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If you hate the culture wars, blame liberals

It’s interesting that this white leftist sees the huge leftward shift of his own side, driven by white folks.

….Over the last four years, white liberals have become a larger and larger share of the Democratic Party….And since white voters are sorting on ideology more than nonwhite voters, we’ve ended up in a situation where white liberals are more left wing than Black and Hispanic Democrats on pretty much every issue: taxes, health care, policing, and even on racial issues or various measures of “racial resentment.” So as white liberals increasingly define the party’s image and messaging, that’s going to turn off nonwhite conservative Democrats and push them against us.
— Read on jabberwocking.com/if-you-hate-the-culture-wars-blame-liberals/

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Fascism, American Style

There’s a tendency today to see Benito Mussolini as a pathetic sideshow, an incompetent blusterer who went from Adolf Hitler’s idol to his lapdog. Yet in many ways, Mussolini’s notion of fascism has become increasingly dominant in much of the world, albeit in an unexpected form: in the worldview of those progressives who typically see “proto-fascism” lurking on the Right.

Mussolini, a one-time radical socialist, viewed himself as a “revolutionary” transforming society by turning the state into “the moving centre of economic life”. In Italy and, to a greater extent, Germany, fascism also brought with it, at least initially, an expanded highly populist welfare state much as we see today.

Indeed, Mussolini’s idea of an economy controlled from above, with generous benefits but dominated by large business interests, is gradually supplanting the old liberal capitalist model. In the West, for example, the “Great Reset,” introduced by the World Economic Forum’s Klaus Schwab, proposes an expanded welfare state and an economy that transcends the market for the greater goal of serving racial and gender “equity”, as well as saving the planet.

Wherever it appears, whether in the early 20th century or today, fascism — in its corporate sense — relies on concentrated economic power to achieve its essential and ideological goals. In 1922, for instance, large corporations and landowners helped finance Mussolini’s Black Shirts for their March on Rome. Confindustria, the leading organisation of Italian industrialists, was glad to see the end of class-based chaos and welcomed the state’s infrastructure surge.

Elsewhere, the German cartels and Japanese zaibatsu both kowtowed to and benefited from fascist state support and contracts. Even today, China, in many aspects the model fascist state of our times, follows Il Duce’s model of cementing the corporate elite into the power structure. Since 2000, a hundred billionaires sit in the country’s Communist legislation, a development that Mao would never have countenanced. 1

Capitalist countries have historically resisted such concentrations of power, but this process seems inexorable after a pandemic which devastated small businesses yet saw the ultra-rich grow richer and the largest firms record eye-watering profits. A handful of giant tech corporations now account for nearly 40% of the value of the Standard and Poor Index, a level of concentration unprecedented in modern history.

Companies like Amazon are our zaibatsu, with influence over a vast array of industries, from online retail to cloud computing, the health food business, media and even space travel. Once such firms may have adhered to free market capitalism, but they have increasingly grown to see the value of a larger, more centralised and pervasive state.

This parallels with the alarming transformation of the US Democratic Party, the putative “party of the people” , now increasingly a subsidiary of the corporate elite. Among financial firms, communications companies and lawyers, Biden outraised Trump by five-to-one or more. Today’s oligarchs are particularly keen on the progressive non-profit sector, which provides important support for their political and social advocacy — a means for them to make politically correct statements about climate change, gender and race, while still obtaining enormous profit margins and unprecedented wealth.

But whereas the old fascism sought greater prosperity, its new form, at least in the West, supports only an expanded welfare state that keeps the beleaguered middle and working classes both quiescent and stripped of aspiration. Worthies such as former Bank of Canada and Bank of England chief Mark Carney even embrace “de-growth,” a conscious slowing of the economy and embrace of declining living standards.

Indeed, the widely hailed Club of Rome report in 1972 — “The Limits to Growth” — was financed not by green activists but by the Agnelli family from Fiat, once a linchpin of Mussolini’s original corporate state.2 The Report predicted massive shortages of natural resources, slower economic growth, less material consumption and ultimately less social mobility.3

Fast forward to today’s new economic order, and it’s clear that not all economic animals are equal. There are opportunities galore for Wall Street investors, Silicon Valley tech oligarchscobalt miners, electric car manufacturers and renewable energy producers through the massive subsidies for producing green.

And these woke oligarchs, like their fascist counterparts before them, see little use for democracy. Eric Heymann, a senior executive at Deutsche Bank, suggests that to reach the climate goals of Davos, corporations will have to embrace “a certain degree of eco-dictatorship”.4 After all, it would be difficult to get elected officials to approve limits on such mundane popular pleasures as affordable air travel, cars, freeways and suburbs with single-family houses, unless they were imposed by judicial or executive fiat.

Unsurprisingly, the biggest losers will inevitably be the poor. Wherever the conventional green policies central to the “Great Reset” have been imposed — California, Britain, Canada, Australia, Greece, Germany, France — the result has been to create high levels of “energy poverty”; the Jacques Delors Institute estimated that some thirty million Europeans were not able to adequately heat their homes during the most recent winter.

But then there are many hypocrisies at the heart of today’s incarnation of Mussolini-style fascism. Our new elites, for example, see no contradiction in supporting claims of “systemic racism” and “social justice” at home, while cooperating with Chinese authorities who abuse basic human rights in Hong Kong or to impose forced labour in Xinjiang. Boldly progressive firms like Airbnb have no problems sharing customer data with China’s security state; nor does Apple show compunction in relying on Uighur labour to build their products.

But in the battle between the two emergent fascist systems, China possesses powerful advantages. Communist Party cadres at least offer more than a moralising agenda; they can point to the country’s massive reduction of extreme poverty and a huge growth in monthly wages, up almost five-fold since 2006. At a time when the middle class is shrinking in the West, China’s middle class increased enormously from 1980 to 2000, although its growth appears to have slowed in recent years.

Like Mussolini, who linked his regime to that of Ancient Rome, China’s rulers look to Han supremacy and the glories of China’s Imperial past. “The very purpose of the [Chinese Communist] Party in leading the people in revolution and development,” Xi Jinping told party cadres a decade ago, “is to make the people prosperous, the country strong, and [to] rejuvenate the Chinese nation.”

In contrast, the tired capitalism of our corporate elite — who seem to have given up on broad-based economic growth — seems increasingly detached from the interests and aspirations of their own citizens’ needs.

Apple’s Tim Cook, for example, waxes enthusiastically about a “common future in cyberspace” with autocratic China. Wall Street also actively lobbies on behalf of Beijing, hoping to cash in on investments that strip America’s productive capacity but enrich them. Oligarchs like Michael Bloomberg describe China, a country of business opportunity for his firm, as “ecologically friendly, democratically accountable, and invulnerable to the threat of revolution”.

How do we combat this trend towards fascist structures? The answer is straightforward, if unprescriptive: to resist them with liberal ideals and a renewed commitment to upward mobility. That won’t be easy. As of today, the consolidation of oligarchic power is supported by massive lobbying operations and dispersals of cash, including to some Right-wing libertarians, who doggedly justify censorship and oligopoly on private property grounds.

Yet despite their riches and technical know-how, the oligarchic elites face widespread and growing scepticism towards both the traditional and social media outlets under their control. Similarly, it’s also unlikely many in the middle class will embrace their programme of race indoctrination, or accept a marked decline in living standards.

But building a coalition against the new fascism requires avoiding destructive nativism and instead focusing on how to restore competition and protect consumers from the overweening power, and vast wealth of the corporate elites.

Will a citizenry, dependent on transfer payments and increasingly voiceless, still put up a fight? To slow fascism’s spread, either from China or from within, requires a re-awakening of the spirit of resistance to authority that has long marked human progress and now seems far too rare.

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Trafalgar: The Pollster That Keeps Getting It Right

Overall, the polls showed the largest statistical bias toward Democrats in 2020 in the history of U.S. elections, underestimating Republican performance by nearly 5 points on average.

Media and Democrat polls got the presidential, Senate, and House elections all badly wrong in staggering ways. The Economist election unit’s final presidential polling forecast, for example, gave Biden 50 more electoral votes than he actually won. An ABC News/Washington Post poll had Biden winning Wisconsin by 17 points with a week to go before election day. The final result in Wisconsin showed a 0.7-point margin between Trump and Biden. FiveThirtyEight’s polling average showed Trump barely winning Ohio by 0.8 points over Biden. The actual result was that Trump won Ohio by 8.4 points. The New York Times predicted that if the polls were as wrong as they were in 2016, Biden would still win Florida by close to 1 point. But Biden lost to Trump in Florida by 3.3 points. FiveThirtyEight’s final U.S. House polling forecast gave Democrats 20 more seats than they actually won. In the Maine Senate race between Republican Susan Collins and Democrat Sara Gideon, every single poll, all 14 of them, mostly conducted by media and Democrat polling groups ranging from the New York Times to Change Research, got the race wrong. One Quinnipiac poll gave Gideon a 12-point lead over Collins. The final result was that Republican Susan Collins won the race by 8.6 points.

After the great polling debacle of 2016, one would think that the polling industry would have tried to make adjustments to more accurately gauge what voters are actually thinking. But the statistical bias that polls displayed in favor of Democrats actually became worse in the 2020 election compared to 2016, rising from 3.0 to 4.8 percentage points.

To this day, the polling industry generally has not changed its flawed methodologies and in many cases has refused to correct for unprecedented levels of pro-Democrat bias. According to FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver, the polls during 2020 were “pretty normal by historical standards.” (This is almost as embarrassing as Silver’s 2016 election night call, when at 8:13 pm – even after Trump had been showing remarkable strength in early Florida and Virginia voting – Silver went on ABC News to dramatically announce to a breathless George Stephanopoulos that he had changed the chances of a Hillary Clinton victory from 72% to 76%, and added that the evening was going pretty much as the Clinton forces had anticipated.)

There is, however, one pollster who has consistently outperformed the others during the Trump era. That is the Trafalgar Group.  

In 2016, the Trafalgar Group’s polling data did not just show that Trump would win the presidency, it accurately showed that Trump would get 306 electoral votes and that he would win Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Michigan, Florida, and Wisconsin, something virtually no one else was predicting.

In 2018, the Trafalgar Group released a poll showing Ron DeSantis winning the Florida Governor’s race. By contrast, the New York Times poll for that race showed Democrat Andrew Gillum up by 5 points and an NBC News poll showed Gillum winning by 4 points. DeSantis won the race on election day as the Trafalgar poll had predicted.

In 2020, polling from the Trafalgar Group had the lowest average error of virtually any other polling group in the nation, beating out polls from the New York Times, ABC News, the Washington Post, and even Rasmussen. Trafalgar Group polling correctly showed Trump winning North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Florida and accurately showed that the Wisconsin race would be decided within a 1-point margin.

AMAC Newsline recently interviewed the CEO of the Trafalgar Group, Robert Cahaly, to discuss why his polls often get it right when the media and even Republican pollsters keep getting it wrong.

Cahaly noted that one of the things that makes the Trafalgar Group “an industry disrupter” is that they “reject most of the polling orthodoxy.”

Among his insights, Cahaly understands the design of the polls themselves can drastically alter who responds to the sample. “Long questionnaires are just not realistic,” he said. “You are not going to get a mom or a dad to answer long questionnaires. You aren’t going to get average people. These people that you get answering 30-question polls are more invested in politics than the average person. No normal person will take the time to answer 30-question polls.”

Cahaly also thinks that what he calls “social desirability bias” can impact polling results. When asked whether there is such a thing as a shy Trump voter and how pollsters can best get shy conservative voters to answer questions truthfully, Cahaly replied, “People are hesitant to admit that they will vote for someone who is controversial. You have to get that answer.”

Cahaly has developed a variety of techniques to do just that. “What we did a lot of in 2016 is we would ask, ‘Who do you think the neighbors are voting for?’ That’s a way we found over the years to get an answer. Give people a polite way of telling you something uncomfortable. If somebody has a position on a controversial issue, they don’t want to be judged for what they think.”

“In 2016, what we found is people didn’t want to admit they were voting for Trump,” he continued. “Clinton is saying everyone who’s voting for Trump is a deplorable and all this nonsense. People were hiding their feelings. In 2020, it was even worse. Due to this cancel culture stuff, conservatives didn’t even want to participate in a poll. Period.”

So his firm dug even harder to find the hidden Trump vote in 2020. “One of the methods we used was telling people who we were,” he said. The pollster told them “just put our name in Google and you’ll see we are an actual polling group and not affiliated with a campaign.”

Ultimately, Cahaly thinks Trafalgar Group is consistently turning out more accurate polls than its competition because “other polling groups from 2016 to 2020 did not change. They said they sat down and figured out what they did wrong and were adjusting their models. But they never actually did.”

He finds this difficult to fathom. “We had a dress rehearsal for 2020, and it was called 2018,” he said. “If you look at the Governor’s race in Florida, we were the only ones who said DeSantis would win. Every other poll had the Democrat Gillum winning that race. The issue is that they can’t conceive of the fact that they have an old model and people lie.”

“People are just tired of being judged,” he said. Cahaly believes that polling in the Trump era must find ways of measuring voter sentiment that address this obvious social desirability bias.

When asked whether media polling with an overwhelming statistical bias toward Democrats amounts to “suppression” polling, as Trump alleges, Cahaly said: “It’s either done on purpose or its incompetence. So many so-called political pollsters also continue to get it wrong who poll for the Republican Party.”

One major example of polling failures in both the 2016 and 2020 elections was in gauging minority support for Republicans. Cahaly notes that Hispanics especially supported Republicans and President Trump, and not just in Florida and Texas. “It was all across the country, in Massachusetts and Wisconsin and California. When you talk to the polling establishment, they said the exit polls don’t indicate that. But you have to ask, how are they doing the exit polling? People are going to be less honest with you in person in exit polls when someone has a clipboard or an iPad.”

Cahaly thinks Trump’s true gains with minorities have been underreported. “I will tell you that across the country Trump did better than 35% with Hispanics as an average and he did better than 25% with African-Americans,” he said.

— Read on amac.us/trafalgar-the-pollster-that-keeps-getting-it-right/

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The Systemic Risk No One Sees

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 30, 2021

The unraveling of social cohesion has consequences. Once social cohesion unravels, the nation unravels.

My recent posts have focused on the systemic financial risks created by Federal Reserve policies that have elevated moral hazard (risks can be taken without consequence) and speculation to levels so extreme that they threaten the stability of the entire financial system.

These risks are well known, though largely ignored in the current speculative frenzy.

But there is another systemic risk which few if any see: the collapse of social cohesion.

President Carter was prescient in his understanding that a nation’s greatest strength is its social cohesion, a cohesion that America’s unprecedented wealth / income / power inequalities has undermined. Consider this excerpt from his 1981 Farewell Address:

“Our common vision of a free and just society is our greatest source of cohesion at home and strength abroad, greater even than the bounty of our material blessings.”

In other words, a nation’s strength flows not just from its material wealth but from its social cohesion–a term for something that is intangible but very real, something that doesn’t lend itself to quantification or tidy definitions.

Here is my definition: Social cohesion is the glue binding the social order; it is the willingness of the citizenry to sacrifice individual gains for the common good.

Social cohesion is the result of the citizenry sharing a common purpose and identity and working toward the common good even at personal cost. Social cohesion arises from a national identity based on shared values and sacrifices.


To maintain social cohesion, opportunities to better their circumstances must be open to all (the social contract of social mobility) and sacrifices must be shared by the entire citizenry. If the privileged elites evade their share of sacrifice, social cohesion is lost and the entire social order unravels.

The glue binding the privileged elites to shared sacrifice is civic virtue, a moral code that demands elites devote a greater share of their own resources to the public good in exchange for their political and financial power.

Though no one dares confess this publicly, America is now a moral cesspool. As a result, the moral legitimacy of the nation’s leadership has been lost. Every nook and cranny of institutionalized America is dominated by self-interest, and much of the economy is controlled by profiteering monopolies and cartels which wield far more political power than the citizenry.

Civic virtue has been lost. What remains is elite self-interest masquerading as civic virtue.

In his Farewell Address, President Carter explained that “The national interest is not always the sum of all our single or special interests. We are all Americans together, and we must not forget that the common good is our common interest and our individual responsibility.”

Social cohesion, civic virtue and moral legitimacy are the foundation of every society, but they are especially important in composite states.

America is a composite state
, composed of individuals holding a wide range of regional, ethnic, religious and class-based identities. The national identity is only one ingredient in a bubbling stew of local, state and regional identities, ethnic, cultural and religious identities, educational/alumni, professional and tradecraft identities, and elusive but consequential class-based identities.

Composite states are intrinsically trickier to rule, as there is no ethnic or cultural identity that unifies the populace. Lacking a national identity that supersedes all other identities, composite states must tread carefully to avoid fracturing into competing regional, ethnic or cultural identities.

Composite states must establish a purpose-based identity that is understood to demand shared sacrifice, especially in crisis. In the U.S., the national purpose has been redefined by the needs of the era, but never straying too far from these core unifying goals: defending the civil liberties of the citizenry from state interference, defending the nation from external aggressors, and serving the common good by limiting the power of special interests and privileged elites.

We’ve failed to limit the power of privileged elites, failed to demand greater sacrifices of the wealthy in exchange for power, and so the moral legitimacy of the regime has been lost. And with the ascendance of self-interest and the elite’s abandonment of sacrifice, social cohesion has been lost.

This loss is reflected in the bitter partisanship, the increasingly Orwellian attempts to control the mainstream and social media narratives, the debauchery of “expertise” as dueling “experts” vie for control, the fraying of social discourse, the substitution of virtue-signaling for actual civic virtue, the institutionalization of white-collar crime (collusion, fraud, embezzlement, etc.), the increasing reliance on Bread and Circuses (stimulus, Universal Basic Income) as real opportunity dissipates, and the troubling rise in shootings, crime, random violence and plummeting marriage and birth rates.

The unraveling of social cohesion has consequences. Once social cohesion unravels, the nation unravels.

What’s the solution?
 At the national level, all that has been lost will have to be restored: civic virtue, moral legitimacy, the social contract of opportunity, shared sacrifice that falls most heavily on the wealthiest and most powerful, and a renewed national purpose centered on serving the common good.

Is such a restoration of moral legitimacy and shared purpose even possible? No one knows. If history is any guide, such a renewal is only possible after the empire of rampant self-interest implodes.

So what do we do in the meantime? Nurture our own social cohesion by living purposefully and sharing sacrifices and bounties with those we trust and admire–those in the lifeboat we chose to join.