Seed Starting Class, Jan. 23rd, 2021

 

Seed Starting Class

Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021  1:00-3:00 pm

Bill and Julie Michener’s house

Text 509-830-5431 to RSVP

 

Class content: seed sources, what kind and how much to order for your household, sprouting methods, hardening off, transplanting, seed saving, storage and more.

There will also be a garden tour to look at the instructors’ 14’×37′ poly tunnel and cold frames to see what all we are growing and harvesting right now with no heat.

KREM2: Spokane Valley Reps introduce bill to create ‘Liberty State’ in Eastern Washington

This article comes from KREM2 – Spokane Valley Reps introduce bill to create ‘Liberty State’ in Eastern Washington

Two Representatives to the State legislature out of Spokane Valley introduced a bill on Monday to create “Liberty State,” which would separate Eastern and Western Washington.

Liberty State’s western border would be along the “crest of the Cascade mountains and the western 8 borders of Okanogan, Chelan, Kittitas, Yakima, and Klickitat counties,” according to the bill. The eastern, northern and southern borders would remain the same.

The bill also outlines transition committees that would aid in the new state’s creation and set up representation for the new government.

Representatives Bob McCaslin and Rob Chase wrote the bill…

Both the Washington State Legislature and Congress would have to approve of the creation of the new state.

 

From libertystate.org:

The Liberty State Movement is an effort to create a new state from Washington State based upon political and geographic lines. Since the formation of Washington State in 1889, people of the eastern and rural parts of Washington State have felt separate from the western capitol in Olympia. As our economies and beliefs grew in separate directions, the chasm has deepened and left Western Washington holding all of the political representation, with little regard or accountability to eastern residents. The current proposal to create Liberty State would draw the boundary down the Cascade Crest. Those counties to the west would remain Washington State, and those counties to the east would be a new state…

Recently, the state legislature has shown a willingness to operate without regard for the powers given, or rights protected in, the Washington State or United States Constitution. The east side is predominantly rural and the west is predominantly urban, with vastly different cultures. There is nothing wrong with either. However, this population disparity has allowed the urban majority to determine nearly every vote. Thus, the rural side of the state is failing to be represented on every major issue in the last thirty years. On the other side, legislation dear to the urban majority has been hampered to the consternation of many in Seattle. Tax limitations have been passed, also hampering mass transit and raising the ire of many in the urban core. The Founders believed that the best representation was closest to the people. Indeed, with a new state, both east and west would be better represented.

Sovereign Man: Everything’s Fine, There’s Absolutely Nothing to See Here

This is fine.

Simon Black, the Sovereign Man, writes Everything’s fine, there’s absolutely nothing to see here about normalcy bias and the failure to see the oncoming truck.

In the darkest corners of our human instincts lies a psychological phenomenon that is the result of millions of years of evolutionary biology.

It’s called “tonic immobility”. And it refers to a form of paralysis that occurs when we’re terrified and facing extreme mental or emotional trauma.

Tonic immobility is common in nature. Animals in the wild will often freeze in place when confronted by a predator; the idea is that making no movement, and doing absolutely nothing, increases their chances of survival because the threat will simply go away.

But as anyone who has ever been on safari or seen a nature documentary knows, the danger seldom goes away on its own.

This instinct to ‘do nothing’ in the presence of danger runs very deep in our instincts; and it’s related to a cognitive quirk within our brains that psychologists call ‘normalcy bias’.

We’ve discussed this before. Normalcy bias is what causes human beings to believe, even in the face of obvious perils, that everything is going to be just fine.

Humans are creatures of habit. We easily fall into routines—waking up, going to work, stopping by the coffee shop on the way, spending time with the family in the evening, etc. And those routines define ‘normal’ for each and every one of us.

When the routine is disrupted, we often have a difficult time coping—even with little things. If the bakery down the street is out of the croissant flavor that we order every morning on the way to work, we’re irritated by it and don’t want to break routine by trying something new.

And major disruptions to our ‘normal’ are met by severe psychological backlash. Our brains simply refuse to acknowledge it.

This is normalcy bias. It’s one of the reasons why denial is the first stage of grief. We cannot accept the loss of a loved one who has been part of our routine– our brains won’t allow it.

Or occasionally we might find out someone has passed, and our first reaction is, “But I just saw them last week!” Again, our brains have an extremely difficult time grasping the concept that our deeply entrenched ‘normal’ is about to change.

And that’s why, when faced with something obvious that threatens our ‘normal’, it’s common for us to instinctively do nothing. Our brains are hard wired to believe that the danger will resolve itself and everything will go back to ‘normal’.

Many of us felt this way in 2020.

When the pandemic struck, it was terrifying. No one really understood anything about it; the media practically made it out to be a flesh-eating superbug that would vaporize everyone immediately.

And in the face of this threat, it was easy for politicians to convince people to literally do absolutely nothing: stay home, and shelter in place.

The idea was that if we waited long enough—if we froze in fear long enough—then the danger would pass.

And people maintained a belief throughout the year that life would eventually return to normal, no matter how crazy the world became.

When we were locked down in our homes, we believed that life would return to normal.

When mostly peaceful protestors were rioting and raging in the streets, torching private businesses that had absolutely nothing to do with their cause, we believed that life would return to normal.

When angry Marxists political candidates raged that they want to confiscate private property and nationalize entire industries, we believed that life would return to normal.

Today there are literally tanks lining in the streets of Washington DC and attack helicopters roaming the skies. A new US President is set to be inaugurated tomorrow with more than 20,000 troops guarding him.

They have already announced sweeping legislative and policy changes, ranging from substantially higher taxes to Green New nonsense to debilitating business regulations that will likely frustrate an already weakened economy.

There is absolutely zero fiscal or monetary restraint in government; there’s hardly a single policy initiative that doesn’t carry at least a trillion dollar price tag.

No one cares about the national debt—which is set to reach $30 trillion within the next few months, or the fact that the central bank balance sheet will likely pass $10 trillion this year.

Their solution to everything is to squash productivity and print money.

Yet still, countless people believe that life will return to normal. For them, part of their ‘normal’ is that America is safe, stable, and powerful… and always will be.

Their brains simply cannot accept a reality in which the country they love so dearly has changed. And it’s not going back.

This is normalcy bias, and it compels countless people to do absolutely nothing in the face of obvious threats.

When you see a government racking up trillions of dollars a year in wasteful new debt, and a central bank printing trillions of dollars of new money, a rational person would take steps to preserve his/her savings.

When the Treasury Secretary states in black and white that the Social Security trust funds will run out of money in a few years, a rational person would take steps to safeguard his/her retirement.

When the nation has become so fractured in conflict that it takes tanks and 20,000+ troops to hold a ceremony in the capital, a rational person would create a Plan B and have some backup options.

But normalcy bias makes us believe that everything is going to back to normal. So we freeze in place and do nothing.

There are plenty of solutions to mitigate these threats. But the most important thing to do right now is overcome normalcy bias.

Pluralistic: Censorship, Parler and Antitrust

Today’s post – Censorship, Parler, and Antitrust – by Cory Doctorow of Pluralistic found its way to us through Kyle Rankin of Purism article/sales pitch Parler Tricks. Both talk about some recent deplatforming, especially of social media application Parler.

As Parler disappears from the Android and Ios app stores and faces being kicked off of Amazon’s (and other) clouds, people who worry about monopolized corporate control over speech are divided over What It Means.

There’s an obvious, trivial point to be made here: Twitter, Apple and Google are private companies. When they remove speech on the basis of its content, it’s censorship, but it’s not government censorship. It doesn’t violate the First Amendment.

And yes, of course it’s censorship. They have made a decision about the type and quality of speech they’ll permit, and they enforce that decision using the economic, legal and technical tools at their disposal.

If I invited you to my house for dinner and said, “Just so you know, no one is allowed to talk about racism at the table,” it would be censorship. If I said “no one is allowed to say racist things at the table,” it would also be censorship.

I censor my daughter when I tell her not to swear. I censor other Twitter users when I hide their replies to my posts. I censor commenters on my blog when I delete their replies.

Dress is up as “content removal” or “moderation” if you’d like, but it’s obviously censorship.

That’s fine. Different social spaces have different rules and norms. I disagree with some censorship and support other censorship. Some speech is illegal (nonconsensual pornography, specific incitements to violence, child sex abuse material) and the government censors it.

Other speech is distasteful or hateful (slurs, insults) and the proprietors of different speech forums censor it. This legal-but-distasteful speech is a mushy, amorphous category.

I’m totally OK with hilarious dunks on the insurrectionists who stormed the capitol. Tell jokes about Holocaust victims and I’ll throw you out of my house or block you.

And when I do, you can go to your house and tell Holocaust jokes.

I’m not gonna lie. I don’t like the idea of anyone telling Holocaust jokes anywhere. Or rape jokes. Or racist jokes. But I have made my peace with the fact that there are private spaces where that will happen.

I condemn those spaces and their proprietors, but I don’t want them to be outlawed.

Which brings me back to Parler. It’s true that no one violates the First Amendment (let alone CDA 230) (get serious) when Parler is removed from app stores or kicked off a cloud.

But we have a duopoly of mobile platforms, an oligopoly of cloud providers, a small conspiracy of payment processors. Their choices about who make speak are hugely consequential, and concerted effort by all of them could make some points of view effectively vanish.

This market concentration didn’t occur in a vacuum. These vital sectors of the digital economy became as concentrated as they are due to four decades of shameful, bipartisan neglect of antitrust law.

And while failing to enforce antitrust law doesn’t violate the First Amendment, it can still lead to government sanctioned incursions on speech.

The remedy for this isn’t forcing the platforms to carry objectionable speech.

The remedy is enforcing antitrust so that the censorship policies of two app stores don’t carry the force of law; and it’s ending the laws (copyright, cybersecurity, etc) that allow these companies to control who can install what on their devices.

https://locusmag.com/2020/01/cory-doctorow-inaction-is-a-form-of-action/

I got into a good discussion of this on a private mailing list this morning and then I adapted them and published them in the public “State of the World 2021” discussion on The WELL.

https://people.well.com/conf/inkwell.vue/topics/510/State-of-the-World-2021-page04.html#post82

There are three posts: the first deals with Apple and Google’s insistence that they removed Parler because it lacked an effective hate-speech filter. Given that there is no such thing as an effective hate-speech filter, this is obvious bullshit.

The second addresses the fundamental problems of moderation at scale, where you are entrusting a large number of employees to enforce policies against “hate speech.”

https://people.well.com/conf/inkwell.vue/topics/510/State-of-the-World-2021-page04.html#post83

The biggest problem here is that “almost-hate-speech” is emotionally equivalent to “hate speech” for the people it’s directed at. If tech companies specify hate speech, trolls will deploy almost-hate-speech (and goad their targets into crossing the line, then narc them out).

And if tech companies tell moderators to nuke bad speech without defining it, the mods will make stupid, terrible mistakes and users will be thrown into the meat-grinder of the stupid, terrible banhammer appeals process.

The final post asks what Apple and Google should do about Parler?

https://people.well.com/conf/inkwell.vue/topics/510/State-of-the-World-2021-page04.html#post84

They should remove it, and tell users, “We removed Parler because we think it is a politically odious attempt to foment violence. Our judgment is subjective and may be wielded against others in future. If you don’t like our judgment, you shouldn’t use our app store.”

I’m 100% OK with that: first, because it is honest; and second, because it invites the question, “How do we switch app stores?”


FFF: The Real Constitutional Crisis

Laurence Vance at the Future of Freedom Foundation talks about the ever-spreading Constitutional crisis in the US.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a crisis (plural: crises) is:

All federal programs that are not explicitly authorized by the Constitution should be eliminated.
[Click to Tweet]

1a: the turning point for better or worse in an acute disease or fever

b: a paroxysmal attack of pain, distress, or disordered function

c: an emotionally significant event or radical change of status in a person’s life; a midlife crisis

2: the decisive moment (as in a literary plot); The crisis of the play occurs in Act 3.

3a: an unstable or crucial time or state of affairs in which a decisive change is impending; especially: one with the distinct possibility of a highly undesirable outcome; a financial crisis, the nation’s energy crisis

b: a situation that has reached a critical phase; the environmental crisis, the unemployment crisis

And likewise in other dictionaries.

The Constitution

Regardless of any flaws or problems that the Constitution had or has (the countenance of slavery, the assumption of the right of eminent domain, ambiguous clauses, the income tax), it is the supreme law of the land that the federal government is supposed to follow. The Constitution is neither a long nor an obscure document. Any American with a computer or smart phone can access it in a matter of seconds. Yet most Americans are woefully ignorant about the Constitution.

The Constitution was drafted in 1787, ratified in 1788, and took effect in 1789. It established the United States as a federal system of government where the states, through the Constitution, granted a limited number of powers to a central government. As James Madison, the father of the Constitution, so eloquently explained in Federalist No. 45,

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the Federal Government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State Governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will for the most part be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects, which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties and properties of the people; and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.

There are about thirty enumerated congressional powers listed throughout the Constitution. Most of those powers are found in the eighteen paragraphs of Article I, Section 8. Six of them concern the militia and the military. Four of them concern taxes and money. The rest relate to commerce, naturalization, bankruptcies, post offices and post roads, copyrights and patents, the federal courts, maritime crimes, and the governance of the District of Columbia. The last paragraph gives Congress the power “to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers.” The Bill of Rights (the first ten Amendments to the Constitution) was added to the Constitution in 1791. The first eight Amendments protect civil liberties and fundamental rights. the Ninth and Tenth Amendments make it clear that all rights and powers not delegated to the federal government are retained by the people and the states.

The ignorance that most Americans have of the Constitution is exceeded by the ignorance of the Constitution that most congressmen have. Members of Congress swear to uphold the Constitution. Article VI, Clause 3, of the Constitution requires that senators and representatives be “bound by oath or affirmation, to support this constitution.” U.S. law requires that members of Congress be sworn in before they can take their seats. The congressional oath of office begins, “I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.” One would think that members of Congress — most of whom have at least a bachelor’s degree and many of whom are lawyers — would have a firm grasp of what the Constitution says. Yet they are often the worst offenders when it comes to violations of the Constitution.

The crisis

It was called a constitutional crisis.

After the death of a black man, George Floyd, while in the custody of a white Minneapolis police officer on May 25, anti-police demonstrations erupted in large, predominantly black cities across the country. Yet, Portland, Oregon, which is about 77 percent white and 6 percent black, became the epicenter of anti-police demonstrations this past summer. Some of the demonstrations were peaceful, but others not so much. Protesters shut down streets, broke windows, set fires, committed acts of vandalism and looting, and clashed with police. Then, on July 10, it was reported that armed federal forces were making arrests and using tear gas against the demonstrators.

Writing in the Guardian, Trevor Timm, the executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, mentioned the Constitution in his report about Portland: “A remarkable and nightmarish scene playing out in Portland should terrify anyone who cares about the US constitution: unmarked vans full of camouflaged and unidentified federal agents are pulling up next to protesters on street corners, then snatching and arresting them with no explanation.” Writing for the Associated Press, journalist Gillian Flaccus is the one who termed the events in Oregon a “constitutional crisis”: “Federal law enforcement officers’ actions at protests in Oregon’s largest city, done without local authorities’ consent, are raising the prospect of a constitutional crisis — one that could escalate as weeks of demonstrations find renewed focus in clashes with camouflaged, unidentified agents outside Portland’s U.S. courthouse.” In a lawsuit filed against the Department of Homeland Security, the United States Marshals Service, Customs and Border Protection, and the Federal Protective Service, the Oregon Attorney General, Ellen Rosenblum, accused the federal agencies of violating the constitutional rights of Oregon residents.

According to the Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Paragraph 15): “[Congress shall have power to] provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions.” The Insurrection Act of 1807 requires state legislatures or governors to request help from the federal government. It empowers the president to call into service the U.S. Armed Forces and the National Guard to address “an insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination or conspiracy, in any state, which results in the deprivation of Constitutionally secured rights, and where the state is unable, fails, or refuses to protect said rights.” The armed federal forces that descended uninvited on Portland were not members of the Militia, U.S. Armed Forces, or the National Guard. Under the guise of “protecting” federal property and maintaining “law and order,” they were functioning as de facto secret police — wearing military fatigues, sporting all manner of weapons, driving unmarked vehicles, compiling dossiers on journalists, grabbing people indiscriminately off the streets without regard to their lawful presence or personal behavior, assaulting people who weren’t engaged in criminal activity, detaining people who weren’t near federal property, and holding people for hours without charge.

But according to acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Chad Wolf, “I don’t need invitations by the state, state mayors, or state governors, to do our job. We’re going to do that, whether they like us there or not.” According to attorney and chronicler of the police state John Whitehead, “Just about every nefarious deed, tactic or thuggish policy advanced by the government today can be traced back to the DHS, its police state mindset, and the billions of dollars it distributes to local police agencies in the form of grants to transform them into extensions of the military.”

Constitutional scholar and senior judicial analyst at Fox News Judge Andrew Napolitano well explained the constitutional crisis in Portland:

The only constitutional role for armed federal forces in Portland, Oregon, was to assist U.S. marshals in protecting federal property and personnel there.

Under the U.S. Constitution, the feds have no lawful role in policing streets unless requested to do so by the governor or legislature of any state.

The feds’ activities are unconstitutional because they are using government force to arrest people without probable cause or arrest warrants. We know there is no legal basis for these “arrests,” as they have not charged anyone.

The First Amendment to the Constitution requires the government to protect speech, not assault those who exercise it. If these indiscriminate beatings and kidnappings are intended to deter folks from publicly dissenting, it is profoundly unconstitutional, counterproductive and will be costly to the federal government.

Under the Constitution, the ability to regulate for health and safety belongs to the states and local governments. The feds simply do not have the lawful authority to fill in gaps in local law enforcement, no matter how offended they may be.

This last point is why Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ken.) commented about the situation in Portland, “We cannot give up liberty for security. Local law enforcement can and should be handling these situations in our cities but there is no place for federal troops or unidentified federal agents rounding people up at will.”

Past constitutional crises

There have been other constitutional crises since the adoption of the Constitution in 1789.

The Constitution wasn’t even ten years old when the first constitutional crisis took place. In 1798, in the name of “national security,” the Federalist majority in Congress passed, and President John Adams signed into law, four pieces of legislation known collectively known as the Alien and Sedition Acts. The Naturalization Act, the Alien Friends Act, and the Alien Enemies Act targeted noncitizens (who were perceived to be political opponents of the Federalists) by extending the residency period for aliens seeking citizenship, allowed the president during peacetime to imprison or deport aliens considered “dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States,” and authorized the president to imprison or deport any male citizen of a hostile nation above the age of 14 during times of war. The most egregious piece of legislation was the Sedition Act. It authorized fines or imprisonment for persons who, in speech or print, criticized “the government of the United States, or either house of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States.” (The office of the vice president, which at the time was held by Adams’s nemesis, Thomas Jefferson, was not mentioned.) Critics of the Sedition Act argued that it blatantly violated the freedom of speech and freedom of the press clauses of the First Amendment. Federal courts prosecuted many Jeffersonian newspaper editors for violating the Sedition Act.

The so-called Civil War was itself a constitutional crisis. According to Thomas J. DiLorenzo, author of The Problem with Lincoln (2020), Abraham Lincoln ruled as a de facto dictator. He essentially “resurrected the Sedition Act,” imprisoned judges, suspended the writ of habeas corpus, authorized government officials to read Americans’ mail, imprisoned “tens of thousands of Northern state citizens” for “criticizing the government,” and “shut down more than three hundred opposition newspapers in the Northern states.”

The Sedition Act was actually resurrected in 1918 while the United States was fighting World War I. The Espionage Act of 1917 made it a crime for any person to convey information intended to interfere with the U.S. war effort. The Sedition Act amended and broadened the Espionage Act. It effectively criminalized speech and expression that criticized the government. Whoever “shall willfully utter, print, write, or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States, or the Constitution of the United States, or the military or naval forces of the United States, or the flag” could receive a $10,000 fine and twenty years in jail. Under the Sedition Act, Americans were arrested for reading aloud the Declaration of Independence or singing German beer-hall songs. Although World War I ended in 1918, the Sedition Act was not repealed until 1921.

More recently, there is the USA PATRIOT Act, passed in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. It vastly expanded the federal government’s authority to spy on Americans, while at the same time reducing checks and balances on those powers. It is an assault on both the First and Fifth Amendments. Napolitano terms sections 215 and 505 of the PATRIOT Act as “fatal to freedom,” “weapons of mass surveillance,” and “instruments of a totalitarian government that defy the Constitution.”

The real constitutional crisis

There is currently a constitutional crisis in America, and it has existed since long before the Portland protests and the PATRIOT Act. It is a crisis that has been perpetrated by both political parties in the Congress, approved by the president, sanctioned by the Supreme Court, and carried out by the bureaucrats who administer the myriad departments, bureaus, agencies, corporations, endowments, commissions, administrations, authorities, and boards of the federal government.

The existence of Social Security is a constitutional crisis. Not only is Social Security immoral because it takes money from those who work and gives it to those who don’t, the Constitution nowhere authorizes the federal government to have a retirement program, a pension plan, a forced savings account, or a disability plan.

The existence of Medicare and Medicaid is a constitutional crisis. Not only should no American be forced to pay for the health care of any other American, nowhere does the Constitution authorize the federal government to subsidize any American’s health insurance or health care, pay for anyone’s prescription drugs, have health-care programs, or have anything whatever to do with health insurance, health care, or medicine.

The existence of the war on drugs is a constitutional crisis. Not only is the drug war a failure and a colossal waste of the taxpayers’ money, nowhere does the Constitution authorize the federal government to regulate, monitor, or restrict Americans’ consumption, medical, or recreational habits; what Americans put in their mouths, noses, veins, or lungs; or Americans’ eating, drinking, or smoking habits.

The existence of federal aid to education is a constitutional crisis. Nowhere does the Constitution authorize the federal government to have a Head Start program, student loans, Pell Grants, teacher-education or certification requirements, school accreditation, math and science initiatives, a Department of Education, an Elementary and Secondary Education Act, a Higher Education Act, special-education mandates, or national standards, or to have anything to do with the education of anyone’s children. Education should be a service obtained on the free market just like any other service.

The existence of the welfare state is a constitutional crisis. Nowhere does the Constitution authorize the federal government to have food stamps, refundable tax credits, Section 8 housing vouchers, or entitlement programs. Nowhere does the Constitution authorize the government to fight poverty, maintain a safety net, provide public assistance, or guarantee income security. All charity should be private and voluntary.

The existence of foreign aid is a constitutional crisis. Article I, Section 8, Paragraph 1 of the Constitution says that the Congress shall have power “To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States.” It does not say that taxes should be collected to provide for the general welfare of people in other countries. Like domestic charity, foreign charity should be entirely voluntary.

The existence of federal subsidies for art, culture, and the humanities is a constitutional crisis. Government funding for them is basically providing welfare for cultural elitists. It is always immoral for the government to take the resources from some Americans and redistribute them to other Americans. And the Constitution nowhere authorizes the federal government to subsidize them. Although the Constitution does authorize the national government to issue patents and copyrights, it does not follow that that entails giving subsidies to inventors and writers.

The existence of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is a constitutional crisis. The TSA provides security for private entities — the airlines. But not only is the security provided not paid for, not asked for, and just security theater, the Constitution nowhere authorizes the federal government to provide security for the airlines or any other private business.

The existence of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (NRPC) is a constitutional crisis. Amtrak, as the NRPC is more commonly known, is a government corporation that has relied on government subsidies every year it has been in operation. But since when does the Constitution authorize the federal government to have a corporation, be a stockholder in a corporation, appoint and confirm a board of directors, or operate a passenger rail service?

The existence of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a constitutional crisis. The existence of the EEOC is predicated on the idea that the federal government should prevent and punish acts of discrimination in employment that it considers to be unjustified. But not only is discrimination not aggression, force, coercion, or violence — and therefore, as far as the law is concerned, not the concern of government — the Constitution nowhere authorizes the federal government to have an EEOC or oversee any employer’s hiring or firing practices.

The existence of the National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA) is a constitutional crisis. It outlaws the selling of one’s body organs. Aside from the obvious fact that if you own your own body, then you certainly own the organs in your body, the Constitution nowhere authorizes the federal government to be concerned in the least with what Americans want to do with the organs in their body.

What is so perplexing and frustrating about the massive constitutional crisis that the United States is in is that it could quickly and easily be fixed. All federal programs that are not explicitly authorized by the Constitution should be eliminated. All federal departments, bureaus, agencies, corporations, endowments, commissions, administrations, authorities, and boards that carry out functions not explicitly authorized by the Constitution should be shuttered. Doing that would reduce the federal government by about 95 percent. And therein lies the problem. Not only do the Congress, the hundreds of government agencies and programs, and the entrenched bureaucracy resist a reduction in the government of any size, most Americans receive some kind of payment, benefit, or subsidy from the federal government.

Imprimis: Orwell’s 1984 and Today

The following is a written adaptation for Imprimis of a speech given by Hillsdale College president Larry Arnn last November – Orwell’s 1984 and Today.

On September 17, Constitution Day, I chaired a panel organized by the White House. It was an extraordinary thing. The panel’s purpose was to identify what has gone wrong in the teaching of American history and to lay forth a plan for recovering the truth. It took place in the National Archives—we were sitting in front of the originals of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution—a very beautiful place. When we were done, President Trump came and gave a speech about the beauty of the American Founding and the importance of teaching American history to the preservation of freedom.

This remarkable event reminded me of an essay by a teacher of mine, Harry Jaffa, called “On the Necessity of a Scholarship of the Politics of Freedom.” Its point was that a certain kind of scholarship is needed to support the principles of a nation such as ours. America is the most deliberate nation in history—it was built for reasons that are stated in the legal documents that form its founding. The reasons are given in abstract and universal terms, and without good scholarship they can be turned astray. I was reminded of that essay because this event was the greatest exhibition in my experience of the combination of the scholarship and the politics of freedom.

The panel was part of an initiative of President Trump, mostly ignored by the media, to counter the New York Times’ 1619 Project. The 1619 Project promotes the teaching that slavery, not freedom, is the defining fact of American history. President Trump’s 1776 Commission aims to restore truth and honesty to the teaching of American history. It is an initiative we must work tirelessly to carry on, regardless of whether we have a president in the White House who is on our side in the fight.

We must carry on the fight because our country is at stake. Indeed, in a larger sense, civilization itself is at stake, because the forces arrayed against the scholarship and the politics of freedom today have more radical aims than just destroying America.

***

I taught a course this fall semester on totalitarian novels. We read four of them: George Orwell’s 1984, Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and C.S. Lewis’s That Hideous Strength.

The totalitarian novel is a relatively new genre. In fact, the word “totalitarian” did not exist before the 20th century. The older word for the worst possible form of government is “tyranny”—a word Aristotle defined as the rule of one person, or of a small group of people, in their own interests and according to their will. Totalitarianism was unknown to Aristotle, because it is a form of government that only became possible after the emergence of modern science and technology.

The old word “science” comes from a Latin word meaning “to know.” The new word “technology” comes from a Greek word meaning “to make.” The transition from traditional to modern science means that we are not so much seeking to know when we study nature as seeking to make things—and ultimately, to remake nature itself. That spirit of remaking nature—including human nature—greatly emboldens both human beings and governments. Imbued with that spirit, and employing the tools of modern science, totalitarianism is a form of government that reaches farther than tyranny and attempts to control the totality of things.

In the beginning of his history of the Persian War, Herodotus recounts that in Persia it was considered illegal even to think about something that was illegal to do—in other words, the law sought to control people’s thoughts. Herodotus makes plain that the Persians were not able to do this. We today are able to get closer through the use of modern technology. In Orwell’s 1984, there are telescreens everywhere, as well as hidden cameras and microphones. Nearly everything you do is watched and heard. It even emerges that the watchers have become expert at reading people’s faces. The organization that oversees all this is called the Thought Police.

If it sounds far-fetched, look at China today: there are cameras everywhere watching the people, and everything they do on the Internet is monitored. Algorithms are run and experiments are underway to assign each individual a social score. If you don’t act or think in the politically correct way, things happen to you—you lose the ability to travel, for instance, or you lose your job. It’s a very comprehensive system. And by the way, you can also look at how big tech companies here in the U.S. are tracking people’s movements and activities to the extent that they are often able to know in advance what people will be doing. Even more alarming, these companies are increasingly able and willing to use the information they compile to manipulate people’s thoughts and decisions.

The protagonist of 1984 is a man named Winston Smith. He works for the state, and his job is to rewrite history. He sits at a table with a telescreen in front of him that watches everything he does. To one side is something called a memory hole—when Winston puts things in it, he assumes they are burned and lost forever. Tasks are delivered to him in cylinders through a pneumatic tube. The task might involve something big, like a change in what country the state is at war with: when the enemy changes, all references to the previous war with a different enemy need to be expunged. Or the task might be something small: if an individual falls out of favor with the state, photographs of him being honored need to be altered or erased altogether from the records. Winston’s job is to fix every book, periodical, newspaper, etc. that reveals or refers to what used to be the truth, in order that it conform to the new truth.

One man, of course, can’t do this alone. There’s a film based on 1984 starring John Hurt as Winston Smith. In the film they depict the room where he works, and there are people in cubicles like his as far as the eye can see. There would have to be millions of workers involved in constantly re-writing the past. One of the chief questions raised by the book is, what makes this worth the effort? Why does the regime do it?

Winston’s awareness of this endless, mighty effort to alter reality makes him cynical and disaffected. He comes to see that he knows nothing of the past, of real history: “Every record has been destroyed or falsified,” he says at one point, “every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street and building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And that process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. . . . Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” Does any of this sound familiar?

In his disaffection, Winston commits two unlawful acts: he begins writing in a diary and he begins meeting a woman in secret, outside the sanction of the state. The family is important to the state, because the state needs babies. But the women are raised by the state in a way that they are not to enjoy relations with their husbands. And the children—as in China today, and as it was in the Soviet Union—are indoctrinated and taught to spy and inform on their parents. Parents love their children but live in terror of them all the time. Think of the control that comes from that—and the misery.

There are three stratums in the society of 1984. There is the Inner Party, whose members hold all the power. There is the Outer Party, to which Winston belongs, whose members work for—and are watched and controlled by—the Inner Party. And there are the proles, who live and do the blue collar work in a relatively unregulated area. Winston ventures out into that area from time to time. He finds a little shop there where he buys things. And it is in a room upstairs from this shop where he and Julia, the woman he falls in love with, set up a kind of household as if they are married. They create something like a private world in that room, although it is a world with limitations—they can’t even think about having children, for instance, because if they did, they would be discovered and killed.

In the end, it turns out that the shopkeeper, who had seemed to be a kindly old man, is in fact a member of the Thought Police. Winston and Julia’s room contained a hidden telescreen all along, so everything they have said and done has been observed. In fact, it emerges that the Thought Police have known that Winston has been having deviant thoughts for twelve years and have been watching him carefully. When the couple are arrested, they have made pledges that they will never betray each other. They know the authorities will be able to make them say whatever they want them to say—but in their hearts, they pledge, they will be true to their love. It is a promise that neither is finally able to keep.

After months of torture, Winston thinks that what awaits him is a bullet in the back of the head, the preferred method of execution of both the Nazis and the Soviet Communists. In Koestler’s Darkness at Noon, the protagonist walks down a basement hallway after confessing to crimes that he didn’t commit, and without any ceremony he is shot in the back of the head—eradicated as if he were vermin. Winston doesn’t get off so easy. He will instead undergo an education, or more accurately a re-education. His final stages of torture are depicted as a kind of totalitarian seminar. The seminar is conducted by a man named O’Brien, who is portrayed marvelously in the film by Richard Burton. As he alternately raises and lowers the level of Winston’s pain, O’Brien leads him to knowledge regarding the full meaning of the totalitarian regime.

As the first essential step of his education, Winston has to learn doublethink—a way of thinking that defies the law of contradiction. In Aristotle, the law of contradiction is the basis of all reasoning, the means of making sense of the world. It is the law that says that X and Y cannot be true at the same time if they’re mutually exclusive. For instance, if A is taller than B and B is taller than C, C cannot be taller than A. The law of contradiction means things like that.

In our time, the law of contradiction would mean that a governor, say, could not simultaneously hold that the COVID pandemic renders church services too dangerous to allow, and also that massive protest marches are fine. It would preclude a man from declaring himself a woman, or a woman declaring herself a man, as if one’s sex is simply a matter of what one wills it to be—and it would preclude others from viewing such claims as anything other than preposterous.

The law of contradiction also means that we can’t change the past. What we can know of the truth all resides in the past, because the present is fleeting and confusing and tomorrow has yet to come. The past, on the other hand, is complete. Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas go so far as to say that changing the past—making what has been not to have been—is denied even to God. Because if something both happened and didn’t happen, no human understanding is possible. And God created us with the capacity for understanding.

That’s the law of contradiction, which the art of doublethink denies and violates. Doublethink is manifest in the fact that the state ministry in which Winston is tortured is called the Ministry of Love. It is manifest in the three slogans displayed on the state’s Ministry of Truth: “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” And as we have seen, the regime in 1984 exists precisely to repeal the past. If the past can be changed, anything can be changed—man can surpass even the power of God. But still, to what end?

Why do you think you are being tortured? O’Brien asks Winston. The Party is not trying to improve you, he says—the Party cares nothing about you. Winston is brought to see that he is where he is simply as the subject of the state’s power. Understanding having been rendered meaningless, the only competence that has meaning is power.

“Already we are breaking down the habits of thought which have survived from before the Revolution,” O’Brien says.

We have cut the links between child and parent, and between man and man, and between man and woman. No one dares trust a wife or a child or a friend any longer. But in the future there will be no wives and no friends. Children will be taken from their mothers at birth, as one takes eggs from a hen. The sex instinct will be eradicated. Procreation will be an annual formality like the renewal of a ration card. . . . There will be no loyalty, except loyalty toward the Party. There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy. . . . All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always—do not forget this Winston—always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.

Nature is ultimately unchangeable, of course, and humans are not God. Totalitarianism will never win in the end—but it can win long enough to destroy a civilization. That is what is ultimately at stake in the fight we are in. We can see today the totalitarian impulse among powerful forces in our politics and culture. We can see it in the rise and imposition of doublethink, and we can see it in the increasing attempt to rewrite our history.

***

“An informed patriotism is what we want,” Ronald Reagan said toward the end of his Farewell Address as president in January 1989. “Are we doing a good enough job teaching our children what America is and what she represents in the long history of the world?”

Then he issued a warning.

Those of us who are over 35 or so years of age grew up in a different America. We were taught, very directly, what it means to be an American. And we absorbed, almost in the air, a love of country and an appreciation of its institutions. If you didn’t get these things from your family you got them from the neighborhood, from the father down the street who fought in Korea or the family who lost someone at Anzio. Or you could get a sense of patriotism from school. And if all else failed you could get a sense of patriotism from the popular culture. The movies celebrated democratic values and implicitly reinforced the idea that America was special. TV was like that, too, through the mid-sixties.

But now, we’re about to enter the [1990s], and some things have changed. Younger parents aren’t sure that an unambivalent appreciation of America is the right thing to teach modern children. And as for those who create the popular culture, well-grounded patriotism is no longer the style. . . . We’ve got to do a better job of getting across that America is freedom—freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of enterprise. And freedom is special and rare. It’s fragile; it needs protection.

So, we’ve got to teach history based not on what’s in fashion but what’s important—why the Pilgrims came here, who Jimmy Doolittle was, and what those 30 seconds over Tokyo meant. You know, four years ago on the 40th anniversary of D-Day, I read a letter from a young woman writing to her late father, who’d fought on Omaha Beach. . . . [S]he said, “we will always remember, we will never forget what the boys of Normandy did.” Well, let’s help her keep her word. If we forget what we did, we won’t know who we are. I’m warning of an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit.

American schoolchildren today learn two things about Thomas Jefferson: that he wrote the Declaration of Independence and that he was a slaveholder. This is a stunted and dishonest teaching about Jefferson.

What do our schoolchildren not learn? They don’t learn what Jefferson wrote in Notes on the State of Virginia: “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just,” he wrote in that book regarding the contest between the master and the slave. “The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest.” If schoolchildren learned that, they would see that Jefferson was a complicated man, like most of us.

They don’t learn that when our nation first expanded, it was into the Northwest Territory, and that slavery was forbidden in that territory. They don’t learn that the land in that territory was ceded to the federal government from Virginia, or that it was on the motion of Thomas Jefferson that the condition of the gift was that slavery in that land be eternally forbidden. If schoolchildren learned that, they would come to see Jefferson as a human being who inherited things and did things himself that were terrible, but who regretted those things and fought against them. And they would learn, by the way, that on the scale of human achievement, Jefferson ranks very high. There’s just no question about that, if for no other reason than that he was a prime agent in founding the first republic dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

The astounding thing, after all, is not that some of our Founders were slaveholders. There was a lot of slavery back then, as there had been for all of recorded time. The astounding thing—the miracle, even, one might say—is that these slaveholders founded a republic based on principles designed to abnegate slavery.

To present young people with a full and honest account of our nation’s history is to invest them with the spirit of freedom. It is to teach them something more than why our country deserves their love, although that is a good in itself. It is to teach them that the people in the past, even the great ones, were human and had to struggle. And by teaching them that, we prepare them to struggle with the problems and evils in and around them. Teaching them instead that the past was simply wicked and that now they are able to see so perfectly the right, we do them a disservice and fit them to be slavish, incapable of developing sympathy for others or undergoing trials on their own.

Depriving the young of the spirit of freedom will deprive us all of our country. It could deprive us, finally, of our humanity itself. This cannot be allowed to continue. It must be stopped. 

Black Man with a Gun: Beautiful Loser

David Cole at Black Man with a Gun talks about something which, hopefully, most of us have all realized about politicians in general, not just pseudo-republicans — namely that they only care about maintaining their place at the trough — in Beautiful Loser.

“He’s your oldest and your best friend
If you need him, he’ll be there again
He’s always willing to be second-best
A perfect lodger, a perfect guest”

The recent events in Washington have highlighted a recurring thought of mine. As we watch Republican after Republican run away from President Trump and his agenda, I keep hearing political commentators saying that “Republicans don’t know how to win.” I don’t think that’s true at all. After all, you don’t maintain a seat in the U.S. Senate for 35 years if you don’t know how to win. You’ve actually been winning for some time.

The problem is that when you and I think of winning, we’re thinking of advancing conservative principles as they pertain to government. And in that sense, we can all agree that they are huge losers. But to the modern Vichy Republican, winning means maintaining their position as DC elite, not preserving the Constitution or the Republic it created. Consider these words by South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem:

“There are a lot of Americans whose frustration has been building for many years. Republicans have had opportunities to fix our healthcare system, reform immigration, and get our fiscal house in order, among many other things. Republicans have had chances to deliver for the American people. But we haven’t followed through…Republicans have not been disciplined enough to do the hard work. The American people need us to fight for them on a daily basis, not just 30 to 60 days before an election.”

She’s not wrong. But unfortunately, to these Vichy Republicans it is not only acceptable to come in second place, it is actually preferable. As the minority party, they aren’t expected to produce any results. All they need to do is shake their fists at the sky, and mouth some conservative words until they inevitably lose to the Democrat majority. Then they take the video of their “fiery takedown” of the Democrats and weave it into their next campaign ad, so they can tell you how they “fought the good fight” and how they’ll keep fighting for you (against insurmountable odds) if you’ll just vote for them one more time.

Republican chair of the Congressional Second Amendment Caucus, Thomas Massie. Voted NO on reciprocity then, doesn’t support it now.

Take the current iteration of H.R. 38, the national concealed carry reciprocity bill. If it sounds familiar, it’s because it keeps getting recycled every Congress, where it fails to pass every single time…yet is used as cover for Vichy Republicans to bolster their pro-2A bona fides without having to produce any real change. Even in 2017, when Republicans held both houses of Congress and the Oval Office, our own Republican “leadership” couldn’t find the cojones to pass it; after repeated badmouthing* from Congressman Thomas Massie (Republican founder and chair of the Congressional Second Amendment Caucus) Republican Senate Majority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell folded right up and let it die in committee.

If the GOP had any intention of advancing the conservative agenda, they’d have passed that bill. But that would have landed them on the bad side of people they want to stay in good with…and that’s not you. It’s the other politicians’ good graces they need to keep winning, and that means they need to lose. They know you’ll be there for them come election day, because where else are you going to go? Sure, there will be some voter pushback, and some Republicans will lose some elections. But not all of them. There will still be Vichy Republicans enjoying the good life in DC, so who are you calling loser?

The Trumpet: Nancy Pelosi’s Coup D’état

Stephen Flurry of The Trumpet talks about the strangeness of the current impeachment proceedings in Nancy Pelosi’s Coup D’état

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is leading a coup d’état against the United States government. Last week, she called Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley to ask what she could do to prevent President Donald Trump from accessing nuclear launch codes. Then she attempted to coax Vice President Mike Pence into invoking the 25th Amendment to have President Trump removed from office. When neither effort succeeded, she introduced articles of impeachment to Congress.

Why is she so desperate to remove President Trump from office if he is going to be gone in about a week?

The impeachment articles introduced to Congress yesterday have more than 200 Democratic co-sponsors. They charge President Trump with “incitement of insurrection,” saying that he “gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government” by calling on his supporters to stage a “Make America Great Again Rally” in Washington, D.C., last week. Even though the president condemned the violence at this rally and reaffirmed that the Republican Party is the “party of law and order,” Democratic lawmakers still plan to hold an impeachment vote in the House of Representatives tomorrow.

Even liberal law professor Jonathan Turley says this snap impeachment is unconstitutional. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the Senate would not have time to hold a trial until after the president has left office. So why hold the vote?

Pelosi is either the most impatient woman in America or scared of what President Trump might do in the next eight days.

Some Democrats are even talking about impeaching President Trump after he has left office, which probably isn’t even possible. But that does not matter to the radical left. The rules, the Constitution, the law—none of that matters. Pelosi even called the military to see if she could trigger a military coup d’état.

So who are the real authoritarians in America? Who are the tyrants today?

Radio personality Rush Limbaugh says the real reason Pelosi and the Democratic Party are unwilling to wait for President Trump to leave is that they are terrified he will expose their political corruption by declassifying confidential information. “Pelosi has called the military and put them on standby in case Trump launches the nuke codes. Whom are we going to nuke?” Limbaugh said last Friday. “What are they terrified of? They are terrified that Trump is going to unleash classified documents. You know he has a bevy of them, folks. He has classified documents about the hoax, the four-year coup. … There are all kinds of people who broke the law; all kinds of people who are quaking in their boots. They are worried silly that Trump is going to unleash some of these classified documents.”

In a 60 Minutes interview that aired Sunday night, Pelosi admitted that a significant motivation for President Trump’s impeachment is to eliminate any chance he has of being elected again.

The Democrats fear Donald Trump because he exposes them. They want weak-willed Republicans like Mitch McConnell and Ben Sasse who will stand by and let them destroy the Constitution.

We are witnessing the most astonishing attack on free speech in American history: President Trump and tens of thousands of his supporters have been banned from social media. Now the Washington establishment is doubling down in its efforts to ensure that the president cannot expose any more of their corruption.

My father drew particular attention to Nancy Pelosi when she was first elected speaker of the House in 2007. “The new speaker of the House is a Democrat from San Francisco, Nancy Pelosi,” he wrote in the January 2007 Trumpet. “This woman, who is now second in line for the presidency after Vice President Dick Cheney, is pro-abortion and pro-homosexual ‘marriage’; she wants to allocate federal spending for stem-cell research, which involves experimenting on unborn babies. Democrats are excited by the fact that endorsements of ‘San Francisco values’ now echo through Washington’s halls. Is this what America needs? … What did God think of these elections? … This election marks the final chapter for the United States. We mourn to see America’s downfall. We are about to see a tsunami of problems sweep over the world!”

These statements have turned out to be dead right. The radical-leftist takeover that started in 2006 has advanced to the point where liberals can steal elections and then silence anyone who dares criticize them for it. If these people get full control, they will utterly destroy America’s constitutional republic.

2 Kings 14:26-27 describe a crucial moment in Israel’s ancient history that is prophecy for modern Israel (for proof, read my father’s article “Why Donald Trump Will Remain America’s President”). That passage reads, “For the Lord saw the affliction of Israel, that it was very bitter: for there was not any shut up, nor any left, nor any helper for Israel. And the Lord said not that he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven: but he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash.”

America today is suffering grievous affliction. These verses show that there is no one left who can help the nation—no one in Congress, no one in the courts, no one in the Trump administration. That is why God has to personally intervene and save America by the hand of an end-time type of King Jeroboam ii. If He did not, then the radical left’s coup d’état would succeed.

We are still in the final chapter of America’s downfall, but God is going to intervene in such a way as to allow His warning message to go out to the nation one last time (Amos 7:1-8). My father’s conclusion to his 2007 article rings truer now than ever: “We live in the midst of the most eventful moment in human history! God’s warning must be delivered before this tidal wave of catastrophes descends.”

Raconteur Report: Good Luck With That Plan

Aesop at Raconteur Report gives his opinion on DC shenanigans in Good Luck with that Plan.

Meme from Sal the Agorist

For reference, in Iraq and A-stan, Uncle’s guys only had a few tens of thousands of insurgents with which to contend. IIRC, the number that comes to recollection is around 50K or so. Britistan, from 1969-1999, was never confronted by more than a few thousand active Provos in the IRA, and it bled them and tied them up handily for three decades before everyone knocked off by mutual consent.

His Fraudulency is potentially facing millions.

Seems legit.

Forget the happygas: I suspect the next few years are likely to be some of the worst times seen in these parts in 150 years and more.

BTW, proof that no insurrection was ever intended earlier this month: they have upwards of 30K troopies from the Notional Guard in DC, now.

We had 400,000 people on the National Mall on the 6th. That would have been 6 complete D-Day invasions-worth of American troops. Eisenhower didn’t have that many troops in France after the Normandy D-Day Invasion until July, a month later. If the MAGA crowd had actually wanted or intended to go all seize-the-government, (besides obviously not bringing a shit-ton more guns, nor any intent to hurt anyone) they could have conquered DC, Virginia, and Maryland, and held it indefinitely, with an army that size. (For reference, 400,000 people is approximately twice the size of the Marine Corps, anytime since the Vietnam War.) “Insurrection” my ass. That was a staged photo op co-opted by BLM/Antifa, for DNC propaganda gaslighting purposes, as we’ve seen non-stop every day since it happened. There aren’t enough cops east of the Appalachian Mountains to contend with a crowd that size were same intent on misbehaving, even if the po-po had been as inclined to murder as was one trigger-happy Barney Fife, determined to go all Tiananmanen Square on unarmed marchers, from safely behind a barricaded door.

If that crowd had been actually and truly hostile, those cops would have been found with their badges shoved up their asses, their severed jangly bits in their mouths, and their decapitated heads mounted as decorations on the spiked tips of the metal fence around the Capitol, and a few thousand marchers would have been wearing sweatshirts afterwards that said “Now I have a machinegun. Ho-Ho-Ho”

That crowd was no such vengeful mob, or the lists of dead PD the next day would have looked like the crawls on TVs after 9-11. These were clearly not the revolutionaries the gaslighting media and deranged Democommunist leadership keeps trying to invent.

“Revolt” my ass. That was a Sunday church picnic, kicking sand in the faces of a pack of shitweasels. No more, no less. To those thinking things will ever again be that peaceful this side of their appointments with a gibbet and noose, my only reply is

“Yippee Ki Yay, m*****f*****s.”

Meanwhile, the mainstream “conservative” broadcast punditry, and much of the online versions as well, seems content as a pig in sh*t to cuck-cuck-cluck about how they’re going to “Get ’em next time!” and “Vote Harder!” at them in 2022 and 2024, as if we didn’t just watch that ship sail right into an iceberg and kill everyone on board, twice, in the last two months. Everyone babbling bullshit about solving this at the ballot box is entirely delusional, and has suffered a psychotic break with reality. They should be locked up somewhere with soft food, soft music, and soft walls, until they die, or come to their senses, and I don’t particularly care which, at this point. They’re worse than worthless, and contribute nothing but active disinformation 24/7, which inarguable truths are the only reason why they’re still permitted to broadcast their tiddly twaddly codswallop on the public airwaves. That assessment is true for the entire goddamned LOT of them, BTW, lest there be any misunderstanding.

Yesterday, guy I was talking to about whether/when things go frisky noted “Nobody wants to be the one to go first.”

True enough.

But the thing you need to remember, given the numbers of us versus the number of them, is that once it does kick off, no one will want to be left out before there’s no more minions and/or Democommunists to shoot.

Ponder on that.

Then remember that in any group, there’s an absolute minimum number of short bus window-lickers that can’t be controlled. Just like with Kung Flu, those Gilligans – from either side – are going to be what sparks the fuse on the powder keg on which we’re all sitting.

Doubt me?

Okay. Tell me please, who fired that first shot on Lexington Common 245 years ago… I’ll wait over here while you’re working out that answer.

Oh, BTW, those 30K guys in D.C.? Mostly NG MP units (per Big Country Expat’s info). Who are, overwhelmingly, civilian LE types in their day jobs. So Team Fraudulent has essentially stripped the entire Eastern seaboard cities and counties near those units of a good number of their regular police officers.

That shouldn’t have any downside, should it…?

Me, I’m going shopping this weekend, at a couple of GI surplus haunts.

You never know what useful items you might find in nooks and crannies until you look.

FEE: The Mobbing of a Portland Bookstore Reminds Us Why Fahrenheit 451 Was Written

A couple of months ago we remarked on how big tech internet censorship of conservative voices was the liberal equivalent of book burning. Now mobs in Portland have taken a big step closer to actual book burning, demanding that Portland’s premier bookstore – Powells – stop selling a book critical of leftist hate/terrorist group Antifa. Read about it in the Foundation for Economic Education’s article The Mobbing of a Portland Bookstore Reminds Us Why Fahrenheit 451 Was Written.

or three days and counting, protesters in Portland, Oregon have gathered at a local bookstore to demand that it stop selling a new book critical of Antifa.

“Far-left activists surrounded Powell’s Books in Portland on Monday and demanded the store stop selling Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy, a book about antifa written by Andy Ngo,” Reason’s Robby Soave reports. “The protests forced the store to close early.”

Ngo, the editor-at-large of The Post Millennial, a Canadian conservative news site, has documented the activities of Antifa, a leftist group that advocates violence in the name of fighting fascism. The journalist was beaten by Antifa activists at a rally in 2019, leaving him with a serious brain injury.

Left-wing activists say that because Ngo documents and criticizes the activities of Antifa, which claims to simply be “anti-fascist,” he is therefore a fascist. Saying his work is too dangerous to be allowed to be aired, Antifa members have called for Ngo to be banned from social media. Now they are trying to get his book banned from bookstores.

“We have to show up every day until they stop selling that f—king book,” one activist said. She claimed it was like “stopping the historical publication of Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf.'”

So far, the bookstore has not fully submitted to the protesters’ demands.

“This book will not be on our store shelves, and we will not promote it,” the store announced. “That said, it will remain in our online catalogue. We carry books that we find anywhere from simply distasteful or badly written, to execrable, as well as those that we treasure. We believe it is the work of bookselling to do so.”

“There are books in our stores and online inventory that contain ideas that run counter to our company’s and our employees’ values of safety, equality, and justice,” the explanation continued. “While we understand that our decision to carry such books upsets some customers and staff members, we do not want to create an echo chamber of preapproved voices and ideas. It is not our mission or inclination to decide to whom our customers should listen.”

The protests against the book have only generated more media buzz and attention to it, inadvertently—and rather ironically—helping it sell more copies.

Of course, the impulse to censor is understandable. We all think we know what is truly right, and we all believe that we’re the good guys. But the mob’s decision to engage in the modern-day equivalent of book-burning is nonetheless worth questioning.

In the novel Fahrenheit 451, author Ray Bradbury depicted a world in which firemen do not put out fires; they ignite them. In Bradury’s dystopian world, books have been outlawed, and it is the fire department’s job to go around burning them, with the eventual goal of eliminating books entirely from society. That way, the authorities reason, they can control peoples’ access to information. And by controlling what information people may access, they can control public opinion.

“You can’t build a house without nails and wood,” one character explains. “If you don’t want a house built, hide the nails and wood.”

“If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one,” the same character later says in defense of the society’s book-burning efforts. “Better yet, give him none. Let him forget there is such a thing as war. If the government is inefficient, top-heavy, and tax-mad, better it be all those than that people worry over it.”

“Now do you see why books are hated and feared?” another one of Bradbury’s characters asks. “They show the pores in the face of life. The comfortable people want only wax moon faces, poreless, hairless, expressionless.”

How does Bradbury’s message relate to Antifa’s book-banning campaign? Members of Antifa don’t generally come across as particularly “comfortable.” Yet tyrannical impulses can be found in insurgencies as well as in “the establishment.”

Like Bradbury’s “firemen,” Antifa is trying to limit the sharing of ideas in order to avoid criticism and prevent social outcomes they dislike. Rather than grapple with the criticisms Ngo makes of Antifa on their merits, they resort to deplatforming. They don’t seek to engage but to erase.

Of course, maybe critics are right that Ngo’s arguments about Antifa are weak or his facts are wrong. I don’t have any reason to believe so, but then again, I have yet to read the book.

However, we won’t ever get to the bottom of this debate by silencing one side of it. Indeed, the very fact that one side seeks to ban its opponents’ arguments suggests that, like the oppressors in Bradbury’s fictional society, they fear that their stance wouldn’t hold up to full public scrutiny.

Of course, history’s most infamous book burners were the Nazis, who also sought to “win the debate” through censorship. Antifa’s “anti-fascist” credentials are not helped by adopting typically fascist tactics.

Silencing speech cripples the contest of ideas that leads a free society toward truth over time. So censorship is worth fighting against, no matter how large the mob outside the bookstore grows.

Gold Goats ‘n Guns: Big Tech’s Purge is Only Beginning… For Them

Tom Luongo at Gold Goats ‘n Guns writes Big Tech’s Purge is Only Beginning… For Them

There’s nothing easy about living through a political coup. The Big Tech firms long in cahoots with our government have been pushing a false narrative of evil MAGA-Nazis trying to undermine polite society for more than four years now.

Suppression started with Milo Yiannopoulos, accelerated to include Alex Jones and InfoWars and reach a temporary peak in 2018 with the persecution of alternative social media platform Gab in the wake of the Pittsburgh shooting.

I said this then in a piece entitled: Attack on Gab Proves Speech Was Never Free:

Friday’s attack by an unhinged, vile piece of human excrement on a Synagogue in Pittsburgh wasn’t hours old before real world agendas pushed to the top of the news.

Twitter alternative Gab was immediately dropped by PayPal without specific reasons.

Then immediately, Gab’s latest hosting service unilaterally gave the company a 48-hour termination notice of its contract.

Gab was hounded to the point of extermination and only a herculean effort by CEO and total warrior Andrew Torba and his staff kept the company afloat. Today Gab can only take Bitcoin and checks for payment. Torba himself has no banking privileges or access to credit, payment processors etc.

All for what? Running a social network where someone posted something terrible hours before doing something terrible?

Or was this a political hit job? The coordination of the event with the response is a little too convenient for any person of room temperature or higher intelligence to stomach.

The Rhyme Without Reason

Sound familiar to what happened to Parler? The attack then on Gab was a dry run for this weekend. If no one would stand up for Gab who didn’t have the resources to fight this in court, then when it came time to do it for real to a more high profile firm they knew it would stand up.

This growing duopoly in internet on-ramp gatekeeping by Apple and Google has been something I’ve warned about for years (go look through the archives searching out terms like Gab and Facebook).

No one listened. We all kept retweeting Trump and I even finally broke down and bought an iPhone. Parler just got the Gab treatment literally over nothing.

I’m not going to say both events were scripted false flags (though there’s certainly enough evidence that there was something really hinckey going on at the Capitol) but they certainly had their action plans ready for when the right trigger occured.

In fact, I’d argue that it’s more likely the people posting vile garbage on these networks is a plant than a real violent dissident. We know that the FBI, for example, infiltrates militia groups all the time and in some cases there are more agents working undercover than there are actual militia guys.

When you’re in the narrative creation business and we know that a minimum of 30% of users on Twitter aren’t real but bots, is it really a stretch to think a Deep State actor isn’t posting inflammatory shit on Parler to give the tech giants the excuse they need to do the thing they desperately want to do anyway, namely destroy their up and coming competition?

These companies have normalized suppression of speech in the public commons that their networks operate on top of. I remind people all the time that they are bandwidth pigs, feeding at the subsidized trough of publicly-built and maintained infrastructure.

Net Non-Neutrality

Trump’s biggest sin in his time as president wasn’t, to these people, saying inflammatory things, it was getting rid of their cashcow, Net Neutrality.

Net Neutrality took pricing of bandwidth out of the hands of consumers. It handed the profits from it to Google, Facebook and all the crappy advertisers spamming video ads, malware, scams, and the like everywhere.

By mandating ‘equal access’ and equal fee structures the advertisers behind Google and Facebook would spend their budgets without much thought or care. Google and Facebook ad revenue soared under Net Neutrality because advertisers’ needs are not aligned with Google’s bottom line, but with consumers’.

And, because of that, the price paid to deliver the ad, i.e. Google’s cost of goods sold (COGS), thanks to Net Neutrality, was held artificially low. And Google, Facebook and the Porn Industry pocketed the difference.

They grew uncontrollably. In the case of Google and Facebook, uncontrollably powerful.

Look, I’m more than okay with saying that Apple, Google or Facebook have the right to restrict content on their services, but only if they are also doing that over their own privately-built public networks, their own private wires.

But, we all know that isn’t the case. They utilize the public airwaves, fiber trunks, satellites etc. that we paid to build. As libertarians we’ve always argued that freedom of association also meant freedom from association.

That freedom, through the application of private property, also comes with responsibility to the counter-party in any and all interactions. No one would have allowed these companies to build these networks in a true private property regime.

No way would they have become this big, this powerful or this cowardly if they had had to bear the true costs of their business roll out. These aren’t the bastions of the free market conservatives (and even classical liberals to an extent) think they are.

They are, ultimately, as we’ve seen from their actions this week, the biggest welfare queens in the world simply stepping on the competition to ensure conformity of information flow.

Continued Section 230 immunity has elevated their ever-changing Terms of Service above the proscriptions against limiting speech in the Bill of Rights.

Moreover, these firms use these Terms of Service to provide no guarantee of service. These ToS’s are contracts of adhesion, entered into where one party has unequal standing versus the counter-party.

But, since the whole idea of living under a coercive government is one big contract of adhesion, since you really aren’t an equal partner to the government in the social contract nor did you have any choice but to sign on the moment you were born, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised when that reality is shoved into our faces when their power is threatened.

This is the fundamental problem with accepting any of these ideas as valid. The whole society is structured around these enshrined power imbalances and we think we’re going to upend them by voting for Orange Man Bad?

Globo-Stasi’s

The way they operate is far beyond the strictures placed on governments themselves, who have to at least create Byzantine rules to obfuscate the tyranny and force us into a corrupt and expensive court system stacked against us to get the barest minimum of injunctive relief, assuming the judge isn’t a partisan hack or a congenital moron.

I think it’s rich that a person like Angela Merkel, the first political leader to send police into a person’s home for posting hate speech on Facebook, is now clutching her pearls over the censorship by Facebook, Twitter, Apple and Google.

Spare me the crocodile tears Frau Stasi.

Because now, anyone to the right of your rank and file BLM member is looking over their shoulder waiting for the hammer to fall on them. It has become commonplace on Twitter for the star-bellied bluechecks to call out for blood against any and all Trump supporters or worse, *shudder* Republicans.

They should be driven to the brink of extinction. Denied jobs or a living for using the wrong pronoun because they are simply, too stupid to matter. We’ve got people honestly thinking it’s okay to take children out of your home for voting for the wrong party.

What comes next is even worse, vaguely-worded legislation from D.C. supporting these companies’ hyper-aggressive market defense, we’re already being treated to it by none other than AOC.

This is all the bad news I can come up with (today). What I do know, however, is that what comes next is that Facebook, Twitter and Google have whistled far beyond their graveyards here.

The backlash will against them will be epic. Shareholder lawsuits as stock prices plummet will gut them leaving them in the position to be bailed out or nationalized by the government.

Because, at the very least, there is still some semblance of sanity in that corner of the legal system. These companies have attacked and alienated their customers. In the process they have tainted their brand and if their stock prices do not recover will have real problems in the future.

They may look invincible now, but wait until the government under control of totalitarians like Pelosi, AOC, Schumer and the rest, turn on them and gobble them up to regain their credibility with a rightfully outraged and horrified public.

The best thing all of us can do is complete that transition to other services, deploy our time, expertise and investible capital into building censorship-proof communications platforms without an owner to lean on.

All things built on a nodal structure have critical points of failure. Amazon nuked Parler, not Apple or Google. Gab is proof that a social network doesn’t need an app to survive or even thrive.

Finding Our Way Home

Dave Rubin, major partner in Locals, is convinced the days of monolithic, massive social networks are numbered and we’ll all be congregating into smaller, more intimate communities. And I don’t disagree with him.

In fact, I hope he’s right.

I’ve tried to use Patreon this way to bring people together. It’s why I started a private server on Slack for people to congregate away from the insanity of Twitter. It thrives today as a place where only the most interested and committed people hang out, share ideas and help each other.

It’s a community. The very thing lefties think libertarians are no good at building. Don’t let the wrapper fool you, though. Community is all we ever have on our minds.

Discord and Telegram are exploding as we go back to the days of Usenet and Yahoo Groups dedicated to specific topics of like-minded people. Gab has had private groups for years now.

The cries about echo chambers being a bad thing are falling on deaf ears all across the spectrum. People complain at me all the time that there are no use-cases for cryptocurrency and blockchains and I just look at them like they are children.

Now more than at any other point in history is there the opportunity for a real, properly-built and decentralized social media platform owned by those that hold the governance tokens and not a corporation or organization which is corruptible.

Because we’ve seen how that story ends.

Of Two Minds: Is 2021 an Echo of 1641?

Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds wonders Is 2021 an Echo of 1641?

If you don’t discern any of these dynamics in the present, what are you choosing not to see?

The reason why history rhymes is that humanity is still using Wetware 1.0 and so humans respond to scarcity, abundance and conflicts over them in the same manner.

I am struck by similarities between the conflict-torn mid-1600s and the present: global climate change (The Little Ice Age in the 1600s), political upheavals and wars which intertwined civil and imperial conflicts. Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the 17th Century is a fascinating overview of this complex era which disrupted regimes and empires from England to China.

Climate change (The Little Ice Age) generated scarcities of grain in a time of burgeoning human populations. As in the present day, everyone assumed ample harvests would continue forever–expanding abundance is the New Normal. Alas, Nature is not a steady-state system and cycles are not tamed by our desire for ever-expanding abundance.

Humans respond to scarcity by assessing who’s getting the biggest pieces of the shrinking pie. When hunger begets desperation, various dynamics are set into motion as those without agency and capital, i.e. political and financial power do whatever they can to get enough to survive while those holding the majority of political and financial power, jockey to maintain or expand their power.

These dynamics are fluid and prone to non-linear flows in which relatively small actions unleash enormous consequences that are not predictable. If we squint, however, we can discern some repeating patterns in this chaotic swirl:

1. Private owners of capital (i.e. elites) seek to influence the state to protect / expand their holdings.

2. The dispossessed / disenfranchised masses seek redress / succor from the state.

3. The geopolitical balance of power becomes increasingly precarious as competition for control of resources and political power heats up.

4. The state’s resources are diminished by famine, decline of trade, etc. as pressures from geopolitical rivals, elites and the masses are spiking, reducing the state’s ability to respond to the multiple challenges / overlapping crises.

5. The overlapping crises reveal and exploit the weaknesses in the political, social and economic structures, and in the competing elites.

6. Leaders concentrate centralized power in the hands of the few as a coping strategy by reducing the influence of broad-based councils, assemblies, etc. This concentration of power at the expense of the many (including lower-level elites who were accustomed to holding some consequential power) increases resistance of those being cut out of the decision-making and increases the odds of catastrophic errors of judgment in the few at the top.

7. As the state falters or divides into warring factions, the most powerful elites take control of resources and power from the state, both as a defensive measure and as a means of exploiting the crisis to their own advantage.

8. Populist leaders arise demanding a fairer distribution of resources and power. The more repressed the masses, the greater the disorder created by this emergence of long-silenced voices.

9. Each node seeking to defend or expand its share of resources and power projects and amplifies persuasive rhetoric, symbols and beliefs to unify its supporters around deeply held values and aspirations.

10. With so many loyalties in play–local, regional, linguistic, political, social, religious and economic–each node / faction seeks to decisively cement loyalties by establishing all-or-nothing hard lines via ideologically “pure” rhetoric that demonizes competing factions, effectively dividing the populace into us-and-them camps that leave little middle ground for compromise or negotiation.

11. In this fevered competition for loyalty and trustworthy followers willing to sacrifice for the faction, leaders view every advance as evidence that compromise is unnecessary as total victory awaits the next “win.”

12. Given the grievous losses and potentially devastating consequences of competing factions gaining ground, the victors of each battle hasten to take revenge on the losing faction, laying waste and inflicting cruelties that harden the hearts of the surviving losers and inciting their own determination to exact a full measure of revenge when fortunes turn their way.

13. Only when the land, people and treasure are all exhausted does the promise of total victory fade, and the factions seek some negotiated settlement that leaves whatever power they still have intact lest they lose everything.

14. The eventual settlement could have been reached in the initial stages of disorder, but the leaders of the factions were too myopic, too confident in their own judgment and power, too greedy for more and too hubris-soaked to appreciate their own weaknesses and the immense pitfalls ahead.

If you don’t discern any of these dynamics in the present, what are you choosing not to see?

The Federalist: Democrats Are Using The Recent Capitol Riot To Consolidate Power

From The Federalist, Democrats Are Using The Recent Capitol Riot To Consolidate Power

The Capitol Hill riot was an inexcusable, pathetic, and disgraceful display. Its consequences will extend well beyond the bloodshed and property damage inflicted by those who shamefully acceded to the left’s view that force is legitimate means of persuasion — exhibited repeatedly via the left’s normalization of political incitement and violence throughout President Trump’s term in office.

The riot not only overshadowed the corruption that marked the 2020 election and undermined the MAGA movement’s people and principles, but set up Americans of all political stripes for an onslaught on their rights and cherished freedoms. The riot was an accelerant for what was already likely planned under Democrat rule in Washington: crushing dissenters from its leftist orthodoxy as part of an effort to achieve total power by disenfranchising the opposition.

President Trump has personified this dissent, but the effort to delegitimize, de-platform, and ultimately destroy him and anyone around him is merely the opening scene of the “Godfather”-like settling of scores with all who threaten the ruling class’s power and privilege. This effort will directly harm not just the thousands of peaceful patriots who had descended on Washington D.C., and their tens of millions of like-minded neighbors across the country, but all Americans.

The coming crackdown on dissenters in the political realm was pre-ordained in the wee hours of Jan. 6, when both Georgia Senate seats flipped to the Democrats. Now, should Senate Democrats successfully blow up the filibuster, they will work to pass an agenda in which any one item, let alone all, could put Democrats in a virtually unshakeable control of the federal government for years to come.

They have made no secret of their agenda, which includes such items as mass amnesty for illegal aliens, statehood for Washington, D.C., statehood for Puerto Rico, and federal enshrinement of mail-in voting through a re-upped H.R. 1. Needless to say, total leftist political control will erode liberty and justice, and be used to target dissenters in cruel and unusual ways.

In the near-term, the Capitol Hill riot has served as a pretext for other corrosive political acts: calls for the 25th Amendment to remove a sitting president, a second impeachment vote; consultations between the speaker of the House and the Pentagon about preventing the president from accessing the nuclear codes and discharging his other duties; and calls by our national security and legal apparatus against conservatives and their speech — all under the pretense of combatting domestic terrorism and punishing “incitement.”

This is not purely an issue of politics, for it will encompass all of civil society. The coming assault on dissenters will play out in arenas that far transcend our increasingly unrepresentative government.

Its adjuncts in big tech, woke capital, corporate media, and beyond have already started participating in the purge, of their own volition, in a continuation of the anti-cultural revolution of summer 2020. It is nothing less than the weaponization of civil society institutions against political dissenters, in conjunction with and often indirectly supported by the state. Americans are now primed to punish their fellow Americans for Wrongthink to a greater extent than we have seen before.

It will go far beyond banning the president of the United States from major social media platforms, purging countless like-minded voices, and stymieing their alternative means of communication. It will go far beyond pulling a U.S. senator’s publishing deal. It will go far beyond even firing people purportedly acting peacefully at political rallies. Ultimately, it will extend across every aspect of the digital world, and affect real life as well.

Yes, we are headed towards something like China’s “Great Firewall,” where, albeit without the power of a government gun, big tech will silence speech that challenges the ruling class’s official narratives, disappear the digital profiles of those who run afoul of its ever-changing terms of service, and take down websites where alternative ideas might proliferate.

More chilling is this thought: What is to stop the crackdown from going beyond communications to where and how you can work, bank, travel, eat, shop, obtain health insurance, and send your kids to school?

Think, for a second, about everything you do in daily life. Consider how reliant you are on goods and services controlled by entities in whole or in part run by executives who either hate your political views or think they can survive by currying favor with those who are contemptuous.

The left has already said it is making lists to prevent Trump administration personnel from getting jobs in the private sector. What’s to stop them or their allies in the media and corporate America from doing the same to any of us?

Is there any apparent limiting principle that will keep us from developing a CCP-style “social credit system with Western characteristics” — as my Federalist colleague Sumantra Maitra has put it — whereby private enterprises grade us on ideology and determine what we can and cannot do based on how closely we hew to its ideology?

In a world where politics has become all-pervasive, virtue-signaling demands not only disavowing but punishing the 74 million enablers of what the left has been asserting for years is Nazism. As in so many other matters, they have been projecting onto the right what the left itself endorses.

If you accede to the view that anything that challenges the prevailing progressive orthodoxy constitutes violence, then you will take any means necessary to snuff it out. There are an awful lot of true believers, useful idiots, cynics, and cowed people across American life seemingly willing to adhere to such a principle. It will likely push us to ideological segregation, which will only further fuel hostilities, strife, and chaos.

America’s Cold Civil War will only heat up as those with all the power take precisely the wrong lessons from the Capitol Hill riot and, rather than seeking to represent millions of Americans and address their concerns, simply chooses to punish or silence them.