Stop and think, collected 2010
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Assange: With friends like these ... At Slate, Jack Shafer has written a cute little piece declaring that the persecution being suffered by Julian Assange for his temerity in revealing the slimy secret doings of the Regime is actually a good thing.
While Shafer claims to be a supporter of Assange, there's precious little evidence of any support. Instead, he damns Assange with gleeful attacks on his arrogance, whiteness, and "trash talking." And what are we to make of the following?
Assange's jailing changes the "conversation" from how-dare-he to how-dare-they almost as efficiently as if a deranged vigilante had put a bullet in his brain. Our culture loves to protect and defend "victims," which is what the legal proceedings are turning him into. Overnight, he's becoming an albino Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., writing his letter from jail. He's a pint-sized Solzhenitsyn, fighting for freedom from the gulag. For the impressionable, he's Henry David Thoreau, Nelson Mandela, and Aung San Suu Kyi all wrapped up into one.More to the point, I don't think the mass attack on Assange and on Wikileaks bodes well at all. Sure, to thoughtful people this conspicuous persecution makes the persecutees look good. But the fact that our rulers and their cowardly running dogs are ganging up on Assange the latest news is that MasterCard now refuses to process contributions to Wikileaks is bad news for people who believe in freedom.
I think it more likely that Assange will be made an example of. Already, people are being discouraged from contributing to Wikileaks or to his defense fund by the fear that they will be penalized by the implacable U.S. Regime and its allies. Better to do and say nothing and keep your head down, for if they'll do this to Assange, what will they do to someone less conspicuous?
With the help of snarky attacks such as Shafer's, Assange is being demonized, and most people, who don't take the time and effort to think for themselves, will go along with what the tame news media tell them to think. I think it quite likely that he will be destroyed, his reputation ruined with lies and half-truths, his metaphorical body hung at the metaphorical crossroads as a warning to any who would dare challenge the majesty of the State. [David T. Wright] (December 2010)
The lefties change their tune (but it's still cacophony). In the struggle over whether to keep Central Government tax rates from rising on
Where to start? Well, first, Pelosi was trying to be sly. The actual question of the hour is whether raising taxes kills jobs, although the two issues are obviously related. Further, we have to note the profound totalitarianism that's evident here: "Giving
But that's no inconsistency. It's what government people have believed and how they've behaved for a long time. The inconsistency is this: Don't liberals and other Giant Government types hike taxes all the time with the confident expectation of discouraging certain economic activities? Such as commerce in tobacco products? And alcoholic beverages? Don't many statists seek punitive taxes to suppress the sale of carbonated sugar drinks, candy, and other "junk food"? Or to suppress economic activities resulting in pollution or "excessive" energy consumption? The name for this special category of robbery is pretty well known: sin tax.
Moreover, in March, didn't Pelosi's House overwhelmingly approve a
Now, though, statists such as Pelosi are suddenly claiming that higher taxes don't suppress economic activity at all.
But it just gets worse. In the same speech, Pelosi said that unemployment benefits create jobs. She said the same thing more emphatically on
You read that right. Paying people to be unemployed creates jobs, on net. Especially, we suppose, if the government pays them with dollars that it has extorted from productive people in society or has fraudulently created out of thin air (the less-visible way of stealing wealth from society).
So, just to make sure we have this straight: stealing even more from those who create jobs doesn't destroy jobs, but subsidizing joblessness with fake or stolen money does create jobs.
If you'd like to explore this startling economic philosophy in more depth, we invite you to read a recent discussion of government's magical ability to create wealth by waving its hand, courtesy of AP "economic writer" Paul Wiseman: "Cut-off of jobless aid would lower economic growth" (November 30, 2010).
Fair warning, though: Your head may explode. [Nicholas Strakon and Ronn Neff]
Comment by Modine Herbey. Here's a challenge to Pelosi: Get all the congresscritters to resign. Pay them unemployment benefits. And then we'll see whether that creates jobs for them.
Another liberal genius heard from. Tuning in to one of those "Hollywood Squares" business-and-politics panels on Fox News on
Ronn Neff is right. These people don't think like human beings.
The question is how their type of "thinking" became so influential in human society. [Nicholas Strakon] (December 2010)
I wasn't sure I was hearing correctly when the telescreen broke the news of Willie Nelson's latest marijuana arrest. I thought the newsreader said that the singer had been arrested by the Border Patrol. Bizarre! but true, at least according to various news stories, including one at ABC News.
The ABC reporter, Kevin Dolak, writes that the arrest ensued after "Nelson's tour bus pulled into a routine checkpoint in Sierra Blanca, Texas," and was boarded for inspection. Got that? A routine checkpoint operated by the Central Government border police not at the actual border, mind you, but in the interior of our country.
I hope there aren't any soi-disant paleolibertarians out there who are chalking this up as yet another triumph for their favorite government agency. Even if there aren't, those who still support border-police statism in general had better think twice about the nature of the Beast they're toying with. [Nicholas Strakon] (December 2010)
The consolations of utopianism. According to Fox News on
Here we are, almost ten years into a dismaying fortification of the Garrison State, with heavier or at least porkier security all over the place. It's horribly invasive and tyrannical, and ruinously expensive, but there is a consolation if you have any kind of taste for massive irony: the thing is leaking like ... like ... NIAGARA FALLS! [Nicholas Strakon] (October 2010)
More conservatives are rushing to criticize NPR for firing Juan Williams than ever criticized National Review for firing Joe Sobran. [Ronn Neff] (October 2010)
Slow learner. On his purging by NPR, Juan Williams says: "I used to think the left wing was the home of tolerance, open-mindedness, respect for all viewpoints, but now I've learned the truth the hard way." (Source: Fox News)
No, Juan, that's not the "hard way." Millions of ghosts, if they could speak, would tell you what the "hard way" of learning that lesson really is. It's being sent to an Arctic labor camp for 25 years; or being deliberately starved to death; or being shot in the back of the neck after being tortured.
In light of all the Left's disciplinary techniques, throughout history, you merely got brushed with a wet noodle. [Nicholas Strakon] (October 2010)
Damned if he is, damned if he isn't. You've probably heard the sensational charges that Democrat Jack Conway has brought against Republican Rand Paul, his opponent in Kentucky's U.S. Senate race. Most hideously in the context of the prevailing popcult, the Left is now describing Paul as a misogynist. But if Paul is actually a Christian, as he insists he is, doesn't that mean that in leftist eyes he's just as much of a misogynist as if he were an Aqua Buddhist (Bondage Rite)? [Nicholas Strakon] (October 2010)
In his tribute to Joe Sobran, Steve Sniegoski writes of certain obituaries that criticize Joe for speaking at revisionist conferences, and he observes: "Those obituaries ignore the fact that since Sobran was no longer allowed to write or speak in more mainstream conservative venues, conferences such as [historian David] Irving's were among his very few alternatives."
Joe once remarked to me that he didn't understand being pilloried for those appearances, that it seemed to him that you pilloried a man for what he said, not for whom he said it to.
But it is characteristic of the Left (and let us not forget that neoconservatism is a child of the Trotskyite Left) to find one guilty by association, all the while squealing like impaled logicians when it happens to them. [Ronn Neff] (October 2010)
To paraphrase Kay Corleone, I don't mock you, Harry. I dread you. When state officials and their media mouthpieces say or do what they typically say or do, I often go back and forth trying to figure out what mixture of ignorance, stupidity, and wickedness accounts for it. Here's a recent example that got me puzzling anew. According to Politico's Molly Ball, on
Lots of brain-dead super-statists are making the same claim (if with a less-narcissistic twist) that Washington's "stimulus" intervention on behalf of fascist plutocrats warded off a worldwide depression, one that they apparently think would have been permanent. I'll have to leave it to Tom Woods and his fellow gunfighters at Mises to expatiate on the actual workings of human society and its material expression, the market. But, briefly, such analysts would try to get the zombies of leviathan to understand how the market establishes itself on a new, sounder basis once it liquidates systemic malinvestments that have been promoted by the statist wreckers who claim to be its savior.
As for me, I'm going to quit trying to sort out the ignorance, stupidity, and wickedness of such people. A better way to understand men such as Reid I've proposed this before, with respect to the Community Organizer himself is to remind ourselves that statism is all he knows. To Reid, society and its marketplace are pallid, flimsy, insubstantial, highly hypothetical constructs dimly heard echoes of vague rumors compared with the rock-solid, vividly palpable, richly rewarding state that is his psychic cradle, his metaphorical family, and his beloved motherland. If society and the market do really exist, it's only as a sort of epiphenomenon of the state.
It's in that way (if no other) that we can conceive of super-statists being honest and sincere in what they say and do. But their particular brand of sincerity leads in dangerous directions. Miss Ball begins her article asking, "Does a superhero lurk beneath the mild-mannered facade of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid?" I'd go with "statesgod" rather than "superhero." Reid's synthetic reality is the state, with himself as statesgod. And it's in that context that mild-mannered men who did not torture animals and set fires as children behave like psychopaths as adults. They're psychopaths of power, and they pose a dire threat to far more people than independent operators such as Ted Bundy ever could. [Nicholas Strakon] (October 2010)
Sweet dreams. Tea Partiers have come to understand that there is virtually nothing that their candidates can accomplish even if they take control of both houses of Congress. They will not have
They remember the budget process of 1995 in which Bill Clinton made monkeys of his Republican opposition.
So what can they do?
As one who doesn't vote and who thinks that political action is illegitimate, my suggestion will perhaps enjoy no hearing. But for what it's worth, here is what I would like to see.
I'd like to see Congress tell Obama, "Not one penny will be authorized for spending on anything. Not Social Security, not health care, not UN dues, not the salaries of you or the White House personnel or the FBI or the Secret Service or the Supreme Court until you resign.
"Resign now, tyrant!" [Ronn Neff] (October 2010)
The shekel drops, or, In the minority-victim hierarchy, Cubans are not on top. I was in my car this morning listening to NPR and heard that CNN's Rick Sanchez had been fired after calling John Stewart, of "The Daily Show," a bigot.
What? Why would they do that?
Then the newsreader said Sanchez, who is of Cuban extraction, had accused the white liberal establishment of being racist.
Well, okay, but was that enough to fire him? What was going on?
Then NPR said Sanchez had been told, well, maybe Stewart's a minority, too. After all, he's Jewish.
And Sanchez had replied, "I'm telling you that everybody who runs CNN is a lot like Stewart... the people in this country who are Jewish are an oppressed minority? Yeah."
Aha! [David T. Wright] (October 2010)
(Punctuation for the Sanchez quote is as shown in this New York Post story: "CNN host Rick Sanchez fired after Jon Stewart rant.")
Jewish control of the major media in the media age makes the enforced silence [about Jewish success in America] both paradoxical and paralyzing. Survival in public life requires that you know all about it, but never refer to it. A hypocritical etiquette forces us to pretend that the Jews are powerless victims; and if you don't respect their victimhood, they'll destroy you. ("The Buchanan frenzy," Sobran's, March 1996)
Yesterday I caught two mind-bending but educational stories out of Commie Massachusetts. I understand that local interests and local culture can trump ideology, but these examples take the cake.
First is a Washington Examiner piece by Ron Arnold, "An Iron Triangle based in NOAA is killing the U.S. fishing industry," according to which New England commercial fishermen are being oppressed by an especially vicious Red Guardess who is head of NOAA. (It was news to me that NOAA the "Weather Bureau" had the power to oppress anybody.) And who stepped up to defend the fishermen? Barney Frank!
According to the story, Frank "called for Lubchenco [the Guardess in question] to resign or be fired, not only for her treacherous hostility toward the American fishing industry, but also for harboring a culture of corrupt law enforcement agents that treated fishermen as criminals and systematically sped the culling of the fleet."
COMMISSAR BARNEY FRANK! Defending evil capitalist swimming-dog Gaia-raping fishermen!
And then, as if that weren't enough to make me spill my coffee, I heard on Fox News that Massachusetts voters will decide in November whether to retain the sales tax on alcoholic beverages in the commonwealth imposed for the first time last year.
There certainly are some mazy twists and turns, here in Bizarro World. [Nicholas Strakon] (October 2010)
Mayberry S.S.R. Fox News has started to air a socialist-propaganda spot featuring an almost unrecognizably ancient Andy Griffith. I assume it's showing up on other old-folks' channels, too. Griffith leads off with, "Nineteen sixty-five ... Lotta good things came out that year, like Medicare." Right: the Washington-empowering Voting Rights Act, the anti-European-immigration bill, a massive escalation of the War in Vietnam ... Lotta good things.
The actor then praises not just Medicare but also ObamaCare: "... With the new health-care law, more good things are comin'."
The spot is sponsored not by some "advocacy" group but by Medicare itself. Nice deal for the Democrats, there, getting the taxpayers to pay for political propaganda as the election campaigns enter the final stretch. [Nicholas Strakon] (October 2010)
Memo from an Islamophobe. I'm not too exercised by the Ground Zero Mosque in particular, but I do have an answer for the liberals and other establishmentarians who impatiently ask opponents of the project how far away from Ground Zero the thing should be built. My thought is, at least three thousand miles.
That's because as a white Westerner I wish to live in a civilization as little influenced by Mohammedanism as possible.
I'm no theologian, so I won't risk any exegesis of the "Qur'an" look here, my fellow infidels! I've winkled out some verses that seem to endorse religious freedom, freedom of expression, and even habeas corpus! but I do know some history. And as its most powerful believers have enforced it throughout history, Mohammedanism has been, inseparably, both a religious system and a political system tyrannically political.
Now, professed Christians themselves have committed very many bad and tyrannical crimes since the seventh century. But Western Christianity in its historical and cultural impact on the ground, so to speak tended during the formative centuries of the West to desacralize the state and set up a moral authority in competition with statist presumptions: an authority, indeed, that insisted it was much superior to that of the state as well as fundamentally distinct from it. Both in theory and in practice, Western Christianity has distinguished sharply between the City of God and the City of Man. When Christians have proposed competing systems the divine right of kings, caesaropapism, the statist principle of the Reformation that cuius regio, eius religio those things have amounted to a corruption of Christianity and a repudiation of the liberating force of Christendom's legacy.
As I say, I'm incompetent to treat Islamic theory, but at least in practice, Mohammedanism has not thus distinguished between the sacred and the secular. And I dare say one must look far and wide to find an orthodox Mohammedan who would propose that Islam's synthesis of mosque and state amounts to a corruption of that religion.
Acton wrote: "All liberty consists
I'm not a believer in any religion, but I grew up in a civilization still influenced by Western ways, including the crucial ways of Western Christianity. If I must choose among the civilizations that actually exist or that have actually existed, it is with Christendom that I'll take my stand.
On point: an Acton Institute interview with Leonard Liggio
If the West were still as free as it once was, with the freedom of association largely intact, Westerners could effectively shun and ostracize radically alien cultural influences such as those represented by the Ground Zero Mosque. Westerners could refuse to sell property to Mohammedans and refuse to cooperate with them in any way. If Western cultural morale were still vigorous, Westerners would be far more likely to do exactly that. [Nicholas Strakon]
P.S. Veteran readers of TLD wouldn't be surprised to see me also answer "at least three thousand miles" if anyone were to ask me how far the military of the U.S. Empire should stay away from Mohammedan countries.
For that matter, I'd like to see the legions stay at least three thousand miles away from our own country.
Too expensive for whom? Once again I've had to don my old red-and-black robe of Revolution and start chanting, "Day of the Rope ... Day of the Rope ..." What's provoked me is hearing the regime's officials say that preserving their current robbery rates which are due to expire and be replaced by higher ones would be "too expensive" for them and their criminal operations.
"Too expensive"! The sociopaths don't care whether the robbery rates even the current ones are "too expensive" for the people they rule and rob. They shrug and assert with breathtaking effrontery that raising the rates and leaving their prey less money to work with and live on won't make any difference for those victims' economic behavior.
They don't consult the victims of their robbery on that point, of course. But when do brigands and highwaymen and stick-up artists ever display a regard for the opinion of their victims? Or for the reality of their victims' lives as fellow humans?
The root problem with the robbery isn't actually that it's "too expensive," of course, but that it's robbery. And it's robbery whose swag is used to finance other crimes, including criminal wars against foreigners and Americans alike. Until those preyed upon by the wolves in men's clothing who call themselves "government" are able to recognize crimes against their own person and property for what they are, the Day of the Rope will never come.
But I'm still going to keep chanting for it. [Nicholas Strakon] (September 2010)
The tumbrils will not be registered. Sitting on my desk is a property-tax bill for my automobile. It comes to more than $100. Included in that $100 is a $38 county-imposed charge for a "Vehicle Registration Fee." This fee has nothing to do with the registration I am accustomed to paying for the privilege of owning the vehicle I paid for myself out by my own hard labor. No, it is a new fee, effective July 1, 2010, passed evidently because the county wasn't getting enough money during the recession. (Being unemployed, by the way, will not excuse you from paying this fee.)
What, pray, do I get for my money? I am permitted to own a motor vehicle to quote the helpful informative slip that accompanied my bill, one that is "regularly garaged, stored, or parked in the county." I don't even get a sticker to put in my windshield to prove to all the world that I have virtuously paid for that privilege. (Maybe the county is just a little embarrassed about having imposed it? Just a little, maybe?)
I can hardly wait for the Commonwealth (or the county) to impose yet another fee for the privilege of paying all other fees or to cover the cost of processing the collection of all other fees.
By the way, I'm so glad Governor Jim Gilmore got rid of the nasty state-levied property tax. My, what would we Virginians be paying if he hadn't? We may derive a hint from a more careful reading of the bill. My actual tax amount is more than $200, but apparently the Gilmore provisions entitle me to some sort of discount (called "relief" on my bill).
I get to keep a portion of the bill "for my records." I like to think of it as evidence to be presented in the kangaroo trials of government officials that will form an integral part of the excesses of the Revolution. [Ronn Neff] (September 2010)
The Sultan's history lesson. On the occasion of Ramadan, thus spake Barack Hussein Obama (Peace be upon him): "... Here in the United States, Ramadan is a reminder that Islam has always been part of America and that American Muslims have made extraordinary contributions to our country."
Yea, forsooth, my brethren, patriotic tears well in my eyes as I envision the grave ayatollahs of Philadelphia in their turbans, beards, and fearsome eyebrows, instructing the American Founders in the precepts of sharia: Truly did those holy men make corporeal the Djinn of '76!
Who among us can forget the tales we were told as madrasah boys of the hero Paul bin Revere, perched upon his trusty camel, watching for the lantern's signal from the Old North Mosque? Or the Jamestown colonists' faithful work to gather wood and build their first primitive mosque, in the midst of famine and attack by redskinned infidels? Or the devoted labor of settlers in the Caliphate of Utah to erect the great Mosque of Salt Lake City?
Emerging in fond memory now are Washington Irving's depictions of the minarets rising over Old New York and, of course, his chilling tale about the Headless Mamluk of Sleepy Hollow. Inscribed, too, indelibly upon American culture are Ahab's jihad against the white whale as told by the esteemed sufi Melville, the "Hijab of the Red Death" by the ascetic versifier Poe, and the haj of Huck Finn imagined by Twain, instructor of the pious.
All educated Americans know that the public benefactions of Morse, Bell, Edison, and Ford, and the flourishing of invention and productivity in America generally, were founded on the teachings of the Holy Qur'an treating political economy, property, and free inquiry. It is hardly necessary to add that it was the Prophet's ascent and flight to Medina that inspired the devout Brothers Wright.
As the blessed chieftain Barack (PBUH) leads our procession toward the Five Pillars of Wisdom, let no small walad of the dhimmi cry out by the wayside that the Sultan has no burnoose. The scimitar of Islamic justice shall fall upon the neck of the nonbeliever! [Nicholas Strakon]
Is Obama's fantasizing about Islam in America supposed to compensate in some way for his slaughter of Mohammedans in their homelands? His immediate predecessor in mass murder practiced the same hypocrisy. It's not just false; most of what Obama and Bush say on any subject is palpably and foolishly false; but this monstrosity of imperial propaganda adds deadly insult to deadly injury. [Henry Gallagher Fields] (August 2010)
Omnipotent government springs another leak. I read in The Washington Post that the so-called War on Terror has spread the Coast Guard thin and interfered with its mission of inspecting offshore oil rigs such as BP's. According to reporters Joe Stephens and Mary Pat Flaherty, the
The Coast Guard's long-standing role in waging the Drug War hasn't helped: that also taxes the agency's life-saving and inspection abilities.
Statist mainstreamers deride as impractical, impossible, and utopian a social environment recognizing property rights in ocean waters and coastlines, as proposed by libertarians. But under that arrangement, would insurance companies' oil-rig inspection teams be distracted by chasing drug smugglers or looking out for dicey Mohammedans? [Nicholas Strakon] (August 2010)
A drug-resistant "superbug" has spread to Western countries from India and Pakistan, and "medical tourism" on the part of Westerners is coming in for a large part of the blame. The media seem to be sounding the alarm loudest in the United Kingdom, but according to news accounts, the bacterial infections have also appeared in Canada, the Netherlands, and the United State.
"New 'superbug' found in UK hospitals," by Michelle Roberts, BBC NewsThe term "medical tourism" should not mislead us. It's not as if Nigel has told Prunella, "I say, old thing, let's go on holiday and pop over to Inja for your procedure! One hears at the club that the woggy sawbones are dashed amusing and one can't beat the curry in the hospital caff, wot?" These peripatetic Westerners are resorting to treatment in the Subcontinent not for entertainment or edification but because of their calculation of costs and benefits, in terms of time, money, and (before the rise of the superbug) quality. They have detected quirks in the medical systems of India and Pakistan that lead them to seek treatment there instead of in their home countries advantages that more than compensate for the expense and inconvenience of traveling abroad.
"Doctors brace for more cases as Indian superbug hits Canada," by Jill Mahoney, Globe and Mail (of Canada)
It doesn't matter whether the health industries of India and Pakistan are as state-infected as the industries at home (India, for one, "guarantees" universal care). What matters are those quirks, which specially benefit Western "medical tourists," who even as ordinary middle-class folk tend to be much more affluent than Subcontinental natives. The state-subsidized price of treatment in the developing countries is much lower than the price for off-plan private treatment at home. In other words, the "tourists" can escape the long wait for affordable treatment under the statist medical-insurance scheme of their home country. They can "jump the queue" by jumping countries.
State intervention in social enterprises always breeds consequences that are foreseeably bad, but despite the fantasies of omniscience on the part of statist utopians, it also breeds bad consequences that are unintended and unforeseeable. Freedom is the best medicine. [Nicholas Strakon] (August 2010)
Dear Nick The last time I wrote you, I commented on how, just, brilliant Mr. Obama is. And how right you were to support him so strongly back in 2008! (Even though you did call him all those names. That kind of confused me.) Anyway, there's no question about it now. Mr. Obama has to be the most brilliant commander-in-chief like ever!
After the latest bombing in Africa, he called
They will apologize and make donations to the Rainbow Coalition (or whatever it is called) and to the Obama Re-election Fund. He will have brought them to their knees (literally!) without firing a shot.
It's true that the actual group that did the bombing, Al-Shabaab, is made up of African Africans from Somalia and maybe Kenya and Uganda, too, but that only means that they are self-hating African Africans. They need help, obviously, and when they apologize and donate, their healing will begin!
I'm still allowed to get on the computer here in the day room duh! Otherwise you wouldn't have gotten this message! and I've come across some unhelpful websites where bad people just refer to our President as "the community organizer," as if that's some kind of insult all by itself. Well, they're going to have to put some different smoke in their pipe! Probably because he was a community organizer, plus of course because he's so brilliant, Mr. Obama alone of all persons in America has figured out how to defeat
Nicholas Strakon replies. Dear Sally I hope this doesn't make you blush, but I have a nice compliment for you. You are every bit as brilliant as the genius who has been installed in the Presidential Palace.
The iron fist ... According to the Associated Press, the new "financial overhaul bill" will give the Central Government power "to break up teetering companies whose failure would threaten the economy."
Just one little question, here. If the regime in Washington has the rightful authority to straightforwardly break up companies that it decides "threaten the economy," what rightful authority over our lives does it not have?
No, actually, I'll ask one more question. If the regime does not have that rightful authority, but still exercises the power, what words, what nouns and adjectives, would occur to a reasonable man to accurately describe it? [Nicholas Strakon]
... in the iron glove. The Obamunists have opened their judicial joust with the state of Arizona over the latter's famous Senate
Central Government employees in the judicial branch have declared otherwise, of course, adducing the usual penumbras and implications and emanations; but that's in keeping with the judges' overall historical mission of gutting federalism and strengthening Central power.
Constitutionalists as well as libertarians such as Tom Woods make a good point in warning that when the Central regime is permitted to be the sole judge of its own powers, there is no power that lies beyond its reach.
Constitutionalists see much that others do not as they investigate the nature of our totalitarian plight. It is painfully ironic, then, that those perceptive men do not see this: Our very plight reveals the definitive failure of constitutionalism in limiting government. [NS] (July 2010)
Note. In the original version of the above entry, I described Dr. Woods as a constitutionalist. A reader has kindly corrected me: In some of his writings and talks, Dr. Woods has come out in favor of a non-state society. My apologies for the error. I myself certainly would not care to be described as a non-anarchist! [NS]
It stimulates curiosity, if nothing else. At CNSNews.com, Matt Cover reports: "New federal regulations issued this week stipulate that the electronic health records that all Americans are supposed to have by 2014 under the terms of the stimulus law that President Barack Obama signed last year must record not only the traditional measures of height and weight, but also the Body Mass Index: a measure of obesity." ("Obesity Rating for Every American Must Be Included in Stimulus-Mandated Electronic Health Records, Says HHS," July 15)
All enacted or authorized under a provision of the "stimulus law," eh? Don't you wonder what else is in that law that doesn't really have anything to do with economic stimulus? I suppose we'll find out bit by bit in the coming years. [Nicholas Strakon] (July 2010)
Not nothing. Leviathan's door-to-door snooping under the rubric of "the Census" finally comes to an end tonight. For the next ten years, that is and it's an open question whether the Central regime will still be in a position to mount such extensive nationwide operations come 2020.
Congratulations to all who refused to cooperate with this particular invasion of society. Obviously our little refusal doesn't begin to hold a candle to the incandescent bravery of Sophie Scholl and her White Rose comrades, Cardinal Mindszenty, or the Tiananmen Square martyrs! But it wasn't nothing, either, especially in light of the fact that the vast majority of our countrymen could not bring themselves to engage even in this safe, minimal modicum of resistance.
We can't stop leviathan's big bad train by lying down on the tracks, and hardly any of us would be inclined to try. But if no one's actually pointing a gun at us, we don't have to climb on board the hellbound thing, either. [Nicholas Strakon] (July 10, 2010)
That Hideous Deafness. During the past few days, we've been treated to the Ministry of Love's stonewalling over the Black Panther Scandal, the Central regime's lawsuit against Arizona, and the revelation that Mohammedan outreach is NASA's top priority. Now General Secretary Obama has given an unapologetic proponent of redistributionist health socialism, Dr. Donald Berwick, a recess appointment to head Medicare, sparing him even the most cataract-impaired congressional scrutiny. (Berwick is actually quite an appropriate choice, of course, but people don't like to have such smelly pies mashed right into their face.)
Leaving aside the strict anti-statist position on all those questions and looking only at their likely political fallout, I can't help but think that the Obamunist regime is driving itself deep into They Just Can't Help Themselves territory. That's always a danger for the whirling dervishes of the Left, and in countries where they can't routinely pop their bemused constituents into concentration camps, they risk provoking a politically fatal reaction. (Forgive me if that's too optimistic: Hope springs eternal.)
Speaking of territory, the time has come for another little swing through both Transparodia and the Land of Irony Deafness. As he rails against the "darkness of private enterprise," Berwick praises the bureaucracy responsible for planning Britain's health-care rationing. It's called the National Institute for Clinical Health and Excellence.
Its acronym? Not NICHE, but NICE.
Well, that rings a bell. Or tolls one.
Does anyone else remember C.S. Lewis's National Institute of Coordinated Experiments? From That Hideous Strength? [Nicholas Strakon] (July 2010)
One soldier's road to redemption. According to Leila Fadel of the Washington Post, the Army has charged PFC Bradley Manning, 22, "with the leak of a controversial video and the downloading and transfer of classified State Department cables, in a case that is likely to further deter would-be whistleblowers." Fadel reports:
Manning was detained in May after Wikileaks.org, a Web site that aims to expose government and corporate secrets, released the video it had allegedly obtained from him. The footage, taken by cameras on U.S. Apache helicopters, shows several civilians, including two Reuters news agency employees, being killed in a U.S. strike in Iraq in July 2007. ("Army intelligence analyst charged in Wikileaks case," July 7, 2010)I'm not surprised to see strong action being taken in this case. The government will naturally do all it can to protect its secrets from its enemies. And we know who its main enemies are, don't we? To turn around the famous formulation by Albert Jay Nock:
"Their enemies, the people." [Nicholas Strakon] (July 2010)
The real Chairman is not amused. If I thought GOP Chairman Michael Steele had a brain in his head, I might award him TLD's Strange New Respect Award for his comments on the regime's doomed and murderous Afghanistan adventure. His incautious babbling is still entertaining and educational, though. In reaching to insert a needle in Emperor BO, Steele mashed some sensitive neocon toes, and now Neocon Chairman Bill Kristol is calling for him to resign. Neocon TV (Fox News) reports: "Steele Faces Growing Calls to Resign Despite Moves to Quell Uproar."
One valuable thing we learn from this affair, if we didn't already know it, is how little room for maneuver there is now between the war liberals and the neocon adventurists. Even a pugilist a lot more nimble than Steele would have found it hard to tag the former without throwing an elbow into the latter.
Another thing we already knew for sure, but now see demonstrated anew by the "uproar," is that anti-interventionists can't even get on the fight card. [Nicholas Strakon] (July 2010)
A Neff Strakon colloquy on Our Boys (and Wymyn).
Ronn Neff: It just occurred to me that anyone who recognizes the illegitimacy of the U.S. government cannot advocate bringing the troops home "now" or any other time. That, too, would be a government program that could be effected only by taxing citizens further. As a tax-based government program, it would be not only immoral but also impossible to accomplish efficiently, because the state has no way of allocating resources efficiently.
So what could we possibly advocate? "Find your own way back"?
Nicholas Strakon: Yes, I think so. In the past I've expressed some doubt about whether we really want the legionaries back unless they repent of their crimes, which they have committed in our name. An important step on the road to repentance would be for them to find honorable, peaceful jobs abroad, and earn their passage home. (July 2010)
Blackbeard's freedom. On Memorial Day, Minitrue is feeding us a thick stream of goopy propaganda about how the imperial legionaries who have invaded the Muslim Middle East are fighting for the freedom of Americans back home as well as working hard to advance the Humanitarian Social-Democratic Agenda among the grateful natives of the region. That being so, the Israelis' latest savage atrocity could not have been better timed for any American who is still operating a live brain, though it will come as cold comfort to the loved ones of those who were murdered on the high seas earlier today.
In case the MSM outlets you consult are, shall we say, de-emphasizing the story, Israeli "commandos" i.e., pirates stormed a humanitarian-aid convoy in international waters that was bound for Gaza, a Palestinian territory blockaded by the Israeli state-criminals. Here's the account in the Irish Times: "Israeli commando raid on Gaza aid convoy kills 10." I looked for a story in the Washington Post that I might link to I get the Post's updates by
The Israeli felon-in-chief, Netanyahu, has now cancelled a visit to Washington that had been scheduled for tomorrow. Politico.com reports that Bill Burton, a spokesman for the Presidential Palace, "said in advance of Netanyahu's decision that the White House was currently [trying] 'to understand the circumstances surrounding this tragedy.'" Over the coming days we should expect to see the word "tragedy" used often to describe the operation, as if it were a killer tornado or fatal car accident. That, and the word "unfortunate" in connection with the murders.
Just before I sat down to write, Fox News was running a screen crawl saying that the Israeli war minister, Barak, was calling the aid convoy a "provocation." Provokatsiya! Now there's the good old Soviet style for you! I've missed it so.
Haaretz.com posted a story on the assault that actually reads like satire. Here's the lead: "Activists on board a flotilla carrying aid to the Gaza Strip tried to lynch the Israel Navy commandos who stormed their Turkish-flagged ship early Monday, Israel Defense Forces sources told Haaretz."
The grisly goofiness continues:
The IDF confirmed that at least seven navy commandos had been wounded, at least two of them seriously, in a fight which apparently broke out after activists tried to seize their weapons. [Imagine the effrontery!]Paintball guns. Right. And laser-tag gear, too, just in case anyone cared to play? But, yes, I'll just bet they had pistols as "back-up, to defend themselves."
The commandos, who intercepted the Turkish ferry Mavi Marmara after it ignored orders to turn back, said they encountered violent resistance from activists armed with sticks and knives. According to the commandos, the activists threw one of the soldiers from the upper deck to the lower after they boarded.
An Israeli military spokesman said some of the commandos were equipped with paintball guns, but the non-lethal weapons were not enough against activists who charged in with batons.
"[The commandos] had pistols with live ammunition as back-up, to defend themselves," he said. The IDF said it had confiscated two pistols from the boat.
This is like a pirate story coauthored by George Orwell and Bozo the Clown. "Defend themselves"! I swear, it's dazzling what government employees can get away with saying these days, and with a straight face. But we live at a time when the Yankee Union calls its war ministry a "defense department" while using it to perpetrate mass-murdering wars of aggression.
As the American legionaries being honored today by officialdom and the official media rampage across the Middle East, just whose freedom are they defending? Freedom to do what? If we'd somehow forgotten the whole point of the neocon wars, we got a reminder today, good and hard: It's the freedom for Israelis to run up the Jolly Roger and swing aboard cargo ships with a cutlass excuse me, I meant a paintball gun in their teeth. Yo ho ho, it's a pirate's life for them!
And don't forget, landlubbers: It's all being done on our doubloon. [Nicholas Strakon] (May 2010)
Forever FUBAR! or, Patriotic thoughts on Memorial Day weekend. On Saturday the 22nd, I had the telescreen in the front room tuned to one of the news channels as I puttered around in the kitchen, dividing my attention between coffee-making and the latest grim tidings of the world's Great Grinding Badness. It was commencement morning at West Point, and while the reporters impatiently awaited the arrival of Emperor Barack, they filled the time with uplifting progressive-nationalistic chatter. I ignored most of it, but then one of them said something that surprised me a little but also made me happy: viz., that women made up
At least, I thought he said it.
I knew I'd have to rewind the DVR to make sure I'd heard correctly, but I didn't find it immediately unbelievable, in light of how long it's been now since we were teleported
I'm putting on that smiley face again, though. The Obamunists, prodded by their homosexualist wing, have finally pushed repeal of the "Don't ask, don't tell" rule through the House, although Jim Abrams of the AP writes that "advocates on both sides [are] gear[ing] up for a fight in the Senate."
According to Abrams, "gay rights" groups have made repeal of DADT "their top priority this year." As startling as it is to see homosexuals get all worked up about anything military apart from, you know, those luscious young brutes in their delightfully scary costumes I'm wishing them well.
The reason is that I take seriously all those warnings from grumpy old War Conservatives: that the more women and confessed homosexuals the military is saddled with, the less unit cohesion, mission focus, and combat effectiveness it can maintain. Well, excellent! Let's choke the imperial legions with hurt feelings, discrimination complaints, assault investigations, pregnant soldierettes, queer diseases, and romantic melodramas in the midst of battle, say I.
Now, true, if they let in uncloseted homosexuals, the armed forces might finally be able to recruit enough Arabic translators (who typically speak an exotic language of love as well, if you believe Minitrue), and that would please the higher-ups. But if the imperial military collapsed, and the empire with it, those Arabists would have to find honest jobs "on the economy," as military folk put it.
Some may fear that unlimited progressivism in recruitment could lead to a military relying more heavily on "women pushing buttons" and now "poofters pushing buttons" raining death from afar on wedding parties and other peaceful civilian gatherings in exotic lands. But even as things are, the imperial military has no shortage of cowardly, amoral young video-gamers most of them, I suppose, heterosexual males who just love to push those buttons.
A better objection is that women's joining the military signals and, indeed, advances our profound cultural degradation, especially when they abandon their children to do so. I would certainly struggle to dissuade any young lady I knew from going to work for the totalitarian butchers; but in the wider scheme, our culture and civilization are already lost no matter what any one of us does. We can't have everything; we can't even have much. But if we're lucky, one thing we can have is a weaker military, less able to drown the world in bloody atrocity and less able to hold us normal people hostage to that atrocity.
I must exclaim, and not for the first time: What a peculiar empire is this Yankee Colossus! [Nicholas Strakon] (May 2010)
Rand Paul on the horns. Until a few days ago, Dr. Rand Paul, son of Dr. Ron Paul, was the freshly minted Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Kentucky. But he's not looking like such a bright penny now. In fact, he's showing numerous scuffs, scrapes, and chips.
It all started
The ghastly twisting and turning that's so familiar to observers of the American scene began when Maddow asked, "Do you think that a private business has the right to say we don't serve black people?" The righteous answer, of course, is, "Of course!" But according to the report posted at the Maddow Blog, "Paul sounded uncomfortable expressing his views."
What Paul the politician was struggling to do was to engineer an answer that didn't completely betray his apparent belief in freedom of association but at the same time wouldn't get him read right out of polite society. To mainstreamers, who fiercely oppose freedom of association for white people, any skepticism about the "civil rights" laws of the 1960s is about a hundred times more sinful than anything the state of Arizona has done lately.
The blog report continues, "Maddow predicted on the show that Paul would face questions about this for the rest of his campaign. And indeed, it started overnight."
Indeed, indeed. On
What lesson do we learn from this, comrades? We learn the lesson that a true libertarian cannot function honestly in the American political environment. Not that Rand Paul ever has been or claimed to be a true libertarian he's a Tea Partier, which is not the same thing by a long shot. But apparently, thanks perhaps to the influence of his more freedom-friendly father, he did harbor some opinions on "civil rights" that were informed by libertarianism. And now we see what has happened. In order to be permitted to continue breathing the air that the System produces and owns, he is obliged to say that he approves of the tyrannical 1964 law because of its (purported) intent! Thus he lowers himself to the same infernal level as any sociopathic demagogue or sincerely utopian kook-in-office. And in so doing, he reinforces the System's pretense that it occupies the moral high ground.
No profile in courage there, especially in view of Ronn Neff's observation that since the 1960s, the "civil rights" laws have been leviathan's "primary leverage point for regulating private life" in this country.
I have mentioned the elder Dr. Paul, and I should address an apparent contradiction in what I have just written. Ron Paul does seem to function pretty honestly in the political environment, while continuing to be re-elected. I have some respect for Ron Paul, and he is certainly an interesting historical figure, but I have to point out that an employee of the Central Government faces to put it mildly a tremendous challenge in being a true libertarian. In serving the Central Government, he who would be a true libertarian publicly endorses its fundamental legitimacy and encourages others to participate in the System that oppresses all of us. Descending to the level of specifics, I unhappily recall that the elder Dr. Paul voted to authorize the Afghan adventure.
If the antiwhite leftists (and mainstreamers, assuming there is any distinction now) have any energy left from their mass hysteria over Arizona, we should not be surprised to see Ron Paul himself sucked into the "civil rights" quicksand stirred up by the Maddow interview. It is remarkable that he has escaped from it for so long. [Nicholas Strakon]
Also see: "Tea Party Pick Causes Uproar on Civil Rights,"
by Adam Nagourney and Carl Hulse,
New York Times, May 20, 2010
The one good thing about the BP oil spill. At Politico, Mike Allen quotes CBS's Chip Reid to the effect that reporters at the Palace have become so restless with the Obama regime's handling of the BP oil spill that they've angered Chief Flack Robert Gibbs. The newsies keep asking the same questions over and over! According to the report, after the most recent briefing, Palace officials called some reporters in, one by one, to administer a hiding for their impertinence.
At that last briefing, Reid said, Gibbs "insisted over and over again [that] the federal government is in charge and [that] they're doing everything humanly possible to respond to this disaster."
Everything humanly possible? Well, therein lies, as they say, the rub. Haven't Americans been taught, for at least eight decades now, that government people are superhuman in their powers? That, in fact, government is omnipotent? How sweet it is to see the pols, flacks, and bureaucrats of leviathan held accountable to the myth they themselves so relentlessly promote the myth that, necessarily, they live by. [Nicholas Strakon]
Henry Gallagher Fields comments. Those with a taste for irony will savor the fact that, over those eight decades, journalists themselves have immeasurably aided the officials of leviathan in propagating the myth of government's omnipotence. (May 2010)
However widely some of us pro-Westerners may disagree with each other over government's attempts to regulate people's movement, the blizzard of boycotts against Arizona on the part of businesses, political entities, and even sports teams clarifies one thing for all of us. It's immediately obvious, of course, that it's not plumb-line libertarians (all thirteen of us) who are fomenting the boycotts; if libertarians were to mount boycotts on account of all statist impositions that are as bad as Arizona's or worse, we'd have to boycott life, basically. No, the organizations doing this strangely selective boycotting are controlled by cultural Bolsheviks, multi-culti operatives, and their spineless appeasers. The boycott movement vividly illustrates the immense clout wielded by Red Guards right throughout American society. I thought I'd gauged their clout pretty well, but I am taken aback by the rapidly lengthening shadow of That Hideous Strength. [Nicholas Strakon]
Speaking of sports teams, a few days ago Fox News outed the assistant school superintendent in suburban Chicago who forbade a girls basketball team from playing in Arizona Suzan Hebson as a full-fledged homosexualist. Three years ago she forced freshmen to attend a homosexualist orientation and made them promise not to tell their parents about it. And in 2008, as principal of Deerfield High School, she made the homosexualist play "Angels in America" required reading for all students.
Another great triumph for government education! I just can't understand why a few misguided, reactionary parents insist on home-schooling their kids, can you?
Here's the story at Fox: "School Official in Basketball Flap Is No Stranger to Controversy," by Jana Winter. [NS] (May 2010)
Don't worry: The rule of law is safe in the hands of our rulers. According to the Associated Press, the Supreme Court ruled today that "federal officials can indefinitely hold inmates considered 'sexually dangerous' after their prison terms are complete.
"The high court in a 7-2 judgment reversed a lower court decision that said Congress overstepped its authority in allowing indefinite detentions of [prisoners] considered 'sexually dangerous.'"
Elena Kagan, by the way, supports this idea. So I suppose everyone who thinks she's a Red in tissue-thin pink chiffon should relax. She's really a law 'n' order conservative!
I have just a couple of questions. Why not extend this uh, evolution of the uh, rule of law to cover murderers, arsonists, and robbers?
And after that is accomplished, why not extend it also to cover economic and political criminals who some Authorities predict may "offend" again? After all, such fiends do violence to the very fabric of Society.
Indefinite imprisonment for all! It would certainly simplify the sentencing process, saving our busy judges much time and effort.
I cannot be the only one thinking along these lines. [Nicholas Strakon] (May 2010)
No! Stop it! You're killing me! To someone who's managed to hang on to his sense of humor, these leftists are really a scream. On the "Chris Matthews Show" for Sunday morning
(wait for it)
... like Barack Obama!
The vote was 10-2 in favor of Obamunist "Consensus-Builder." I somehow managed to make a note of that, even though I'd just spilled my coffee and fallen out of my chair. [Nicholas Strakon] (May 2010)
Strakon's Guide to Cooperation for the Good Citizen. Determined as always to be helpful and public-spirited, I've delved into Google on behalf of the responsible citizens among our readers who failed to return their Census questionnaire in time perhaps inadvertently tossing it into their Approved Hazardous (Non-Recyclable) Waste Receptacle but who still want to do all they can to make a success of the Central Government's utopian technocratic socialism.
Personally, I'm most excited by the Census authorities' promises of a breakthrough on the road-building front. Yes, assuming I've correctly understood the Popular Enlightenment they've been disseminating, our rulers are finally going to turn that commanding height of our economy over to the utopian technocrats, ripping it away from the fascist corruptionists and their indispensable enemies, the enviro-Stalinists, who together have dominated it for so long. The only thing that our dear leaders need to carry out that startling revolution is accurate information from us, their loyal citizens, so they can determine with scientific objectivity where the roads should be built! Well, OK, they'll also need the usual tax money, of course. And seizures of our property under eminent domain.
Anyway, I've retrieved some bits and pieces of information from various Websites, hoping that you can use it to maximize your cooperation and make things as easy as possible for your assigned enumerator, who faces such a tough and challenging task in serving the progressive collectivity and who is that but us!
Enumerators hit the streets last week, and I discovered that they will continue phoning citizens and knocking on doors until sometime in June. In my tour, I came across some apparent disagreement among Census officials, from locality to locality, about whether an enumerator will make six or only three visits to a given residence before resorting to other measures. Finally I found this explanation from Monica Davis, U.S. Census Media Specialist for the Philadelphia area, paraphrased by a reporter for NJ.com: "The total number of times a numerator [sic] will attempt correspondence [sic] is six. Of the six attempts, three are made by phone and three are made by physical home visits." That probably resolves the apparent contradiction.
According to the Vermont State Data Center, "If you are not home, [enumerators] may ask your neighbors about good times to reach you. Or they may ask you about your neighbors." Just think how difficult that latter part would be for the hard-pressed enumerator if, you know, you weren't home.
Pressing on: "If they can never get in touch with you, their only source of information may be your neighbors."
However, on an official-looking page titled "Enumerator Job Description," I saw this: "If [the enumerators] are still unsuccessful, they will take the information they have and pass it along to a supervisor who may also make an attempt to follow up with the resident." That would make seven attempts. More important a supervisor! Certainly none of us would ever want to impose such an inconvenience on a supervisor.
Elsewhere I found a statement that in extremis an enumerator can consult public record information.
In the comments section of the Job Description page, I found many upsetting complaints and worries voiced by newly trained enumerators, including some who sad to say have already been discharged from this great project. One enumerator who is hanging in there so far writes that it "annoys me that we have to go out 3 times (this site says 6) to get data!" Unfortunately, even some enumerators seem to be confused about how many personal visits they're expected to make. In any case, responsible citizens will take pains not to annoy their assigned enumerator.
Now I hope that this misguided policy will not encourage any as-yet-unenumerated citizens to be lackadaisical in their participation, but according to the Job Description page, enumerators are forbidden to carry any weapons. In my Googling I also learned that enumerators are not supposed to enter enumeratees' dwellings unless they're invited just like vampires. I know, I know, that's a very bad joke. Vampires are not public servants!
Enumerators set their own hours, more or less, but are restricted to no more than 40 hours a week, and in some areas the Census authorities are limiting them to fewer hours.
According to the Vermont State Data Center, "Census workers ... try to visit houses when most people are home," and "they may visit weekdays or weekends." That includes Sundays, no doubt, and that's only reasonable. After all, permitting enumeratees to enjoy a day of rest without interacting with their official helpers would amount to an unconstitutional establishment of religion.
The Data Center goes on to report that enumerators "work until the early evening."
Wrapping up, I have to say that I found one revelation by a Census official to be keenly disappointing. Zoi Kalaitzidis, assistant regional census manager in Boston, informed Bill Kirk of the Eagle-Tribune (North Andover, Mass.) that although "it's a federal offense not to fill out the form or to respond to census workers ... the Census Bureau never enforces the $5,000 fine that the law allows it to levy." That's Kirk's paraphrase.
He quotes Kalaitzidis: "We are not a law enforcement agency. Our job is to collect the data."
Letting citizens commit the crime of ownlife with impunity is a recipe for disaster. In order to be fully implemented, utopian technocratic socialism requires harsh penalties for non-cooperation! [Nicholas Strakon]
They're so easily amazed. I was visited by a Census enumerator last week. I opened the door to find a very nice-looking old lady, who explained that she was from the Census.
I said, "Thank you I'm not interested."
Her mouth fell open. "You're not interested?" she squeaked.
She was clearly staggered by that information. Here she was with the might and majesty of the Empire behind her, and I threw this non-sequitur at her.
I smiled at her and said, "Thank you," and shut the door.
I'm on the list now. It's only a matter of time. [David T. Wright] (May 2010)
Puerto Rico: ¡Independentista, sí! ¡Estadidad, no! (May 2010)
Not whether but when. Some form of financial "reform" is sure to pass. It will consist of more regulation. Even so, the next time there is a problem in the economy or the stock market tumbles, we will be told that the "market" is insufficiently regulated.
And if even one prepositional phrase in the passed bill is ever repealed, we will be told that the problem is deregulation.
Count on it. In fact, TLD's high-powered attorneys are hard at work now figuring out how we can set up an Internet pool for readers who want to place a bet on the date when this will occur. [Ronn Neff] (May 2010)
Yet again: Transparodistic, just transparodistic. The first thing you have to understand is that I sometimes talk back to the TV. I'm just an old bachelor; I'm not crazy. Well, in any case, I'm an old bachelor.
This morning on Fox News, anchor Gregg Jarrett, wide-eyed and amazed, reported on a recent study showing that increased anti-drug law enforcement leads to increased violence on the part of people working in the unapproved-drug industry.
"No!" I exclaimed. "How could that be? Certainly no one has ever suspected such a thing before! Why, it's counterintuitive!"
Five seconds later, Jarrett declared that the study's results were in a word "counterintuitive."
It has become impossible to satirize this idiocy. After all this time, many decades into the World System's eternal, anti-social, chaos-producing Drug War, an MSM outlet still hasn't tumbled to the fact that anti-drug law enforcement created the violence in the unapproved-drug industry in the first place, and that obviously increased enforcement leads to increased violence.
I do hope that taxpayers aren't being forced to pay for these studies. I'd hate to have to pay for the next "counterintuitive" study that's no doubt coming down the pike, showing that the sun rises in the East. [Nicholas Strakon]
AP story on the study
Scissors cut paper. The Central Government's pending "too big to fail" legislation offers another good teaching moment to skeptics of statism. Where did the notion of an economic entity's being "too big to fail" come from in the first place? Why, from the Central Government, that's where! It's a government policy.
It's as if a man were to handcuff himself and think, OK, I'm going to hide the key. Only I will know where it is, and I'll make sure never to tell myself.
Crazy as it seems, that's the American way, and it leads me to shift my focus to a more general conceit of Americans. We anti-constitutionalists argue that a constitution is ultimately futile for purposes of restraining the growth and activity of a state. That's because a constitution is not an autonomous entity capable of protecting itself enforcing its "right" reading and thereby guarding liberty. It's merely a piece of paper, resting in the hands of men. And those men are government employees, the very people whom the document is designed to restrain (or so we are instructed). Government employees write such documents, they enforce such documents, and they interpret such documents in effect, they amend them through reinterpretation, when they do not literally amend them.
Pieces of paper are no substitute for a libertarian culture informed by libertarian principle. In the era when America enjoyed a somewhat libertarian culture (at some levels), the Constitution was read as a somewhat libertarian document. But now that America suffers under a totalitarian political culture ... things are different. (That actually is the Pollyannish version. In fact, in writing and imposing the U.S. Constitution, the Founders erected the first real Central Government over the polities of English-speaking Americans. And it was a system pregnant with growth. But then what state is not?)
With the "too big to fail" legislation, we see our totalitarian culture in full flower. As the regime attempts to handcuff itself, it simultaneously attempts to affix even heavier shackles on society, its victim. I'm no expert on how the regime operators' minds work, but perhaps they are sufficiently in touch with reality to understand that they can't really restrain themselves and their successors from awarding "too big to fail" subsidies in the future. One "solution," then, is to impose even worse regulation on the economy in an attempt to keep any given institution from becoming "too big." It doesn't occur to them, of course, that government itself played the crucial role in cartelizing important segments of the economy.
Well, utopianism forever! as I find myself exclaiming all the time nowadays. But let's propose, in arguendo, that just this once, regulation will effectively police the Insiders instead of privileging them and protecting them against competition. Even so, statutes are just so much paper. Amending or repealing or reinterpreting a statute to give leviathan more latitude is hardly ever as "politically impossible" as amending or repealing or reinterpreting a statute to restrict leviathan. You may have noticed that. [Nicholas Strakon]
Modine Herbey chimes in. I've got an idea. The Constitution is a meta-law partly intended to keep the ordinary laws in check. So let's implement a Super-Constitution as a meta-meta-law to keep the Constitution in check! Yeah, that oughtta work!
Related column by Ronn Neff:
"'Gun-control' libertarians" (2002)
What god would they be serving? My sentiments about the Rev. Franklin Graham's disinvitation by the Pentagon are the same as my sentiments about whether a mention of God might be permitted to remain in the Pledge of Allegiance.
My opinion on the latter was that, with or without a mention of the divinity, no self-respecting free American could possibly utter that totalitarian pledge.
The Rev. Graham and every self-respecting free American must stay far away from the unholy Pentagon and its war-deifying "prayer" extravaganzas, and far away from all the other wiles and stratagems of the Great Beast crouching in the Imperial Capital. [Nicholas Strakon] (April 2010)
Sorry, but someone will have to explain this to me again. Newsweek's latest cover story deals with Hillary Clinton and her work as imperial foreign minster, and in it I found an observation by the writer, Michael Hirsh, that might seem unremarkable but that actually should drive one in a profoundly radical direction. Most of Hirsh's readers, though, will not be so driven. Such observations are a dime a dozen in analytical pieces, and I'm afraid that, for too many readers, familiarity has bred a lack of contempt.
The piece at hand is "Obama's Bad Cop," and it features this editor's promo: "[Hillary] Clinton's played the heavy with Iran, Russia, and even Israel and her sometimes hawkish views are finding favor with the president."
Here's the observation. Hirsh writes that "the sharp differences between Obama and Clinton over foreign policy on the campaign trail were, as many on both sides now acknowledge, largely political theater. In fact, their views of American power had never been that far apart."
Oh, really? "Political theater"? Stop and think about that.
Many readers of Hirsh's piece will smirk and say, "Sure. That's politics for you. What else is new?"
Which brings me to what I need to have explained, one more time. If that's what democratic politics is, why do so many otherwise intelligent people including, I'm sure, many of Hirsh's readers show up at the theater on the first Tuesday after the first Monday to carry spears for actors such as Clinton and Obama? Certainly, some people have the yen to get on an actual stage, even if it's only as a mute extra in the background. But at least those munchkins know the difference between a play and real life, between fact and fiction, between the truth and the lie. Why do voters allow themselves to be deceived by the political class, show after show, theater season after theater season? Why do they ever believe anything these posturing political actors say? I just don't get it. [Nicholas Strakon]
What do conservatives seek to conserve? The other day I happened to be listening to conservative talk-radio host Mark Levin, who shouts at his callers and calls them morons.
He had been going on at length about the Constitution and how important it is for people to understand it and for the government to follow it. He told us how the Founding Fathers understood so much about the need for separation of powers and limiting government. His very next call was from a guy who urged him to take a position on getting rid of the Federal Reserve.
"And replace it with what? Get out of here, you moron," Levin told the guy. And hung up on him.
Well, how about replacing it with something constitutional, which is to say, Nothing!
Does this soi-disant champion of the Constitution not even know that most of the Framers were opposed to the creation of a national bank? [Ronn Neff] (April 2010)
Our rulers' doublespeak. "It's typical of the champions of the all-absorbing state that even as they treat the family as something a child must be protected from, they try to clothe the state itself in the warm metaphors of 'family,' 'community,' and 'village.'" Joe Sobran, "The Government We're Stuck With," 1997/2010. (April 2010)
You might take a look at the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation E-Package, a twice-weekly column by various writers e-mailed to subscribers and donors.
When the statists come out to dance. They have lesbian high-school students nowadays, even in Mississippi, and one such lass (and the ACLU) sued her state school when it cancelled this spring's prom rather than permit her to take a fellow lesbian as her "date." The plaintiff also sued for permission to wear a tuxedo at the affair. A Central Government judge has now ruled that the tyro Sapphite's rights were violated, but he has refrained from ordering the prom to be held. Some parents are planning a private prom, though USA Today reports that it's not clear whether homosexuals will be welcome. ("Judge: Lesbian student's rights violated," by Chris Joyner, March 24)
Even if the private prom goes forward, one lesbian will have disrupted the plans of a whole lot of normal folks. But that's just the kind of thing that happens under statism, which inherently creates social conflict. Or to put it more precisely, statism converts social differences into political and legal warfare.
In a society where state and school were separated and the rest of our freedom of association was restored some schools might tell the homosexual girl, "Sure! Bring it on, tux and all!" and others might say, "No. Not here." In fact, homosexuals, if they wanted to display their homosexuality, would probably go to homosexual or "diversity" schools, and normal people would go to normal schools. You'd pay your money and you'd take your choice. Such matters would be the business of the schools and their customers, and no one else. Under freedom, the kind of combat that is convulsing Aberdeen, Mississippi, right now would be impossible.
Three cheers for private proms and private everything else. [Nicholas Strakon] (March 2010)
This propaganda video neatly combines an appeal to Central Government socialism with disgusting cultural degradation, and if it doesn't make a Census resister out of you, nothing will:
"We can't move forward until you mail it back"You can find other Census PSA's many others at spotsource.census.gov/frontpage, including some in Spanish. The (taxpayer) money the regime is spending to wheedle people to participate illustrates one thing, assuming you were in any doubt. With respect to this particular kind of government snooping, the old slogan of the Borg is reversed: RESISTANCE ... IS ... EASY. [Nicholas Strakon] (March 2010)
The Holy "I" trumps the Holy "O." Now let's see. Israel is continually building settlements on the West Bank on property seized from Palestinians which is illegal by the standards of international law. Israel's new plan to build housing for Jews in occupied East Jerusalem essentially prevents a two-state peace agreement with the Palestinians, who expect to control that territory. The Obama administration largely overlooked those actions until Israel announced the East Jerusalem project at the very time Vice President Biden was visiting. And, after all of that, whom does the Washington Post criticize for belligerency? Obama! The "American chastising of Israel invariably prompts still harsher rhetoric, and elevated demands, from Palestinian and other Arab leaders," the Post pontificates. ("The U.S. quarrel with Israel," March 16, 2010)
No, we certainly wouldn't want the Palestinians to make "elevated demands" such as the return of land that Israel has taken from them!
The Post is very much disturbed about "Mr. Obama's quickness to bludgeon the Israeli government." Yes, indeed, criticism must be equated with bullying and beating, when Israel is the one being criticized. The Post goes on to claim that Obama "is not the first president to do so." Presumably, in the convoluted imagination of the Washington Post's editorialist, American presidents have been walloping poor little Israel for years. But the Post is not about to cry over allegedly victimized Israel; instead, it points out that "tough tactics don't always work." Yes, a few critical words when directed at Israel certainly represent inappropriate "tough tactics"!
One would think, however, that in any real effort to get tough with Israel, the United States would go beyond strong words and actually threaten to reduce its material support for the Jewish state. But that kind of tough tactic presumably transcends the limits of the Post's imagination or it's just not allowed to be considered. Of course, where Israel's Middle East enemies are concerned, the Post has not been loath to support economic sanctions, bombing, and invasions.
As a result of the president's purportedly belligerent stance last year, the editorialist writes, "Mr. Obama's poll ratings in Israel plunged to the single digits." He continues: "The president is perceived by many Israelis as making unprecedented demands on their government while overlooking the intransigence of Palestinian and Arab leaders." Well, Obama certainly wouldn't want to lose the support of the Israeli people. On the other hand, exactly what country does he represent? And what country does the Washington Post think he should represent? It's interesting that while the Post expresses concern about the Israelis' unhappiness with Obama, it is upset about Washington's actually seeming to appeal to the interests of the Palestinians and Arabs, which might cause them to make "elevated demands."
Let's be clear about the overriding significance of what this editorialist has written. These words did not come from the Christian Right, the neoconservatives, AIPAC, or some other entity that is frank in its bias toward the Jewish state. Rather, they came from one of the two most influential newspapers in the United States (along with the New York Times), which trumpets its objectivity. This is the authoritative voice of the media establishment. This is what people in the know are expected to believe. [Stephen J. Sniegoski] (March 2010)
In the Catacombs. As you may know by now
The list of speakers was of course shorter than originally planned, but it included Sam Dickson, who according to Mr. Taylor
elaborated a theory of how schizophrenia on race contributes to the rise of white sociopaths to elite positions. He argued that unlike non-whites, who need not strike foolish poses about race who are free to make healthy demands in the names of their people prominent whites are so accustomed to lying about the most basic aspects of society that only the most practiced liars ever rise to positions of power.A correspondent of mine who was there paraphrased Mr. Dickson's formulation in this way: The United States is the first country in history to be ruled at all levels by sociopaths. Veteran TLD readers may recall that I, too, have detected widespread sociopathy among the officials who rule us and among the candidates who seek to rule us. I hope the text of Mr. Dickson's address will be published, as well as Mr. Taylor's own speech, titled "What Is at Stake for Our People."
My correspondent reports a startling exchange that came to light at the conference. After Jeffrey Imm and his communist allies began their assault on the conference, Mr. Taylor challenged Imm to debate him at the National Press Club. Imm countered with an offer to "debate" Mr. Taylor at a protest meeting he had planned! Mr. Taylor declined that gracious invitation, but one conference attender revealed that he himself was curious enough to go to the location specified by Imm, to find a lonely Imm mysteriously unsurrounded by any throng of admirers. Seizing the opportunity, the AR sympathizer asked Imm, "Why'd you call in death threats to the Manassas Four Points Sheraton?" (That was the third hotel to abrogate its contract with AR.) And Imm is said to have replied: "Yeah, we're sorry about that."
Oh, "we" are, are "we"? I will be interested to see whether Imm will repeat that on the witness stand, under oath.
The first hotel to renege on AR was the Dulles Marriott, and it apparently did so without receiving any death threats. Earlier this month, the Marriott chain hosted a different kind of conference at its Warner Center Marriott, in Woodland Hills, Calif. The name of the gathering was the "XBIZ State of the Industry Conference." What industry? The porn industry, that's what. Larry Flynt was one of the speakers. A report on the proceedings posted at The Wrap makes no reference to any controversy or protest directed at the Marriott, or any tortured soul-searching by the management over whether to host the conference.
At one time, Marriott was considered a "Mormon chain." How quaint that sounds now. [Nicholas Strakon] (February 2010)
Once again, clear as mud. During the time of Clinton, the MSM liked to tell us that a vast fortune in taxpayer money was lost every day during the periodic government shutdowns, and at one point I joked in TLD that under that philosophy of arithmetic it was obvious what we needed to do: Proceed immediately to a full-bore totalitarianism under which the government laid claim to everything, right down to our shoes and wastebaskets. Clearly, government would then be costless!
Now the Imperial City has shut down again, as a result of the Great Obama Blizzards. And this time the MSM were authorized to report a little more fully as they uncritically passed along the System's party line. Or at least one of my local newsreaders was, when he said that "the federal government loses an estimated
Now I get it. The pols and bureaucrats are still being paid even though they're not going to the office. Finally, that explains ...
Wait government productivity? [Nicholas Strakon]
As a perfect riposte to the System's definition of productivity, let us recall the old truth that no one's life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.
We'd be better off if the banditti just robbed us and then sat at home, watching TV and eating potato chips. Instead they use most of the loot to enslave and harass us, wage criminal wars in our name, propagandize us, ruin our children, pay their own puppet-masters, and wreck our lives and enterprises. [Henry Gallagher Fields] (February 2010)
The mentality. The Indiana House is about ready to send a bill to the Senate that would ban smoking in "public places," with some exceptions. And of course, fellow sheepizens, such a ban would only be right! Many municipalities have enacted their own smoking ban, and that has created an unfair competitive advantage for bars and restaurants outside the restrictive areas. We must ensure a level playing field, with none of those obstructive freedoms jutting out anywhere to trip up our rulers.
A woman-on-the-street interview aired by the Fort Wayne CBS affiliate, WANE-TV, perfectly captured the modern American mentality. The young lady said she strongly supported a statewide ban. Why? Well, because she is addicted to smoking and hopes to quit someday.
I don't think that's what
It's unpleasant to see someone yearn to surrender one's own freedom and become a slave of the state. But there's more going on here, and I'm afraid it accurately represents the modern democratic ideology as it is understood at the grass roots. The tobacco-addicted interviewee is trying to surrender not only her own freedom but that of other people, too, especially the freedom of those who want to permit smoking on what is purported to be their property.
Americans have always had trouble minding their own business, and we're seeing just what that can lead to, now that our libertarian culture is dead, dead, dead. [Nicholas Strakon] (February 2010)
The revolution wasn't. When Scott Brown, the new senator from Massachusetts, says the election is over, what he means is this: "All you Tea Partyers can go back to your sheeple pens now, while I get down to the serious business of cutting a deal with Obama to expand government's control over health care by
Published 2010 by WTM Enterprises.