Bait and Switch

Here’s an interesting article on the fate of John Boehner. A few things come to mind reading this. One is just how awful at his job Boehner has been since the start. Being Speaker is a tough job and made tougher when you are a Republican. The press is always looking to undermine you and the opposing party will use that to cause mischief. A Democrat speaker has a loyal press corp and a pleading opposition.

Boehner has made his task more difficult by making war on the conservative wing of his caucus. It’s a strange and self-defeating strategy that has led to a number of embarrassing defeats. Tip O’Neil, the best speaker in my lifetime, always avoided these showdowns. Instead, he found the votes needed in advance. When his preferred choice was going to lose, he made a big show of “letting his members voter their conscience.”

In contrast, Boehner appears to be an idiot. He can’t count to 218.

The other thing I find fascinating is the casual revelation of the bait and switch the GOP runs on their voters.

Members of the recently formed “House Freedom Caucus” offered multiple proposals to leadership that they believe would have drawn enough Republican votes to keep DHS funded and not left Boehner dependent on Democrats. Boehner, though, chose not to support the plans.

One conservative member, who asked for anonymity to speak frankly, said the mood of his colleagues will depend on how Boehner handles himself over the next week. If he tries to put a “clean” DHS funding bill on the floor for a vote, or doesn’t make overtures to conservatives, anger could boil over, the Republican said.

We’re suppose to take from this that the 52 members of the Freedom Caucus are the conservatives in the party. That means 193 other Republican members are something other than conservative. Did the voters of Fred Upton’s district (MI-9) think they were getting a non-conservative when they elected him? Bob Goodlatte (VA-6)?

I’m thinking most GOP voters went to the polls thinking their guy was a good conservative. Maybe not on every issue, but at least 90% of the time. Yet, the leadership and Boehner operate as if the conservatives are mostly a nuisance and a trivial minority of their caucus. By extension, it means they think you, the guy voting for them, are an idiot.

My own view is the parties are just the two faces of the ruling class. They run a good cop-bad cop routine on the public and take turns occupying the big offices. Voting, therefore, is a waste of time. Still, I take some pleasure in seeing that old drunk get the business from the handful of politicians with anything resembling respect for their voters.

My Advice: How Not To Get Raped

The epidemic of rape hoaxes on college campi is driven, in part, by lunatics from the Cult of Modern Liberalism trying to prove the part of the narrative that says the Pale Penis People are the source of all evil. How’s that for an opening sentence?

The PPP serve a vital role in the Cult as they are the designated hobgoblin for everyone in the current liberal coalition. Like Big Foot researchers, the younger members of the Cult are sent out into the wild to prove various aspects of current theories regarding the PPP. The current theory is upper middle class white boys are not the soft Eloi we see, but really a bunch of rapacious Vikings raping the hell out of white co-eds.

It’s all lunacy of course, but if you’re a young woman on campus or living in proximity to young males, not being raped is probably a concern. After all, you’re told on a daily basis that every swinging dick in your life is ready to pounce on you as soon as you let down your guard. This new documentary detailing the rape hoax epidemic on campus is intended to scare the hell out of you raise awareness.

I’m an old man and I have seen a lot of the human animal. Here’s some advice I’ll pass on that I think will help you avoid being raped.

1) Don’t get blind drunk with a bunch of strange men. We have evidence of wine making going back 10,000 years. It is commonly assumed that humans figured out fermentation soon after settlement. I’ve read some arguments that booze making was a reason for human settlement. Making hooch takes time and planning. It’s best done in one spot. Regardless of the origins, humans have been making and consuming alcohol since the dawn of civilization.

At the same time, humans figured out it was not a great idea to leave women in the presence of drunken unrelated men. Similarly, it was a good idea for women to not drink. The reasons for both of these quaint notions is the result was always bad for the women. Drunken men are horny men. Drunken women make bad decisions. Put the two together and someone is waking up with her legs in the air.

Most of what is called rape on campus is just a drunken romp gone wrong. Suzy sobers up to find her underwear on her head and vague memories of that guy at the bar. The other cases are when drunk men take advantage of a women, who drank herself into an unconscious stupor.

Therefore ladies, a sure way to avoid this outcome is to not get drunk with strange men. Moderate your alcohol and stick with sober friends when at the bar. If that good looking guy offering to buy you a drink is really interested in more than wearing you as a hat, he’ll be around tomorrow.

2) Don’t get naked and alone with a man you are not sure you want to screw. This is one that gets placed at the feet of the weirdos and lunatics in the womyn’s studies department. Sex is the result of signalling. Boy shows girl he likes girl. Girl responds by showing boy she likes him too. This back and forth escalates until they end up in the sack.

By the time a man gets you naked, he is not thinking about anything other than sex. He is basing all of his decisions on what you are doing. If you are naked and in his bed, you could be chanting passages from the Koran in Arabic for all he cares. All he knows is you’re naked in his bed and that means he gets to have sex with you.

Therefore, one sure way to avoid the last minute second thoughts or the onset of sudden regret is to avoid getting naked with men you are not 100% sure you want to screw.

3) Don’t confuse yourself with a man. Amazingly, our colleges and universities continue to insist that biology is a social construct. They teach our boys and girls that the reason males appear bigger, stronger, faster and more prone to violence is the culture supported by the patriarchy. In a fully equal society, boys and girls will be the same, even physically.

If you’re a young woman, this is probably tempting to believe. It is not reality and if you act as if it is, it could get you killed. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll just get raped. Chimps weight between 55 and 100 pounds, but they 5 to 8 times stronger than a man. That wimpy looking man you think you can beat is most likely vastly stronger than you and much more comfortable using force than you.

That last part is an important thing to remember. Even if you are as strong as that guy, he’s biologically inclined to use force, particularly in matters involving sex. If you put yourself in a position where you have to physically defeat a male, you will most likely lose. It’s biology and immune from wishful thinking so don’t put yourself in a position where you have to fight a male off.

There you are. Three simple rules that will lower the chances of you getting raped to near zero.


Reefer Madness

There are good arguments for and against legalizing various drugs. The libertarian claims in favor of drug legalization are mostly ridiculous, but there is a cost of prohibition that has to be respected. There’s a cost to legalization as well. Anyway, I stopped reading Peter Hitchens regularly because he seems to have been driven mad by cannabis.

Can you put two and two together? Have a try. The authorities, and most of the media, cannot.

Did you know that the Copenhagen killer, Omar El-Hussein, had twice been arrested (and twice let off) for cannabis possession? Probably not.

It was reported in Denmark but not prominently mentioned amid the usual swirling speculation about ‘links’ between El-Hussein and ‘Islamic State’, for which there is no evidence at all.

El-Hussein, a promising school student, mysteriously became so violent and ill- tempered that his own gang of petty criminals, The Brothers, actually expelled him.

Something similar happened in the lives of Lee Rigby’s killers, who underwent violent personality changes in their teens after becoming cannabis users.

The recent Paris killers were also known users of cannabis. So were the chaotic drifters who killed soldiers in Canada last year. So is the chief suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings of April 2013.

I might add that though these are all Muslims, who for rather obvious reasons are to be found among the marginalised in Europe and North America, it is not confined to them.

Jared Loughner, who killed six people and severely injured Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona in 2011, was also a confirmed heavy cannabis user. When I searched newspaper archives for instances of violent crimes in this country in which culprits were said to be cannabis users, I found many.

One notable example was the pointless killing of Sheffield church organist Alan Greaves, randomly beaten to death by two laughing youths on Christmas Eve 2012. Both were cannabis smokers.

By itself, the link is interesting. I wonder how many other violent criminals would turn out to be heavy cannabis users, if only anyone ever asked.

I wonder how many violent criminals drank milk as a child? Ate cookies? Were heavy beer drinkers? I could probably run through a few hundred items that are common to all violent criminals that have nothing to with making them violent. It’s the same nonsense drug warriors used to employ back in the old days. They would claim that marijuana was a gateway drug, leading to harder drugs. They would point out that heroin users all started with pot, as if all potheads are going to be chasing the dragon.

There is some evidence that chronic cannabis use leads to mental health trouble. In my youth, I knew a few guys who became stoners. They clearly got dumber and slovenly. The term “fried” has been applied to chronic pot smokers for forty years. It’s not called “chronic” by accident. Still, there’s a big difference between daily use and occasional use. There’s a world of difference between being a burnout and being a violent criminal. The available science suggest the link between cannabis and violence is non-existent.

The more probably issue is that regular pot smoking triggers severe mental illness in certain populations. Given the ubiquity of pot use, that population is tiny. Alcohol makes some men frighteningly violent, but that’s not a reason to ban alcohol. As I said at the start, I’m skeptical about the benefits of legalization, but these claims by Hitchens suggest he has been drive mad  by the demon weed.

Time To Build The Gallows

The Ides of March are coming so maybe

It’s starting.

As promised, President Obama is using executive actions to impose gun control on the nation, targeting the top-selling rifle in the country, the AR-15 style semi-automatic, with a ban on one of the most-used AR bullets by sportsmen and target shooters.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives this month revealed that it is proposing to put the ban on 5.56 mm ammo on a fast track, immediately driving up the price of the bullets and prompting retailers, including the huge outdoors company Cabela’s, to urge sportsmen to urge Congress to stop the president.

Wednesday night, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, stepped in with a critical letter to the bureau demanding it explain the surprise and abrupt bullet ban. The letter is shown below.

The National Rifle Association, which is working with Goodlatte to gather co-signers, told Secrets that 30 House members have already co-signed the letter and Goodlatte and the NRA are hoping to get a total of 100 fast.

“The Obama administration was unable to ban America’s most popular sporting rifle through the legislative process, so now it’s trying to ban commonly owned and used ammunition through regulation,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA-ILA, the group’s policy and lobby shop. “The NRA and our tens of millions of supporters across the country will fight to stop President Obama’s latest attack on our Second Amendment freedoms.”

At issue is so-called “armor-piercing” ammunition, an exemption for those bullets mostly used for sport by AR-15 owners, and the recent popularity of pistol-style ARs that use the ammo.

The inexpensive 5.56 M885 ammo, commonly called green tips, have been exempt for years, as have higher-caliber ammunition that also easily pierces the type of soft armor worn by police, because it’s mostly used by target shooters, not criminals. The agency proposes to reclassify it as armor-piercing and not exempt.

But now BATFE says that since the bullets can be used in semi-automatic handguns they pose a threat to police and must be banned from production, sale and use. But, as Goodlatte noted, the agency offered no proof. Federal agencies will still be allowed to buy the ammo.

“This round is amongst the most commonly used in the most popular rifle design in America, the AR-15. Millions upon millions of M855 rounds have been sold and used in the U.S., yet ATF has not even alleged — much less offered evidence — that even one such round has ever been fired from a handgun at a police officer,” said Goodlatte’s letter.

Even some police don’t buy the administration’s claim. “Criminals aren’t going to go out and buy a $1,000 AR pistol,” Brent Ball, owner of 417 Guns in Springfield, Mo., and a 17-year veteran police officer told the Springfield News-Leader. “As a police officer I’m not worried about AR pistols because you can see them. It’s the small gun in a guy’s hand you can’t see that kills you.”

Many see the bullet ban as an assault on the AR-15 and Obama’s back-door bid to end production and sale.

“We are concerned,” said Justin Anderson with Hyatt Gun Shop in Charlotte, N.C., one of the nation’s top sellers of AR-15 style rifles. “Frankly, we’re always concerned when the government uses back-door methods to impose quasi-gun control.”

Groups like the National Shooting Sports Foundation suggest that under BATFE’s new rule, other calibers like popular deer hunting .308 bullets could be banned because they also are used in AR-15s, some of which can be turned into pistol-style guns. “This will have a detrimental effect on hunting nationwide,” said the group.

This is another example of how the final Obama years will be just a revenge fantasy made real. The unwillingness of the GOP to push back on anything just encourages more of it. My bet is we see far more outlandish moves in the next 18 months. Just wait until it comes time to pardon people. Lois Lerner and her cohorts will get a blanket pardon, I bet.

It’s why this is what every politician should see on his way to the office.



Islam’s Threat To Progressives

This story is a good example of how assimilation is only possible when dealing with similar people. Our rulers are terribly vexed as to why so many Western born and raised Muslims are heading off to jihad. The story of Jihad Johnny is familiar.

The Kuwaiti-born Emwazi, in his mid-20s, appears to have left little trail on social media or elsewhere online. Those who knew him say he was polite and had a penchant for wearing stylish clothes while adhering to the tenets of his Islamic faith. He had a beard and was mindful of making eye contact with women, friends said.

He was raised in a middle-class neighborhood in London and on occasion prayed at a mosque in Greenwich.

The friends, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation, believe that Emwazi started to radicalize after a planned safari in Tanzania following his graduation from the University of Westminster.

Less than 1% of Western Muslims decide to go on jihad. Polling says that about a quarter of Western Muslims think killing infidels is a great idea. Those poll results are typical of others done over the last two decades. Given the nature of polling, it is probably fair to say the real numbers are significantly higher. When asked, people tend not to admit to opinions the general public has deemed wrong. Even so, my guess is the majority of Muslims in the West just want to live quiet, prosperous lives.

But, a large minority don’t want to live quiet lives. Therein lies the problem facing the West. If we suddenly found that 25% of men with red hair would one day run amok and start murdering people for no reason, we would not let men with red hair walk free. No society could tolerate such a risk. Obviously, long before now we would have either euthanized all red haired babies at birth or maintained a place to exile for all red heads, like an isle of misfit toys. Ginger Island.

Obviously, the Muslim problem is both an old problem and a new problem. The old problem dates back to the 7th century and the Muslim conquests. The answer to that problem was discovered in the 8th century.

While Abd ar-Rahman was pursuing Odo, he decided to despoil Tours by destroying its palaces and burning its churches. There he confronted the consul of Austrasia by the name of Charles, a man who, having proved himself to be a warrior from his youth and an expert in things military, had been summoned by Odo. After each side had tormented the other with raids for almost seven days, they finally prepared their battle lines and fought fiercely. The northern peoples remained as immobile as a wall, holding together like a glacier in the cold regions. In the blink of an eye, they annihilated the Arabs with the sword.

-The Mozarabic Chronicle of 754

The old problem, in other words, was solved by coming up with this idea of separate countries for Muslims and non-Muslims. Islam is a religion of the sword, according to the people who created the religion. Their mythology claims there will be a great final conflagration and Islam will win the final battle at the end times. There’s no reasoning with that so it is best to keep them penned up in their own lands, which has been the policy of the the world for over a thousand years.

The new problem is not so much a Muslim problem as a Western problem. The new problem starts with the new religion of the West. The religion we call multiculturalism. This religion requires Western government to invite the people of the world to move to their lands and mingle with the locals, but not accepting the culture of the locals. They imagine the nicer parts of London as the ideal utopian future, with cultured restaurants full of young, educated hipsters.

Some portion of those swank young hipsters, however, will decide to strap on a dynamite vest and walk into that “Shoreditch bohemian” hangout. So far, the single thread running through every incident is Islam. It has either been a Muslim immigrant, a man raised in a Muslim home in the West or a convert to Islam. Multiculturalism has strict rules against noticing, but it is hard not to notice when a man yells “Allahu Akbar” and then blows himself up in a crowded restaurant or starts shooting patrons at a Jewish deli.

That’s the problem the West faces. If they notice that Muslims tend not to play well with others, that means diversity may have its limits. If there is some limit as to how much diversity a society can tolerate, then there has to be a debate about where that limit lies and why. In other words, noticing the Muslim problem puts the whole project up for debate. The only “rational” response is demand everyone not notice the exploding man yelling “Allahu Akbar.”

That’s also why the West seems obsessed with discovering what mysterious force causes good Muslims to go bad. Mr. Emwazi, the fellow at the start of this post, was provided with everything one can hope from life in the West. Yet, he is described as having been “radicalized” like some sort of rage zombie, infected by a virus. They allude to his having been discriminated against or, gasp!, profiled by authorities as being the cause. This hunt for a cause, presumably, is intended to find a cure. Perhaps a vaccine at birth that prevents Muslims from going bonkers as adults.

Like so much of the late Rousseau-ist project, the true believers are scrambling around to find a suitable solution other than the ones learned over generations of trial and error. Discarding the traditional institutions that serve as the storehouse of history means relearning all of those lessons painfully learned the first time. Our rulers better be quick studies. What was once a speck on the horizon is now a short boat ride away. This will not end well.


Predatory Colonialism

In the olden thymes, rich people from rich European countries would set up shop in poor countries. They would either subdue or kill the local chieftains so they could take control of the country. Then they would siphon off natural resources for use back home. Because the Europeans had an excess of young men looking for adventure, populating the colonies with Europeans was a good way to gain a tighter grip on the locals. In the Americas, the locals were shunted aside, killed or driven off. The point was to get at the valuables and send them back to the mother country. That’s the basics of colonialism.

Today, rich people from Western countries go around the world siphoning off human resources, the top talent, from the developing world, importing them into their home countries. There’s not a shortage at home, it’s just cheaper to bring in STEM workers from India as indentured servants. Similarly, it is cheaper to bring in Latino domestics than hire lower class Americans. But, just as with the older form of colonialism, this new form leaves the pillaged country the loser in the trade.

In the old days, the colonizer at least had some incentive to develop local talent. They needed people to run the plantations, the mines and the lumber mills. They also needed a trustworthy managerial class to carry out the mundane tasks of colonial rule. The first wave of post-colonial leaders in Africa were men educated in Europe and America. Ghana, for example, was lead to independence by Kwame Nkrumah, a man educated in Britain and America. India benefited greatly from the British colonial system. It’s fair to say that Britain left the country better than she found it.

The old colonial system was not all bad and in many cases, mostly good. The new colonialism is arguably worse than the old style because it impoverishes the subject countries without leaving anything of value behind. Skimming off the talented portion of the population, the smart fraction, walls off the country’s ability to advance into modernity. Harvesting the hard working and industrious, as America is doing to Latin America, leaves behind the worst parts of the population. Mexico is a narco-state, in small part, due to every Mexican with anything on the ball having left Mexico.

That’s the immorality of the open borders/no borders fanaticism of our ruling elites. They tell themselves they are doing the humane thing by letting the talented flee the provinces for the West. Tyler Cowen’s toady regularly makes this claim. Jeb Bush has made this claim. What they never bother to address is what happens to the people left behind. There’s a deliberate Detroit-ification of these places. The bulwark of their societies are hauled off to America leaving the rest to the mercies of the worst elements, suddenly unconstrained by the smart fraction.

There’s also something else. In every society there is an implicit bond between the elites and the rest, the rest with the rest and the elites amongst themselves. This lattice work of loyalties is what makes large scale human organization possible. Evolutionary psychologists call it empathy, the ability and willingness to mentally trade places with a fellow human being. That’s fairly easy when the other person looks like you, sounds like you and shares your heritage. Anyone who has been in a foreign land and spotted a countryman knows that look of recognition and the feeling of camaraderie that comes naturally in those circumstances.

Skimming the elites from subject countries breaks the bond between those society’s elites and their people. Importing labor to undercut domestic labor breaks the bonds between ruler and ruled in Western countries. Just as bad, this blended global elite has a transactional relationship amongst themselves. At least they assume that’s the basis of their dealings, but humans are not robots and those old biological loyalties are still lurking in the background. Europe is terribly close to war over Ukraine because one side thinks its just business and the other thinks it is tribal.

The argument against slavery was never just about the slave. The immorality of the custom damaged the slave master more than the slave by robbing him of his empathy. Similarly, the argument against colonialism is it required good men to do horrible things to other men for the system to work. Open borders and unfettered immigration has the same problem. Whatever the benefits, the disruption to the normal rhythms of society have costs that far outweigh those benefits.

The Ceremonial Congress

One of the things important to Democrats in the post-WW2 years was to reassert the authority of Congress. The extraordinary circumstances of the previous 15 years required a temporary dictator, of sorts, but the trouble was past and it was time to put things back as they were, in terms of political balance. The Cold War, however, meant they never really could fully restore Congress as the base of Federal power. The President in a time of forever war, would forever have powers delegated to an executive in times of war or emergency.

But, Congress clawed back a lot of their power, which is why we ended up with Lyndon Johnson and the Great Society. The irony there is the massive expansion of the social welfare system would ultimately eliminate much of the power of Congress. After all, parliaments have one source of power and that is the power of the purse. If you create entitlements, that power is partially eliminated. Keep adding new entitlements and new benefits and before long Congress has little power at all.

The Louvre Accords in the 1980’s will be looked upon by historians as the great undoing of self-government, in all its forms, in the West. Unlimited zero-interest borrowing has made the power of the purse superfluous. Why should anyone worry about taxes or budgets when you have easy access to unlimited funds? It’s not an accident that Congress no longer passes budgets, but instead passes unread “continuing resolutions” that just roll existing budgets over for another year, with a big grab back of new goodies added on.

The power of the purse is four fold. Congress decides what to tax, how much to tax, how to allocate the tax revenues and, most important, to supervise the spending of the money. Since the Clinton years and the capitulation of Congress at Runneymede over the budget, Presidents have little to fear from Congress regarding taxes and spending. Bush was hated by Democrats, but he got what he wanted as far as taxes and spending. After Clinton and Bush, the only power left to Congress was the supervision of the actual spending. Now, it is clear they no longer have that power.

The unwillingness of Republicans to hold the ground on what amounts to Impoundment by Obama is the last necessary concession to make Congress purely ceremonial. If they are unwilling or unable to exercise their oversight duties and instead leave it to the courts, there’s very little left for Congress to do. They can engage in busy work, go on TV and shake down private citizens for money, but otherwise they have no power. We have reached the point the Romans reached after Actium. That is, how much longer do we we pretend the republic is still reality?

I know a lot of people on the Dissident Right think democracy is a sham and the source of our problems. I tend to agree with the Founder critique of democracy as two wolves and sheep voting on what’s for lunch. Handing a veto to the least able just means the most clever and devious, the ones able to manipulate the least able and their veto, will rule the country. It’s why Western political elites are stocked with sociopaths. But, the trouble today is not that the people has too much power. It is that the people no longer have a tribune.

The issue of immigration is no greater way to illuminate this point. The public is overwhelmingly against the anarchy that has been unleashed by Obama. Voters of both parties in large majorities want greater enforcement, tighter control and tougher measures against scofflaws. As that NRO article makes clear, there were a number of avenues the GOP could have taken to force Obama to heel. They deliberately chose the one that was most likely to fail. Like borrowing limits, they are more concerned with eliminating the issue than solving the root problem.

The other interesting thing here is that we are seeing something rather strange. Revolutions and revolts have always been about a dispossessed public rebelling against their oppressive or derelict rulers. In the post-national West, we are seeing the ruling class revolt against their own people. Instead of mobs with torches and pitchforks surrounding the palace, the palace is unleashing the praetorian guards to ravish the people. As I’m fond of pointing out, we have been colonized by our own kind, who no longer see us as their own kind. The emasculation of the People’s House is the final blow.

More Nazis

Heirs of Jewish art dealers sue Germany in US, demanding restitution of medieval art treasure

The heirs of Nazi-era Jewish art dealers say they have filed a lawsuit in the U.S. suing Germany and a German museum for the return of a medieval treasure trove worth an estimated $226 million.

The suit, which attorneys said was filed late Monday in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., is the latest salvo in a long-running campaign by the heirs for return of the so-called Welfenschatz, or Guelph Treasure — which they claim their ancestors sold under Nazi pressure.

Originally collected over centuries by the Braunschweig Cathedral, the Welfenschatz includes some of the outstanding goldsmith works of the Middle Ages, among them ornate containers in the form of cathedrals used to store Christian relics. Many of the silver and gold pieces are decorated with jewels and pearls. Some are more than 800 years old.

Attorney Nicholas O’Donnell told The Associated Press in an interview in Berlin that the suit asks the Washington court to declare an American and a British descendant of a consortium that owned the collection in 1935 — when it was sold to the German state of Prussia — the rightful owners today.

“Any transaction in 1935, where the sellers on the one side were Jews and the buyer on the other side was the Nazi state itself is by definition a void transaction,” O’Donnell said.

The organization that oversees Berlin’s museums, the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, says that the collectors were not forced to sell the pieces, arguing among other things that the collection was not even in Germany at the time of its sale.

Last year, a German government commission created to help resolve restitution claims evaluated both arguments and recommended that the collection stay in Germany. The commission wrote that after thoroughly investigating the sale process, it came to the conclusion that it was not a “forced sale due to persecution.”

I love these stories for some reason. For as long as I have been alive we have have lived in the shadow of you know who and his minions. No matter the topic, eventually it will devolve into some comparison to you know who. Godwin’s Law is an example of just how thoroughly we have been marinated in Nazi lore. What gets forgotten, of course, is that in the early days of the Internet, most people on line were open minded sorts who enjoyed arguing about everything and anything. Then the addle-minded liberals showed up and started calling everyone Nazis.

The typical commenter at Taki is convinced we have a you know who fetish because the secret, international Jewish conspiracy controlling America. These are the types who load up the Kathy Shaidle columns with comments about “the Joos.” I think it is accurate to say American Jews punch way above their weight as an ethnic group, but I’m pretty confident there’s no Hebrew Dr. Evil holed up in a mountain lair controlling the world.

My sense is you know who and the Nazis cast such a long shadow because they are the alter ego of the American Left. The European fascists borrowed a lot from American Progressives. So much so Hollywood was planning a Mussolini movie back in the bad old days. More than a few Progressives admired the fascists before World War II and some even admired you know who. Joe Kennedy was such a you know who fan, FDR had to recall him from his post as Ambassador to the Court of St. James.

The thing is, we are just about out of Nazis. The war ended 70 years ago. Even if you assume teenage boys were able to lie their way into service, the youngest Nazi soldier alive today is 85. This old article says there may be fewer than 1,000 camp guards alive. At this point, all of them are over 90 and that means the number could be in the hundreds now.  Within the next decade, the final Nazi veterans will die and then what? We no longer fret over the Kaiser or King George. They’re long gone. At some point the books have to be closed on you know who and the Nazis.

Closing of the books on the Nazis seems long overdue when it comes to the claims in that Yahoo story. I think survivors had every right to try to get their property back after the war. If someone had their money, art or land stolen, then after the war they should have a chance to get it back. Land would be easiest. Money would be tougher, but there were plenty of records to track much of it. Other possessions might be tougher still and there should be a time limit. Once the claimant dies then that would be it. Letting great grandchildren of Jews killed by the Nazis make these claims seems like a stretch to me.

There’s also the little fact that just about every bit of the collection in question was stolen at one point from someone. That’s just the way it works. Everything from the Bronze Age in museums was stolen, for instance. If an Egyptian came forward with proof he was a descendent of Ramses II, we’re not giving him he contents of our museums. These people suing for their ancestors stuff seem like grifters playing the Hitler card. You can’t put your grievances in your will.

An Interesting And Simple Idea

In the history of technology, the simple ideas often turn out to be the most long-reaching. That usually means putting some new whiz-bang technology to use in a pedestrian way. The kitchen microwave is most obvious example. Our world has been made vastly different by this labor saving device that no one set out to design. CorningWare and non-stick pans are other great examples. We take these things for granted, but these happy accidents have contributed to our easy living more than 99% of most innovations dreamed up over the last century.

Like all normal males, I enjoy watching sports. The trouble is the games are often too long or too dull. European football is an example of the latter. The long stretches of tedium are too much to ask. Basketball is an example of the former in that the final five minutes seems to take an hour, with all the fouling and timeout calls. This post on MR has a simple and novel way to address some of this.

As kids, we played games to a certain score. Pickup basketball was always a game to some number of points. Pond hockey was whoever scored five goals or scored last. We did not have a way to keep time so made sense to do it this way. Applying this simple idea to professional sports could address a lot of the problems that plague modern sports, especially basketball. That way, a team up by 25-points is unlikely to coast as they can win the game by pouring it on once they have that big lead. It also makes fouling as a strategy pointless, thus shortening the games.

Soccer would not benefit from this approach as there’s not enough scoring. The alternative suggested in the MR post is that you use the score at the half as a baseline. If it is nil-nil after the break, then the first goal wins. If it is 1-nil, then the first team to two goals wins. The benefit here is that the second half would become a sudden death or “golden goal” period for many of these games. That’s always good for the fans and it puts pressure on players. Let’s face it. Sport is best when the pressure is the highest.

Other sports don’t seem to be an obvious fit for this approach. Basketball and soccer strike me as the two games that should be exciting, action packed and quick, but are too often the opposite. For soccer, I’d add a rule that requires the fake injured player to stay on the ground for two minutes if no foul is called. Do it twice and you get ejected and your team plays shorthanded. The cry baby nonsense spoils the game. Soccer is at its best when skilled players on the attack face skilled players on defense.  We need more of that and less of the rolling around in agony stuff.

Basketball started down that road with the flopping, but has managed to curtail it so I don’t know if they have that as a serious issue like soccer. Basketball has way too many time outs and substitutions. Limiting the time outs could allow for more scoring runs and maybe quicker finishes. Good teams would want to keep playing and run up the score quickly. The weaker teams would tire and give out so the game would be over quickly. Two great teams, on the other hand, would be like Ali-Frazier slugging it out until the end.

The Fallacy of Free Trade

Way back in the 80’s, I used to tell people we would rue the day we let Congress give up its power to manage trade. Tariffs and restrictions have well know costs and they don’t always serve the interest of the people. I read Smith’s analysis of English corn laws and I fully agree that tariffs rarely accomplish their stated goal. The world is richer when countries allow the free flow of goods between them – generally speaking. There are exceptions and they are big exceptions.

That’s the trade-off. Congress gets to play games with trade in exchange for addressing those exceptions. Free trade with Canada, for example, is a no-brainer. The free flow of goods and people between our two countries is good for both of us. Free trade with Mexico, on the other hand, is fraught with problems. Mexico is a failed state run by narcotics traffickers. Here we are all these years later and maybe it is starting to dawn on our rulers that trade is not a set it and forget it thing.

President Barack Obama has called on Congress to grant him fast-track trade authority for his Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement. The administration insists the authority, which would give Congress only an up-or-down vote on the agreement, is needed to get the best possible terms from its trade partners along the Pacific Rim.

During his 2008 presidential campaign, Obama promised to renegotiate and improve the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). But it now looks like what he really meant is to expand on that flawed trade model and extend it to other countries.

Twenty-one years after NAFTA and four years after Obama’s 2011 U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement, there is abundant data documenting how this trade model has been disastrous for most U.S. businesses, farmers and workers.

Since the pacts were implemented, U.S. trade deficits, which drag down economic growth, have soared more than 430 percent with our free-trade partners. In the same period, they’ve declined 11 percent with countries that are not free-trade partners. Since fast-track trade authority was used to pass NAFTA and the U.S. entrance into the World Trade Organization, the overall annual U.S. trade deficit in goods has more than quadrupled, from $218 billion to $912 billion.

The United States now has an annual $177-billion trade deficit in goods with its 20 free-trade partners. Over the past decade, however, U.S. export growth to countries that are not free-trade partners exceeded the growth of free-trade partners by 24 percent.

The trouble has always been cultural. Canada can be relied upon to follow the rules. The Canadian government will police itself and respond to requests from our government when something is amiss. China, on the other hand, is a bandit culture and the Chinese government sees America as an adversary. Naturally, they cheat on every deal. Mexico is a failed state and lacks the ability to police themselves, even if they wanted. Free trade with these countries sets us up to be patsies, which has been the case for decades now.

The thing with tariffs is we knew the costs up front. The cost of protecting a domestic industry could be calculated. As a matter of public policy, the people decide if the price is warranted. It’s not always logical, but the costs are at least predictable. Unfettered trade brought unknown unknowns that are just starting to be understood. Those unknown unknowns have costs. The new global elite, for example, is unconstrained by national governments. The result is a class of global pirates seemingly beyond the reach of the state.

Public policy is always about trade-offs. Life may not be a zero sum game, but it is close enough to think of it that way. That means a policy that benefits one group will do so at the expense of another. Limiting trade with Mexico may drive up the cost of lawn care, but it also means you can go into an emergency room that does not look like a bus station in Tijuana. Regulated trade with China may jack up the cost of your iPad, but it also means keeping poisoned pet food from China off US shelves.

These are trade-offs to be debated by the people’s representatives. Turning them over to technocrats at the WTO is to make a mockery of self-government and open us up to predation.