Well, I warned her.
September 1992. I was in Munich for the only reason I ever went to Europe, the sonofabitchin’ Holocaust. My traveling companion Tina and I had just concluded two weeks in Poland, and now we were in the heart of Bavaria, where I was scheduled to give a talk.
I was in our hotel room, writing my speech (the only speech I ever gave that wasn’t ad-libbed, and not coincidentally, the worst speech I ever gave), and Tina—a golden-haired lass from Nowhere, New York (seriously, look up DeKalb Junction. It makes the people in Bumfuck, Egypt, go, “Hey, we’re a metropolis!”)—tells me she wants to check out Oktoberfest.
Back then, I never drank. Not a drop. It wouldn’t be until summer 2003 that my broker encouraged me to get in on the ground floor of that exciting new cirrhotic liver thing, and I never looked back. But that night in ’92, I lisped to Tina, “I have an important thspeech to write. You go have fun; I’m thstaying in.”
She excitedly exclaimed, “I can’t wait to tell the locals about our work! How we’re challenging the inaccuracies of Holocaust history. They’ll be so pleased that we’re lessening the burden of their guilt!”
I don’t remember my response word-for-word, but it was something like “Dear God no, don’t tell them that! Do not mention our work! Not under any thircumthtances!”
“Thuffering thuccotash, Tina. Whatever you do, don’t do that.”
“Don’t worry,” Tina chirped. “I know Holocaust revisionism’s illegal here. I’ll be discreet.”
And that’s when we had “the talk.” The talk a Jewish Holocaust revisionist gives to his hick-town shiksa before she goes to Oktoberfest to discuss gas chambers (yes, I’m the only person in history to ever have that talk). I explained that the postwar German identity is centered around atonement. They’re the “good atoners.” That’s their shtick. Other nations, other peoples throughout history, from the highest Viking to the lowliest Choctaw, have waged wars and committed atrocities. But the Germans alone are repentant. It’s a point of pride.
You don’t try to take that away from them by saying, “Hey, maybe you don’t have quite as much to atone for.” They’ll react negatively. It’d be like going to France and saying, “You guys can’t make cheese.” It strikes at the core of their national soul.
Tina didn’t listen. Out she went, looking more Aryan than Eva Braun in a dirndl, and I set about writing a truly godawful speech. I don’t precisely recall when she returned…maybe two hours later. And the chipper smile she departed with was nowhere to be seen.
“They yelled at me,” she said, on the verge of tears. “They were like, ‘How dare you?’”
Poor Tina had been Greta Thunberged before it was cool.
German atonement provides useful lessons for American whites.
In the immediate post-WWII years, U.S. schemes to break the German psyche were heavy-handed. Those were the Morgenthau years, the “denazification” years. But then the West Germans got lucky; Cold War realities dictated that it was more important to have a happy and prosperous West Germany than Morgenthau’s proposed Stone Age wasteland. West German school textbooks and media ensured that the next generation grew up feeling eternally guilty for the Holocaust (the singer Nena—born in 1960—once recounted that while filming the “99 Luftballons” video, which featured pyrotechnic explosions, the entire band started crying because the kaboomies reminded them that they’re a race of evil warmongers). But at the same time, daily life in West Germany was fine. It was a good place to live. Safe, prosperous, culturally alive. Why, you might even see a Beatle or two warbling at a local kneipe.
The point? The people to whom Germans had pledged eternal atonement weren’t physical menaces. Even by 1992 there were only 40,000 Jews in a nation of 77.5 million (during my trips, I was often the first Jew some Germans had ever met). And what Jews there were didn’t rob liquor stores, mug grandmas, or riot.
For Germans, it was a comfortable atonement. In exchange for a good life, just abandon all national pride and saddle yourself and your children with lifelong guilt for the actions of a dude who proved that the most extreme response is not always the right one:
Wehrmacht Generals: “Perhaps we shouldn’t liquidate so many Jews and Soviet POWs…we may need them for labor. Also, maybe we should make use of our Ostland subjects as allies instead of crushing them as Slavs. And hey—have you considered not declaring war on America?”
Hitler: “Nein nein nein! You are cucks! Filthy cucks! We must be based! Chads not virgins! Have you not read Breitbart? Double-down double-down fuck you, WAR!”
Cut to Hitler’s charred remains being urinated on by Russians outside the bunker.
Hitler’s Charred Remains: “I blame the Deep State!”
So even though Germans were made to carry the burden of Based-dolf, the sting was dulled because you could go through an entire day without once seeing or thinking of a Jew.
1990 through 1995, the years I routinely visited Germany, were pivotal times. Cold War politics had kept West Germans safe from Morgenthau-style physical destruction. But now the Cold War was over, and the country was reunified. Time to import some physical pain. Time to use 45 years of guilting-from-birth to force Germany to house the dregs of the Third World. Time to take the laws against Holocaust denial (which had been around since the 1980s, and which were tolerated by Germans because they were unobtrusive, as most Germans never sought to deny the Holocaust) and expand them to make any opposition to the mass importation of “asylum-seeking” ooga-boogas and ali akbars illegal too. After all, Germans “owed” it to the world to be forever anti-racist. Sure, the debt was originally supposed to be held only by Jews, but hey, some mortgages are assumable.
The “asyl-schwindel” got rolling in the early 1990s and went into hyperdrive the following decade. Cold comfort though it may be, at least Germans had a good four decades of comfortable atonement before having to deal with rapists, robbers, and terrorists imported as part of the terms of their repentance.
I’ve written multiple times about how white America’s current predicament—blacks are sacred, they must be allowed all misbehavior, they can’t be chastised, arrested, or imprisoned, they’re to be hired in your stead regardless of merit and seen as geniuses regardless of skill, they get to steal from you at will, you owe them an eternal debt and no matter what you say or do you’ll always be the villain—is a bill come due. I’m not saying it’s good, just inevitable.
After the Civil War, when the South was militarily crushed much as Germany was in 1945, the North attempted a kind of Morgenthau-style atonement conditioning. But it was impractical. Germans in 1945 could pledge a forever debt to Jews because there were almost no Jews around to lord it over them. But almost half the South was black. The Radical Reconstruction scheme of making white Southerners bow and scrape to freedmen wasn’t gonna work (for a contemporaneous look at how and why it failed, read abolitionist James Shepherd Pike’s The Prostrate State). I’ve also written about the childish naivete of the Reconstructionists, who foolishly believed that the black question would just “take care of itself” over time because blacks would never leave Southern farms and mixed-race children were so sickly they’d die before they could reproduce.
Forty years before the Civil War, Thomas Jefferson, while acknowledging that eventually the black question would be “the knell of the Union” and “expatriation” was the only possible salvation, nevertheless engaged in his own brand of childish naivete by declaring that “diffusion [of blacks] over a greater surface [of the U.S.] would make them individually happier and proportionally facilitate the accomplishment of their emancipation, by dividing the burthen on a greater number of co-adjutors.”
So the Radical Reconstructionists were like, “Keep ’em confined to the South! That’ll solve things,” and Jefferson was like, “Spread ’em across the nation! That’ll solve things!”
But no. Like politicians dealing with any national debt, they just put it off for future generations to deal with.
And now here we are: Atonement is rapidly becoming the thing that defines goodness and righteousness to large numbers of white Americans. White Americans are morphing into the Germans. And sure, you can chalk a lot of it up to today’s Morgenthaus. Ashkenazis in government, academia, Hollywood, and the press. Propaganda disguised as school textbooks; entertainment that presents a virtuous black America plagued by white villainy. Newspapers that hide the slaughter of whites while acting like the death of any black is Christ crucified anew.
And it’s well and good to fight against that.
But I return to the issue of intractability, my buzzword for the past few months. There’s a problem that’s not going away: A disproportionately high percentage of U.S.-born blacks can be described as a failed people. What I’ve previously labeled “unsalvageables.” And these unsalvageables drag everyone down—whites, Asians, other American blacks—and you can spend a trillion dollars on them and at most maybe pull two or three out of the failure spiral.
There’s no solution. And any Ben Shapiro type who tells you there is (“bibles, flag pins, and Wheaties!”) or any white nationalist type who does the same (“white homeland! National divorce!”) is either lying or cretinous.
The Germans I met in my traveling years, as conditioned as they were by their schools and media, were, at heart, genuinely troubled by what the Nazis had done. That’s why, as Himmler famously stated in his Posen speech, removing the Jews from the Reich had been difficult, because everyday Germans were sentimental about Jews. So it’s not just postwar conditioning; average Germans didn’t hate Jews, and the knowledge that an elected German leader killed millions of them is something today’s Germans truly find distressing, “conditioning” aside.
The continued failure of black America distresses many whites. And again, it’s not just conditioning. These whites are good (if naive) people who deplore past racial injustices and genuinely want to help blacks “get better,” and they’re too good at heart (and too naive) to entertain the notion that the problem might be intractable.
If you convince these whites that atonement is the solution, they’ll try it. All other avenues have failed, so why not be a trouper and repent? Maybe that’ll finally do the trick! Because at the very least, even if it doesn’t help, it’ll make whites feel like they’re helping.
To be sure, not all whites will be penitent; in Germany, I did meet locals who wanted to hear about my work. But they lived in the shadows. You can’t totally exterminate reluctance to atone, but you can drive it underground.
Will this end up being America’s “knell”? I’ll examine that question in greater detail in an upcoming column.
If you want to see a classic case of how President Joe Biden’s regulatory tendencies are strangling the U.S. economy and raising prices, look no further than the latest Justice Department efforts to kill an airline merger that is pro-consumer.
JetBlue has its sights on merging with a smaller and financially ailing airline, Spirit.
JetBlue’s management believes the synergies between the two airlines will save over $300 million in costs. Spirit’s shareholders (i.e., the airline’s owners) have voted to approve the merger.
Spirit is like a cancer patient in chemotherapy. Industry analysts say that there’s a 50-50 chance Spirit will go bankrupt without a suitor. A bankruptcy would crush Spirit shareholders, cause thousands of airline workers to lose their jobs, and enable other bigger airlines to swoop in and purchase its assets and its valuable airport landing rights at fire sale prices.
No one benefits from that scenario.
So, what’s the holdup here? The Biden Justice Department is holding up the marriage on questionable antitrust grounds.
A strong case could be made that a successful merger between the two smaller airlines will enhance competition and lower prices by creating a larger discount airline. Today, about 70% of domestic flights are on four carriers — American, Delta, Southwest and United. JetBlue controls just about 6% of the market (while Spirit’s has shrunk to about 4%).
A merger like this is hardly going to allow JetBlue to monopolize the market or drive up prices. Regulators are concerned that in certain markets like Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where the two airlines directly compete, ticket prices may rise. This ignores that without the merger, Spirit may simply close.
JetBlue is ranked as one of the best airlines for customer satisfaction. To compete more effectively with the big boys, it needs scale.
According to JetBlue’s merger plans, the airline will leverage the infrastructure, employees and management of Spirit to schedule 1,700 more flights to 125 cities in 30 countries. This benefits — it doesn’t hurt — consumers with more choices.
JetBlue’s market niche has always been to compete in crowded markets by offering discount prices.
A Massachusetts Institute of Technology study has found that when JetBlue enters a market, it reduces airline fares by $32 each way on average.
Federal regulators in the Biden administration don’t seem to understand that mergers and acquisitions are a routine and vital component of an innovative and entrepreneurial economy. Investors are willing to put millions of dollars at risk to launch startups in the hope that they will have an exit option at some point of being bought out by more sizable competitors.
How many people will invest in a startup airline in the future if the feds would prohibit the company from ever being sold? Or prohibit the company from growing by acquiring other assets as it grows?
The birth of the modern age in air travel began some 40 years ago when airline pricing and routing were almost entirely deregulated. Thanks to steadily falling airfares, airline travel, which was once the purview of the rich, has become affordable to middle- and even low-income travelers with fares as low as $100.
The irony of all of this is that if the JetBlue-Spirit marriage is prohibited or killed through interminable delays, the people who will be uncorking the champagne bottles will be the executives at American, Delta, Southwest and United.
In the name of helping consumers, the Biden administration may take the side of the biggest and most expensive airlines instead of the pro-competitive forces of a disruptive and lower-price carrier. How this would help consumers is anyone’s guess.
By now January is almost over, meaning most people’s New Year’s resolutions will already have crumbled away into mere atoms, just like mine: It’s not even February and already I’ve murdered two prostitutes.
Perhaps the most common failed New Year’s resolution is to quit smoking, a solemn promise to your lungs that, if you only lived in New Zealand, it would henceforth be impossible for you not to keep, at least if you happen to be young enough. This is because N.Z.’s ever-kind dictatrix Jacinda Ardern (soon to be quitting herself, thankfully—as PM, that is) has just passed a new law effectively banning the filthy habit forever.
From Jan. 1, Ardern generously made underage puffers’ New Year’s resolutions for them, forbidding the sale of tobacco to all Kiwis born in or after 2009, meaning anyone aged 14 or under will never lawfully be able to smoke over there at all. Once legislation kicks in, the legal minimum age of smoking will increase by one year each twelve months. Eventually even pensioners will need to flash tobacconists ID proving not that they are 18 as now, but, for example, that they are 64 in 50 years’ time, or 114 in 100, when everyone has magically been enabled to live forever by fiat of the nanny state.
Other nations’ political health-freaks look on jealously. In the U.K., opposition Labour Party health chief Wes Streeting pronounced himself “genuinely curious” about Ardern’s innovative experiment in lung fascism, pledging to start a consultation on the issue in the name of “fresh radical thinking.” Streeting “hated the smell of cigarette smoke growing up,” he said, and whatever “liberal” politicians hate, we all know, they end up banning eventually. Meanwhile, whatever they happen to love, they end up abusing their position to have the state officially promote on the public dime. Being a homosexual, one thing Mr. Streeting doubtless loves more than anything else in this world is other men’s penises, which raises one important public health question above all others: Is smoking cocks really safer for one’s well-being than smoking cigarettes is?
Some People Will Swallow Anything
Notoriously, the main chosen hobby of one of Wes Streeting’s esteemed swinging-’60s Labour Party predecessors, Tom Driberg, was to spend his free evenings away from Parliament kneeling in public toilets handing out blowjobs to all comers (in both senses of that term)—a wholly meat-based diet he allegedly justified not on grounds of personal taste, but personal health. According to Tom, swallowing such an excellent cross section of the general public’s semen exposed him to so wide a range of sperm germs in vaccine-style attenuated form that it boosted his personal immune system against future infection by far worse things than spunk flu.
In those happy pre-AIDS days, doubtless this innovative oral injection method worked well for Tom, but perhaps he just got lucky and ended up blowing Stuart Redman from The Stand or something. For most mere mortals, chewing off random strangers in public bathrooms is potentially very bad for your health indeed, particularly if said random stranger just happened to be Freddie Mercury on a day you had a mouth ulcer. So where, one may ask the Jacinda Arderns and Wes Streetings of this world, is their taxpayer-funded public health campaign against cock sucking?
A similar question was once asked by the conservative political commentator Peter Hitchens. Peter’s query (eventually) appeared in his 1999 book The Abolition of Britain, which bemoaned what a leftist-ridden shithole his homeland had become ever since the 1960s heyday of liberalizing social reformers like Tom “Suck It and See” Driberg. One particular chapter was omitted from the initial hardback version as being so controversial it was likely to overshadow Peter’s main message. Reinstated in the paperback and U.S. editions, it laid out Hitchens’ honest observation of a severe disjunction existing between the nanny state’s official attitudes toward the two differing yet equally lethal diseases of AIDS and lung cancer.
As Hitchens noted, “Smoking and buggery can both kill you” (at least if you’re doing it properly), yet Western governments treated smokers as moral pariahs who selfishly brought their lung diseases down upon themselves, costing hospitals millions, whilst simultaneously treating gay puffers of pink cigarettes as sainted martyrs and tragic victims of society, when in fact both AIDS and lung cancer were often equally self-inflicted and equally cash-draining impositions upon national treasuries.
Hitchens’ argument wasn’t necessarily that homosexuality was wrong, merely that one social group was relentlessly demonized, the other endlessly pandered to. Smokers are perpetually urged to quit inserting unnecessary tube-shaped items into their mouths for pleasure, but gays are not hectored to treat their own throats or anuses similarly; for today’s government health-mafias, the only true sodomitic sin would be a man lighting up a quick postcoital Marlboro after being gangbanged by the cast of Queer as Folk in his local car park.
Put That in Your Pipe and Smoke It
Ridiculously, in 2022 Dr. Bryan Cullen, founding director of Duke University’s Center of Virology in North Carolina, came under fire for disseminating “reactionary rhetoric” and “harmful stereotypes about HIV/AIDS,” harmful stereotypes such as the previously undisputed medical facts that promiscuous male homosexualists played a “critical role” in the early spread of AIDS in the U.S., and that HIV was more easily contracted via anal than vaginal sex, unless said vagina had been used as a collective field latrine by the Village People beforehand. Like sodomy itself, “the truth can be painful,” retorted Dr. Cullen, “but that does not mean it should be avoided.”
But won’t obscuring the obvious medical truth for PC reasons just counterproductively risk costing more gay lives? Ah, no, because what homosexuals really need to be protected from is not a killer disease, but far worse social stigma and prejudice. For example, there is a niche gay pursuit called “bugchasing” (I prefer to call it “suicide bumming”) in which gays seek to subvert wicked heteronormative oppression by deliberately getting infected with HIV via condomless anal intercourse with already infected males called “giftgivers,” thus “breeding” the bugs inside their rectal “wombs” as microscopic surrogate bum babies.
As Wikipedia sycophantically puts it, such male pseudo-pregnancy grants “a shared identity and sense of community” whilst concurrently undermining evil conservative social norms. A voluminous medico-sociological literature has sprung up around this practice, none of which appears remotely condemnatory, as such texts generally are about the significantly less deviant habit of smoking.
The real animus these people have against smoking tobacco is that it is generally perceived as right-wing and hetero-masculine in nature. Smoking cannabis, however, is generally thought transgressively left-wing in nature, like being bummed, so today’s leftist authorities are all too keen on legalizing that—including Jacinda Ardern, who narrowly lost a referendum on freeing the weed in N.Z. in 2020.
Tellingly, some of the main reasons given by the N.Z. left for banning smoking and legalizing marijuana were contradictory. Shockingly, a greater percentage of native non-white Maoris were addicted to legal tobacco than post-imperialist white settlers, damaging their health. Equally shockingly, a greater percentage of Maoris also smoked illegal weed than white New Zealanders did, thereby criminalizing them unnecessarily. So, to ban cannabis was racist, whilst not to ban tobacco was also racist, even though you’re just arbitrarily swapping the legality and illegality of two similarly addictive substances around here.
Meanwhile, at the same time as promoting cock chomping, our rulers are busily trying to ban cake chomping. On 17 January, Professor Susan Jebb of the U.K.’s Food Standards Agency gave absurd warning that taking high-calorie cake into the office on your birthday might harm your colleagues’ health in the same way passive smoking once did, before that particular vice too was made verboten. According to Reichskuchenführer-SS Jebb:
“We all like to think we’re rational, intelligent, educated people who make informed choices the whole time…. [But] if nobody brought cakes into the office, I would not eat cakes in the day, but because people do bring cakes in, I eat them. Now, OK, I have made a choice, but people were making a choice to go into a smoky pub.”
So, we must take that choice away from them immediately, just like we did with smoking in pubs, nein? A new condition called “passive eating” now appears, and it must be eradicated. Tam Fry of anti-adipose pressure group the National Obesity Forum further suggested British employers be given a legal mandate to ensure their staff doesn’t become too chubby, modeled upon Japan’s “Metabo Law,” which apparently “penalizes bosses if their staff’s annual waist measurement check falls outside a healthy range.”
Tell you what, Tam, we’ll all agree to that particular amazingly illiberal measure the very same day joyless prigs like you also agree to fine gay workers whose sodomy-distended rectal passages likewise fall outside a “healthy range” of anal gape width during their annual in-office public inspection probe with a sterilized protractor, eh? Have equal standards and just leave people alone to manage their own lives, please.
Let gays eat cock, and everyone else eat cake!
The Week’s Rootinist, Tootinist, and Shootinist Headlines
THE JOY GLOCK CLUB
Tiger mom? Meet Luger gramps. Old Asian men are so over the stereotype of the wise elderly Oriental. “Wax on/wax off” has become safety on/safety off, as America sees a gleatest genelation of Mister Miyagis embrace the dark side of the folce.
First there was 68-year-old Chinese immigrant David Chou, who shot up a church in Laguna Woods, California. He fired dozens of rounds, resulting in only a single fatality—proving that aim is the one standardized test where blacks and Asians score equally well.
What Chou began, a 72-year-old in Monterey Park, California, tried to finish. Yuu Can Tran might sound like an inspirational poster in a high school LGBT counselor’s office (“Huu can tran? Yuu can tran! Begin your transition today!”), but it’s actually the name of the shooter who murdered eleven people at a fancy ballroom dance on Lunar New Year’s Eve because he didn’t get an invitation.
Man, the Vietnamese version of Cinderella is a real downer.
And it turns out Asian mass shootings are like Chinese food; an hour later you want more. Damn near immediately after the Monterey Park shooting, Chunli Zhao, another Asian oldie (66) in California, shot up the mushroom farm where he worked, killing seven.
Magic mushrooms? More like tragic mushrooms.
In California, the movie trope of the kung fu student avenging the death of his elderly master has been turned on its head. The masters are sick of your crap, and they’re fighting back, shoot-can-do style.
As Mako went wacko throughout California, journalists were left scratching their misshapen heads. Aren’t mass shootings out of character for Asians?
Of course not. There’s the Virginia Tech shooter, there’s Gang Lu (arguably the first modern-era school shooter), and there’s Jiverly Wong, who murdered thirteen classmates at an adult education facility in 2009 because they wouldn’t stop affecting a Jimmie Walker voice and calling him “jiverly turkerly” (a court ruled the shooting justified because the impression was dated and the pun untenable).
CNN’s Kyung Lah, who never misses a chance to attack whites (including her own long-suffering husband, who from these photos appears to be pining for a fatal case of Covid, or bird flu, or any release from his agonizing existence), screech-tweeted “What the hell is going on” in response to the rapid succession of ching-chong-dienamen who’ve traded putting pee-pee in Cokes to putting bullets in blokes. Lah’s followers speculated about secret Moonie mind-control plots and conspiracies, because seeing Asians as inscrutable plotters is apparently no longer racist.
Yet by far the oddest reaction to the Oriental shooting splee came from Screen Rant’s Alisha Grauso. Arguably the angriest left-wing white woman on earth, this illiterate hipster (who wears a nose ring, dons large-rimmed glasses, and sticks her tongue out in Instagram pics to prove that she’s a rugged individualist) initially blamed the Monterey Park shooting on whites.
“Fuck white supremacy!” she tweeted (rugged individualists always take daring stands).
When informed by her followers that the shooter was Asian, Grauso replied, “Cool.”
Behold peak leftist race theory. If a “POC” is killed by a white, it’s an atrocity. But if a POC is killed by someone with similar DNA, it’s cool. Not “still a tragedy, but at least not a racist one,” but cool.
“A black child was shot yesterday.”
Grauso: “Fuck white supremacy!”
“The shooter was black.”
Grauso: “Right on! Rad!”
Word has it Grauso will be at the funeral of the shooting victims to tell the grieving families how totally neato the massacre was.
And one could hardly blame the families if an extra body is planted that day.
BLACKFACE IS BACKFACE
Al Jolson, meet Al Pine. A Swiss yodeler named Markus Nef decided to perform a song at a local carnival while dressed as an African savage, complete with “black-painted face, frizzy wig, drum and grass skirt.”
Apparently, Nef was trying to prove that the only thing more annoying than a black rapper is a black yodeler.
Naturally, because it’s Europe, Nef was recommended for prosecution by something called the Federal Commission for Racism (which sounds like a body promoting blackface, not opposing it).
Prosecuting speech? Have the Swiss no respect for freedom of expression? In the U.S. (cue patriotic music) Nef’s rights would’ve been fully protected! He’d have only been banned from social media, banned from banking, put on a blacklist by PayPal, Visa, and Mastercard, fired from his job, put on a no-fly list, and chased from his home by protesters. Unless his name was Jimmy Kimmel, in which case he’d host the Oscars and a post-event bash with Pierre Trudeau and Ralph Northam.
Fortunately for Nef, last week a court ruled that even though his yodelayhee-ho routine was in poor taste, the intent was not to “make racist or derogatory remarks about Africans.” So they let him go with a warning: No more impersonating blacks. Switzerland has a perfect record of zero homicides over cold fries, and they mean to keep it that way.
Meanwhile, in the States, Bachelor contestant Greer Blitzer is having her life destroyed because of a years-old social media post in which she defended a white high schooler who’d dressed as Tupac Shakur for Halloween. Blitzer never wore blackface herself; she just dared to suggest that the girl did so without racist intent.
Blitzer will now be banned from social media, banned from banking, put on a blacklist, etc., etc.
Isn’t it great to live in a nation where free speech matters?
End patriotic music.
STANDING UP TO THE LITTLE PEOPLE
There once was a man from Nantucket,
A wealthy Marxist muckety-mucket.
He said. “I love the poor,”
So they moved in next door,
And he angrily told them to suck it.
Nantucket—Joe Biden’s rest home away from rest home—is playground to some of the wealthiest leftist elites in the nation.
Who love the poor.
From a distance.
Nantuckers have sued to block a proposed “low income housing” project on the island that would create “affordable” houses and condos. And if you’re wondering about the scare quotes, it’s because those “hovels” will go for $261,000–$373,000.
Low income indeed. Somebody call the Joads!
Islanders claim that these homes will bring in the rabble. Which suggests that a lifetime on Nantucket warps one’s perception of “rabble buying power.”
Yet believe it or not, that wasn’t last week’s top “out-of-touch leftists” story. Paul Krugman, NY Times columnist, is often called an “economic forecaster.” Except his forecasts always call for Rain Man. Krugman is the kind of tard who not only falls for Indian “Microsoft security” scams, but brags about it online.
Last week Krugman tweeted that, contrary to what right-wingers tell you, inflation is down. Way down.
With one caveat (and this is a real quote): “excluding food energy shelter and used cars.”
Yes, as long as “food, energy, and shelter” aren’t a concern, the economy’s great! So why the long faces, poor people? Vuitton handbag prices have totally stabilized!
When Krugman was asked if any actual necessities have become more affordable, he replied, “Well, the placards I post around my house that remind me to breathe have really come down in price. Without those, Kamala and I would be dead.”
Republicans, is this really the swill to die on?
George Santos is so over-the-top crooked, even the Punjabis who routinely trick Paul Krugman are like, “Enough already.” He lied about where he went to high school. And college. He lied about being a sports all-star. He lied about working on Wall Street. He lied about working anywhere. He lied about founding an animal charity, when in fact he swindled a veteran out of money meant to pay for an operation for the vet’s service dog, and the animal died a painful death as a result.
He lied about being the Jewish grandson of Holocaust survivors. He lied about his mother dying on 9/11. He lied about losing friends in the Pulse nightclub shooting. He lied about starring on Hannah Montana. When it was revealed that he was a drag queen, he lied about that, too.
His campaign stole donors’ credit card info. He misled federal regulators regarding loans to his campaign fund, and now it seems he might’ve been a polygamist and fake-marriage green card swindler.
And he hasn’t even served a full month in Congress yet.
Does George Santos really have to sit on committees?
Rightist pundits have been contorting themselves with whataboutism to defend Santos. “Biden lies too!” Yes, Biden has told many, many lies…over the course of 52 years in public office. Not all at once in his first election before he was even seated. Because that’s how the system works. You get elected, you bring home pork to your state or district, you earn loyalty, and then you can get away with lies. That applies equally to Dems and GOPs.
Santos whataboutism is the GOP equivalent of an affirmative-actioned black dude saying, “Hey, dat white guy gets to make his own hours an’ I don’t,” and the boss says, “Yes, because Bill’s been with the company thirty years; he’s brought in revenue and greased palms. You just started work yesterday…and you’ve already been written up twice.”
Cawthorn, Santos…maybe the GOP would get a better crop of youngsters if they weren’t encouraged to act like DeMarquiss who thinks he deserves the slack of those who put in the time to earn it.
Stop doubling down on Santos. At least Cawthorn only rubbed his nuts on a single guy, not an entire party.
Norman Mailer was born on January 31, 1923, and as his hundredth birthday approaches there is a major revival of interest among those who can still read. Norman died in 2007, aged 84, and his first-born son, Michael, a talented film director who has since become my closest friend, came over to my house that day in a slight state of shock. I was his father’s friend and admirer, so we sat down and drank the day and night away. In a review of the most recent Mailer biography, a hatchet job by a Brit, one reviewer writes that Norman could not walk his dog without getting into a fight. Funny what people not in the know will say or write. I was close to Norman for thirty-some years and never saw him start something or do anything aggressive, and on the other hand, the fact that he never let anyone step on his toes was a quality I admired. Let’s put it this way: Norman did not put his trust in princes, but in himself, like Papa Hemingway before him.
I remember discussing two of his contemporaries, Philip Roth and Saul Bellow, in a roundtable format at Elaine’s, the late-night bistro frequented by celebrities and writers and run like a reform school by the formidable Elaine Kaufman, all 300 pounds of New York Jewish chutzpah. “They write only from a Jewish-American perspective, whereas Mailer, although of the Jewish faith, writes like an American,” said the greatest Greek writer since Homer. “If you weren’t a bit cute I’d throw you out on your Greek ass,” snapped Elaine. (She nevertheless had a picture of me hanging on her bistro’s walls next to one of Hunter Thompson.)
The negative portrait by this Bradford bore is water off the proverbial duck’s back for us Mailer-Hemingway fans. Both Norman and Papa had experienced combat, something I very much doubt any of their critics can say, and experiencing combat is akin to losing one’s virginity to a real goer. It marks you and stays with you. After combat, a fistfight is like a pillow fight, nothing to write home or brag about. Norman’s description of the carnage inflicted on the human body and mind in The Naked and the Dead illustrated brilliantly the physical and emotional suffering of soldiers. No one did it as well. Mailer never showed triumphalism in American victories over the Japanese because he had seen the price paid by both sides firsthand. And he never liked or trusted officers, like most true grunts. He expressed his contempt for authority time and again. That’s where he and Papa may have differed. The latter got closer to officers, Colonel Buck Lanham being a model for one of his major characters, and a good friend. There are no heroes in Mailer war stories, and the powerful are shown as contemptible. He differs with his hero Papa in description. The latter’s is spare, lyrical, and poetic: “In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plains in the mountains. Troops went by the house and down the road and the dust they raised powdered the leaves of the trees.” This is Papa’s opening in A Farewell to Arms. Here’s Norman: “Unable to co-ordinate their thighs and feet to move forward”… Papa is being romantic and descriptive about the horror of war, while Norman is being a realist.
I often wonder what Papa and Norman would have written about the debasement of our society nowadays, the something-for-nothing celebrities—porn hustlers like the Kardashians and their ilk. Both writers dealt with the brutality of life, in fact it was always present in their writing, bullfighting and big-game hunting for Papa, boxing and skiing for Norman, and both were ready to use their fists, as good men should or used to in the good old days. Hemingway got effects of the utmost subtlety with his short declarative sentences, so much so that Ford Madox Ford found the perfect simile: “Hemingway’s words strike you, each one, as if they were pebbles fetched fresh from a brook.”
Both writers reveled in dissipation, gallantry, and heartbreak—Mailer has his hero Rojack in An American Dream kill his wife and then bugger the maid—as well as nonchalant banter. Mailer was sweet to people he liked, and was generous with praise. Papa I never met, alas, but he was known to turn on friends when drunk. So what? No one’s perfect. When I asked Norman to teach me to headbutt he was as gentle as my old German nanny. He boxed every Sunday morning with Jose Torres, light heavyweight champion of the world, and his son Michael. The latter could easily take him but never showed the old boy up. As Papa would have said, “That’s the way of men.”
There was a lot of bombast in both men, as well there should have been, and I would have loved to see either of them respond to questions about gender dysphoria or involuntary celibacy. Where are you now that we need you, Papa and Norman? Although Jewish, Mailer would not set foot in Israel as long as thousands of Palestinians lingered in horrible refugee camps. He once came to my New Year’s party in New York, and a very pretty Israeli girlfriend of my wife’s asked him why he never visited: “Because they don’t all look like you, sweetheart,” answered the tough guy. End of story.
My relatively scant hair having grown into a porcupine-type mess and having both a video podcast and a dinner party to attend on the same day, I went to my barber to smarten myself up a little.
His is still a cash-only business. No doubt such businesses will soon disappear altogether and a few years later young people will wonder what on earth cash ever was, it having long since gone the way of telegrams and postage stamps (and what counts as long since gets shorter and shorter).
I cannot say that I look forward greatly to the time when every purchase we make is traceable by them, which is to say the authorities, who will make use of the information in any way they please. Among other things, they will be able to compare our expenditure with our income, and since they think that all money really belongs to them, and any left to us is by their grace and favor, they will be able to tighten their control over us. In addition, they will be able to estimate our ideological position from the purchases we make and penalize us for them whenever they deem it necessary or convenient. Good records make for efficient persecution.
But, for the moment, my barber was cash-only; but all the cash I had was a 50 euro note. I was his first customer of the day and he had no change. He said I could pay him when I had the change later in the day.
I found this little act of trust very reassuring. In the cashless society, of course, such an act would be neither possible nor necessary, except when someone has left his telephone or credit card behind. (The same day, I received the following text message: “Mum, I’m out shopping and brought the wrong card with me. Can you please send me 240, I will pay you back when you get home. Account number…” Fraud will always find a way. Sent electronically a million times, I assume this message works on, say, ten occasions.)
I went out in search of change. First I tried a newspaper kiosk and bought a newspaper, but the man in the kiosk didn’t have change either, so I had to pay for the newspaper with a credit card. Then I went to the baker: same result. There was nothing for it but to buy a book, which in any case is something that I am rarely reluctant to do. This time, I had a perfect excuse ready for my wife: I was trying to make change to pay the barber.
The barber charges 10 euros for a haircut, and I give him 2.50 as a tip. Therefore, I searched for a book that cost 12.50 euros, to give me the change I needed. This, no doubt, is a rather odd way of choosing a book, perhaps it is even a first, but I soon found one, a slim volume with the title Treatise on Intolerance by Richard Malka, a lawyer and novelist, and author of another slim volume, The Right to Piss God Off. (This title offended my inner pedant, all the more so as the author was a lawyer and therefore supposedly precise in his language. Surely it was the right to piss off believers in God that he claimed rather than the right to piss off God Himself? If God did not exist, He could not be pissed off; if He did, no such right could possibly exist.)
The book, easily read in an hour or two, is a polemic in favor of the right to freedom of religious expression, particularly in the context of Islamic extremism. I am in favor of the right to such freedom, of course, albeit that I am not in favor of giving gratuitous offense, which is to say the giving of offense for offense’s sake; though neither should one shrink away from giving it when to do so is necessary or salutary.
There is nothing like a polemic for setting off my inner pedant, however. The author states early on in his little book that his target is religion; not a religion, or a form of religion, but religion as such. Religion, he says, is my accused, and cites at length (with good reason) the atrocities committed in the name of Allah; but he then goes on to allude to forms of Islam that have been tolerant, albeit that they are now in retreat in the face of intolerant forms. It follows from this that religion as such is not his accused, but only certain forms of religion.
Is this distinction important? I think it is.
The author states, again correctly, that the knowledge of Islam of some of the terrorists who have committed atrocities in France could hardly be more superficial, garnered from a few videos on YouTube. They sometimes convert to an extreme form of Islamism in a matter of days. Irrespective of whether this is correct or not, it ought to raise in the author’s mind the question of how so superficial a mental event could have such profound and indeed dire consequences—surely it must point to a fertile soil? But what exactly is that fertile soil, how has it developed? To quote Hamlet, adapting his words slightly, something must be rotten in the state of Denmark. What is it?
I cannot claim to have the complete or indubitable answer. I suspect that it consists of a steamy compost of ideas about social injustice peddled relentlessly in the media, personal resentments, hopes and expectations unfulfilled, and a longing for a simple explanation of why life should be so hard and disappointing. The illumination is sudden though false.
I returned to the barber with what I owed him. We had talked of politics while he cut my hair. He said that the present situation could not continue, there was too much discontent with the yawning, and growing, gap between the fabulously rich and the increasingly pressurized masses. Moving in circles between these two extremes, I do not experience either the gap or the discontent; the barber probably is a better guide in these matters than I.
Theodore Dalrymple’s latest book is Ramses: A Memoir, published by New English Review.
Lots of politicians have been caught burnishing their resumes, but recently, one of our elected representatives has come under fire for telling some real whoppers. And no, I’m not talking about George Santos.
In a space of three days last fall, President Joe Biden claimed to be Puerto Rican, practice Judaism and to have lost his house in a natural disaster.
Celebrating the Jewish New Year at the White House on Sept. 30, he told Jewish leaders, “I probably went to shul more than many of you did. You all think I’m kidding.” No, he said, “I’d go to services on Saturday and on Sunday,” adding, “You all think I’m kidding. I’m not.”
Visiting hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico the following week, he said, “I was sort of raised in the Puerto Rican community at home.”
Days later, speaking to Floridians who’d lost everything to Hurricane Ian, Biden talked about a catastrophic fire that nearly destroyed his house after lightning struck. “We didn’t lose our whole home,” he said, “but an awful lot of it.” He’d mentioned this blaze before, claiming that he “had a house burn down with my wife in it.”
Fact-checkers determined he was referring a small kitchen fire, “under control in 20 minutes,” according to contemporaneous news reports.
In a video speech to the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh three years after the October 2018 massacre there, Biden said, “I remember spending time at the … Tree of Life Synagogue.”
The synagogue said he had never visited.
Just before the 2020 South Carolina primary, Biden claimed — as he has many, many, many times — “I had the great honor of being arrested … on the streets of Soweto trying to get to see [Nelson] Mandela.” So significant was this incident, Biden said, that when Mandela came to Washington, he “threw his arms around me and said, ‘I want to say thank you. … You got arrested trying to see me.'”
Biden was never arrested in South Africa for trying to see Mandela. There’s no evidence the hug ever happened, either.
Sadly, as soon as Biden clinched the presidential nomination in 2020, Democrats locked him in the basement until Election Day. Who knows how many of Biden’s lies were lost to history that year!
But he couldn’t avoid speaking in 2019.
Campaigning in New Hampshire, he told a gripping story about flying to Afghanistan as vice president to pin a Silver Star on a Navy captain who’d rappelled down a ravine to retrieve his fallen compatriot, but who didn’t want a medal because the guy had died. “This is the God’s truth,” he said. “My word as a Biden.”
Biden did manage to fight the irresistible urge to claim he was that soldier.
However, it was President Barack Obama who’d honored an Army specialist for retrieving a soldier from a ravine — and he presented him with a Presidential Medal of Honor, not a Silver Star, in a White House ceremony, not in Afghanistan. As The Washington Post put it, “In the space of three minutes, Biden got the time period, the location, the heroic act, the type of medal, the military branch and the rank of the recipient wrong, as well as his own role in the ceremony.”
In a primary debate, he said: “I come out of a Black community” and had “more people supporting me in the Black community” than his rivals.
Kamala Harris: “No, that’s not true.”
Cory Booker: “That’s not true.”
In a nationally televised climate town hall on CNN, Biden said, “I just want to be very clear to everyone here: I am committed to not raising money from fossil fuel executives, and I am not doing that.”
The next day, Biden attended a high-dollar fundraiser held by the co-founder of a natural gas company.
At a CNN/YouTube Democratic debate in June 2007, Biden said, “Let’s start telling the truth,” then revealed that he’d been “shot at” in Iraq’s Green Zone.
Turns out, a mortar round landed a few hundred yards — i.e., a few football fields — from a building Biden was in.
At a 2012 campaign stop, Biden told African Americans that Republicans are “gonna put you all back in chains.” (At least his lies are harmless exaggerations without any potential to sow discord in our society.)
Before getting to George Santos’ apparently unprecedented and unforgivable mendacity, let’s review a few more of Biden’s Greatest Hits.
Throughout his life, Biden has alleged that he “participated in sit-ins to desegregate restaurants and movie houses,” saying, “and my stomach turned upon hearing the voices of Faubus and Barnett, and my soul raged on seeing the dogs of Bull Connor.”
None of this ever happened, according to his own aides, as well as the Democratic Party’s Praetorian Guard at The New York Times.
Most famously, he bragged about being an award-winning student, leaving college with three degrees, going to law school on a “full academic scholarship,” and graduating in the top half of his class.
Back on Earth: He graduated college with one degree and was nearly expelled from law school for plagiarizing five straight pages of a published article, coming in 76th out of a class of 85.
Most bizarrely, Biden stole British Labor leader Neil Kinnock’s speech — and his autobiography. Plagiarizing Kinnock nearly word for word, Biden claimed to have been “the first in his family ever to go to a university,” then bemoaned a system that had excluded his “ancestors, who worked in the coal mines of Northeast Pennsylvania.”
Biden’s ancestors did not work in coal mines. They went to college.
The whole point of Kinnock’s speech was to denounce the British class structure — something we don’t have. (Heard of the American Revolution? Probably not: It has nothing to do with Emmett Till.)
According to Biden’s actual life story — that is, the story based on what we know to be facts — his grandfather was an executive with the American Oil Co., and his father was to the manor born. Why on Earth was Biden clenching his fist, decrying a society where he didn’t have “a platform upon which to stand”? The executive suite at American Oil isn’t a platform?
All in all, Biden gives George Santos a pretty good run for his money.
The main difference between Biden and Santos is that one is the president of the United States, whereas the other is part of a legislative body with 435 members, including some who are certifiably insane.
But while the top story on MSNBC every night is: When is Santos resigning?, Biden’s lies are lovingly indulged by the media as the “search for a connection” by “a glad-handing pol” (The Washington Post), who has “embraced storytelling” with “the factual edges shaved off to make them more powerful for audiences” (The New York Times).
Speaking of the media’s double standards, where’s the “thank you” for the GOP’s diversity outreach? Santos is a gay Latino — and that he can prove! I swear, what do we have to do to please these people?
Traffic fatalities, like murders, should be in steady decline due to improving technology and big data analyses of danger spots leading to better policing and infrastructure. That’s happening in much of the world, but not in the U.S. in this decade.
For example, in a serious country, Japan, in 2022 total motor vehicle accident deaths declined for the sixth straight year to 2,610, and are now down 19 percent from 2019 and 84 percent from their peak in 1970.
Notice that the Japanese government announced their year-end figure on Jan. 4, 2023, while it will be several months before the U.S. government releases a comparable number. In contrast, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released on Jan. 9, 2023 its early estimate of road deaths for the first nine months of 2022.
I don’t have full 2022 figures yet for countries other than Japan, but most major first-world countries saw very different changes in total road deaths from 2019 to 2021 than did America:
U.S.: +19 percent
Canada: +1 percent
Australia: –3 percent
Italy: –9 percent
France: –9 percent
U.K.: –11 percent
Germany: –16 percent
Japan: –18 percent
Any statistic that got worse in 2020 is automatically blamed by the American media on Covid, but it sure looks like America’s unique boom in carnage on the pavement and on the sidewalk was more related to its indigenous Floyd Effect than to the global pandemic.
And the Japanese are continuing to work on getting safer, announcing mandatory driving tests for renewing driver’s licenses for those 75 or over with moving violations, even though the aged make up a large chunk of Japanese voters. In contrast, when my father was 91, he passed a written test to renew his California’s driver license for five years until he was 96. (His view was that by that age he’d be up to eighty years of driving experience.)
With Japanese road deaths down only 1 percent in 2022, it looks like it could be a very close run thing whether Japan meets its long-standing goal of fewer than 2,000 road deaths by 2025. Their count fell 605 over the past three years and would have to fall another 611 over the next three.
But at least 2,000 was a reasonable goal for Japan to set. In contrast, American states and municipalities have tended to adopt the preposterous Vision Zero goal of eliminating all traffic fatalities, while also pandering to Black Lives Matter by reducing police stops of bad drivers.
Not surprisingly, the result for the first nine months of 2022 is a 33 percent increase in total motor vehicle accident deaths since Ferguson in 2014. Measured per 100 million miles driven, American traffic fatalities in 2022 were up 24 percent since the same time period in 2014.
Fortunately, deaths per mile in the U.S. dropped a little under 2 percent in 2022 compared to 2021.
Unfortunately, deaths per mile are only back down to about the disastrous 2020 level, a year in which deaths per mile driven soared 18 percent, with most of the increase following George Floyd’s death in May.
A recent report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety offers some clues about what went so wrong on the road in 2020.
Most strikingly, deaths were up only 0.5 percent among drivers with valid licenses, while they soared 45 percent above the AAA’s model for those without valid licenses:
Drivers without valid licenses accounted for almost the entirety of the increase in driver fatal crash involvements in May–December 2020 relative to the corresponding forecast.
Depolicing. The Establishment made clear to cops after George Floyd’s death that they shouldn’t be pulling over so many bad drivers, so bad drivers without licenses felt empowered to drive badly.
To cite an extreme example, Reuters did a deep dive into police activity in Minneapolis:
In the year after Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020, the number of people approached on the street by officers who considered them suspicious dropped by 76%, Reuters found after analyzing more than 2.2 million police dispatches in the city. Officers stopped 85% fewer cars for traffic violations. As they stopped fewer people, they found and seized fewer illegal guns.
Not surprisingly, traffic fatalities in Hennepin County were 48 percent higher in 2021 than in 2019 and homicides in the city of Minneapolis were up 102 percent over the same years.
In parallel to the car-crash trend line moderating slightly in 2022, my recent quick and dirty review of 2022 homicide counts in important cities showed a modest decline in murders from 2021, but only back down to the level of the first year of the racial reckoning, 2020. As I’ve been pointing out since 2021, in this century, trends in homicides and auto deaths have been closely correlated, almost certainly due to politics-driven rises and falls in how proactive the police are.
Many people assume that they don’t have to worry about the rise in crime because they drive everywhere, but these days, the two comparable-sized causes of death go up and down together.
Rather than a “spike” in car crashes and shootings, we are now on a plateau with this decade considerably worse than the last. (Unsurprisingly, the best recent year for crime and crashes was 2014, which is when Black Lives Matter emerged at Ferguson.)
The NHTSA reports that after urban car crashes roared upward during the mostly peaceful protests of 2020, they improved somewhat in 2022, while rural deaths were up instead last year.
One bit of good news about 2022 is that blacks appear to have improved their driving after falling apart during the George Floyd “racial reckoning” when cops were informed that they should stop hassling blacks so much for breaking the law.
The NHTSA only occasionally breaks outs traffic deaths by race, while the CDC does all the time. However, the CDC puts a six-month lag on reporting causes of death, so the CDC’s WONDER database is only current through the end of June 2022. And nobody yet has published an estimate of miles driven in 2022 by race, so the CDC numbers I report below for the first half of 2022 will be per capita rather than per mile.
Blacks started driving very badly around the time of George Floyd’s death, and by the first half of 2021, they were dying 39 percent more in car crashes than in the first half of 2019 (a.k.a. the Good Old Days). But they got 11 percent safer in the first half of 2022 compared with the same months in 2021, and are now down to only 24 percent more fatalities than in the same half of 2019.
Which is still bad.
Likewise, blacks died about 5 percent less by homicide in the first half of 2022 than in the same time span of 2021, but that’s still up 36 percent over 2019.
White traffic fatalities are up 8 percent over 2019, as are their homicide victimizations.
At this point, the most worrisome trends are among Hispanics. They didn’t suddenly go nuts on the highways in 2020 like blacks did, but they keep getting worse ever since. Latinos died on the roads 33 percent more in the first half of 2022 than in 2019. And they died by homicide 47 percent more in the first half of 2022 than in the comparable period of 2019.
A little-known fact is that Hispanics started behaving better after the early 1990s both in terms of traffic and homicide fatalities per capita, and especially better after the 2008 financial crash drove many of the more marginal Latinos back south of the border. My impression is that Hispanics can learn that the authorities don’t appreciate their knuckleheadedness and reform some of their ways, but the politicians, media, and cops have to make that very clear to them.
When American elites stopped being serious about crime in the 1960s, Latinos appear to have responded by doing more crime. At some point in the 1990s, though, they started to get the message that the gringos were gravely tired of it and started to do better relative to both blacks and whites.
Something similar appeared to have happened to reduce the longtime plague of Mexican-American men driving drunk.
Anecdotally, I can recall a number of years ago overhearing two young men who worked at a big-box store in Burbank conversing on break. The Armenian was explaining to the Mexican that they changed the laws so that now a DUI arrest costs $10,000 all told. Wide-eyed, with none of the macho fatalism I would have expected from a Chicano in 1980, the Mexican kid nodded along earnestly with a look on his face that said: “Armenians know about money, so I’d better pay attention to what he’s saying.”
But progress isn’t inevitable. It mostly happens when whites demand it of Latinos. So, when liberals became overwhelmed by white guilt in 2020, Hispanics slowly started to get the message that they could regress without being hassled so much by the law.
Latinos didn’t respond as immediately in 2020 to elites’ anti-police messaging as blacks did, but over the course of 2021–22 their behavior has slipped quite a bit. For example, in heavily Hispanic Los Angeles, road deaths are up 31 percent from 2020 to 2022.
But nobody is talking about these unfortunate Hispanic trends.
Yet, now that we are up to 63 million Latinos, studying what makes them behave better or worse seems prudent.
How many times have you heard President Joe Biden or Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) berate the Trump tax cuts as “a giveaway to the rich”?
Biden and congressional Democrats now want to let expire major planks of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, former President Donald Trump’s signature domestic achievement, particularly the incentives for American businesses to invest more here at home.
We now have incontrovertible evidence that after five years since they took effect, the Trump tax rate cuts of 2017 raised revenues over this time period. For full disclosure, I should note that I worked with fellow economists Larry Kudlow, Arthur Laffer and Kevin Hassett together on that plan, which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.
The latest Congressional Budget Office report released earlier this month calculated that the federal government collected $4.9 trillion of federal revenue last year. This was up — ready for this? — almost $1.5 trillion since 2017, the year before the tax cuts became law.
In other words, revenues were up 40% in five years. The evidence through the first three years of the tax cut finds that the share of taxes paid by the wealthiest 1% rose as well. So much for this being a tax giveaway for the rich.
I compared these numbers with the estimates of what the Trump tax cuts were expected to “cost.” Instead of an expected $1 trillion revenue “loss,” the tax receipts over this period were almost precisely what they would have been if we didn’t cut taxes at all. And remember, that estimate in 2017 never anticipated the two-year hit to the economy from COVID-19 lockdowns — which depleted the Treasury.
In other words, there was a giant Laffer Curve effect from Trump’s tax cut. We got higher growth and higher tax payments with lower tax rates.
This shouldn’t be a giant surprise. The same thing happened when Democratic President John F. Kennedy cut tax rates in the 1960s and when Republican President Ronald Reagan cut tax rates in the 1980s. Lower rates and more revenues.
None of this seems to matter to the White House or congressional Democrats. They want to monomaniacally repeal a tax cut that worked. This would be like firing a coach who wins every game.
One of the most important and successful features of the Trump tax plan was reducing the tax rate on American businesses from 35% — the highest in the world — to 25% while closing special interest loopholes. This brought businesses and jobs back to these shores and helped fuel the Trump economic boom.
An obvious question is, why are we running a $1.4 trillion deficit if we have an all-time high in tax payments?
Because under Biden, federal spending has exploded to more than $6 trillion. Washington doesn’t have a revenue problem. It has a problem of runaway spending. It’s almost as if Congress is pleading for help: Stop us before we spend again.
Autumn 1986 I attended an exhibit at the California Institute of the Arts. I wasn’t there for the “art”; CalArts exhibits were (and are) for the pretentious hipster crowd, not for guys like me who love mocking the pretentious hipster crowd. But a former high school friend invited me, and I kinda fancied one of his female pals, so I made the trek to Valencia.
The exhibit was as ghastly as I’d anticipated. One piece of “art” (I’m not making this up) was a Hostess Fruit Pie nailed to a wall. There was also a pile of bricks, a precursor, I assume, to the infamous “bricks and a light bulb” exhibit that was mistaken for trash by an immigrant cleaning woman (credit where it’s due; Third Worlders don’t know art, but they sure know basura).
The highlight of the CalArts exhibit was a chair. A brown-colored wooden chair. Old, but not antique. Well-worn, the color faded on one leg, chips of paint on the back.
The artsy-farters were obsessed with this one. Surrounding it, they tried to one-up each other with insightful interpretations. “Obviously, the chipping paint symbolizes the decline of leisure time for the working class.” “Yes, but from a theme of race. The fading brown color shows how the black man is being erased from leisure entirely.” “From a Marxist analysis, the chair, perfectly chosen by the artist, represents the proletariat. The chair doesn’t earn the respect of being antique, nor the desirability of being newly made. Like the working man, used and abused, and eventually replaced.”
And just at that moment, a large-framed black man in uniform appeared in the gallery. He grabbed the chair and began dragging it away.
“Sir, do not be so rough with such a delicate work,” one of the bespectacled cretins cautioned. “Cease or I shall call a docent.”
“Man,” the black guy responded, “this is mine.”
“Oh, you are the artist? How wonderful! The finest piece in the gallery crafted by a man of color!”
“I knew it! I knew the themes were racial,” joyfully chirped another of the patrons.
“No,” the black guy said, “it’s mine. My chair. It’s what I sit on. I’m the security guard, and I’m movin’ it to da lobby for my shift.”
It was just a regular chair. Which the intelligentsia mistook for art. And to which they ascribed wondrous meanings…all of them bullshit.
By now you’ve seen the abominable MLK “Embrace” statue in Boston; it went viral pretty quick, and deservedly so, but it wasn’t until I saw “sentient Ebola sore with a weave” Karen Attiah of the WaPo take to Twitter to call the sculpture racist—which prompted everyone else on Twitter to point out that the sculptor is black—that I realized I’d written about that very sculptor five years ago.
New Jersey “ottist” Hank Willis Thomas is the fraud who previously designed the sculpture that sits in front of the National Lynching Memorial in Montgomery (that name’s a bit vague, so for the sake of clarity, the memorial’s against lynching, not mourning its end). That sculpture has an interesting history. In the 1960s, a black South African photojournalist named Ernest Cole took a photo of black miners lining up for a medical inspection before going to work. The miners had their arms raised as the doctors examined them.
Cole died in 1990.
In 2015, Thomas made bronze casts based on Cole’s miners photo and deceitfully passed the image off as black Americans begging, “Hands up! Don’t shoot,” as white cops point guns at them.
South Africans criticized Thomas for taking the work of a noted black photographer and altering its meaning. But here in the States, the esteemed members of the intelligentsia couldn’t contain their admiration for the sculpture. “Look at the faces of those noble American black men, staring down the guns drawn by fascist cops, raising their arms in a cry for recognition of their bare humanity!”
When, in fact, the men in Cole’s photo—the photo appropriated by Thomas for his sculpture—were simply being told “deep breath; now cough” by the medical staff at a South African mine.
Based on his experience with the lynching memorial sculpture, Thomas fully understands that he can shovel any shit toward white American art aficionados and they’ll read genius into it. So when he got the contract to do the Boston MLK sculpture, he knew he didn’t have to put much work into it.
And he gave the city something that looks uniquely horrific from every angle. It’s like Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji, if view No. 1 is “man eating muff,” view No. 2 is “woman holding giant penis,” view No. 3 is “the half-assimilated Norwegian from The Thing,” view No. 4 is “tribute to the worm aliens from Stephen King’s Dreamcatcher,” etc.
But while whites can’t get enough of Thomas’ monstrosity, history is repeating itself; just as with the “hands up” sculpture, Thomas is drawing criticism from African blacks. The WaPo’s Attiah, who is Ghanaian/Nigerian, slammed the MLK sculpture for “cutting the heads off” MLK and his wife:
Boston’s Embrace statue perfectly represents how White America loves to butcher MLK. To have a dismembered statue of a Black man and woman, in a country that killed and destroyed so many Black people, will never sit right with me. MLK was murdered by white America.
Of course, Attiah, a 36-year-old child of African immigrants, has zero connection to the American Civil Rights struggle, and zero experience with lynching or Jim Crow. Indeed, it’s wholly possible that her ancestors sold MLK’s ancestors into slavery. But, as they say in Nigeria, opinions are like the AIDS virus—everybody’s got one. And Attiah saw Thomas’ abomination as a(nother) way to attack white America.
There’s nothing racial about the sculpture’s stank. Hank Willis Thomas is a con artist riding the wave of modern monuments that aren’t supposed to invoke memories or emotions but “discussion.”
“Hey—at least it makes ya think!” My least favorite cliché, used by ideologues to excuse unfounded claims and artists too untalented to convey a concept with clarity.
During the Holocaust memorialization craze that began in the 1970s, the early monuments were pretty linear. Like New Jersey’s Liberation Monument (a tribute to American GIs who liberated camps), commissioned in 1983. Real simple stuff: American soldier carrying emaciated, sickly camp inmate.
During the 1970s and ’80s, over in the Soviet bloc, they were into grotesqueries. Skeletons, skulls, and such. Like this cheery little fellow who stood at the entrance to the Auschwitz State Museum ticket counter.
Really makes you wanna buy that season pass, huh? My great disappointment when I first saw it in 1991 was that it wasn’t singing the “grim grinning ghosts” song.
But these days, Holocaust monuments, already masturbatory by nature, have become mutually so, as well-endowed Jewish orgs with zero concern for accurate history partner with scamming pseudo-artists to churn out one ridiculously incomprehensible monument after another. The push toward bizarrely self-indulgent Holocaust memorials gained steam in 1993 with avant-garde artiste Judith Cohen (a.k.a. “Judy Chicago”) and the publication of her wildly popular Holocaust Project (which gave us gems like “Nazi Philip Seymour Hoffman sterilizes tranny Antonio Fargas”).
From that point on, linear was out the window.
Like the Berlin Holocaust Memorial: 2,711 oddly sized concrete pillars. That’s it. Just 2,711 pillars. The official Berlin city website—and keep in mind the site is trying to encourage tourists to visit the monument—states “While walking between the columns of different heights and the labyrinthine corridors, visitors may experience a brief moment of disorientation, which should open up space for discussion.”
So that’s how you teach history! By disorienting people. I don’t know about you, but I’m at my most perceptive when I’m dazed and dizzy.
“I went to Germany and got totally wasted!”
“Oh, did you drink too much at Oktoberfest?”
“No, I commemorated the Holocaust.”
Miami Beach’s Holocaust memorial looks like something out of Close Encounters (exactly how did Holocaust victims become little green men?). Schwerte, Germany’s monument makes the Holocaust look like a Snidely Whiplash silent-film gag, and Yad Vashem’s is arguably the worst attempt ever at re-creating the Abbey Road cover. And Washington D.C.’s Victims of the Holocaust statue could well have been titled “Toppled Goalpost, Frozen Dreidel.”
Back in Boston, that Holocaust monument comprises six 54-foot-tall glass elevator shafts. And black kids can’t stop throwing stones at them. Worse still, when Biden visited the monument last year, he stood by the shaft agitatedly complaining, “Push the damn button again, man. This thing’s taking forever!”
The designers of today’s historical monuments are not even remotely concerned with teaching history. Which is oddly appropriate, as most American history teachers aren’t either. It’s all about pushing an agenda, which is why I’m predicting that obscure “makes ya think” memorials like the Boston MLK clusterfuck will soon go out of fashion. While whites praised the piece because they had to (“You wanna still be able to use PayPal? Praise the penisworm”), high-profile black commentators hated it specifically because it’s open to interpretation.
They wanted something that said “kill whitey.” No subtleties, no room for discussion.
Indeed, even the perfectly linear and emotionally straightforward Liberation Monument in New Jersey is now under fire because it celebrates American soldiers without condemning American racism: “The monument is a unique blend of serious contemplation and enduring hope. Yet, across the river from where Jewish refugees aboard the MS St. Louis were denied admission to the United States in 1940, one has to wonder if this enduring hope merely mystifies the full enormity of a tragic memory.”
Chew on that. Holocaust memorials made up of Tetris blocks that make visitors dizzy don’t “mystify” history, but a simple statue of a war-weary soldier carrying a weakened camp inmate does.
I think we’re going to see American monuments come full circle. During the heyday of Confederate memorial-building, 1900 through 1920, the average monument was super-straightforward: heroic white guy with beard on a horse, waving a battle sword. We’re not going to see those now-removed statues replaced with Hank Thomas’ cryptic absurdities. The unambiguous Civil War monuments will be replaced by equally unambiguous monuments that scream “White Man Bad” with zero vagueness.
Thomas is on the way out, as the rejection by blacks of his MLK eyesore clearly demonstrates.
Yet…there may soon come a day when you pine for his type of enigmatic art, as you take your kids to Mark Essex Elementary School in the shadow of a giant statue of George Floyd stomping Kyle Rittenhouse’s face. You may just say, “I miss the artsy-fartsy crap.”
Black critics made it clear: Hank Thomas and his “makes ya think” artwork is over. Monuments don’t need to make whites think, but fear.
So Thomas can sit down and shut up. And if he needs a chair, there’s one at CalArts that might appeal to his sensibilities.