Stop and think, collected 2018Note. Because of changes in the archive pages, over time, you may find that some of the links you hit to other "Stop and think" installments actually lead nowhere. If you encounter frustration with a particular link, please feel free to hold my feet to the fire. Nicholas Strakon
2017 2016 2015 2014
2013 2012 2011 2010
2009 2008 2007 2006
2005 2004 2003 2002
Ronn Neff: The other day Strakon tipped me to a piece about the established media by John Rappoport at The Daily Bell, "Leaks, Fake News, and Hidden Agendas." Strakon quoted a line from the story, "Big news media decide whether to focus on the WHO or the WHAT, in each case." And he said he liked that line of attack.
I replied that I liked it, too, but that there is so much more:
The media commission a poll. The results become news. That is, the news is what the media decided in advance it would be.
Accusations are made, and the accused says, "These accusations are politically motivated." The story becomes the motivation, not the accusations.
Accusations are made, and the media personalities recite, "This is old news. We've always known this." But they didn't report it when they first knew it.
Then there are all the associations through marriage, employment, or friendship that operate without the public's knowing about them until some kind of blow-up occurs. (During an election, would the electorate think it mattered if a candidate's wife worked for AIPAC? or was an airlines lobbyist? Only if the opponent made something of it.)
Then there's the very tricky one used on Trump with the "golden shower" dossier: The media give fake documents to the FBI, which goes to Trump and says, "You need to be careful. This is the sort of thing that is floating around out there. It's completely false, but you need to know about it anyway." And then the media report that the FBI have a dossier, etc., etc.
A doozy just recently appeared: the two guys who were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks reached a settlement with the city recently: they asked for $1 each and a $200,000 program to help young (i.e., black) entrepreneurs. Headlines announced this, one in the New York Post even saying, "Black men arrested at Starbucks take the high road in their settlement with Philly." If you drill down into the story you find out that the high-roading duo also got a "financial settlement" from Starbucks amount undisclosed. I'm guessing it wasn't $1 each, since the company offered "to pay for them to complete their [college] degrees."
In a certain sense, there is nothing wrong with the fact that, say, the Washington Post makes the story the "who" rather than the "what." A news outlet has to decide what it's going to focus on. The problem is that all the other major guys "just happen" to do the same thing. And that gives the impression that if they focus on the "who" there is no "what" worth talking about. In other words, for them, as is also the case with Facebook, Twitter, and PayPal, there are no competitors in the field. (In the case of PayPal, for a while it was illegal for Americans though for no one else in the world to have an account with its one really big competitor, Payoneer.) (May 2018)
The migrant threat. I believe I have discovered a possible "unforeseen" consequence of the GOP's latest tax bill.
Arthur Laffer and Stephen Moore have written an article for the Wall Street Journal "The Red-State Path to Prosperity" in which they claim that people are moving from high-tax "blue" states to lower-tax "red" states.
They believe that this has something to do with the provision in the latest tax bill that caps the amount of state income tax that can be deducted from federal income tax. That particular feature was one that Moore was among the first to cheer when the bill was still in draft form. (Did he, I wonder, have something to do with writing that particular provision?)
We were told that a cap on the state-tax deduction would put pressure on high-tax states to reduce their taxes. It is not clear how that will happen if people unhappy with the cap leave those states, while people who can tolerate it remain.
In any case, I suggest that we must consider the possibility that this is another scheme to make sure that the GOP never controls Congress or the presidency again. Why else would anyone be happy that a bunch of voting Democrats (who, after all, are the reason that "blue" states are "blue") are moving into "red" states? (May 2018)
Who cares? Just enjoy ... and hope for more. In "Inside One of America's Ugliest Political Feuds: Cuomo vs. de Blasio" (April 23, 2018), Shane Goldmacher and
J. DavidGoodman of the New York Times ask, how did two Democrats, whose politics and goals often mesh, allow their onetime friendship to deteriorate to the point of pure contempt?
One possibility: both of these politicians are eminently contemptible. [Edward Morrison Morley] (April 2018)
MOR PROPAGDANDA, LES CHIKIN. The New Yorker whinges about the "invasion" of New York City by Christian chicken, in the form of Chick-fil-A: "No matter how well such restaurants integrate into the 'community,' they still venerate a deadening uniformity."
No word about the veneration of a deadening uniformity found in establishment magazine articles. [Edward Morrison Morley] (April 2018)
My take-away from the YouTube shooting: It's okay for vegans to shoot mammals, as long as they don't intend to eat them. [Ronn Neff] (April 2018)
Has anyone noticed that (so far) there haven't been any home-school shootings (even though doubtless some home-school parents are Second Amendment extremists)? [Edward Morrison Morley] (April 2018)
Well, what about blacks? Do you think all those ladies in big colorful hats and white gloves who go to their Baptist church every Sunday could learn anything at this workshop?"George Washington University to Host 'Christian Privilege' Workshop Days after Easter," by Samuel Smith,Or are lefties just completely tone-deaf? [Ronn Neff]
Nicholas Strakon comments: Make sure to catch the mention of "Islamomisia" in the linked article. It immediately became an entry in my New Newspeak dictionary, which I've been compiling for a while. Sooner or later, I probably ought to post what I've got. I encourage readers to send in their own sightings of kooky leftist coinages, including info on where and when they first spotted them. (April 2018)
Scandal in Airstrip One! Namely, "UK's left-wing Labour Party engulfed by anti-Semitism crisis," by Adam Shaw, Fox News.
You can practically hear the Foxers cackling over this.
I myself feel some Schadenfreude, since enough bad things can never happen to Reds.
My general message to them, however, would be: Don't worry, comrades. Ingsoc is safe in the hands of the Tories. (Can I get a rimshot?) [Nicholas Strakon] (April 2018)
The Facebook time-warp plopped something interesting into my feed the other day. (Kudos for the "Friend" who dug it up and posted it.)
"I see and hear a lot of talk," wrote "billj" at AllOutdoor in 2016, "about how a national gun registration and/or confiscation would be the trigger that would spark a second American Revolution, as patriots rise up to resist the jackbooted thugs who are going door-to-door taking away people's arms." The writer exhibited skepticism about the chances for such massive resistance, and I recommend his article to your attention: "The Democrats Will Never Confiscate Your Guns. Instead, You'll Hand them Over."
It's as if people have forgotten where we are in this country. In particular, many conservatives haven't put two and two together when it comes to the Central Government's vastly swollen police and national-security powers, which they seem as likely to cheer as condemn.
As the left-totalitarians never tire of reminding us, we're no longer living in the eighteenth century!
At any rate, what "billj" wrote reminds me of a "Stop and think" observation I wrote in February 2013 during another leftist uproar over citizens' right to defend themselves. Here it is:
Gunowners exposed! Not too long ago I saw another of those articles by a gunowner-rights guy confidently predicting mass civil disobedience in the face of the regime's renewed push to disarm the American people. Well, maybe. In the past I've advertised myself as a pessimist, but I'd really like you to take my cautionary response as nothing more than realism in action as a sort of tactical reconnaissance.
I list below the possible sanctions against non-cooperating gunowners that I was able to come up with in five minutes. (As you'll see if you hit the link, I didn't actually come up with the first one.) How many gunowners would persist in their resistance if the Authorities: required them (and their landlord or mortgage holder?) to buy expensive liability insurance;Most of the above "incentives" would encounter challenges in the regime's court system and even in the various assemblies of lawfakers. Nevertheless, now is a good time for gunowners in particular to reflect on how grievously they have become if I may yet again quote the title of Charlotte Twight's great book dependent on D.C. [End of 2013 observation.]
barred them from taking various customary tax deductions and tax credits;
barred them from federal mortgage subsidies;
barred them from government student loans;
barred them from government small-business loans;
barred them from bidding on government contracts or working for a government contractor;
mobilized the family-regulation authorities to investigate and otherwise harass them, if the gunowner were a parent of minor children;
denied child custody, if the gunowner were a divorced or separated parent;
authorized the IRS and provincial tax authorities to levy fines on them, along the lines of what the Obamacare enactment has already mandated;
authorized the levying of fines in the form of deductions from Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps, or the complete "sequestration" of benefits under those programs;
posed questions on the application for a drivers license, a business license, or vehicle registration about the extent of their cooperation, exposing non-cooperators to prosecution for fraud if they lied; or
seized their assets or just froze their bank and investment accounts?
Modine Herbey comments
(April 6):I understand where "billj" is coming from when he writes of Democrats wanting to confiscate guns, but who could be surprised if some of the measures he and Strakon mention are imposed by a Republican regime?
Bill Bennett, drug-war "czar" for the first President Bush, now says he supports gunowners' rights. That's great, but let's see what our Wayback Machine can tell us. Actually, modern incuriosity and amnesia being as bad as they are, it's hard to find mention on the Net of Bennett's earlier iniquity, but Dave Kopel cited it in a piece he wrote in 2009 about the "czar" picked by President Obama:Before the dark days of the Clinton administration, few federal government officials had done more to damage Second Amendment rights than William Bennett, the so-called "drug czar" under [Republican] President George H.W. Bush. In March 1989, Bennett set off a national panic by pushing the first Bush administration to ban the import of so-called "assault weapons."Ah, yes, 1994. More Republican profiles in courage emerged: "Ford, Carter, Reagan Push for Gun Ban," by William J. Eaton, Los Angeles Times, May 5, 1994. Two Republican presidents there.
Bennett claimed that "assault weapons" were the firearms of choice for violent drug dealers. The claim, of course, was nonsense. Police gun seizure data showed that the guns were rarely used in any type of crime. Yet Bennett's massive publicity stunt prohibited dozens of models of high-quality guns. And it set the stage for state-level bans on so-called "assault weapons," and, in the long run, for the 1994 Clinton gun ban.
We've recently heard the current Republican president dismiss due process in respect to gunowners, but you may have missed this other stinking lump of repulsiveness, from last year: "Trump administration asks Supreme Court to reject 2nd Amendment claim by men who lost gun rights over nonviolent crimes," by David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times, May 25, 2017.
See what I mean? (April 2018)
Curses! Outflanked again! According to the Washington Times, the recently passed
$1.3 trillionspending bill preserved "the controversial EB-5 investor visa program, dubbed the 'golden visa,' which allows wealthy foreigners willing to invest a hefty chunk of change into an American business to get on a path to citizenship."
Sen. Chuck Grassley and Rep. Bob Goodlatte, chairmen of the Senate and House judiciary committees, had been trying to force reforms on the program, but they said wealthy business interests outflanked them.
Now, just what does that mean?
Did those tricky wealthy business interests somehow meddle with the vote count?
Did they sneak in a palimpsest substitute for the actual bill?
Just how did they outwit these poor legislators? Is there something in the legislative process that permits "wealthy business interests" to rewrite bills? Do their votes count somehow? Did they trick the chairmen into being absent when the bill was being debated?
Inquiring minds (which category apparently does not include the newswriters) want to know. [Ronn Neff] (March 2018)
The big walkout. Nothing screams rebellion like government schools encouraging government students to demonstrate in favor of government restrictions on non-government gun ownership. [Tony Pivetta] (March 2018)
Only one sure way. We were told that the idea behind reducing the federal income-tax deduction for state income taxes was that it would marshal pressure on high-tax (blue) states to reduce their taxes. Conservatives from Larry Kudlow and Grover Norquist to Rush Limbaugh hailed this measure as ending "subsidies" to blue states from lower-tax (red) states.
How well is that working? Take a look at Elise Young's
March 13story at Bloomberg: "New Jersey's New Budget Aims to Raise Taxes on Almost Everything."
My famously pollyannish impulses seem to have gotten the better of me again: I would have thought that even conservatives had learned by now that there is only one sure way to get states to lower taxes:
Make them do it. The image of King John surrounded by armed barons comes to mind. [Ronn Neff] (March 2018)
Transparodistic, not from The Onion, etc., etc. Thanks to the Daily Mail, this grotesquerie out of Douglasville, Georgia, now resides in our brain: "Parents pull daughter, 7, out of school after she portrayed a racist character in a play for the class where she was the only white student and told a black peer 'Go home, you don't belong here!'" by Anneta Konstantinides,
These parents think it's a good idea to send their daughter to a school where she's one of a handful of white children. But to portray a racist in a play! they draw the line there.(a) It's a good thing no one has written a play about the life and films of Butterfly McQueen.
(b) Presumably the parents wouldn't mind if the kid was in a play in which she played Lizzie Borden.
Modine Herbey comments: Comrade Parents, please reconsider! White children are scarce and getting scarcer! We need them to play such roles! (March 2018)
Down with school prisons! Some very sharp analysis here by John W. Whitehead: "Say No to 'Hardening' the Schools with Zero Tolerance Policies and Gun-Toting Cops," LewRockwell.com, March 15, 2018.
The "hardening" proposals would just lead to more of what we've been seeing for decades: civilization receding and totalitarianism advancing speeding and worsening the civilizational collapse.
More school cops would mean more bullying of kids. Bullying kids is far safer than fighting those who would kill kids.
The "zero tolerance" insanity is a perfect example of what the late Sam Francis called "anarcho-tyranny" anarchy meaning chaos, in this case.
The entire government "education" system must be torn out, root and branch. That would put us on the road to real anarchy meaning peace, justice, and natural order. [Nicholas Strakon] (March 2018)
I'll never look at Halloween the same way again. Today, all good comrades, including the little comrades doing the school walkouts, are supposed to wear orange.
It transpires that orange is the color for protesting "gun violence." Did you know that? Today's the first I've heard of it, but so often, I'm just slow.
Come to find out, the orange thing has been leftist policy since 2015, according to this bit from CNN that I found whilst googling:Orange was chosen to symbolize the value of human life and is worn as a signal that wearers do not want to be the next victim of gun violence, [an oddly named source] said. The idea comes from hunters, who wear the color to alert fellow hunters to their presence in densely wooded areas.When I spot such things, I always ask, Wouldn't it be interesting to know who came up with that piece of agitprop? And even more interesting, to know how the idea-transmission machinery worked, following the original inspiration? Well! In the story quoted above, CNN actually offers some answers, with respect to the orange brainstorm: "Why people are #WearingOrange today," by Wyatt Massey,
Don't you wish liberty-minded folk had a transmission belt like that? [Nicholas Strakon] (March 2018)
Freedom or ...? Get a load of this: "Poll on Diversity vs. Free Speech among College Students: 'Inclusivity' Is Better Than Freedom," by Steve Sailer, VDare, March 12, 2018.
I always seek the silver lining, as you know, so suffice it to say that I'm glad our adversaries have now formulated the dichotomy in a way that's so clear and explicit.
Another way of putting it: It's great that they've taken to wearing such bright colors. No camouflage for them. [Nicholas Strakon] (March 2018)
How Minitrue phrases it for hoi polloi. When he was governor, Mike Pence resisted forcing Hoosier taxpayers to finance the resettlement of Syrian immigrants in Indiana. On March 2, the Fort Wayne CBS affiliate, WANE-TV, ran a brief report on a Central Government court's decision about that resistance. The newsreader said:
"... [A] federal judge says that Indiana must allow Syrian refugees to resettle in the state. Former Governor Mike Pence cited terrorism fears when he stopped state agencies from paying to help relocate Syrians to Indiana. The ACLU of Indiana sued, arguing that Pence's order illegally targeted Syrians based on their nationality, and that it violated the U.S. Constitution and federal law. The judge agreed." (My emphasis.)
Generally there's nothing worse than TV news, but as you'll see if you read the AP's story of March 1, its formulation of the issue isn't much better.
There was, of course, no state law or regulation preventing Syrians who were legally in the country from moving to Indiana. If a Syrian called up Allied Van Lines saying he wanted to move from Dayton to Muncie, the company was not required to inform the Indiana State Police.
Again we see that, for the totalitarians, failing to subsidize an activity is equivalent to banning it. It seems to parallel T.H. White's rule for the ant colony: "EVERYTHING NOT FORBIDDEN IS COMPULSORY." [Nicholas Strakon] (March 2018)
Flanked by happy fascists from the steel and aluminum industries, Mr. Thompson oh, excuse me, Mr. Trump, on
March 1promised to impose protective tariffs on steel and aluminum imports into the land area claimed by the great crime organization in Washington, D.C.
From Politico:President Donald Trump on Thursday ignited a possible trade war by announcing a decision to impose tariffs ofSeeing the televised event before reading the Politico piece, I wondered where Trump derived this particular authority to "rule by decree," in the style that Republicans screamed so loudly about when the Unicorn Prince exercised it. I suspected, though, that it was all "legal" (within the universe of government "law") and proceeded from yet another surrender by Congress of its constitutional prerogatives.
25 percenton steel imports and 10 percenton aluminum to protect both industries from unfairly traded imports that the Commerce Department has determined pose a threat to national security.
25 percentfor steel. It will be 10 percentfor aluminum. It'll be for a long period of time," Trump said at a listening [sic] session with steel and aluminum industry executives at the White House. "We'll be signing it next week. And you'll have protection."
But Trump's authority was established long before the ruling class invented Obama and installed him in the Palace. From the article:Trump ordered the Commerce Department to initiate investigations last April examining whether the imports posed a threat to national security. The probes were invoked under the rarely used Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962."Trade Expansion Act" that's very good, isn't it? And some people think fascists have no sense of humor.
Commerce released the findings of those investigations and its recommendations earlier in February, finding that imports of the metals did endanger national security.
Nowhere in the Politico article do I see any mention of the effect that higher steel and aluminum prices will have on Americans except for those Americans at the Pentagon. And the message there is, Not to worry.
During the TV event, Trump actually boasted about his earlier tariff on washing machines, raising the price of those items for ordinary Americans. It's a new frontier in populism, I guess, especially when you throw in his recent attacks on gunowners' rights and due process. [Nicholas Strakon]
Modine Herbey comments. "Mr. Thompson" is good, but "Mr. McKinley" would be good, too. Or "Mr. Herbert Hoover." Along with some other ancient GOP names I could mention. I'm just sayin', this is some old-time Republican religion we got goin' here. (March 2018)
Further reading on the tariff power surrendered to our Mr. Thompsons, past and present: "Presidential Authority to Raise Tariffs," by Jean Heilman Grier, Perspectives on Trade, January 10, 2017.
"Officer safety," in spades. I have to say, I was already fed up with all the pompous nonsense about cops "putting their lives on the line," etc. After all, what about the lumberjacks, farmers, miners, fishermen, linemen, construction workers, and all the others that work at jobs much more dangerous? They put their lives on the line, too, so that we can live comfortably in the modern world, but they don't rate the same kind of regard, apparently.
Those guys don't get the enormous traffic-blocking funeral motorcades, with saluting firemen on the overpasses; the lugubrious candlelight "tributes"; the faked sadness on the face of newsreaders reporting on some uniformed thug who stumbled into the path of a bullet.
The thing is, after all that blather about "putting their lives on the line," when the time comes for cops to actually do it, as often as not it seems that they don't. During the Virginia Tech massacre, for instance, the cops waited outside for five minutes, giving the shooter time to take out more innocents before finally making himself safely dead.
The same thing happened in Florida on
February 14.There was a "resource officer" the educationist term for campus cop on the scene, who conspicuously did nothing. And then three more cops showed up, and also did nothing. In fact, they didn't even surround the building to keep the perpetrator from getting away which he did. They just cowered and listened to the screams of kids getting shot.
When I was young, I learned at some point that bullies were usually cowards: if you stood up to them, they usually backed down. And so it seems to be with the uniformed kind. Oh, it's good fun to have a uniform and a badge and a sidearm, and to use them to intimidate the taxpayers. You've got your "officer safety" training to justify shooting unarmed citizens first and asking questions later: "The officer perceived a credible threat when the 62-year-old grandmother reached for her purse. It was a justified shooting."
And, let's face it, most actual criminals are so pathetic they're not really much of a threat. In fact, if you want to beat up on them, chances are no one's going to believe them when they say they didn't resist. Or you can just steal their money and drugs, as the Los Angeles cops did in the Rampart scandal, or the Baltimore cops convicted just a few weeks ago. Or the Chicago cops just indicted. Or the Philadelphia cop recently indicted.
But every once in a while an actual threat to the citizenry comes along the kind of threat against which you're actually supposed to put your life on the line, to save the lives of innocents. And what happens then, Mr. Tough Guy?
So I don't expect you to protect me or anything. Just, please don't gratuitously shoot me during a traffic stop, okay? And also, don't give us any more rubbish about "lives on the line." That's all I ask. [David T. Wright] (March 2018)
If the cops can't do it, no one can. Certain anti-gunowner folk are summoning the gall to, er, argue that since the deputy on duty at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School failed to defend the unarmed people in the school, no one can be expected to undertake an armed defense against armed aggression. I just saw a long Facebook post detailing past instances of cop incompetence with firearms, seeking to undermine President Trump's notion about arming teachers, who surely would be more incompetent than the cops. Here's a piece in Deadline Hollywood that uses the deputy's inaction to claim that defense against aggression is futile. And here's Chris Cillizza's version of the same leftist tune, at CNN. (For Cillizza, "doesn't always" apparently has the same argumentative power as "never.")
The leftists' premise seems to be that since guns are BAD, only BAD people can succeed in using them. One implication might be that if cops are GOOD, then they might as well be disarmed. However, in most other contexts leftists seem to believe that cops are BAD, even though they are the left-totalitarian regime's first line of enforcement and defense. In fact, some variety of armed cops would have to carry out any gun confiscation and prohibition. The Party line is very confusing, as we might expect it to be, since it doesn't depend on actual thinking.
One may notice that, as usual, the leftists are ignoring the blizzard of examples of righteously armed people successfully defending themselves, their loved ones, and their property against attackers who were armed or physically stronger.
In any case, arming (and training) teachers isn't the only possibility for anti-Left people to consider. How about private professional security, dependent on operational success in order to survive in a competitive market? That very solution would prevail, no doubt, if school and state were separated.
The leftists' incompetent-cop argument makes as much sense as a claim that if Stalinist agriculture was a disaster, then free-market agriculture must be a disaster, too. And if Venezuelan supermarket shelves are empty, then American supermarket shelves must be empty, too ooops! It ain't so. [Nicholas Strakon] (February 2018)
The Russia mania. It's unlikely that Russia will go communist again, and it's just a shame. Our liberal conspiratorialists would quiet down immediately. Getting the neocons out of our face, though that's a tougher proposition. [Nicholas Strakon] (February 2018)
Quotation of the Day. In the New York Times, February 17: "This kid exhibited every single known red flag, from killing animals to having a cache of weapons to disruptive behavior to saying he wanted to be a school shooter. If this isn't a person who should have gotten someone's attention, I don't know who is. This was a multi-system failure." That's a quote from Howard Finkelstein, the Broward County public defender, whose office is representing Nikolas Cruz, the suspect in the mass shooting last Wednesday at a Florida high school.
Hard to know what Finkelstein is getting at here, except maybe that his client is innocent because he should have been locked up before he murdered people. Or something like that.
Of course, we all know Nikolas Cruz is just a victim of the system and should get a disability pension, not jail time. Wouldn't be surprised to find out that his actions were a consequence of 1) racism, 2) prejudice against weirdos, 3) gender bias, or 4) economic inequality. Or all four. What the authorities need to do is identify which member of the establishment "triggered" such behavior in the first place. Most likely somebody in the White House. [Edward Morrison Morley] (February 2018)
A valentine for America: Forget all the politics about the portraits of Obama and the missus. And the anti-white hate speech of the president's artist. Just forget all that. One fact about the two portraits.
They are cheap-looking and cartoonishly ridiculous. On the other hand, America deserves nothing better. [Ronn Neff] (February 2018)
Further reading: "Affirmative-Action Portraits," by
Gregory Hood, American Renaissance,
Even libertarians don't get it: When we say we are against, say, rap "music," we do not mean we want the state to get involved in it one way or the other. What we mean is that we want the people to reject it and with their free decisions make it less ubiquitous. We don't want a rap culture, and we want our fellow citizens, with their own decisions, to protect the country from having one.
When we say we are against Third World immigration, open-borders libertarians think we favor government control of immigration. They seem to think that every "for" or "against" has to involve the state.
That is not what we think. We do not mean we want the state to get involved in it one way or the other. What we mean is that we want the people to reject it and with their free decisions make it less ubiquitous. We don't want a Third World culture, and we want our fellow citizens, with their own decisions, to protect the country from having one. [Ronn Neff] (February 2018)
Published in 2018 by WTM Enterprises.