Inconvenient truths, convenient lies

If there’s any one aspect of the overblown reaction to the January 6th doin’s that I find most sick-making of all, it’s the way putative conservatives just blandly swallowed whole the Deep Statists’ intentionally manipulative mischaracterization of the protest as “deadly riots,” “insurrection,” “coup attempt,” et al. America’s Sweetheart Julie Kelly is way too smart to be fooled by it.

January 6 Is the New Russiagate Lie
It’s impossible to count how many impressions of “five people killed” pollute government documents, news websites, social media, and the brains of tens of millions of Americans. The line is a permanent chapter in the folklore of January 6—and it’s untrue. Just like the notion the protest was an “armed insurrection” and the people involved are guilty of “sedition,” the January 6 body count is one more myth.

There will be no retractions, however, and no apologies. Last weekend, following the killing of a Capitol police officer by a Nation of Islam follower, news and opinion sites reupped the lie about Sicknick, some even laughably sticking to the completely debunked fire extinguisher attack.

The public can expect the same here. Everyone invested in the original version will ignore the evidence and keep repeating the lie that five people died at the hands of bloodthirsty Trump loyalists. Facts simply do not matter.

In some ways, the crusade to criminalize January 6 is far worse than Russiagate. Regular Americans exercising their First Amendment rights are being treated as political prisoners, held hostage by their own government, denied due process. Hyperpartisan Biden appointees in charge of the most potent government tools are aiming those weapons at the Right as a whole, threatening to create no-fly lists and warning Americans half their countrymen are wannabe domestic terrorists.

Team Mueller undoubtedly marvels at what the Biden Justice Department is getting away with.

Jules goes on to note one last point of comparison betwixt January 6th and the Russiagate swindle, which is perhaps the most nefarious of them all.

Woulda, coulda, shoulda

You’ve all seen the hysteria, the hyperbole, the agenda-driven misrepresentation. Now have a gander at what might have been.

The FBI isn’t alone in claiming the January 6 Capitol protest was the worst thing to happen to America since 9/11. A substantial share of nominally Republican politicians has joined that chorus. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) went so far as to say that Donald Trump will have “a place in history” for the Capitol riot: “They could have blown the building up. They could have killed us all.”

If only.

When Graham says this, he knows perfectly well that he is lying. Trump asked the hundreds of thousands of Americans who came to show their support to walk with him peacefully to the Capitol. He made “peaceful” explicit. Nonetheless, every corrupt politician and newscaster in America has been able to find the violent subtext buried somewhere in Trump’s speech.

Well, try this on for size: Suppose if, instead of saying “let’s walk to the Capitol peacefully,” Trump instead had said what everyone accuses him of saying. Suppose he’d said, “The election is being stolen from us and I’m not giving up power.” (Remember how the Left fantasized Trump would have to be removed from the Oval Office by force?) Suppose Trump continued: “I am calling on my supporters to defend my presidency with violence. Come to Washington. Bring your guns! Bring every weapon you can lay your hands on. Don’t let anyone stop you. No justice, no peace!”

If only.

What do you suppose would have happened then? Do you think that the only person to be shot that day would have been an unarmed protester? If Trump had one ounce of the autocratic, dictatorial tendencies the press accuse him of having, he need only have asked his supporters to defend him with force. They would have.

It’s hard to say what would have followed, but it would not have been pretty. If Trump had actually encouraged violence, the “Capitol Riot” would have been a bona fide riot. We wouldn’t be able to count the death toll on a single hand. It would take hundreds, or thousands, of hands. If Americans had come to Washington actually seeking to “kill them all,” as Graham so despicably insists, you can bet that they would have succeeded in killing at least some.

By some estimates, 1.5 million Americans showed up on January 6 to protest the theft of their right to vote. They were angry as hell, but overwhelmingly peaceful. Even with the FBI in maximum repression mode, there has been a grand total of 127 arrests. No one burned cars or besieged police stations. What, in contrast, would a million-and-a-half Antifa have done to Washington, D.C.?

Hundreds of thousands or even millions of Americans would have answered a call to arms from President Trump. That he never made such a call is patently obvious, most of all to the liars and blackguards who make these accusations. They feel safe to say whatever they want because they know that Trump is a vastly better man than they: Trump believes honestly (and in my view correctly) that he won reelection. He believes the most powerful office in the world was stolen from him. Yet he loves America far too much to bring it to violence on his account. His accusers know this, or else they wouldn’t dare utter a peep—because it would actually be dangerous for them.

How ironic, then, that Trump’s sincere patriotism and reluctance to thwart the coup against him by any means required should result in the permanent loss of the very nation he so cherished. Now, all anyone can do is watch as the dismal drama plays out to its unhappy ending, with all the horror and grief that will inevitably ensue after the curtain falls. We’ll never really know all the reasons for it, but whatever they were, Trump’s failure to “cross the Rubicon” didn’t come without its own cost, and it was steep.

Another point worth mentioning: Whereas Trump loves an America that has ceased to exist, Leftards have always reserved their allegiance for a muzzy dream of some future “America” that bears absolutely no resemblance to the one conceived, created, and bequeathed to us by our Founders.

Better days

I’ve posted on this before, but…in NYC? SRSLY?!?

This month, more than 100,000 city public school kids walked out to protest gun violence — but last century some students attended class armed with their rifles and practiced shooting on school grounds.

Many of the city’s public high schools had shooting clubs and a few even had gun ranges on their premises, according to accounts from the Department of Education and others.

There were at least three shooting ranges in public schools, the DOE said, including Curtis HS on Staten Island and Erasmus Hall HS in Brooklyn.

Another inside Far Rockaway HS in Queens, which closed in 2011, is shown in a black-and-white archival photo from May 1929 displaying a compartmentalized gun range with at least five windows to shoot from and cranks for students to pull the targets back and forth.

“To accommodate the kids, they even made them these little pull-out benches they can kneel on to shoot from that position or even lie down to shoot,” said Darren Leung, owner of Westside Rifle & Pistol Range in Chelsea, describing the equipment seen in the 89-year-old photo. “What an excellent design.”

“Even in New York City, virtually every public high school had a shooting club up until 1969,” gun-rights advocate and academic John Lott Jr. wrote in his 2003 book, “The Bias Against Guns.”

In an incredibly bizarre twist also noted by Glenn, this was also an era when school shootings were unheard of. Why, one could almost be forgiven for concluding that the modern-day phenomenon of government-school mass murders might possibly be attributable to some cause other than guns!!!

I know, I know, that’s just crazy talk there.

Ulterior motive

See, I KNEW there had to be another reason.

Texas Removes Mask Mandate To Scare All The Californians Away
AUSTIN, TX—Governor Greg Abbott of Texas has just lifted the mask mandate and is allowing business to return to 100% capacity. The Governor explains that in these trying times, extreme measures must be taken to stop the spread of Californians into Texas and to scare them off from ever wanting to return. 

“The last thing we need is a bunch of sissies from California moving to our beautiful state of Texas and screwing everything up and turning the state blue!” said Governor Abbott during a Lubbock Chamber of Commerce event. “Too many Californians have entered our state. Too many ridiculous liberal ideas have already been proposed. This must end. It’s time to open Texas 100%.”

Governor Abbott continued, “We believe that by removing the mask requirement that all of the Californians will flee in terror, restoring our state to its former glory. As soon as they see the joy and hear the laughter of our citizens returning to normal life, they’ll be sure to pack up and leave at once.”

A wonderful idea, I think. Lord knows SOMETHING needs to be done, before it’s too late. Austin is already lost, and I have my doubts about Houston.

MORNING IN AMERICA!!!

With the long-overdue ascension of a competent, sure-handed patriot as our President, the USA has its feet firmly back on the path to greatness.

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris delivered remarks at the Lincoln Memorial to honor American COVID-19 victims Tuesday, the same day the national death toll surpassed 400,000.

“To heal, we must remember,” Biden said, with the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool behind him. “It’s hard sometimes to remember. But that’s how we heal.”

It was Biden’s first stop in Washington after arriving earlier in the day ahead of his inauguration on Jan. 20.

Organizers placed lights around the perimeter of the pool, a first-time measure, according to the transition team, to memorialize the victims.

“Between sundown and dusk, let us shine the lights in the darkness along the sacred pool of reflection and remember all whom we lost,” Biden said.

President Biden, inarguably already the greatest President this country has ever been fortunate enough to have in office, healed the wounds of a grieving nation with this incredible memorial. Which was in no way calculated or emotionally manipulative, not even slightly.

As it happens, I was picking up an order at an African restaurant on North Tryon Street and caught the Fox News coverage of the momentous event, live, during my interminable wait. As accurately and fairly reported by the Fox journalists—bona fide giants of their noble profession that they are, all of them—it was an incredibly moving tribute indeed. Certainly every American heart was profoundly touched by our beloved new President’s eloquent and heartfelt remarks. The souls of hundreds of millions of Americans wantonly murdered by the previous Oval Office despot’s botch-job of a response to this devastating plague would no doubt have soared in response, “freed at last” by President Biden’s (PBUH) stirring words.

If there was any such thing as a “soul.” Which there isn’t. What silly, superstitious nonsense. C’MON, MAN!!!

We can all look forward to many, many more beautiful moments like this, as our new President takes swift and decisive action to sweep away the damage intentionally done by his warped, genocidal, illegitimate predecessor, whose filthy name must never befoul American mouths again. Ever.

President Biden, thankfully, has arrived not a moment too soon. A new, better tone has been established, unity and civility restored. A proven leader of men—an original thinker whose deft touch has indelibly marked American life over his too-brief five decades of public service—now stands at the helm, to steer America to more glorious heights. Every patriotic American should be grateful for this greatheart’s selfless acceptance of the burden of leadership. We shan’t see his like again.

Signs, portents, and tripwires

The point at which enough becomes enough.

WHAT would be the tripwire resulting in open rebellion? Examining the Bill of Rights, and considering EXISTING laws only, and not failed attempts, you will find that every clause has been violated to one de­gree or another. Documenting those violations would fill volumes; and it is im­portant to remember that only government can violate the exercise of unalienable individual rights and claim immunity from retribution. We omit martial law or public suspension of the Constitution as a tripwire. The overnight installation of dictatorship obviously would qualify as “the tripwire,” but is not likely to occur. What has occurred, what is occurring, is the implementation of every aspect of such dictatorship without an overt declaration. The Constitution is being killed by attrition. The Communist Manifesto is being installed by accretion. Any sug­gestion that martial law is the tripwire leads us to the question: what aspect of martial law justifies the first shot?

There’s no real reason we should take for granted that the “first shot” will be fired according to a rational, careful thought process or philosophical analysis beforehand. It’s just as likely—maybe more likely, if history is any guide—that the fateful trigger-pull occurs as a result of accident, miscalculation, individual mental disorder, plain old dumb luck, or some random combination of those and/or others. It may even take place without anyone recognizing it for what it really was until much later.

Seen in the rear-view mirror, from a distance made safe and comfortable by the passage of time, history can look one hell of a lot different than it does when it’s exploding in your face and wreaking bloody havoc in real time. History is a matter for relaxed contemplation and study—interesting, but not threatening. Before its moderating evolution, though, History exists as Current Events, which can involve life and death decisions; tragic upheaval; and unpredictable, shattering consequences.

The author cites Rand’s “four essential characteristics” defining tyranny, using them to propel the discussion further along:

She identified them quite correctly, but together they are just another composite from which we must choose precipitating causes. These characteristics are: one-party rule, executions with­out trial for political offenses, expropriation or nationalization of private proper­ty, and “above all,” censorship.

With regard to the first characteristic of tyranny, what is the real difference between the Fabian socialist Republican Party and the overtly socialist Democrat party? Nothing but time. Regarding the second we have the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team and the ATF’s enforcement branch. In action they simply avoid the embarrassment of a trial. Regarding the third we have asset forfeiture “laws,” the IRS, the EPA, the FCC, the FDA, the Federal Reserve, the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division and a myriad of other executive branch agencies, departments and commissions whose sole function is to regulate business and the economy. Regulating business for the “public good” (fascism) is no different in principle than outright nationalization (Communism.)

However, the fourth characteristic of tyranny, censorship, is the obvious primary tripwire. When ideology and the reporting of facts and how-to instructions are forbidden, there is nothing remaining but to fight. Freedom of speech and persuasion— the freedom to attempt to rationally convince willing listeners— is so fundamental an individual right that without it no other rights, not even the existence of rights, can be enforced, claimed, debated or even queried. Does this censorship include the regulation of the “public” airwaves by the FCC, as in the censorship which prohibits tobacco companies from advertising— in their own defense— on the same medium which is commanded by government decree to carry “public service” propaganda against them? Does it include federal compulsion of broadcasters to air politically correct liberal twaddle for “The Children?” Does it include the Orwellian “Communications Decency Act”? Does it include any irrationalist “sexual harassment” or tribalist “hate speech” laws which prohibit certain spoken words among co-workers? The answer: unequivocally yes.

Although the above do not pertain to ideological or political speech, yet they are censorship and tactically they are designed to intimidate people into the acceptance of de facto censorship. We say that any abrogation of free speech, and any form of censorship, which cannot be rectified by the soap box, the ballot box, or the jury box, must be rectified by the cartridge box— or lost forever.

Americans have been stumbling over tripwires justifying overt resistance for well over 130 years. On one hand, we submit that gun confiscation is a secondary tripwire only. It is second to censorship because if speech is illegal we cannot even discuss the repeal of gun control, or of any other population controls. If only guns are illegal we may still convince people to repeal those laws. On the other hand, gun confiscation may be a sufficient tripwire because the primary one, censorship, can be fully implemented only after the citizenry is completely disarmed.

The Constitution contains many provisions allowing the violation of our natural rights as free men by immoral and unethical men in government. The true heroes of the ratification debates were the Antifederalists, who secured Federalist guarantees that the Bill of Rights would amend the Constitution. To their undying credit, the Federalists lived up to their promise. Nevertheless, only after constitutional limitations on government have been restored in their original form can we consider amending the Constitution to redress its very few remaining defects (for example; the absence of a separation of state and economy clause.) Laws that make nugatory the means of resisting tyranny and despotism determine the tripwire. The creeping legislative erosion of the 2nd Amendment is not the only tripwire that justifies resistance. We submit that any gun control is a secondary tripwire. Not only because it can be effortlessly evaded, but also because it strengthens our cause. It is second only to censorship. If speech is illegal we can discuss neither repeal of gun control, or the repeal of any other unconstitutional “law.”

Censorship is not a tripwire, it is THE tripwire. Thus by default, censorship morally justifies rebellion.

Under censorship, no other rights, including the right to be free from censorship, can be advocated, discussed or queried. It is incorrect to say that after censorship comes utter subjugation. Censorship is utter subjugation. There is no greater usurpation of liberty while remaining alive. After censorship come the death camps, and they are not a prerequisite to complete subjugation, they are merely a symptom of it. Censorship qua censorship is sufficient in itself to justify open rebellion against any government that legislates, enforces or upholds it. However, that is not the half of it. Censorship is alone in being the only violation of individual rights that does not require actual enforcement, or challenges in court, before rebellion is justified. When the government forbids you to speak or write, or use your own or a supporter’s property to address willing listeners or readers, that government has openly and forcibly decreed that the art of peaceful persuasion is dead and will not be tolerated. Upon that very instant, all peaceable avenues of redress have been closed and the only possible method of regaining individual liberty is force. Whenever we give up that force we are not only ruined, we deserve to be ruined.

A most intriguing take, contradicting the widespread belief that a national gun-confiscation attempt will be the spark that finally ignites the powder-keg. He unwinds the skein from there, producing a meticulously-crafted, honest analysis of which you will definitely want to read the all.

Annus horribilis: that was the year that was

Look back in anger.

This year has been strange in many ways, but one bit of weirdness that has gone unnoticed is the paucity of predictions for the coming year. For as long as anyone reading this has been alive, this time of year has featured both year in review content and predictions content. This year both have been limited. Maybe the awfulness of 2020 is keeping people from thinking much about it. The wild unpredictability we have seen has probably made forecasters squeamish about predicting anything.

Y’know, now that ZMan brings it up I’ve noticed the same myself, although I didn’t really think too much about it. He sizes up a few his own predictions from last year:

The Light of Lagos was pretty much a dud last year. The omens got some of the Democrat primary right, but not enough to claim a victory. Biden did struggle and Warren flamed out early. Buttigieg did better in Iowa than most expected, but Sanders was the story until the party rigged the system to install Biden. No one predicted Biden would win the nomination and no one ever imagined that buffoon as president, so the omens can be forgiven for missing that one.

The impeachment fiasco played out as predicted, but that was easy money, so no victory lap there either. The real shocker is in how the whole thing was thrown down the memory hole so quickly. No one talks about it. It’s like how someone gets crazy drunk at a party and makes a fool of himself. The next day there is some ribbing from friends, but then it is forgotten. The Democrats danced around with a lampshade on their heads and after it was over, everyone forgot about it.

Now, the big hit was the Barr stuff. It is amazing how so many people thought something would happen with that charade for so long. When Trump brought Barr in it seemed like something would happen, but it quickly became clear that it was just another coverup. Barr was brought in to make sure the truth of the FBI corruption never saw the light of day. You have to wonder if Trump was too stupid to see what was happening or that he signed off on it, despite his tweets.

Of course, the big miss was the Covid panic and how it has been used to turn much of America into a penal colony. No one predicted it, because such a thing seemed implausible just a year ago. It really is shocking to think about how much has changed in just 12 months. This time last year people were planning vacations, walking around with no curfew, having people over to their homes. If someone had predicted this, they would have been dismissed as a crazy person.

Yup. Those loony “conspiracy theories” don’t look quite so loony when they’ve become mundane reality, just how we all live now, do they? All in all, the situation brings to mind Hemingway’s famous response when asked how he went bankrupt: Gradually, then all at once.

That’s the way these things usually go, although it may feel otherwise sometimes. The subtext here, like it or not, is our slow national devolution into tyranny. As with Carl Sandburg’s fog, tyranny creeps in on little cat feet, quiet and little-noticed. At the end-stage of its establishment, its confusticated victims are left wondering what the hell hit ’em. The difference is that tyranny never just “sits…on silent haunches, and then moves on.” It lingers, constantly expanding: strangling, draining, devouring all within its grasp.

The only rights tyranny acknowledges are exclusively its own, and without limit. All claims made by its subjects asserting rights of their own are of no interest or import, spurious impositions unworthy of serious discussion. Tyranny will be moved not a whit by appeals to reason, justice, or mercy. It doesn’t repent, relent, reconsider, or admit error. Nor does it ever just go away on its own, peaceably, which would amount to a tacit admission of error. To be rid of it, tyranny must be driven off by force, which takes quite a bit of doing. It’s an arduous process, by no means quick, convenient, or painless. But it’s the only option.

Should the effort to overthrow tyranny and restore liberty prove successful, it will by no means be irreversible; the very idea that victory even could be permanent must be vigorously shunned. Such complacency is extremely dangerous, and is the surest way to hasten tyranny’s return. Against tyranny, vigilance must be rigorously maintained; disregard is precursor to defeat.

A cultural Revolution

“Taxation without representation” wasn’t the half of it.

The taxation-without-representation argument endures, of course, because it is useful for the regime and its backers. Advocates for the political status quo insist there is no need for anything like the Boston Tea Party today because modern Americans enjoy representation in Congress. We are told that taxation and the regulatory state are all necessarily moral and legitimate because the voters are “represented.” Even conservatives, who often claim to be for “small government,” often oppose radical opposition to the regime—such as secession—on the grounds that political resistance movements are only acceptable when there is no political “representation.” The implication is that since the United States holds elections every now and then, no political action outside of voting—and maybe a little sign waving—is allowed.

It’s unlikely the Sons of Liberty would have bought this argument. The small number of millionaires who meet in Washington, DC, nowadays are hardly “representative” of the American public back home. The 1770s equivalent would have consisted of throwing the Americans a few bones in the form of a handful of votes in Parliament, with seats to be reliably held by a few wealthy colonists, far beyond the reach or influence of the average member of the Sons of Liberty.

By the late 1770s, the fervor behind the revolution had already gone far beyond mere complaints about taxation. This was just one issue among many. Rather, the revolution quickly became a culture war in which self-styled “Americans” were taking up arms against a foreign, immoral, and corrupt oppressor. Mere offers of “representation” were hardly sufficient at this point, and it’s unlikely any such offers were going to be enough after the events of 1775, when the British finally marched into Massachusetts and opened fire on American militiamen. After that, the war had become, to use Rothbard’s term, a “war of national liberation.”

This ideological and psychological divide perhaps explains the ferocity with which the American revolutionaries resisted British rule. 

This sort of thing cannot be explained by mere disagreement over taxation. Acts of violence like these represent a meaningful cultural and national divide.

For now, the cultural divide in the United States today has yet to reach the proportions experienced during the revolution—or, for that matter, during the 1850s in the lead-up to the American Civil War.

Oh? That looks to me like a nigh-impossible argument to make. He probably knows that, though, because he doesn’t try to make it. He’s dead-on with this next, though:

But if hostilities reach this point, there will be little use in discussions over the size of the tax burden, mask mandates, or the nuances of abortion policy. The disdain felt by each side for the other side will be far beyond mere compromises over arcane matters of policy. 

And just as discussions over “taxation without representation” miss the real currents underlying the American rebellion, any view of the current crisis that ignores the ongoing culture war will fail to identify the causes.

Yet, the culture war has also likely progressed to the point where national unity is unlikely to be salvaged even by charismatic leaders and efforts at compromise. When it comes to culture, there is little room for compromise.

Agreed. Then we swerve right back into the ditch.

It is increasingly apparent that the only peaceful solution lies in some form of radical decentralization, amounting to either secession or self-rule at the local level with only foreign policy as “national” policy. Had the British offered these terms in 1770, bloodshed would have likely been avoided.

Americans must pursue similar solutions now before it is too late. 

Seriously? Secession—a complete non-starter, a pipe dream, a fool’s fantasy the central government will never, ever allow to become reality—or “self-rule at the local level”—ie, the restoration of Constitutionally-correct limited government and state’s rights, which the current bloated government, sloppy drunk with its illegimitate power and stolen wealth? Another issue that, as we have been regularly reminded for generations, was settled for all time by the first Civil War?

It’s amusing, in a morbid kind of way, how so many intelligent, historically-knowledgeable souls are perfectly willing to grapple with these controversies right down to the minutest detail, yet scrupulously resist facing down the one shared aspect that is the most relevant and indispensable of all, ignoring the 800 pound gorilla in the room furiously pounding its chest at them: war.

They Live Lie

John updates Plato’s Allegory Of The Cave for the modern era, putting the cherry on top with some truly painful puns and a canny reference to John Carpenter’s classic film They Live.

The bad news is, to one extent or another, we’re all prisoners of the cave.  We see misperceptions in our daily life, either of our own construct or as constructed for us.

Who would construct misperceptions for us?

Lots of people.  Here are a few examples:

  • Harry Truman, on August 6, 1945, said: “Sixteen hours ago an American airplane dropped one bomb on Hiroshima, an important Japanese Army base.”  Well, sure.  It was a militarily important city.  And farms were militarily important because they made food that people might eat.  And schools were militarily important because they educated children that could fight us.  But that would be like saying, “San Francisco, an important American Army base.”  (Note:  I’m not saying I disagree with the decision, just that Truman’s statement was shady as a Netflix® show about dancing children.)
  • Operation Northwoods: Essentially a plan from the Pentagon for our military to stage terrorist attacks in the United States while pretending to be Cubans as a justification to attack Cuba. Really. Here’s the Wikipedia® on that (LINK). Not Alex Jones.  Wikipedia™.
  • The CIA performed illegal mind control experiments on American and Canadian civilians. Here’s the Wikipedia (LINK). Most of the documents were burned, so there’s no telling how many people were impacted. When I first heard of this, my response was that it was impossible. Nope. They did it.
  • Let’s pull the media in, too. The New York Times® “reporter” Walter Duranty wrote stories that there was no mass starvation in the Soviet Union in the early 1930s, despite knowing that millions were being starved to death on purpose. Duranty got a Pulitzer Prize™ for his lies – a prize that has never been rescinded. I wrote about that starvation here (In The World Murder Olympics, Communists Take Gold And Silver Medals).

I could do dozens more where the government, academia, industry, or unions lied and most people believed them. I’ve written about those again and again – the 1960’s Harvard Sugar Study, anyone (High Carbs, Harvard, Insurance, And Avoiding Doctors)? If it was just statements from politicians that were lies that most of us believed? I don’t have enough electrons on my computer to store all of those.

Essentially, unless I get up and go outside of the cave I’m in, I’m sitting and watching those shadows on the wall. But when I do get up and go outside of that cave, I learn amazing things – all those things that are glossed over in history classes, and generally not easy to find, though they’re (for today) clearly documented on even Left-leaning sites like Wikipedia®.

Fifteen year old me wanted to believe in the government, wanted to believe that the press wasn’t hopelessly corrupt. Me in 2020 has seen too much.

If you haven’t seen the movie They Live, there is a scene where the protagonist tries to help his friend stop staring at the shadows on the wall of the cave. In the movie, there are sunglasses you can wear to see a different reality. The clip below from the movie, with Rowdy Roddy Piper playing the protagonist, and Keith David playing his reluctant friend who really, really doesn’t want to put on the glasses (some NSFW dialog):

Since I always just loved the flick—and Rowdy Roddy, and what the heck, Keith David too—I’m more than happy to endorse Wilder’s example by using the sincerest form of flattery.




Possibly the longest fistfight sequence in all of moviedom, but for me it never gets old. Back to John for the payoff.

Leaving the cave is scary, and it’s difficult. And I absolutely don’t promise that understanding reality a little bit better will make you happy – it’s very likely to have the opposite effect. But it will bring you one step closer to the truth.

Maybe you and I can finally figure out what those shadows really are.

Let’s go see what’s outside.

By all means, let’s. Admittedly, there’s plenty of the real, the bad, and the scary out there, sort of offsetting the beauty and grace. But in the end, the truth is the only thing that can set us free. And by now we all ought to have learned that the chances of ever getting even the smallest morsel of truth from Ruling Class reprobates who have for so long fed us nothing but falsehood hovers somewhere betwixt None whatsoever and You can’t be serious.

It’s a wonderful…

WAR MOVIE?!?

I have watched “It’s a Wonderful Life” every Christmas I can remember, but the holiday classic film took on a whole new meaning for me this year.

I knew that the film had been released in 1946, just after both actor Jimmy Stewart and director Frank Capra had returned from war, but I only learned recently the impact that the war had on the finished product.

The movie was Capra’s idea, and he knew from the start that he wanted Stewart to play the iconic role of George Bailey. But Stewart, an Army Air Corps squadron commander who was grounded by PTSD after 20 combat missions over Europe in a B-24, wanted to do a comedy.

Stewart told reporters when he returned to Hollywood that the world had seen enough death and misery, and when Capra approached him with the story of a family man nearly driven to suicide, he balked and left the meeting.

But Stewart, who at the time was sharing an apartment with fellow veteran Henry Fonda, wasn’t getting any other offers. He eventually agreed to take the role.

Army veteran Alex Plitsas told the Daily Caller that it was only after returning from Iraq that he truly understood Stewart’s performance in “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

“I was able to understand the movie and [Stewart’s] performance in particular much better after coming home from Iraq. It’s as much of a war film as ‘Die Hard’ is a Christmas movie,” Plitsas said, adding, “Jimmy Stewart’s performance in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ during the throes of Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) is recognizable to many veterans. PTS was referred to as “shell shock” back then and wasn’t really spoken about nor was there good treatment available. Stewart appeared to use acting as therapy to get through it, and it’s visible in his performance.”

Intriguing stuff for sure. I thought I knew just about all there was to know about IAWL, but I didn’t know this.

(Via Ed Driscoll)

Update! Don’t believe I’ve ever embedded anything from another of my all-time Christmas faves here, so this seems like a fine time to do it.



BE ADVISED: Only the 1947 original version, in black and white, is acceptable. Do NOT allow yourself to be taken in by any sorry-assed remakes or washed-out “colorized” atrocities. Edmund Gwenn. Maureen O’Hara. John Payne. Natalie Wood. Black. And. White. The genuine item. Nothing else will do.

You have been warned.

Pinochet’s legacy

He was effective. His reversal of the disastrous policies implemented by his socialist predecessor made his country a far better place to live. One of his very first moves after taking over was to dismantle and ban all Marxist political parties, just as every nation which aspires to freedom and prosperity must do sooner or later. No wonder the American Left hates Augusto Pinochet so bitterly, and has slandered him ever since as one of history’s greatest monsters.

Chile was appeared to be hurtling toward a bitter, emotionally charged civil war. So, in September of 1973, to prevent a violent upheaval with the potential to kill hundreds of thousands of Chileans, the military stepped in.

The coup was not the act of an individual power-mad opportunist, as Pinochet is sometimes depicted. The heads of all three branches of the military, plus the caribineros (national police), participated in the takeover. The junta had shown considerable restraint, holding back for roughly a year in the hope that a constitutional solution could be found. Pinochet, as head of the most powerful branch, the army, emerged as the ultimate authority.

Among the junta’s initial acts was the elimination of Marxist political parties. To restore the market economy, they relied on the advice of a group of economists from Catholic University in Santiago who had studied at the University of Chicago where free market guru Milton Friedman dominated the economics department.

Even so, the economy did not immediately spring back. It took several years to get inflation down to its historical (but still very high) levels. Income also did not rise immediately, since Pinochet had to institute austerity measures first. Allende had created artificially low unemployment rates through government featherbedding; among other measures, the junta had to eliminate many unnecessary government jobs to allow market forces to operate.

But eventually, in the mid-1980s, the Chilean economy took off. Today, Chile is the most prosperous country in Latin America, with a per capita income of $15,111 in 2018 (it was only fifth-best in 1970). Inflation for 2018 was a paltry 2.56 percent. Chile ranks 15th worldwide in the Heritage Foundation’s 2020 “Index of Economic Freedom”; the next closest country in Latin America is Colombia in 45th place. It also ranked first in Latin America in the Cato Institute’s “Human Freedom Index,” last published in 2017. And it is just edged out by Costa Rica for having Latin America’s longest life span: 79.57 years to 79.52 years.

Those statistics — not the numbers but the human flourishing they represent — are Pinochet’s real legacy. Would most Venezuelans today — who live in a failing totalitarian state with a popularly elected Marxist government — prefer that a military junta had wrested control from Hugo Chavez and eliminated a few thousand of the most hardcore Marxists? They would likely jump at the opportunity. Pinochet took over an equally nightmarish state that was racing toward either bloody civil war or totalitarian communism (or both), made hard decisions to correct the problems, nurtured the government for 17 years, and voluntarily relinquished power in 1990 when the nation’s practices and institutions were strengthened so that it could flourish democratically.

For that, the international left has damned him for all time.

The Chilean coup of 1973 offers hard lessons that many will not accept because these lessons do not appeal to superficial norms of fairness and tolerance. For one, electoral politics do not always equate to human flourishing but can instead bring repression. For another, a nation must deal harshly with those who would deny liberty to the rest.

Precisely so. America That Was’s failure to do so was the costliest of errors, with the bill now due and payable. It would have been A-okay with me if Trump had taken a page or three out of Pinochet’s book, especially the chapter on the proper treatment of malignant Commies. Instead, we got our own coup, which won’t have nearly as congenial an outcome as Chile’s.

The Troubles

Or, as some of the fresh-off-the-boat Irish lads I used to run around with back in my NYC days always pronounced it, The Thrubbles.

The descent of a once-peaceful republic into blood and chaos happened quickly. It took place over a year or two, after police stepped aside while mobs set up barricades, torched homes, and eventually started shooting their political enemies.

Other lessons from the Troubles:

  • Snipers were most effective early on. The British forces adapted by switching to sniper-proof guard towers, armored vehicles, and helicopters. Soldiers were issued body armor and helmets. The British forces also employed counter-snipers.
  • Snipers were responsible for about 220 deaths and about 1,100 non-fatal casualties. But those represented only 11 percent of all British police and military casualties claimed by the IRA. The rest came from improvised explosive devices, car bombs, drive-by shootings, and close-in assassinations.
  • The IRA pioneered conducting a sniper attack from inside a vehicle. One team used a Barrett .50 caliber rifle inside a Mazda 626 hatchback. The shooter would lie prone and fire through a one-foot shooting port in the rear of the vehicle. After the shot, a metal shield would be moved into place as armor.
  • The British Military Reconnaissance Force, attached to 39th Infantry Brigade, ran a laundry business. The Four-Square Laundry was a front organization that existed to conduct reconnaissance and run forensic tests on clothing belonging to suspected IRA members. The IRA learned about it and wiped it out in a daylight attack by three gunmen with a Thompson sub-machine gun, an M1 carbine, and a .45 semi-automatic handgun.
  • The IRA used honeytraps. In one example two young women, who appeared to be between 18 and 22 years old, frequented the lounge bar of the Woodlands Hotel. They lured British soldiers to a nearby apartment, and excused themselves briefly. Two IRA gunmen burst in and assassinated the soldiers.
  • Protestant newspapers served as anti-Catholic propaganda outlets. In 1971, one published a letter referring to Catholics as “animals crawling into Ulster.” It said: “You’ve got to fight fire with fire, and personally I don’t think they’ve enough fire to make the animals sweat.” Loyalist News said Catholics wanted to “enslave the people” and recommended Protestants “organize themselves immediately.”


Unlike our peaceful republic, Northern Ireland was plagued by a left-wing paramilitary organization that targeted peaceful Irish families. Politicians dialed up the rhetoric by blaming Catholic deplorables for anti-government sentiments, and media organizations worked to dehumanize their opponents. Normal Americans must be shaking their heads at how Northern Ireland’s justice system allowed barricades to go up in cities.

We are more fortunate. That could never happen here.

Yeah, lucky us.

Speaking of my old NYC Irish chums, and apropos of nothing whatsoever, I hope I’m not speaking out of turn when I mention a guy I knew fairly well back then. He was the owner of a once-famous, long-gone-and-much-lamented concert hall on 19th Street, both bearing names I’ll refrain from mentioning. We played the place ourselves regularly back in the day, along with a whole slew of other touring acts of every genre. I couldn’t even begin to recount how many unforgettable shows I saw in that joint.

As it happens, said to-remain-nameless owner—being well-connected with some IRA sorts who would pop in to visit on the occasional fundraising and/or gun-procuring jaunt Stateside—troubled himself to introduce me to a couple of these gents at barside, God only knows why. There was also a fair Colleen working for him as a waitress that I was enjoying something of a dalliance with concurrently. Anyhoo.

Understand me well: I have spent a goodly portion of my life happily cheek-by-jowl with some truly scary people. Hells Angels in NYC; Outlaws in Chicago; miscellaneous and sundry reprobates from squarely within the Mad, Bad, and Dangerous To Know demographic. All of them I have bent an elbow with, played music for, and just generally enjoyed the company of, without the slightest anxiety or concern. Well, for the most part.

And I gotta tell ya: scary they may have been, but NONE of those guys froze the marrow like those IRA guys did. Merely being in the same room with them inspired one to start checking six on a frequent basis.

I was there once with a close friend of mine, now deceased, who was nothing short of a badass his own self. We were at 19th St to see a show. As we passed by on the way to our table one of those IRA dudes made an off-color crack regarding my friend’s girlfriend. We sat the female down, whereupon Chris requested my accompaniment as backup for his intended confrontation of the offending blaggard. We walked back towards the guy prefatory to Chris speaking his piece; the guy was perched on a barstool, Guiness in hand, just as cool as some cucumbers as we approached all stiff-legged, jaws clenched and shoulders squared.

The IRA guy said NOTHING. Not a single syllable did he utter. But his eyes—which never for a moment wavered from their absolute lock on the two large and obviously angry guys approaching—his eyes had Death in them. Chris, who I had never, ever seen back down or knuckle under to a living soul, not once…backed the fuck on down.

Me? I was damned glad he did.

That IRA guy would have made mincemeat of the both of us and never broke a sweat or missed a moment’s sleep over it afterwards. Doubtless he would have sat down and enjoyed himself a nice rare steak after cutting our throats in the most casual fashion. I ain’t kidding in the least, y’all. That’s how just plain scary this guy was. It just rolled off of him in waves, intimidating one of the biggest, toughest, most fearless guys I ever knew into turning himself around and slinking off with nothing more than a steely-eyed glare. I never saw the beat of it, before or since, and I hope I never do again.

Being of Irish descent myself, I always longed to pay a visit to the Emerald Isle someday. After that near-miss brush with heartless Fate, though, the ambition lost a lot of its urgency, I do admit it.

Nazis, in their own words

There’s more to the article I’m excerpting here, but I’m just gonna go with the Goebbels quotes used therein.

We are not a charitable institution but a Party of revolutionary socialists.

We are a workers’ party because we see in the coming battle between finance and labor the beginning and the end of the structure of the twentieth century. We are on the side of labor and against finance…The value of labor under socialism will be determined by its value to the state, to the whole community. Labor means creating value, not haggling over things.

The money pigs of capitalist democracy… Money has made slaves of us…Money is the curse of mankind. It smothers the seed of everything great and good. Every penny is sticky with sweat and blood.

Odd, but contra Biden’s absurd and feeble attempt to smear Trump, all that sounds a lot more like Biden to me. In fact, the Democrat-Socialists could just insert Goebbels’ raving into the Party platform and nobody would even notice. And in case anybody is still buying the strategic Lefty switcheroo claiming Naziism is exclusively a Rightist joint and had nothing whatever to do with socialism:

Lenin is the greatest man, second only to Hitler, and that the difference between Communism and the Hitler faith is very slight.

Very slight? Except for the German nationalism, it’s undiscernable, a distinction without a difference. This next quote truly tells the tale.

We are socialists because we see the social question as a matter of necessity and justice for the very existence of a state for our people, not a question of cheap pity or insulting sentimentality. The worker has a claim to a living standard that corresponds to what he produces. We have no intention of begging for that right. Incorporating him in the state organism is not only a critical matter for him, but for the whole nation. The question is larger than the eight-hour day. It is a matter of forming a new state consciousness that includes every productive citizen. Since the political powers of the day are neither willing nor able to create such a situation, socialism must be fought for. It is a fighting slogan both inwardly and outwardly.

Gee, none of THAT stuff sounds at all familiar, now does it?

Good reads

Since I first read Bill’s fantastic Lightning Falls, I’ve gotten into PAW (Post-Apocalypse World, for the uninitiated) fiction in a big way, thanks to the indispensable Kindle Unlimited virtual lending library. There’s some great, entertaining stuff to be found in the genre, although some books on the topic read like little more than overlong shopping and honey-do lists for survivalists and preppers. Useful for some in a purely practical sense, maybe, but not exactly what I’m looking for in a work of fiction.

NC Reed’s Fire From The Sky series—now up to volume nine or ten, I believe, every one of which I’ve read—is particularly gripping stuff, as is everything else he’s written…all of which I’ve also read and loved.

Reed is an extremely skillful writer, especially so when it comes to creating believable, very human characters and exploring the relationships between them. He’s a Tennessee boy, as are the characters in the Sanders saga, and his dialogue is as real as hot cornbread in a cast-iron skillet. Southern dialect is actually a surprisingly difficult thing to pull off convincingly; many otherwise fine authors have tried and failed embarrassingly at it. Reed’s only real problem is by no means an unusual one these days, one that isn’t really his fault either: the editing is a little, ummm, off here and there. It’s by no means horrible or frequent enough to set your molars a-grinding in fury over it, mind, but it can be a mite distracting occasionally. That minor quibble aside, though, I can’t recommend Reed’s stuff highly enough.

Matt Bracken’s Enemies Foreign And Domestic trilogy, which I’ve mentioned enthusiastically here before, certainly deserves another mention. If you aren’t familiar with his excellent work, well, you need to fix that. Fran Porretto’s brilliant Spooner Federation Saga books are worthy of mention too, although they don’t fit so neatly into the PAW pirgeonhole as the others.

The past few days I’ve found myself totally engrossed in what’s looking like a real masterpiece of the PAW genre: Dogsoldiers, by a fella yclept James Tarr. Tarr, it turns out, also co-authored Carnivore, a good Gulf War memoir by Bradley IFV commander Dillard Johnson. I was sent a copy of Carnivore for review purposes when it first came out, although I can’t recall now if I ever did get around to posting a review here or not.

Dogsoldiers is some damned tasty stuff, a truly outstanding book. The tale is set in near-future Detroit, centering on a pivotal battle in the decade-long civil war waged by a slowly-weakening US federal tyranny against the ragtag, mostly disorganized, and chronically underequipped resistance of freedom fighters referred to in the title. Tarr’s writing is top-notch; the story isn’t marred by any of the uneven or downright sloppy editing that frequently blunts the impact of ebooks for some reason.

In fact, the reason I brought all this up in the first damned place is because the book struck me as plenty good enough to post some excerpts from it here. Our first passage has one of the Good Guy characters—Early, a grizzled, hardcore veteran originally from JawJa—enlightening a shavetail Dogsoldier volunteer, Jason, on some of the harsher realities of life during CW 2.0:

“Early?”

“Yeah?”

“Why don’t we take prisoners? Why were Weasel and George killing their wounded?”

Early looked and saw the teenager was seriously bothered. “Well, there’s two answers to that. First one is…where would we take them? It’s not like we’ve got a base. Or vehicles to transport them. We wander around, causing trouble, living in empty houses and borrowed basements, and then when the cold rolls in either do more of the same or we hol’ up with friends or relatives or in our own houses, far away from the trouble.”

“We could let them live, let the Army treat their injuries.”

Early nodded. “And that’s the other part of it. At the start of the war we let them be, tried to do the civilized thing. Let the Tabs recover their wounded. Not now. Not after ten years. Because they just keep coming back, like the tide. At this point we’ve all realized we’re in a war of attrition—that means neither side is going to surrender, the war only ends when one side has been ground down so much they’ve got no one left who can fight. They’ve had their chance. Any Tabs still fighting are either too mean or too stupid to know they’re on the side of evil.”

“And after the war? In any other war, you capture POWs, at the end of the war you send ‘em home. Which is somewhere else, a whole ‘nother country. Over there somewhere.” He waved his hand vaguely. “After World War II the Germans were sent back to Germany, where they could be Germans, and be nowhere near us. That’s not what this war is. The Tabs live here; win or lose, they’re not going anywhere. Even if they’re not fightin’, and we’re all peaceable and neighborly, they’ll still believe the same things that caused the war in the first place—socialism, communism, vegan grocery bags, twenty-seven genders, guns are evil, America has never been great, never hit back, government should be in charge of everything, all of it. That’s not peace or victory, that’s just a temporary ceasefire. Their beliefs aren’t just evil, they’re a poison, a cancer, a rot. Winning doesn’t just mean the war stops, we want to have a healthy country after all this.”

“It ain’t pretty, son. It ain’t even nice. Maybe it’s our own brand of evil. You don’ like it? Good. That means you’ve got a soul. But it’s the only way we not just win the war, but win the peace afterward.”

Naaah, THAT doesn’t sound like it has any contemporary relevance at all, does it? Pure escapist fiction, no practical reality to be found there, nossir. But this next excerpt cuts even closer to the bone that that, if you can believe it. It’s gonna be a long ‘un, so I’ll tuck it down below the fold and out of the way.

Continue reading “Good reads”

In the groove

So I’ve been jamming out in the car recently to a mix CD of some late 60s-early 70s classics I burned a while back—songs I loved as a kid, but had been sorta neglecting of late. And suddenly the responsibility—nay, the solemn, sacred duty—to share some of this good stuff with y’all weighed heavily upon me.



The above, of course, would be the legendary Buddy Miles, just doin’ his legendary Buddy Miles thang. In the unlikely event you don’t know of him, please allow Wikipedia to hip ya some.

George Allen “Buddy” Miles Jr. (September 5, 1947 – February 26, 2008), was an American rock drummer, vocalist, composer, and producer. He was a founding member of the Electric Flag (1967), a member of Jimi Hendrix’s Band of Gypsys (1969–1970), founder and leader of the Buddy Miles Express and later, the Buddy Miles Band. Miles also played and recorded with Carlos Santana and others. Additionally, he sang lead vocals on the critically and commercially acclaimed “California Raisins” claymation TV commercials and recorded two California Raisins R&B albums.

Yes, THOSE California Raisins. Of course, most people who DO know of Buddy will surely know of his stint as drummer for Hendrix’ Band Of Gypsies. Yes, THAT Band Of Gypsies. But then, who from that wondrous, magical era DIDN’T Buddy play with, anyway? That would probably make for a shorter list, one a hell of a lot less burdensome to tot up.

Miles played with a variety of rhythm and blues and soul acts as a teenager, including Ruby & the Romantics, the Delfonics, and Wilson Pickett. In 1964, at the age of 16, Miles met Jimi Hendrix at a show in Montreal, where both were performing as sidemen for other artists.

In 1967, Miles joined Hendrix in a jam session at the Malibu home of Stephen Stills. They also went on to play together again in 1968 in both Los Angeles and New York. In the same year, Miles moved to Chicago where he teamed with guitarist Mike Bloomfield and vocalist Nick Gravenites to form the Electric Flag, a blues/soul/rock band. In addition to playing drums, Miles sometimes sang lead vocals for the band, which made its live debut at the Monterey Pop Festival in mid-1967.

In early 1968, the band released A Long Time Comin’, its first album for Columbia. The Electric Flag’s second album, An American Music Band, followed late the same year. Shortly after that release, though, the group disbanded. In the same year, Hendrix used several guest artists, including Miles, during the recording of the album, Electric Ladyland. Miles played drums on one long jam that was eventually split into two album cuts, “Rainy Day, Dream Away” and “Still Raining, Still Dreaming”, with a different song, “1983… (A Merman I Should Turn to Be)”, edited in between.

At age 21, after the breakup of the Electric Flag, Miles put together a new band with Jim McCarty, who later became the guitarist for Cactus. This new group performed and recorded as the Buddy Miles Express. In 1969, Hendrix wrote a short poem as a liner note for Expressway To Your Skull, the first studio album recorded by the Buddy Miles Express. Hendrix went on to produce four of the tracks on the group’s follow-up album, Electric Church. The title of the latter LP was taken from Hendrix’s poem on the first.

In 1969 he appeared on British jazz guitarist John McLaughlin’s album Devotion.

Exressway To Your Skull might just be the greatest album title in all of history, I’m thinking.

And while we’re groovin’ to the classics here and all, allow me to bring forth another true great: Lee Michaels. Yes, THAT Lee Michaels.



Michaels, who I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned here before at least once, is another fascinating study. A generally-acknowledged keyboard virtuoso, he did most of his live shows accompanied only by a drummer—covering that complex, fluid bass line his own self via the pedals on the Hammond B3 he ran like a boss. This, whilst also ravaging the keyboards, and crooning his little heart out to boot.

For me, it’s that distinctive, passionate singing voice of his that really sets the hook in deep. Occasionally raspy and whiskey-raw, then a croon smooth as smoothest velvet; a banshee’s wail with a desperate, out-of-breath sob hot on its heels. He gulps and gasps along just behind the beat, like every good bluesman should.

The real bones and sinew of the singer’s art, though, is phrasing. Proper phrasing can cover a multitude of other sins, while clumsy phrasing can rubbish an otherwise skilled performance entirely. Michaels’ phrasing may sound somewhat haphazard, even confused and/or anarchic, to the uninitiated. But it’s actually note-perfect, rivaling that of even Sinatra in the way he makes the attentive listener WAAAAIIIIIT until he’s about to fall over anticipating that next crucial syllable.

The above tune has an interesting little history of its own (bold mine):

Lee Eugene Michaels (born Michael Olsen, November 24, 1945) is an American rock musician who sings and accompanies himself on organ, piano, or guitar. He is best known for his powerful soulful voice and his energetic virtuosity on the Hammond organ, peaking in 1971 with his Top 10 pop hit single, “Do You Know What I Mean”.

Michaels began his career with The Sentinals, a San Luis Obispo, California-based surf group that included drummer Johny Barbata (later of The Turtles, Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship). Michaels joined Barbata in the Joel Scott Hill Trio, a group led by guitarist Joel Scott Hill. Michaels later moved to San Francisco, where he joined an early version of The Family Tree, a band led by Bob Segarini. In 1967, he signed a contract with A&M Records, releasing his debut album, Carnival of Life, later that year with David Potter on drums. As a session musician, he played with Jimi Hendrix, among others.

Michaels’ choice of the Hammond organ as his primary instrument was unusual for the time, as was his bare-bones stage and studio accompaniment: usually just a single drummer, most often a musician known as “Frosty,” real name Bartholomew Eugene Smith-Frost, who was a member of Sweathog, and whose bare handed technique was an inspiration for John Bonham, or with Joel Larson of The Grass Roots. This unorthodox approach attracted a following in San Francisco, and some critical notice. (Sounds Magazine, for one, reported of Michaels that he had been called “the ultimate power organist.”) But Michaels did not achieve real commercial success until the release of his fifth album.

That album, titled 5th and released in 1971, produced a surprise US Top 10 hit (#6 in the fall of 1971), “Do You Know What I Mean.” It was an autobiographical homage to the loss of a girlfriend. Michaels’s Top 40 follow-up, a cover version of the Motown standard, “Can I Get a Witness,” peaked at #39 on Christmas Day of 1971, eight years to the week after Marvin Gaye’s version peaked at #22Billboard ranked “Do You Know What I Mean” as the No. 19 song for 1971. Michaels recorded two more albums for A&M before signing a recording contract with Columbia Records in 1973. But his Columbia recordings failed to generate much interest, and Michaels had gone into semi-retirement from the music industry by the end of the decade.

“Do You Know What I Mean” always brings the salt tang of an ocean breeze to mind for me, and there’s a good reason for it. See, back in the day when Myrtle Beach was still a place worth visiting, they had the late, lamented Myrtle Beach Pavilion (now unforgiveably torn down for no good reason at all, damn their eyes) on the beach side of Ocean Blvd, with the Pavilion Amusement Park directly across the street from it. We vacay’ed at MYB every year without fail, whiling away a goodish chunk of my misspent youth in the Pavilion and its Amusement Park both.

And ‘long about 71 or 72, the Amusement Park installed a great ride yclept the Himalaya, which my brother, my cousin, and I loved all to pieces. We’d ride that thing over and over again, round and round and up and down, until we were literally nauseous from it. And one of the things that attracted the Younger Generation to it was the fact that, unlike many of the other, older rides, they played that summer’s rock and roll hits loud as thunder over the installed speakers, to our endless delight.

There are two songs I heard on the Himalaya that really rang my bell but good, and never did forget. One of them was, of course, “Do You Know What I Mean” by Lee Michaels. The other, funnily enough, was a ditty whose origins I strived long and hard to unearth, only years later finding out that it had been Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Sweet Hitch Hiker.”



Now in my defense, I was exclusively a hard-rock kid back then. I was all about Iron Butterfly, D-Purp, Black Sabbath, and such-like in those days, see, and didn’t really give too much of a rip one way or the other about CCR; they weren’t on my radar until much later, I confess. But I did love me some “Sweet Hitch Hiker.” It hit me right in the sweet spot, for whatever reason.

And I had not the vaguest clue who it might be performing it on vinyl. Nor, it seemed, could I find out, not for love nor money.

What’s most curious about the whole saga is that I went around asking absolutely everybody I came into contact with that summer—grown-ups, young ‘uns like me, teenagers, teachers, the mailman, everybody—if they had any idea whose damned song that was…and not ONE of them knew either. Or if they did, they weren’t saying. Hell, I even called the local radio station (Big WAYS, 610 AM on your dial) and asked about it, all to no avail. The vexing conundrum was finally resolved when I stumbled across the song in the track listing on back of the album cover, tucked into the stacks o’ wax for sale down at my uncle Gene’s drug store in Mt Holly a cpl-three years later.

Ahh, them were the days for sure.

Let’s follow the science a bit further

I hereby demand MY reparations check.

Welcome to 2020. The New York Times wins a Pulitzer Prize for its “1619 Project,” which depicts slavery as a distinctly American phenomenon and as the very foundation of American civilization. For several weeks, a half-dozen all but unreadable books seeking redefine the concept of racism hover at or near the top of the bestseller lists. Meanwhile, the cities of America become battlegrounds in a race war waged by young people, many of whom think that America invented the institution of slavery.

This is but one of many historical facts about which they’re wrong. The truth is that fewer than 4 percent of the slaves who were transported across the Atlantic Ocean from Africa ended up in the territory of what is now the United States. More slaves were shipped to the small island of Barbados than to the vast areas that started out as British North America and then became the United States.
 
The same applies to Trinidad and the Windward Islands (Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Dominica, and Martinique). Ditto the Guianas (now Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana). Ditto the Spanish-speaking mainland of Latin American. Over 8 percent of transatlantic African slaves—twice the number sold between Maine and Georgia—were sold in St. Domingue, a French colony in what is now Haiti. Over 8 percent of slaves also ended up in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean. The largest numbers of all are for Jamaica (over 11 percent) and Brazil (over 30 percent).

In recent years, as schools and universities increasingly focus on racial issues, young Americans’ heads are filled with heaps of information—much of it from books like A People’s History of the United States—about the American legacy of racism and, in particular, the history of slavery and Jim Crow. But virtually none of them know that the slaves who were shipped to the present-day United States were a small fraction of the victims of the African slave trade.

Ignorance also surrounds another aspect of slave history. The other day I posted on Facebook a quotation from Thomas Sowell. “More whites were brought as slaves to North Africa than blacks brought as slaves to the United States or to the 13 colonies from which it was formed. White slaves were still being bought and sold in the Ottoman Empire, decades after blacks were freed in the United States.”

Facebook users responded in disbelief. “This can’t possibly be true! What’s he talking about?” commented one, whose Facebook page identified him as a “senior research fellow.” Another, a filmmaker, wrote: “Seems dubious.”

In fact, the white slave trade was a terrifying reality for generations of Westerners from the 1400s to the 1800s. Several sovereign North African entities—the Sultanate of Morocco, and the independent Ottoman provinces of Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli—were all active in the capture and sale of European and American slaves. Some whites were taken from ships on the high seas in acts of piracy; others were captured during coastal raids on the European mainland and Newfoundland. 

As usual, it’s not that liberals don’t know anything; it’s that so much of what they think they know isn’t so. You’re bound to love this next bit:

During the later phase of the white slave trade, European powers paid large sums to the North African powers to protect their citizens from enslavement. After the United States declared its independence, it refused to make such payments, which resulted in the taking of American seamen by Arab pirates. In 1786, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams met in London with the ambassador from Tripoli to discuss the matter. When they asked why Tripolitanians would “make war upon nations who had done them no injury,” the ambassador replied “that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.”

Sounds all too familiar, doesn’t it? Guess some things really never DO change. Read all of it.

Punch like a girl

Must drive ’em even more nuts than they already are, I bet. After all, he’s a white guywho beat up two black guys and a Russian.

PHILADELPHIA, PA—First, the rioters came for Andrew Jackson. Then, they came for Ulysses S. Grant. Then, they came for the Fonz for some reason. But finally, they came for the ultimate racist statue: the famous monument to Rocky Balboa in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It’s not clear why they thought it was racist, but the guy in the statue seemed to be happy, so he was probably a conservative of some kind whenever he existed, they reasoned.

But the statue survives to fight another day, as it went a full 15 rounds against rioters and was still standing after the bout.

The weak, sissy rioters charged the statue and started punching it, hurting their little man-baby hands and running away to cry to their parents, whom they probably still live with. A second wave came in, but Rocky stood strong. Things got a little dicey in the seventh round, when one rioter threw a rope around the statue and suggested everyone start rocking it back and forth, but then their soft, buttery smooth hands got chafed by the rope and they had to call it quits to nurse their wounds with coconut oil.

“Balboa was a real champion out there,” said one witness. “It was incredible.”

Finally, after 15 waves of angry rioters charged the statue, the dust settled, and Balboa won again, having gone for a full 15 rounds without breaking a sweat. Balboa was declared the winner in a unanimous decision as the judges were appalled at the rioters’ lack of form, indicating they had never punched anything before, except maybe customers’ buy-six-get-one-free cards at Jamba Juice.

Then they all went back home to Mom’s basement for a good, long cry.

Interview with a vampire

ZMan does a wicked-fine parody his own self.

The following is a fictional transcript of a negotiation between white people and black people in America over reparations. Representing black people in the negotiations is Nikole Hannah-Jones, a staff writer for New York Times magazine. She is the creator of the 1619 Project, which is an ongoing blood libel against white people. Representing white people of America is the typical white person, who has tried in good faith for generations to figure out how to include blacks in civil society.

White Person: Thank you for agreeing to begin this dialogue. Having read your latest, uh, column on reparations, we, and by “we” I mean white people, have decided that it is time to think about reparations. While we in no way accept the claim that modern whites owe modern blacks anything for the alleged crimes of our ancestors, in the furtherance of peace between the races, we are open to discussing reparations.

Nikole Hannah-Jones: Yes, well, as I said in my post, if true justice and equality are ever to be achieved in the United States, the country must finally take seriously what it owes black Americans. It is time for this country to pay its debt. It is time for reparations.

WP: Presumably, when you say “the country” you mean white people. You don’t expect Asians, newly arrived Africans and Native Americans to be part of this.

NHJ: I don’t understand.

WP: What don’t you understand?

NHJ: I don’t understand what “presumably” means.

WP: Oh, I see. Well, I’m here to speak on behalf of white people. I cannot obligate Asians or newly arrived Africans, or Arabs or anyone else to reparations. You mentioned white people 197 times in your column. You mentioned black people 179 times. Asians, Jews, Native Americans, Arabs and so on were mentioned zero times, so this is about blacks and whites, correct?

NHJ: That’s right. As I said in my piece, generations of white violence against black bodies has to be addressed. There can be no peace until white people accept what they owe to black people. Going back to the very beginning….

WP: I don’t mean to cut you off, but I read your piece and I have read all the other stuff in the 1619 project. Like all white people, I have grown up hearing the long list of grievances of black people. That’s why I’m here. We agree. It is time to negotiate a settlement in order to get racial peace.

NHJ: If black lives are to truly matter in America, this nation must move beyond slogans and symbolism. Citizens don’t inherit just the glory of their nation, but its wrongs too. A truly great country does not ignore or excuse its sins. It confronts them and then works to make them right. If we are to be redeemed, if we are to live up to the magnificent ideals upon which we were founded, we must do what is just.

WP: Yes, well, that’s fine, but can you tell us what you mean by pay its debts? I’ve read all of your work. I’ve read Ta-Nahesi Coates on the subject of reparations. What seems to be missing is the dollar figure.

NHJ: As I said in my piece, generations of white violence against black bodies has to be addressed. There can be no peace until white people accept what they owe to black people….

WP: Right, I’ll stipulate that. In fact, without qualification, I’ll stipulate to all of the claims in your work. What I’m here to discuss is reparations. What number do we put on the check to make black people whole? What is the debt you expect us to pay?

NHJ: As I said in my piece, until white people atone for their crimes against black people and pay their debt…

WP: Hold up, I just said we will stipulate to all of that.

NHJ: I don’t know what you mean by “stipulate”, but white people need to accept their debt to black people. As I wrote in my piece…

WP: Sorry to cut you off again, but that’s what stipulate means. We agree to all the claims made in your work and in the work of others. We’re not here to debate it or hear another recitation of it. We are here to negotiate the check.

NHJ: I don’t think a check can cover the pain of 150 years of suffering…

WP: Okay, then what else do you want? Land, like a black homeland? A ride to the airport? What? Tell me what we have to do to close the books on this.

NHJ: As I said in my piece, until white people atone for their crimes against black people and pay their debt…

WP: I got it. We all get it. That’s why we’re here. What do you want from us?

NHJ: We want justice.

WP: Fine. What does that mean? What do we need to do in order for you to have justice? If it is not a check, then what is it.

NHJ: We still want the check.

But of course they do. Before we write it, though, we’d all better damned well understand that no check will ever be enough to shut them the hell up at last, and end their demands for moremoremoreMORE, no matter how big it might be.

The loudest silence you’ll ever hear

Speaks volumes, too.



How very odd, the way Planned Parenthood’s original mission has been so thoroughly erased from history.

(Via Megan Fox)

Ready or not, it’s war

Same as with the COVIDIOT shamdemic, the statue-toppling is NOT about what they say it is.

The Monument-Destroying Mobs Don’t Hate The Confederacy, They Hate America

Well, actually, wrong. They DO hate the Confederacy too, rest assured. But do they hate it more for all the usual reasons, or more because it’s part of American history?

To suppose this has anything to do with the Confederacy or the Civil War is to misunderstand completely the nature of what is happening right now in America. The people who are pulling down monuments, defacing statues, and demanding U.S. military bases be renamed do not have a limiting principle. They don’t distinguish between those who fought for freedom against the British Empire and those who fought for union against the slave states of the South. To them, the Union itself was a crime against humanity long before the South seceded. What kind of moral monster would ever fight to preserve it?

This is the 1619 Project come to life. If the American Revolution was fought to protect and preserve slavery then the entire history of American colonization and westward expansion is a litany of crimes that no one should celebrate. The Founding Fathers are no less guilty than Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis — not just because they owned slaves but because they founded the United States, a nation conceived not in liberty but in white supremacy.

In other words, as is always and forever the case with the Left, their position and attitude is based entirely on balls-out lies.

You will nevertheless hear, and likely have already heard, arguments for a limiting principle, a way to justify pulling down Confederate monuments while allowing monuments to Christopher Columbus or Thomas Jefferson to stand.

The comedian Andrew Schulz tries to make this argument in a recent YouTube video. Confederates were traitors and slavers, he says. Their monuments were built to glorify a treasonous and failed effort to secede from the Union.

Another bone I must pick. Many if not most of those monuments were built for a two-fold purpose: not to honor The Lost Cause itself—it’s entirely ridiculous to argue that they were—but 1) to honor what were fundamentally honorable men, accomplished and in some cases legendary soldiers about whom it might more fairly be said had varied motives for enlisting themselves in a less-than-honorable cause; and 2) to soothe the passions of the recently-conquered South, and help ease its transition back into full membership in the larger nation that vanquished and then severely abused them after the war.

There’s a reason, for example, the anarchists and Antifa rioters in Seattle’s “autonomous zone” set up barricades and hung a sign saying, “Now Leaving The United States.”

These people don’t want to improve America. Like the monuments they despise, they want to tear it down.

Bingo. In the end, this is a real war we’re in now. We can only hope the Great American Awokening to that sad fact didn’t come too late to have any hope of fighting back, and of prevailing. Because the one and only alternative scenario is too awful for any liberty-minded person to contemplate.

Update! Common ground, with some extremely unlovely bedfellows.

Destruction of art is a common theme. In the late 18th century, the Jacobins took hammers to the kingly statues that adorned Notre Dame; today, the original heads, buried by sympathizers with posterity, are in a museum. The pharaohs encouraged the defacement of monuments to their predecessors (which is why many Egyptian artifacts are literally defaced).

Moving ahead a few years, the Taliban, 20 years ago, blew up the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan, which had stood for more than 1,000 years. ISIS destroyed Syrian edifices and artworks that had outlasted millennia. Al Qaeda attacked our architecture and what it stood for (inaccurately, since the World Trade Center was a symbol of central planning, not capital).

You would think our pluralistic society would be more sophisticated. Nope: In the past decade, Yale has removed stained-glass windows depicting slavery, after an employee smashed one. Better to forget slavery?

Movies? You can’t watch “Gone With the Wind.” Nobody should watch this movie and think, “Gee, those were the days.” But a properly educated audience can understand that the movie shows the stark horror of failure, because the cause was wrong, and doomed.

We probably ought not watch “It’s a Wonderful Life,” as it glosses over black servitude, and so we should just miss its lessons about capitalism. J.K. Rowling has “incorrect” thoughts about the trans movement — so kids shouldn’t read “Harry Potter.”

“Black servitude,” is it? My increasingly-pissed off white ass, it was. Annie, the live-in maid character in IAWL, was a salaried employee, doing honest and honorable work for people that were clearly enchanted with her and treated her as fully one of the family. Anybody who perceives anything whatsoever demeaning or degrading about that once-common arrangement ought to extract their head out of their ass toot sweet, if it takes a fucking heavy construction crane to do it. And she was hardly “glossed over,” as can be readily discerned from even a most cursory viewing of the film.

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Notable Quotes

"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards." – Claire Wolfe, 101 Things to Do 'Til the Revolution

"There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." — Daniel Webster

“The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.” – Frank Zappa

“The right of a nation to kill a tyrant in case of necessity can no more be doubted than to hang a robber, or kill a flea.” - John Adams

"It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged." - GK Chesterton

"The only way to live free is to live unobserved." - Etienne de la Boiete

"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid." — Dwight D. Eisenhower

"To put it simply, the Left is the stupid and the insane, led by the evil. You can’t persuade the stupid or the insane and you had damn well better fight the evil." - Skeptic

"There is no better way to stamp your power on people than through the dead hand of bureaucracy. You cannot reason with paperwork." - David Black, from Turn Left For Gibraltar

"The limits of tyranny are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress." - Frederick Douglass

"Give me the media and I will make of any nation a herd of swine." - Joseph Goebbels

“I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.” - Ronald Reagan

"Ain't no misunderstanding this war. They want to rule us and aim to do it. We aim not to allow it. All there is to it." - NC Reed, from Parno's Peril

"I just want a government that fits in the box it originally came in." - Bill Whittle

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