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American National News


Steven Andrews
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Owner: Andrew "Gray" Anderson
Staff:
City, State: Dallas, Texas
Political Leaning: Nationalist
Additional Information (optional):

Based out of Dallas, Texas, American National News has a decidedly pro-American line in international affairs.  The domestic byline is somewhat more complex [as befits modern American politics and some of the shifting coalitions], but generally skews against the "Bi-Coastal" networks [and against the "governing elites" in those networks].



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Gray Anderson [Nationalist/Texas, tycoon character]
Juan "Jack" Diaz [Nationalist, R-FL, @diazydios]
Jeff Young [Nationalist/Virginia, Campaign Consultant, +10% to fundraisers]

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10 hours ago, Steven Andrews said:

Owner: Andrew "Gray" Anderson
Staff:
City, State: Dallas, Texas
Political Leaning: Nationalist
Additional Information (optional):

Based out of Dallas, Texas, American National News has a decidedly pro-American line in international affairs.  The domestic byline is somewhat more complex [as befits modern American politics and some of the shifting coalitions], but generally skews against the "Bi-Coastal" networks [and against the "governing elites" in those networks].

 

 

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Approved for Week 3, January 2022. 

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Urban Crime Wave Out of Control

As if the hammer blows of the pandemic and the often-overdone, often-contradictory restrictions that came with it weren't enough to devastate retail establishments throughout the country, the 2021 holiday season has seen unprecedented smash-and-grab robberies targeting all sorts of retailers.  The earliest hits were on high-end stores in major urban areas, but as the season wore on other targets were found.  While progressive prosecutors generally resisted the urge to refuse to file charges when those involved were arrested, many defendants received bail and some cases have been reported as being "unenthusiastic".

The results were predictable: Boarded-up storefronts filled once-vibrant downtowns as, particle board and wood, while not bulletproof, are far less easy targets for being broken.  Some stores have begun shuttering as the holiday season ended, while others have seen employees quit out of fear of being involved in similar incidents.  In many areas, private security firms have been hired to supplement (or, in reality, replace) overworked police departments.  In almost all cases, rumors of surging insurance rates are coming to pass.  And, of course, as if all of the other reasons for inflation weren't enough, the costs for all of this have inevitably been passed along to consumers.

The woke left needs to realize that these robberies are not some romantic exercise in wealth redistribution: Even if the initial robberies might have been organized "organically", it is only a matter of time before armed gangs get involved and, when the police make a timely appearance (or an area's private security becomes sufficiently robust), either a hostage crisis or a massive shootout erupts.

It is also only a matter of time before the organizers of these raids realize that they can make more money by offering "protection" from them to landlords and managers: Guarantees that either their stores won't be targeted, or at least that they won't be targeted during their shifts, could be as profitable as the raids themselves with far less risk (and indeed, could be done through "quasi-legitimate" means such as "encouraging" that the "right" security firm be hired).  If one wonders how the Mafia rose to the prominence it had throughout much of the 20th Century, one need look no further than a situation with rampant street crime, ineffectual policing, and overwhelmed prosecutors.

America's voters need to wake up to the rising threat that is before them: Apathetic head prosecutors have transformed their employees from disinterested to uninterested, and their refusal to press cases time and time again have left the police bemused and benumbed, often declining to bother with arrests because they do not know whether the risks taken with those arrests will bear any fruit.  Hardline woke local officials need to be sent packing by voters before they do any further damage.

[OOC: Most of what I am relying on here is based on things prior to December 1; I think that implying some seasonal continuations is reasonable.]

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Gray Anderson [Nationalist/Texas, tycoon character]
Juan "Jack" Diaz [Nationalist, R-FL, @diazydios]
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Boycott Olympic Sponsors!

The Winter Olympics would normally be a time for the world to come together in celebration of sports and human achievement, rising above the lines of national borders in search of an understanding.  But this tradition has repeatedly become mired in scandal and controversy repeatedly over the years, with the International Olympic Committee increasingly shown to be only slightly less venial and corrupt than the infamous FIFA.  This year's Olympics in Beijing go a step farther, as China has been engaging in all sorts of treaty violations [their commitment to Hong Kong's political autonomy for 50 years having been ripped up in 2020, and their behavior with respect to Taiwan becoming increasingly aggressive].  And there is, of course, Xinjiang, with all of the slave labor controversies there.  Analogies to the 1936 Games do not feel inapt.

The fact of the matter is that while sport can rise above politics, making for admirable moments of common understanding, it can not and will not rise above economics.  NBC has repeatedly paid insane sums of money for broadcast rights, and American corporations have lined up to sponsor the Olympics as well, not because of some high-minded support of sports but because of profits to be had.  Nothing more, nothing less, and saying anything else is just a case of denial.  That is why competitors are required to endorse sponsors in various ways [or are at least forbidden from promoting competitors' products]: They are used as props for the IOC's money-making machine.  The Olympics are no longer an idealistic exercise but one in profiteering, to the point that for the last London Olympics, the UK was pressed to change regulations about freedom of speech to suit the IOC's demands.

A diplomatic boycott of the games, as the administration has chosen to engage in, is admirable.  It sends a message on the global stage.  But while the absence of a few diplomats may cause Winnie the Pooh to issue a few angry press releases about "consequences", if Olympic sponsorships are still a profitable industry there will be no change.

In light of China's misbehavior, we call on all American businesses to withdraw their sponsorships of the Games in protest of Chinese actions.  If they will not withdraw, then we call upon Americans to boycott them: For the two weeks of the games, buy Pepsi, not Coke.  Don't use Alibaba [well, never use them given their business practices, but that's another story entirely].  Use a MasterCard or American Express card instead of Visa.  And so on.

We're not calling on people to change their habits forever, but for the two weeks of the games, sending a signal like this is the least that we can all do to punish the rank profiteering of the Olympics.

Gray Anderson [Nationalist/Texas, tycoon character]
Juan "Jack" Diaz [Nationalist, R-FL, @diazydios]
Jeff Young [Nationalist/Virginia, Campaign Consultant, +10% to fundraisers]

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The Beijing Drama Continues...

The Chinese government has offered up quite a bit of /sturm und drang/ surrounding the diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics.  In the past this might have been compared to the temper tantrum of a small child; now, it more closely resembles an overly-entitled customer at a fine restaurant complaining that the service is not perfect.

China has made various commitments over the last few decades, as part of joining the global community.  These include things such as agreeing to the terms of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights when they joined the United Nations, the agreement surrounding the handover of Hong Kong, and numerous trade agreements of various sorts.  And in recent years, China has made a habit of breaking these agreements on an at-will basis while demanding to be treated as an equal (and equally trustworthy) partner on the global stage.

This is not to say that the global Left has not been complicit: Taking numerous rounds of climate negotiations, in the face of a purported "Code Red" for the world, the objective has all too often been to secure some veneer of unaccountable pledges of cooperation from China rather than compelling compliance.  Put differently, if the world were facing such desperate straits as is often stated (all too frequently by scowling teenagers) or implied, the cry (not least from the poorest countries on the globe) should be to aggressively sanction China and demand reparations, especially given that while the US and Europe have been taking proactive steps for years to reverse our climate footprint, China has been burning more coal per year than any nation in history.  One can at least excuse the excesses of a century or two ago on the basis of undeveloped science; China's excuse, best summed up as "playing catch-up so they can freely oppress people and support the worst regimes on the planet", should be regarded as...well, hot air.

Instead, however, we have seen years of apologetics and overblown Western guilt, which brings us back to the Olympics.  There is a case to be made, of course, that sport should rise above politics...but at the same time, we note that the 1940 Olympic Games were forfeited by Japan in the context of the invasion of China, and the IOC's unwillingness to stand up to Nazi Germany four years earlier, instead permitting the sidelining of Jewish athletes so as not to offend their "gracious hosts", stands as a black mark.

More to the point, it is particularly rich for a government to claim that sport should rise above politics when their own misbehavior extends to the sporting arena (the case of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, in particular, comes to mind, but so do several regimes' mistreatment of their sports teams - Iraq in the 1990s stands out here).

With respect to international sports, we suggest that it may be time for an international agreement regarding athletes: If a country is going to censor their athletes, if not outright imprison or torture them (again, Iraq's past misbehavior stands out, but they are far from alone in this respect), then those countries should be disbarred not only from the Olympics but also from all other major global competitions.  If they are admitted and a team is under threat of mistreatment (well, at least beyond the tongue-lashing of an upset coach) for underperforming, their opponents should respectfully refuse to take the field.

In the meantime, the diplomatic boycotts of the Beijing Olympics need to stand.  If the last few decades have shown anything, it is that trying to engage China "carefully" and "diplomatically" only leads to a mixture of blow-up diplomacy, where our good graces are met with temper tantrums; and emboldened steps on the global stage.  Put more frankly, any embarrassment on the part of the Chinese government (or, as they are often wont to claim, their people) should be considered a self-inflicted wound if not an attempt at a diplomatic Darwin award and treated with as much respect as such efforts generally receive.

In closing, if the price of feeling bad for our past is having to kowtow to the endless complaints and derisions of the Chinese government and their ilk, then perhaps it is time for us to reconsider just how bad we ought to feel (especially as it was, after all, the United States which intervened twice to save China from external conquest - first with the Open Door Policy under McKinley, and second during the 1930s and 1940s...after all, Pearl Harbor would not have been bombed if the US had acquiesced to Japanese domination in Eastern Asia).  In the meantime, no nation has a history which is perfectly clean.  An overwhelming sense of guilt will only get us trampled...but it will only do that if we let it.

Gray Anderson [Nationalist/Texas, tycoon character]
Juan "Jack" Diaz [Nationalist, R-FL, @diazydios]
Jeff Young [Nationalist/Virginia, Campaign Consultant, +10% to fundraisers]

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To Hell With Equity

Over the last decade or two, demands for "equity" have steadily replaced demands for equality, both on the domestic stage.  Put plainly, these are demands for those that have built up the world that we know (warts and all, and it /does/ have plenty of warts) to hand over the keys to other people out of some misplaced sense of guilt.  This drive is, in turn, predicated upon making people feel bad about themselves and their station in life: Not just the stray billionaire or heir to a fortune, but even middle-class and working-class Americans are supposed to feel bad about their advantages in life, based on various convoluted formulations of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, and so on.

Let us be clear: Nobody (save perhaps a certain carpenter's son from about 2,000 years ago) chooses where they are born.  This is how the world has always been.  Much of what happens to us in our lives is not our choice, as the fates toss challenges at some and advantages at others.  But just because one person is born and raised well-off and another is born and raised in strained circumstances, one should not feel guilty and the other green with envy.  All too often, the Fates are capricious bastards; it is the lot of man to do the best he can with what he is given.

To be clear, everybody deserves a fair shake in life and a shot at "making it big".  That's what America has always represented: The chance to make a future for yourself and your family, to rise in the world.  But these demands for equity fly in the face of any efforts to achieve even equality of opportunity, substituting straight pay-offs for the freedom to make one's way in life.

This nonsense has carried over onto the global stage: There are demands from many countries for assistance in mitigating or compensating for the damages of global warming.  That is all well and good, but those demands land squarely on the shoulders of those countries that acknowledged the problem first and not those who have continued to take every step they could to make it worse: Somehow, the US and Europe are supposed to pay, while China is permitted to not only keep on polluting (the US and EU have likely seen their carbon emissions peak; China isn't set to peak for at least another decade), but to also loan-shark many of those same countries.  One might even suspect that a substantial share of those mitigation funds will end up in the hands of CCP-backed companies.

In the meantime, for all of our trouble, for all of the apologizing we do and all the recognition of past wrongs we offer, we (as a country, as a society, you name it) only get more guilt heaped on us.  One suspects that nothing will ever be enough, if only because if we ever reached a point where it was, the grievance-industry demagogues would lose their fat paychecks for "consulting", their political allies would be stuck spinning for want of anything to hawk come election time, and those countries raising those same points would find themselves having to confront the reality of their repressive systems.

In light of all of this, all we can say is "to hell with equity!" Whether domestically or internationally, it is a lousy principle that focuses on tearing down the world that we've built.  Its proponents have, in general, found a weak point with which they can demand we do just about anything - it was a wonder that the Chinese delegates at 2021's COP conference in Glasgow didn't demand that the rest of the conference stand on their heads.

This is not to say that we should not make our country better, or that a hand up to a current or potential ally is not merited.  This is not to say that there are not companies which exploit their workers.  I'm sure we could all name a few.  But if we continue down the equity-driven path that some (all too often the worst actors out there) have proposed, tearing down what we've built in the name of some vague demand for recompense will prove to be the dumbest thing we will have ever done as a nation and as a civilization.

Gray Anderson [Nationalist/Texas, tycoon character]
Juan "Jack" Diaz [Nationalist, R-FL, @diazydios]
Jeff Young [Nationalist/Virginia, Campaign Consultant, +10% to fundraisers]

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Ban Critical Race Theory From Schools...and Workplaces

It is no secret that our nation has spent much of the last few years reflecting on the nature of race in society.  However, while candid and frank discussions on this front may help us sort out what sort of a society we want to live in, a pattern of agenda-pushing lesson plans have emerged in schools while something which could no longer rightfully be only called a "cottage" industry because of its size has swept into Corporate America.

While this industry's efforts are rarely as insidious as Michael Avenatti's infamous extortion attempt on Nike, the industry is built on a general threat of dubious-but-damaging litigation alongside waves of manufactured outrage.  One wonders, for example, what consultants told businesses that they shouldn't demand that charges be pressed against the rioters back in 2020 [and to be clear, some incidents were simply peaceful protests...but others were most assuredly riots].

The result of all of this has not been a candid or frank conversation, but a one-sided lecture by ivory-tower liberals exercising a mix of formal power (such as the threat of lawsuits), somewhat less-formal power (the vagaries of the college admissions process comes to mind), and informal social power (pressure on individuals to "fly the right flag" at the office).  With this has, in many cases, come increasing mental stresses on those being told that they are (by virtue of their skin color) automatically 'in the wrong'.

This would be bad enough in the workplace, as corporations cater to their consultants and activist shareholders (sadly, we have yet to see a corporation turn to those shareholders and invite them to invest elsewhere if they don't like what they see) but this nonsense has now trickled down into elementary schools and high schools, where it is doing a great deal of harm to our children (as many parents realized during the shutting-down of in-person schools over the last two years).  Alongside the general stress of the pandemic, exercises which aim to make students "aware of their status" have the effect of imposing a sense of guilt for immutable facts of one's life (e.g. race, birth gender, family's social status, etc.), and involuntarily including them as part of a curriculum is no less objectionable than an unnecessarily-detailed round of sex ed, especially when there is no "right" answer other than to express the appropriate guilt (unless one can come up with a "grievance caste" to appeal to, such as "non-heteronormative sexuality").

Critical race theory is an academic matter which, to the extent that it might be studied, belongs in sociology departments and not elementary or high school classrooms.  Neither it nor curriculum matters which derive from it have any place in any mandatory course for a student not actively pursuing a relevant major, not least in any public institution of learning outside of that narrow context.  Whether a course on the topic is being taught, or merely a lesson plan which closely follows its teaching, these noxious, guilt-inducing exercises should be banned.  And just as they have no place in the classroom, mandatory or "recommended" training along these lines which will have a potential impact on an employees' prospects for retaining their jobs or being promoted should also be barred.

This is not to say that a warts-and-all understanding of history cannot be in the curriculum, but as a nation we do ourselves a disservice if we do not demand that our children be taught the good alongside the bad.  We likewise do a disservice if, when learning about our own nation's historical issues, we do not also point out the deep wells of misbehavior which underlie virtually every human society (whether it is the gross caste discrimination in India, the mass human sacrifices of the Aztecs, the brutal autocracies of much of Asia throughout history, or the misdeeds of various powers in the Wars of Religion in Europe).

One need not believe that America is perfect to believe that she is good, or that our children ought to be raised with an appreciation for her.  Forcing "lessons" on our children and our workers that attempt to enforce shame on them for things which they did not do does nothing but fracture and demoralize our society.  It is time for this nonsense to stop.

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Gray Anderson [Nationalist/Texas, tycoon character]
Juan "Jack" Diaz [Nationalist, R-FL, @diazydios]
Jeff Young [Nationalist/Virginia, Campaign Consultant, +10% to fundraisers]

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Dream Act Becomes a Legislative Nightmare

Amid a slew of procedural snarls, debate on the proposed Dream Act in Congress has turned into an unusually heated affair, even for recent years.  The bill, which would extend amnesty to a vast number of illegal immigrants who came to the US prior to age 18, was altered from previous versions (for example, the previous version of the bill, from 2017, had set the limit at 16).  Requests for clarifications and legal opinions from members were ignored by the office of both the Speaker and the Majority Leader [1], setting the stage for a parliamentary exchange of unpleasantries.

A bigger problem arose, however, when Congressman Jack Diaz (R-FL) attempted to tender several amendments...and then realized that the Speaker's office had failed to declare what sort of rule the bill would be debated under: An open rule (which would allow multiple amendments), a closed rule (in which the minority would only have the right to file a single amendment in the form of the "motion to recommit with instructions"), or something in between.  The Speaker's office did not comment, greatly complicating the process of filing amendments.

With the bill acting as the main focus of Congress's attention right now (two other bills having passed through via Unanimous Consent), tensions have been rising and private meetings [2] trying to deal with the matter have resulted in little to no progress: Neither the Speaker nor the Majority Leader, nor their offices, have clarified the rule(s) surrounding the bill, and motions to extend debate and appeal for clarification on the bill have not been addressed by the Speaker.  The finger-pointing and ill-feeling have spilled out onto the floor.

"I'm wondering if this bill was just intended as a partisan posturing exercise", offered Congressman Diaz in an interview.  "That's the only guess that I have.  When you offer reasonable amendments and can't even get what rules you're using out of the Speaker, that's a problem.  And that's where we are right now."

The latest sign of how "well" the debate is going has been a number of copies of an image of a burning dumpster floating by which were left in the House chamber between debates recently, summarizing several members' opinions of the process quite well.  "It's a dumpster fire, alright", offered Congressman Diaz.

Observers noted that the bill, in its current form, is unlikely to pass the Senate, raising further questions about why it was even brought to a vote.

[1] OOC: I'm using this to contextualize the PES exchange.
[2] OOC: The #feedback fight.

Gray Anderson [Nationalist/Texas, tycoon character]
Juan "Jack" Diaz [Nationalist, R-FL, @diazydios]
Jeff Young [Nationalist/Virginia, Campaign Consultant, +10% to fundraisers]

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UFO Crash Leads to Market Crash
By Shaun Mason, Business Editor

To anybody watching the news, the largest news story of the week has been contact with intelligent life (from outer space, that is, though given the tendency of politicians to hunker down in DC throughout the pandemic this might be the first contact Joe Biden has had with sentient intelligence since the spring of 2020).

The second-biggest story was the record market crash this week, which resulted from the first story: The market took a wild tumble amid panic-selling on Wall Street.  We all know that investment banks hate uncertainty (and given the run the market has been in the last year, having risen another 4% over the last few months, stocks were likely priced for perfection), so this rattling the market isn't unexpected.

A particular lance is probably owed to the major markets (the NYSE and NASDAQ) for failing to arrest the drop in stocks with market suspensions: A lot of the initial "reaction selling" was just that, a sudden and dramatic reaction which overwhelmed the ability of buyers to react, and the initial bottom (a drop of over 30%) was likely the result of a flood of stop-loss orders.

But let's put this in perspective: The market, after this week, has been returned to its historic levels of...November, 2020.  Yes, that is 15 months' gains wiped out, but this too shall pass: City-sized spaceships have not appeared over New York, Washington DC, or Los Angeles and the aliens are not beaming down replicators to wipe out capitalism.  The market has endured larger hits over time (though few have been nearly so sudden), and likely will again at some point in the future.

The fundamentals of the economy have not yet changed, and it remains to be seen whether they /will/ change in any meaningful way: The presence of neighbors in the sky might still see us snarled in some sort of non-interference situation where we simply don't get to play with their toys until we're "grown up enough" to do so.

And there will be avenues to profit for all mankind: If all we get out of this are more easily workable spaceships and the like, all of that titanium and so on has to come from somewhere.  Somebody is going to get the mining rights for asteroids and the land rights on the moon.  Not to sound too much like a Ferengi, but the potential opportunities are limitless.

So my advice to you, my readers, is the same as it always is in situations like this: Keep calm and buy the dip.

P.S. Since it is now actually relevant, I encourage everyone to give a quick look over Paul Krugman's 1978 paper on The Theory of Interstellar Trade.  It might not provide immediate investing ideas, but it's still a good think-piece.  It might also be a good time to attend a science fiction convention with good thinking panels on this topic for similar reasons.

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Gray Anderson [Nationalist/Texas, tycoon character]
Juan "Jack" Diaz [Nationalist, R-FL, @diazydios]
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Much Ado About...Nothing, Really
By Shaun Mason, Business Editor

The news of first contact with aliens has rocked the markets.  Of that, there is no doubt, and as I wrote previously, a lot of this likely stems from all of the uncertainty about first contact.  The relevant authorities in the marketplace didn't have a shining hour at the outset here, but given how much of a shock this has been that can (for once) be somewhat excused.

That having been said, ANN's interview with President Biden suggests that we've all "buried the lede" on this one: Some really impressive prospective technologies were put on display, some of which may well change the world as we know it.  The greatest example is the prospect of functional, affordable fusion power.

Unfortunately, after mentioning what is all available in ET's showroom, we come to a major hitch: We, the human race, don't get any of it unless we all give up nuclear weapons.

I won't go into the question of the "right" decision here (I'm fairly sure someone else will write that piece very soon), but that would basically seem to eliminate any prospect of a deal with ET anytime soon: It is plausible that you could see the US, Russia, China, the UK, and France agree to give up all (or almost all) of their nuclear weapons.  It is, admittedly, a stretch (consider the implications for East Asian politics if the only factors are conventional forces all around).  This also seems possible in the cases of India and Pakistan.

However, expecting that either Israel or North Korea will do the same (and that, in particular, Iran will abandon her nuclear ambitions as well) seems overly optimistic, if for somewhat varying reasons:

In the case of Israel, the small size of the state there and the looming risk of Iran gaining nuclear weapons mean that their nuclear deterrent (which they have never denied and which I think everyone presumes exists) is one of their only security measures against another invasion by her neighbors - or a nuclear strike from Iran, which has repeatedly made noises about wanting to wipe Israel off the map.

In the case of North Korea, the regime there is sufficiently noxious that they likely feel they must have nuclear weapons because - even if nobody is ideologically wishing to wipe them off the map - they have talked themselves into a corner in terms of the regime's identity and their possession of such weapons is often portrayed as the only thing giving them international leverage.

Iran, the not-yet-nuclear power in the equation, is generally seen as being able to produce a bomb within several months if needed, raising the prospect of other countries denuclearizing only for them to "pop up".  And Iran, as an oil-based power, could conceivably do so /solely/ for the purposes of not seeing their single most valuable export annihilated (since it would, at a minimum, become close to a zero-cost exercise to lock their oil out of the global markets if fusion power were to mostly replace fossil fuel generation).

The result of all of this analysis is pretty clear: There are some shiny new toys sitting out there that we might well get...but human nature being what it is, we probably won't be getting them anytime soon.  The logic for, for example, oil and gas companies to invest in large new operations might be severely diminished, but aside from such longer-term prospects this "news" is actually a non-event in terms of the market.

Gray Anderson [Nationalist/Texas, tycoon character]
Juan "Jack" Diaz [Nationalist, R-FL, @diazydios]
Jeff Young [Nationalist/Virginia, Campaign Consultant, +10% to fundraisers]

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Various Points of View on Alien Contact

At First Glance, ET's Deal is a Bad Deal
The presence of intelligent alien life making contact with humanity is a major development in our history as a species.  And the technologies they offer us appear to be exceptionally valuable.  Let's not argue about either point.  The issue is not what is being sold, but the cost.

The primary purpose of nuclear weapons, when you get down to it, is deterrence: They aren't to be used, but they prevent "the other guy" from doing things that you /really/ don't want him doing.  An easy example from the Cold War would be a possible Soviet invasion of Western Europe: In conventional terms, it was likely that an initial Soviet invasion of Europe would have yielded significant advances in the opening weeks (not least because the USSR was, logistically speaking, far closer to the front than the US was).  Absent a nuclear deterrent of some sort, it seems very likely that at /some/ point during the Cold War, something would have made it go hot: The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 might have been such a candidate, as might the Prague Spring of 1968.  Percieved post-Vietnam weakness on the part of the US could also have served as such a catalyst, and indeed if the situation in Argentina is any indication, the prospect of a war breaking out in the 1980s as the Warsaw Pact struggled is also a non-trivial possibility.

Regardless of the potential "spark", the point is that the prospect of a conventional war with perhaps a few hundred thousand (mostly military) dead on both sides over a few months brings a different calculus from either the result of MAD (hundreds of millions dead in a few hours) or the alternative "Vietnam calculus" (tens of thousands dead on the US side, spread over roughly a decade, in a proxy fight, but which does not generally directly affect the major-power participants).

The removal of nuclear deterrence has uncomfortable implications on the global stage.  It is, frankly, almost impossible to imagine a situation where China would not invade Taiwan as a result: China has coveted reintegration of that "rogue province" since the 1940s.  The calculus in Korea might also be thusly altered (especially since, lacking the risk of major retaliation, China might opt to back up the North Korean regime - with all its abuses - as a means to gain indirect control of the Korean peninsula, something with historic precedent).  Major conventional wars elsewhere (such as between some combination of India, Pakistan, and China) would also become feasible, as might even more aggressive European adventurism on the part of Russia.  And part of the equation in front of the US would then become how much force we're prepared to use, and how much we are prepared to pay in blood, in the context of protracted fights and whether the US is willing to commit the only blunder worse than going up against a Sicilian when death is on the line.

ET's deal comes with no promise of a change in human nature.  Thus we must come to the conclusion that, for good or ill, as a race humanity is in no position to accept it.



Welcome to Unequal Treaties on a Galactic Scale
If you, dear readers, ever wondered what it might have been like to be in Asia or Africa in the 19th century, you can wonder no more: Humanity, as a race, is there.  Based on the recent interview with President Biden, there are multiple extraterrestrial powers out there: One we know explicitly (the so-called "Nordics") and at least one other race (likely the "Greys", generally associated with the Roswell incident; alleged reptillian aliens might be another faction).

In some sense, we got lucky: In Stargate terms, our first official contact appears to be with a race resembling the Asgard.  In Star Trek terms, with a race apparently close to the Vulcans.  We could have done worse and drawn the Gou'ald, Klingons or Romulans (or just broken even, drawn the Ferengi, and suddenly be involved in arcane negotiations over mining rights on the Jovian moons).

But the lack of balance in these relationships is clear, and closely resembles (in historic terms) that of many countries when faced by encroaching European powers: They generally did not have the force to resist European entreaties, and had to rely on their distance from Europe to avoid being wiped out.

In this context, there is one model which we can fall back on: Meiji-era Japan.  Japan successfully navigated the challenges of European intrigue, modernized their military and economy, and by World War I was largely on a near-equal footing with the various European powers in many respects.  It was only a series of major strategic blunders (namely, the extended war in China) which prevented Japan from being able to sustain itself on that level through the 20th century.

But until we can carry out such an integration, we are at the mercy of potential galactic colonialism: We have at least one power that is at least willing to keep us independent of the others, but we may find ourselves dealing with others who could choose to overwhelm us - or even just force their way in culturally.

A more philosophical way to look at this might be to ask ourselves how we would view Sino-Western relations in the 19th century if fights had been over compelling the introduction of steam engines, locomotives, and vaccines instead of opium.  There would have been disruptions to societies, for sure, but would those efforts have been justified?  Would those living there have been justified in their resistance?  Or, had they resisted, would they have wound up looking like the rebels in The Life of Brian, living in a (relatively) safe and prosperous environment while complaining about "What have the Romans ever done for us?" when the only price was occasionally paying unto Caesar what had Caesar's image?



The Government Screwed Up Big Time
So, this time it really /was/ aliens.  That's a shock to a lot of people...and less so to a lot of others.  Suddenly, a lot of AM radio hosts and tin-foil hat folks are looking a lot more reasonable.  Since ET apparently communicates telepathically, there are even questions about whether literal tin foil hats might work!  Imagine that.

But amid all of this, there is a glaring question that underpins all of this: What /else/ is the government not telling us?  A coverup spanning 3/4 of a century (since Roswell) denying now-confirmed contact with multiple alien races cannot help but raise the question of what else might not be getting discussed.

This situation is also Constitutionally problematic: Did the Eisenhower (or Truman, or...well, every one of the last 12 or 13) Presidents enter into treaties without the Advice and Consent of Congress?  We suppose that the quick counter would be to invoke Executive Agreement, but in general the whole situation is problematic if the Executive was 'going it alone' and cutting the Senate leadership, at least, out of the loop.

More to the point, this comes at a time when the best windows for global denuclearization have likely passed.  If the governments of the world had come forth in the early 1990s, as the post-Cold War detente was in full swing and multiple countries were voluntarily giving up their nuclear weapons (the Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and South Africa all gave up nuclear weapons in this era).  The idea that the five other major "active" nuclear powers might have come together sometime between 1991 and 1995 and agreed to disarm (and to compel the then-three other states to do the same) isn't so insane if the reward for doing so was unlimited cheap electricity and the ability to colonize the solar system within our lifetimes.  Now, 30 years later and with the Budapest Memorandum simply serving as kindling to Russian misbehavior in Eastern Europe, that window has probably long-since closed.

Even if such an effort was doomed, however, the greatest damnation for those who held power for not offering us the choice for that future.  Liberalism, on a global scale, was riding high; if there was a time that such a deal could be sold, it was then.  A number of those leaders (for example, Bill Clinton, John Major, Tony Blair, and Jiang Zemin) are still alive and owe us answers to some very tough questions about this.

Coverups never end well.  It seems inevitable that eventually, something like this would have happened: Pilot error, mechanical faults, or pure happenstance would have invariably caused something to break.  If all the rumors of the last 75 years are any indication, it is nothing short of a miracle (possibly brought about by Men in Black) that it didn't break long ago.  And now that the coverup is over, the questioning comes: Who knew what?  When did they know it?  And why didn't they tell us?

This is not some abstract 'swamp conspiracy' like the liberal press likes to denigrate Trumpian attacks on the deep state as.  The President, to his credit, has acknowledged what was going on; this is real and it is concrete.  But in the face of a real, and massive, conspiracy, trust in government and institutions will inevitably take another deep hit at a time when it isn't clear how much more they can endure.  After all, if this was being withheld from us "for our own good" or "because we couldn't handle the truth", does this not raise the question of whether other folks, long denigrated as tin-foil-hatters, might not be right about their conspiracies?

And that, readers, is the key sin here: By perpetuating this cover-up for 75 years and only coming clean after events forced them to, our leaders have undermined so much of what else they have promoted in the eyes of many.  There is a loss of credibility here that will not be recovered soon.  There have been decades of other errors (Watergate, Iraq's WMDs, the Pat Tillman coverup) that have put trust in government at an all-time low...and now this.  As we said above, we can only ask how much more the government can take before nobody trusts them at all?

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Gray Anderson [Nationalist/Texas, tycoon character]
Juan "Jack" Diaz [Nationalist, R-FL, @diazydios]
Jeff Young [Nationalist/Virginia, Campaign Consultant, +10% to fundraisers]

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  • 3 weeks later...

Polling Roundup

Ohio: It's Complicated

Ohio Republican Primary
  Nationalist Evangelical Business Moderate Conservative
Turner 7% 17% 56% 81%
Mandel 91% 78% 40% 17%
Others 2% 5% 4% 2%

Starting off, we have the Republican primary for US Senate.  Based on these polls we believe that Josh Mandel is slightly favored over Mike Turner, but the edge here is hardly overwhelming given the relative share of the electorate identifying as "Moderate Conservative".  However, when it comes to General Election matchups this presents a bit of a conundrum:

Ohio GE
Turner 50%
Ryan 47%
Generic I 3%
Ohio GE
Mandel 48%
Ryan 50%
Generic I 2%

As you can see, based on these results, Josh Mandel has a slight uphill climb in front of him to win the Senate seat currently held by Rob Portman.  On the other hand, Mike Turner would be a slight favorite going into the general election vs Tim Ryan.  The 5-point difference (Turner's 3-point lead vs Mandel's 2-point deficit) is hardly overwhelming, but nevertheless it is present and worth considering as the primary approaches.  Of course, the prospect of their respective (probable) voting records is also something to consider - at least to the views of some, holding a majority in the Senate may not be worthwhile if that "majority" comes down to one or two highly "unreliable" votes.

 

Alaska: General Election Matchups

Alaska GE
Murkowski 61%
Generic D 38%
Generic I 1%
Alaska GE
Hawthorne 55%
Generic D 42%
Generic I 3%

While it would be a stretch to say that it does not matter who the Republican candidate is in this race (Sen. Murkowski's lead is 10 points larger than a Hawthorne campaign starts out with, though this may primarily be a function of name recognition), unlike in Ohio, both candidates show substantial leads.  We can't quite say that "the primary is the real election", but the winner of the showdown in the GOP's Alaska primary is likely to hold office for the next six years.

Analysis and Opinion: Ohio and Alaska

ANN can see a case either way in the Ohio race.  We might prefer the (expected) policies of Mr. Mandel over Mr. Turner, but at the same time there is an old maxim of supporting the best candidate at a given time who can win.  As to Alaska...given any of a number of issues over the years, we take the view that Lisa Murkowski has been in DC for a bit too long, and that Holly Hawthorne would be an able and qualified successor.  Given that either is likely to win, we would encourage a vote for Ms. Hawthorne over Ms. Murkowski.

Gray Anderson [Nationalist/Texas, tycoon character]
Juan "Jack" Diaz [Nationalist, R-FL, @diazydios]
Jeff Young [Nationalist/Virginia, Campaign Consultant, +10% to fundraisers]

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Editorial: A Call For Transparency

The ET Committee is, without a doubt, one of the harder things to put into a normal political "box" that we have seen over the years.  What the Committee is doing (or not doing) will be of significant importance to all Americans (indeed, to all people anywhere), and yet we're not hearing much about what that might or might not be.  To be sure, there are the usual rumors (this is DC we're talking about; even if nothing actually leaks, people will somehow "have heard something" which may or may not be even tangentially related to reality), but nothing concrete.  The risk, of course, is that the lack of anything concrete means that rumors take on a life of their own, and people may start to believe them regardless of how well rooted they are in reality (or indeed, regardless of any future information that comes out).

If America still had a robust system of checks and balances, we would not necessarily mind the situation as it stands: In the end, the committee would likely come out with a treaty proposal of some sort, which would follow a well-known path through the Senate to ratification (or not, as the case may be).  Unfortunately, the United States has engaged in numerous military expeditions without the prior consent of Congress, and indeed sometimes with the opposition of it (witness Bosnia in the 1990s).  Trade deals have been worked through back doors and quasi-Constitutional kludges.  And treaty-esque commitments have been adopted as policy without even the passing involvement of Congress - witness the Paris Accord, which by all rights ought to have been tendered as a treaty.

With a constitutional order which has been in shambles for decades (at least since the end of World War Two in some respects, and possibly a little bit longer in others), the possibility that the ET Committee could come out and present Congress with a fait accompli does not seem like an unreasonable fear.  While some details will need to be held back, the ET Committee needs to commit to regular press briefings.  The government already erred in sitting on this issue for far too long; acknowledging the aliens' presence and then stuffing the whole thing back behind closed doors isn't much of an improvement.

Gray Anderson [Nationalist/Texas, tycoon character]
Juan "Jack" Diaz [Nationalist, R-FL, @diazydios]
Jeff Young [Nationalist/Virginia, Campaign Consultant, +10% to fundraisers]

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Global Cooperation: Can it Last?

The wave of global cooperation that has emerged in the wake of the revelation of extraterrestrial intelligence is unprecedented.  It is, in many ways, encouraging to see this sort of cooperation among the human race.  But if history is any guide, it is also likely to be a relatively brief phase in human history.

===== ===== ===== ===== =====

Looking back, there are three other periods where this sort of euphoric cooperation either emerged or attempted to emerge: In the wake of World War One, in the wake of World War Two, and at the end of the Cold War.

In the wake of the World Wars, there were green shoots of global cooperation.  The formation of the League of Nations at the end of World War One was the first clear step towards a sort of global cooperation on matters of security, and it was followed up with a series of conferences which sought to "outlaw war" and reduce military arms races.  The general non-involvement of the United States, combined with the diplomatic isolation of the Soviet Union (and later, the unwillingness of the United Kingdom and France to make some of the agreements "stick") brought this thaw to a close as the Great Depression roiled the world stage.

The possibility of a similar result at the end of World War Two seemed possible for a while: The conferences throughout 1943 and 1944 seemed to set the stage for it, and the "bandwagon effect" of countries declaring war on Germany so as to be part of the resulting "United Nations" meant that only a few non-Axis countries (such as traditionally neutral Switzerland and Sweden) would not have been involved in the resulting order.  However, missteps on the part of the Soviet Union (particularly aggressive actions on the part of the Soviets in handling various countries in Eastern Europe) combined with an increasingly ideological tinge to the post-war stresses put paid to any steps, and between Yalta and Potsdam any hope of such an order collapsed.

Thus the second time we saw broad-based global cooperation was in the 1990s, after the fall of the Soviet Union.  With China having engaged in various economic reforms, the Fukuyamian "End of History" appeared to be upon the world, with a slow-but-steady transition to liberal democracy and free-market liberalism in the cards and the main remaining questions focusing on how long it would take a given country to make a move to their particular flavor of that.  In retrospect, this view was in error, but the 1990s were a time when it appeared that all of humanity (or perhaps, "all of humanity that mattered", that is save then-mostly-insignificant stragglers like North Korea, Iraq, and Afghanistan) might be mostly on the same page diplomatically.

The End of History proved to be more of a Summer Vacation From History, however, as starting around 2000 (with the election of Vladimir Putin in Russia) a recession from the "Great Openness" of the 1990s began.  The 9/11 attacks (in 2001) helped to accelerate this, though a strong case could still be made for general "great power cooperation" for a bit longer as those attacks incidentally put the US, Russia, and China in the unusual position of having a common enemy in the form of [mostly Sunni] Islamist extremism.  Even that did not last, however, and by 2007-8 any hopes of a collaborative global order were either dead or receiving pallative care in various ivory towers.

===== ===== ===== ===== =====

This brings us back to the present, when we have a moment of cooperation on par with the best moments of the last century or so, with vague statements of support and deference from Moscow and Beijing opting to let the US take the lead in this situation.  But will this moment last?

Our best guess is that it will not.  Frankly, human nature has not changed in the last few months (or decades) even if the underlying calculations have most assuredly been altered.  Put more starkly, absent our new extraterrestrial friends offering to "make stick" any deals that we strike (and with their overwhelming forces, they could plausibly do so, though to borrow an analogy from Star Trek it would seem that they have more in common with Captain Picard than either Captain Kirk or Captain Sisko in this respect), the odds of everything going according to Hoyle seem vanishingly small.  We would note, for example, the various Russian assassinations and assassination attempts over the last decade as well as the Chinese decisions to both engage in genocide (in Sinkiang) and rip up a self-government agreement (regarding Hong Kong) suggest that we cannot rely on our fellow man to keep to any deal that lands on the table without outside enforcement.

This reality does not, however, mean that the ideals of the moment will fail immediately: It is quite possible that other powers may remain on their "best behavior" for some time given the offer in front of them (for example, of faster than light travel or limitless electric power).  Broad cooperation may survive for some time, but (self-congratulatory rhetoric aside) unless we are bounded by norms of a galactic community it seems that the best we can hope for is an analogy to colonialism among the stars.  To be clear, many nations' better angels will likely keep the worst excesses of the past at bay...but "many nations" is not "all nations", and if the bad behavior of various powers towards their own people is to be observed for what it is, we cannot suspect that their treatment of life found elsewhere will be better by their own choices.

Thus while we may well bask in the glow of a wonderful moment, something that we will remember for a long time to come, we should realize that it is just that: A transitory moment in the long tragedy of history, and one which will invariably pass and be replaced with more of the same bad behavior which has gone before it.

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Gray Anderson [Nationalist/Texas, tycoon character]
Juan "Jack" Diaz [Nationalist, R-FL, @diazydios]
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Mandel Beats Turner

The results have come in from the GOP Senate Primary in Ohio, and the winner is Josh Mandel.  Mandel's campaign, despite being significantly outspent by Mike Turner, managed to defeat the Congressman by a comfortable (albeit not overwhelming) 3% in the final result.  The campaign was, if nothing else, predictable: With both candidates hailing from opposite ends of the party, there was a brawl over "mainstream conservative" voters between the more staunchly conservative Mandel and the more conciliatory Turner, and an unsurprising number of elbows were thrown in the closing days.

With the nomination in hand, it will remain to be seen how Mandel can perform against Tim Ryan in what is expected to be a closely-watched general election race.

Gray Anderson [Nationalist/Texas, tycoon character]
Juan "Jack" Diaz [Nationalist, R-FL, @diazydios]
Jeff Young [Nationalist/Virginia, Campaign Consultant, +10% to fundraisers]

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Hawthorne Thumps Murkowski

If the result in Ohio was something that brought a bit more attention than the average primary due to its anticipated closeness, the result in Alaska was never really in doubt: Sen. Lisa Murkowski has been defeated for the Republican nomination (again, we would note, as she lost the 2010 nomination for that seat as well, and arguably only won it in 2016 for want of a strong challenger) by Congresswoman Holly Hawthorne.  Murkowski's history with the Republican Party in Alaska has long been tortured: She won re-election in 2010 without the Republican nomination, while in 2016 her campaign saw her arguably only beat Joe Miller (the GOP nominee who beat her in the 2010 primary) due to the presence of a second conservative-leaning independent.  In both races, the official Democrat's campaign trailed far behind Murkowski and the more conservative candidates; when combined with Murkowski's tendency to bump into members of the party leadership (most notably, refusing to support party efforts to fast-track Amy Coney Barrett's nomination and voting present on Brett Kavanaugh's nomination), she in some respects marked out the most left-leaning viable position in Alaska politics.

Murkowski has announced that she will not be repeating her 2010 write-in run, meaning that barring a surprise, Congresswoman Hawthorne will likely be the next Senator from Alaska.

Gray Anderson [Nationalist/Texas, tycoon character]
Juan "Jack" Diaz [Nationalist, R-FL, @diazydios]
Jeff Young [Nationalist/Virginia, Campaign Consultant, +10% to fundraisers]

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Nationalists Rising?  Primary Analysis

If Republican primary results this year are any indication, the nationalist wing of the Republican Party is on the rise.  Whether it is as a result of backlash against ET, consternation at the mishandling of the pandemic by the Biden administration, or simply a process which has arguably been underway for more than a decade is something to muse over (and the study of which, we hope, will get some good, conservative academics tenure at fine institutions such as Grove City College or Liberty University).  Nevertheless, it is happening.

The entirely-expected result of the night was the victory of Congresswoman Holly Hawthorne over incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski.  Murkowski's strained relationship with her party base has been the subject of much spilled ink; suffice it to say that it wasn't just ideological hardliners who were tired of Murkowski at this point.

The less-expected result in Ohio bears more analysis: Both candidates were reasonably popular with their respective wings of the party and both candidates seemed to be about equal in terms of ability on the campaign trail.  Mike Turner was, if anything, the more well-funded of the two.  Yet Josh Mandel upset him.  Why?  We can offer three theories:

(1) Red Tide Rising.  This theory posits that there is simply a wave sweeping the GOP, and that with only weak opposition to be had within the party, a "Trumpy" destiny is somewhat inevitable.  We would note that a similar case has been made elsewhere with respect to the positioning of the Democratic Party, and that the two elements may be feeding off of one another.

(2) Momentary Zeitgeist.  While it will be some time before we can point to the causes of 2022 trending how it has been, we'd note that this could all simply be a reaction to...well, everything going crazy in the world over the last two years.  If we look back at 2010, the Tea Party was pretty clearly ascendant (some polls suggested that an independent "Tea Party" presidential campaign in 2012 would have split the GOP down the middle a la Teddy Roosevelt in 1912), but while the movement didn't go away after 2012, it also didn't drive onward with the same sort of momentum or enthusiasm.

(3) Turner Flopped.  There's a question as to how well motivated Turner's base was, and we'd note that "moderate" candidates have historically had trouble motivating a centrist base to turn out on their behalf.  Exit polling suggests that either Turner simply failed to motivate his moderate-skewing base or that he failed to "defend" it against a volley of hammering attacks from Mandel's campaign, meaning that Mandel did a lot better here than expected.  This theory would simply discard the idea of an overarching narrative in favor of looking at the successes and failures of the individual campaigns: Turner flopped and Murkowski couldn't escape her sins, but the world is not being turned upside down.

Of course, the end result of this will likely be determined not tonight but in the general election: While Holly Hawthorne is strongly favored in Alaska due to that state's demographics, Josh Mandel's primary victory could prove to be a Pyrrhic affair if the result is Sen. Tim Ryan (a concern that we noted earlier...Mandel is less of a clean fit for Ohio in some ways than an identical candidate would be in, say, West Virginia or Utah).  This would have echoes in 2010: Due to primary upsets in Delaware (where Congressman Mike Castle was beaten out for the GOP nomination by Christine O'Donnell) and Nevada (where Sharron Angle beat out several more-viable candidates), chances of the GOP taking back the Senate were pushed back from 2010 to, ultimately, 2014 and some of the more aggressive drive of the Tea Party was arguably blunted.

What will happen?  If anybody has a crystal ball, we'd love to hear from you.  Otherwise, we'll just have to wait and see.

Gray Anderson [Nationalist/Texas, tycoon character]
Juan "Jack" Diaz [Nationalist, R-FL, @diazydios]
Jeff Young [Nationalist/Virginia, Campaign Consultant, +10% to fundraisers]

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Post-Contact Market Malaise Continues

Following the dramatic shock of extraterrestrial contact (and the resulting panic selling which broke out), the stock market has continued to trade sideways over the last few months.  In general, there seem to be four catalysts underpinning the lack of market movement:

First is the obvious uncertainty in the future of the economy.  For all investors know, the aliens will hand out replicators next week that are capable of deeply rattling every sector in the market.  While from various perspectives this might be a really cool future to envision, the disruption in the economy would be spectacular, and the effects on the market exceedingly chaotic.  On the other hand, negotiations with ET might break down and we end up in status quo ante save for political echoes (and perhaps a slightly different view of our place in the universe).

From this first point comes a second point: With all sorts of uncertainty in the air, and various pandemic-induced disruptions in the global economy not quite going away (e.g. chip shortages), a lot of money is simply parked on the sidelines.  Institutional investors and individuals alike are simply hesitant to put money into a company that might suddenly find that their supply of some key good is snarled due to another surprise disruption, or that a major market is suddenly cut off until management kowtows because someone at the company tweeted the wrong comment about Sinkiang.  Geopolitical risk, supply chain risk, and now 

Third, there has been one sea change in the market, namely that companies are working to establish more robust supply chains.  Look at the auto industry, where major actors are taking steps to ensure that they never face a repeat of the 2021 chip disruptions.  In the long term, this is a good thing for...well, basically everybody in the world.  In the short run, this translates into suppressed earnings and a lack of dividend growth.  Put another way, while it will likely drive prices higher in a few years, for now investors are simply letting their capital sit on the sidelines while this works its way out, and prices are flat.

The last bit is a lack of big action from Washington, DC.  Yes, bills have passed.  Yes, Congress is doing what Congress often does.  But Build Back Better is as dead as it has ever been, and so there has been no bold action since the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill last year.  On the one hand, no news is often good news; on the other hand, it simply isn't providing a catalyst one way or another.

The result is a painfully boring market for many.  On the bright side, we could live in more interesting times: All we have suffered in the last year is the market blowing off an overheated top due to the most rattling event in recent human history.  The market is flat and boring.  Ask yourself: Would you prefer this, or a return to a time like 2008 when the issue actually was fundamentals?

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Gray Anderson [Nationalist/Texas, tycoon character]
Juan "Jack" Diaz [Nationalist, R-FL, @diazydios]
Jeff Young [Nationalist/Virginia, Campaign Consultant, +10% to fundraisers]

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Did Overconfidence or Incompetence Lead to Establishment Defeats in GOP Primaries?

As the Republican Party's Establishment sorts through the wreckage of two major defeats, there is a question lurking on the sidelines: Did gross overconfidence on the part of supporters of the two establishment candidates lead to their defeat?  While not the stand-alone cause of either defeat (particularly in the case of Sen. Murkowski, whose career of self-inflicted wounds arguably only failed to do her in back in 2016 because Joe Miller decided that the GOP nomination wasn't worth fighting for if his main opponent wasn't going to walk when called out), in both cases the answer seems to be that it contributed.

There are two pieces of evidence to support this:
First of all, Sen. Murkowski and Rep. Turner finished their respective races with significant cash balances.  In the case of Murkowski, her remaining cash balance was enough to run a major ad blitz in the closing days of the campaign.  The fact that she also ignored the two largest blocs in the party with her advertising efforts (helping to lead to her getting utterly crushed among evangelical and nationalist-leaning voters) didn't help.  The lack of a major Democratic challenger doesn't help the case here: There was no reason to hold back.  Turner's situation is more complicated: He had the money to run an additional ad blast in the closing days of the race but chose not to.  However, unlike in the case of Murkowski, Turner had two additional headwinds: First, the slug of cash that Mandel got at the last minute doubtlessly wrong-footed his strategists.  Second, while Murkowski (or Hawthorne) faced the prospect of no serious Democratic challenger in the fall, the same can not be said of Turner.  As such, holding back cash for the start of the general election was less obviously a mistake and more a defensible strategic decision which, in the end, did not pay off.

The other piece of evidence to support this is the relative lack of establishment financial support in Turner's case.  Mitch McConnell did, in all fairness, cut checks to both candidates...but $5m goes a lot further in Alaska than it does in Ohio (and we'd point out that, in essence, Sen. Murkowski just sat on the $5m rather than using it).  But there was no obvious attempt to "circle the wagons" as Trump, and then Jack Diaz, "made it rain" in Ohio.  This latter point does bring to mind Hanlon's Razor: Never assume malice where incompetence (or, in this case, innocent error) will suffice.

However, the latter point also raises the risk of indiscriminate check-cutting, a practice that seems to be abounding on both sides of the aisle: Dropping the same amount into every race all but assures disparate results, as the costs of the media markets in Las Vegas or Portland are wildly different from Atlanta or Cleveland and Cincinnati.  Such a general lack of clear strategy could portend disaster for the GOP in November if resources are not allocated well.

Gray Anderson [Nationalist/Texas, tycoon character]
Juan "Jack" Diaz [Nationalist, R-FL, @diazydios]
Jeff Young [Nationalist/Virginia, Campaign Consultant, +10% to fundraisers]

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