Friday, March 16, 2018

Jonah Goldberg: "Karl Marx's Jew-Hating Conspiracy Theory"

This piece by Jonah Goldberg in Commentary Magazine is so good it must be shared.  But you really should go to this LINK and read it at Commentary. 

My only critique is that the title belies the immense scope of its insights.   The anti-Semitic implications seem to me to be outweighed by the polyconomic ones.   And my only addition is to alert readers to the fact that the most assigned economics writer at U.S. universities, by a huge margin, is none other than Karl Marx.  You are what you teach.       

Karl Marx’s Jew-Hating Conspiracy Theory

Marx didn’t supplant old ideas about money and commerce; he intensified them
From the time of antiquity until the Enlightenment, trade and the pursuit of wealth were considered sinful. “In the city that is most finely governed,” Aristotle wrote, “the citizens should not live a vulgar or a merchant’s way of life, for this sort of way of life is ignoble and contrary to virtue.”1In Plato’s vision of an ideal society (the Republic) the ruling “guardians” would own no property to avoid tearing “the city in pieces by differing about ‘mine’ and ‘not mine.’” He added that “all that relates to retail trade, and merchandise, and the keeping of taverns, is denounced and numbered among dishonourable things.” Only noncitizens would be allowed to indulge in commerce. A citizen who defies the natural order and becomes a merchant should be thrown in jail for “shaming his family.

At his website, Marian L. Tupy quotes D.C. Earl of the University of Leeds, who wrote that in Ancient Rome, “all trade was stigmatized as undignified … the word mercator [merchant] appears as almost a term of abuse.” Cicero noted in the first century b.c.e. that retail commerce is sordidus(vile) because merchants “would not make any profit unless they lied constantly.”

Early Christianity expanded this point of view. Jesus himself was clearly hostile to the pursuit of riches. “For where your treasure is,” he proclaimed in his Sermon on the Mount, “there will your heart be also.” And of course he insisted that “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

The Catholic Church incorporated this view into its teachings for centuries, holding that economics was zero-sum. “The Fathers of the Church adhered to the classical assumption that since the material wealth of humanity was more or less fixed, the gain of some could only come at a loss to others,” the economic historian Jerry Muller explains in his book The Mind and the Market: Capitalism in Western Thought. As St. Augustine put it, “Si unus non perdit, alter non acquirit”—“If one does not lose, the other does not gain.”

The most evil form of wealth accumulation was the use of money to make money—usury. Lending money at interest was unnatural, in this view, and therefore invidious. “While expertise in exchange is justly blamed since it is not according to nature but involves taking from others,” Aristotle insisted, “usury is most reasonably hated because one’s possessions derive from money itself and not from that for which it was supplied.” In the Christian tradition, the only noble labor was physical labor, and so earning wealth from the manipulation of money was seen as inherently ignoble.

In the somewhat more prosperous and market-driven medieval period, Thomas Aquinas helped make private property and commerce more acceptable, but he did not fundamentally break with the Aristotelian view that trade was suspect and the pursuit of wealth was sinful. The merchant’s life was in conflict with the teachings of Christianity if it led to pride or avarice. “Echoing Aristotle,” Muller writes, “Aquinas reasserted that justice in the distribution of material goods was fulfilled when someone received in proportion to his status, office, and function within the institutions of an existing, structured community. Hence Aquinas decried as covetousness the accumulation of wealth to improve one’s place in the social order.”

In the medieval mind, Jews were seen as a kind of stand-in for mercantile and usurious sinfulness. Living outside the Christian community, but within the borders of Christendom, they were allowed to commit the sin of usury on the grounds that their souls were already forfeit. Pope Nicholas V insisted that it is much better that “this people should perpetrate usury than that Christians should engage in it with one another.”2 The Jews were used as a commercial caste the way the untouchables of India were used as a sanitation caste. As Montesquieu would later observe in the 16th century, “whenever one prohibits a thing that is naturally permitted or necessary, the people who engage in it are regarded as dishonest.” Thus, as Muller has argued, anti-Semitism has its roots in a kind of primitive anti-capitalism.

Early Protestantism did not reject these views. It amplified them.3 Martin Luther despised commerce. “There is on earth no greater enemy of man, after the Devil, than a gripe-money and usurer, for he wants to be God over all men…. Usury is a great, huge monster, like a werewolf …. And since we break on the wheel and behead highwaymen, murderers, and housebreakers, how much more ought we to break on the wheel and kill … hunt down, curse, and behead all usurers!”4

It should therefore come as no surprise that Luther’s views of Jews, the living manifestation of usury in the medieval mind, were just as immodest. In his 1543 treatise On the Jews and Their Lies, he offers a seven-point plan on how to deal with them:
  • “First, to set fire to their synagogues or schools .…This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians …”
  • “Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed.”
  • “Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing, and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them.”
  • “Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb… ”
  • “Fifth, I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. For they have no business in the countryside …  ”
  • “Sixth, I advise that usury be prohibited to them, and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them … ”
  • “Seventh, I recommend putting a flail, an ax, a hoe, a spade, a distaff, or a spindle into the hands of young, strong Jews and Jewesses and letting them earn their bread in the sweat of their brow.… But if we are afraid that they might harm us or our wives, children, servants, cattle, etc., … then let us emulate the common sense of other nations such as France, Spain, Bohemia, etc., … then eject them forever from the country … ”
Luther agitated against the Jews throughout Europe, condemning local officials for insufficient anti-Semitism (a word that did not exist at the time and a sentiment that was not necessarily linked to more modern biological racism). His demonization of the Jews was derived from more than anti-capitalism. But his belief that the Jewish spirit of commerce was corrupting of Christianity was nonetheless central to his indictment. He sermonized again and again that it must be cleansed from Christendom, either through conversion, annihilation, or expulsion.

Three centuries later, Karl Marx would blend these ideas together in a noxious stew.


The idea at the center of virtually all of Marx’s economic writing is the labor theory of value. It holds that all of the value of any product can be determined by the number of hours it took for a laborer or laborers to produce it. From the viewpoint of conventional economics—and elementary logic—this is ludicrous. For example, ingenuity, which may not be time-consuming, is nonetheless a major source of value. Surely it cannot be true that someone who works intelligently, and therefore efficiently, provides less value than someone who works stupidly and slowly. (Marx anticipates some of these kinds of critiques with a lot of verbiage about the costs of training and skills.) But the more relevant point is simply this: The determinant of value in an economic sense is not the labor that went into a product but the price the consumer is willing to pay for it. Whether it took an hour or a week to build a mousetrap, the value of the two products is the same to the consumer if the quality is the same.

Marx had philosophical, metaphysical, and tactical reasons for holding fast to the labor theory of value. It was essential to his argument that capitalism—or what we would now call “commerce” plain and simple—was exploitative by its very nature. In Marx, the term “exploitation” takes a number of forms. It is not merely evocative of child laborers working in horrid conditions; it covers virtually all profits. If all value is captured by labor, any “surplus value” collected by the owners of capital is by definition exploitative. The businessman who risks his own money to build and staff an innovative factory is not adding value; rather, he is subtracting value from the workers. Indeed, the money he used to buy the land and the materials is really just “dead labor.” For Marx, there was an essentially fixed amount of “labor-power” in society, and extracting profit from it was akin to strip-mining a natural resource. Slavery and wage-labor were different forms of the same exploitation because both involved extracting the common resource. In fact, while Marx despised slavery, he thought wage-labor was only a tiny improvement because wage-labor reduced costs for capitalists in that they were not required to feed or clothe wage laborers.

Because Marx preached revolution, we are inclined to consider him a revolutionary. He was not. None of this was a radical step forward in economic or political thinking. It was, rather, a reaffirmation of the disdain of commerce that starts with Plato and Aristotle and found new footing in Christianity. As Jerry Muller (to whom I am obviously very indebted) writes:

To a degree rarely appreciated, [Marx] merely recast the traditional Christian stigmatization of moneymaking into a new vocabulary and reiterated the ancient suspicion against those who used money to make money. In his concept of capitalism as “exploitation” Marx returned to the very old idea that money is fundamentally unproductive, that only those who live by the sweat of their brow truly produce, and that therefore not only interest, but profit itself, is always ill-gotten.

In his book Karl Marx: A Nineteenth-Century Life, Jonathan Sperber suggests that “Marx is more usefully understood as a backward-looking figure, who took the circumstances of the first half of the nineteenth century and projected them into the future, than as a surefooted and foresighted interpreter of historical trends.”5

Marx was a classic bohemian who resented the fact that he spent his whole life living off the generosity of, first, his parents and then his collaborator Friedrich Engels. He loathed the way “the system” required selling out to the demands of the market and a career. The frustrated poet turned to the embryonic language of social science to express his angry barbaric yawp at The Man. “His critique of the stultifying effects of labor in a capitalist society,” Muller writes, “is a direct continuation of the Romantic conception of the self and its place in society.”

In other words, Marx was a romantic, not a scientist. Romanticism emerged as a rebellion against the Enlightenment, taking many forms—from romantic poetry to romantic nationalism. But central to all its forms was the belief that modern, commercial, rational life is inauthentic and alienating, and cuts us off from our true natures.

As Rousseau, widely seen as the first romantic, explained in his Discourse on the Moral Effects of the Arts and Sciences, modernity—specifically the culture of commerce and science—was oppressive. The baubles of the Enlightenment were mere “garlands of flowers” that concealed “the chains which weigh [men] down” and led people to “love their own slavery.”

This is a better context for understanding Marx’s and Engels’s hatred of the division of labor and the division of rights and duties. Their baseline assumption, like Rousseau’s, is that primitive man lived a freer and more authentic life before the rise of private property and capitalism. “Within the tribe there is as yet no difference between rights and duties,” Engels writes in Origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State. “The question whether participation in public affairs, in blood revenge or atonement, is a right or a duty, does not exist for the Indian; it would seem to him just as absurd as the question whether it was a right or a duty to sleep, eat, or hunt. A division of the tribe or of the gens into different classes was equally impossible.”

For Marx, then, the Jew might as well be the real culprit who told Eve to bite the apple. For the triumph of the Jew and the triumph of money led to the alienation of man. And in truth, the term “alienation” is little more than modern-sounding shorthand for exile from Eden. The division of labor encourages individuality, alienates us from the collective, fosters specialization and egoism, and dethrones the sanctity of the tribe. “Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist,” Marx writes. “Money degrades all the gods of man—and turns them into commodities. Money is the universal self-established value of all things. It has, therefore, robbed the whole world—both the world of men and nature—of its specific value. Money is the estranged essence of man’s work and man’s existence, and this alien essence dominates him, and he worships it.”

Marx’s muse was not analytical reason, but resentment. That is what fueled his false consciousness. To understand this fully, we should look at how that most ancient and eternal resentment—Jew-hatred—informed his worldview.


The atheist son of a Jewish convert to Lutheranism and the grandson of a rabbi, Karl Marx hated capitalism in no small part because he hated Jews. According to Marx and Engels, Jewish values placed the acquisition of money above everything else. Marx writes in his infamous essay “On the Jewish Question”:

Let us consider the actual, worldly Jew—not the Sabbath Jew … but the everyday Jew.

Let us not look for the secret of the Jew in his religion, but let us look for the secret of his religion in the real Jew.

What is the secular basis of Judaism? Practical need, self-interest. What is the worldly religion of the Jew? Huckstering. What is his worldly God? Money [Emphasis in original]

The spread of capitalism, therefore, represented a kind of conquest for Jewish values. The Jew—at least the one who set up shop in Marx’s head—makes his money from money. He adds no value. Worse, the Jews considered themselves to be outside the organic social order, Marx complained, but then again that is what capitalism encourages—individual independence from the body politic and the selfish (in Marx’s mind) pursuit of individual success or happiness. For Marx, individualism was a kind of heresy because it meant violating the sacred bond of the community. Private property empowered individuals to live as individuals “without regard to other men,” as Marx put it.

This is the essence of Marx’s view of alienation. Marx believed that people were free, creative beings but were chained to their role as laborers in the industrial machine. The division of labor inherent to capitalist society was alienating and inauthentic, pulling us out of the communitarian natural General Will. The Jew was both an emblem of this alienation and a primary author of it:

The Jew has emancipated himself in a Jewish manner, not only because he has acquired financial power, but also because, through him and also apart from him, money has become a world power and the practical Jewish spirit has become the practical spirit of the Christian nations. The Jews have emancipated themselves insofar as the Christians have become Jews. [Emphasis in original]

He adds, “The god of the Jews has become secularized and has become the god of the world. The bill of exchange is the real god of the Jew. His god is only an illusory bill of exchange.” And he concludes: “In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.” [Emphasis in original]

In The Holy Family, written with Engels, he argues that the most pressing imperative is to transcend “the Jewishness of bourgeois society, the inhumanity of present existence, which finds its highest embodiment in the system of money.” [Emphasis in original]

In his “Theories of Surplus Value,” he praises Luther’s indictment of usury. Luther “has really caught the character of old-fashioned usury, and that of capital as a whole.” Marx and Engels insist that the capitalist ruling classes, whether or not they claim to be Jewish, are nonetheless Jewish in spirit. “In their description of the confrontation of capital and labor, Marx and Engels resurrected the traditional critique of usury,” Muller observes. Or, as Deirdre McCloskey notes, “the history that Marx thought he perceived went with his erroneous logic that capitalism—drawing on an anticommercial theme as old as commerce—just is the same thing as greed.”6 Paul Johnson is pithier: Marx’s “explanation of what was wrong with the world was a combination of student-cafĂ© anti-Semitism and Rousseau.”7

For Marx, capital and the Jew are different faces of the same monster: “The capitalist knows that all commodities—however shabby they may look or bad they may smell—are in faith and in fact money, internally circumcised Jews, and in addition magical means by which to make more money out of money.”

Marx’s writing, particularly on surplus value, is drenched with references to capital as parasitic and vampiric: “Capital is dead labor which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labor, and lives the more, the more labor it sucks. The time during which the worker works is the time during which the capitalist consumes the labor-power he has bought from him.” The constant allusions to the eternal wickedness of the Jew combined with his constant references to blood make it hard to avoid concluding that Marx had simply updated the blood libel and applied it to his own atheistic doctrine. His writing is replete with references to the “bloodsucking” nature of capitalism. He likens both Jews and capitalists (the same thing in his mind) to life-draining exploiters of the proletariat.

Marx writes how the extension of the workday into the night “only slightly quenches the vampire thirst for the living blood of labor,” resulting in the fact that “the vampire will not let go ‘while there remains a single muscle, sinew or drop of blood to be exploited.’” As Mark Neocleous of Brunel University documents in his brilliant essay, “The Political Economy of the Dead: Marx’s Vampires,” the images of blood and bloodsucking capital in Das Kapital are even more prominent motifs: “Capital ‘sucks up the worker’s value-creating power’ and is dripping with blood. Lacemaking institutions exploiting children are described as ‘blood-sucking,’ while U.S. capital is said to be financed by the ‘capitalized blood of children.’ The appropriation of labor is described as the ‘life-blood of capitalism,’ while the state is said to have here and there interposed itself ‘as a barrier to the transformation of children’s blood into capital.’”

Marx’s vision of exploitative, Jewish, bloodsucking capital was an expression of romantic superstition and tribal hatred. Borrowing from the medieval tradition of both Catholics as well as Luther himself, not to mention a certain folkloric poetic tradition, Marx invented a modern-sounding “scientific” theory that was in fact reactionary in every sense of the word. “If Marx’s vision was forward-looking, its premises were curiously archaic,” Muller writes. “As in the civic republican and Christian traditions, self-interest is the enemy of social cohesion and of morality. In that sense, Marx’s thought is a reversion to the time before Hegel, Smith, or Voltaire.”

In fairness to Marx, he does not claim that he wants to return to a feudal society marked by inherited social status and aristocracy. He is more reactionary than that. The Marxist final fantasy holds that at the end of history, when the state “withers away,” man is liberated from all exploitation and returns to the tribal state in which there is no division of labor, no dichotomy of rights and duties.

Marx’s “social science” was swept into history’s dustbin long ago. What endured was the romantic appeal of Marxism, because that appeal speaks to our tribal minds in ways we struggle to recognize, even though it never stops whispering in our ears.


It is an old conservative habit—one I’ve been guilty of myself—of looking around society and politics, finding things we don’t like or disagree with, and then running through an old trunk of Marxist bric-a-brac to spruce up our objections. It is undeniably true that the influence of Marx, particularly in the academy, remains staggering. Moreover, his indirect influence is as hard to measure as it is extensive. How many novels, plays, and movies have been shaped by Marx or informed by people shaped by Marx? It’s unknowable.

And yet, this is overdone. The truth is that Marx’s ideas were sticky for several reasons. First, they conformed to older, traditional ways of seeing the world—far more than Marxist zealots have ever realized. The idea that there are malevolent forces above and around us, manipulating our lives and exploiting the fruits of our labors, was hardly invented by him. In a sense, it wasn’t invented by anybody. Conspiracy theories are as old as mankind, stretching back to prehistory.

There’s ample reason—with ample research to back it up—to believe that there is a natural and universal human appetite for conspiracy theories. It is a by-product of our adapted ability to detect patterns, particularly patterns that may help us anticipate a threat—and, as Mark van Vugt has written, “the biggest threat facing humans throughout history has been other people, particularly when they teamed up against you.”8

To a very large extent, this is what Marxism is —an extravagant conspiracy theory in which the ruling classes, the industrialists, and/or the Jews arrange affairs for their own benefit and against the interests of the masses. Marx himself was an avid conspiracy theorist, as so many brilliant bohemian misfits tend to be, believing that the English deliberately orchestrated the Irish potato famine to “carry out the agricultural revolution and to thin the population of Ireland down to the proportion satisfactory to the landlords.” He even argued that the Crimean War was a kind of false-flag operation to hide the true nature of Russian-English collusion.

Contemporary political figures on the left and the right routinely employ the language of exploitation and conspiracy. They do so not because they’ve internalized Marx, but because of their own internal psychological architecture. In Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi, the talented left-wing writer, describes Goldman Sachs (the subject of quite a few conspiracy theories) thus:

The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it’s everywhere. The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money. In fact, the history of the recent financial crisis, which doubles as a history of the rapid decline and fall of the suddenly swindled dry American empire, reads like a Who’s Who of Goldman Sachs graduates.

Marx would be jealous that he didn’t think of the phrase “the great vampire squid.”

Meanwhile, Donald Trump has occasionally traded in the same kind of language, even evoking some ancient anti-Semitic tropes. “Hillary Clinton meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers, her special-interest friends, and her donors,” Trump said in one campaign speech. “This election will determine if we are a free nation or whether we have only the illusion of democracy, but are in fact controlled by a small handful of global special interests rigging the system, and our system is rigged.” He added: “Our corrupt political establishment, that is the greatest power behind the efforts at radical globalization and the disenfranchisement of working people. Their financial resources are virtually unlimited, their political resources are unlimited, their media resources are unmatched.”

A second reason Marxism is so successful at fixing itself to the human mind is that it offers—to some—a palatable substitute for the lost certainty of religious faith. Marxism helped to restore certainty and meaning for huge numbers of people who, having lost traditional religion, had not lost their religious instinct. One can see evidence of this in the rhetoric used by Marxist and other socialist revolutionaries who promised to deliver a “Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.”

The 20th-century philosopher Eric Voegelin argued that Enlightenment thinkers like Voltaire had stripped the transcendent from its central place in human affairs. God had been dethroned and “We the People”—and our things—had taken His place. “When God is invisible behind the world,” Voegelin writes, “the contents of the world will become new gods; when the symbols of transcendent religiosity are banned, new symbols develop from the inner-worldly language of science to take their place.”9

The religious views of the Romantic writers and artists Marx was raised on (and whom he had once hoped to emulate) ran the gamut from atheism to heartfelt devotion, but they shared an anger and frustration with the way the new order had banished the richness of faith from the land. “Now we have got the freedom of believing in public nothing but what can be rationally demonstrated,” the writer Johann Heinrich Merck complained. “They have deprived religion of all its sensuous elements, that is, of all its relish. They have carved it up into its parts and reduced it to a skeleton without color and light…. And now it’s put in a jar and nobody wants to taste it.”10

When God became sidelined as the source of ultimate meaning, “the people” became both the new deity and the new messianic force of the new order. In other words, instead of worshipping some unseen force residing in Heaven, people started worshipping themselves. This is what gave nationalism its spiritual power, as the volksgeist, people’s spirit, replaced the Holy Spirit. The tribal instinct to belong to a sacralized group took over. In this light, we can see how romantic nationalism and “globalist” Marxism are closely related. They are both “re-enchantment creeds,” as the philosopher-historian Ernest Gellner put it. They fill up the holes in our souls and give us a sense of belonging and meaning.

For Marx, the inevitable victory of Communism would arrive when the people, collectively, seized their rightful place on the Throne of History.11 The cult of unity found a new home in countless ideologies, each of which determined, in accord with their own dogma, to, in Voegelin’s words, “build the corpus mysticum of the collectivity and bind the members to form the oneness of the body.” Or, to borrow a phrase from Barack Obama, “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

In practice, Marxist doctrine is more alienating and dehumanizing than capitalism will ever be. But in theory, it conforms to the way our minds wish to see the world. There’s a reason why so many populist movements have been so easily herded into Marxism. It’s not that the mobs in Venezuela or Cuba started reading The Eighteenth Brumaire and suddenly became Marxists. The peasants of North Vietnam did not need to read the Critique of the Gotha Program to become convinced that they were being exploited. The angry populace is always already convinced. The people have usually reached the conclusion long ago. They have the faith; what they need is the dogma. They need experts and authority figures—priests!—with ready-made theories about why the masses’ gut feelings were right all along. They don’t need Marx or anybody else to tell them they feel ripped off, disrespected, exploited. They know that already. The story Marxists tell doesn’t have to be true. It has to be affirming. And it has to have a villain. The villain, then and now, is the Jew.

1 Muller, Jerry Z.. The Mind and the Market: Capitalism in Western Thought (p. 5). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

2 Muller, Jerry Z. Capitalism and the Jews (pp. 23-24). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

3 Luther’s economic thought, reflected in his “Long Sermon on Usury of 1520” and his tract On Trade and Usury of 1524, was hostile to commerce in general and to international trade in particular, and stricter than the canonists in its condemnation of moneylending. Muller, Jerry Z.. Capitalism and the Jews (p. 26). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.

4 Quoted approvingly in Marx, Karl and Engels, Friedrich. “Capitalist Production.” Capital: Critical Analysis of Production, Volume II. Samuel Moore and Edward Aveling, trans. London: Swan Sonnenschein, Lowrey, & Co. 1887. p. 604

5 Sperber, Jonathan. “Introduction.” Karl Marx: A Nineteenth-Century Life. New York: Liverwright Publishing Corporation. 2013. xiii.

6 McCloskey, Deirdre. Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can’t Explain the Modern World. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 142

7 Johnson, Paul. Intellectuals (Kindle Locations 1325-1326). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

8 See also: Sunstain, Cass R. and Vermeule, Adrian. “Syposium on Conspiracy Theories: Causes and Cures.” The Journal of Political Philosophy: Volume 17, Number 2, 2009, pp. 202-227.

9 Think of the story of the Golden Calf. Moses departs for Mt. Sinai to talk with God and receive the Ten Commandments. No sooner had he left did the Israelites switch their allegiance to false idol, the Golden Calf, treating a worldly inanimate object as their deity. So it is with modern man. Hence, Voegelin’s quip that for the Marxist “Christ the Redeemer is replaced by the steam engine as the promise of the realm to come.”

10 Blanning, Tim. The Romantic Revolution: A History (Modern Library Chronicles Series Book 34) (Kindle Locations 445-450). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

11 Marx: “Along with the constant decrease in the number of capitalist magnates, who usurp and monopolize all the advantages of this process of transformation, the mass of misery, oppression, slavery, degradation and exploitation grows; but with this there also grows the revolt of the working class, a class constantly increasing in numbers, and trained, united and organized by the very mechanism of the capitalist process of production.”

Saturday, February 24, 2018

A Blockchain Solution To Gun Violence

Nearly every recent mass shooting involved a gunman who obviously should have been flagged and prevented from owning guns.  Unfortunately, there are numerous legal and structural barriers keeping us from proactively doing that today.  The current background check system only works after a crime has been committed, and by then it's usually too late.  And that's the best case scenario.  In reality, even after crimes are committed many instances go unreported, and gunmen still gain access to weapons.

These gaps have exasperated enough people to the point they are willing to eviscerate the second amendment, a politically charged and time-consuming process.  Therefore, closing the gaps in our current background check system and better tracking gun transfers seems like a good place to start today.

Putting aside the legal issues for a moment, the weak link in keeping guns from unstable people is the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).  NICS only works if every crime is properly recorded, and even then it is subject to the inherent flaws of any centralized database.  Blockchain would enable multiple entry points that could be cross-checked for accuracy and the information would be distributed to many nodes that would also be cross-checked.  Inputs and outputs would be more reliable and accessible, and no single failure could bring the system down. 

A simple, though imperfect, blockchain analogy is the way digital photos are handled today.  Some people take photos with one device and keep them on only one device.  If either device fails, they are out of luck.   Others take photos on multiple devices and store them in the digital cloud creating a coherent record of all photos taken.   Blockchain takes that one step further and maintains the photos on multiple clouds. 

In addition, blockchain technology can effectively track gun transfers, make FBI and local police tip lines more useful, and integrate mental health warnings into the NICS.  Of course, new laws including due process and privacy firewalls would need to be established for these changes to be implemented. 

The following paper on gun control and blockchain was written by:

Thomas F Heston, MD, FAAFP
Associate Professor, Washington State University, Spokane, Washington USA
November 13, 2017

It makes a strong case for implementing blockchain technology with our current gun laws. 
Abstract:   Blockchain technology can be utilized to improve gun control without changing existing laws. Firearm related mortality is at epidemic levels in the United States and not only has a significant impact upon public health, it also creates a large financial burden. Suicide is the most common way guns kill. Through better gun tracking and improved screening of high risk individuals, this technological advance in distributed ledger technology will improve background checks on individuals and tracing of guns used in crimes. 

Please read the whole thing here:  A Blockchain Solution to Gun Control and fwd it as you see appropriate.

Also, here's a short video for those completely unfamiliar with the concept behind blockchains. 

Thursday, February 22, 2018

How Good Intentions Helped LEAD to Parkland [UPDATED]

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions.  That was never more true than in Parkland, FL, where a deranged 19 year old murdered 17 people at his former high school.  Thanks to the good intentions of programs like "Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion" (LEAD), "Data Driven Justice" (DDJ), and "Preventing Recidivism through Opportunities, Mentoring, Interventions, Supports & Education" (PROMISE), the deranged gunman was kept out of the criminal justice system despite 39 at least 45 warnings to local law enforcement, two three very specific tips to the FBI, about 40 visits to the shooters home, a desperate call from the shooter himself, and several crimes previously committed.  Despite all that, he remained free to buy a gun, enter a school, and commit a massacre. 

The pop media's approach to covering these lapses has been mostly to ignore them and blame the gun.  When the lapses are acknowledge, they are attributed to incompetence.  Unfortunately, these "lapses" were not all incompetence.  They were deliberate.  They were pre-meditated.  

It all started in Seattle in 2011 when that city began experimenting with a program called LEAD.  LEAD was designed to "divert" low level criminals away from the criminal justice system and thus save them from the bad outcomes associated with incarceration and stigmatization.  The theory was that minority students were disproportionately ending-up in the criminal justice system and thus were unfairly being hurt.  Instead of being treated as criminals, these supposedly low level offenders were sent back to their schools and communities where cops, administrators and social workers were supposed to deal with them away from the criminal justice system.  Cities and states run by politicians of all stripes adopted versions of LEAD during the Obama administration, which took up the mantle and promoted its own expanded version called "Data Driven Justice" (DDJ).  Broward County adopted their own program called PROMISE in 2016.  

Here's a press release from Barack Obama's press office touting the fabulous money saved, the lower crime rates, and the freed-up jail space due to their DDJ program in of all places, the county adjacent to Broward County, Florida:
For example, Miami-Dade, Florida found that 97 people with serious mental illness accounted for $13.7 million in services over 4 years, spending more than 39,000 days in either jail, emergency rooms, state hospitals, or psychiatric facilities in their county.In response, the county provided key mental health de-escalation training to their police officers and 911 dispatchers. Over the past 5 years, Miami-Dade police have responded to nearly 50,000 calls for service for people in mental-health crises, but have made only 109 arrests, diverting more than 10,000 people to services or safely stabilizing situations without arrest.The jail population fell from over 7,000 to just over 4,700, and the county was able to close an entire jail facility, saving nearly $12 million a year.
They saved $12 million!  Isn't that great?  And made only 109 arrests from 50,000 calls!  Isn't that awesome?  This was about the same time when the local police were being called to the gunman's home 39 times for violent, and sometimes criminal, behavior!  

PROMISE, LEAD, DDJ, and similar programs started out as a way to "divert" low level criminals away from prison and it's negative consequences.  They started with good intentions, though those good intentions were based on dubious theories about incarceration rates.

The programs quickly became a way to save money, show improved crime statistics, and arbitrarily lower incarceration rates.  Let me repeat:  The lapses in Broward County LEADing to this massacre were deliberate attempts to save money and show better crime statistics.

PROMISE, LEAD and DDJ need to be exposed and become part of the corrective action taken to prevent further tragedies like Parkland.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Do You Really Want to Stop School Shootings? [UPDATED]

You know what they say about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result?  (Hint: It’s the definition of insanity.) Here’s a radical but eminently logical proposal to finally stop the kind of school shooting that just killed 17 innocent people in Parkland, FL.:  Vote Republican!

I know, I know, you think Republicans are the problem.  Heck, they’re the NRA party, right? How can they possibly fix this?  Bear with me and I’ll explain...   

Democrats have had filibuster proof majority control of the federal government sixteen times since WWII.  That’s sixteen years where they held the Presidency, the House, and had at least sixty votes in the Senate.  Republicans have NEVER had anything close to sixty votes in the Senate since WWII.  Without a sixty-vote margin in the Senate, there is no real “control” of the legislative agenda.

The last time Democrats had sixty votes was way, way, back during... the Obama administration.  They could have done anything they wanted on guns a few years ago!  So what did they do?  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.

To understand why Democrats did not fix the “gun” problem and Republicans absolutely will, it is instructive to know who their respective voters are:  

The Democrat voting coalition is made-up largely of groups who are on some level dependent on the federal government.  Among them are the poor, the oligarchs, union members, government employees, social liberals, and single parent families. They are all vulnerable and look to the federal government for their financial, physical, or social security.

The Republican voting coalition is largely made-up of individuals who do not want to be dependent on the federal government.  They largely seek independence and look to the federal government only for the basics as laid out in the constitution.  Among these voters are the religious, much of the middle class, small and mid-sized business people, social conservatives, and nuclear families.

For Democrats to succeed, they need vulnerable, dependent, insecure voters in large numbers to keep them in power.  For Republicans to succeed, they need contented, independent, secure voters to keep them in power.  This is just axiomatic. 

Now who do you suppose wants you to live in fear of someone getting into your school and killing your kids?  Could that be why Democrats did nothing when they had the power sixteen times since WWII? Could that be why an NRA supported bill since 2007 that would have prevented dangerous homicidal maniacs from obtaining guns has never been passed?  Could that be why every time there is legislation to screen these people, Democrats insert a poison pill amendment to kill it? 

Give Republicans the kind of power they’ve never had, and which Democrats have had sixteen times since WWII.  Vote Republican.  Give them the Presidency, the House, and over sixty votes in the Senate for the first time since WWII and this problem gets fixed pronto (along with many others).  Or, keep voting Democrat and watch more kids die.  Your choice. 

From Hot Air 2/28/18:

WaPo: Why Are Senate Dems Torpedoing Their Own Gun Bill?

As predicted, Democrats are killing their own "Fix NICS" bill!  They have no interest in fixing the problem because they are Democrats, and to keep power they need as many insecure, dependent, and helpless people as possible.  Fixing things is anathema to their mission.   



Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Useful Idiots, Revisited

Now that we know the American Left fell for the Russian disinformation campaign hook, line, and sinker, it's time to revisit the video below.   Apparently, cable news nets like MSNBC and CNN promoted Russian led protests against Donald Trump, and Leftist agitators like Michael Moore actively participated.  Vladimir Lenin and his comrades had a term for western Leftists who wittingly and unwittingly aided the Soviet Communists: they called them "useful idiots".

ICYMI, here's my Obama era version of this phenomenon: 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Drug Reactions and Mass Shootings [UPDATED]

Here we are again mourning the loss of innocents gunned-down by a crazed gunman.  And yet again the focus is on guns.  But what is often lost in the political fog of war is the fact that we've had guns and the second amendment for a long time, yet we never had these mass shootings by crazed gunmen until the advent of mass marketed psychotropic drugs.

We don't know enough after two days to connect the dots in this recent school shooting case.  Heck, we still don't know anything about the Las Vegas shooter and it's been almost half a year!

But right after the Vegas shooting I read the most amazing account of psychotropic drugs by author John Ringo.  His personal experience with psychotropic drug reactions is frightening. His otherwise sweet wife goes full violent psycho after taking these drugs for a short time!  Read the whole thing, but here is a taste:
Miriam [my wife] is a 'limited case pharmacological phenotype.' What does that mean? You know where on the warning label it says: 'in rare cases may cause you to grow two heads and fly to the moon'? Miriam is 'rare cases.' Every single time she tries a new prescription drug (fill in reason here) she is 'rare cases.'
This involves the 'in rare cases' effect of a drug called Cymbalta. Notably, as Cymbalta NOW states 'in rare cases may cause homicidal or suicidal psychotic break. Should not be prescribed to teenagers.' (Because it turns out in MOST cases WILL cause psychotic break in teenagers.) 
We don't know at this time if either shooter was on any of these drugs, and unfortunately our HIPAA privacy laws make it impossible to obtain medical records and do accurate research on this subject, even after a shooter is dead!  This must change.    

Here's an article from 2013 correlating SSRIs and other psychotropics with just about every mass shooting up to that point.  Amazing.

Here's the list from that article:

  • Eric Harris age 17 (first on Zoloft then Luvox) and Dylan Klebold aged 18 (Columbine school shooting in Littleton, Colorado), killed 12 students and 1 teacher, and wounded 23 others, before killing themselves. Klebold's medical records have never been made available to the public.
  • Jeff Weise, age 16, had been prescribed 60 mg/day of Prozac (three times the average starting dose for adults!) when he shot his grandfather, his grandfather's girlfriend and many fellow students at Red Lake, Minnesota. He then shot himself. 10 dead, 12 wounded.
  • Cory Baadsgaard, age 16, Wahluke (Washington state) High School, was on Paxil (which caused him to have hallucinations) when he took a rifle to his high school and held 23 classmates hostage. He has no memory of the event.
  • Chris Fetters, age 13, killed his favorite aunt while taking Prozac.
  • Christopher Pittman, age 12, murdered both his grandparents while taking Zoloft.
  • Mathew Miller, age 13, hung himself in his bedroom closet after taking Zoloft for 6 days.
  • Kip Kinkel, age 15, (on Prozac and Ritalin) shot his parents while they slept then went to school and opened fire killing 2 classmates and injuring 22 shortly after beginning Prozac treatment.
  • Luke Woodham, age 16 (Prozac) killed his mother and then killed two students, wounding six others.
  • A boy in Pocatello, ID (Zoloft) in 1998 had a Zoloft-induced seizure that caused an armed stand off at his school.
  • Michael Carneal (Ritalin), age 14, opened fire on students at a high school prayer meeting in West Paducah, Kentucky. Three teenagers were killed, five others were wounded..
  • A young man in Huntsville, Alabama (Ritalin) went psychotic chopping up his parents with an ax and also killing one sibling and almost murdering another.
  • Andrew Golden, age 11, (Ritalin) and Mitchell Johnson, aged 14, (Ritalin) shot 15 people, killing four students, one teacher, and wounding 10 others.
  • TJ Solomon, age 15, (Ritalin) high school student in Conyers, Georgia opened fire on and wounded six of his class mates.
  • Rod Mathews, age 14, (Ritalin) beat a classmate to death with a bat.
  • James Wilson, age 19, (various psychiatric drugs) from Breenwood, South Carolina, took a .22 caliber revolver into an elementary school killing two young girls, and wounding seven other children and two teachers.
  • Elizabeth Bush, age 13, (Paxil) was responsible for a school shooting in Pennsylvania
  • Jason Hoffman (Effexor and Celexa) – school shooting in El Cajon, California
  • Jarred Viktor, age 15, (Paxil), after five days on Paxil he stabbed his grandmother 61 times.
  • Chris Shanahan, age 15 (Paxil) in Rigby, ID who out of the blue killed a woman.
  • Jeff Franklin (Prozac and Ritalin), Huntsville, AL, killed his parents as they came home from work using a sledge hammer, hatchet, butcher knife and mechanic's file, then attacked his younger brothers and sister.
  • Neal Furrow (Prozac) in LA Jewish school shooting reported to have been court-ordered to be on Prozac along with several other medications.
  • Kevin Rider, age 14, was withdrawing from Prozac when he died from a gunshot wound to his head. Initially it was ruled a suicide, but two years later, the investigation into his death was opened as a possible homicide. The prime suspect, also age 14, had been taking Zoloft and other SSRI antidepressants.
  • Alex Kim, age 13, hung himself shortly after his Lexapro prescription had been doubled.
  • Diane Routhier was prescribed Welbutrin for gallstone problems. Six days later, after suffering many adverse effects of the drug, she shot herself.
  • Billy Willkomm, an accomplished wrestler and a University of Florida student, was prescribed Prozac at the age of 17. His family found him dead of suicide – hanging from a tall ladder at the family's Gulf Shore Boulevard home in July 2002.
  • Kara Jaye Anne Fuller-Otter, age 12, was on Paxil when she hung herself from a hook in her closet. Kara's parents said “…. the damn doctor wouldn't take her off it and I asked him to when we went in on the second visit. I told him I thought she was having some sort of reaction to Paxil…”)
  • Gareth Christian, Vancouver, age 18, was on Paxil when he committed suicide in 2002,
  • (Gareth's father could not accept his son's death and killed himself.)
  • Julie Woodward, age 17, was on Zoloft when she hung herself in her family's detached garage.
  • Matthew Miller was 13 when he saw a psychiatrist because he was having difficulty at school. The psychiatrist gave him samples of Zoloft. Seven days later his mother found him dead, hanging by a belt from a laundry hook in his closet.
  • Kurt Danysh, age 18, and on Prozac, killed his father with a shotgun. He is now behind prison bars, and writes letters, trying to warn the world that SSRI drugs can kill.
  • Woody ____, age 37, committed suicide while in his 5th week of taking Zoloft. Shortly before his death his physician suggested doubling the dose of the drug. He had seen his physician only for insomnia. He had never been depressed, nor did he have any history of any mental illness symptoms.
  • A boy from Houston, age 10, shot and killed his father after his Prozac dosage was increased.
  • Hammad Memon, age 15, shot and killed a fellow middle school student. He had been diagnosed with ADHD and depression and was taking Zoloft and “other drugs for the conditions.”
  • Matti Saari, a 22-year-old culinary student, shot and killed 9 students and a teacher, and wounded another student, before killing himself. Saari was taking an SSRI and a benzodiazapine.
  • Steven Kazmierczak, age 27, shot and killed five people and wounded 21 others before killing himself in a Northern Illinois University auditorium. According to his girlfriend, he had recently been taking Prozac, Xanax and Ambien. Toxicology results showed that he still had trace amounts of Xanax in his system.
  • Finnish gunman Pekka-Eric Auvinen, age 18, had been taking antidepressants before he killed eight people and wounded a dozen more at Jokela High School – then he committed suicide.
  • Asa Coon from Cleveland, age 14, shot and wounded four before taking his own life. Court records show Coon was on Trazodone.
  • Jon Romano, age 16, on medication for depression, fired a shotgun at a teacher in his New York high school.

Missing from list… 3 of 4 known to have taken these same meds….

  • What drugs was Jared Lee Loughner on, age 21…… killed 6 people and injuring 14 others in Tuscon, Az
  • What drugs was James Eagan Holmes on, age 24….. killed 12 people and injuring 59 others in Aurora Colorado
  • What drugs was Jacob Tyler Roberts on, age 22, killed 2 injured 1, Clackamas Or
  • What drugs was Adam Peter Lanza on, age 20, Killed 26 and wounded 2 in Newtown Ct
And here's another piece worth reading with some interesting takes on the Florida school shooting and another list of previous murderers and their drug intake:  Media ignoring 1 crucial factor in Florida school shooting 

Monday, January 29, 2018

Hollywood Gets the Story Wrong - Again

You would think people who tell stories for a living would be able to tell truth from fiction.  You would be wrong. A good case in point is the Sundance Film Festival which just wrapped-up in Park City, Utah. 

As is now expected in the age of Trump, there was an anti-Trump rally down Main Street protesting against sexual abuse, Trump, fascism, fascist Trump, and Trumpist fascism.  Speakers included Jane Fonda, Lena Waithe, Tessa Thompson, & Gloria Allred, who led the crowd in a chant of "Resist, insist, persist, insist, and elect".

Hollywood, and the arts community in general, support the Democrat party with near exclusivity, and they hate Donald Trump with white hot passion and call him "fascist". Yet, it is under Democrats that the heavy hand of government interferes most with the work of people exercising their right of free speech. Richard Nixon may have contemplated using the IRS to go after his enemies, but he never did it, and could not have gotten away with it.  Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama not only did it, but they got away with it. To this day no one holds them accountable - not the media, not the public, not academia, and certainly not Hollywood.   

To keep the flame of truth at least on pilot, below is a partial list of filmmakers, the very people celebrated at Sundance, who were jailed, persecuted, audited, and harassed under Barack Obama for political purposes:    

Dinesh D'Souza:  There is mounting evidence that Dinesh D'Souza was specifically targeted by Barack Obama.  He was basically imprisoned for a minor campaign finance violation, giving $20,000 to an old college friend while the legal limit was $5,400. More importantly though, he made a couple of anti-Obama films in 2012 and 2013.  As a result of the ostensible campaign finance violation, he was confined for eight months, put on five months probation, and forced to undergo psychological counseling.

Mr. D'Souza was the first person in the history of campaign finance law ever to be confined for an offense such as this.   

Here's what liberal Harvard legal scholar Alan Dershowitz said about his conviction and sentence:  
“The idea of charging him with a felony for this doesn’t sound like a proper exercise of prosecutorial discretion.... I can’t help but think that [D'Souza's] politics have something to do with it.... It smacks of selective prosecution.” He went on to say such alleged campaign violations are common in politics.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was put in prison for a year as punishment for making the YouTube video famously blamed by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya.  There's only one problem: the video had nothing to do with the attack in Benghazi.

Hillary Clinton promised the grieving families of those killed that she would imprison Mr. Nakoula despite that pesky thing known as our first amendment right to free speech.  And Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both knew the video was not responsible. Secretary Clinton emailed her daughter, Chelsea, right after the attack saying that the attack was an al Qaeda-like terrorist operation.  Another email, to the Libyan President,  confirmed that this was her official understanding of the events in Benghazi.  Yet publicly, and even to the families of those who died, she and Obama blamed Nakoula. 

The sad and tragic reality is that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama jailed a filmmaker for a year to cover for their failure to provide the necessary security in Benghazi, to add legitimacy to their lie about the attack being about a video, to maintain the fiction that they had defeated terrorism, and to deceive the American people before an election.
David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt:  These people were behind the Planned Parenthood undercover videos made by The Center for Medical Progress.  Barack Obama himself made a point to single them out.  As part of their cover they used fake IDs that somehow became a pretense for felony charges, a raid on Daleiden's home, and seizures of his property.
“To storm into a private citizen’s home with a search warrant is outrageously out of proportion for the type of crime alleged,” said Matt Heffron a former federal prosecutor who is now Daleiden’s legal adviser. “It’s a discredit to law enforcement, an oppressive abuse of government power.”
Recently, all charges in Texas were dropped against Daleiden.  But the damage was done, his funding was depleted, and CMP was sidelined.  Ultimately, the harassment was a success from the Democrat standpoint.

Joel Gilbert:  Mr. Gilbert made an anti-Obama film called "Dreams From My Real Father".  It drew the ire of Democrats on the Federal Election Commission (FEC) who voted unanimously to punish Mr. Gilbert.  When Republicans stood firm and pointed out that liberal filmmakers such as Michael Moore were not similarly harassed, the punishment was eventually blocked.  Were it not for the split FEC, Mr. Gilbert would have been sanctioned simply for making a movie critical of Barack Obama.

James O'Keefe, Joseph Basel, Robert Flanagan, and Stan Dai: These people were part of James O'Keefe's undercover video organization, Project Veritas, the organization that single-handedly took down one of Obama's favorite community organizer activist groups, ACORN. They went on to investigate Democrat Senator Mary Landrieu and ran afoul of the FBI while trying to make a film about her. They eventually settled for misdemeanor charges and accepted probation, fines, and community service.

O'keefe has also been harassed by Obama's DHS for making films about the open Mexican border, and was just blocked by Twitter for releasing videos critical of Democrats and Hillary Clinton.

Logan Clements: Mr. Clements made a movie called "Sick and Sicker...", an unflattering portrayal of Obamacare.  For his disloyalty he was handed his first ever IRS audit.   

Breitbart News:  Breitbart News also earned their first IRS audit.   Breitbart is a multi-media internet megaphone that is foursquare opposed to Clinton and Obama's policies.  In this election cycle they are all-in with Donald Trump.  (Also, see David Bossie below who contributes occasionally to Breitbart.) 

Glenn Beck, Pat Grey, and Scott Baker:  Glenn Beck and his Blaze Network don't just make videos, they have an entire broadcast network, publish books, run a website, and do talk radio,  all of which oppose Clinton and Obama policies.  So yeah, these guys all got their first IRS audits .  But that's not all.  Glenn Beck's top sponsor, GoldLine, was targeted by Democrats, specifically congressman Anthony Weiner, husband of Hillary's right hand person Huma Abedin, and a known political hit-man for Democrats and Obama.  Weiner resigned his House seat in scandal, but his (ex?) wife will play a major role in a possible Clinton administration.

David Bossie and James Bopp:  These men were behind the Citizens United SCOTUS case. David Bossie runs CU and James Bopp was the lawyer who defended the first amendment. The case centered around CU's right to make and show a film, in this case an unflattering portrait of Hillary Clinton. They won the case at the SCUTUS, but ran afoul of Obama and the entire Left who believe the first amendment only applies to Michael Moore and The New York Times. Hence, in front of the entire world, during a state of the union address, Barack Obama publicly berated the justices who upheld the first amendment rights of filmmakers, thus sending a message to justices, filmmakers, and supporters of people who make films: oppose me and I will use the Bully Pulpit to bully you.

Fox News:  No list like this would be complete without mentioning Obama's number one target in the media and film world.  Fox has been singled-out and harassed personally by Barack Obama on numerous occasions.  These attacks send a clear and chilling message to sponsors:  Advertise on Fox and you will be the target of restrictive regulations, IRS audits, and federal harassment.  Some sponsors were targeted by congress.  Among them was Gold Line, a sponsor of many Fox shows targeted by none other than Obama attack dog, congressman Anthony Weiner.

Trump talks about "fake news", mentions specific outlets like CNN and the NYT, but takes no action against them.  That's how free speech is supposed to work.  Obama and Hillary took action and weaponized the federal the government against their critics.  By most definitions, that is the very essence of fascism.

Perhaps someone in Hollywood could make a movie about that?  I won't hold my breath... 

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Obama & Farrakhan - Perfect Together

"The job of the media when covering Democrats is to hide the truth.  The job of the media when covering Republicans is to spread lies." - 

Today's example of this is the above photo of Barack Obama grinning from ear-to-ear with anti-semite, racist, radical Muslim, Louis Farrakhan. The photo was kept secret throughout Obama's two campaigns and terms as President:  (from: TPM)     

The photographer, Askia Muhammad, told the Trice Edney News Wire that he “gave the picture up at the time and basically swore secrecy.” 
“But after the nomination was secured and all the way up until the inauguration; then for eight years after he was President, it was kept under cover,” Muhammad said. 
Asked whether he thought the photo’s release would have affected Obama’s presidential campaign, Muhammad said, “I insist. It absolutely would have made a difference.”

This allows me to repost this thought from the time President Barack Obama came out in favor of building a mega-Mosque at the site of the 9/11 Islamic terror attack in NY:

Now that President Obama has come out in favor of the mega-mosque at ground zero , it opens up an opportunity to combine some of the Prez's most important priorities into one neat solution! 
Recall that the head of NASA, Charles Bolden,  revealed to Al Jazeera that Prez Obama has directed NASA to make it's "Primary Mission"... outreach to Muslims!  Not exploring space, not doing science, not helping our military.  No, the primary mission of NASA is helping Muslims!  
Recall also that Louis Farrakhan and his Nation of Islam (Obama is a supporter and ally) believe that there is a spaceship called the  "Mother Wheel" which orbits the planet and...well, nevermind.  
So let's see, we need a giant place for Muslims to worship, check, we have the full resources of NASA, check, and there is already a Mother Wheel circling the planet, check mate.  Hmmm, I love it when a plan comes together!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Of Tax Cuts and Swimming Pools

Wow, Democrats really don't like the tax cuts! They've referred to them as apocalyptic, tragic, deadly, and the end of the world. Only the rich will benefit, they say.  The poor and middle class will get "crumbs", opined Nancy Pelosi. A "deception", wined Chuck Schumer.  Of particular concern to Democrats is the drop in business income taxes which they say will only help "corporations".  Not a single Democrat voted for the bill.

And yet since the bill passed, 81 prominent corporations have already announced significant wage increases and bonuses for their employees, the latest being the nation's largest retailer, Wal-Mart.  Add to that  all the small and medium sized employers who are doing the same, and this looks like a windfall for the American worker.   Moreover, overseas profits are flooding back, companies are abandoning "inversions" opting to remain here, foreign companies are planning to increase their U.S. footprints, capital expenditures are predicted to skyrocket, and the stock market is soaring.   

So why are Democrats still criticizing something that has been so effective in such a short time?  Aside from the usual political posturing, Democrats, along with a few Republicans,  have a fundamental misunderstanding of basic economics.  Contrary to popular belief, BUSINESSES DON'T PAY TAXES.  Period.  

I know it's confusing because businesses do COLLECT taxes, and REMIT taxes, but the business is only a pass-through entity in this transaction.  The money comes from the PEOPLE.  In fact, all taxes are paid by people.  In the case of business taxes, those people are the employees, customers, owners, and vendors of the business. 

Here's a helpful analogy:  Picture the economy as a giant swimming pool filled with people trying to escape the oppressive heat of a hot summer's day. 

Feeding cool water into the pool are businesses, and draining water out of the pool are taxes.  New water does not pile up  - it flows throughout the pool and always helps those at the shallow end most profoundly.  Conversely, the opposite occurs when the level drops.     

This is a precise, though simplified, version of an actual economy, and it illuminates a few important concepts and misunderstandings: 

A tax on business is a direct drain on the flow of water into the pool.  That water never enters the pool.  Some tax money is recirculated back to the pool, but due to inefficiencies it is always a net drain. When a tax is reduced, there is an immediate increase in the level of water in the pool which is, again, felt most profoundly at the shallow end.

If you haven't figured it out yet, water = VALUE.  The shallow end is where the economically vulnerable are and the deep end is where the economically secure are.  Most people are somewhere in the middle.

Democrats always scream, "tax cuts for the rich!", but the swimming pool analogy disproves that assertion - you cannot add or remove water from only one end of a pool.  Everyone is swimming around in the same vat of value and the only thing that distinguishes one person from another is the amount of value they are floating in, or in some cases wading in.

In the real world when a business pays taxes they take a number of offsetting actions - prices go up for their customers, wages go down for their employees, and vendors are squeezed.  Globally, their competition gets an advantage.  All this does is lower the level in the pool.

When a rich person has their taxes increased they take similar actions.  They spend less, they invest less, they work less, and they produce less.  All this does is lower the level in the pool.

Tax cuts do the opposite.  And tax cuts on business are the most direct because it is essentially new value flowing into the pool.

Democrats weren't always clueless about this.  JFK understood this and spoke of a rising tide lifting all boats.  He cut taxes.  Some Democrats voted for both Reagan's tax cuts and George W Bush's.  But today's Democrats are completely oblivious.  Sad!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

What Exactly Is a "Shithole Country"?

Today's episode of exploding heads has to do with Donald Trump labeling certain countries, "shithole countries".   So, what does that mean?

Donald Trump is a famously guileless person - he speaks his mind.  And the mind he speaks relies on the colorful patois of the common man.  Don Jr. accurately calls his dad a "blue collar billionaire".   

With that background, we can safely assume that the President was referring to countries where people routinely defecate in holes.  The only question remaining is, does that apply to Haiti and some African Countries?  

According to the World Bank, under 30% of Haitians have improved sanitation facilities.  It's worse in many African countries with some around 10% and only the highest hitting 30%.  Over 70% of these people actually shit in a hole!  

Meanwhile, 100% of the population in the U.S. has access to improved sanitation according to the same study.  Donald Trump's own sanitation is so improved it's apocryphally gold plated.  Is anyone surprised that a man imagined to sit on a golden toilet is concerned about an invasion of folks who poop in pits?  

So, what Donald Trump said is factually accurate.  It's provable.  It may be blunt, crude, and offensive to those who want to see racism everywhere, but it's undeniable.  It's science.   

If your head is still exploding, then you, my friend, are a science denier.