A decade turns so the decade in review posts go up everywhere. It is easy content. Trump occupies so much space in the average journalist’s brain that despite being President just three years of the decade, he defines it for them. This may be a bigger indictment of Obama who instead of being a trans-formative figure is more a man used by the system and swept along by its currents. What were those events?
Obama was more a product of decades of narratives of the liberal dream to sell to every white that the other is ‘just like us‘, and in this case, the other is a black man who speaks so well. Twenty years ago it was well known enough to be a premier stand up comedian’s good joke on black figures. Super-delegates and the media went with him over Clinton. Citigroup picked his cabinet. Wall Street got away with murdering the economy. Insurance companies wrote his signature health care act, which was a stepping stone to destroying insurance and ushering in fully socialized medicine. The Pentagon got what it wanted. CIA got regime change. Obama stood to the side as the Supreme Court stamped approval on gay rights that the media and its friends in academia made tolerable. Then the rest of the LGBT community decided to shift into overdrive. Sure people may have thought race relations were improving for a few years, but the acts on the ground revealed the opposite. He was a good salesmen to a set of rubes.
That is what Trump is, too, just a few tweaks that leak out that the pundit class thinks makes him look bad but every normal person smiles at. Trump solicited enlisted men’s opinions on Afghanistan. He asked generals why we need to intervene. He mocks supposed big foreign policy figures for their desire to put troops in every country. He asks why we have to import people from shithole countries. Tariffs can be tools. The media itself has self-immolated. Our foreign policy experts have betrayed allies by leaking private comms just to get Trump, endangering whatever credibility they had left. Very few changes are happening, but in defense of the journalists obsessed with him, he appears an avatar for change more than Obama.
Obama really did symbolize the work of the last 50 years. Continuing many of W’s policies, he was carrying on the Washington Consensus work that had kept the American Empire going after Reagan refinanced it. Steve Sailer refers to it as the Late Obama Era Collapse, but that is unfair to Obama. He was not motivated to do anything but campaign for himself and hear the praise of the crowd. It is unfair to him to lay the unraveling of the progressive system at his feet.
The monetary stimulus doesn’t work anymore. Pork doesn’t work anymore. Dating sites revealed our base desires and self-defeating patterns. The media cannot hold narratives anymore thanks to the Internet. Media stories or events barely last longer than 72 hours. No pop cultural item has lasting power in the group imagination. Our fertility rate has cratered. Irony has poisoned our culture. Social media has destroyed many of the pretty lies the system relied on to maintain control and keep everyone committed to the system. Obama had no control of that and neither does Trump. Our ruling class that manages all of these crumbling institutions, relying more on raw power to coerce obedience, does have control over that. It must come to terms that the myths and pretty lies are not working.
We need a new ruling class. We need a new story.
On to the links…
Brazil’s Eccentric Far Right Philosopher – Meet the far right online philosopher who is influencing the Bolsonaro administration. The reporter is antagonizing and mocks him. At the very end of it, you see just how much her existence and role falls into the very system that Olavo rages against, ” LETÍCIA DUARTE is a Brazilian journalist based in New York. She is a global reporting fellow with the GroundTruth Project and a Global Migration Project Reporting fellow at Columbia Journalism School.“
Kotkin on New California – Joel Kotkin covers California well, and this new piece is no exception. I would argue that the new feudalism coming to California is already there if one looks at the fedual arrangement via the ballot box. The giant vote banks vote the specific economic interests and their managerial elite into power, in exchange they get preferences among the rabble and can remain within the borders.
Crypto-locked Weapons – Not exactly, but the idea of locking weapons down to specific battlefields would lessen the blowback issue. Plenty of weapons that funneled into Afghanistan in the ’80s came back to harm the US later. If true though, it would leave the US exposed if weapons did become operable in another theatre. the US would have to say whoops the proxy hacked it, but I doubt China or Russia would accept that.
Cutting Back the NSC – It only took three years but the Trump admin cut the NSC down to a much smaller size. Problem remains that every person in the NSC is from an agency, and their loyalty remains there.
Pharma Obstinacy – Unsure if this is sour grapes from researchers or not but even in health care, cabals act for self interest and not the greater good. If they cannot monetize it, they do not bother with it. Mangan pushes that line often that the best advice that works cannot be turned into a revenue stream for Merck or Eli Lilly so we do not hear it.