Democratic ones, only Trump is highlighting, and addressing these working class anxieties.

Try as I might, I just can’t take Trump seriously as a Presidential Candidate.  He’s too much of narcissistic celebrity blowhard.  But he’s a blowhard that has shown the Republicans a path to winning in 2016.  A clever Republican candidate could cherry pick and refine some of Trump’s economic nationalism agenda into a ticket that would be attractive to working class voters in swing states.

Will that happen?  I think it’s not too likely.  Everything that Trump is for, the establishment Republican Party and its donor base opposes.  Otherwise there would be multiple legitimate Republican candidates running on this platform instead of just Trump.  For the Republicans, Santorum and Walker are just dancing on the edges of working class populism.  For the Democrats: just Jim Webb. Bernie Sanders, as an old time class warfare leftist, started out that way, but has been shaped and molded by the identity politics left that now runs the Democrats out of that mold.

So the future for Trump candidacy?  He’s not getting the Republican nomination.  I think ultimately it’s too much work for a job that pays too little.  But his influence could be positive on the Republican Party if they manage to learn from his success and see what worked and borrow from it.  More likely though, the Republicans would rather form a circular firing squad and go after any candidate who shows any signs of “Trumpism” in order to please the donor class, with the end result that the Republican donor class will have helped to elect a Democratic candidate in 2016.

The Supreme Court Goes Totally, Fabulously, Gay

The gay community has once again shown that it’s magnanimous in victory.

Yes, #LoveWins. Tolerance is Beautiful isn’t it?

And yes, I called it, here and here.  I just didn’t make a bet on this particular court decision like I did for Burwell, but I knew it was inevitable.

How the Court got here is ultimately not that important.  In a 5 to 4 decision in the case, Obergefell v. Hodges, the Court determined that the 14th Amendment had always intended for gay marriage to be legal, and darn it, somehow we just missed the real intent of the drafters until now.

So like the Obamacare decision before it, the job of the Supreme Court is to pick a policy it likes, and then just come up with a justification for it afterwards.  Law, precedence, and of course the constitution are ultimately just props to justify doing what you want to do anyway.

So the court has no made up new law out of whole cloth, and we’ve no choice but to go along.  But does it even matter?

Gay Marriage only matters in the sense that the idea of it highlights how much of a joke the institution of marriage has become. Gays are getting the “right” to marry at a time when straights are abandoning the institution.

During the fifties and sixties when states were switching to no fault divorce, blue hairs, church ladies and the like decried no fault divorce claiming that it would weaken the institution of marriage. The kool kids shot back, “Hey, it doesn’t affect your marriage…chill (or however it was said in the late 50’s lingo).” But the blue hairs were right. It did weaken marriage. It’s the same thing with gay marriage. No, my personal marriage is not threatened by gay marriage, but the institution of marriage, already severely weakened, will weaken even further.

Nowadays people seem to have no conception of a societal institution, only how it affects the individual. Few gays will actually marry under this law (that was never the point anyway), but marriage gets weaker.

So what next?  On to alter marriage further.  Next up:  polygamy.  In a few years, I’m sure I’ll be reading with amusement how the Supreme Court determined that the Constitution always intended for polygamy to be legal.

 

 

On My Burwell Bet: I Win!

In a totally unsurprising turn of events, I was proven right once again.  The Supreme Court upheld, not the actual text of the law, but the IRS and HHS interpretation of the law that allows subsidies paid out through the federal exchange rather than just through the State exchanges, as the actual law requires.

All is as I’ve foreseen.  As I wrote back in March:

 So in spite of the actual text of the law limiting subsidies to State exchanges, I predict that the Court will find against the plaintiffs and rule that the subsidies can pass through the Federal exchange.

I did think that Justice Roberts would, if given enough cover to keep the subsidies might vote against it to show his “independence” however even with a court majority, he either wanted to be counted with the free stuff gang, or he just wanted to shoot a bird at conservatives who criticized him for his last Obamacare decision.

Screw you guys!

Message received Roberts.

This was a simple case.  The text of the law was pretty specific; there were multiple Gruber statements and statements by others involved in the law that that it was specifically written that way to force States to start their exchanges, and it didn’t matter.  Politics trumped law.

And now; on to gay marriage, when we’ll learn that the founders, when they wrote the constitution in 1787, really intended gay marriage…

Fake Jobs at Fake Companies

Several months ago I did a post on automation and it’s elimination of “good jobs.”  I wondered then,” …frankly I don’t know what to do about the problem of people being rendered permanently unemployable.”  I still don’t, but it’s been an observation of mine that Europe is about 20 years ahead of us in all of the bad indicators, and a permanent unemployed class is one of those indicators. So once again, from France, an idea whose time may soon be coming to the United States; fake companies for the unemployed.

From the New York Times:

In Europe, Fake Jobs Can Have Real Benefits

Sabine de Buyzer, working in the accounting department, leaned into her computer and scanned a row of numbers. Candelia was doing well. Its revenue that week was outpacing expenses, even counting taxes and salaries. “We have to be profitable,” Ms. de Buyzer said. “Everyone’s working all out to make sure we succeed.”

This was a sentiment any boss would like to hear, but in this case the entire business is fake. So are Candelia’s customers and suppliers, from the companies ordering the furniture to the trucking operators that make deliveries. Even the bank where Candelia gets its loans is not real.

More than 100 Potemkin companies like Candelia are operating today in France, and there are thousands more across Europe. In Seine-St.-Denis, outside Paris, a pet business called Animal Kingdom sells products like dog food and frogs. ArtLim, a company in Limoges, peddles fine porcelain. Prestige Cosmetique in Orleans deals in perfumes. All these companies’ wares are imaginary

The whole concept of fake companies is mind boggling.  The idea that you can set up a parallel economy of fake companies that produce nothing, but can’t figure out a way to make that capital and manpower do something useful and profitable is stunning.

Office Space I did nothing

As a training concept, which these were apparently originally set up for, a fake company isn’t a bad idea. It certainly seems to beat the American government version of job training, which has devolved into one failure after another. However these have gone from training programs to place holders for the unemployed.  I suppose from a Keynesian viewpoint, at least the modern Obama era view; there isn’t any difference between a fake company and a real one.  It employs people and provides them an income to buy goods and services. In real economic terms, that’s pointless, but heh, we’ve passed real economics a long time ago.

Convicts manage to make real goods so I don’t understand why fake companies couldn’t do the same, but this is a concept I expect to see more of as our permanent unemployable underclass grows and grows, and we scratch our heads trying to figure out what to do with them.

Office space stapler

Jeb Bush is Certifiable III: The Wrath of Iraq

Its mind boggling to me that the single most obvious question that potential candidate Jeb Bush would be asked caught him completely unaware.  First with Megyn Kelly on Fox:

In an interview set to air Monday, Fox News’ Megyn Kelly asked presumptive presidential candidate Jeb Bush if he would have authorized the invasion of Iraq in 2003 “knowing what we know now.”

“I would have,” the Republican answered. “And so would have Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody, and so would have almost everybody that was confronted with the intelligence that they got.”

OK, maybe he misheard the question; it’s Monday right?

Monday meme

 

 

 

 

 

So on Tuesday, Jeb goes on Hannity to clear things up.

“I interpreted the question wrong I guess…Knowing what we know now, you know, clearly there were mistakes as it related to faulty intelligence in the lead-up to the war and the lack of focus on security. And my brother’s admitted this, and we have to learn from this.”

Blah blah blah, but as to knowing what we know now?

I don’t know what that decision would have been, that’s a hypothetical”

So mistakes were made, and apparently by that mysterious entity known as the third person, and a refusal to answer.

Now many times it’s fair to say that hypothetical questions shouldn’t be answered, however the Iraq War wasn’t hypothetical, it was real, and an answer to that question is an excellent proxy to all sorts of foreign policy views.

Particularly if your last name is Bush.

On Wednesday, Bush got ambushed by a college student and was able, finally to give a half way decent answer to a question about Iraq, however it’s somewhat damning with faint praise to say he handled a question by a 19 year old idiot. But when he was asked questions by grownups According to the Washington Post, Jeb double downed on Tuesdays mistakes-were-made-hypothetical’s answer:

He was later asked about comments aired by Fox News on Monday that he would have ordered the Iraq invasion even knowing how the war unfolded and that intelligence used to justify the war was faulty. On Tuesday, Bush clarified his comments, saying he had misunderstood the question.

But a man in Reno asked Bush, “You said I think it was yesterday that I don’t want to answer hypotheticals. Don’t you think running for president is hypothetical when you say, if I run for president dot-dot-dot?”

“Rewriting history is hypothetical,” Bush replied.

He said that he had misinterpreted the question from Fox’s Megyn Kelly to mean “Knowing what you knew then, what would you do?”

“And I answered it honestly and I answered it the way I answer it all the time, which is that there were mistakes made, but based on the information we had, it was the right decision,” he said.

“What we ought to be focused on is what are the lessons learned?” he added. “There are two lessons. One is, if you’re going to go to war, make sure that you have the best intelligence possible and the intelligence broke down. That’s clear, clearly one of the mistakes of this. And secondly, if you’re going to do this have a strategy of security and a strategy and have a strategy to get out. And both of those things didn’t work the way they did, although I give my brother credit. Once the mess was created, he solved that mess with the surge and created when he left a much more stable Iraq that now, that was squandered in some ways when President Obama did not keep any small amount of troop level.”

Bush also dismissed “hypothetical” questions about the origins of the Iraq war as a “disservice” to U.S. troops who died or were injured in the war, and to their families.

By Thursday, Jeb was in Arizona and finally seemed to suspect that he might actually be asked about Iraq, and he had better come up with an answer.

If we’re all supposed to answer hypothetical questions: Knowing what we now know, what would you have done? I would not have engaged. I would not have gone into Iraq.

And on Friday:

Friday

As I’ve argued here and here, Jeb Bush is mentally unprepared to be President.  All he cares about are illegal immigrants and when he’s not talking about that, it’s as if he’s never thought of the issue before, even when the issue is the most predictable question any potential candidate has ever gotten.