Stop and think,  collected — 2014

Note. Because of all the changes in the archive pages, over time, you will find that many or even most of the links you hit to other "Stop and think" installments actually lead nowhere. I intend to work on that problem bit by bit, but in the meantime if you encounter frustration with a particular link, please feel free to hold my feet to the fire. — Nicholas Strakon

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Reader responses

Dr. Steve Sniegoski has a recent article at that you should know about: "The Silence of the Israelis on ISIS."

It begins: "In the war on the Islamic State, the alleged scourge of humanity, little is heard about the position of America's much-ballyhooed greatest ally in the Middle East, if not the world, Israel. Now the Islamic State has been conquering territory in very close proximity to the border of Israel. But Israel does not seem to be fearful and it is not taking any action."

If the Respectables of the System have noticed that, and its significance, they don't seem to have much to say about it all. Interesting, eh? (November 2014)

Good men don't wear flats. The local TV news ran network tape the other day about a little boys' football team in Colorado that had "traded in their cleats for high heels, to prove it is better to be a good man than a good football player." The babbling narration continued: "... [T]hey decided to take a stand against domestic violence." Yeah — they decided. Right. Tell me another. ("We decided to bomb Syria," maybe?)

No material was forthcoming to explain what wearing high heels has to do with either goodness or manliness. No doubt the newly speciated humanoids of our time understand such mysteries without being told.

The newsreader cheerfully perseverated: "While [the boys] still need a little practice to perfect their snaps and carries, they had no problem joining the big leagues as [sic] this year's Men in Heels Race to benefit a local women's and children's center."

The poor lads seemed to consider the whole thing a hoot, as they grinned and posed in their pretty little girl-shoes. If only they could understand the forces arrayed against them!

I'm afraid that when I saw this story I shouted a bad word at the telescreen so loudly that I strained my voice. Yeah, I've become one of those guys. [Nicholas Strakon] (September 2014)

The howling over Hobby Lobby: The road to serfdom ends in idiocy. The Supreme Court's ruling in the Hobby Lobby contraception case has provoked frantic whinnying and stamping in the Augean stables of the Left, and the commotion vividly illustrates two things about our adversaries: one, their utterly, profoundly totalitarian premises; and, two, their inability to think and argue in defense of those premises.

That latter state of affairs is remarkable.... [Continued.]

The latest from Schumer. I sent this link to my co-conspirators last night accompanied only by the comment, "The face of Evil":

"Schumer to Religious Americans: Pick One — Your Faith or Your Business," by Eric Scheiner,, July 10
In response, senior editor Ronn Neff observed:
This business about corporations (and limited partnerships?) not having rights that biological persons have is clearly just a convenient subterfuge for the Left.

After all, we have seen what they do to sole proprietorships (such as bakeries) when they get out of line. Did the claim of personal religious beliefs help them?

[Nicholas Strakon] (July 2014)

I came across a preposterous piece of nonsense on immigration yesterday, and I regret to report that I got there by following a link in the daily aggregation sent out by Future of Freedom. At the Forecaster, confessed liberal Edgar Allen Beem writes: "We are all illegal immigrants." His article deals with the Camp of the Little Saints (if you will) that's suddenly taken shape in the southwest.

Here's the worst absurdity provided by Beem: "We are all illegal immigrants in the United States of America. No one has any more right to be here than the next person, with the possible exception of Native Americans."

Certainly we should all enjoy equal liberty. But otherwise, speak for your own damn self, Beem. I'm not an immigrant, illegal or otherwise. I am a native American, having been born in northeast Indiana. If being born on this soil doesn't make me a native of Indiana and of America, then we need a new dictionary. But of course one of those is already emerging, roughly along the lines imagined by Mr. Orwell.

To look at it another way, I am the descendant of immigrants (or colonists), and so are the American Indians. This isn't the first time I've pointed out those facts hereabouts, but I've learned that I do have to keep hammering away.

Senior editor Ronn Neff, doing his best to follow the fractured logic, observes:

I would ask anyone who thinks that "we are all illegal immigrants" (and therefore that he himself is an illegal immigrant): So why are you still here? Become a law-abiding citizen and leave.

In fact, one of the absurdities of the claim is the implicit one that the Indians had any immigration laws.

Now, as you probably know, I am not a statist-restrictionist with respect to people's moving about the world. I'm not even one of those "open-borders libertarians." I'm a no-borders anarchist. I want to see political borders abolished and society freed to generate a universal web of property lines. (I would write "private property lines," but that's redundant. There's only one kind of property; criminal gangs calling themselves "government" cannot own property.) With specific respect to immigration, I also want to see — for starters — the abolition of the tyranny denying our right of free association and the abolition of every scrap of government welfare. And of course people must be freed to defend their property against trespass.

Trying to reach those who think that all anti-statists are blind to our civilizational and demographic implosion, in 2006 I wrote a column in which I reminded my readers that "[l]ibertarians do not look to the state to solve social problems." (I was using the ruined word "libertarian" more freely in those days.)

According to the Washington Post, "[t]he White House on Tuesday formally requested $3.7 billion from Congress in emergency funding to deal with an influx of unaccompanied minors from Central America, a far higher amount than the Obama administration had previously signaled." I believe the IRS will not exactly be requesting taxpayers to fork over the $3.7 billion. This is what comes of government's intervening in the affairs of nomadic folk. (A more recent story, from Politico: "Obama requests $3.7 billion for child migrants," by David Rogers.)

My prescription for leviathan would be, Do nothing to hinder or help the Camp of the Little Saints. Send no officials, no social workers, no housing, no supplies, no transport, nada. The liberals and anti-Western activists are free to pony up their own honestly earned dough, if they have any, to support the Camp. Anyone who should accuse me of being hard-hearted needs to consult M. Bastiat and think about that which is not seen as well as that which is seen. If I had any money to devote to this kind of charity, I'd try to help poor and needy children of my own people. That impulse strikes me as normal and natural, and I recommend it to everyone. In any case, there's no charity at gunpoint.

The whole Camp of the Little Saints saga is extremely peculiar, slippery, and messily reported. There seem to be questions about how many of the children are actually unaccompanied and how many actual children are involved, as opposed to dangerous-looking young hombres. I smell liberal brain-fog and statist deviltry. [Nicholas Strakon] (July 2014)

The inevitable story: "Children of same-sex couples are happier and healthier than peers, [Australian] research shows," by Lindsey Bever, Washington Post.

Why, of course they are!

Meanwhile, comrades, the choco ration has been raised to 20 grams a month, and our boys have won a glorious victory on the Malabar front! [Nicholas Strakon]

Modine Herbey comments. I can remember the Left's attempts to persuade the genpop to chill out thirty years ago, when the collapse of the American family was waxing thunderous. Kids, the comrades declared, derive no benefit from coming up in the standard nuclear family with their real mother and father. In fact, the propaganda tended to reflect more than a hint that actual daddies are scary!

With this latest thing, let's wait a few years and then decide whether children exposed to homosexual domestic agglomerations really turn out healthier and happier. Or maybe just gayer. (July 2014)

This was probably inevitable, too. Some of the statrons are saying the real IRS scandal is that the agency is under-funded! You know, just like all their other agencies and programs. The regime must visit even worse robbery upon its tax victims. That's the ticket. Then everything will be right as rain ... at least for a couple of weeks, until the next stupefying government clusterfrack spatters upon the public scene.

At this point Responsible Citizen Strakon is moved to meekly advance another of his cautious, middle-of-the-road, centrist, moderate, technocratic, gradualist proposals for reform. If the Robbery Agency's budget really has been cut, how's about cutting the whole outfit down to size, proportionally? Reducing its workforce, responsibilities, and activities to comport better with its budget? We may debate whether that would set up a virtuous cycle, shrinking the entire vampire regime, or just make the damnable gang more efficient. (Jeez, we wouldn't want that!)

OK, as you know, I'm really an abolitionist. I like the meat-axe approach. But it would be heartening if normal non-anarchist Americans at least picked up a filleting knife and went flick, flick, flick. [NS] (July 2014)

Dept. of Not The Onion. Get a load of this, from the leftist site Addicting Info:

"This Tiny Typo in the Declaration of Independence Could Silence Libertarians Forever," by Wendy Gittleson
Ohhh, nooo! My entire understanding of Man, Time, and the Universe is about to be shattered — and by a measly little punctuation error in a government document, to boot! [Nicholas Strakon] (July 2014)

It's a great day for liberty. The bipartisan and "independent" Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (established by Barack Obama after Edward Snowden spilled the beans on NSA surveillance of Americans) has concluded that the NSA program is constitutional. Chairman David Medine said that it goes "right up to the line of constitutionality," but constitutional it is.

This is excellent news. It means that the NSA has no more wiggle room for spying on Americans. If it expands its efforts by the tiniest amount, it will cross that line, and those efforts will unhesitatingly be struck down as unconstitutional. Line-crossers may even go to jail or be fined, just as corporate and private blackguards are who are guilty of violating the jots and tittles of anti-discrimination law by refusing to bake cakes for sodomite-union celebrations.

At last, at long last, the limits of NSA encroachments on our Fourth Amendment rights have been reached.

Rejoice with me, then, brothers. We have nothing more to fear from the NSA. [Ronn Neff] (July 2014)

One Ahmed Abu Khattala has pleaded not guilty to one count of conspiring to provide material support and resources to terrorists that resulted in a death in an attack on the American diplomatic compound at Benghazi in 2012.

Note that he is charged with "conspiring" to provide it, not with actually providing it.

If he had simply provided the stuff — say, on the spur of the moment — he would have to be found not guilty of "conspiring" to provide.

But wait! That is exactly what Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Susan Rice said had happened. Under the heartache of hearing or seeing their religion disparaged in a YouTube video, Ahmed and others just couldn't stand it any more and whipped themselves up into a frenzy where they no longer could be called criminally responsible — sort of the way Occupy and hippie protesters, Woodstock partiers, and "civil rights" demonstrators vandalize the property of people they don't like or just can't be bothered to think about.

So here's what I'm wondering: will Ahmed's lawyers subpoena Obama, Clinton, or Rice as witnesses for the defense? [Ronn Neff] (July 2014)

Funniest headline of the month, for June 2014: "San Francisco LGBT Pride Parade Bans Military Recruiters" (The Daily Caller).

Imagine a time-traveler from 20 years ago trying to make sense of it. [Nicholas Strakon] (July 2014)

Helicopters to the embassy roof! After turning Iraq into a wasteland, killing hundreds of thousands of Arabs and other Muslims, destabilizing at least half a dozen Muslim countries (Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan), and turning itself into the focus of hatred over much of the world, the Empire is starting to see its chickens come home to roost. Its rebellious puppet regime in Iraq now faces possible annihilation by insurgents the Empire itself created.

Everything that George W. Bush and, later, Barack Obama supposedly sought to achieve by benevolently murdering Iraqi children and sending Syria into chaos is going down the drain. You know things are bad when some of the commentators on Fox News start admitting that maybe intervention wasn't such a great idea after all.

It's a situation rich in irony, not least because you can't keep the good guys and the bad guys straight without a scorecard. They're sorta like quantum subatomic particles: the different factions change from "good" to "bad" depending on which viewpoint the Empire sees them from.

1) The ISIS — the "bad guys" marching on Baghdad — is apparently one of the same "good guy" organizations the United State is giving weapons to in Syria to overthrow Assad. Talk about blowback!

2) The Iranian Revolutionary Guards, who used to be "bad guys," are now "good guys," because they're helping the al Maliki regime fight against the Sunni bad guys. Of course, because they're Iranian, they're also still "bad guys" at the same time.

Got that?

Iraq is starting to look like South Vietnam all over again. The Kurds seem to be taking their chance to complete their secession, and the Iraqi army is falling back. We're told that four entire divisions have cut and run in the face of the insurgent attack. And, like the South Vietnamese regime, al Maliki is finding that the Empire is a fickle friend indeed.

To complete the irony, the ultra-Establishment Wall Street Journal calls this unfolding disaster "rising anarchy," confusing "anarchy" with "chaos." If we really had anarchy, there would have been no Empire to interfere in that benighted area and instigate this whole mess in the first place. [David T. Wright]

Editor's note. Mr. Wright has more to say about the recent triumphs of imperialism, at his blog, Life and Death in Bizarro World. Just click on the logo, above, and look for "Iraq Implodes." [Nicholas Strakon] (June 2014)

The border of Newspeak. How come the teenage girls coming over the border and being classified as refugees are being called children?

If the same girls were being written about in any other (especially feminist) connection — say, they wanted abortions or birth control — wouldn't they be "women"? or "young women" at the least? [Ronn Neff] (June 2014)

Cardinal Maradiaga's not-so-golden rule. The philosophy of liberty has come under explicit attack at a conference sponsored by the Catholic University, in Washington, and by a prince of the church speaking there. At the Rockwell site, Catholic libertarian Tom Woods responds to gross error as charitably as the case permits and with his characteristic acumen: "Is Libertarianism Un-Catholic?" [Nicholas Strakon] (June 2014)

The Chodorov Principle, ever fruitful. According to the telescreen the other day, a senior Iranian defense official has claimed that Iran has doubled the range of its rockets, which can now reach some U.S. base in the Indian Ocean. Assiduous readers of The Ditch will know that I'm a big fan of Frank Chodorov's approach to such difficulties. And once again I find myself inspired by the response Chodorov gave when asked, in the 1950s, what he would do about the troubling presence of Communists in federal jobs.

Therefore my solution for the latest critical menace posed by the dastardly Iranians is:

Close the base!

Of course, even if the Iranians are lying about their advance in rocketry, it would still be a very good idea to close that devil's workshop. [Nicholas Strakon] (June 2014)

"Reparations" again. Let's suppose that because of slavery in the United States, American blacks descended from one or more slaves are owed reparations. It follows, does it not, that no black with a living parent is owed anything, once that parent gets the sum to be paid. After all, the only reason a modern black should get anything under any argument at all is that his forebears were deprived of payment. As it were, he is entitled to what he would have inherited had his forebears been hired help. Since a black with a living parent is not entitled to his inheritance yet, he is entitled to nothing whatever.

Whether the payment of reparations limited by this implication would result in a rash of matricides is a subject on which I venture no opinion. [Ronn Neff]  (May 2014)

(But it is fascist, at least, right?) Sam Baker of the National Journal informs us that "No, the VA Is Not an Obamacare Preview."

That's because ... Obamacare is not socialism! Well, for an old geezer and candidate for a number of special lists, that is a relief. Never mind those who claim Obamacare is deliberately screwed up so we'll have to move in desperation to "single-payer," which isn't socialism either (notice that although single-payer and socialism both start with the same letter, most of the other letters are different!).

On second thought, maybe the death-list option isn't that bad an idea after all. [Edward Morrison Morley] (May 2014)

Idiocy? Pandering? Or both? The drone most recently nominated for president by the Republicans, Mitt Romney, appeared May 9 on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program (video).

Early in the interview he talked about the need to lighten the heavy hand of government in order to boost growth, innovation, and productivity.

Later on, he endorsed an increase in the government-decreed minimum wage, in pursuit of "more jobs and better pay."

Romney indicated that this position is nothing new for him.

The comment came while he was answering a question about what the Republicans should do in order to achieve electoral success, in view of the changing demographics of the country. [Nicholas Strakon] (May 2014)

Future thickness. I've been listening to John Derbyshire's "Radio Derb" again, and something he said during today's installment got me wondering how it will apply to the "thick" and "humanitarian" libertarians of the future. What cultural assumptions and social practices will they declare it is necessary not merely to legalize but to actively endorse, in order to avoid reactionary "thinness" and "brutalism"? From "Minoritarianism," May 10, 2013:

There has perhaps never in human history been such a dramatic reversal in public opinion over such a short space of time as there has been this past decade on same-sex marriage. This complete redefinition of a fundamental social institution has been Cultural Marxism's greatest triumph....

What left-liberal politicians felt it necessary to take a stand against fourteen years ago, what California voters expressed themselves opposed to 5 1/2  years ago, is now ironclad social orthodoxy. Intelligent young people at a good-quality university [George Mason] are so locked in to it, they would ban from their campus those who disagree.

If the unthinkable can become the indisputable that fast, what does the future have in store? What that seems bizarre, freakish, or out of bounds today will be conventional wisdom among the college students of 2028? Bestiality? Necrophilia? Human sacrifice? I guess we shall find out.

Whatever it is, I'll guarantee that ambitious politicians who'd speak sternly against it if asked today, will be enthusiastically in favor when the time comes. Their thinking will have evolved, you see?

Originally I had titled this observation "Chasing the Zeitgeist," but I decided that's wrong, or at least imprecise. "Exploiting the Zeitgeist" might be a better formulation. In other words, I'll stipulate the good faith of some of the older left-libertarians with respect to homosexualism. For all I know, they've honestly favored the redefinition of marriage for 30 or 40 years, back when the only other people to dream of such a thing were full-time homosexualists. What's new is the thickists' strenuous — and somewhat self-righteous — campaign to insist on it within the liberty community. That's what I find most disturbing.

Let's hope their epigones don't "evolve" in the direction that Derbyshire imagines ambitious pols might. Of course, as good libertarians, future "humanitarians" would promote only voluntary human sacrifice, and necrophilia and bestiality only with justly owned property. So on second thought, no worries. [Nicholas Strakon]

Strakon appends. I've been meaning to post a terrific observation by Christopher Caldwell on the homosexualist mania, and now's as good a time as any. It's the final paragraph in his Claremont Institute review, "Gay Rites," of a book by Michael J. Klarman:

In a decade, gay marriage has gone from joke to dogma. It is certainly worth asking why, if this is a liberation movement, it should be happening now, in an age not otherwise gaining a reputation as freedom's heyday. Since 2009, if Klarman's estimates are correct, support for gay marriage has been increasing by 4 points a year. Public opinion does not change this fast in free societies. Either opinion is not changing as fast as it appears to be, or society is not as free.
My co-conspirators and I first became aware of Caldwell's piece thanks to Brendan O'Neill's commentary on it at Spiked, "Gay marriage: a case study in conformism." O'Neill himself provides us with a couple must-quotes:
... [F]or all the comparisons of the gay-marriage movement to the civil-rights movement, in fact the most striking thing about gay marriage is its origins among the elite.
The fragility of society's attachment to traditional marriage itself, to the virtue of commitment, has ... been [a] key to the formulation of the gay-marriage consensus. Indeed, it is the rubble upon which the gay-marriage edifice is built.
(May 2014)

Comrades! All hail the people's glooorious Obedient-Citizen Factory! The success of Oceania's War against Eurasia depends on it!

... Which is by way of noting that The Daily Caller recently posted this obnoxious oddity: "How Common Core State Standards Support National Readiness," crediting it only to a "Featured Partner." That spooky enough for you?

TheDC is not a libertarian outfit, but this is still disappointing. [Nicholas Strakon]

On the same general theme, we have this head-exploder from Ian Morris at the Washington Post: "In the long run, wars make us safer and richer" (April 25).

Ronn Neff observes: "From this I infer that it is a mistake for the United State to keep forestalling war against Israel." [NS] (May 2014)

The evil, despicable racist Donald Sterling has made lots of donations to lots of minority charities over the years.

Will they give the money back? Will they refuse future donations from him?

Anyone want to make book on this one? [Ronn Neff]

Nicholas Strakon comments: Not to mention, he's made some pretty big donations to his nonwhite girlfriend. I don't look for any of those goodies to come back!

This whole "scandal" could be straight out of a Tom Wolfe novel. But as I've said before (liyeek, a million times) things have just gotten transparodistic. Or as Mr. Wright likes to say, it's Bizarro World! (May 2014)

The media have been authorized to report that sign-ups for Obamacare have reached the magical target figure of 7 million.

But today's date is important, and we know that the press has historically engaged in any number of April Fool jokes.

Or maybe it's not the press. Maybe it's the state having its little joke on us.

In any case, it's a good one, and I got a good belly laugh out of it.

The media have also been authorized to report that support for Obamacare has reached 49 percent.

How is it even possible that so many people are happy with it? They haven't been living under it long enough! It's like calling a crime committed in 2002 the "crime of the century." Don't you have to wait to make sure you know what you are talking about?

Wait! I forgot. I was talking about the press.

Another good one for April 1. [Ronn Neff]

Modine Herbey comments: Maybe the approval numbers represent people for whom full implementation has been delayed. (April 1, 2014)

Political scientists predict more man-made freedom change. As you're no doubt aware, the American Left is dropping its pretense of championing civil liberties and is coming to imitate more honestly its old, bold comrades across the seas. The latest example of such candor is Adam Weinstein's "Arrest Climate-Change Deniers," at, March 28.

You will be gratified to learn, however, that Weinstein would not pop all "denialists" behind the razorwire — just some. He and his comrades will decide. But especially targeted will be people who actually have a media forum and an audience.

One might think it odd, to have to resort to such means if the evidence is so overwhelming for the Changers' theory. But I guess that's Progress for you. [Nicholas Strakon]

Ronn Neff comments: Well, you know ... if lies lead to other people's death.

So I guess all the Obamacare proponents will be next to head for the razorwire?

I share with you an exchange of correspondence between Mr. Neff and me, on Mr. Weinstein's proposal.

NS:  I was wondering about the fate, under the rule of Weinstein, of those who admit the existence of man-made climate change (as a bad thing) but who believe that an increase in state power is not the way to address it. So I reread the article for clues.

These excerpts may be relevant:

Attempts to deceive the public on climate change, and to consequently block any public policy to tackle it, contribute to roughly 150,000 deaths a year already.... [Emphasis added.]

... [P]ublic persons and organizations and corporations who encourage the acceleration of an anti-environment course of unregulated consumption and production....

RNN:  Now that you mention it, I wonder about the fate of those who agree that climate change (né global warming) is man-made, but who think that it's a good thing.

And what about those of us who just like change? — you know, because change can be good?

And what about those of us who are just adventurous and can hardly wait to see what Mother Nature has in store for us?

On a more serious note, what about the policy changes that cause deaths? Along the lines of outlawing DDT. Or outlawing asthma inhalers that work.

Clearly Weinstein hasn't thought his suggestion through (at least I hope he hasn't). If he has, we can expect to see Christian missionaries imprisoned (because new converts might stop warring against their neighbors and get massacred, like the Hurons). And when you think of all the suffering that the free market is guaranteed to produce — especially death among the poor — shouldn't all free-market economists be imprisoned?

And auto advertisers?

What about all those patent-medicine commercials that come right out and warn that death sometimes occurs from taking the drugs? I'm not talking about imprisoning the pharmacists (and the researchers who produce those drugs) but the advertisers — including the voice-over celebs.

A final shot (for now). On Sunday, Minister of Silly Eructations Sometimes Having Something Distantly to Do with Diplomacy John Kerry declared, "Denial of the science [of man-made climate change] is malpractice."

Does this mean that Minister Kerry is on board with the Weinstein Program for Rectification of Expression? After all, doesn't malpractice call for civil penalties? Damage awards and the like? And maybe, mutatis mutandis, the revoking of FCC licenses as well? [Nicholas Strakon] (April 2014)

I just read an excerpt from a review of the movie "Noah." It said that it is "courageously complicated."

Whenever I hear of a movie or a performance that it is "courageous" I know what it means: it's either obscene or does violence to something sacred.

I don't mind it when people take an existing story and reinterpret it. But if it advertises itself as "true to the essence, values, and integrity of the story" and departs from it in ways that make it nearly unrecognizable, let's call it the dishonest piece of fraud that it is. [Ronn Neff]

Modine Herbey comments: In an artistic or entertainment context, "courageous" also means "totally safe and undisturbing for slaves of the Zeitgeist." (April 2014)

Highly recommended: Andy Nowicki's "The Buggering State," at Alternative Right. I told Andy I found it to be one of the best — and most passionate — essays he'd ever written. [Nicholas Strakon] (March 2014)

I heard an interesting story on the radio the other day about Vladimir Putin's foreign assets. One expert was quoted, "I am sure there are plenty of intelligence agencies that have plenty of information about what Putin owns and where." And, of course, he's not the first dictator to have lots of assets sprinkled all over the globe in various forms.

I began to wonder ...

Where are Barack Obama's assets? How much are they worth?

If U.S. intelligence agencies can track down Putin's assets, I'll bet they — and certainly foreign agencies — can track down Obama's.

Or George W. Bush's.

Or Ben Bernanke's.

Or Chief Justice John Roberts's.

How about Charles Schumer's?

And Dianne Feinstein's?

And John McCain's?

Why is it that the media don't seem to be very interested in this sort of investigation and reporting?

I'm not suggesting that there's anything illegal about their holdings. Heaven forfend! But if there isn't, that's all the more reason that the information should be fairly easy to come by in a "transparent" society.

There's this idea that politicians (some, anyway) keep their assets in "blind trusts" so that they don't know (or can pretend not to know) when their actions might be self-serving.

I guess that it's just the sort of thing the citizens of a republic are not permitted to know.

But the intelligence agencies of other — hostile — governments are. [Ronn Neff] (March 2014)

A history lesson from Fox News. Fox's newsreader Alisyn Camerota declared on March 3: "In 1783, Russian Empress Catherine the Great annexed the Crimea and set up a naval base on the Black Sea. Then in 1954, Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev renewed those ties, making [the Crimea] part of the Soviet Union."

Her declaration was illustrated by this text element: "USSR CEMENTED TIES TO CRIMEA IN 1954."

Camerota ended her comments with: "Complicated history." Yeah! I'll say!

Despite my own historical studies, I hadn't known that the Crimea enjoyed a period of independence from Russia and the Soviets, sometime after Catherine all the way to 1954. How long did it last? Maybe the Wehrmacht actually held onto the Crimea until 1954 — along the lines of those Japanese soldiers on isolated Pacific islands who didn't surrender for years after VJ Day. I'll have to consult my books on the Russo-German war. I may have missed something pretty important.

Enough comedy. As you may be aware — no thanks to the history scholars at Fox — what actually happened in 1954 is that Khrushchev reassigned the Crimea from the Russian S.S.R. to the Ukrainian S.S.R.

Fox's gross misinformation raises the old, old question: abysmal ignorance or in-your-face dishonesty? I report; you decide. [Nicholas Strakon] (March 2014)

Their latest "crisis" and some scenarios, in descending order of badness:

Worst — Obama & Co. actually do something substantive in response to events in Ukraine.

Less bad — Obama & Co. yammer endlessly as usual but don't do anything substantive, also as usual.

Good — Obama & Co. SHUT THEIR PIE-HOLE.

Even better — Taking John ("We are all Ukrainians") McCain and the rest of the neocons along with them, Obama & Co. pack their bags and move to Ukraine. Or better yet, Mars. [Nicholas Strakon] (March 2014)

Kangaroo scientists leap again. Despite the untold risks inflicted on my digestion and blood pressure, I subscribe to AlterNet's daily updates in order to stay in touch with what those comrades are saying who don't have to masquerade as cautious, middle-of-the-road, centrist moderates in the style of your typical Democrat pol-drone — such as, say, the mild-mannered Harry Reid. On February 19 they included this blockbuster, which they credit to Tom Jacobs at the Pacific Standard:

"Hate Kills: How Homophobia Takes Years Off of [sic] Your Life"
Editor's intro: "That's the conclusion of a new Columbia University public health study comparing death rates with Americans' attitudes toward gay rights."

No doubt the Obamacare Ministry will now take gaily forceful steps, in cooperation with Minister of Love and Gaiety Eric Holder, to suppress the disease of homophobia.

But here's the thing that's got me puzzled. What about all the stuff that sends the Left into a tizzy but doesn't bother us at all? — microaggressions, climate change, white "privilege," disparate effect, inequality of outcomes, unequal pay, standard English pronouns, transfats, Big Macs, American Renaissance, IQ research, free expression, the bitter daily struggle against "homophobia," and on and on? Doesn't that calm blue ocean of placidity work to lower our stress, relative to that of the comrades?

Now, given the avalanche of totalitarianism and decivilization that's buried us over the past several decades, I guess it's possible that more features of the public scene send us sensitive souls to a premature grave than perform the same reapage upon the cultural Bolsheviks. We detect injustice, tyranny, and degradation in ten thousand places where the comrades — and most Americans, for that matter — might say everything's as right as rain. But my sense is that that's not the way it works. Very little in life actually seems right as rain to the typical comrade. Zhe seems hagridden by a scorching hatred of ordinary life, maybe even a hatred of human identity itself, to which we are blissfully immune. I'll wager that gives us an extra boost in longevity.

Whether or not that is so, we observe here yet another leap by kangaroo scientists from (claimed) science, straight over to ideology. In my nose the whole thing reeks of intellectual corruption from the git-go. After all, it's premised on the fraudulent medicalese — so reminiscent of Soviet psychiatry — of "homophobia." Smelly garbage in, smelly garbage out. [Nicholas Strakon]

An old friend of TLD comments: Funny how quiet they are about the number of years homosexuality subtracts from a man's life. (March 2014)

Golden oldie quote from Joe. In a recent column the libertarian writer Eric Peters reminded me of this gem from Joe Sobran:

The measure of the state's success is that the word anarchy frightens people, while the word state does not.
It's from "Anarchy without Fear," October 17, 2002. [Nicholas Strakon] (March 2014)

One last "crisis," while I'm at it. I heard on the telescreen today that Warmist scientists are warning that "climate change could cause a 40 percent drop in [avocado] production over the next three decades." It may mean the end of guacamole production altogether!

It's apparently because of droughts that the Warmists are predicting for the present avocado-producing areas.

Odd thing here, though. According to the Warmist ideology, some parts of the world are going to be wetter, not drier, as a result of climate change — but we're expected to assume that, overall, there will still be critically fewer places on the planet where avocados can feasibly be cultivated, in response to market demand. (Will Alaska be wet enough? It'll be warmer, if we're to believe the Warmists.)

To me, it sounds like more of the static thinking so typical of leftists who have no conception of the adaptive workings of society and its material expression, the market. Mentally, the comrades are permanently stuck in an Ice Age.

By the way, if any of these calamities actually occur, I'll eat my pith helmet. [Nicholas Strakon] (March 2014)

Don't count on the Hive. Last night WANE-TV, the CBS affiliate in Fort Wayne, ran a story on the Obamanist-driven upsurge in personal-protection permits in Indiana. (The Obamunists, of course, went unmentioned.) Being a big proponent of gunowners' rights, I paid close attention. According to the newsreader, the state of Indiana approved 110,000 personal-protection permits last year. She said it usually approves 4,500 permits a year.

She then chirped confidently, "That's an increase of 83 percent."

Uh, no, let's try that again. It's an increase of 2344.44 percent. I played around a bit with the numbers — 4,500 and 110,000 — trying to produce a result involving 83 with either a decimal point or some zeroes, which could be a plausible error. I failed.

I believe the lass is the same WANE newsreader who, reporting a crime story a few days before, had said that a suspect had been driving a "bold-colored Oldsmobile," which had since been found by the police. That statement was illustrated by a photo of said vehicle showing it to be a gold-colored Oldsmobile.

But let's stick to arithmetic. The "83 percent" business was not a simple reading error or a boner perpetrated by the news department's scriptwriters. As I later discovered, WANE had simply parroted an AP story that also appeared, complete with the same New Math, at the Indianapolis Business Journal and at the website of the Evansville paper.

My old employer, the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, ran a truncated e-version of the story repeating the 83 percent figure but dropping the base-line number of 4,500. For benefit of those who may be wondering, news organizations are not obliged to run wire stories verbatim. Such stories are fully eligible for editing, the same as any other story.

The fact that such embarrassing innumeracy could have survived and thrived all the way through the media pipeline tells us something about how the Hive transmits its messages nowadays. It helps, certainly, if the news-bees share the same ideology, from the center of the Hive all the way out to those buzzing on our home screen, but apparently an absence of ordinary adult mental functioning helps, too.

With specific reference to innumeracy, now, I invite the reader to imagine how inattention and mental laziness may lubricate the dissemination of the System's line. The current story, as misreported, understates the explosion of gun-permit issuances in response to the Obamunist threats by a factor of 28.246318608 (2344.44 divided by 83 — see, arithmetic is not that hard!). Imagine what wreckage these indolent stooges can facilitate when it comes to stories about taxes, government-regulated wages, inflation, crime statistics, and other number-heavy subjects.

True, I can't say just how often the Hive blots its copybook in this particular manner, though I recall seeing some previous pratfalls (and correcting them when I worked on a newsdesk). Nor can I calculate how often such arithmetical ineptitude serves statism and how often it does not. It certainly would be interesting to know. It's tempting to answer "Always!" — since false figures, off in any direction, promote ignorance among the people, and that is the strength of tyrants. [Nicholas Strakon] (February 2014)

The Walter Block Scandal. Libertarians think slavery is "not so bad" — did you know? If that seems slightly counterintuitive to you, it is not at all so to the New York Times and the operatives in charge of Loyola University, in New Orleans. Here are some writings that will fill you in on the Hive's recent ingenious ruling:

"Reply to the Scurrilous, Libelous, Venomous, Scandalous New York Times Smear Campaign," by Walter E. Block,

"My Letter to the President of Loyola University, New Orleans," by Tom Woods,

"The Walter Block Scandal," by Rev. Larry Beane, a Lutheran pastor in Louisiana (introduction by Tom Woods),

"The Enemies of Freedom and Tolerance at Loyola University New Orleans," by Thomas DiLorenzo,

"Walter Block, Rand Paul, and the Lost American Principle of Freedom of Association," by Jared Taylor,

"Gruel." That's gotta make us humans chuckle. Not the space bugs of the Hive, though — those miserable wretches can only buzz. [Nicholas Strakon] (February 2014)

Overdose of evasion. Keying on the overdose death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, ABC's "This Week" on Sunday aired a segment dealing with the "heroin epidemic." The Authorities admit that the number of users has doubled in the past few years, and they admit, too, that the price of the stuff has collapsed. It's now said to be cheaper on the street than OxyContin.

Nary a word was said about the huge defeat for the Drug Warriors, in their own terms, that this state of affairs represents. Nixon declared the War on Drugs in 1971, and the Central Government has attempted to prohibit heroin since 1914. However, ABC did mention a "victory" for the DEA last week when that gang stole a quantity of heroin in New York City that they claimed had a street value of $8 million. Another glorious victory on the Malabar front!

Minitrue might well avoid any mention of defeat (after defeat after defeat) lest it provoke someone to ask why the System insists on pressing a war that is so interminable and unwinnable. And that, in turn, might provoke the seditious thought that the Drug War is hardly a strategic defeat for state power. It feeds state power, and it literally feeds many thousands of statrons.

Looked at that way, the Drug War parallels the Central Government's catastrophic interventionist foreign policy, which has proved anything but catastrophic for state power, leviathan's lavishly paid bodyguard of liars, and the Pentagon's vampiric war contractors.

I hardly need say that no one on the program's panel spoke up for freedom. The liberal governor of Vermont did say that "we have to stop thinking we can solve [the "epidemic"] with law enforcement alone and treat it as a disease just like any other disease." (So: voluntary treatment, yes? After all, no one forces me to go to the doctor when I catch cold.) Oh, and another empaneled liberal warbled that Obamacare will help in treating the heroin "disease." (Heroinosis?) But except for avoiding that outbreak of wishy-washy liberal medicalese, the police-propagandists at Fox News couldn't have done a better job of trashing the subject. [Nicholas Strakon] (February 2014)

Steve Sniegoski has another new piece in addition to the one I posted today. It's off-site, at Veterans News Now, and you shouldn't miss it: "The Alleged Transformation of Ariel Sharon: Mostly Myth, Little Reality."

It begins: "With the death of former Israeli general and prime minister Ariel Sharon on January 11, the United States media were ablaze with eulogies lauding his alleged transformation from a rough-edged man of war to an apostle of peace." [Nicholas Strakon] (February 2014)

Tough, maybe, but not love. At the American Thinker, Bill Dunne offers an unusual interpretation of Chief Justice Roberts's decision in favor of Obamacare. According to Dunne, Roberts deliberately voted for it to trap the Democrats into a no-win situation:

Law rewritten on the bench has seldom had such a glaring example. In effect, Roberts single-handedly forced all Americans to face — up front and personal — the epic political malpractice that is ObamaCare. "It is not our job," he added, "to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices." Wow. Tough love.

The thing is, however, that the decision has spawned another Great Awakening, because ObamaCare is a civics lesson from hell, with vast implications for America's future. This would not be happening if the law had been squelched in the cradle. People who ordinarily couldn't care less about wonky debates over federal power now see that the law has less to do with insuring the uninsured than with one political party's lunge for unprecedented power and control over people's lives.

Strangely enough, Dunne doesn't point out that, if his theory is true, Roberts's decision is about the other political party's "lunge for unprecedented power and control over people's lives."

He asks us to consider the alternative scenario:

Howls of outrage would have erupted from every Democrat/leftist stronghold — from the White House to Congress, from Hollywood to academia, and of course from the establishment media. The din would have been relentless. The smearing of small-government Republicans as selfish meanies would be easy as pie and more effective than ever.

Nancy Pelosi would be speaker of the House again after next November's mid-term elections. Harry Reid would certainly remain as Senate majority leader. President Obama would be striding mightily across the national stage. His promised fundamental transformation of the United States of America would continue. Hillary Clinton would be a shoe-in for the White House in 2016. And "single-payer" — full-bore socialist medicine — would be a slam-dunk. HillaryCare redux.

That's a bit of a reach, to say the least. And, in any case, I seem to remember an important Christian teaching that one may not do evil in order to do good. You remember Christianity. That's a "value system" that Republicans are supposed to support. But who cares about impoverishing millions when there's an election to be won?

I guess it's fitting that this character Dunne is a "communications consultant." His is just the kind of cynical, win-at-all-costs, corrupt thinking that we've come to expect from such creatures. The fact that they're the people who run election campaigns should be enough to make anybody an anarchist. [David T. Wright]

Dunne's idea strikes me as a variation on conspiracy theories about the Jews and others.

Those groups are so far-sighted and perfect in planning and execution that everything always goes exactly as scripted. There is never that moment, as in every "Mission: Impossible" episode, where it looks as though the whole thing is toast until one of the participants manages to cover for his comrades or distract the opposition, and pull the team's chestnuts out of the fire. Nothing ever even begins to look wrong or be bungled in one of the puppet-masters' operations. Perfect from beginning to end.

If Roberts could be that Machiavellian and prescient on Obamacare, I wonder whether he would give us some tips on stocks or horse races. Then we could retire in luxury somewhere and stop worrying about this crap. [Douglas Olson] (January 2014)

Clown swap. After A&E suspended Duck Commander Phil Robertson for "homophobia" and "racism," the left-libertarians crowed that it was nothing but the free market in action. The market, they proclaimed, always punishes the various "phobias" and cultural attitudes that the left-libertarians disapprove of.

But now that A&E has caved, after a firestorm of public protest, we're hearing crickets from that crew.

However, the actual left-leftists are saying that A&E surrendered to the iron rule of Prrrofits, the Almighty Dollar, Filthy Lucre, Capitalist Greed, etc.

Send out the clowns; send in the other clowns. [Nicholas Strakon] (January 2014)

Bulbspeak. I keep hearing news stories saying that incandescent light bulbs are being "phased out." I want to scream: "They're not being phased out. They're being SUPPRESSED!"

It's like saying that John Kennedy took early retirement. [Ronn Neff] (January 2014)

A triumph of bad syntax. This goes back a ways — to Obama's news conference of December 20 — but since no one else seems to have taken this cheap shot, it falls to me to pull the trigger. Quoth the man who Runs the Country, on the disastrous Obamacare rollout: "Since I'm in charge, obviously we screwed it up."

Yeah, I heard him say it.

Well, don't be so hard on yourself, Barry. It's true you're a dull, incompetent affirmative-action drone, but not even Stalin could make such a ramshackle mega-statist monstrosity work as advertised. [Nicholas Strakon] (January 2014)


Published in 2014 by WTM Enterprises.