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Ronald N. Neff, rest in peace



 

New article by Edna St. Louis Missouri posted December 3, 2021.
 

Posted November 24, 2021.

Edward Morrison Morley: Why is it that Big Finance shills for the climate-change totalitarians?

Mr. Morley is in recovery from finding out that Thanksgiving dinners this year will cost 121/2 percent more than last year, which has left him very unthankful about the Biden regime. Ditto for the fact that “Black Friday” now appears to be lasting from Halloween through the end of November. Maybe he will cheer up when Christmas comes and ends the “temporary” wave of inflation, but this is unlikely. Hey, maybe we can have all of 2022 declared “Sleepy Joe’s Temporary Inflation Shopping Days.”
Once upon a midnight dreary, as I collected a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore — namely a number of my credit-card bills, all of which still send me paper statements at my request — I pondered weak and weary, as I nodded, nearly napping, why the heck does Big Finance keep promoting sustainability and tree-hugging. For example, my Citi card urges me to “Join the millions of Citi customers who chose digital documents and statements to reduce paper waste and help save some trees.” And my Kohl’s card tells me on the outside of the envelope, for everyone to see as part of their “sustainable [sic] solutions for a healthy future” campaign, “Going paperless is just one way you can feel good about your footprint, and ours. See back for how to sign up.” On the back, I am summoned to “Go Paperless. Sign up at MyKohl’sCard.com to view and download statements anytime.”

Citi is appealing

1) to our inclination to go along with the crowd, an inclination that I’m afraid is wasted on libertarians, for many of whom the very fact that millions are doing something is probably a reliable indicator that said activity is to be avoided;

2) to reduce paper waste, though how paper is saved if I have to print the statement myself for a permanent record is unclear. Maybe they meant “save us from having to print and waste the paper”; and

3) for us to “help save some trees,” which seems to be asking me to support poor forest management practices concerning the need to weed out the forests and “help prevent forest fires.” Maybe they forgot that “Only you (Citi) can prevent forest fires by supporting good forest management.”

Kohl’s takes a somewhat different tack:

1) The feel-good approach, which interestingly means I can feel good and also help Kohl’s feel good. Looks like a win, win. Who wouldn’t want “sustainable solutions”? Who wouldn’t want “a healthy future.” True, it’s “just one way,” and for some reason they don’t provide me with a veritable laundry list of other ways to support sustainable solutions or at least links to any of hundreds of websites ready and willing to smack down capitalism, consumers, and comfort. (Note to Readers: prizes of some sort may be awarded to any of you who can suggest additional descriptors starting with “s.” Send your responses to “Whom it May Concern, Department of Sustainable Prizes, The Last Ditch, General Delivery, Washington DC.);

2) They assure me that I can download and print statements anytime. Sounds as if they are shifting the paper waste from them to me.

There is a faint hint of reproof in these appeals, since not to “Go Paperless” is to oppose sustainability; not give a rip about your “footprint” (mine is size 81/2) or theirs (“Please, buddy, if you don’t care about your footprint, can’t you at least help us out?”); not want to reduce waste; and reveal a couldn’t-care-less attitude about saving some trees (I like that “some” in there). How about some further grandstanding by not printing these appeals to go paperless on your statements and envelopes, thus contributing to your saving ink (possibly as much as $8.74 all told), saving the planet or trees, or providing shoes for shoeless footprints?

This brings us to a very real gain to be made here that unaccountably isn’t mentioned or even hinted at: these fanatical saviors of the environment save $millions when they don’t have to process, print off, and mail statements monthly to their “customers.” In contradistinction to the paltry, virtually non-existent negative effect on the supposed “healthy future” that my forgoing a printed monthly statement might have, the return to the bottom line of Big Finance of these insipid sustainable solutions is very real. I guess they didn’t mention this incalculable profit center because they were too busy thinking about sustainability or maybe about not having their offices and boardrooms trashed by Antifa or maybe being targeted by a vicious social-media campaign that costs the campaigners virtually nothing and ruins guilty, non-sustainable companies. (Guess they haven’t heard that Antifa isn’t real either, or CRT, or socialism, or the Easter Bunny, or the “Justice” Department.) Ω

 
Posted November 16, 2021.

Edna St. Louis Missouri: It’s a Wonderful Life! Sorta. Maybe. Get Real. Get a Life!

Ms. Missouri is TLD’s Supply-Chain Correspondent. She has been prowling our empire’s infrastructure and doesn’t like it one bit, or byte for that matter. ESLM recently completed an online degree in economics under a pseudonym and will be writing economic commentary for The New York Times as soon as it has a major change of management and staff. — Ed.
Everyone has rapidly adopted the excuse that all of our discontents are due to “supply-chain problems” (as in “I can’t roto-rooter your blocked sewer line because of supply-chain problems”). But all is now well, as voiced in this Wall Street Journal headline of November 10, 2021: “U.S. Moves to Ease Port Logjams.” The Biden administration revealed a “plan” to “help ease the logjams” by redirecting “existing grant money.” No indication given about how much “existing grant money” is available: $1 billion? $500 million? $42.87? We are told that the Port of Savannah, Ga., “will be able to reallocate more than $8 million of funding to create five temporary inland container yards to reduce dockside congestion.” OK, so apparently there is at least $8 million out there.

What, you say? They have “existing grant money” but haven’t had time until now to use the money? And that “existing grant money could be used more quickly under the new policy”? Well, don’t forget that Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has been on maternity leave for nearly two months, you insensitive oafs. Can’t remember when a cabinet secretary last took a maternity leave? To refresh your memories, the answer appears to be “never.” Anyway, leaving aside that “could be used more quickly” qualifier, does one get the impression that these morons already have more money than they can spend “quickly”?

Nameless administration officials (still no Buttigieg, apparently) “also highlighted $17 billion for ports and waterways that will be available after President Biden signs the roughly $1 trillion infrastructure spending package Congress approved last week.” What, you say, he hadn’t signed the bill yet? So what’s your hurry here? The mind reels. (Somebody finally found a pen and put it in his hand on November 15.)

“The administration said it would also make $240 million in grant funding available in the next 45 days for ports and identify projects for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers construction at coastal ports and inland waterways within 60 days.” This might give us some clue as to how much longer ol’ Secretary Pete will be on maternity leave. (To be honest, Pete has actually ventured out of whatever bunker he has been in for the last several months to make brief public appearances.)

The president, Sleepy Joe hisseff, “has acknowledged the frustration from consumers about delays and shortages.” In a statement that ESLM has completely untampered with even though she isn’t quite certain what it means, the Prez said, “You can understand why people are upset. Whether you have a Ph.D or you’re working, you know, in a restaurant, it’s confusing. And so, people are understandably worried. They’re worried.” So are at least some specialists in geriatric dementia.

The administration previously “pushed to get the Port of Los Angeles to operate around the clock.” And how did that work out? “Such efforts have been slow to get off the ground,” not because of a lack of “grant money,” but “because of a lack of interest from shippers and truckers.” (We probably shouldn’t mention that trucking is an industry further incapacitated by Uncle Joe’s vaccine mandate, so we won’t.) The bungler-in-chief “spoke with the CEOs of Walmart Inc., United Parcel Service Inc., FedEx Corp., and Target Corp.” and received updates on “‘the efforts they’re taking to speed up throughput in our entire goods movement supply chain,’ the White House said.” Strangely omitted from this confab was Amazon, though it might be only a minor player in the speeding-up-throughput game.

Now for the good news (ed. note: ESLM is ever the optimist when she’s off her meds). The White House also predicted November 9 that “shelves will be well-stocked this holiday season.” One might have thought this would be backed up by Secretary-in-Absentia Buttigieg who actually this past week did put in a couple of appearances to scotch rumors that he had been kidnapped by the Russian Mafia and Bitcoin conspiracy. On November 12, he appeared on CBS’s “In Short Supply” series, an appearance billed as “Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s message to shoppers and travelers amid supply chain crisis,” and described as “Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg joins ‘CBS Mornings’ with a message to holiday shoppers and travelers amid the supply chain crisis. As part of our series ‘In Short Supply,’ he tells us what the administration is doing to help ease congestion at the nation’s ports and when he thinks the crisis will end.” (Source: www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LljeIObsjM.)

However, viewers were doomed to disappointment. Petie (who bears such a striking resemblance to MAD Magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman that MAD has sued him for copyright infringement) opined that this problem would not be solved until the pandemic ended. Right. Second, it would be a long-term issue connected with our obsolete supply-chain system. Third, when asked about the lack of truckers, he said the problem was they were getting too little compensation. According to ZIPPIA, American truck drivers make an average salary of $51,066 a year. You be the judge whether that’s too little.

Mr. B also said that truckers’ licensure requirements should be eased (one would guess that governments aren’t responsible for that) and that the Biden Build Back Better scheme would provide more child care for truckers (also presumably a major cause of trucker shortages instead of vaccine mandates, which neither the interviewer nor Boy Wonder B brought up).

With all of this, there seems to be little hope of things being fixed by Christmas, wouldn’t you say? Buttigieg, in fact, didn’t address the holidays issue at all, so at least he won’t be the Scrooge who ruined Christmas this year, and if licensure requirements for truckers aren’t reduced, whoever it is that sets those requirements will be to blame.

In the disgusting “Christmas classic,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” all ends well at Christmas. (ESLM puts her hand on a hot stove every time this theologically confused and economically illiterate “classic” darkens the doorstep of her 75” UHD TV). Apparently the Biden administration is counting on the Christmas equivalent of the Tooth Fairy to make sure the unwashed masses don’t notice that the economic Grinch, inflation, is doing its best to escalate the price of food, gas, clothing, you name it — price hikes that they told us nine months ago were just “temporary.” (Late Breaking News: on November 10, 2021, the Wall Street Journal announced on the front page: “U.S. Inflation Hit 31-Year High in October as Consumer Prices Jump[ed] 6.2%.” Possibly more on that in another column after ESLM recovers her equanimity.)

Wikipedia rightfully calls “It’s a Wonderful Life” a “family fantasy drama film.” Fantasies and dramas are about all the Biden regime has on offer. We are pretty much on the Bedford Falls bridge, getting ready to jump. Maybe Clarence, Angel 2nd Class, will save the day and we will hear a bell on the Christmas tree ringing to announce that Clarence has earned his wings. And then we’ll all gather round our 50 percent more expensive Christmas trees (those who can afford them) and sing Auld Lang Syne. But I wouldn’t count on it.

Please join TLD on December 31, 2021 for a look back at this Yuletide in which I, Edna St. Louis Missouri, will admit I was wrong, in error, not right, or will proclaim “I told ya so!” Anyone care to bet against me? Ω

 
Posted November 14, 2021.

Edward Morrison Morley: Without comment.

Our usually verbose correspondent was apparently dumbfounded by the spin doctors in Sunday’s issue of the newspaper that prints all that’s fit to print. Oh, wait, now we get it! Just as things depend on what “is” means, “fit to print” depends on what the NYT’s editors think “fit” means. — Ed.
New York Times, November 14, 2021: “How a School District Got Caught in Virginia’s Political Maelstrom,” by Stephanie Saul.

Editor’s intro: “Loudoun County tried to address racism and promote diversity within its schools. Then it found itself on Fox News.” Ω

 
Edna St. Louis Missouri: Get ready for infrastructure rent-seeking and green-energy successes.

Ms. Missouri is TLD’s Economics Correspondent and a congenital optimist currently under treatment for this malign affliction at the Betty Ford Center’s Indiana Branch in Roanoke, Ind. — Ed.
The good news is that the Biden $1 trillion infrastructure bill will be signed on Monday, November 15 (no word on why he waited a full 10 days to sign a bill supposedly dealing with a national emergency, but word has it that the older one gets, the more quickly time passes ...). The bad news is that the Biden $1 trillion infrastructure bill will be signed on Monday, November 15 with incalculable harm to the economy and, worse, to practically every other aspect of American life from religious freedom to taxes (namely, it will have ruinous taxation effects).

Most important, it is probably the largest such occasion in U.S. history for rent-seekers to wipe out any possible losses to increased taxes. (Does anyone think for a minute that rich people will actually pay more taxes than they have spent in the century since U.S. income taxes went into effect with such salutary consequences for bettering the lives of one and all?) A rent-seeker, for those of you a little shaky on economics (such as Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen), is someone who grabs existing wealth, makes financial gains, and benefits without creating new wealth by manipulating and exploiting political means and opportunities. The term was coined by David Ricardo in the 19th century and popularized in the 20th century by Gordon Tullock as an explanation for the prevalence of what Boss Tweed called “honest graft” as opposed to outright stealing or “dishonest graft.” Sometimes this is referred to as “crony capitalism.” Certainly Adam Smith was right in warning us that anytime a group of businessmen and civic leaders gathered around a table, petty and mostly grand larceny were the likely outcomes.

Now, here’s the White House press release (WARNING: Those who have recently eaten or who have delicate stomachs, STOP NOW!!! DO NOT CALL YOUR DOCTOR. GO IMMEDIATELY TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM OF THE NEAREST HOSPITAL. DO NOT PASS GO, DO NOT COLLECT $200.)

OK, so you didn’t listen: Caveat lector. Here it is from the horse’s mouth: “The President will highlight how he is following through on his commitment to rebuild the middle class and the historic benefits the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will deliver for American families, millions of good-paying, union jobs for working people, improvements in our ports and transportation systems that strengthen supply chains, high-speed internet for every American, clean water for all children and families, the biggest investments in our roads and bridges in generations, the most significant investment in mass transit ever, and unprecedented investments in clean energy infrastructure.” (Source: www.cnbc.com/2021/11/10/biden-to-sign-1-trillion-infrastructure-bill-on-monday.html.)

Huzzah! “Millions of good-paying union jobs”! AKA millions of new involuntary donors to the Dumbocrat Party! More mass-transit boondoggles for Blue state conurbations! More green-energy profligacy! No, wait, wasn’t this just Solyndra and a couple of others? Well, for the edification of TLD readers, here is a list compiled by the John Locke Institute. Intro: “This list includes only those companies that received federal money from the Obama Administration’s Department of Energy. The amount of money indicated does not reflect how much was actually received or spent but how much was offered. The amount also does not include other state, local, and federal tax credits and subsidies, which push the amount of money these companies have received from taxpayers even higher.”

Solyndra: Received $535 million DOE loan and $25.1 million in California tax credit. Bankrupt: September 2011.

Abound Solar: Received part of a $60 million grant under the Bush administration, and was awarded a $400 million loan under Obama in December of 2010. Abound was awarded a $9.2 million loan from the Export-Import Bank in July 2011. Bankrupt: June 2012.

Beacon Power: Received more than $25 million in DOE grants and a DOE loan for $43 million. Bankrupt: October 2011.

A123 Systems: Received $390 million, of which $249 million of it was a Recovery Act Grant. Filed for Bankruptcy October 16, 2012, and two companies are seeking to buy A123: Johnson Controls and the Chinese firm Wanxiang Group Corp.

AES Eastern Energy/Energy Storage: Received $17.1 million DOE conditional commitment on August 2, 2010. Bankrupt: December 31, 2011.

Amonix: Received $6 million in federal tax credits and a $15.6 million grant from the DOE for research and development. Bankrupt: July 18, 2012.

Azure Dynamics: Received millions in stimulus funds and over $1.7 million in Michigan state tax credits. Bankrupt: March 27, 2012.

Babcock & Brown: Received $178 million in the largest federal stimulus wind grant in December 2009. Placed into voluntary liquidation: March 13, 2009.

Energy Conversion Devices Inc./Uni-Solar: Received a $13.3 million Stimulus tax credit. Bankrupt: February 2011.

Ener1: Received a $118.5 million DOE Stimulus grant. Bankrupt: January 26, 2011.

Evergreen Solar, Inc.: Received Stimulus funds, grants, tax-credits, low-interest loans and subsidies. Bankrupt: August 15, 2011.

Konarka Technologies Inc.: Received $20 million in grants from government agencies such as the DOE and the Pentagon. Bankrupt: June 4, 2012.

ADDITION Range Fuels: Range Fuels: $162.25 million in government commitments since 2007, of which $64 million came from a USDA Biofuel loan in 2010 alone, despite financial and technical difficulties, and opposition inside the USDA.

Raser Technologies: Received $33 million Treasury Department Stimulus grant. Bankrupt: May 2, 2011.

SpectraWatt: Received $500,000 grant from the Renewable Energy Lab via the Stimulus. Bankrupt: August 23, 2011.

Stirling Energy Systems: Received $7 million from a federal renewable-energy grant and was eligible for nearly $10.5 million in manufacturing September 28, 2011.

Thompson River Power LLC: Received $6.5 million in Stimulus funds from Section 1603. Bankrupt: July 2, 2012.

Mountain Plaza, Inc. ($2 million); on unconfirmed list.

Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsen’s Mills Acquisition Company ($10 million); on unconfirmed list.

Nordic Windpower ($16 million).

Satcon ($3 million) As reported by the Heritage Foundation October 18, 2012, “A solar company that got a multi-million-dollar grant from the Department of Energy earlier this year announced Wednesday that it will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, making it the second taxpayer-backed green energy company to file for bankruptcy this week.”

Willard and Kelsey Solar Group ($700,981); on unconfirmed bankrupt list.

ADDITION, October 23, 2012: Cardinal Fastener & Specialty Co.: Received $480,000 through the Section 48C Advanced Manufacturing Tax Credit Program. During Obama’s visit to Cardinal Fastener, he took a “green Recovery Act victory lap," and touted it as means for “Made-In-America Jobs” for Ohio. Yet, just two weeks after the Obama visit, Cardinal laid off 12 percent of its staff, and in June 2011, Cardinal Fastener filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Lastly, in January 2012, Cardinal Fastener was acquired by Germany’s Wurth Group for just $3.9 Million. (Source: www.johnlocke.org/update/obamas-green-energy-failure-list/.

And in addition to all this exciting new spending on doomed-from-the-start government “investments,” look forward to California- and Texas-style energy shortages for foreseeable future summers and winters. Hope you enjoy heat and cold, respectively. Ω

 
Posted November 6, 2021.

Edward Morrison Morley: Vaccine Testing Lottery: You may already be a winner!

Mr. Morley is TLD’s medical correspondent, currently practicing “extreme social distancing” by hanging around the TLD bunker in Roanoke, Ind., which except for the ring of federal “law enforcement” officers surrounding the place at safe distance, is almost devoid of human life within 100 yards and well inside a protective moat, known locally as [illegible name]’s Ditch. And he isn’t “volunteering” for medical experiments of any kind. — Ed.
According to a Pfizer Investor’s press release, November 5, 2021, “... [R]eductions in COVID-19-related hospitalization or death were observed in patients treated within five days of symptom onset; 1.0% of patients who received PAXLOVID™ were hospitalized through Day 28 following randomization (6/607 hospitalized, with no deaths), compared to 6.7% of patients who received a placebo (41/612 hospitalized with 10 subsequent deaths).”

What your correspondent has been thinking about lately is the callousness of these medical “scientists” in conducting tests that they should know will lead to the hospitalization of nearly seven times as many people in the placebo group over the test group (6.7 percent vs. 1.0 percent) and to the untimely deaths of 10 people in the placebo group vs. none in the test group. Guess the 10 victims at least received the grateful appreciation of the 607 people lucky enough not to be in the placebo group. One wonders about the ethics of sentencing 10 people to death in the name of science, especially these days when people are up in arms about testing on animals. Perhaps the difference is thought to lie in the fact that animals are not likely to have volunteered and that people in the placebo group might have volunteered (we aren’t told by the press release). One wonders whether the placebo people were given an idea of how many of them would likely croak.

Placebo groups might seem appropriate for tests, say, of laxatives or headache medications or deodorants, assuming that the risk here is not that 7 percent of the placebo group in these cases will die, but that maybe 7 percent would not be able to poop, or would still have a slightly worse headache, or would smell bad or slightly worse. Doubtless some medical ethicist such as Zeke Emanuel has studied this and given a sage go-ahead to “science.” Maybe if they project that fewer than 10 percent will die, it’s OK? And maybe Zeke and his colleagues would not have given the go-ahead to Dr. Mengele and other Nazi doctors doing air-pressure experiments or noise experiments or whatever to concentration camp “volunteers” in the name of science. (Wouldn’t “science” want to know how many G-pressures a human brain can withstand before exploding or how much blood a typical body can lose before it throws in the towel or how much pain a person can withstand before he or she actually dies?)

All in all, it seems like a kind of lottery, of the kind that have been all the rage in envelope-pushing movies such as “The Hunger Games.” Some lose (from the experimented on), and some win (such as Scientists, drug companies, and the Feds looking desperately for a way out of the COVID-19 sinkhole). And best of luck to all of you out there hoping to pick up a little cash by volunteering to help needy scientists, poverty-stricken Big Pharma, and worthy federal bureaucrats win prizes, amp up their bottom line, and continue to bamboozle the unwashed masses. Meanwhile, just remember: “Follow the Science.” You might be surprised where it leads you. Ω
 

What do you think?
 
“Stop and think” archive.


 
TLD is a forum of opinion, edited by hard-core market anarchists, that does not flinch from any of the most pressing issues of our time. We are especially interested in questions of culture and ethnicity, our Polite Totalitarian ruling class, and the homicidal humanitarianism of the U.S. Empire.

Our writers include anarcho-pessimists, Old Believers in the West, unreconstructed Confederates, neo-Objectivists, and other enemies of the permanent regime. We are conscientiously indifferent to considerations of thoughtcrime. Thus, from individualist and Euro-American perspectives, we confront the end of civilization — and do our level best to name its destroyers. (More about who we are.)

— Nicholas Strakon, editor-in-chief
Ronald N. Neff, managing editor
 

General e-mail to The Ditch: Nstrakon@hotmail.com.

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Permanently recommended readings

"What Is Austrian Economics?" (Mises Institute)
"I, Pencil," by Leonard E. Read (Liberty Fund;
scroll down for text)
"The Epistemological Basis of Anarchism,"
by Roy A. Childs, Jr. (TLD)
"Polite totalitarianism," by Ronald N. Neff (TLD)


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