May 2, 2022

Short takes, no. 7


Editor’s note: Mr. Morley is back and has emphatically, nay, vehemently refuted claims that this column’s name is based on his diminishing stature. He has also filed a defamation suit against the author of that libelous song “Short People.”

By the bye, as you read sections 1 and 6, please keep in mind that Mr. Morley wrote this edition of “Short takes” before the regime announced the formation of its Disinformation Governance Board, to be part of the Department of Homeland Security.

Let’s take a look at people who have recently blotted their copybooks:

1. Missed opportunity for the Bidenistas. The Taliban government of Afergranistan has a Ministry of Virtue and Vice. (See Reuters, “Taliban replaces women’s ministry with ministry of virtue and vice.”) The question is why the new Biden budget proposals don’t include a similar ministry for the U.S. of A. OK, he wouldn’t have to replace the Women’s Ministry since we don’t have one of those either (yet), but this would be a golden opportunity to promote what the Democrat regressives, such as Bernie Sanders, AOC, and others of that ilk, see as virtues. And at the same time, censorship of social media would obviously come under the suppression of vice, as would numerous other social sanitation programs. Sheer incompetence.

2. Make your family budget balance the easy way. Sleepy Joe’s proposed budget increases the U.S. budget by 30 percent over the last pre-COVID budget in 2019, which alarms many, but consider how much more alarmed they would be if any news media bothered to point out that this budget is based on the assumption that inflation for 2022–2023 will be 2 percent.

Of course, there is no real chance of this budget being adopted, which is a positive, but the negative is that these phantom budget proposals are an announcement of the goals and ambitions of the administration.

But I digress. If you want to balance your family budget, just follow Joey’s lead: absurdly underestimate family expenses and even more absurdly overestimate family income. One way to calculate the latter is through the Billionaire’s Assumption: assume that one or more of your family will become billionaires during the current year, and, viola, your family budget problems are over. With the proliferation of government kickbacks, fuel rebates, state lotteries, online sports betting opportunities, and Publishers Clearing House prizes, your chances have dramatically increased (in some cases by 400 to 500 percent!). NB: if you buy an electric car, you will save even more money, and, get this: if and when fuel tax rebates finally show up, everyone will get one, even if you don’t have a normal car or an electric car!

3. Democracy? What democracy? Tom Woods calls to our attention a Princeton study by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page titled “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens,” Perspectives on Politics, Vol. 12 (2014), pp. 564-581, which concludes that the U.S. of A. is an oligarchy. Wait, what?

Woods summarizes: “They find that a wealthy few (and not a particularly free-market wealthy few) influence policy, while ordinary people have little influence at all: ‘When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the U.S. political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it.’” If you don’t get it, reader, click on the link above.

4. P. T. Barnum, call your office. Time Magazine (remember that? Me neither) way back in April 2021 proclaimed, “The Free Market is Dead: What Will Replace It?” Of course ol’ Fred Hayek answered that question 78 years ago in The Road to Serfdom (1944), but that was in an old-fashioned book book, where the reader actually had to turn the pages and ponder as he / she / it / zir / etc. went along.

The Time writer asserted, “We are on the cusp of a new era of broad-based prosperity in which our leaders are poised to more actively manage the American market.” Do tell. This was, of course, The Great Reset. P.T. Barnum is credited with saying, “There’s a sucker born every minute,” although there’s no evidence that Barnum in fact said that. However, as Confucius once wrote, “Barnum is dead: what will replace him?”

Looking at skyrocketing inflation (allegedly “temporary,” “transient,” and other ruling-elite synonyms for “here to stay”), product availability problems, supply issues and shortages (I mean “supply chain problems”), labor shortages, declines in quality of products, smaller portions and servings, and rampant mismanagement and fraud in current central government efforts “to more actively manage the American market,” we need a Barnum reset: “There’s a sucker born every second or sooner.”

Does Time still think this a year later? If it is like its regressive masters, look for a new piece doubling down on The Great Reset.

5. “Bad Vlad is to blame!” is the regressive Bidenistas’ catch-all mantra for why things in the U.S. economy and households seem to be going down the toilet. However, before Ukraine, on February 17, 2022, Bloomberg published “Americans Are Paying More for Worse Stuff, Study Finds.” Among other tidbits, the piece cites data indicating that one could add 2.5 percent to the nominal inflation rate because of lower quality of the stuff people buy.

Another Bloomberg article, “U.S. Households Face $5,200 Inflation Tax This Year,” March 29, 2022, calculated the annual cost to the average American for the same stuff he / she / it / zir / etc. bought last year. This is only slightly affected by Bad Vlad. The article also has the honesty to call this what it is: an inflation tax, since the taxpayer loses income from government diktats. No new or increased taxes on people making $400,000 or less? Nyet!

6. “False news.” While we’re in the Russian zone, The Week, in a March 18, 2022, story headlined “New ‘Iron Curtain’ descends around Russia,” anthropomorphizes its villain as “the Kremlin,” which is credited with having “outlawed what it considers false news about the war in Ukraine, such as calling it an invasion, and said violators could get 15 years in prison.... Independent media were shut down, leaving only propaganda outlets.”

Meanwhile, in the U.S. of A., regressive politicians, Bidenista toadies, hyper-patriotic media moguls, and administration spokespersons speaking not for attribution are calling for the banning from the internet of the purveyors of “fake news,” while soliciting cooperation from Twitter, Meta (AKA Facebook), and other social media in canceling people who attempt to misguide the public (AKA regime critics). Legacy media persons in the United States are congratulating themselves that a) Russia has no extradition treaty with the United States, and b) that if the Biden regime “responds in kind,” as Sleepy Joe has promised, since they’re regime propaganda outlets they don’t have to worry.

7. Proposed additions for Strakon’s dictionary.

A. “Regenerative Agriculture”: according to the Wall Street Journal, April 2–3, 2022, regenerative agriculture, a “buzzword du jour,” is “a holistic approach to farming focused on continuously improving the health of the soil, increasing biodiversity and drawing greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere and into the ground.” Get it? Good. General Mills committed to some regenerative practices in 2019, Whole Foods Market actually declared regenerative agriculture a top food trend two years ago, PepsiCo in 2021 pledged to adopt RA, and Nestlé SA recently announced it would “invest” $1.3 billion in the next five years to support RA transition for farmers.

B. “Stakeholder Capitalism”: A major expansion of anti-free market power and influence is so-called stakeholder capitalism. At first I was excited about this, since I thought it was “SteakHouse Capitalism.” Who wouldn’t be in favor of expanding steakhouses? (OK, PETA and a few other crazies.) Alas, this refers to what might be called participatory socialism, i.e., that anybody who had any conceivable connection with some corporation, industry, governing body, you-name-it, and its activities should have a say in how they’re run. You ride a bus? You should have a say in how the bus company is run. Buy cupcakes from your favorite cupcake store? You should have a say in how the cupcake company is run. Read TLD? You should have a say in how TLD is run, edited, and contributed to.

C. “Public–Private Partnership”: This used to be called “fascism.” Or what Dwight Eisenhower in a brief moment of lucidity called the Military-Industrial Complex. This is where the Public (i. e. The State) works together with private firms (mostly Big Tech, Big Pharma, Big Higher Ed, Big Science, Big Whatever). The partnership is like that between a fox and a chicken. Guess who dominates that coalition? And guess who the fox is (hint: it’s the one with police and taxing and regulating powers) and who the chicken is (hint: it ain’t Chicken Little).

D. “Deadnaming,” which I just saw in connection with the Levine / Babylon Bee contretemps. To deadname is to refer to a trans or non-binary person by the name he or she had before transitioning. Bad: Bradley Manning; Good: Chelsea Manning. (See Deadnaming, at Wiki.) NB: I admit to being way behind the times here, since this one has been around for a decade, give or take. Ω

May 2, 2022

Published in 2022 by WTM Enterprises.

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