Stop and think, collected 2019Note. Because of changes in the archive pages, over time, you may find that some of the links you hit to other "Stop and think" installments actually lead nowhere. If you encounter frustration with a particular link, please feel free to hold my feet to the fire. Nicholas Strakon
2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
2013 2012 2011 2010
2009 2008 2007 2006
2005 2004 2003 2002
Alert: New essay by Steve Sniegoski at the Unz Review. A must-read for TLD folk!"Iran Delenda Est" Ω
"[Middle-of-the roaders] think they have been successful when they have delayed for some time an especially ruinous measure. They are always in retreat. They put up today with measures which only ten or twenty years ago they would have considered as undiscussable. They will in a few years acquiesce in other measures which they today consider as simply out of the question."
Ludwig von Mises, "Middle of the Road Policy Leads to Socialism" (Libertarian Press, South Holland, Illinois; 1950); pages 19-20. (August 2019)
Ronn Neff: Reassuring, right? Kevin Drum at the leftist magazine Mother Jones opines, "Liberals Need to Be Lincolnesque in Our Latest Race War."
The last time someone was Lincolnesque, it cost more than half a million lives. (July 2019)
Ronn Neff: On the Don Lemon Show, July 11, Phil Mudd (CNN's counterintelligence analyst) discussed the "citizenship question" (which, so far as I know, is not usually the sort of thing counterintelligence analysts are experts on, but what do I know?). He said that the question was "about telling his [Donald Trump's] supporters people who don't look like you don't belong in this country." (Transcript.)
Since 88 percent of the black vote went to Hillary Clinton in 2016, I think we can safely assume that relatively few blacks are included in the grab bag, "Trump supporters."
So here is my question for the counterintelligence analyst: "Sir, are you aware that there are more than 37 million blacks in this country and that nearly all of them are citizens? Are you really saying that Donald Trump does not know that they could answer 'Yes' to a question about their citizenship on a Census form? Do you really think that Donald Trump's purpose in including the citizenship question was to tell his white supporters that blacks do not belong in this country?"
By the way, no one on the panel discussing this question thought to ask Mr. Mudd about that. Apparently they didn't know blacks were citizens, either. (July 2019)
Ronn Neff: The demand for women's soccer. Fans in the stands chanted "Equal pay! Equal pay!" for the U.S. women's soccer team. They wanted the girls to get what the boys get when they win their respective World Cups.
I agree. And the way to accomplish that is for the fans to pay more for their tickets. Let them put their money where their mouths are. (July 2019)
Ronn Neff: A shoe on the other foot. A lot of people thought the Trump show on July 4 was a little over the top. A celebration of his massive ego. Maybe it was. But at least he is actually the president of a great empire.
Were their refined sensibilities similarly graveled by Barak Obama's appearance among Greek columns and North Korea-style Dear Leader posters in 2008? And he was just a senator, not even officially the Democratic candidate yet. (July 2019)
Ronn Neff: Epstein, old Bill, and the taking of hits. Webster ("Webb") Hubbell, a close friend of Bill Clinton (and rumored father of Chelsea), spent 21 months in prison for overbilling clients while he was a partner of the Rose Law Firm in Arkansas. (Overbilling clients, Tom Cruise fans will remember, was the crime that brought down Bendini, Lambert, and Locke in the movie "The Firm.") When Kenneth Starr indicted him for conspiracy, tax evasion, and mail fraud, it was in the hope that Hubbell would crack and reveal some of the Clintons' secrets, in exchange for lenient treatment. When it appeared that he would be going to jail again, he is said to have told his wife (one of Clinton's sometime lovers), "I guess I have to take another hit for Bill Clinton."
With the arrest of Jeffrey Epstein, the question naturally arises whether he has information concerning Clinton that he could similarly use to cushion the blow of the looming sentence. Or will he "take a hit" for Bill Clinton?
There is an important difference between Jeffrey Epstein and Webb Hubbell. Epstein does not need to fear Bill Clinton, as Hubbell had cause to do, for unlike Hubbell, he has a lot more money, and may command a fair amount of fear himself.Modine Herbey comments (July 11, 2019): I've gotta say, I'm proud of Mr. Neff and Mr. Strakon (who wrote the headline for this installment). Both of them avoided referring explicitly to the Mob meaning of "hit" hard to do in a context involving la Famiglia Clinton!
Ronn Neff: How the women can beat the men. Trannies hold the key. Once lots of women self-identify as men, they can get on the men's teams in professional sports. Meanwhile, men who identify as women can get on the women's teams.
At that point, it will at last be possible for the women to play against the men on "a level playing field." Because the girls will have debased the guys' teams and the guys will have pumped up the gals' teams.
But look: You can't make an omelette without ... greasing the pan. (July 2019)
Ronn Neff: Without getting into whether the Census itself is legitimate, there are two matters that should be made clear, which almost never get mentioned in all the blather that passes for debate over the citizenship question:
(1) Even if a person answers "No," he will still be counted. The citizenship question does not preclude being counted. The only thing that keeps a person from being counted is not returning the form.
(2) There are lots of people in this country legally who are not citizens.
As an anarchist, perhaps I am unqualified to comment on this matter, but it does seem to me that if you are going to have a government, it makes sense for it to want to know how many citizens it has. If people are worried that illegals will refuse to fill out and return the form (which carries the penalty of being fined by no more than $100), the thing for them to do is to inform illegals that they only compound their legal troubles by not answering.
Democrats are really good at finding illegals and getting them to the proper welfare offices and registering them to vote; they should have no trouble getting them to reply to the Census form. (July 2019)
Ronn Neff: The difference between socialism and anarchism, according to Ernest Lesigne: "One aims to establish happiness for all; the other to enable each to be happy in his own way."
Quoted by Benjamin Tucker in "State Socialism and
Anarchism: How Far They Agree and Wherein They Differ."
Ronn Neff: Captivity. Nicholas Johnson, Federal Communications Commissioner from 1966 to 1973, remarked that the network news media were not interested in free speech. By way of evidence, Johnson pointed out that when Pacifica Radio was threatened with losing its license, "Not one word of moral support came from any network news department."
Things haven't changed all that much. When Jim Acosta lost his White House press pass, the media all circled the wagons around him, even though CNN had other White House correspondents who would surely have been eager to take his place. But when Andy Ngo gets the crap beat out of him by left-wing darling thugs from Antifa, not a word, except from the conservative press.
We do not have a free press in this country. We have a captive press. (July 2019)
Nicholas Strakon declares a "must read." First, a grabber pullquote:Calling an aversion to endless military violence "isolationism" is the same as calling an aversion to mugging people "agoraphobia."That's the redoubtable Caitlin Johnstone, in "The Forever War Is So Normalized That Opposing It Is 'Isolationism'" (June 29, 2019).
As you may know, a small but troubling peace scare has broken out within the Democratic Party.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) is the closest thing the Democrats have to a peace candidate in the grindingly protracted struggle, already under way, to be nominated to run for Ruler of the United State. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) is another candidate, not so peace-oriented. I'd never heard of him before reading Johnstone's essay, since I didn't watch either episode of the Democrat TV miniseries last week. (I heard it was very talky.)
Field Marshal Ryan and his people have criticized Gabbard because of her apparent lack of support for the Forever War. They accused her of isolationism.
Johnstone writes:... Ryan's campaign using the word "isolationism" to describe the simple common sense impulse to withdraw from a costly, deadly military occupation which isn't accomplishing anything highlights an increasingly common tactic of tarring anything other than endless military expansionism as strange and aberrant instead of normal and good. Under our current Orwellian doublespeak paradigm where forever war is the new normal, the opposite of war is no longer peace, but isolationism. This removal of a desirable opposite of war from the establishment-authorised lexicon causes war to always be the desirable option.The war liberals and neocons naturally smeared antiwar Republican Ron Paul with the same "isolationist" charge when he was running for president in 2011 and 2012.Here's one of many examples of the nonsense, by Richard Cohen at the Washington Post (2011): "Isolationism redux via Ron Paul."
This is entirely by design.For further reading: "The Tulsi Effect: Forcing War onto the Democratic Agenda," by Danny Sjursen, The American Conservative, June 28, 2019. Editor's intro: "She is the only candidate who has made ending the wars a centerpiece of her campaign, which will likely lead to her undoing." Well, no one actually expects her to win, surely. The most we can hope for is that she shakes things up and momentarily disorients the bloodthirsty war robots from hell.
Ronn Neff: Doing good wrongly. "The ills and woes which beset our society at present and strain it to the breaking point were born of a concerted effort to right wrongs and do good...." (Eric Hoffer, First Things, Last Things (Harper & Row, 1971; page 100).
I speculate that the reason the effort to do good went bad was that justice is not applicable to groups, but only to individuals. Groups do not have souls, they do not have minds, they do not have rights. To try to right the wrongs done to groups is wrong-headed at the outset, for wrongs are not committed against groups. They are committed against individuals, and it is to and for the sake of individuals that justice must be administered. (June 2019)
Nicholas Strakon: The section of Minitrue called Netflix has posted a miniseries purporting to tell the story of the Central Park Five, the fun-loving youngsters whose exuberant hijinks acquainted the civilized parts of the world with the term "wilding" back in 1989.
I encourage you to read the following articles. It is necessary now to label them "revisionist," because the fictional account of the attack has become the Party line of the comrades who control our culture, including the entertainment industry: "Propaganda Posing as Documentary," by Robert Hampton, American Renaissance, June 19, 2019.
"Who You Gonna Believe: Netflix, or the Evidence?" by Ann Coulter, Taki's Magazine, June 20, 2019.
Nicholas Strakon: And if that didn't make your day, here's some pleasant reading from the Huffington Post: "Are Pride Parades Kid-Friendly? Parents Say Children Can Handle the Kink," by Brianna Sharpe, June 13, 2019.
Editor's intro: "A question about whether pride is 'sexualized' got a lot of people talking."
"Pride" nowadays is short for "sex-deviant pride," of course. (Will "pride" go the way of "gay" and become unusable by normal people?)
As far as I'm concerned, the pullquote here is: "First of all, nobody likes nakedness more than children." According to Sharpe, that observation was uttered by "writer, educator, and publisher S. Bear Bergman."
There's been much speculation about why we haven't gotten any signals from advanced alien civilizations out there in the cosmos. I'm beginning to suspect that when civilizations reach a certain point, they all just self-destruct.
On the other hand, maybe the aliens have landed and are transforming our planet to suit themselves.Comment by Ronn Neff: Or maybe they take one look at ours and say, "What the hell?!?!" and zoom away.
Ronn Neff: With what result? At MIT Technology Review, Charlotte Jee informs us: "YouTube is deleting videos on Nazi history as part of its hate speech crackdown" (June 7, 2019).
Characters: Madison (a bio-male male-identified sixth-grader, race not specified) and Jork (a bio-female male-identified sixth-grader, race not specified)
Madison: Hey, Jork! So cool!
Madison: I was looking at some old movies my momndad and dadnmoms had and ... have you ever heard of this guy Hitler?
Jork: No. Who was he?
Madison: He was, like, so cooooool, man! He had this salute and uniforms. His gang was, like, magNORmous.
Jork: What did he do?
Madison: I don't know. I couldn't unnerstan any of the words. But, like, he was GREAT! An' everybody loved him and did what he told them to and kept repeating his name.
Jork: That's just movies, Madison. Why don't you spend your time with something important like, you know, marmoset studies and the forest's oppressive structures? (June 2019)
David T. Wright: The Times has been authorized to report: "Tankers Are Attacked in Mideast, and U.S. Says Video Shows Iran Was Involved," by David D. Kirkpatrick, Richard Pérez-Peña, and Stanley Reed, June 13, 2019.
Of course, this has to be the responsibility of Iran, because what else would the Iranians do but force a confrontation with the most formidable military power on the planet, which same power has been spoiling for a fight with Iran for a few years now and has the ability to utterly destroy the country. I mean, that's what you would do if you were they, right? (June 2019)
Nicholas Strakon: Emergency! Everybody to Get from Street!
At The Daily Caller, Michael Bastasch reports: "Another Major News Outlet Ditches 'Climate Change' for More Alarming Language" (June 12).
Another, eh? I had no idea any had.
It will be interesting to see how fast this addition of "emergency" spreads throughout the Hive.
If there's one thing all the Left-totalitarians are big on, besides outright physical tyranny, it's changing the language. (June 2019)
Nicholas Strakon: A day before the dastardly Iranian attack on Our Ships ... well, OK, technically they weren't Our Ships ... as you'll read in approximately the 193rd paragraph of the Times story ... anyhow, on June 12 the irrepressible Caitlin Johnstone posted this essay, which I strongly recommend to your attention:"Propaganda Is the Root of All Our Problems"Johnstone's leftism is a bit more evident here than usual, but she's really on to something with respect to narrative control, which will only become more insidious and effective, unless or until technological civilization collapses. Good Deep State stuff.
David T. Wright comments: "The hidden bombshell in the story is the State Department troll farm that actively interfered in Americans' free expression of opinions on the coming war on the Iranians. It was a lot bigger and a lot more effective, apparently, than the pathetic Russian clickbait enterprise. Why hadn't I heard of it before?"
Another interesting piece appearing on June 12, and at an organ I don't often cite the Huffington Post was this one by Jesselyn Cook:"Deepfake Videos and the Threat of Not Knowing What's Real"Editor's intro: "The rapid spread of technology that can essentially bend our digital reality has alarmed experts worldwide."
Since it's a Huff Po thing, you'll read that, among public figures, it's leftists who seem to be most at risk from digital manipulation. Ha ha. (June 2019)
Ronn Neff: It seems that once one Democratic candidate comes up with a nutty idea, suddenly they're all on board. It's like catching a cold.
One such idea is restoring the "right" to vote to convicted felons and terrorists while they are still in prison.
I think that while they are filling out the voter registration forms, the inmates should also be given applications for concealed-carry permits. I'm not saying that they should have guns, but they should be able to have the right to have guns. Assuming they can pass the background checks.
What could possibly go wrong? I think the Northern Indiana-based TLD should send this proposal to Pete Buttigieg. In no time "Shotgun Joe" Biden will pick it up, and we'll be off to the races. (June 2019)
Ronn Neff: What I want to know is whether Nazis should start calling themselves Nazix. Dorany Pineda of The Los Angeles Times informs us: "From 'Chicano blowout' to blowup: Turmoil over MEChA name change was decades in coming" (June 3, 2019).
I wonder how long it took the original MEChA group to decide not to capitalize that "h"? Of course, every minute these crazed leftists spend quarreling about the names of their endless organizations is a minute they can't spend hunting down memorials to obscure Confederate generals and slave-holding philanthropists to tear down.
But one does wonder: will we see a Winston Smith kind of effort to rewrite every book in which there are victims in order to change that "s" to an "x" (victimx?) just to show that "people of color" and "LGBTQPOIUYT" were also massacred? Will the day come that there will be books called "The Last of the Mohicanx"? Or movies called "Dances with Wolvex?"
One we will never see is "Dark Suitx and Red Guardx."Nicholas Strakon comments: You darn tootin', podnah.
Ronn Neff: An irredeemable story that will just have to go.
Goldilockx and the Three Bearx:
The girl has blond hair, so she's white.
She's a girl who identifies as a girl.
The bearx do not have traditional rolex according to birth genetaliax (i.e., we are not told that Papa Bear is actually a biologically male bear), but the Bear family is structured along traditional lines in that Papa Bear seems to be bigger than Mama Bear.
Goldilockx is depicted as vulnerable, not strong, and it never occurs to her to uncover her breasts just to show she is powerful.
Baby Bear seems to be the same race as Papa and Mama Bear, and therefore not adopted from some sh... I mean, developing nation.
I haven't quite figured this next part out yet, but I'm pretty sure that porridge is a symbol of the oppression of hungry peoplex. (June 2019)
Ronn Neff: A good thing about Joe Biden! Take a look at this story from the Daily Wire (May 9): "Biden Flashback: D.C. Schools Worse Than Iowa Because of High Black Population," by Amanda Prestigiacomo.
Because Biden's so dumb, we can count on him to tell the truth.
He'll apologize for it later and his staff will say he didn't mean it, but he'll tell it.
As Joe Sobran once said, "How can you tell a politician is telling the truth? He apologizes the next day."
David T. Wright, from Washington City: What's that smell? I'm sure you're aware of the stinking cesspits that San Francisco, Seattle, and parts of LA have become, and why. So it shouldn't surprise you that the same kind of thing is happening right here in Trantor, in posh Cleveland Park, of all places, in one of the most beautiful, stately old apartment buildings on Connecticut Avenue. And yet, it's still rather shocking.
Sedgwick Gardens was designed by the same architect who designed the Wardman Park Hotel and a lot of the really nice houses in Woodley Park. It used to be the kind of place in which respectable middle-class people lived quiet, comfortable lives. Now it's been overrun by people who defecate in the stairwells, die from drug overdoses, and attack other people, parachuted in by the D.C. regime. That's the result of a policy of giving extravagant subsidies to drug addicts, bag ladies, and other marginal types, allowing them to live there. The people who run D.C.'s welfare programs aren't sorry at all:City officials insist those mistakes have not been made at Sedgwick Gardens, calling the disturbing incidents isolated cases.Didya get that? It could just as easily have been someone who can afford two or three thousand dollars in rent a month who decided to relieve himself in the stairwell. Besides, all those uptight white people deserve to have their lives upended because, well, just because. The idea that anyone apart from the elites can live safe from the chaos and nastiness they foist on us is just offensive.
"I think the reason the issues at Sedgwick Gardens came to a head is that there were a couple of residents that were causing a problem. That could have been true whether they had a voucher or not," said D.C. Council member Brianne K. Nadeau (D-Ward 1), who chairs the council's Committee on Human Services. "I want us to be careful not to demonize everyone who finds stable housing through a subsidy because not everybody who needs a subsidy is a criminal."
Of course, the irony is that the respectable middle-class people being shafted by this arrangement are almost all "woke" Hillary voters. So there is an element of poetic justice here.
But that doesn't mean it won't happen to you. (May 2019)
Nicholas Strakon: Pete Buttigieg suggests state-servitude "program." For clarity, I slightly revise the title of Matthew Choi's piece at Politico: "Pete Buttigieg suggests national service program" (April 15).
I suppose none of us had much doubt about the hideousness lurking behind Boy Buttigieg's gooshy-gooshy mask.
The interesting thing is how he's on the very cutting edge of what Ronn Neff and I have dubbed Polite Totalitarianism. Check out these excerpts from Choi's article (my emphasis, of course):"One thing we could do that would change that would be to make it, if not legally obligatory, but certainly a social norm that anybody after they're 18 spends a year in national service.""We" could "make it" a social norm. I guess we know who "we" is. It ain't us.Buttigieg was vague about what would constitute national service, but both he and Maddow [oh, no, my bottle of Emetrol is almost empty!] acknowledged it would most likely not be a military draft. Without saying the program would be mandatory, Buttigieg did suggest colleges and employers ask applicants about participation in it.I'm confident the commie colleges and the commie-fascist corporations would welcome such a "suggestion," from Buttigieg or some other totalitarian president, Democrat or Republican. (Maybe even from Trump, as much as they all hate him.)
P.S. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that membership in the Hitlerjugend and the Young Pioneers was not actually mandatory, in their respective countries. (April 2019)
David T. Wright: "Brazil" in Rome. In Terry Gilliam's film "Brazil," set in a dystopian, 1984-ish future, the protagonist hires an underground repairman after the mandatory state repair service botches the repair of his air conditioning in a progressively disastrous fashion. That, of course, leads to problems.
In modern Rome, a similar situation apparently exists, in which underground repairmen calling themselves "Gap" surreptitiously repair crumbling infrastructure. They must do their work in secret for fear of offending incompetent officialdom.
Of course, this story being in the Guardian, it has a slight, shall we say ... slant:Critics might argue that citizen action like that of Gap could discourage the government from doing its job: why spend time and money to fix holes when there are residents doing it for free? But Gap members hope their intervention energises the local administration into action.Yeah. Critics might argue. Which critics, I wonder?
It's funny that our own news media don't report this and other stories about what is happening in Europe. It's almost as if they don't want the American people to get any ideas.
The story includes a bit about an exploding city bus, which reminds me of a couple of incidents back in the 1980s, in the D.C. area, when a couple of propane-powered tour buses burst spectacularly into flames a couple of years apart one right in front of the Old Executive Office Building where I worked at the time. I took to calling the tour bus company "Hindenburg Bus Lines."
Actually, in Rome, it's not just one city bus. It's at least 46! That means the Roman bus system deserves the moniker far more than poor Old Town Trolleys ever did. And the reason is, apparently, that diesel engines, which used to be considered wonderful, and which the regimes of most or all of the Western European countries encouraged and coerced people to buy, are now considered evil and polluting. We have always been at war with Eastasia.
So they have turned to natural- or other gas-powered buses. The problem with them is that, unlike diesel, if the gas leaks owing to ham-handed guvvamint maintenance, there's the risk of fire.
Which reminds me that I saw a Washington Metro bus just the other day that advertised that it was powered by, wait for it, hydrogen, the volatile, extremely flammable gas used in the real Hindenburg. Let's hope that the maintenance workers of the new Imperial City are a little more competent than those of the old. (April 2019)
Ronn Neff: Obvious questions? Guess not. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) has said that there is evidence of "open collusion" between Trump and Russia.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) has said that there is "ample evidence of collusion in plain sight."
Now, I didn't go to journalism school, and I've never been a prosecutor or a defense attorney, but it seems to me that the next thing out of the mouth of anyone with such a background would be: "How do you know?" After all, neither of the congressmen has seen the Mueller report yet.
The next thing I would expect to hear is, "Since you know about this evidence, why don't you just show it to us? or tell us what it is?" Ronn Neff: The hands-on media. So many videos are coming out showing Joe Biden's "hands-iness"!
All these videos were available to the news agencies during the eight years he was vice president, and during both of his campaigns with Obama. Some of them were available while he was a senator and running for president.
Why weren't they known to the American public? This is a pretty clear example of how the media help a candidate (in this case, Obama) win an election and how they help create the image of his presidency.
And we are seeing now how they help deep-six a candidacy.
As usual, this kind of information is coming out long after it might have made a difference to the "voting public" in past years.
The irony is that most of these videos would have remained the media's open secret if only Biden had said months ago that he was not running for president. (April 2019)
Ronn Neff: Not for nothing, but I am getting a little tired of hearing that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in the 2016 and that without the Electoral College, she would be president.
Taking the given numbers as true (a questionable supposition in the light of possible illegal voting throughout the country, but especially in California), we have:Clinton: 65,853,652Who won the majority of votes? No one. Clinton won a plurality of votes, and in a parliamentary form of government, that would make her the putative prime minister, with a need for forming a coalition government with someone.
Total votes cast: 137,125,484
Similarly in the 2000 election (with the same assumptions concerning the legitimacy of the official figures):Gore: 51,009,810But what would such an outcome mean in a government in which "the majority rules"? It's hard to say. Another election? A run-off election?
Total votes cast: 105,425,985
In other words, what the Electoral College does (among other things) is answer the question of how to select a president who does not win the majority of votes cast.
Those opposed to the Electoral College should tell us in their efforts to repeal it or circumvent it how they would solve the problem in the event that there is no majority winner.
But whatever they come up with, please stop telling us that Clinton won. She didn't. She didn't win under the Electoral College system, and she didn't win under a popular-election system. (April 2019)
Ronn Neff: Look who's talking! Pat Buchanan is claiming that the only reason for Joe Biden to consider having Stacey Abrams as his running mate is to solidify his standing among blacks, and to inoculate himself against rival candidates.
Someone help me here: When Buchanan ran for president, who was his running mate?(March 2019)
Ronn Neff: The practical executioner. New York Public Radio's broadcast of March 16, "Millionaires Funded by Billionaires," featured a discussion with Rutger Bregman, a Dutch historian and author of the book Utopia for Realists: How We Can Build the Ideal World. Bregman is an advocate of the Universal Basic Income, or "UBI."
Bregman claims that the UBI is an idea that's been around for a long time, but that in the 1950s a "small group of thinkers," such as Milton Friedman and F.A. Hayek and others of the Mont Pelerin Society, began a movement for small government and lower taxes. Their ideas, he says, took hold in the 1970s, and the people who picked up their ideas more or less created a setback for the idea of what Richard Nixon called a family assistance system.
Bregman does not actually say that Friedman and Hayek themselves opposed the idea of a universal basic income, but he certainly wants us to believe it. In that, he is half right, and the half that he is right about is Hayek. But Richard Nixon did not come up with the idea of a basic income by himself; it was an idea that was promoted by, among others, Milton Friedman in the years that Nixon was president.
Friedman called it the negative income tax. Bregman, who is regarded as a historian, seems to be completely unaware of this. But, as the man says, "You can look it up." In fact, you can look it up in Wikipedia. Bregman, who had fun at Tucker Carlson's expense when he said that they had the Internet in the Netherlands, should perhaps spend more time with it.
The point here is not just that Bregman's idea of Friedman seems to be what he thinks it should be because, perhaps, of Friedman's reputation and that he is wrong. No. The point is that this is the sort of thing that happens when someone like a Milton Friedman sets about to reform the state or to streamline it.
He ends up promoting policies which in his mind can be tamed or managed in a way that may or may not be an improvement. But they will not stay in his mind. They will get into the minds of others, and in the end become the tools of economic ruin and the destruction of liberty.
Friedman enjoys a reputation as a champion of liberty. But it was not a principled liberty; it was a practical liberty. Whenever he thought that liberty was not practical or was not "practical enough," he became one of liberty's executioners. It is not that he meant to be anti-liberty; it is rather that practicality and pragmatism are. (March 2019)
Nicholas Strakon: The murders at the mosques. At Chronicles, Srdja Trifkovic writes: "...[T]his regrettable incident will dominate the headlines infinitely more than any comparable carnage involving Christians, notably the 2017 Palm Sunday church bombings in Alexandria; it killed 45 people, and was all but ignored by the Western media and politicians." ("New Zealand Attacks: Repercussions and Perspective," March 15, 2019.)
We also direct your attention to this impassioned video by Paul Ramsey ("ramzpaul"), "Christchurch the wages of multiculturalism." I had never heard of Ebba Akerlund, the 11-year-old Swedish victim of multiculturalism, until now.
Down with imperialism and the subsidizing of immigration; up with the freedoms of property and association. (March 2019)
Ronn Neff: Politicians don't have beliefs; they have positions. Let's think about this a minute:
In 2008, Sen. Joe Biden said of Barack Obama that he was "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy." The next thing you knew, Biden was the vice president.
In 2019, ex-Vice President Joe Biden, speaking of the silent reaction by an international gathering of politicians to remarks of Vice President Mike Pence, said that "it [the silence] was followed on by a guy who's a decent guy, our vice president." The next thing you knew, Biden was attacked by the Left he helped to create and has probably killed his chances for a run at the presidency in 2020.
So, insult the entire black American community, and you're rewarded; praise a guy with the gentlest of praise, and you're out on your ear.
P.S. Biden has since retracted his remarks about Pence. Presumably he no longer thinks Pence is decent. (March 2019)
Ronn Neff: Who's kiddin' who? The argument against supporting Donald Trump's declaration of a national emergency most often used by Republicans is that it sets a bad precedent: A future Democratic president might use it to declare a national emergency regarding gun control or climate change.
This is an absurd argument:
(1) Does anyone really believe that Democrats haven't already thought of this?
(2) Does anyone really believe that Democrats would need a precedent before they tried it? Have they already forgotten the presidency of Barack Obama?
(3) There have been plenty of times when the GOP did not worry for one second about the precedent they were setting. (For an example, see the penultimate paragraph of my 2001 essay, "Ron Paul's Gift.") What makes this "precedent" so very different?
Now, it's entirely possible that there are some Republicans who actually believe what they are saying. But I don't believe that there are. I believe that it's merely cover for when they have to face the folks back home. When the final count is taken, it will be interesting to see how many of those who vote against Trump on this matter are up for re-election in 2020. (March 2019)
Nicholas Strakon: Making the nutballs bearable. I saw this the other day at the irrepressible and irreplaceable Babylon Bee: "Grizzly Bear Shatters All Pro Wrestling Records After Identifying As Human."
My own dream is that the identity maniacs decide they're grizzly bears, and attempt to join up with them and tell them what's what.P.S. I should be more careful, throwing around that word "irrepressible." The Bee still shows up on Facebook, but one has to assume its days there are numbered.
Ronn Neff: Did you ever notice? Women who "self-identify" as men never try out for men's sports. (February 2019)
Nicholas Strakon: Funny and serious. This has got to be the best thing I've ever read by Caitlin Johnstone, and that's saying something: "If Every Debate About US Interventionism Was About Godzilla Instead," Steemit, February 25, 2019. (February 2019)
Nicholas Strakon: Racism alert! I was disturbed, upset, and, liyeek, super-disappointed to see this news at the Daily Wire: "Ocasio-Cortez: People Maybe Shouldn't Reproduce Due To Climate Change / 'Is it okay to still have children?'" by Ryan Saavedra (February 25, 2019).
In 2017, the UN predicted there will be 4 billion sub-Saharan Africans by 2100. Is Señorita Ocasio-Cortez saying that black Africans should refrain from reproducing so that figure is not reached?
Does she hate black babies?
If Señorita Ocasio-Cortez doesn't stipulate that her skepticism about having children applies only to white people and especially to non-communist white people then I think the tarbrush of RACISM! must be applied, and she must immediately be purged from public life. And barred from renewing her bartender's license.
(I think this may be a secret not sure but I seem to have heard that some Latinx don't get along too well with people of African heritage.)Another view: "Nation Breathes Sigh of Relief As Ocasio-Cortez Comes Out against Having Children," The Babylon Bee, February 25, 2019.
Nicholas Strakon: Wright is right. In a message to some of my co-conspirators the other day I observed that I feel some cognitive dissonance when contemplating the leftists who have seized so much power over us and who seem destined to seize absolute power.
I was wondering about Russia in 191617. Did the normal literate folk soon to be shot or carted off as counter-revolutionaries double over with laughter sometimes when watching the antics of the Bolsheviks and their Left-totalitarian allies? I doubted that it was so.
But I wrote my friends our own Left-totalitarians, evil and deadly as they are, are so clownish. They're so damn funny. I can't help being horrified and entertained at the same time.
David T. Wright responded: "It's a little like being in a concentration camp run by Laurel and Hardy." (February 2019)
Ronn Neff: "A Simple Plan." Now, let's see if I have this right:
The plan was for the "attack" to be captured by a street camera, and somehow that was supposed to help Jussie Smollett's report to be believable.
If the camera had been pointed the right way, wouldn't it have shown at once that the "attackers" were not white? Were not wearing MAGA caps? In fact, wouldn't it have helped the cops to identify the Nigerian brothers?
What did the brothers think was going to happen? "But, if we get caught, won't we go to jail?" And the only way to stay out of jail would be to rat Smollett out. Which is what happened.
Somehow, I can hear Andy Brown saying, "Kingfish, is you sure dis is on de up 'n' up?"
Nicholas Strakon comments: All in all, this does not seem to have been one of the better-designed Nigerian Scams. (February 2019)
Ronn Neff: Monumental question. Is slavery any worse than collecting taxes and living off them?
Will libertarians demand that all government officials grovel and apologize? Will they insist that all statues and other paraphrenalia honoring those who collected taxes and lived off taxes be removed? Should all parks and streets be renamed? (February 2019)
Ronn Neff: A lesson in media bias. In many "news" stories reporting on something Donald Trump has said, the publication will often say, "President Trump said, without evidence, that, etc." The New York Times seems particularly fond of this construction, but is certainly not alone.
Now consider this story at the Washington Free Beacon, "Omar: Refugees at U.S. Border Are 'Detained and Tortured'" (February 7, 2019), in which Rep. Ilhan Omar (DMinn.) is quoted: "They are separated and processed. They are detained and tortured." The story does not say, "Congresswoman Omar said, without evidence, 'They are detained and tortured.'"
I do not mind that the president's assertions are often reported by high-minded logicians who note that he has not provided evidence. But where are they when others are speaking? (February 2019)
Ronn Neff: How leftists think. The other day I heard the following exchange between Kamala Harris, who considers herself qualified to run my life (and yours) as president of the United States, and Neomi Rao, whom Donald Trump has nominated to the U.S. District Court of Appeals:Harris: You said when having a conversation with Senator Ernst, "Women should take certain steps to avoid becoming a victim." What steps do you have in mind that women should take to avoid becoming a victim of sexual assault?Harris says that she found the responses from Rao "unacceptable" and "deeply troubling," apparently believing that they are the first step in a program of "blaming the victim."
Rao: Senator, it's just sort of a common-sense idea about for instance excessive drinking, y'know that was advice that was given to me by my mother.
Harris: So that's one step that you believe women should take to avoid becoming a victim of sexual assault?
Rao: It is just a way to make it less likely. It's not to blame the victim; rape and sexual assault are horrible crimes, but we're talking about what can you do to keep yourself safe.
Harris: Are there other steps that you believe women should take to avoid becoming a victim of sexual assault?
Rao: That is one of the issues I discussed; I'm not sure if there are others.
Harris: So do you believe that if women do not take those steps that she is at fault or partially at fault for what happens to her?
Rao: Uh, no.
Harris: So what is the significance of taking those steps?
Rao: Well, it's just the significance of trying to avoid becoming a victim of any crime. We take different steps to protect ourselves from horrible crime, such as rape. And I think what we want is for women to not be victims.
I could not help but wonder whether Harris thinks that drivers who dash into a 7-Eleven to pick up a coffee and newspaper should be warned not to leave their keys in their car. (February 2019)
Ronn Neff: Rashaad Thomas is black, and his skin is thin. In a Phoenix restaurant, he saw a photograph of coal miners with soot on their faces and said it was blackface and a "threat" to him.
He said that it was part of the issue of "lack of representation of marginalized people and their voices in Phoenix."
He said that the photograph said to him that "people like me are not welcome."
I wish people like him were not welcome. I believe that civilized society can do without people who go around looking for reasons to be offended. I wish society would not welcome them. I wish a polite and civilized society would ask them to please leave and never come back.
Alas, we do not live in such a society. We live in a society in which such people get to be featured in the opinion pages of USA TODAY affiliates. We live in a society in which such people are not nearly marginalized enough and are afforded too loud a voice.
Thomas thinks that taking down the photograph would be an instance of "sacrificing one image for the greater good." Unfortunately we live in a society in which people such Thomas get to define the "greater good."
I believe that the greater good is served by shunning people like Thomas. (January 2019)
Ronn Neff and Nicholas Strakon: Have you ever noticed how often when a leftist is called on something he said it turns out he wasn't talking about what you thought he was talking about?
CNN's Jake Tapper said of Roger Stone's going to prison, "He might like it" there. When he was accused of making a "homophobic" remark, he (and dozens of others) assured us all that he wasn't talking about that. He was talking about the publicity that Stone would get in prison.
'Cause, you know, lots of publicity hounds wish they were in prison.
They never seem to mean the plain meaning of the words they use.
We see a variation of that in this Daily Mail story: "'Not married? Fall in love with someone who doesn't have the right to stay here': Aid group rescuing people in the Med appears to suggest supporters MARRY illegal immigrants," by George Martin, January 28, 2019.
When protests resulted, "[T]he NGO's co-founder rejected the idea that the tweet was about marriage, saying instead it encouraged people to 'show love towards migrants.'"
This time we can believe the leftists. They'd never endorse marriage per se, but only as a tactical maneuver to speed demographic replacement or advance another of their destructive goals. (January 2019)
Ronn Neff and Nicholas Strakon: Brokaw and the American language(s). Tom Brokaw yesterday advised Hispanics in this country to "work harder at assimilation." Whah-oh! According to Politico, a "flurry" of apologies soon followed from the (formerly) great man. But one of Brokaw's critics, fellow by the name of Alcindor, was slow to accept them, declaring that "... Spanish and other languages were always part of America."
Sure they were. Like Hopi and Apache.
Not to mention, German.
That's why the Founders printed the Declaration of Independence in so many languages.
And, of course, that's why Brokaw had translators on his show whenever he did the news. (January 2019)
Savage amusement. From today's Politico Playbook:AXIOS' JONATHAN SWAN: "Scoop: Trump mused about 'military option' in Venezuela with Graham": "Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham told me that as recently as a couple of weeks ago Trump mused to him about the possibility of using military force in Venezuela, where the U.S. government is currently pushing for regime change using diplomatic and economic pressures. ... Graham, recalling his conversation with Trump, said: 'He [Trump] said, "What do you think about using military force?" and I said, "Well, you need to go slow on that, that could be problematic."
"And he said, 'Well, I'm surprised, you want to invade everybody.'" Graham laughed. 'And I said, "I don't want to invade everybody, I only want to use the military when our national security interests are threatened."' 'Trump's really hawkish' on Venezuela, the hawkish Graham added in a phone interview on Sunday afternoon, adding that Trump was even more hawkish than he was on Venezuela." Axios.
Nicholas Strakon: Writing of the Indian drummer affair, Robert Hampton at American Renaissance asks, "Who Will Defend Innocent Whites?" (January 24, 2019). And he starts by saying, "Clearly, not 'conservatives.'"
Later on he writes: "The knee-jerk reaction from Catholic and conservative leaders reveals their impotence in the face of left-wing hatred."
Yes. I keep asking: Given the Left-statists' rabid craziness and incessant internecine squabbling, how have they taken over the culture? How do they continue to rule it? And ever extend their rule?
The only answer I can think of is: They encounter almost no principled opposition.
The nightmare figure of Cthulhu looms at the center of all, tremendous; he is hard to miss. His uncountable tentacles, running under the surface, thrusting deep into the mind of many millions, are harder to see. (January 2019)
David T. Wright: The leftist drumbeat. Yet another moral panic is upon us, after vicious Catholic white high school kids harassed a noble Native American "elder," a "war veteran" no less, who was peacefully chanting and banging his drum at the Lincoln Memorial in Trantor. A video surfaced showing the noble Native American, identified as "indigenous rights activist" Nathan Phillips, being smirked at by a kid in a red MAGA cap, while other kids in the background laughed, cut up, and generally acted like teenage goofballs.
Minitrue talking heads, understandably outraged at such effrontery, helpfully interviewed Mr. Phillips about the incident. Phillips told them that the kids were taunting a group of four noble Black Israelites, and he began to chant and bang the drum to prevent the "mob" of "hundreds" of kids from "tearing apart" the innocent black men. Also understandably, the talking heads neglected to seek the other side of the story from the kids in question, because, well, they're white Catholic Trump supporters who, to top it off, had been participating in a huge March for Life anti-abortion rally. I mean, obviously they're racist scum, so why bother? Especially when they were confronting a noble Native American war veteran elder indigenous rights activist, and four noble African American religious men who, according to the Minitrue story, were "singing hymns."
In the uproar that ensued, celebrities called for the heads of the guilty kids, left-wing activists attempted to reveal their identities and addresses, others called for them to be physically attacked, and the kids' own Catholic diocese condemned them and threatened expulsion, apparently without first investigating the matter.
Unfortunately, further video evidence surfaced that threw the incident in a different light. It turned out that the noble African American religious men were members of a weird sect known for provocative behavior, and that they had been shouting scurrilous taunts at the kids and everybody else in sight for over an hour as the kids waited for a bus to come and pick them up. Not only that, but Phillips walked over to the teenagers and apparently did his best to provoke an incident with them, only for them to do nothing much at all except act like kids. The entire narrative pushed by our informal Ministry of Truth was a lie, and the carelessness and bigotry of Minitrue and the Establishment were on display for all to see. This is yet another example of how the Internet needs regulation and oversight by wise monitors to prevent crimethink from disrupting the official narrative.
Dense fog over the Atlantic
But don't worry! Ian Bogost at the Atlantic magazine has taken a look at the new evidence and called upon all goodthinkers to revise their opinion about the affair. His conclusion? A whole lot of things happened, so let's forget that the white kids were slandered, and instead meditate on the nature of reality:But rather than drawing conclusions about who was vicious or righteous or lamenting the political miasma that makes the question unanswerable it might be better to stop and look at how film footage constructs rather than reflects the truths of a debate like this one. Despite the widespread creation and dissemination of video online, people still seem to believe that cameras depict the world as it really is; the truth comes from finding the right material from the right camera. That idea is mistaken, and it's bringing forth just as much animosity as the polarization that is thought to produce the conflicts cameras record.But the Atlantic is here to tell you that it doesn't. In the immortal words of Groucho Marx, "Who you gonna believe, me or your eyes?"
Because the newer video of the Lincoln Memorial encounter is so much longer, some would contend that it offers clarity about how the conflict arose.... For example: At one point, the Black Hebrew Israelite protester holding the camera engages with a woman who had pointed out that Guatemala and Panama are indigenous names with their own meaning, different from names such as Indian or Puerto Rico ascribed by Spanish conquistadors. "I am from Panama," the cameraman claims, "so now I'm indigenous from Panama ... We indigenous, so we out here fighting for you."And so on, blah, blah, blah. You see, the issue is the uncertain nature of reality as portrayed by the camera, NOT the fact that the kids in question were deliberately set up and then slandered and their futures put in jeopardy by the leftist establishment, just for the crime of being white and Christian.
As best I can tell, the speaker means to argue ...
Meanwhile, it looks as if this may be Phillips's Tawana Brawley moment. Now that he's got the spotlight on himself, can he exploit the publicity to become a media player and make himself a lot of money? He certainly seems mendacious enough; the question is, is he as clever and ruthless as Al Sharpton, and can he pose and bloviate as effectively? I'm skeptical, but I'm rooting for him. (January 2019)
A zinger, razor sharp. "Remember: if you see a mob picking on a boy, Gillette wants you to intervene." libertarian economist and commentator Robert P. Murphy. (January 2019)
Nicholas Strakon: Changing the indictment. Tom Woods has something to say about the new "blackface" accusation against Covington students. Leftists on social media are promoting this charge, which if anything is even more self-evidently preposterous than the original one involving the Indian drummer.
Now the Left, on Facebook, is promoting the charge brought by a girl from Connecticut that some of the Kentucky boys harassed her by shouting political slogans at her, possibly accompanied by the word "slut." She presented an eight-second video showing ... something. Our own boffins, frustrated, are submitting it to the NSA for painstaking analysis. See what you think.
I am reminded now of Joseph Schumpeter's most famous observation: "Capitalism stands its trial before judges who have the sentence of death in their pockets. They are going to pass it, whatever the defense they may hear; the only success victorious defense can possibly produce is a change in the indictment." Just substitute "normal white Catholic boys" for "capitalism," and Bob's your commissar. (January 2019)
Ronn Neff: Good news from the Great White North! The Coop les Récoltes, a "bar and solidarity co-operative at the Université du Québec à Montréal," gives us this "definition" of "cultural appropriation": "when someone from a dominant culture appropriates symbols, clothing or hairstyles that come from historically dominated cultures." (Note: Evidently at the UQAM no one teaches the mush-heads that a proper definition does not begin with the word "when," but moving on ...)
Greg Robinson, a UQAM professor specializing in black history, explains further that wearing dreadlocks and blackface is "like the N-word." "Blacks can use it among themselves, but if someone from outside uses it, even if he wants to be like blacks, among blacks, there is still an aspect that remains rooted in history."
Good news here:
(1) Blacks can spearhead the revival of the minstrel show! And they can do it without wearing blackface! I look forward to this return of a lost treasure of Western civilization.
(2) Whites will (thank God!) at last be forbidden to sing "Were You There" and other Negro spirituals on Good Friday or any other time. (January 2019)
Published in 2019 by WTM Enterprises.