L5r Deck building : Lion

th (3).jpg

I have gotten feedback from my previous article saying that Phoenix was a very difficult clan for new players to start with. This is fair. Phoenix is a complex clan to master. When I first started the LCG I wanted to play Phoenix due to partisan reasons but chose to play Lion first instead to get a good grasp of the basics of the game. It’s not to say that Lion or Phoenix are better, (I lie Phoenix is better. Phoenix OP) but lion is just more straightforward and easier for new players to handle.

For this article we will go thru how I made the lion deck. The link to the final deck can be found here.

Stronghold

As always everything starts with the house. Yojin no Shiro gives all of your attackers +1 military strength. Note this does not require a military conflict so you can use it fuel cards like rout or lions pride brawler. The house rewards three things. First of course is attacking in military conflicts. Second is cards that require the military stat. Third it is a force multiplier which rewards many small characters. One Toturi would get as big a bonus as one Akodo Gunso.

We now have our strategy and win condition. An aggressive deck which would like to win by breaking the opponents provinces preferably through military conflict. Of course we cannot ignore politics as well as we only get one military challenge every turn. We also want to try getting a board that is as wide as possible. There are two ways to achieve this. We either have many smaller characters or have our bigger characters stick around for a long time. Next we would also want to defend as little as possible.

Looking at our clan we have three themes going for us. We have plenty of bushi to go around so we want to exploit this tribal if we can. Our best bushi is also a courtier and we have multiple affordable courtiers so we can exploit that. Lastly our cards reward us for being more honorable than our opponent. This encourages us to bid low which requires us to include cards that let us draw outside the traditional draw phase. Fourth we have ways to bring cards directly from the province or the discard pile and have them stick around.

Provinces

You may notice that the Void, Air, and Fire provinces are the same as in the phoenix deck. In my opinion they are better than the alternative so all future articles will have those provinces for those elements by default. I will just include a separate entry if I depart from that for a specific deck as there will usually be a good reason for it. For water my default will also be rally to the cause.

Ancestral lands – As mentioned the deck will focus on military. The ancestral lands goes under our stronghold to make sure that the opponent has to beat us by 12 in politics to win the game.

Art of war – We are bidding low and we don’t want to defend. This province rewards us with cards for breaking. Great!

Dynasty

For our dynasty we will try to keep our curve low to bring more characters out. We will only include higher cost characters if they can have an immediate in military conflicts as they will be mostly brought out via charge.

Holdings

As you can see we have our holdings are focused on drawing cards both from the
dynasty and the conflict deck. This lets us bring out more low cost characters to maximize the benefit of our house and lets us have more targets for charge. It also lets us flip holdings and initiates one turn early to avoid clogging our provinces.

0-1 cost

We have 13 cards in this section. More than 25% of the deck. This allows us to bring these cards out quickly and allows us to put fate on them ensuring they stay for a turn or two. Ideally our provinces should be empty every turn.

2 cost

We have 9 2 cost cards in this section. The three keepers do not really count as cards as you’re trying to get them discarded as fast as possible. The gunso acts as another accelerator letting you draw more dynasty cards. Remember you want them open as fast as possible to get the ones who should go into the discard pile there and to have charge targets. The venerable historian seems to be a strange choice as it goes counter to everything I have said earlier. She cannot even enter into military challenges. At the end of the day she is still a cheap body I can put fate on and she can either probe political challenges or defend against them if needed. Having an easy way to honor her can cause complications for anyone running crane as well.

3 costs

There are 7 cards in this section. Kitsu Spiritcaller and Lions pride brawler are the most powerful cards in lion. Thier power level is such that the theme of the deck does not really matter. They will get slotted in. There is only one of Matsu Beonia however and this will be something a lot of people will question. A game of l5r usually takes 3-4 rounds. If Beonia fullfills her condition then she is a 3 cost that will last the entire game. If she does not then she I have no interest in paying 3 fate for a 3/2 body. Not when I can pay 1 fate and add 2 to have Matsu Berserker stay for 3 rounds. Note that if you charge Beonia in she still gets the 2 additional fate.

4-5 cost

Toturi and the Honored General round out the deck. We dont really want to pay fate to bring these characters out. They are very strong but we want to bring out smaller characters for a wider board. The primary method these characters will enter play is thru Kitsu Spiritcaller and charge. We then use our conflict to have them stay.

Conflict

Our conflict is divided into two groups. Combat cards to help us in the conflict itself and cards that let our characters stay on the board longer.

Combat

People who have read my previous article will see a lot of similarity here. For shame, Court games, Assassination, Banzai, fine katana, ornate fan are all good general use items. You will see them recur from deck to deck until more options occur. New cards will have to be very good to beat thier level of efficiency. Due to their general nature you should expect your opponent to have all these cards as well.

Way of the lion and charge round out round out our combat cards. These are high impact cards that swing the conflict towards the lion. With the exception of crab no other clan can use charge as effectively and way of the lion is a force boost of anywhere from +3- +6. This usually means that lion can win any military conflict it sets its mind too. It is preferable that your opponent blocks your military attacks so you can run over them.

Longevity

This is what makes the lion deck unique from the other clans. Good Omen, Stand your ground, For Greater Glory. 8 out of our 40 conflict cards extend the lifespan of our characters by one turn. Note that a game of L5r is usually 3-4 turns so this is 1/4th of the game. It is not uncommon to have a charging toturi or honored general stay on the board for the entire game. For greater glory lets your entire army stay another round.

Splash

I chose Phoenix for the splash. I expect my characters to stay on the board for multiple turns so having a way to honor them would be beneficial which is why kimono is included. It also works with stand your ground. Unlike the Phoenix lion have no problem winning military conflicts so it should be relatively easy to trigger. The deck does not really want to defend so display of power was selected. Miramutos fury would also have been a valid choice but there are some provinces like art of war which we actively want broken and the ring effect of display of power helps us in future conflicts that turn.

Alternatives

Lion can generally just power thru any items controlled by the opponent. If you are having trouble venerable historian can be replaced with miya mystics. Scorpion is a good splash as well to ensure that the for greater glory goes thru. The smaller lion characters also have 0-1 glory which makes them good thieves. Scorpion splash may even be better than Phoenix splash, depending on your playstyle. Another staging ground can also be placed instead of the otomo courtier. Crab offers reprieve to enable characters to stay longer, Rebuild to cycle your deck and the stoic gunso which is a good military conflict character. Although it is true that crab just helps us do things we already do well better instead of adding anything new to the deck.

Here you go a straightforward deck to help you learn the game before you move on to phoenix.

 

Advertisements

L5R deck building: Phoenix

pheonix mon

I have been consuming a lot of media recently from various sources about how to build a deck with L5R which compelled me to write this article. It looks like the most widely viewed ones come from team covenant or imperial adviser. In my opinion the ideas presented in it are more for card games in general and not for L5r specifically. This is critical for me as someone who loves L5R and wants it to succeed. Doubly so now that the LCG is just getting started and needs all the new blood it can get. L5R. The game already has a steep enough learning curve and newer players need all the help they can get.

I will take everyone through the way I made my phoenix deck and hopefully this will introduce basic L5R deck building mechanics for use in your other decks. I apologize beforehand for writing such a text heavy article without many pictures as that would more than double the time I need to write. The link to the final deck can be found here.

Stronghold

This is of course Isawa Mori Seido. This is also where your deck building process begins. The stronghold is a card you will have guaranteed access to every game with a powerful ability that can be used every turn. I highly encourage you to look away from any deck building article about l5r that does not begin with the stronghold.

The phoenix stronghold gives the ability to give 2 glory for any character. In theory this will be used in 2 ways. You can either increase the glory of an honored or dishonored character for a stat change or you can use it to increase the glory of any ready character at the end of conflict to virtually guarantee that you end up with the favor. In practice we can see that almost all characters are bowed at the end of conflict trying to win the various challenges. This means that we will be focusing on honoring and dishonoring instead of contesting the favor.

We now have a basic strategy of honoring and dishonoring. Primarily this will be a stat buff or debuff. They also have the additional effect of gaining or losing an honor once the character leaves play. In my opinion a debuff is better than a buff because it causes even unblocked challenges to fail with a 0-0 tie therefore I will focus on dishonoring enemy characters and only honoring mine on rare occasions. I have very limited ability to engage in multiple conflicts a turn while my opponent may have things that enable him to do this furthering my incentive to focus on dishonor.

Dishonor causes my opponent to lose one point of honor every time the character leaves play. Since I will focus heavily on that I can also make it my primary win condition. Reducing an opponent to 0 honor. Since the stronghold has helped me determine this there are three additional things it has helped me determine as well. First my play style for this deck will involve bidding low to siphon off additional honor from my opponent. Second I want a wide board with small characters to cause unopposed challenges further causing honor damage. Third my preferred ring will be fire because of the status effects. Additionally with a name like tsuke how can my preferred ring not be fire.

Provinces

The next thing we look at is provinces. Some of you may ask why? Why not conflict first or dynasty? I prefer provinces first because I am guaranteed to see all 5 of them in my initial draw. My opponent may not reveal all of them but all 5 of them will be there every game. As seeker of the void I am allowed two void provinces.

Kuroi Mori – It is hard to explain how much more difficult life gets for your opponent if this card is on your stronghold. The ability to switch conflicts and rings forces them to spend more cards and generally extends the game helping my win condition.

Shameful Display- I already mentioned how I would focus on honoring and dishonoring so it would be odd not to include this.

Meditations on the Tao- One of my main strategies is to generate honor loss thru unopposed challenges. This province helps me by removing a character one turn early. This potentially causes any dishonor honor loss to happen one turn early as well.

Manicured Garden – I am bidding low which means I want cards. This would suggest fertile fields. I also want a wider board which means more fate. I will have other cards to generate card draw later but not a lot to generate fate which leads me to select this.

Rally to the Cause – As part of the dishonor strategy I want my opponent to spend cards. This leads him to draw more causing further honor loss. Changing the challenge to a weaker stat would help with this. Others may prefer elemental fury and I can understand that choice.

Dynasty

Next we go to Dynasty. Why Dynasty before Conflict? The reason is most of your tribals will be found here. In this deck we are of course trying to exploit the shugenja tribal and courtier tribal. The characters you include in your dynasty deck will have a bigger impact on the cards you include in your conflict deck than vice versa. Let us go thru my picks.

Holdings

Notice I run 3 storehouses and 3 libraries. This is because in an ideal game I plan to bid low. Having conflict cards come from the dynasty deck help me bleed out honor more efficiently.

1 cost

You may notice that I have a lot of one costs. This is because I need multiple bodies on the table to be able to initiate conflicts hopefully generating some that are unopposed. If the one cost characters are blocked and lose the challenges then the opponent is usually spending a higher cost character. Naive Student, Otomo Courtier, and Solemn Scholar are my choices. 25% of my deck are one cost characters. The student allows me to draw a card and the solemn has a powerful conditional ability that my opponent will usually have to spend cards or characters to counter act. This also provides them extra incentive to over commit to defending against earth ring attacks increasing the value of my cheap attackers. Notice that the peacemaker is absent. I did this because first he does not share any of the relevant tribals and second because he cannot attack. I need my characters to be able to poke as necessary.

2 cost

A lot of 2 costs are also included. Miya Mystic, Asako Diplomat, Meddling Mediator, and Adept of the waves. Another 25% of my deck invested in the 2 cost slot. Notice also that 25% of my deck is cheap non unique shugenja. This allows me to generate decent sized supernatural storms. Asako diplomat directly contributes to dishonoring the opponent which feeds into my win condition and meddling mediator takes an honor or fate directly from my opponent. Adept also gives me covert which can be used to generate unopposed conflicts or be used to force a defense to prevent an important character without fate bowing. I also want my opponent to help me achieve my win condition. To accomplish this I made 50% of my dynasty deck 1-2 cost characters giving him plenty of opportunity to use assassination. That is 3 honor I don’t have to work for.

3 cost

I have 5 three cost characters in the deck. Yojimbo is an easy fit. There is so many characters he protects that its hard not to include him. Of the remaining two choices I selected Masahiro. My preference is to dishonor the opponent rather than honoring myself so I would not be using the 4 glory of the serene warrior. Masahiro is also a shugenja and another key word never hurts. The next time I need a slot though Masahiro is the one who will be pitched for it. The 3 cost slot is weak as there is nothing that truly stands out in it. There are just no better options.

4 and up

Tsukune, Atsuko, and Fearsome Mystic round out the last 8 cards. Tsukune triggers rings allowing me to achieve incremental advantage every turn. She would usually be able to trigger air or earth both of which usually translate to additional honor damage. Atsuko carries a self buff which the opponent has spend cards to overcome leading to a more starved hand. Mystic while being the weakest of the three can still remove fate from characters leading to a more open board which give more opportunities for unopposed challenges.

Conflict

Attachments

It is hard not to include 3 fans and 3 katanas in any deck. In fact I would look long and hard at any deck which did not have them at this point in time. Cloud the mind is a luxury I can afford with all the shugenja I run. It helps contain troublesome characters like doji challengers or spirit callers. Notice that pacifism and grasp the earth is missing. Pacifism works directly against what I want to achieve. I want my opponents characters engaging me and bowed so I can take advantage of unopposed challenges later on. Grasp the Earth while useful in theory has a delay. By the time you use it the defender would have already moved whoever he wanted in.

Characters

I have two in clan choices here. Initiate or Seeker. At first glance seeker seems like the better choice as he carries two tribal keywords. I selected initiate because I need the flexibility to be able to poke in a military or political challenge without spending any additional cards. As you will recall my primary ring is fire. This means that the seekers secondary ability is of less use to me whereas the ishiken has one that may be valuable from time to time.

Events

Events are where decks usually differ. Given that I am running Shugenja and Courtier tribals I selected events which help with this. For shame works with courtiers and potentially dishonors opponents. Court games does the same on a more general basis. Since the enemy is giving me honor for the privilege of drawing cards I am more confident in including three assassinations as well. They also help clear the board of defenders. As you can tell I do not really want to engage the enemy. I would prefer that I get unopposed challenges and if in a conflict for my opponent to spend cards even if it means I lose the conflict. This leads me to include three displays of power so that I can get the valuable ring effects while bowing my opponents characters. My province selection also gives me confidence that even if my opponent were to reach my stronghold he would take time in destroying it. Against the waves and supernatural storm both work with my shugenja tribal. They generate additional characters that are ready for attack or bow opposing shugenja leading to more unopposed challenges. Banzai while not a fit thematically is just a good general use card which rounds out my deck.

Splash

Earlier on I said that I was baiting my opponent into using assassination. Since I do this I include a splash that can counteract that. Since I am not focused on honoring my characters crane and voice of honor is out and forged edict and scorpion is in. Since scorpion is already in the next cards I will include are countermeasures for those that give me trouble. Spyglasses generate card draw for my opponent and reprieve allows characters to stay an extra turn. Cloud the mind also turns off potential abilities. Calling for favors was included to deal with all these. Notice the splash is chosen to further the overall strategy of the deck.

At this point people will be wondering where are the routs or outwits? How about the way of phoenix or Know the World? Sending home people unbowed is counterproductive to my overall strategy. In any case with 50% of my deck being one or two cost characters it is unlikely I would have someone big enough to use it. Way of Phoenix and Know the World may be nice luxuries but with one natural card draw a turn I need every card I get to be able to have an immediate impact on the board.

Conclusion

I hope I was able to help some new players learn how to construct an L5R deck with this article. Remember the stronghold is there from the beginning of the game to the end. Your entire deck should work with it and exploit what it wants to do. Even the same clan with a different stronghold will play differently. Keep this in mind and everything will fall into place. It is not a coincidence that I spent a lot of time on the stronghold section of this article. Work with I wish everyone a long happy stay in Rokugan. Banzai!

There is No World War 3

th (2).jpg

Since the start of his Presidency Democrats and some Neocon republicans have been stating that Trump will start World War 3 with his tweets and behavior. This is false and an outright lie.

None of the facts around the world geopolitical situation call for a World War. It would even be difficult to imagine the tweets causing an escalation that could lead to a World War. For us to accept that this is true then we would have to accept that all the major players in the world such as China, US, RUssia, etc make their decisions based on hurt feelings in tweets instead of cold calculated national interest.

World War 1 and 2

There is a key component missing in todays political situation when we compare it to the events leading up to both previous world wars. In both instances the central powers and the axis countries both believed that they had a chance of winning. They believed that they had at the very least military parity with their opponents. That situation does not apply today.

If any war were to start the US would have complete and total control of all oceans. Every single coastal city controlled by the enemy would be reduced to rubble. Please note that these coastal cities are usually the most economically valuable areas in any country. Any country that would participate in the new world war would face immediate financial ruin. Even China acknowledges this which is why they are pushing very hard for their land based new silk road trade route.

The United States armed forces are actually very good in conventional battle. They managed to take apart the Iraqi army in less than a month which was the fourth largest army in the world at that time. It only suffers against insurgencies as it was never designed to fight that kind of war. Any “world war” would be closer to conventional warfare than one against an insurgency.

Geopolitically the rest of the world would never unite against the US. In the middle east Iran and Saudi Arabia would always be on different sides. In Europe Russia and the EU would be on opposite sides. In Asia China would be on one side while almost all the other countries would be on the other. Due to the national interests of these nations there is very little chance they would band together no matter what Trump tweets. This means the US will always have half the world as its allies.

China

China is the second largest economic and military power in the world. A major reason why a world war would be impossible right now is that they do not want one. Ask yourself this. Why would they want one? Given the current status quo they are already making great strides in catching up to the US. They may even be able to replace the current American worldwide hegemony with a Chinese one in this century. On a side note if you believe that America is a racist country you will be amazed at what the Chinese will do.

In a recent interview Bannon said that if nothing changes in the next 30 years the American Hegemony would be transitioning to a Chinese one. Intelligence reports have also stated that the Chinese are rising as the greatest threat to the US world order. The Chinese have incentive to keep the status quo going as they are winning in it. A world war would be one of the few things that can actually derail China’s ascendancy.

Fearmongers

As we can see there is absolutely no basis for any World War 3 scenario yet “foreign policy experts” usually of Democrat or NeverTrumper affiliation predict that Trump will start World War 3. These people should either provide a scenario where this will happen or lose their credentials.

 

Playing L5r in Octagn

Taking a break from my usual topics for a public service announcement. There have been many players who have expressed an interest in playing l5r in octagn but have difficulty setting up. Here is a step by step guide.

  1. Download Octagn- First things first download the octagn program. link to octagn here
  2. Register for Octagn- While downloading register for an octagn account – octagn registration page
  3. Install L5r LCG- At this point you already have Octagn in your computer which is a gaming platform for multiple card games. We now have to make sure L5r LCG is installed. First Open your Octagn program. Sign in. Click on “games manager”. Scroll down to L5r LCG (please not this is different from L5r CCG) and click on install.
  4. Image packs- At this point you already have the game installed but the cards will not have their text yet. We need to download image packs for the game. Download the core set here  For now just click on the full set download (it should be the last one). The Odrive should be updated every release so bookmark it.
  5. Once you download the image packs Go to games manager again. Click on l5r LCG. Then click on install image packs. You will need to do this once for every set that comes out.
  6. At this point it is like you have bought 3 core sets but have no deck. If you just want to use the Octagn Deck editor then just click on it at the top. Select Make a new l5r Lcg deck and you are good to go! Once done just click on “play or spectate” and start your first game. Or watch an ongoing one.
  7. Bonus Step- If you are like me you use fiverings DB to make your deck and just want to import it. We have you covered. You have to download the octagn deck converter Plugin. download here
  8. You will have to install it. Instructions are on the page.
  9. Go to your five rings db deck and just copy and paste the cards in the appropriate section (stronghold, provinces, role, dynasty, conflict) and your deck will be build for you using illegal Hiruma labor. Save your deck and your ready to play!

4d Chess: The Sanctuary State

th (1)

In response to President Trump California has declared itself a Sanctuary State. Ready and willing to welcome all the illegal immigrants that can make it to their wide open arms.

Conservatives and nationalists are of course up in arms at the slight. If you are one of them I want to ask you. Why? There is great opportunity in what is happening here. Before I go further let me stipulate that California is already a lost cause. Whatever happens there in the near future the Democrats will still get their 55 electoral votes. It would take something truly drastic for this to shift and this may be it.

Simulation

Let us take a look at the scenario first. What happens when California says it will give sanctuary to illegals while ICE is looking for them in the rest of the country? Illegals like other criminals do not want to be caught so they would most likely head to California. Like other areas in the US California has blue cities and red rural areas.

When illegals make their way to California would they most likely go towards the rural areas or the cities where the jobs are? The smart money would say that they would go to the cities where the majority of the jobs are.

Effects

This is where the magic is. What happens when illegals from all over the country migrate to California? They would of course need jobs and the skills they possess would mean they would create new competition for the lower wage earners of the city. As anyone with a background in economics can tell you the more supply of something, in this case labor, the lower its value drops. This is particularly true in this instance as the replacement labor are illegals who are not bound by minimum wage.

Will they push out those citizens in the cities who currently hold those jobs? For some people that will definitely be the case. Others will hold on to their jobs and the newly moved illegals will have to go without. Either outcome causes dissatisfaction in the city. A good example would be Merkel welcoming all the refugees from the Middle East and Africa causing unrest in Germany leading to her party having its worst election in years.

It does not stop there. All these new people mean that there will be a greater demand for social services. After all the bleeding hearts in California cannot have them starve can they? Since the state cannot cut back on its services this will mean one thing. New taxes. This would normally not be an issue. After all one would just have to deduct whatever new taxes they pay from what they pay the federal government. Wait aren’t we removing the SALT exemption as well? At this point it is worth mentioning that 70% of Americans do not benefit from the SALT exemption as they already opt for the standardized deduction. It is the wealthier residents of California who will be hit. Coincidentally these are also the major donors of the Democrats. This is why Clinton spend so much time in California even if the state was a sure thing.

There are also some other minor points of friction. More people in one area generally means more crime. More people demanding housing means a higher price all while cities in California are having problems because the low wage labor they rely on to service their elites are being priced out of the cities.

The Only Hope

Republicans have no chance of winning California anytime in the near future. Democrats do have a chance to lose it and we should let them. This also lets us claim the moral high ground in the states rights argument. Napoleon once said “Never interrupt your enemy while he is making a mistake”. If the experience Merkel had is anything to go by they are making one right now.

The Democrat Contender for 2020 is…

dnc-cartoon-benson.jpg

Democrats view President Trump to be a weak candidate which has led many of them to position themselves as the candidate for 2020. It can get very confusing with all of the liberals running around. Luckily for all my readers I am here to cut the gordian knot for them and to make sense of it all.

The key to predict Democrats and how they will pick their next candidate is to understand what they want to learn and what they do not want to learn from 2016. Democrats want to change as little as they possibly can and still win. There are two key lessons that they learned from 2016 that they will use to select their next candidate. Note that Democrats cannot really change much as any major change will confirm that Clinton did not only lose because of the Russians.

Minority Vote

The first key lesson is that Democrats need minorities to show up in bigger numbers. More white people are voting Republican therefore they need to make up for that. On the morning of the election there was anecdotal evidence saying that Hillary Clinton did interviews with black radio hosts from North Carolina because their internal polling had seen that there was an enthusiasm gap with the black voters from 2012 and 2016.

On election night itself Cenk and the other TYT stalwarts were horrified to learn that Trump got a similar share of hispanic voters that Romney did despite running a campaign that was heavily against illegal immigration. Cenk is quoted to have said that the number of hispanics voting for Clinton should have been near 90%. It is common knowledge in liberal circles that the only thing latinos care about is legalizing illegal immigration.

Asians were not a concern in the 2016 election. They voted for Clinton in the same rate that Hispanics did and the campaign platforms of Trump did not affect them greatly. With affirmative action seriously on the table for the first time they could be a concern for 2020 since affirmative action gives them the harshest penalties.

With this triple threat we can be sure of one thing. The 2020 Democrat candidate will be a minority. In fact I will go further than that. The Democrats will never nominate another white person in my lifetime or in the lifetime of anyone reading this article.

First

Democrats are addicted to being the party of firsts. Why wouldn’t they be? Being the first of anything gives you an easy answer to any criticisms. If you say Obama is doing a bad job then you are racist, same goes for Clinton and sexism. Designing a campaign for the first of something is relatively easy as well. You don’t need to extol the virtues of the candidate themselves nor their positions, you just need to extol the virtue of the particular class that person is a member for.

Running a long string of firsts also gives you an easy opportunity to virtue signal about how inclusive and progressive your party is. Democrats were thwarted with the first woman candidate which means that they will run another woman in 2020. Expect more firsts every election after that. First paraplegic , first homosexual, first transgender, etc.

The Loser Is

For 2020 the candidate will be a minority woman. That is 100% guaranteed. Kamala Harris and Tammy Duckworth are the current front runners with Oprah being a dark horse. Right now I would give an 80% chance for her to be nominated. If you are a Bernie fan or someone who is more of a Biden democrat then it is time to accept that your party can no longer nominate these white men.

The Republican Quandry or Why the GOP Cant Get Anything Done

th.jpg

The other day Ben Shapiro analyzed why the GOP has failed to make headway in any of its core issues. He states that the only thing that national populists or in his words “Trumpists” and conservatives have in common is a mutual disdain for the left. This divide is why the GOP establishment has had difficulty accomplishing anything as anything they propose would be disliked by one part of the base or the other.

Shapiro then goes on to blame this on Trump as Trump is not an ideological conservative. On the one hand Shapiro hails trump for his selections on the judiciary. Every pick has so far has been a staunch conservative. On the other hand he condemns the more recent tax reform efforts as not conservative. He brings out a recording of Rush telling his listeners that the tax reform effort is Trump’s “nationalist populist” instincts coming to the fore.

The Problem

The answer to the Republican quandry actually lies in Shapiros analysis. Republicans who identify as conservatives have to realize they are not alone in the party anymore. Republicans who identify as nationalist populists exist in the party as well. Republicans similar to Ben Shapiro have committed to opposing Trump when he does not do conservative things and praising him when he does conservative ones. This is the wrong approach. If conservatives get everything they want then nationalist populists get nothing that they want. At that point what incentive do we have to vote for Republican candidates?

I understand the need for ideological purity which drives Shapiro and others like him to reject things that are not strictly conservative. When working with a coalition that just guarantees that you get nothing done. Like I just mentioned what incentive does your coalition partners have to work with you if you offer them nothing in return.

The Answer

At this point I can already hear “principled conservatives” screaming that I am asking them to compromise their principles. To them I answer no. You should have principles and you should stick by them. What I am asking you to do is to figure out which of these issues are the most important for your conservative principles to be applied to and fight for them. Then identify the issues that are not as important to you and be willing to apply solutions that are more in line with nationalist populist ideology.

Let us take a look at the judiciary for one thing. Both sides would have a set of justices that they would like appointed. Yet only conservative justices have been appointed so far. Why? For nationalist populists we do not see the issue as one of primary importance. The justices that conservatives want to appoint would suit as fine as long as they can be relied on for immigration. In this issue we have been able to get results because we have been willing to capitulate to “principled conservatives”

This will not always be the case. There are issues that we cannot compromise on as well. For instance we believe that our government should help our companies compete against foreign competition. Just as the Chinese government helps Chinese companies or the German government helps German ones. In immigration we believe jobs should be available first for American citizens, of whatever color, before they are available to illegal immigrants. We also believe that a bigger supply of labor relative to demand means depressed wages for everyone involved.

As can be seen with the judiciary nationalist populists are willing to compromise with conservatives on issues they find to be of vital importance. We are willing to cede even more to keep the coalition strong as we find value in it. We just hope that “principled conservatives” can meet us halfway so both groups can get things of value out of the Trump administration.

 

The Truth about The Trump Tax Reform

th (5).jpg

Tax reform is finally on the table and major details of the plan have been revealed. The media has already begun to demonize the plan as one which exclusively benefits the rich and raises the liability of the poor. As usual Republicans and the Trump team refuse to defend the plan in public so most of the burden again falls on independent bloggers like me. I will go through most of the items included in the package and show why they are necessary. Once the actual tax brackets are revealed I will come up with an actual computation like I did in a previous article.

Standardized Deductions and Personal Income Tax

Raising the standard deduction and collapsing the tax bracket is one of the two core ideas in the proposal. The standardized deduction will be doubled for both married and single filers and the tax brackets will be collapsed to 12 25 and 35 percent respectively. The media has seized on this to show how Trump is raising taxes on the poor as the lowest tax rate will be rising from 10 to 12 %.

This is a lie. There is really no other way to say it. If you are currently in the brackets which pay 10% (up to 9325$) and the standardized deduction doubles then the most likely result is that you will pay no taxes. Even if you do end up paying 12% on some of your income the taxable amount will be much smaller due to the increased standardized deduction.

Since the standardized deduction has been increased other tax deductions are being removed. Fake news then uses this fact as a jumping off point to prove that the Trump tax reform plan is harmful to those with lower income. What no one in the news is saying is that the vast majority of people do not use these deductions. According to official IRS data in 2013 63% of filers opted to use standardized deductions. Data available from non-IRS sources say that in 2016 70% of filers opted for standardized deductions. If you are one of the 63-70% of the population who uses standardized deductions then removing these deductions will not affect you as you were never using them in the first place. In addition to this when you double the standard deduction you also push people into it so the deductions that are getting removed will not affect them.

One deduction I would like to focus on is the state and local tax deduction. The media has said that this unfairly targets Democrats. In a sense this is true. 1/3 of all the deductions from SALT come from New York, California, and New Jersey. Make no mistake, these are not the poor people in these states. They would already be taking the standardized deductions so would not be using the SALT. The people who claim these deductions are among the wealthiest in the area. If you will recall these are the very same people who say they want to pay more in taxes so others can get a tax break. They are now being given the opportunity to do this. If they actually do not want to pay higher taxes than they should petition their congressmen.

Corporate Taxes

The Trump proposal for tax reform lowers the corporate tax to 20% from its current 35% and removes some of the deductions that the companies can claim. This is of course being hailed by the media as a major tax cut for the rich at the expense of everyone else. Before we go further into this let me just point out that the Democrat recipe for tax reform is to keep it at its current 35% and remove the deductions. This is lunacy. In our current system we are already experiencing inversions as some of our companies are moving their headquarters to Ireland and other tax havens. For those who are wondering these are not companies like Walmart or Koch Inc which the left love to hate. The companies doing these inversions are those that the left loves like Apple, Google, or Microsoft. The very same companies that make California so rich.

America currently has a two tier tax system. There are companies who can afford to hire lawyers to take advantage of all the loopholes and deductions the law offers and they pay a real rate of 15-17%. Then there are smaller companies who cannot afford to do this which pay close to the statutory rate of 35%. In other words our current tax code helps companies like Walmart drive smaller ones out of the market. They already have enough other advantages they do not need the tax code too.

The Trump tax reform proposal levels the playing field between the two tiers. Since most deductions are going away both tiers will be paying near the 20% mark. This means that those companies who paid 16% before would have their rate increase while those who pay 35% would see a decrease. Of course the increase for those who pay a lower rate is offset by the lower need for tax lawyers and accountants.

Deficit

After praising Obama who doubled the deficit of all past presidents combined Democrats and their allies in the media find that they suddenly care a lot about the deficit. The accusation is that the Trump tax reform will blow this up.

This is again not true. Take personal income tax reform first. When you get a tax refund you do not hide it in your mattress. This is particularly true of those who have low incomes to begin with it. You would spend the money in your local economy for food or whatever else you want to buy. At that point the government already gets a cut of this in the form of sales taxes. The business owner who makes more money may end up hiring more people or the professional who provided the service would have more disposable income. They spend and the government gets a cut of that too. The very people arguing that a minimum wage increase would be good for the economy should be the first one arguing this point.

On the corporate side the companies that are taking so many deductions that they pay less than 20% would actually end up paying more (although again they would offset this by paying the lawyers less).

This tax reform is great for almost everyone involved. Not only does it lower the tax burden for most people it also simplifies the process. Since everyone is pushed into taking standardized deductions the time required to determine your taxes drops tremendously.

Obama Wiretapped Trump – Manafort Update

th (4).jpg

We now have official confirmation that Manafort was under surveillance last year. Let me restate that. We now have confirmation that the campaign manager of the Republican candidate was under surveillance by the FBI. I explained in my previous articles how everything works. Come up with an excuse to get a FISA warrant. Have your allies in the FBI conduct espionage on the opposing campaign. Then either leak than information to the press or use it to further your campaign as appropriate.

I don’t want to devote another article to rehashing that instead I want to address the counterpoints offered by the Democrats and NeverTrumpers.

No Political Value

One of the initial defenses of the democrats and the FBI is that even though some members of the Trump team have been tapped there was nothing of political value listened to.

This has now proven to be one giant lie. There is no scenario where you can put the campaign manager under surveillance and not pick up anything of political value.This is true for a local campaign much less a presidential one.

Since we know information of political value was picked up what happened to it? Was it leaked like so many other things?

Not During the Campaign

Ben Shapiro defended the actions of the FBI in this fiasco by categorically stating that Manafort was not surveilled while he was the campaign manager for the Trump campaign.

This is false. All we know is that the investigation stopped last year due to lack of evidence and then picked up again later in the year with a different FISA warrant. I do not know where Shapiro is getting his information but in all the reports I have seen no actual months were mentioned. There is nothing that would allow you to categorically state that it was not done during the campaign.

In any case when you serve as the campaign chair for a campaign you are not only involved in the campaign when you are officially appointed. To think that would be foolish. Trump and his team would have talked about the campaign with Manafort before and after. And been picked up by the FBI while they did so. I wonder if this information had political value?

The FISA courts

The next line of argument the nevertrumpers use is that since the FISA courts issued the warrant then it must be legitimate and Manafort did something.

First off let me remind everyone that Manafort was under investigation for two years before 2016. An investigation authorized by the very same FISA court which was stopped because they came up with no evidence. If the FISA court was his infallible entity then they would have been able to indict Manafort with something.

Secondly I find it very disturbing that an institution which only denied 9/35000 requests commands such trust among democrats. The secret FISA court is a system that you can easily manipulate and abuse. It is as close to a rubber stamp as you can get.

Manafort is Dirty

One of Ben Shapiros arguments is that Manifort is a dirty player with links to Putin and should have been investigated. He has a long history working for various foreign entities.

I am willing to grant that. My question is. Where is the indictment? If he is as historically guilty as Shapiro makes him out to be why did a two-year investigation have to be stopped because no evidence was found? If he is as dirty as claimed and the FISA court is as thorough as it is then shouldnt an indictment have happened?

The Truth

Manafort was not just the campaign manager for Trump during the last phase of the primary. He was also the campaign manager for the first half of the general. The truth is simple. The Obama administration used the powers of the government to spy on the Republican candidate during the election. It is not shocking. They used the IRS to target conservatives as well. If Nixon were able to use something like the FISA courts he would not have had to rely on criminals and would have been impeached.

Expanding the Map: Asians not Latinos

th (3).jpg

In the aftermath of the Romney election, the Republican establishment came to one conclusion. We must get Latinos! This was thought to be the only path to expanding the Republican tent.

Make no mistake this is not an electoral strategy. Anyone can see how that this would be counterproductive as one. This is a method to force the Republican electorate to move left on the issue of illegal immigration. The Republican establishment has always been to the left of its base on that issue as the donor class needs the excess labor to keep wages low. While the base was against it as they want more available jobs for Americans. The
autopsy was meant as an ultimatum to the base. Move left on the issue or never see another Republican President again. This was of course shattered by Trump.

Compatibility

The Chinese have a saying, “Do not trample over old friends in your rush to make new”. In order to gain new voters in this demographic would mean that the Republicans would have to take positions its base does not want which would make it lose its core voters. For every vote gained the Republicans would lose one as well.

To convince voters this was a good idea Latinos were sold as “natural conservatives” mainly because of their highly religious nature. The Catholic Church being fairly popular in their home countries. The strategists fail to inform the base that the teachings of latin American churches fall heavily on the side of liberation theology which is used to push a
socialist agenda. If anything they would be natural democrats.

The Republican party does have to expand its tent. After all we have won so many seats already we would need voters in new areas to win more. This will not be accomplished with Latinos but with Asians.

In the 2016 presidential election Asians and Latinos both voted 65% democrat and 29% Republican. There is just as much potential for growth here as there is in Latinos.

Asians

Asians are the natural target for party expansion because you do not have to take any new policy positions to attract them. You just have to expand on positions that your base is already in favor of.

The best example of this is affirmative action. The Republican base, who is mostly white, is against this as it negatively impacts them. What democrats don’t want people to find out is that Asians are even more negatively impacted by affirmative action than whites are. A recent study found that while blacks and hispanics gained points due to affirmative actions and whites had no change Asians actually lost 50 points in their SAT’s due to affirmative action. Couple this with the fact that asians are very competitive when it comes to the educational accomplishments of their children and you have an issue that is guaranteed to attract them.

In the case of employment Democrats have always tried to make the case for more minorities in the technology field. A field currently dominated by whites and you guessed it asians. Hiring more blacks and latinos means lost opportunities for asians.

In terms of immigration they are also the most likely beneficiaries of something like the raise act. Most of the applicants would already either speak perfectly good english (being involved in call centers) or are among the wealthy in Japan, China, or Korea which you would want to bring in anyway.

It has been argued that Republicans need to attract Latinos because they reside in swing states. Yet Republicans are already winning those states with their current level of support from latinos. Exerting effort to attract asians to the party would allow it to expand into other areas. Equally important since they vote for democrats at the same rate as latinos it would serve to break up the democrat coalition.

Conclusion

It is a lie fed to us by the Republican establishment that we have to move left on illegal immigration to win elections. We already have a demographic that is a perfect natural fit for the Republican party. We just have to reach out to them.