US 2022 Mid-Terms Thread

The latest indication of national sentiment:

Continue reading “US 2022 Mid-Terms Thread”

Preview and Predictions – 2022 US Mid-term election

This time next week we should have a decent idea of the results for the 2022 US mid-terms. The discussion with Baris and Barnes , above, is excellent preview of the upcoming mid-terms as the go over the polls, individual races, and the like. You can also find the latest from RCP Election Maps here. The betting markets are trending Republican, with both clear majorities firming in both House and Senate. Further, the gubernatorial races in Dem states are also tightening, particularly in NY and Oregon.

Feel free to discuss the individual races, or prospective majorities, and leave us with your predictions as well.

Guest Post: Speedbox – Politics, Russian style

There has been some commentary recently about the various factions and their influence on President Putin so I thought I would set out some details of the main factions, their sub-groups and specific individuals.  The web of factions and influencers is like a tangled bowl of spaghetti and whilst I have done my best to disentangle that web into a readable format, brevity requires that some details have been compressed or omitted.

The factions have evolved due to a number of factors such as ideology, strategy, background and opportunity but it is important to note that the relative influence of the factions will shift from time to time and especially the influence of the various sub-groups.  In addition, even though an individual may be aligned with one faction, that same individual may also be nominally aligned with another faction.

This is particularly evident in the Security Council of the Russian Federation (SCRF) where the intelligence and defence factions have extensive cross-over and enjoy mostly equal footing.  For the purposes of this post I have ignored the Duma and the Federation Council who wield important powers, but there is no question that the SCRF is the inner sanctum with Putin as its Chair.  If you don’t sit on that Council, your influence may be constrained although there are exceptions such as Yevgeny Prigozhin and others who are discussed later.  Nevertheless, the fact that the SCRF is the dominant internal Council tells us a great deal about Russia, namely, that national security trumps all else.  

The SCRF consists of thirteen permanent members and eighteen others who may be called as required.  Those eighteen have some ‘stand-alone’ influence on Putin but they would also be well aware of their position in the grand scheme of things.   

Intelligence

Intelligence shares equal billing with Defence as the most influential faction.

As Putin is ex-FSB, it will be no surprise that the FSB sub-group have considerable influence in the Intelligence faction.  Led by Alexander Bortnikov, the FSB is in charge of internal security and counterintelligence, as well as other aspects of state security and intelligence gathering in some countries, primarily those of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).   Bortnikov sits on the SCRF.

Next is the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) headed by Sergey Naryshkin who also sits on the SCRF.  The SVR is Russia’s primary civilian foreign intelligence agency tasked with gathering information outside the CIS.  It reports directly to President Putin on foreign intelligence collected via human/electronic signals and cyber methods. 

The Federal Protective Service (FSO) has a range of functions which extend far beyond protecting the President, members of the government and assorted VIPs.  The FSO is charged with defending Russian government networks and has extensive electronic eavesdropping capabilities through its subsidiary, the Special Communications and Information Service.   The FSO is represented on the SCRF by Anton Vaino.

Special mention must be made of Nikolai Patrushev who was formerly the Director of the FSB.  Since 2008 Patrushev has been the Secretary of the SCRF placing him third (after Putin and Medvedev) in that hierarchy and giving him enormous influence.  Patrushev and Putin served together in the KGB and have known each other since 1976 – some believe he is Putin’s closest friend and confidant.  For a number of reasons, Patrushev is occasionally referred to as the most dangerous man in Russia which is quite a feat considering some of the others. 

Defence

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu is an obvious member of this faction and sits on the SCRF.

Next is the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (GRU) which is Russia’s primary military intelligence agency and is responsible for Russia’s military intelligence service and special forces. The GRU answers to the Chief of the General Staff, Valery Gerasimov, and the Defence Minister, Sergei Shoigu.  The GRU does not sit on the SCRF and nor does Gerasimov – both are represented by Shoigu which magnifies his influence.  (Gerasimov is a member of the second tier to the SCRF).

Although not part of the official defence establishment or a member of the SCRF, Yevgeny Prigozhin (founder of the Wagner Group) is a known influencer and confidant of Putin.  He is also the Head of the Internet Research Agency which engages in online operations on behalf of Russian business and political interests, primarily through social media channels.  Prigozhin straddles at least three factions. 

Political (inc Foreign Affairs)

There are numerous sub-groups: Foreign Affairs led by Sergey Lavrov; the State Duma and United Russia Party faction led by Boris Gryzlov; the Rodina faction led by Dmitry Rogozin; the Presidential Executive Office faction led by Anton Vaino (also represents the FSO on the SCRF); the ultra-nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) led by Leonid Slutsky; and, the Communist Party faction led by Gennady Zyuganov.

Lavrov has considerable influence as does Gryzlov as he heads the State Duma and in particular, Putin’s political party, United Russia.  But Lavrov has the advantage as he sits on the SCRF whereas Gryzlov doesn’t.  (Not relevant but Lavrov is known to have a short temper and will use very undiplomatic language in describing his opponents and in private, the Heads of other governments). 

Zyuganov (Communist Party) has influence as Putin is aware there is still a sizable rump of Russians (~17%) who believe Russia would be better off under the old ways.   In fact, the “Communist Party of the Russian Federation” (and its affiliates) is the second largest after Putin’s United Russia party.   However, Zyuganov does not sit on the SCRF nor is he one of the second tier advisors. 

Leonid Slutsky (LDPR) appears to wield more influence than his party’s results at the most recent election would suggest.  Note that there is nothing ‘liberal’ (as we normally recognize it) or democratic about Slutsky or the LDPR.  He does not sit on the SCRF or the second tier advisors but is well known as a cunning and unforgiving individual.  

Industry/Business (inc the oligarchs)  

Oligarchs have an unusual alliance.   Collectively, they control trillions of dollars’ worth of entities both publicly and privately owned.  But it is an inescapable fact that every oligarch owes their continued existence to Putin and would also recognise that their fortune, not to mention potentially their lives, could be snatched away should they step away from the path.  Therefore, whilst industry/business is well settled behind Putin, it is difficult to know how many of the oligarchs do so for ideological reasons or, whether it is simply prudent.

It isn’t surprising that individuals such as Igor Sechin (CEO, President and Deputy Chairman of Rosneft) and Viktor Zubkov (former Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister and now Chairman of Gazprom) have direct access to Putin and are known to be very close allies.  In many respects, they speak for the oligarchs as a whole although a few individual oligarchs also have access to Putin.  

No oligarch or business leader sits on the SCRF or is a second tier advisor. 

———

Above all, Putin reigns supreme and his hold on power is unchallenged.  The members of the SCRF are all Putin appointees and have strong allegiance to him.  In a number of cases their careers almost mirror Putin in that they have risen through the ranks from relatively obscure roles in regional centres to the pinnacle Council – and that cannot always be mere coincidence. 

There are no individuals who display moderate/pro-west characteristics in either the first or second tiers of the SCRF, or almost anywhere else.  In part, this leads us to understand why some in the west consider Russia ‘unreformable’ into a western style democracy (and all that entails*) and their solution is the dissolution of the Russian Federation – a preposterous idea that fails every known fact about Russia and Russians yet it still gets traction with a few. 

Russian politics is tough and marked by the ebb and flow of alliances resulting in the periodic ascension of one faction, or individuals within that faction, over another.  Control over these factions and individuals requires a deft hand and although Putin is very likely to anoint a successor prior to his retirement, it is unclear who that may be.  Names currently include Dmitry Medvedev, Sergei Shoigu, Sergei Lavrov and Nikolai Patrushev. 

Whatever happens, there is no doubt that in more ways than the west cares to admit, Putin is a valuable force that keeps the more extreme elements of the government under control.  But that is not an acceptable viewpoint for most – Putin is routinely cast as a deranged oppressor who might unilaterally launch nuclear missiles at the west or at a minimum, nuke Ukraine.  Western media also frequently carry stories of an imminent political coup against Putin but both stories are just fairy tales manufactured by mainstream journalists (that, or CIA planted). 

Instead, I suggest Putin is the cork in the bottle and his undoubted powers of manipulation have served the west well.  To be clear, I’m not implying Putin is a good guy but in the current circumstances, believe we are better off with the Devil we know, at least until the Ukraine conflict is over.  With any luck, negotiations between Russia and the USA (Zelenskyy will be told to acquiesce) will occur sooner, rather than later.  

If Putin suddenly leaves his position through terminal ill health with the conflict still underway and fails to fully anoint a successor, some of the alternative Presidential contenders who hail from strong factions will be much less appealing to the west, and especially for Ukraine. * Some in the west still cling to an alternate vision that Russia develops a reformist approach that builds and expands on the changes introduced by Gorbachev.  This would see the current structure largely dismantled and the wholesale re-organisation of the political, defence, business and social elements of the nation.  Consequently, Russia would engage in vastly increased co-operation with the west (at the expense of many of its current alliances) and adopt the western approach on a raft of issues.  Forget it.  The coalition of reformists have very low national support having secured only 13 seats in the 450 seat Duma, have no influential bloc and, if nothing else, the forces who would oppose their ascent to power are solidly entrenched and utterly ruthless.

Guest Post: Gyro – Fisking An Ignorant Activist

Please note: this is in traditional fisking format. Stan Grant in normal font, Gyro’s responses in italics.

Grant: To understand China you need to understand whiteness, yet it’s missing from the conversation

In some ways, Xi’s China may represent the end of whiteness. Except that the Chinese Communist Party itself mirrors whiteness.

It is not possible to understand China without understanding race and racism. Specifically, without understanding whiteness.

Gyro: Grant does not define his racist term ‘whiteness’ here. He’s actually being racist from first principles of logic as he’s assigning some undefined adverse value to all people possessing an immutable characteristic they were born with. In this case, skin tone. Grants therefore fails the Martin Luther King Test in the first sentence. Hilarious, as Grant’s starting at rock bottom and immediately calls in the mining equipment.

Yet far too often the conversation around the rise of this new superpower is in predominantly geo-political terms, about authoritarianism versus democracy, about human rights — or whether we will go to war.

But race sits at the heart of it all.

Remarkable claim. Let’s see Grant’s remarkable proof of his definitionally racist thesis.

We were reminded this week when China described the AUKUS agreement — between Australia, the UK and the US – as a race-based military bloc of white countries.

So Grant’s saying that the entire multicultural push of the last 2 generations in Australia has utterly failed and that all multiracial Australians, Americans and Britons are actually … white? Where’s the proof?

China’s Ambassador to Australia, Xiao Qian, says that’s how it appears to people in other countries. What he means are non-white countries.

But that’s not what he actually said.

A history of humiliation

The Chinese Communist Party has a deep racial consciousness.

Utterly wrong. The CCP is deeply racist, as China has been for millennia. Only been obvious for 3,000 years, and Stan….. totally missed it. Mainland Chinese culture is that of the Celestial Kingdom, half-way between Earth and Heaven. Within this perceptual milieu no-one but a Chinese is human at all. The CCP has co-opted this as all Chinese Imperial elites do, there is absolutely nothing new about Han ethnic racial supremacy. Grant is ignorant of this.

It is there in the reminder to its people never to forget the hundred years of humiliation at the hands of foreign powers — of white powers.

Qing China was ‘humiliated’ by:

  1. The Civil Wars of the first half of the 17th century.
  2. The White Lotus Society Revolt of 1796-1804.
  3. The muslim revolt of 1798
  4. The Miao rebellions of 1798 onwards.
  5. The immense and terrible civil war we call the Taiping Rebellion.

So just how did the the Kingdom of Heavenly Peace (Chinese Taipings), Japan (ethnically Japanese), Imperial Russia (multiethnic), British Empire (multiethnic), German Empire (German & Prussian), French Empire (multiethnic), Vietnamese Empire (Vietnamese). Grant’s statement is that everyone who is not European is actually European including the Chinese. This is laughable. Just how did the Treaty of Nerchinsk (1689) stabilising relations with Tsarist Russia humiliate the Qing?

Grant’s astounding ignorance might be improved if he’s capable of reading, which is doubtful as he a propagandist for the ABC. He might start with Spence’s 1996 ‘God’s Chinese Son: The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xuiquan’, and Wilson’s 1868 ‘The Ever Victorious Army: A history of the Chinese Campaign under Lt-COL Gordon and of the Suppression of the Tai-Ping Rebellion’.

Yes, that humiliation was at the hands of the Japanese, too, but the Japanese themselves cannot be separated from the project of whiteness.

Grant: It’s all whitey’s fault and if the Japanese did it then the Japanese are white. No, no they are not, unless ‘white’ means ‘human’. Grant is literally an idiot to say this.

In his book, Becoming Yellow: A Short History of Racial Thinking, scholar Michael Keevak traces how the Chinese stopped being white.

He says in early interaction between Europeans and Asians, the Chinese were actually described as white.

No reference, interesting! And what did that term mean in that specific historical context? Grant is an ignarus homo indeed.

This was before racialised thinking was popularised in the 18th century.

It was then that scientists started to divide the world up into groupings of colour. Colour denoted civilisation. At the top were white Europeans, at the bottom black people and all others, graded on a sliding scale.

Keevak says Asians — including the Chinese and Japanese — began to “darken”.

They lost their whiteness, he says, “when it became clear they would remain unwilling to participate in European systems of trade, religion and international relations”.

Grant does provide a reference, so there is no need to think that he has not lifted this out of context. He’s also entirely ignoring the millennia-deep Chinese ethnic dislike of all foreigners based on skin colour.

The fall of the Qing Empire in the 19th century hastened a racial reckoning for the Chinese.

This was a dark night of the soul; it would tip China into a century of upheaval, revolution, and violence on an industrial scale.

And what was the fundamental driver of this? It was not the western powers at all, it was the revolt of the Kingdom of Heavenly Peace, that event called the Taiping Rebellion 1851-64: 20-30 million people died! It is most likely that Grant ignorantibus has never heard of it.

And it also brought China face-to-face with white power. The Qing Empire was humbled by Britain, a tiny island that now occupied Chinese territory.

Utter twaddle and totally wrong historically.

The distant voice whispering in Xi’s ear

The Communist Party has brought China to a position of strength, but it remains haunted by the memory of weakness.

Nineteenth-century writer Yan Fu was influenced by European liberal thinkers, such as John Stuart Mill and the father of economics Adam Smith, and saw China’s future emulating Western liberalism.

Why does this activist nitwit entirely ignore the greatest and bloodiest civil war in human history? The British SUPPORTED THE QING and helped them to defeat the Taiping!

Perhaps the most influential thinker of all, Liang Qichao, also looked to the Western idea of history as a march of progress — and progress meant modernisation.

Liang is known as the godfather of Chinese nationalism whose acolytes included the Chinese Communist revolutionary leader, Mao Zedong.

What about Sun Yat Sen? Yuan Shi Kai?

He coined the phrase “the sick man of Asia” to refer to China’s fallen state. He said they were awoken from a thousand-year-long dream.

As Liang embraced Western ideas, he also advocated for the unity of the “yellow race”. He used the term “minzu” to describe the people of the nation.

So Liang was a Chinese Nationalist within a cultural milieu of Han ethnic supremacism, and Grant ignorantibus believes this makes him a white European?

Seeds of resentment and ‘yellow peril’

World War I was another reckoning. At the Paris peace talks, China felt abandoned. German-occupied Chinese territory was not handed back to China but to Japan.

And the Japanese were not white Europeans, they were… Japanese.

The seeds of resentment were sown.

Actually they had been sown in 1895 after the Chinese defeat in the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895. It is doubtful that Grant ignorantibus has ever heard of this war.

Historian Jerome Ch’en writes: “From 1842 to 1942, China had been treated by the West with distrust, ridicule, and disdain…”

Wrong. But mostly by Japan, and by the Chinese themselves in the Taiping Rebellion.

Liang Qichao — who had looked to the West — now turned sour. He was an official observer in Paris, but returned believing that following the West would lead China to catastrophe.

At the same time, the world was warning of the “yellow peril”.

Australia had its own whites-only policy, excluding non-white races from the country.

This was, of course, an ALP and progressive leftist policy, something Grant ignorantibus strangely refuses to mention.

Racial politics was also shaping China’s great foe, Japan.

The Japanese derided the Chinese as “yellow”. As Michael Keevak points out, Japan saw itself on par with Western powers.

Its imperialism mirrored the imperialism of white colonisers.

This is a lie, Japanese Imperialism mirrored Japanese Imperialism – ask the Koreans about a certain Hideyoshi Toyotomi, and the Japanese invasion of Korea 1592-1598. This fact alone demolishes Grants pitiful excuse for an argument.

Indeed, China was not colonised. It was never under colonial control. It did lose parts of its Empire to other Empires. Just as the French Empire was defeated and lost parts of its metropole to the German Empire in 1870. Just as China conquered Tibet and still holds parts of India. Does that make China ‘white’ too?

Under Grants idiotic illogic, everyone seems to be white. If everyone is white, no-one is.

In the West, the Japanese were still seen as “coloured people”, Keevak says, but “maybe not as yellow as the Chinese”.

For the past three centuries, power and whiteness have been synonymous. From the British Empire to the American century, white nations have exported violence, committed genocide, stolen land and made it all legal.

So according to Grant ignorantibus the other 4,000 years of Imperialism do not count – or were they too all ‘white’? Grant is genuinely pathetic here, the poor ignoramus has to ignore all the other Empires from the Akkadian Empire Sargon created c 2,334-2,279 BC through the Maya and Aztecs to the great Songhai Empire the sub-saharan Africans created in the 14th century to the vile Ottoman Empire which survived into the 20th century. Grant ignorantibus merely proves that he’s an pitifully clownish progressive clod, the depth of his intellect makes a carpark puddle look like the Challenger Deep..

China, like so many other non-white nations, has felt the sting of white imperialism.

China was and remains – an EMPIRE. Go ask a Tibetan, Inner Mongolian, Hakka, Uighar, etc etc etc. So under this clown’s thesis, the Chinese must be white!

Conservatism Doomed?

In a recent piece on another site, I suggested that conservatism would have wide appeal among regular folk in Western countries if only it had a centre-right parties to carry the torch. My list of conservative positions went like this:

  • Promoting unashamed patriotism
  • Rejecting lies about the nation’s history (like the non-existent Stolen Generations in Australia)
  • Putting the traditional family at the centre of national life
  • Controlling borders
  • Fighting crime
  • Encouraging enterprise by lowering taxes and burdensome regulations
  • Making energy reliable and affordable
  • Providing quality public education untainted by politics and sleaze
  • Opposing the sexualisation of children
  • Sensibly limiting abortion
  • Outlawing the chemical and physical maiming of children’s bodies
  • Guarding free speech and religious liberty, and
  • Not leaving fringe groups to monopolise public discourse and control the agenda

I didn’t get much feedback on my list. But a list of this kind is useful to measure politicians against. Trump comes up well for example. Probably Dutton’s instincts are sound. However, when you’re surrounded by assorted wets, greenies and effete pantywaists perhaps there is little a leader can do. It’s different of course in the U.S. where the president can bring in his own people. Here Dutton (and Perrottet maybe) lead parties which, to a large extent, have been infiltrated by university-educated lefties; liberals in U.S. parlance.

I think we can afford to be pessimistic. The prognosis is unpromising. As new graduates pour from university campuses, the disease will only metastasise throughout the body politic. Is there hope? If there is, it’s in the U.S. Nowhere else in the West. Think Ron DeSantis among other prominent Republicans. Though, perhaps, Viktor Orban and (not far right) Giorgia Meloni are worth mentioning in despatches.

Wokeism, Soft Power and the Globalist American Empire

This is a very good short video that outlines Darren Beattie’s argument that Wokeism is the official ideology of the GAE, which it uses at home and abroad against its enemies. To the extent that it is a successful instrument in the projection of power, the success of Wokeism is inevitably tied to the success of the GAE and the latter will defend the former by all available means. I would add, Wokeism isn’t, as some suggest, simply the march through the institutions of ‘cultural Marxism’, rather, it is the unfolding of political liberalism within our political regime.

Enjoy.