www.thornwalker.com/ditch/stopcollection_2021.htm

 


 

Stop and think,  collected — 2021

    
 
Note. 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.
     
 
Ronald Neff    
 
2019–2020     2018    
2017     2016     2015     2014    
2013     2012     2011     2010    
2009     2008     2007     2006    
2005     2004     2003     2002    

Comment?    
 
Reader responses    
 



RNN: Move along; nothing to see here. Almost as if to reinforce the point made in the Stop and Think below, NPR had a segment on today’s All Things Considered by Jason Beaubien, “The Ramifications of the Johnson & Johnson Vaccination Halt Are Global.” In it he tells us that most of the blood clots reported from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and the AstraZeneca vaccine have occurred in women in their 20s and 30s. In other words, the nations of the world have been giving blood clots to healthy women.

Not to worry! Rebecca Weintraub, MD, an assistant professor in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School and an associate physician in the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, tells us in the Beaubien story, “This is standard practice. We expected a set of adverse reactions to a vaccine that ... not only because it was new but this happens with any routine vaccination process.”

Funny. I don’t remember anyone’s mentioning that when getting the vaccines was being hyped earlier this year. You might want to keep that in mind the next time a new vaccine is pushed through and the government urges you to go right out, get in line, and get it. (April 2021)


RNN: Maybe Biden actually did win. The fools and con-men in this country are on Biden’s side. And to borrow from Mark Twain, that’s a big enough majority in any country. (April 2021)


RNN: Lenin’s WuFlu policy. Lots of broken eggs. No omelettes. (April 2021)


RNN: Paranormal news. “We all wish to express our condolences to the Royal Family for the loss of Prince Philip.” So said countless news readers and conservative talk-show hosts this past Friday. Which got me wondering: In order to get a job in journalism or on the radio or TV, do you have to demonstrate the ability to read the minds of millions of people you don’t know and never will meet? Or is this just another of the enormities of living in a republic, where others get to “represent” us without our permission? (April 2021)


Guest Editor: Jon Utley. Who knew what and when did they know it? [During my search for what had become of my father] the most interesting facts I learned were about how the Soviet government during the Stalin terror was so successful at keeping the conditions in the camps a secret. Most camps were intentionally isolated from one another. A common theme in America during the 1940s and ’50s was that if Russians didn’t like communism, why didn’t they resist it more? In fact they did, but the information didn’t get out to the West. There were many other strikes and resistance like the one led by my father.

Utley’s efforts to learn what had become of his father are recounted in an interview with Howard Phillips here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIM81FKrlM4) and in the documentary “Return to the Gulag” here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIM81FKrlM4 English wth Spanish subtitles). (April 2021)M


RNN: Failure in every part. The existence of the state poses more threats to the liberties of man than most of us ever think of. Those enthusiastic about the U.S. Constitution will explain that the genius of the document was in erecting barriers to thwart those threats. And yet, every one of those barriers has been breached. That is, every barrier imagined by the best minds ever to be found in a single room has been shown to be inadequate to the task given to it. (April 2021)


RNN: Bet on it. The only thing government is sure to accomplish with regulation — always and everywhere — is to increase costs. (April 2021)


Guest Editors: Plato and Karl Popper. Plato: “As long as the war lasts ... nobody may say ‘No’ to [a soldier]. Accordingly, if a soldier wishes to make love to anybody, whether male or female, this law will make him more eager to carry off the price of valour.” Popper: The state, it is carefully pointed out, will thereby obtain two distinct benefits — more heroes, owing to the incitement, and again more heroes, owing to the increased numbers of children from heroes. (April 2021)


RNN: No joking. Some readers may remember the trillion-dollar coin. It was proposed during the Obama tyranny as a means of circumventing the need for raising the debt ceiling. The idea was that the Treasury could mint such a coin, and sell it to the Federal Reserve, and then the U.S. government wouldn’t have to go into debt to meet some of the spending goals of the madmen in Congress.

What is hilarious now is that if that zany plan had been attempted, the coin today would barely cover half of the Biden $1.9 trillion “stimulus” bill.

To the right is a trillion-dollar coin you can purchase. Formerly $79.95, it has been marked down to $9.95.

Such a deal! Get yours now and you may still be able to afford a bottle of Yoo-hoo in a year or two. (April 2021)


RNN: War and the welfare state? When a country goes to war, it never first completes a cost-benefit analysis. No one ever asks, “Can we afford this?” There may be some empty talk about using a rescued country’s oil to pay for it, but whether repayment by some means is possible or not is never a deciding factor.

It only makes sense, then, to ask, If we can go to war without worrying about the cost, why can we not do other things without worrying about the cost? Why not make college and health care free? If we don’t have to make provision for paying for war, why do we have to make provision for paying for anything?

Except for tax cuts, of course. Them, we have to pay for. (April 2021)


Posted March 31, 2021

RNN: Freedom is ... what again? The Freedom Foundation is filing a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Unified School District and against the teachers’ union. They want to force the teachers to go back to teaching in the schools.

It has been obvious for years upon years that government school systems are the enemies of the children held captive in them and of education itself. One would have thought that closing the schools last year was a terrific opportunity for parents to finally pull their children out of them. Surely the policies demanded by the teachers and what the parents could hear for themselves while their children were connected to the teacheers by Zoom should have made that clear even to morons. But apparently not.

We are compelled to cry out, “What on Earth is it going to take?”

Frankly, anyone striving to get children back into the government school system should be charged with child abuse. (March 2021)


Edward Morrison Morley: Not exactly Hank Rearden material. Gotta love the new alphabet and other jargon code words and phrases: DEI, CSR, Social Impact, social good experts, intentional social good campaigns, and who knows what.

BTW, Wikipedia has this on CSR [Corporate social responsibility]: “While it has been considered a form of corporate self-regulation for some time, over the last decade or so it has moved considerably from voluntary decisions at the level of individual organizations to mandatory schemes at regional, national, and international levels.” From voluntary to mandatory? What a surprise! (March 2021)


RNN: March 29, 2021; 4:10 DST. The information in the following chart (except for the percentages, which were calculated by TLD’s Department of Arithmetic and Figures) comes from AKIpress.

According to Wikipedia, “AKIpress News Agency is the first independent news agency in the Kyrgyz Republic. It is based in Bishkek, the capital city of the Kyrgyz Republic. The agency is commercially focused: AKIpress earns money from paid access to archives and from the sale of advertising space on its websites.” If it is not immune to influence from Western Dark Suits, it is at least not quite as infected by it as the West itself is. What other corruptions may be present are unknown, but at least they are different.

The figures in the chart were posted here within 15 minutes of their being posted on the AKIpress website, which itself is updated every 30 minutes. Stop and Think about them, remembering that the countries listed are backward by Western standards, and make of the figures what you will.

Location Confirmed Recoveries Deaths Mortality Rate
Worldwide 128,103,167 103,231,963 2,800,216 2.186%
Kyrgyzstan 88,163 84,653 1,497 1.698%
Kazakhstan 241,873 217,168 3,014 1.246%
Uzbekistan 82,536 80,667 626 0.758%
Mongolia 7,589 4,711 6 0.079%
Tajikistan 13,308 13,218 90 0.676%

(March 2021)


Ω
 

NS: Virtue, or ideology, signaling. Amazon’s home page trumpets,
 

We stand in solidarity with Asian and Pacific Islander communities.

#StopAsianHate
 

What group is it, again, whose members are most likely to assault Asians in this country?

Unmentionable!

It’s certainly not the group the wokapitalists at Amazon are referring to now. (March 2021)


Henry Gallagher Fields: More on D.C. statehood. If the object is really to give the residents of D.C. conventional congressional representation and conventional local government, another possibility (and one simpler than Headmistress Bowser’s preposterous plan) is to follow the lead of Virginia in 1846, and retrocede to Maryland those parts of the District that are not included in Bowser’s “federal parts of the city” (presumably, e.g., Georgetown).

Even with a Republican governor, Maryland already functions pretty nicely as a one-party state when voting for president. This plan would give Maryland one new congressman, but no new senators. And Headmistres Bowser has assured us (wink, wink, nudge nudge) that getting the extra senators is not the purpose. Heck, the new area could even be renamed along Bowser-ish lines: the County and Commonwealth of Frederick Douglass, Social Reformer, Abolitionist, Orator, Writer, and Statesman and the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Junior, Blessings Upon Him, Incorporated (modeling it on the endless names given to a few local churches).

Modine Herbey interjects: Or they could name it after a famous family of actors from Maryland!

Under this plan, D.C. residents could continue to be taxed and conscripted to their hearts’ delight and not feel deprived. Alas, it would do nothing to correct the centuries of racism that has kept the area so downtrodden all these centuries.

Some intra-Party elements in Baltimore and Annapolis might oppose such an Anschluss as disruptive (but not because D.C. wouldn’t be getting its extra Democratic senators, no, no), but it would be interesting if some Establishment Respectable at least proposed this plan. And even more interesting if the Maryland delegation were the most outspoken against it. But why would that be? Who wouldn’t want to add a city with a pretty low crime rate (“if you don’t count the murders,” said Mayor Marion Berry once)? (March 2021)


RNN: Spoiler: No reasonably sane person will accept the use of the word “they” and its relatives (“them” and “their”) as a singular pronoun, though it has become a commonplace when the antecedent is a word such as “anyone.”

Even so, I have recently had cause to look at Wikipedia’s discussion of Edgar Allan Poe’s story “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Take a look at it (the discussion, that is), and notice that the author insists on referring to the narrator/murderer as “they” and so on. Apparently the Wikipedia writer made this demented choice because as he says, “Some critics have suggested a woman may be narrating [the story]; no pronouns are used to clarify one way or the other.”

On that rickety basis, the Wikipedia writer elects to make the narrator/murder a consortium of Earth-units. After all, no effort is made to assure the reader of the story that the narrator/murderer is not some 19th-century Mr. Ed, either.

If you want to learn how to pointlessly confuse a reader, I can think of no better piece of trashy writing to study outside the works of William Faulkner than this Wikipedia article. It is now my primary exhibit in the case against the use of “they” in places where it imparts no useful information whatever. (March 2021)


RNN: Good reading: The next best thing to reading a good book is reading a good review of a good book. Take some time to read Jared Taylor’s review of The Earth Is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West, by Peter Cozzens. It’s a review to make you want to read the book, in which, Mr. Taylor says, the author hoped to present a balanced account of America’s longest war (1860s to 1890). The book, then, immediately replaces Dee Brown’s tendentious Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. The review suggests to me that Cozzens realized his hope and pulled no punches when describing both the savage war-making of the Indians and the “rogues gallery of bickering backbiting mediocrities, drunks and martinets in epaulettes” who were the officers leading soldiers, who in many cases had “never fired a rifle or ridden a horse.” Not exactly the stuff of She Wore a Yellow Ribbon or Rin Tin Tin adventures.

Given the incompatibility of the way of life of the Plains Indians and the American settlers, as Mr. Taylor puts it, “There was never a chance for peaceful coexistence; only a choice between levels of horror.”

What the book chronicles, then (though the author seems not treat it this way), is a 30-year war that helped fashion the American empire, the path for which had been laid by the war with Mexico (1846–1848) and before that by the Louisiana Purchase (1803). (March 2021)


RNN: The explanation: For those of you who still haven’t received your stimy checks by direct deposit, be patient: It just takes time to print up all those new electrons. (March 2021)


RNN: And the point would be?? Just in case you didn’t know it, the reason Washington, D.C., isn’t a state has nothing to do with the Constitution. That’s just a cover story. Can it be that the real reason — as it is for everything else wicked in this wicked world — is anti-black racism? Well, if you think that might be the case, then Kyla Sommers’s article in yesterday’s Washington Post (where else?) is the just the reading matter for you.

But maybe you thought it had something to do with the Constitution? Well, my friends, you would be deeply mistaken, because Muriel Bowser — the headmistress of the city — knows just how to circumvent that problem: she just wants the federal part of the city to be the part covered by the Constitution, and the rest of it to become — get this — “the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth.” Really. You can look it up.

I think I like Jamie Raskins’s argument best. He’s a congressman from Maryland (did I forget to say “Democrat”?). He knows the essence of statehood, and he’s not afraid to be explicit about it: “The question is, are these [i.e., the residents of Washington] taxpaying, draftable American citizens ... deserving of equal rights?” My bet is that the residents of D.C. would be willing to give up the call for statehood if they could be free of their taxability and draftability. By the way, does it sound to you that maybe the Democrats in Congress would like to reinstate the draft?

But Bowser and Eleanor Holmes Nornton — the faux representative-for-life to Congress for D.C. — know that for the whole trick to work, they have to throw in some “civil rights” lingo. Just to make sure that whitey feels bad enough about the question to go along with it. And of course, they deny to the high heavens that making any part of D.C. a state has anything to do with the two Democratic Senators that will go along with the idea. (Question: Would that mean that the federal city would keep its three Electoral votes and the State, excuse me, “Douglass Commonwealth,” would get three?)

No, there is another argument, and it’s a sure-fire winner. It doesn’t mean anything in particular, but it’s guaranteed to work, because it depends on a magic word that even Libertarian 101 writers are using these days: “democratic.” Yep. That’s it. Making Washington a state is undemocratic. And we can’t have that.

I can just hardly wait for all those “we’re a republic not a democracy” types to answer ... So what? (March 2021)


Thomas Jefferson (or maybe Thomas Paine): Guest edtorial. [Mankind] are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. [Emphasis RNN’s] (March 2021)


David T. Wright: Fool us once. As most of the country continues to cower under the rule of High Priest Lord Fauci, signs of rebellion are on the rise. Texas and Florida months ago decided to leave some precautionary measures largely up to the judgement of their citizens, treasonous actions that provoke dismay and outrage among the bien pensant types keeping a deathgrip on acceptable opinion.

Texas, Maryland, Mississippi, Connecticut, Arizona, West Virginia and Wyoming are all beginning to moderate their anti-freedom decrees, allowing those restaurants that survive to reopen on restricted bases, and so on. Even California is easing off a little, now that the Trump menace has been vanquished, allowing Disneyland to let in a trickle of customers.

Florida has led the way in ignoring the sacred teachings. Not too long ago, someone posted a “terrifying” video of a walk through a busy Florida supermarket, in which nobody in sight, customer or employee, was wearing a sacred facial covering. The resulting outrage on the part of Minitrue functionaries was dreadful to behold.

So it was no surprise to see the recent breathless announcements on Minitrue’s broadcast organs that the number of COVID-19 cases in Florida has now passed the 2 million mark. Not only that, the grim-faced newsreaders announced, but deaths supposedly due to WuFlu * now number 33,000 in that benighted province. Clearly the Florida regime’s flouting of the High Priest’s decrees is causing a massacre of hapless Floridians. And the fact that Florida has such a high proportion of aging retirees makes it that much worse. They’re murdering grandmas by the bucketload!

Except, if you look at the Chinese Virus death rates by state, it turns out that Florida is more or less right smack in the middle of the distribution, with 152 deaths per 100,000 people. New Jersey leads the country with 272, and New York, under the heroic Andrew Cuomo of nursing-home fiasco fame, is just behind with 254. California, with one of the most draconian lockdowns destroying businesses, living standards, and quality of life, is just a few notches down from evil Florida, with 146. Hawaii, which wisely quarantined people coming into their island state, is at the bottom with 32.

Internationally, the picture is much the same. Sweden, famous for letting its subjects make their own decisions about the pandemic, enjoys open restaurants and cinemas, freedom of movement, no lockdowns, and no mask requirements. Its death rate per 100,000 is less than Florida’s at 130: below those of countries such as Britain (190) and Spain (156) with restrictions even worse than those in the United States.

The obvious conclusion is that all the destruction and misery during the last year’s ukases has been for nothing. The panic masks, the lockdowns (a term that originated in prisons, by the way), the shutting of businesses, the lonely deaths away from loved ones, the suicides, the explosion of opioid deaths, the ruined lives — all of it. The only measure that might have helped, restricting entrance to the country at the beginning to people from outside, especially from China, was shouted down when Trump proposed it. Oddly enough, the shouting was done by many of the same people who now support the most restrictive measures.

We’ve been had. How many Americans are aware of that?

* The number of deaths
attributed to the Chinese Flu should certainly be viewed skeptically: a Colorado county coroner protested the classification of two local deaths as caused by COVID, because an autopsy revealed significant comorbidities. The bodies contained bullets. (March 2021)


RNN: So many grievances! With so many demands for reparations flying around, maybe there ought to be reparations for any group that has been abused in any way by any other group. Descendants of Saxons could demand reparations from descendants of Normans. Descendants of Southeastern Europeans could demand reparations from Turks for the Ottoman Wars that started in the 13th century; and Venetians could get into the act for the Turks’ unprovoked attacks that started in 1423 and lasted until 1718.

And Spainiards clearly have some claims against Berbers and others who invaded and enslaved them starting in 711.

But why dwell only on “ancient” injustice? Or even limit our search to injustices involving conquest or slavery? How about ordinary, everyday injustices? Women (as a class) could demand reparations for rapes committed by blacks. Jews could demand reparations for having been excluded from country clubs.

Heck! why not even reparations for political parties who lost fraudulent elections? You know, if you can think of any. (March 2021)


George Orwell: Guest editorial on Joe Biden’s first prime-time speech (March 12, 2001). ”When one watches some tired hack on the platform mechanically repeating the familiar phrases ... one often has the curious feeling that one is not watching a live human being but some kind of dummy: a feeling which suddenly becomes stronger at moments when the light catches the speaker’s spectacles and turns them into blank discs which seem to have no eyes behind them. And this is not altogether fanciful. A speaker who uses that kind of phraseology has gone some distance toward turning himself into a machine. The appropriate noises are coming out of his larynx, but his brain is not involved as it would be if he were choosing his words for himself... This reduced state of consciousness, if not indispensable, is at any rate favourable to political conformity.” (March 2021)


RNN: Remember the word embattled? First Lady Hillary Clinton was said to be “embattled” when all that was happening to her was that employees of news organizations were asking her inconveninet questions. Well, now Andrew Cuomo is embattled, but by calls for his resignation rather than by questions.

Readers who think that what’s sauce for the gander is sauce for the goose lack Mr. Cuomo’s undertanding of the World. He knows that just as feminism was never meant to benefit certain kinds of women (“women of modest means, heavy makeup, and big hair,” said Joe Sobran), so the “cancel culture” was never intended to bring down certain kinds of politicians. He seems to have every expectation that as a faithful lackey of the Dark Suits (and Red Guards) he is deserving of their protection.

He may be right about that, but sometimes things just get out of control, especially when ambitious rivals smell blood in the water. We shall have to see whether in the end, the governor pulls out a win here or ends up as chum. (March 2021)


RNN: Keynesianism and The Twilight Zone: The Minnapolis city council has made George Floyd’s family multimillionaires by awarding them $27 million. I guess that in trying to support his family by passing counterfeit money and taking lethal doses of Fentanyl, ol’ George was on the right track.

My first thought was a Keynesian one: Great! The money has been taken out of the public sector and has been returned to the private sector. We can be sure it will be quickly spent on various luxuries (perhaps supporting jewelers whose shops were smashed up during the Floyd riots) and generaly stimulate the economy of Minneapolis.

This happy thought was instantly overruled by consideration of the origin of the money, which has been extorted from the good people (and let’s admit it: the bad people also — you know, local antifa and BLM members) to make the council members believe themselves compassionate and caring. It seems unlikely that they have done it to protect the city from further riots, since so far they have given evidence of no such concern.

Oddly enough, I have not yet come across any report of a family member sniveling and wailing, “But this won’t bring back George!” (a fact about which the rest of us may have mixed feelings). In fact, I have a sense that the old Twilight Zone episode “Mr. Garrity and the Graves” may be instructive. (March 2021)


RNN: Forty years? Conservatives and libertarians who harbor some hope that Americans will some day realize that in accepting the account of events for the last, oh, 20 years, they have been had, should contemplate this: the majority of Americans still believe that Franklin Roosevelt “got us out of the Depression.”

I put it to you that what are now standard accounts of the events at Charlottesville in 2017, some of the police shootings of black men, and the election of 2020 will find their way into textbooks for years to come (supposing that there are textbooks much longer). And that — just as the number of articles and books arguing that Roosevelt prolonged the Depression have had no effect — so the books that come out disputing the conventional accounts will have no effect.

When one contemplates how enormous has been the distortion of history, one may perhaps acquire a deeper understanding why it was that in the account of Moses, Israelites who had witnessed the great miracles that brought them out of Egypt and still feared to enter Canaan, had to wander the desert for an entire generation, just to purify the minds of those who did finally enter. (March 2021)


Bill Bonner: Guest editorial. “The world, of course, is an infinitely complex place. But we can’t produce infinitely complex models. So our models are always simplified... like a school book for sex education leaving out the racy parts. That’s why the modelers are almost always wrong.” (https://www.rogueeconomics.com/bill-bonner-diary/theres-more-to-inflation-than-the-numbers/). (March 2021)


RNN: Deader’n a can of corned beef. The $15 minimum wage is dead. At least for now.

All the Republicans voted against overruling the Parliamentarian’s decision that the minimum wage could not be included in a budget bill without being voted on by both houses of Congress, which effectively meant voting against the $15 minimum wage. Including Mitt Romney, who is a Republican only for very large values of “Republican.” But so did eight Democrats, who apparently (but see the penultimate paragraph) could not see the merit in increasing unemployment figures.

The Dems who voted against it (together with the last year they were elected) are:

Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) – 2018 
Jon Tester (D-Mont.) – 2018 
Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) – 2018 
Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) – 2016 
Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) – 2020 
Tom Carper (D-Del.) – 2018 
Chris Coons (D-Del.) – 2020 
Angus King (I-Vt.) – 2018  (King likes to pretend he’s not a Democrat, but, well, we’ll count him anyway.)
The Progressives — which is to say, those in the Party whose views would have been judged retrograde by the Paris Communards — are furious and swearing to “primary” the defectors in 2022. But take another look at those election dates and see just how mathematically disabled they must be even to bring up "primarying.” There’s a non-zero likelihood that some of the Dems who voted against the minimum wage did so precisely because they are not up for reelection in 2022.

Another possibility with a non-zero likelihood is that all of it — even the huffing and puffing by the “Progressives” — may have been sheer theater, giving something for everyone to take to the suckers back home. After all, the vote to override the Parliamentarian’s judgment required 60 votes, and that was never in the cards, giving the Eight “permission” to buck the Party without doing any real damage.

And a final possibility: the whole thing was a set-up, even the Parliamentarian’s judgment, just so that Republicans could be blamed for something. It just doesn’t do to take these things at face value. (March 2021)


David T. Wright: The life of the party. Nobody with half a brain and the initiative to use it really thinks that Joe Biden is on the ball. The only question is how far gone he is. Certainly the staff of the Presidential Palace are doing whatever they can to protect the public from the truth. The latest little bit of evidence is the fact that when he went off script in an Internet appearance and offered to take questions, they cut him off.

rumble.com/vebz61-biden-offers-to-take-question-white-house-cuts-his-video-feed.html
But does it really matter that Biden is gaga? The president’s power is always dependent on, and enabled by, his staff. If the chief of staff and his cronies have an agenda, they can promote it by using the Big Guy as their puppet: telling him what to say, what to sign, et cetera. Especially if he is weak, or, in this case, slowly losing his marbles.

The big problem then becomes public appearances. But there they have the support of the news media, which will do everything possible to shield the public from the obvious truth. Have you noticed how nobody comments on the lack of a State of the Union address? Sure people notice things. But the media and the thought police will make noticing a thought crime.

How much you wanna bet that the next idea that gets suppressed by Big Tech, like the Hunter Biden corruption scandal, is the notion that Biden is non compos mentis? That idea will be stomped on as a Threat To Our Democracy. People who advocate it will become outcasts, and their Facebook and Instagram accounts will be suspended. YouTube will demonetize and remove videos discussing the issue.

They’ll continue to wheel Biden out, like Jeremy Bentham, for carefully staged and managed events — after having first instructed him once again, “Remember, don’t take questions from random people!” And his deterioration will be like the emperor’s new clothes: seen by everyone and remarked on by none. And the show will go on.

That’s not to say that there won’t be conflict behind the scenes. As it was in dynastic China, when the emperor is weak or sick, the court eunuchs start fighting over power. And meanwhile, Camel the Harris is apparently fronting for Joe on foreign policy. Because Joe wants her to, of course.
Harris gets a crash course on foreign policy (Politico)
Hannity asks “who’s really in charge?” (Fox News)
If Harris, an outstanding mediocrity with absolutely no foreign-policy experience, is moving into that field, it’s probably part of a plan to become senior partner in the regime. It could be that she’ll gradually take center stage as acting president. If that happens, it will, of course, be spun as totally normal: nothing to see here, move along, move along.

RNN comments: The corpse pictured above seated on the chair is Jeremy Bentham’s. ’Nuff said. (March 2021)


Ronn Neff: Remiss on another front. Yesterday was the anniversary of the execution of the death sentences passed in 1942 on Hans and Sophie Scholl and Christoph Probst, members of the predominantly Catholic intellectual resistance group known as the White Rose. (It wasn’t only Communists who opposed Hitler.)

The charges of treason had as their base, among other things, the students’ pamphlets urging their fellow citizens not to support the troops on the Eastern Front. They understood that tyranny required the state’s success in war to survive, a lesson America’s fellow Catholics (and “Catholics”) would do well to keep in mind when The Pretender goes to war, as he (or she) surely will.

More about the movement (and translations of their pamphlets) is available at the White Rose Project. More than one movie has been made about them and their trial.

This S&T will remain on the home page longer than is usual. You just can’t be reminded of the White Rose’s lessons too often. (February 2021)


Ronn Neff: Yet another death. It’s a little after midnight, the beginning of February 27, and I have just learned that Carl Watner died this past December.

Carl was one of the Great Men (a term I almost never use) of libertarianism, and I shall be writing more fully of him in a day or two.

His Voluntaryist project spanned more than 40 years without compromise. I urge all our readers, however few of you there may be, to visit The Voluntaryist. It is the only free-market project, other than TLD, that I unhesitatingly recommend to your attention and to your charity. (February 2021)


Ronn Neff: Russian “wrongthink.” Nebojsa — the name means “Fearless,” and he lives up to it — Malic does what the Left used to do: he keeps track of who’s who. It used to be that only a few words were not to be spoken (you can probaby list them without too much trouble), but now ideas you never would have thought were too blasphemous for virgin ears have suddenly become career-killers:

‘Undermining faith in NATO’ is now grounds for Twitter ban, because certain kinds of politics have become a religion
Mr. Malic is a Catholic who is perplexed by a military alliance that apparently requires that we have “faith” in it, which he thought was a category of religion. But Mr. Malic is not deceived by the theological demands being made on us. He knows bad faith when he sees it and he uncovers for us the conflicts of interest and special pleading hidden in Twitter’s executive offices, and how they are related to “Russian bots” and TV stations in Ukraine that have been shut down.

If the FAT PIG (Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, PayPal, Instagram, and Google) continue to expand their interlocking power, writings like Mr. Malic’s will be as hard to find as Albigensian spiritual manuals. (February 2021.)


Ronn Neff: Who knew? “U.S. District Judge John Barker, a Trump appointee, ruled in favor of a group of property managers and landlords who challenged a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) order that prevented them from temporarily evicting tenants for non-payment of rent during the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.

“The CDC order in question was initially issued in September 2020 and was originally set to expire on Dec. 31, 2020. It was extended to Jan. 31 and then again until the end of March.” (
Federal Judge Rules Nationwide Eviction Ban Is Unconstitutional)

Did you know that the CDC was issuing orders that have nothing directly to do with health? Or controlling disease? What other powers lie hidden in this monster of an agency?

I don’t the idea of ordering landlords not to collect rent. But it has more to do with not liking tyranny than it does with not liking landlords. (February 2021)


Ronn Neff: Lady in the Lake. We note with some regret the passing of Fanne Foxe, “The Argentine Firecracker.” Those of you too young to remember who she was should consult her entry in Wikipedia.

We at TLD celebrate her primarily for the riddle she inspired: “What’s the difference between Wilbur Mills and Ted Kennedy?” Answer: Mills got his girl out of the water. (February 25, 2021)


Ronn Neff: Think piece. Lee Smith draws some lessons from Machiavelli and from Athens’s experience with the Thirty Tyrants. Mr. Smith is more sympathetic to the Trump presidency that we TLD hold-outs are (still less are we sympathetic to keeping children out of school), but that doesn’t keep him from seeing connections between America’s Dark Suits and China that we hold-outs should be looking at. In particular, Mr. Smith knows that the Dark Suits operate both in the private and the public sector.

A quotation from his February 3 article “The Thirty Tyrants”:

And because it was true that China was the source of the China Class’s power, the novel coronavirus coming out of Wuhan became the platform for its coup de grace. So Americans became prey to an anti-democratic elite that used the coronavirus to demoralize them; lay waste to small businesses; leave them vulnerable to rioters who are free to steal, burn, and kill; keep their children from school and the dying from the last embrace of their loved ones; and desecrate American history, culture, and society; and defame the country as systemically racist in order to furnish the predicate for why ordinary Americans in fact deserved the hell that the elite’s private and public sector proxies had already prepared for them.
He can’t resist ending on a positive note, and, though it is a little out of character for us, today neither shall we: The rule of the Thirty Tyrants lasted less than a year. (February 2021)


Ronn Neff: A review to read. John Jackson has reviewed Andy Ngo’s Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy at the American Renaissance website.

The Libertarianism 101 crowd have yet to come to grips with some of the tactics of Antifa that do not involve actual violence. (They were even praised as “non-violent” in one article!) Most of us have been spared crossing paths with Antifa, but those who have, know them to be an utterly ruthless and conscience-less enemy of civilization. Check out Ann Counter’s account of how fast they can mobilize and what stood between her and them last year.

I can’t say for certain that Andy Ngo’s book is a “must read,” but I can say that Mr. Jackson’s review of it is. (February 2021)


Ronn Neff: Vichnaya pomjat’. Again. I have been remiss in not noting the death of Tom Bethell this past February 12.

Tom was a faithful Catholic and the co-creator with Joe Sobran of the metaphor for the ruling-class “The Hive.” Definitive essays developing that metaphor are here. Along with Phil Nicolaides, Joe Sobran, and Fran Griffin, he was one of the first conservatives to speak and write against U.S. entry into the Gulf War.

For many years he had a regular column at The American Spectator. His writings include a few articles on the Shakespeare authorship question, and the books The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science (in which he discussed HIV/AIDS, anthropogenetic climate change, and intelligent design), and Questioning Einstein: Is Relativity Necessary?

Kennedy Assassination buffs will not want to miss his diary from his days with the Garrison investigation. Or his essay “Was Sirhan Sirhan on the Grassy Knoll?”

I have no hesitation in saying of him what I said about Rush Limbaugh. I’m just sorry I took this long to say it:

Well fought, old friend! Well fought. (February 2021)


Ronn Neff: Vichnaya pomjat’. When an opponent falls and goes to his reward, we men of the West either remain silent or we recognize his strength and devotion to his cause by saying, “Well fought!” We do not celebrate and dance on his grave. We leave that sort of thing to men without honor: the white trash and the scum on the Left.

Well fought, Rush! (February 2021)


Ronn Neff: Boss-lady. Kamala Harris is talking to foreign heads of state (e.g., the president of France). The Pretender's position is apparently becoming ceremonial only. It's like what we see in several professional organizations in which the vice president is really the boss-man, holding a permanent salaried position, while the president is the front man and is replaced every year or so. (February 2021)


Ronn Neff: Anti-civilizational conservatives. Rachel Levine, the assistant secretary for health, is a man posing as a woman. (And, may I say, ugly enough to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.) Why do conservative radio talk-show hosts (e.g., Mark Steyn) refer to him as "she"? Why do they let Red Guards dictate to them how to use English pronouns? (February 2021)


Ronn Neff: Occupation. WTTG radio (Washington, D.C.), has obtained an e-mail transmission from the National Security Council "asking the Department of Defense to engage Capitol Police on planning for post-March 12th support."

Stars and Stripes reports, "There are now about 6,200 National Guard soldiers and airmen supporting the security mission in Washington," with 5,000 authorized beyond March 12.

That's more troops than the United States has in Iraq. And Afghanistan.

Combined. (February 2021)


Ronn Neff: Not a sandwich. Hospital workers, postal workers, and grocery clerks are all "heroes" now. If the word "hero" still had any real meaning, you wouldn't be hearing it so much. (February 2021)


Ronn Neff: "Just so you know": Seven Republicans voted to convict Trump in the recent impeachment trial. The dates they will be up for reelection are as follows:

• Mitt Romney (Utah) — 2024
• Bill Cassidy (Louisiana) — 2026
• Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania) — planning to retire
• Richard Burr (North Carolina) — planning to retire
• Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) — 2022
• Susan Collins (Maine) — 2026
• Ben Sasse (Nebraska) — 2026
Republican functionaries are fuming "mit cursers und swearing der revengers," but the only test case they will have soon will be Lisa Murkowski. The others who are not planning to retire can sit back and see whether she is "primaried," elected, or defeated. My guess is that they will breathe easy.

In the House, all ten of the Republicans who voted for impeachment will be up for reelection in 2022. The dates indicate when they came into Congress:

• Tom Rice (South Carolina, 2012) — petition to resign in circulation
• Liz Cheney (Wyoming, 2016) — facing a primary challenge
• Peter Meijer (Michigan, 2020) — facing a primary challenge
• Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio, 2018) — facing a primary challenge
• Dan Newhouse (Washington, 2014) — facing a primary challenge
• Jaime Herrera Beutler (Washington, 2010) — petition to replace in circulation
• Adam Kinzinger (Illinois, 2012) — facing primary challenge
• Fred Upton (Michigan, 1986) — unanimously censured by the local GOP
• David Valadao (California, 2020 [previously elected in 2012, 2014, and 2016]) — facing a primary challenge
• John Katko (New York, 2014) — in a district that usually votes Democratic
We shall see whether the GOP establishment is either willing or able to protect these incumbents. And, of course, in states that have open primaries, we can be sure that Democrats will vote to protect them.

The results should tell us something about the relative strength of the GOP's conservative faction. (February 2021)


David T. Wright: How they stole the election. Time Magazine (yes, it actually still exists!) reveals how the Left and its allies among Conservatism, Inc., and Big Business conspired to make sure that Trump lost the election: "The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election," by Molly Ball, February 4, 2021

This article brings the conspiracy (Time's words, not mine) into the open:

There was a conspiracy unfolding behind the scenes, one that both curtailed the protests and coordinated the resistance from CEOs.

Ball details a secret campaign to "save democracy." That's right. To "save democracy," they had to do things in secret.

Their work touched every aspect of the election. They got states to change voting systems and laws, and helped secure hundreds of millions in public and private funding. They fended off voter-suppression lawsuits, recruited armies of poll workers, and got millions of people to vote by mail for the first time.

Only a few years ago, it was generally recognized, even by Democrats, that voting by mail is an invitation to fraud. Not anymore. Now it's how you save an election.

To save democracy you have to prevent people from spreading unapproved facts and dissenting opinions:

They successfully pressured social media companies to take a harder line against disinformation and used data-driven strategies to fight viral smears. They executed national public-awareness campaigns that helped Americans understand how the vote count would unfold over days or weeks, preventing Trump's conspiracy theories and false claims of victory from getting more traction.

But it's not enough to keep dissenters from talking. You have to track them down and destroy them, too:

Laura Quinn, a veteran progressive operative who co-founded Catalist, began studying this problem a few years ago. She piloted a nameless, secret project, which she has never before publicly discussed, that tracked disinformation online and tried to figure out how to combat it. One component was tracking dangerous lies that might otherwise spread unnoticed. Researchers then provided information to campaigners or the media to track down the sources and expose them.

And democracy couldn't survive if Trump were allowed to used the constitutional process to contest the results:

After Election Day, they monitored every pressure point to ensure that Trump could not overturn the result.

You have to understand that all this underhanded, secret plotting was to save open, free, and fair elections, and prevent the chaos that threatened:

The scenario the shadow campaigners were desperate to stop was not a Trump victory. It was an election so calamitous that no result could be discerned at all, a failure of the central act of democratic self-governance that has been a hallmark of America since its founding.

In other words, a Trump victory.
 

Apparently, the threat of continued Antifa and BLM violence pressured some factions to take part:

The summer uprising had shown that people power could have a massive impact. Activists began preparing to reprise the demonstrations if Trump tried to steal the election. "Americans plan widespread protests if Trump interferes with election," Reuters reported in October, one of many such stories. More than 150 liberal groups, from the Women's March to the Sierra Club to Color of Change, from Democrats.com to the Democratic Socialists of America, joined the "Protect the Results" coalition. The group's now defunct website had a map listing 400 planned post-election demonstrations, to be activated via text message as soon as Nov. 4. To stop the coup they feared, the left was ready to flood the streets.

If that had happened, of course, it wouldn't be an "insurrection," which is bad. It would be an "uprising," which is good. In any case, according to the article, the possibility encouraged big corporations and their Washington City mouthpiece, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, to throw their weight behind the coup:

But behind the scenes, the business community was engaged in its own anxious discussions about how the election and its aftermath might unfold. The summer's racial-justice protests had sent a signal to business owners too: the potential for economy-disrupting civil disorder.

What I find so fascinating is the fact that the Left, the Dark Suits, and their allies, are now apparently so confident of their power over us that they believe they can afford to have their plot exposed and publicized. Imagine the arrogance, the sense of entitlement embodied in these words:

This is the inside story of the conspiracy to save the 2020 election, based on access to the group's inner workings, never-before-seen documents and interviews with dozens of those involved from across the political spectrum. It is the story of an unprecedented, creative and determined campaign whose success also reveals how close the nation came to disaster. "Every attempt to interfere with the proper outcome of the election was defeated," says Ian Bassin, co-founder of Protect Democracy, a nonpartisan rule-of-law advocacy group. "But it's massively important for the country to understand that it didn't happen accidentally. The system didn't work magically. Democracy is not self-executing."

That's why the participants want the secret history of the 2020 election told, even though it sounds like a paranoid fever dream — a well-funded cabal of powerful people, ranging across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information. They were not rigging the election; they were fortifying it. And they believe the public needs to understand the system's fragility in order to ensure that democracy in America endures.

To the people ruling us, democracy means doing everything their way. The "proper outcome" of the election was a Biden victory. Anything else could not be allowed. And now they apparently believe that they are finally in full control, having openly begun the process of shutting down all means of expressing dissent. They are so confident that they are taking off their masks to reveal their true faces: power-mad, bigoted, and utterly pitiless.

The message they are sending is this: Now we are in control. We mean to stay in control. What you want doesn't matter. And if you resist, we will crush you. Ω
 

David T. Wright: No decent person could endure such viciousness. You may have heard about the incredibly woke woman who reacted with horror when her Trump-loving neighbor plowed her driveway. She's apparently fit to be tied, unable to know how to react. Sure, she should show some gratitude. But that would mean being nice to Trump people! How can she stoop to that?

That woman is what psychologists call "ideologically possessed." She can only see the world through her ideological lens: "Trump is evil. They're Trump supporters. Therefore they are evil, no matter how decently they behave." Their act of neighborliness only causes cognitive dissonance.

The hell of it is, she believes that because she thinks this way, she is enlightened, and morally superior to anyone unlike her. So she works hard to fight off any decent feelings of gratitude or kindness, because to be friendly would mean acknowledging that her neighbors are not completely despicable, and that her way of viewing the world — which defines her entire identity — is seriously screwed up.

"This is also kind of weird," she moans. "Back in the city, people don't sweep other people's walkways for nothing."

Yeah, treating people with decency is pretty weird, all right. If you're a selfish, bigoted, conceited egomaniac.

The poor thing escaped the plague-ridden city only to move unsuspecting into a nightmare world. It's a place where people don't think the way she does, and behave in ways that she finds incomprehensible. Down is up, black is white. Evil is nice, and does nice things for no reason.

There's no telling what further horrors await her. Perhaps it's like "Invasion of the Body Snatchers": her neighbors all belong to some kind of weird kindness cult or something, and are just waiting for the right moment to kidnap her and gently but firmly escort her to a secret location, decorated with soothing colors, with soft music, nice, comfortable furniture, and wonderful food: there to convert her into a nice, wholesome zombie like themselves. Relax, they'll say. We know you're not as nasty as you pretend.

The horror. The horror. (February 2021)


David T. Wright: Dare we hope? Tucker Carlson has apparently kicked over the traces and is out of control. His rhetoric has become increasingly contemptuous of the Establishment and dismissive of contemporary pieties. He's actually worth watching now.

Robert Barnes, a maverick civil-rights lawyer who successfully represented the Covington High School kids victimized by Minitrue as well as Alex Jones and other modern-day pariahs, says that Carlson told him he just doesn't care about his career anymore. Carlson allegedly thinks he has enough money for him and his family to live well for the rest of their lives, and he'd just as soon go fishing as put up with corporate BS. So he decided he'd just say what he wants until he gets fired.

(By the way, Barnes has an interesting weekly dialogue with a right-wing Jewish Canadian lawyer on YouTube that's actually worth checking out.)

Carlson regularly says on the air that the elites hate ordinary Americans and that they are actively working to make us their slaves. His fiery monologues have resulted in spectacularly successful ratings.

But Carlson isn't what prompted me to write this. On Takimag, somebody who calls himself "The Z Man" says that Middle America no longer believes in the system. Until recently, most middle-class whites thought that reforming the system, electing the right people, and so forth, was the way to participate in governance. Now they are awakening to the fact that the system is rigged against them:

The death of civic nationalism is no small thing. The managerial elite has depended upon it for generations. The managerial class relies upon middle-class whites following the rules and believing in those rules. Just as the slave owner relies on the slaves accepting their condition, the managerial class depends on the white middle class to support and defend the liberal democratic order.

While it has been a wild few months, it promises to get crazier. No one really knows what will happen when the white middle class collectively decides the system is hopelessly broken. The Tea Party Movement is a good example of how quickly these people can organize when motivated. Now that Conservative Inc. is on the enemy's list, they cannot be counted on to subvert the next populist movement.

We can only hope. (February 2021)


Ronn Neff: Sovietizing America: Those who have been following the GameStop story may have noticed that the U.S. press has decided to borrow a strategy from the Soviet Union's method of dealing with setbacks: Demonize the speculators. (January 2021)


Ronn Neff: Replace the cops: Folks at the U.S. Capitol want to make it harder for their constituents to talk to them. (Lobbyists, of course, will always be welcome.) They are talking about building a permanent fence around the building, to be supported by "the availability of ready, back-up forces in close proximity to the Capitol."

I think it is a mistake to use the Capitol Police or other law-enforcement personnel for this task. It would be a much better idea to hire instead social workers and diversity trainers. And maybe a hypnotist or two.

In fact, now that I think of it, when was the last time Congress (not the employees, but the elected and semi-elected officials) had to attend diversity training sessions? (January 2021)


Ronn Neff: Doubleplusinevitable. As soon as pro-freedom people allowed themselves to be called "the Right," they were doomed. It meant that they were on the side of Hitler.

Leftists, therefore, by the terms their opponents had accepted, were free to see those opponents as fascists. Especially since those opponents opposed the Soviet Union, the enemy of Nazi Germany. If you think in binary terms, to oppose the Soviet Union makes you a fascist. (One must also keep in mind the fixation leftists had on the U.S. employment of Germans and former Nazis in science and intelligence.)

As if that weren't bad enough, there was the outcome of the 1964 election, in which the only section of the country that was pro-freedom was also the "racist" South. So conservatives and pro-freedom folk were doubly on the side of Hitler.

And finally, there was the ceding of the word "extremists." Not just right-wing extremists, but anti-abortion extremists. (That was a fait accompli by the time Al Gore was running for president.)

SO: anti-Soviet; racist; extremist. Of course they were fascists!

Given the way the war against the Nazis was prosecuted (along with the aftermath of "denazification") it was really just a matter of time before the Left (including liberals) considered all opposition to be fascistic (and themselves to be non-fascists, of course). In fact, I will go further: it was the logically necessary outcome. The Law of Contradiction in action.

(When I was on a debate team, our coach advised us, "Never accept the other team's definitions.") (January 2021)


Ronn Neff: Libertarianism 101: Of course Facebook and Twitter can block posts or cancel membership. It's their property, isn't it? Of course restaurateurs and others can refuse service to Trump supporters. It's their property, isn't it?

Isn't it just wonderful how leftists who used to insist on the virtue of anti-discrimination laws have suddenly discovered property rights? Surely we should all be celebrating this great advance toward liberty. (January 2021)

Related reading: "When the Left Refuses Service, They're Preventing Violence. When the Right Denies Service, They're Bigots," by Kylee Zempel, The Federalist, January 18, 2021.

Nicholas Strakon: Dr. Schumer's treatment plan. The Daily Caller reports: "Schumer Says Impeachment Trial Is Necessary To Bring Healing" (January 26, 2021).

The Democrats certainly have a liberal understanding of "healing," don't they? Another important part of their humane therapy seems to be the (further) crushing of dissent in the name of unity. (January 2021)


Ronn Neff: Conservatives want to know. Conservatives are all wondering what they should do now. Should they try to reform the GOP? Should they form a new party? Maybe they should infiltrate the Democratic Party and see what they can do there?

So far I haven't heard anyone ask: How about a tax revolt? (January 2021)


Ronn Neff: Thou sayest: "You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about." — Hillary Clinton, October 9, 2018. (January 2021)


Ronn Neff: Your representatives? When people (whom the media assure us again and again were Trump supporters) entered the Capitol to make their views known to their congressmen and senators, it is worth noting that NOT ONE of those representatives of the people, NOT ONE of those tribunes for liberty and democracy came out to say to them, "What's on your mind?"

Maybe they just didn't want to know. (January 2021)


Ayn Rand said: "A territory inhabited by men engaged in perpetual conflict, chronic fighting, physical violence, and general hatred of all for all is not a nation nor a country but a bloody mess."

"A nation's unity," Ford Hall Forum, 1972 (beginning at 3:34). (January 2021)

Nicholas Strakon: Unity, Democrat style, will begin when all dissent is crushed. (January 2021)


Nicholas Strakon: Conservative Angelo Codevilla has written another ponderable essay, appearing at American Greatness (January 19, 2021): "Clarity in Trump's Wake."

Editor's intro: "The United States of America is now a classic oligarchy. The clarity that it has brought to our situation by recognizing this fact is its only virtue."

Codevilla writes:

Enjoyment of power's material perquisites is classic oligarchy's defining purpose. Having conquered power over the people, successful oligarchies foster environments in which they can live in peace, productively. Oligarchy, like all regimes, cannot survive if it works at cross-purposes. But the oligarchy that seized power in America between 2016 and 2020 is engaged in a never-ending seizure of ever more power and the infliction of ever more punishment — in a war against the people without imaginable end. Clearly, that is contrary to what the Wall Street magnates or the corps of bureaucrats or the university administrators or senior professors want. But that is what the people want who wield the "intersectional" passions that put the oligarchy in power.
If there is reason for hope, perhaps it does lie in an inherent fragility in the latest ruling coalition, as Codevilla suggests. It isn't encouraging that the liberal-fascist elite seems to have universally adopted the "woke" anti-culture of Hollywood, the dorms, and the mean streets, but we may wonder what will happen if that madness should conflict with its material interests. (January 2021)


Ronn Neff: Progress report. In the 2020 election for president, the Libertarian Party retained its hold on genuine third-party status. It is the third party in America, at least for now. Jo Jorgensen was the only non-major party candidate to be on the ballot in all 50 states. She received more votes than all the other "third parties" put together and more than four times the votes the fourth-place party (Green) won.

And still no electoral votes.

In all, the LP spent almost $3 million to get just under 2 million votes. Jo herself spent less than $1,000 of her own money.

Money, time, effort all well spent, wouldn't you say? (January 2021)


David T. Wright: Further random observations.

1. Pop music is getting stupider all the time, both in its lyrics and in its actual musical settings. That's bad enough for the people who are forced to listen to it in public places such as supermarkets and shopping malls. But have you noticed it is getting louder, too? They've definitely turned up the volume in my local pharmacy, Home Depot, Safeway, and other retail venues I am more or less compelled to patronize. It seems to be part of an effort to infantilize the proles. And it's working.

It seems that nowhere public can be quiet anymore. Instead, we must be continually assaulted by boring, infantile, and enervating noises wherever we go. Even the local Barnes & Noble bookstore plays pop music at a volume that makes quiet contemplation impossible, forcing anyone with a minimum of awareness to grab what one came for and get out as soon as possible.

The worst thing is that most people seem to have become used to continuing cacophony. I am repeatedly amazed by how oblivious most around me seem to be. Libraries used to be whisper-quiet places where one could peacefully browse, read, or study. Today in the Imperial capital area, they are chaotic and noisy, with small children unrestrained and adolescents chattering away as if at a Dairy Queen. And everyone, including the librarians, seems unaffected. Does no one else care at all? At least libraries don't play pop music over speakers. Yet.

2. On the subject of creeping infantilism, a drive around Trantor's prosperous, white Northwest neighborhoods reveals a liberal sprinkling of Black Lives Matters signs, smugly proclaiming the correct attitudes of the inhabitants. Interestingly, the more white and upper-class the neighborhood, the more numerous the signs. On the other hand, in black neighborhoods, BLM signs are not generally seen in front of houses. Far more often, they're in local shop windows. Even in the Gold Coast neighborhood, the traditional home of the wealthy black elite in Washington City, BLM signs are rare in front of the elegant mansions.

3. The response to the so-called insurrection at the Capitol has been instructive. The horror and outrage from the anointed (some of it feigned or exaggerated, to be sure), and their sanguine attitude to the much worse Antifa/BLM riots, has been much remarked upon by right-wingers. Surely that reaction springs from the fear and contempt the elites harbor toward Middle America. As long as we common folk have our towns and cities wracked by riots, our businesses looted and burned down, our lives ruined, and our peace and quiet destroyed, they don't care. But if we dare to trespass on their territory, it's Armageddon.

That's not to say that I think the incursion was a good move. It's just what the State and the new Metastate — the tech oligarchs — have been waiting for: an excuse to discredit and crack down harder on dissent. Which is why I find it interesting that Robert Barnes, the civil rights attorney, believes QAnon is a psy-op by the Deep State. QAnon is the conspiracy web commenter that suckered Sidney Powell and Lin Wood into their ridiculous challenges on behalf of Trump against voting-machine totals (the vote fraud was obviously carried out with absentee ballots). It was QAnon acolytes who led the Capitol invasion, and the woman shot by the police was a follower.

4. All this got me to thinking. The Negro civil rights movement was another populist movement. It arose, as all populist movements do, because part of the population was facing huge problems, and nothing was being done to address them. Martin Luther King, Jr., for all his faults, was sharp enough to understand that non-violent protests would have a huge effect on public perceptions. And they did. People were horrified to see dogs set and fire hoses turned on peaceful, respectably dressed demonstrators singing hymns. I think such sights took a lot of the fight out of white Southerners, who at heart were decent, God-fearing people, even if they didn't like blacks or the Federal government telling them what to do.

Would such an approach work today? Or is today's America so brutalized, so coarse, so uncaring that most people would cheer on the cops as they beat up the demonstrators? I think that's possible. The ramifications for Middle American dissidents are obvious.

5. The tech oligarchs wasted no time in taking the opportunity to ban Donald Trump from his personal Twitter account, which is what he's been using to communicate. But it soon transpired that Trump's own staff had also excluded him from his official Office of the President account. Trump is now virtually alone: stabbed in the back by the Republicans in Congress, some of whom voted to impeach him; by Mike Pence, who refused to help him fight the vote fraud; by his own judicial appointments, who went out of their way to crush his legal challenges; and finally by his own staff. Et tu, Brute? Thus always to those who challenge our rulers, however ineffectively.

6. The Ministry of Truth has been authorized to report that the hideous outgoing Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, has scheduled the second Trump impeachment trial, if it can truthfully be called that, after the coronation of the new Emperor. Trump's ritual defenestration and banishment will thus be the trial of a political corpse, a modern replay of one of the most ridiculous moments in the history of the West: the Cadaver Synod.

7. The tech moguls' crackdown raised their arrogance and power to new heights. Not only was Trump banned from Twitter; soon after, Reddit banned him for "inciting violence." In no time he was banned from Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Shopify, Twitch, Snapchat, and TikTok. Groups and individuals who supported Trump were also banned.

Then they took it up a notch. To keep Trump from founding a new forum on Parler, a Twitter rival that claims to support actual free speech, the Apple Store and Google's Android expunged the Parler app from their sites — just when millions of customers were downloading it. Their excuse was violent postings: the same sort of violent postings, including death threats, that are made by left-wing patrons of Twitter without repercussions. Then Amazon, which runs the largest web-server service in the world by far, announced it was kicking Parler off the internet entirely, in contravention of its contract, which allows for a 30-day warning period. That was followed by Parler's law firm, its bank, and a number of other support firms with which it had contracted withdrawing their services. At the very time Parler's customer base was skyrocketing, the entire infrastructure of services on which it depended ganged up to destroy it.

The lesson, of course, is that no dissent will be tolerated any longer. Dan Bongino, who helped found Parler, says Internet Service Providers that provide web gateways to unapproved groups will be attacked next. He may be right. Perhaps it's time to buy a ham radio.

8. Some commenters now argue that the tech cartel is now more powerful than the formal State. I don't know whether that's true or not. Certainly, its economic and political power is now unprecedented in the history of the United State. The destruction of Parler, in part by Amazon, which recently signed a big business deal with Twitter, is a case of combination in restraint of trade if there ever was one. But will the Sherman Antitrust Act be used to any effect against the perpetrators?

More important, it makes me wonder whether, in the future, Amazon, already bigger economically than many nation states, will have its own armed forces, its own police, alongside those of Google and the other giants. Or perhaps they'll get together to build their own army, navy, and police. Will they become the new State? Will traditional states have the means or the will to prevent them?

Douglas Olson comments: Even if and when they take the House and/or the Senate, Republicans won't have the intestinal fortitude to as much as whisper this to themselves when they're sitting alone on a toilet in the privacy of their own homes.

GOP = GUTLESS Old Party!

Modine Herbey comments: We may have to return to communicating by the government snail. Will the USPS hire a horde of busybodies to check for mail to and from dissidents, intercepting and opening it as necessary?

Oh, pardon me. I'm old. Of course they'd use some ultra-sophisticated computer — that renowned tool of liberty. (January 2021)


Ronn Neff: Impeach Franklin Roosevelt! (January 2021)


Nicholas Strakon: Does anyone else have the impression that even before Kerensky has been sworn in, Lenin is already taking over? (January 2021)


It's not too early to re-read 1984 this year! (January 2021)


Ronn Neff: I think Trump's last official act — executed minutes before Biden takes the oath of office — should be to issue a pardon to Biden and to Harris for any guilty knowledge they may have regarding the fraudulent election of 2020. (January 2021)


Ronn Neff: The Constitution is circumvented. Specifically, the Twenty-Second Amendment. Apparently Joe Biden will be able (well, legally able) to hold three or more terms. The text speaks of limiting the term of a person who has been elected to the office. And the only limitation on holding the office is that he cannot be elected to it. Biden just won't need to worry about that. (January 2021)


2019–2020 archive.

Published by Thornwalker, 2021