Brother, Can You Spare A Tubby?

One way historians and anthropologists piece together the historical timeline is by looking at official documents, seals, inscriptions on buildings and money. If ancient scribes suddenly stop mentioning a king, for example, a look at documents from the era can shed some light on what happened. If all of a sudden the king’s brother is signing charters and grants, then followed by a new king, it’s fair to assume the king died or was incapacitated, leaving a period of uncertainty.

Alternatively, if the coins from that period suddenly changed from having the king’s seal to having something generic or the image of a rival, then it probably means the king made a very serious blunder and was not just killed, but erased from the record. In the case of muddled time lines, the coins can often help date when one guy’s rule ended and his successor’s rule started. If the written record is hazy,the coins can fill in the gaps.

It is not science, but the study of money is a specialty. Numismatists are not just coin collectors. The academic side is much more than than the simple cataloging of coins and currency. The money people used can tell a lot about the people. The debasement of Roman coins in the third century, for example, helps explain what was happening at the street level in that era. Put another way, the changes in the coins tell a parallel story to what histories tell us about the civil wars and changes in imperial rule.

Somewhere, in a far off future, the robot historians will be picking through the rubble of our current age and puzzling about today’s news from the Imperial Capital that they are changing the money.

Alexander Hamilton has been spared an ousting from the front of the $10 bill, and Andrew Jackson will instead be bumped from the $20 to make way for Harriet Tubman — a historic move that is helping quell a controversy over Hamilton’s legacy.

“Today, I’m excited to announce that for the first time in more than a century, the front of our currency will feature the portrait of a woman, Harriet Tubman, on the $20 note,” Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told reporters during a conference call Wednesday afternoon.

Lew also announced a set of changes that include putting leaders of the women’s suffrage movement on the back of the $10 bill and incorporating civil rights era leaders and other important moments in American history into the $5 bill.

Obsequious rump-swabs, like Dan McLaughlin from National Review, were immediately seen out on the street, in tears, thanking Obama for this critical change. Look through the comments on that post and you easily understand why the epithet “cuckservative” cut these people so deep and why they were so offended by it. Reading that post, I get the sense that the only disappointment from McLaughlin was that they did not put a strapping young black man on the twenty.

Maybe Jackson should be replaced, but there are dozens of far more important people who could take his place. There are more important women than Tubman, who is a trivial figure in American history. The only reason we know about her at all is that Progressive fanatics plucked her out of obscurity to be a heroine of their cause. Most of the Harriet Tubman mythology is exactly that. She was illiterate and left no written records nor anything in the way of proof to substantiate her claims.

As is always the case with Progressive fanatics, nothing they say should be taken at face value. This move has nothing to do with Tubman, blacks, Civil Rights or women. It’s about spiting the the bogeymen that haunt the Cult of Modern Liberalism. Progressivism is defined by hatred of southern white males. It defines everything they believe and do. It’s pretty much all they are now. Striking the southern white guy from the money in favor of a black women is a deranged act of vengeance.

Of course, the weenies of Conservative Inc are claiming this is an attempt by Democrats to erase their association with Jackson. Maybe, but the more plausible reason is it is another step toward erasing the South. These are people who hate NASCAR, hunting, guns, fried food, WalMart, the Rebel flag and football. The common theme is anything white southern guys like, liberals hate and want to destroy. The people digging up Confederate generals are now throwing a southern president off the money.

Those robot historians will probably be just as puzzled as we are as to why this bizarre cult maintains a hatred for one region of the country. But, the joke, in the end, will be on the lunatics. It won’t be long before the hip-hop boys start calling the new bill “tubbies.” They call the twenty a “double” now and “tubby” is easier to rhyme. Given the nature of hip-hop, they will probably come up with a far more crude name for the new bill. Still, I look forward to asking lefty if he can spare a tubby?

Girl Power

The men of our species (I’m assuming you are human) are bigger, faster and stronger than the females and it is not even close. I speak “on average” here. There are small, frail men and big brawny women, but those are both outliers. Even wimpy men are bigger, faster and stronger than the typical woman. That’s why the best women’s college basketball team scrimmages against frat boys, rather than male athletes.

There was a presidential commission on the topic 25 years ago when the push for women in combat was first broached by the usual suspects. They published a report that you can buy if you’re interested. In that report, they concluded that the average female in her early adulthood is as physically capable as a typical late middle-aged man. They found that just 3.4% of female Army recruits could score at the mean for male recruits. After basic, that number fell to below one percent.

The above is a hate-crime, of course, and not intended to be taken literally. Let’s just say it is a theoretical construct in order to evaluate this story coming out of the Marine Corp this week.

Marine leaders have proposed a new physical fitness test that would still allow women to do the flexed-arm hang — but they’re not likely to earn a first-class score without pullups.

A new plan for the PFT would require most women to do between eight and 10 pullups to net a max score on that portion of the test.

The potential change is in response to a fitness review ordered by Commandant Gen. Robert Neller. Marine leaders found that “some current [fitness] standards are either not relevant, not challenging or not attainable,” according to a briefing obtained by Marine Corps Times. The plan was presented to Marine leaders last week.

Women would still be allowed to do the flexed-arm hang under a new proposal, but would be given little incentive to do so. Points for the flexed-arm hang would max out at 50, while one pullup would be worth 51 points.

In the PC age, the people in charge have to engage in all sorts of weird processes to work around the limitations placed on them by the lunatic cult in charge, but do so in a way that flatters the lunatics. In this case, the Marines have to have effective combat units, but do so in a way that permits them to pretend they are enthusiastic about having females in those units, even though that means degrading those combat units.

The lunatics insist that females are smaller, slower and weaker because of the patriarchy. Years of oppression by the pale penis people forced women into these “gender roles” that cause them to be smaller, weaker and slower than men. The solution is to get a bunch of people killed trying to prove this point and magically, our women will all look like Armenian males. It’s human sacrifice to please the gods, if there was such a thing as gods. Why this is good for anyone is never explained, but shut up.

This is not just a denial of observable reality. It is a denial of biology as a science. One of the big reasons humans rose to the top of the food chain is the division of labor. Most evolutionary biologists think one reason Neanderthals failed is there was no division of labor between the sexes. Having females specialize at things best for producing and rearing children, and men specialize in hunting and defense, was a huge edge for modern man, compared to previous smart monkeys.

Behavioral science also argues against women in combat. Men have evolved for combat. We’re literally built for it and not just physically, but cognitively. Our competition for mates is about denying the rival a chance to mate and the surest way of doing that is to kill him. Female competition for mates is about gaining the attention of males, not slaughtering the other females. Anyone who has been around children knows you have to train males to be civil; it comes natural for little girls.

Since we live in the age of hating the pale penis people, reality is no longer a limit to this sort of lunacy. Like the Air Force, the Marines will hunt around for a gal they can pretend is Audi Murphy so they can load her up with medals and display her as an example of their progressive enthusiasm. Everyone will pretend this is typical, even normal, in order to keep the religious police from hustling them off to a re-education camp.

This is the price we pay for allowing a cult to gain control of our country. The Stupid Tax is the price we pay for making every safe for the dumbest members of society. A few pennies are tacked onto shampoo bottles, for example, so that a warning can be placed on the outside telling the stupid not to drink shampoo. When the stupid person sues, the shampoo maker can say he did his best to warn the stupid about the dangers of drinking shampoo. Billions are siphoned from society to accommodate the stupid in this way.

What the military is facing is a Lunatic Tax. They can still drive off the dangerously stupid, but they have to accommodate the the whims of the  lunatics. That means re-engineering their combat units so they can have a sprinkling of girls in them. When the angry bull-dyke Senator visits, they can show her how enthusiastic they are for girls in combat. This also requires a catalog of euphemisms and esoteric rules to game the theocrats. Everyone in the military now speaks in tongues.

This will not end well.

Car Shopping

I’m in the market for a new car. I don’t really need a new car or even a newer car. My current vehicle is 15 years old, but in near-new condition. I’m one of those people who takes meticulous care of my things, especially cars. I get all the maintenance done on time and I have broken things fixed as soon as they break. That last bit is the key. Leaving broken things unattended seems to age a car.

I’m a bit of a clean freak so I make sure my car is always spotless. My current vehicle lacks a new car shine and has a few paint chips, but is otherwise pretty much as I bought it new. Inside it is exactly as new, not even a smudge on the carpets. I’m a bit lucky there, I guess, but it really is quite remarkable how long a modern auto will last if properly maintained.

Even so, I figure I have one more new car in me before they take my keys away so I have been thinking about spoiling myself and getting a nice new ride. Here in the ghetto, having a nice ride is pretty much required if you want to be respected. I see guys who have never filed a tax form in their life rolling around in E-series Mercedes. Whenever I see one of the fellas riding around in a high end vehicle, I always imagine the scene at the dealership when L’Trelle pays cash in crumpled tens and twenties.

I have not settled on what I want or even if I want to go big or small. I’ve always liked the look of an the Audi, but I’m told they’re brutal to maintain. I know someone with an A6 and he tells me he spent close to a grand having the brakes done recently. My last brake job, which included brand new front rotors and an alignment, was $450. I think I’d have a stroke if I got a bill for brake pads that had a comma in it. Maybe the driving experience makes it all worth it, but I’m skeptical.

The other end of the spectrum for me is an SUV. I’ve always thought it would be fun to own a Jeep with a lift kit and big tires. Maybe do some off-roading. Every Jeep owner I’ve met loves the things. It’s probably a lifestyle thing that may or may not work for me, but it is something I’m considering. If not a Jeep then maybe a different model SUV. Too bad they stopped making the Hummer. That would work perfectly in my neighborhood. I’d be the top honky in the hood for sure.

A good way to understand how social institutions evolve, sometimes into dead-ends, is to spend time at car dealerships. If you were starting with a clean sheet of paper, designing a way to distribute and repair cars, the modern dealership system would not be the model. Instead, you would probably come up with something like CarMax or maybe Amazon Cars, where users spec their car on-line and it is delivered to their home.

This was not a possibility in the dawn of the automobile age in America. Instead, manufacturers sought out local businessmen to represent their brand in their part of the world. Even 50 years ago, America was a vast country with lots of local variation. People did business with people they knew and the local dealership model solved a problem for car makers. Buying a car from the guy who sponsored your kid’s little league team was the American thing to do.

Today, people prefer doing business with robots. Retail is dying all over the country as people would rather shop through their PC. I just bought a new bed frame through Amazon. It will be delivered next week. Rather than spend all weekend at furniture stores, I went on-line, relying on the reviews of strangers. The transaction required an hour or so of my time and I did not have to haggle with another human.

Go into a car dealership and it is an elaborate system of time wasting and confrontation. The car salesman immediately starts asking questions and trying to lead you to a car you are inclined to buy. He’s there to sell cars so he works to narrow your focus quickly, often making assumptions about people based on their age, sex, race and appearance. Car dealerships are the ultimate in profiling.

Of course, this system of selling cars evolved over a long period of time and the men who have millions committed to their dealerships are not about to let it be replaced by another system. In almost every state, dealers have bribed local pols into passing laws protecting them from alternative modes of selling new cars. Some states even have laws forbidding warranty work by independent repair shops, forcing you into dealership repair shops.

The car business is also an example of how automation can be minimized. The software systems used by car dealers are crude by modern standards. Even the Japanese and German dealers rely on clunky old software to manage the dealerships. There are still loads of people pushing paper around in order to buy and sell cars. That’s on top of the government bureaucracy for keeping track of your car and taxing it. The economy of spoons comes to mind.

Another thing that strikes me about the car buying experience is just how ugly modern cars have become in the last couple of decades. Walk around a car dealership and it is like being on the set of a film noir movie. The most popular colors are black, gray and white. The alternatives are muted, depressing metallics that strongly suggest the owner is suicidal. Interior colors range from black to gray. It’s as if all of our cars are designed by former East German bureaucrats.

Way back in the olden thymes when car makers first started using wind tunnels for design work, someone I knew at the time said eventually all cars will end up looking the same. That’s pretty much what has happened. To break out of this and get something funky and weird, you have to spend a king’s ransom. When I was a kid, cars said something about the owner. It was an extension of his personality so variety was everywhere.

That’s still true, except the guy driving is no longer a free man driving his own car. Instead, the car is leased to him and he is permitted to drive it by a gaggle of faceless bureaucrats, who spend their lives in committee meetings. That’s why our cars look like extras in a funeral procession. An optimistic people buy weird looking cars in bright colors. A society marking time leases gray sedans that go back to the dealer when they are done for.


The Sick Man of Europe

One of the great challenges the next US president will face is how to manage the decline of Turkey. The Turks under Recep Erdoğan are an unreliable partner and becoming a source of instability in Europe. The great neo-conservative dream of having NATO extend to every country on earth except Russia will not come to pass. Instead, it will either go away entirely or become something else, something that does not include Turkey.

The news that the Germans will prosecute a comic for making sport of Erdoğan, has all focused on Merkel, but that’s not the real story. This is all about Erdoğan and internal Turkish politics at a time when he is not very popular and the Turks face some very serious threats to their south and east. Pushing around Merkel is mostly about Erdoğan looking tough and important. In his part of the world, that is still how the game is played.

The immediate issues are the geopolitical problems the Turks face. Syria has collapsed, sending refugees into Turkey. This further destabilizes the Kurdish regions, which is exactly what the Turks do not want. Kurdish nationalism is probably the thing they fear more than anything. With neighboring Iraq a host for ISIS, their southern border is essentially a state of nature populated by homicidal lunatics with military gear they got from America.

They used to have influence in Syria and Iraq, but that’s no longer the case. Instead, Iran is fast becoming the regional hegemon. The Turks know their history and they understand that the Persians have always been the dominant player in Mesopotamia. The Iranians are not going to be happy just controlling the Gulf. They are not involved in Syria and Iraq as a hobby. The Mullahs of Iran imagine themselves as the heirs of Cyrus the Great, without the philo-semitism.

All of this is why Erdoğan is working the Europeans so hard. First he turns on the migrant spigot and then he makes Merkel grovel to have it shut off. This latest stunt is entirely for domestic consumption. This makes Erdoğan look tough to his people, which makes it easier for him to deal with the problems to his south. The game here is to extract as much from the Europeans as possible so he can be as aggressive as he needs to be with the problems to the south.

The problem for the Turks is they can’t make all of this work. The deal they made with Merkel included a provision for Turkish citizens to travel in Europe without a visa. Every young Turk with anything on the ball will find work in Europe. At the same time, those Syrian migrants are going to keep coming and those Kurds are going to keep breeding and dreaming of the day they have their own country. Turkey has the European disease and the Muslim disease. That’s going to be lethal.

That bit about the Kurds is something the West does not fully grasp. The demographics of Turkey present a very serious long-term threat to the stability of the country and the dominance of the Turks. Turkish TFR is at 1.5, while Kurdish TFR is 4.5. The math says Kurds will outnumber Turks in 20 years. Erdoğan does not talk about this all the time because he is bored. The Turks, unlike the Europeans, understand that the future belongs to those who show up.

It’s hard to know, but the noises coming from Erdoğan suggest he thinks he can solve his European disease by embracing his Muslim problem. The ruling party gets its support from the more rural parts of the country, which is the very Muslim part of the country. Turkey becoming more Islamic means becoming more hostile to the West. History shows these things have a way of spiraling out of control quickly.

Then there is the elephant in the room.  NATO is a legacy organization without a reason to exist. The Soviets are no more and there is no threat of the Red Army roaring into Germany. Whether the treaty is scrapped or redrafted, the next president is most likely going to preside over a radical redrawing of America’s military commitments to Europe. There’s a pretty good shot that part of it will include dropping Turkey from the deal.

The irony here is that we have the expression “Sick Man of Europe” because of the Russians. Tsar Nicholas I said of the Ottoman Empire “We have a sick man on our hands, a man gravely ill, it will be a great misfortune if one of these days he slips through our hands, especially before the necessary arrangements are made.” If the West has not thought about this with modern Turkey, they will be thinking about soon enough.

The challenge for the next president will be in letting things play out on their own. Here’s where the lesson of Libya comes in to play. Like Quaddafi, Erdoğan may simply be a guy you do business with because he keeps a lid on the Arabs to the south. That may require bribery and a lot of looking the other way as he suppresses the Kurds, but it’s the cost of keeping millions of migrants flowing into the Balkans. What Turkey will never be is part of Europe.

Bush and Bandar

This story in America’s Newspaper of Record on the post-9/11 scramble to protect the Saudis is going to lead a lot of people to take the red pill, as the cool kids say. Most people assumed the administration covered up some fringe involvement by some Saudis in 9/11. Most people think our government has looked the other way on Saudi financing of terrorism. The claims here go well beyond that.

In its report on the still-censored “28 pages” implicating the Saudi government in 9/11, “60 Minutes” last weekend said the Saudi role in the attacks has been “soft-pedaled” to protect America’s delicate alliance with the oil-rich kingdom.

That’s quite an understatement.

Actually, the kingdom’s involvement was deliberately covered up at the highest levels of our government. And the coverup goes beyond locking up 28 pages of the Saudi report in a vault in the US Capitol basement. Investigations were throttled. Co-conspirators were let off the hook.

Case agents I’ve interviewed at the Joint Terrorism Task Forces in Washington and San Diego, the forward operating base for some of the Saudi hijackers, as well as detectives at the Fairfax County (Va.) Police Department who also investigated several 9/11 leads, say virtually every road led back to the Saudi Embassy in Washington, as well as the Saudi Consulate in Los Angeles.

Yet time and time again, they were called off from pursuing leads. A common excuse was “diplomatic immunity.”

Those sources say the pages missing from the 9/11 congressional inquiry report — which comprise the entire final chapter dealing with “foreign support for the September 11 hijackers” — details “incontrovertible evidence” gathered from both CIA and FBI case files of official Saudi assistance for at least two of the Saudi hijackers who settled in San Diego.

Some information has leaked from the redacted section, including a flurry of pre-9/11 phone calls between one of the hijackers’ Saudi handlers in San Diego and the Saudi Embassy, and the transfer of some $130,000 from then-Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar’s family checking account to yet another of the hijackers’ Saudi handlers in San Diego.

An investigator who worked with the JTTF in Washington complained that instead of investigating Bandar, the US government protected him — literally. He said the State Department assigned a security detail to help guard Bandar not only at the embassy, but also at his McLean, Va., mansion.

I recall the administration flying the Bin Laden family out of the country right after the attack. That made some sense simply as a practical matter. What is coming to light now is that the administration decided to give the Saudis a pass before they knew anything about the attack. Put another way, their default position was to protect the Saudis above all else.

Former FBI agent John Guandolo, who worked 9/11 and related al Qaeda cases out of the bureau’s Washington field office, says Bandar should have been a key suspect in the 9/11 probe.

“The Saudi ambassador funded two of the 9/11 hijackers through a third party,” Guandolo said. “He should be treated as a terrorist suspect, as should other members of the Saudi elite class who the US government knows are currently funding the global jihad.”

But Bandar held sway over the FBI.

After he met on Sept. 13, 2001, with President Bush in the White House, where the two old family friends shared cigars on the Truman Balcony, the FBI evacuated dozens of Saudi officials from multiple cities, including at least one Osama bin Laden family member on the terror watch list. Instead of interrogating the Saudis, FBI agents acted as security escorts for them, even though it was known at the time that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi citizens.

I’m not much for conspiracies, but you can see why people think the Saudis were behind 9/11 and that maybe the Bush people were OK with it. After all, it gave them the excuse to invade the world. At the minimum, there’s a distinct lack of anger on display here. Bush is an American and this was an attack on his people, his country. A thirst for vengeance is what one should expect. Instead, he’s smoking cigars with Bandar.

This is post-nationalism. When the rulers no longer feel any connection to the people over whom they rule, they are free to treat the people as furniture. The cost of 9/11, the death and destruction, was a small price to pay for booking the multi-trillion dollar boondoggle to come after it. A whole lot of people got rich off Afghanistan and Iraq. There’s a reason seven of the richest counties on earth are around Washington DC.

The Surrenderess

Until about an hour ago, I had never heard of Ekaterina Jung, now calling herself Cathy Young, a writer for something called Newsday and the website, The Federalist. This link was in my twitter feed along with a bunch of snarky comments. The article is another tantrum about the growing army of people who have had enough of so-called conservatism and went elsewhere for their arguments.

The phrase “alt-right” has become an abracadabra phrase for the commercial Right, in the same way that “extreme right-wing” is a magic phrase for the loonies of the Left. The theory is that if the good-thinker says the phrase three times, their tired old excuses and arguments are declared the winner and they can dismiss their critics. The hacks of Conservative Inc now call everyone to their right, “alt-right” so they can avoid debating them.

The Cathy Young tantrum is fairly typical. She spent an hour breezing through some sites like VDare and Unz looking for “evidence” she could use to pad out her claim that the bad-thinkers are all racist Hitlers and stuff. I’m old enough to remember when Lefty used to write these sorts of columns about Buckley Conservatives, using National Review as the source material. That’s how far the Overton Window has moved left.

Anyway, two things are interesting to me. One is the bio of the writer. According to Wiki:

Born in Moscow, the capital of what was then the Soviet Union, Ekaterina Jung was 17 when her family emigrated to the United States in 1980. She became a naturalized citizen in 1987 as Catherine Alicia Young, and graduated from Rutgers University in 1988.[1] At Rutgers, she wrote a column for the student newspaper The Daily Targum and worked as a student writer for The Detroit News. She also completed her autobiography, Growing Up in Moscow: Memories of a Soviet Girlhood, published in 1989.

Continuing her association with The Detroit News, Young was a regular columnist for the newspaper from 1993 to 2000 and worked as a freelance journalist for a variety of publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Newsday, The New Republic, The Wall Street Journal, The American Spectator, National Review,, The Weekly Standard, and Reason.

From 2000 to 2007, Young wrote a weekly op-ed column for The Boston Globe. In 2008, she began to write a regular column for In 2012, she became a weekly columnist for Newsday. Over the years, Young has had a close association with Reason, where she is a contributing editor and was a monthly columnist from 2001 to 2007. Since 2014, she has regularly contributed to Time.[2]

Young is a research associate at the Washington, D.C.-based libertarian think tank Cato Institute, for which she co-authored a 1996 policy analysis paper, “Feminist Jurisprudence: Equal Rights or Neo-Paternalism?”. Her writing covers a variety of topics in politics and culture, with particular focus on gender issues and feminism, reflecting an individualist feminist perspective (c.f. Wendy McElroy), frequently agreeing with men’s rights activists, while criticizing them for emulating the identity politics associated with some forms of feminism. In addition to appearing on a number of radio and television shows, she has spoken on college campuses and, during 2001 and 2002, taught a 3-week gender issues course at Colorado College.

Young supports legally recognizing same-sex marriages.[3]

Young is basically a liberal woman who likes money so she defends the people who give her money. Today, that happens to be the Koch Brothers so she is a libertarian. You don’t write for those hyper-progressive publications without having been cleared by the Cult of Modern Liberalism. Throw in the middle-aged woman’s obsession with her vagina and you have a Cato endorsed social justice warrior.

That’s the thing with libertarians. They agree with the Left on all the important stuff. Their quibble is mostly over who gets sent off to the camps and by what means. Liberals want the state running the camps while libertarians think Elon Musk should get the contract. Over 50 years ago, Whittaker Chambers pegged these people and nothing much has changed, other than the fact the Buckley Conservatives surrendered to them.

The other interesting bit is this at the end of the Young’s tantrum:

Today, the excesses of the “social justice” movement have brought us to a point where reasonable conservatives, libertarians, and liberals are ready to join forces against quasi-totalitarian identity politics. We need to start reclaiming the principles of common humanity, freedom, and universal values, not put a positive spin on a different brand of divisive identitarianism.

Progressivism is based on the claim that all humans are the same. Egalitarianism is the foundation stone of the Left. Their coat of arms is decorated with the phrases “common humanity” and “universal values.” These are not conservative expressions or sentiments. They are antithetical to traditionalism, conservatism and biological reality. What Cathy Young finishes with is a call for total surrender.

That’s why the Buckley Right is collapsing. Decades of surrender and excuse making have sapped them of their legitimacy. What’s the point of following these guys if all they do is lose and blame you for it? You may as well throw in with these new guys, who may be nuts, but they are spoiling for a fight. If your culture and people are going to be erased from the book of life, you can at least put up a fight on the way out.

Crime & Punishment

I’m not a fan of the death penalty. I’m not absolutely against it, as there are times and places where it is a necessity. Poor societies cannot afford to house and feed monsters so they have no choice but to execute their violent criminals. It’s a matter of self-defense. If they try to segregate killers, there’s a good chance the killer gets loose and kills again. Or, the killer harms a fellow prisoner or guard.

My view on the death penalty is a libertarian one. The state derives its authority from the people and the people have a right to self-defense. As a matter of self-defense, the state can kill enemies, but only enemies that are a threat. A man in chains is no threat so hanging him is murder. It is no different than a man shooting a burglar in his home versus hunting down the burglar and shooting him in the back.

That said, I get why people are in favor of the death penalty as a matter of vengeance. A guy who kills kids, for example, commits the worst possible offense against society. Hanging the guy simply as an act of vengeance brings some satisfaction to the people. The trouble is the state gets stuff wrong all the time so vengeance could very well lead to hanging an innocent man. You can let a man out of jail, but not out of the grave.

That’s the theory. The reality is a case like this one in America’s Paper of Record.

A follower of Charles Manson who participated in his cult’s infamous 1969 massacre has won approval for parole.

Leslie Van Houten, 66, the youngest member of the so-called Manson Family, “was granted parole suitability today by commissioners of the Board of Parole Hearings meeting at the California Institution for Women in Corona,” according to Luis Patino, a spokesman for the California Department of Correction.

“We’re really ecstatic,” Van Houten’s lawyer, Christie Webb, told The Post. “Leslie is an individual. She can’t change what she did, but she has tremendous remorse.”

The parole board will review the judgment for up to 120 days and, if its members uphold the decision, the matter will be forwarded to California Gov. Jerry Brown.

Brown “will have a maximum of 30 days to either uphold, reverse or modify the decision, or send it to the full board of commissioners sitting en banc for review,” Patino said.

Van Houten was convicted in 1971 for the savage murders of Leno and Rosemary La Bianca in their Los Feliz home on August 10, 1969.

She later admitted that she was whacked out on LSD when she stabbed Rosemary 14 times with a knife.

The double murder came one day after several other Manson disciples killed pregnant actress Sharon Tate – who was married to renowned director Roman Polanski in her Benedict Canyon home. Several of her friends were massacred.

These crimes were monstrous. The people who committed them admitted to the crimes, even bragged about them. There’s simply no way to argue that they may have been wrongly convicted. The best you can do is claim some mitigation like insanity or excessive drug taking. Even so, this woman was given life with a chance at parole. Now, she may be released after spending 40 years in prison.

This is why people support the death penalty. This woman should never be free, but she is old and the government is broke so they are letting criminals go free. There’s also the fetish among our rulers for committing outrages against the people. Letting a monster go free is a way they can feel hip and edgy by outraging the squares out in the suburbs. The death penalty closes off this stuff. If Van Houten had been hanged, this is not a story. Instead, she will be released and probably be invited to the White House.

This is why I think we should get back to having penal colonies. The Cloud People are simply too greedy and self-absorbed to run a proper criminal justices system. They will always look for reasons to set monsters loose on the rest of us. At the same time, wholesale execution of violent predators is never coming back in the West, until the Muslims take over.  A compromise is to setup penal colonies to house people like this women.

The monsters can be dumped on an island with ample food and water, but otherwise they must self-organize. Maybe a facility to dispense food, water and medical care is run by the state. If they kill each other, so be it. The non-violent, who simply cannot stop committing crimes, can be dropped into a more regulated colony. They live out their lives with no chance of return, unless they are exonerated. Maybe we setup a court for them on the island to help regulate the colony. We can call it Australia, just to make it fun.

The point is we have, at any one time, about 500,000 or so people in jail that we never want out of jail. The billions spent doing this, and the endless criminal proceedings that come with it, can be solved with penal colonies. That would free up resources to run a sane prison system for the petty thieves, errant losers and young knuckleheads. A Leslie Van Houton would be sent to Murderer’s Island out in the Pacific, never to walk our streets again.

The Africa Problem

In 793 the first Viking raid of any note took place at the monastery at Lindisfarne. It was quite a shock to the Christian people of Britain, but it was just a taste of what was coming. This was the dawn of the Viking age and warriors would be pouring out of Scandinavia for 250 years.  In a short time, a piracy problem would turn into a threat to civilization, forcing the people of Europe to organize themselves in defense of their lands and people against the Norse raiders.

The problem over the horizon today is the population explosion in Sub-Saharan Africa. We get hints of it in the news from time to time, but policy makers in the West try hard to pretend it is not a problem. On slow news days, the state media has someone write a “think piece” on the topic, but otherwise, Africa may as well be Mars as far as public policy. As Steve Sailer is fond of pointing out, the math says this must change.

Sailer has a post up on this and he offers some ways to address what will be the defining issues of the next half century or more.

The solutions for the African threat to world peace and prosperity appear to me to require a threefold approach:

– Perimeter and in-depth defense of the West to shut off the magnet justifying guys with three wives and 17 children feeling optimistic and unworried about their selfishness.

– Strong campaigns promoting family planning in Africa.

– Outside investment in sustainable economic development in Africa, such as better agricultural practices that don’t contribute to desertification.

These will be expensive, but the cost is minimal compared to the alternative of turning Europe into a banlieue of Africa. The main problem is ideological: we need to break the taboo against talking about the need for Steps #1 and #2.

His first proposal could work and would certainly limit the flow of economic migrants into the West. The fantasy version of migration is that these people come to work. In reality, they come to go on welfare. Politically, this would be an easy sell to populations facing financial pressure due to bloated welfare systems and excessive government. But, politicians appear to be allergic to this notion. They would rather see the whole thing collapse than be thought rude to the invaders.

Math is not a social construct and the math says the West cannot afford to feed and clothe a billion Africans, plus the millions of others who wish to have the material benefits of the West without the work. You can choose to accept reality or be forced to accept reality. There is no third option so the West will eventually have to halt the flow of migrants into Europe..

The second proposal strikes me as odd, given Sailer’s views on human biology. The West has been flooding the Dark Continent with condoms to fight HIV for a couple of decades now. George Bush made a big deal of fighting AIDS in Africa. The thrust of the effort was the distribution of condoms. Even so, the population explosion has gone on, suggesting that the locals are not all that interested in birth control. Biological reality is not amenable to wishful thinking.

The last proposal has a similar problem. The West has been investing in Africa for as long as anyone has been alive. Ethiopia, for example, gets 90% of its government budget from foreign aid. Hundreds of billions have flowed into Africa through government, charity and combinations of the two. In many parts of the continent, the result has been worse than doing nothing. The book Dead Aid details how aid to Africa has mostly made things worse.

That leaves us with option one as the starting place. A million or so Muslim migrants into Europe has radically altered politics. Ten million more and instead of “right wing parties” the news is full of violent revolts and coups. Whether the current political class snaps out of their delusions or they are replaced with more practical men, Europe will put and end to the great migration.

There’s something else. The West is broke. That reality is going to become more apparent as we head to the denouement of the credit money age. That means economic development programs in Africa come to an end. They may not end dramatically, more like a slow winding down as economic reality makes aid to Africa less fashionable. Decades of delaying the inevitable means decades of facing the inevitable.

Africa is a fragile place. It does not take much to plunge it into anarchy. Think of Yemen but continent scale without rich neighbors willing to provide food aid. The inevitable result is famine and then plagues as the population starts to shift around looking for food. Throw in civil war and a massive spike in violence to the mix. That’s horrible, but it would fix the population problem in a decade or two.

That assumes the West has the willingness and ability to hold the line against mass migration. It’s not hard to see the math. The current migrant crisis leads to political instability in Europe. That retards food and medicine shipments to Africa, which puts pressure on the population to seek relief across the Mediterranean. Suddenly, the Viking age is looking pretty good.

The Third World Experience

My first brush with the third world was in Mexico and it was one of those random sorts of things that remind foreigners they are no longer on familiar ground. I was getting some food and I could not help but notice that there were far more people working than the task required. In fact, they were banging into one another. In order to make up for it, they were frenetically jostling with one another, trying to get food to the customers. This was my first brush with the Latin Way.

In most of South America, and big chunks of North America now, activity is mistaken for work. Employees are always rushing about in a chaotic manner as they want to look busy. You see it in government bureaucracies as well as with the private business. Everyone always wants to look busy, which means working harder, not smarter. In fact, they may very well work dumber as that creates more work, which makes it easier to look busy. There is a strange logic to it.

With open borders and a flood of third world people into America, I am seeing this sort of thing locally. I had to get my prescription refilled the other day and the pharmacy I use is staffed by H1B’s from Lord knows where. Rite Aid is known for abusing the H1B program to hire cheap labor in their pharmacy. Every time I go in there, I see sub-Saharan Africans scurrying about, looking busy, getting nothing done. Invariably they screw up my prescription and it requires lots of hand gestures and mangled English to get it resolved.

That is the other thing about the third world. The dimwits you deal with at the retail level are both the cause of and cure of the inevitable foul ups. At the pharmacy, they usually lose my prescription, but sometimes they just forget to fill it. That means huddling around a terminal, walking around with their serious face on and then they finally figure it out. They are so proud of themselves and they expect me to be grateful for their help. I play along. It is the way it works. They waste my time and I thank them for it. Welcome to America.

Of course, things do not always work out for the best. I was in Texas last fall and when I returned my rental car at the airport, a surly, dimwitted mestizo scanned the car, mumbled something in Spanglish and then handed me the printout. The bill was $1100 for five days. I protested and he insisted it was right because the machine said it was right. I tried to explain the impossibility of it, but he just kept saying, “I’m sorry, I can do nothing for you. It’s what the computer says.”

Luckily, I was in a sporting mood at that point, having dealt with some third world zaniness on the way into the airport. An Amerind flag man was waving cars into what looked like a detour. It was a dead end. So, about ten cars were stacked up, needing to back out. I heard some irritated guy demand to know why the flag man was waving people into a dead end. He just shrugged and said his boss told him to do it. He had that stupid smile suggesting you should be happy that he answered the question correctly.

Anyway, I eventually tracked down a pleasant young woman who was happy to fix the billing problem. That is the big difference between a Western culture and the third world. In the West, we expect even the front-line employee to solve problems. The girl that helped me was happy to help and felt good about doing her job. Jose with the scanner was happy to do only that which he was trained to do and he felt good about staying out of my trouble. One is motivated to find problems to solve, the other is motivated to avoid problems.

That is the other thing about the non-West. There is a narrowness, a practiced obtuseness, that you see even in the professions. South Asians are hilarious with this. They are creative with quick fixes, often producing a solution that is both comical and practical. This seems to be a way to avoid anything resembling a confrontation. They call this “Jugaad.” This love of the quick fix means systemic problems never get solved. They just carry on forever with an elaborate array of cheap fixes and workarounds.

Here in the ghetto, we get to experience local blacks dealing with the third world customer service reps. Blacks are trained from conception to assume everyone is here to wait on them. The sense of entitlement is bone deep. Watching a welfare queen play the race card against a Kenyan pharmacy clerk is hilarious. Africans really dislike American blacks so I suspect there is some deliberate trouble making, but it is a good time, nonetheless.

Anyway, I suspect the valued social skill in the future will be the ability to manipulate people in a multi-cultural society in order to get anything done. The person who can finesses these people into doing useful work will have a high value, while the red-faced Texan I saw screaming at the flag guy will live a life of perpetual frustration. Or maybe it reaches a tipping point and it ends in a tribal bloodbath.

Unimaginable Math Problems

In 1980, the US government owed, in one fashion or another, $909 Billion, which was about 35% of GDP. Federal spending that year was $591 Billion. If you adjust these numbers for inflation, the 1980 spending was $1,700 Billion and the debt was $2,615 Billion. Today the government spends over $3,000 Billion and the national debt is $19,000 Billion. The current estimates say the debt-to-GDP ratio will be close to 90% this year and will break 100% sometime in the next administration.

I use 1980 as a benchmark because Reagan ran on the debt issue, making it a popular topic in politics ever since. In that time, Republicans have controlled the White House for 20 of those 36 years. They have controlled the House for 18 of those years. The point here is both parties have had chances to arrest the growth of spending and debt accumulation, but neither team has bothered. As long as the Fed can monetize the debt, the politicians keep spending.

Another reason to think back to 1980 is that no one thought the current debt levels were possible. The NYTimes first used the word “trillion” in the 1970’s. The rationale behind Reagan’s tax plan was that making high taxes politically impossible meant spending would have to decline. After all, who in their right mind would keep buying bonds, even at the elevated rate of 10% for the 10-Year Treasury?

The future turned out to be a very different place than the planners of the 1980’s imagined. That’s important to keep in mind when you see stories like this regarding the nation’s public pension systems.

The US public pension system has developed a $3.4tn funding hole that will pile pressure on cities and states to cut spending or raise taxes to avoid Detroit-style bankruptcies.

According to academic research shared exclusively with FTfm, the collective funding shortfall of US public pension funds is three times larger than official figures showed, and is getting bigger.

Devin Nunes, a US Republican congressman, said: “It has been clear for years that many cities and states are critically underfunding their pension programmes and hiding the fiscal holes with accounting tricks.”

Mr Nunes, who put forward a bill to the House of Representatives last month to overhaul how public pension plans report their figures, added: “When these pension funds go insolvent, they will create problems so disastrous that the fund officials assume the federal government will have to bail them out.”

Large pension shortfalls have already played a role in driving several US cities, including Detroit in Michigan and San Bernardino in California, to file for bankruptcy. The fear is other cities will soon become insolvent due to the size of their pension deficits.

Joshua Rauh, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, a think-tank, and professor of finance at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, who carried out the study, said: “The pension problems are threatening to consume state and local budgets in the absence of some major changes.

“It is quite likely that over a five to 10-year horizon we are going to see more bankruptcies of cities where the unfunded pension liabilities will play a large role.”

The Stanford study found that the states of Illinois, Arizona, Ohio and Nevada, and the cities of Chicago, Dallas, Houston and El Paso have the largest pension holes compared with their own revenues.

In order to deal with the large funding shortfall, many cities and states will have to increase their contributions to their pension funds, either by raising taxes or cutting spending on vital services.

That’s one possible future. The important thing to remember is the US government has no money of its own. It either taxes, borrows from foreign sources or creates credit money through the machinations of the Federal Reserve. Given the state of the federal budget and projected debt, it’s unlikely the Feds could bailout the state pension systems completely. The CBO says the total debt could hit $30,000 Billion in ten years.

The other possible future is the pensioners don’t get paid. When a company goes bankrupt, the creditors don’t get paid. At least they don’t get paid in full. When cities and towns can no longer make their pension payments, they will stop making those payments. The old retired employees will sue and petition their legislatures, but you can’t get blood from a stone. The best case is the pensioners take a hefty cut in benefits.

The thing no one discusses is why these funds are in trouble. The reason for the trouble is the artificially low bond rates we have seen for two decades. In order to finance Federal spending, borrowing rates have been driven down to near zero. The biggest buyers of treasuries used to be pension funds. They could expect a return exceeding their target of 7.5% and not carry much in the way of risk. Being a pension fund manager used to be the easiest job in finance.

Olivia Mitchell, a professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, told FTfm last month that US public pension plans face “grave difficulties”.

“I do believe that US cities and towns will continue to suffer, and there will be additional bankruptcies following the examples of Detroit,” she said.

Currently, states and local governments contribute 7.3 per cent of revenues to public pension plans, but this would need to increase to an average of 17.5 per cent of revenues to stop any further rises in the funding gap, the research said.

Several cities and states, including California, Illinois, New Jersey, Chicago and Austin, would need to put at least 20 per cent of their revenues into their pension plans to prevent a rise in their deficits, while Nevada would have to contribute almost 40 per cent.

Mr Rauh’s study claims the “true extent” of funding problems in US public pension system has been obscured because plans calculate both their costs and liabilities on the assumption they will achieve returns of between 7 and 8 per cent a year. The academic believes this rate is “wildly optimistic and unlikely to be achieved”.

Mr Rauh said a more realistic return rate, based on US Treasury bond yields, was around 2-3 per cent a year.

Ultra-low bond rates have forced pension funds into higher risk investments as they try to hit their target of 7% per year. This is fine when the market is performing at or near its historic averages and the fund managers are smart enough to bet the broader market. It also assumes that cities and states pay their pension obligations, without actually borrowing from those same pension funds. Now we know why the pension system is in trouble.

This is just one small aspect of the daunting math facing the United States over the next decade. Again, no one imagined the current math was even possible 35 years ago. If you told 1980 people that the Federal debt would be $19 Trillion, they would have laughed in your face. Maybe ten years from now $50 Trillion is no big thing. The math is unimaginable, but today’s math was once unimaginable. Alternatively, perhaps what’s coming is unimaginably awful. I don’t know, but the math problem facing America beggars the imagination.