Day: October 10, 2017

Things I Say that Make Some Conservatives Nervous


As a Christian black conservative political activist, I traveled all over America for several years working to elect conservatives in House and Senate races. Fellow conservatives always got nervous when I wrote articles about cultural issues. 

While campaigning for a Republican candidate in Wisconsin, I met a little old lady who was extremely passionate about abortion. She sounded the alarm that over thousands of babies are killed every day in America via abortion. Some of my colleagues called her the wacko abortion lady. Addressing or talking about cultural issues was not cool.

Remember those shocking undercover videos exposing that Planned Parenthood was illegally running a dead baby chop-shop selling body parts? A senior PP executive was caught on video laughing about how she wanted to buy a Lamborghini. The executive asked surgeons, if possible, to keep the baby intact during the abortion because intact babies and intact baby heads sell at premium prices.

When my wife Mary posted the videos on Facebook revealing the horrors hidden behind the walls of Planned Parenthood, she was verbally attacked by young girls. Mary was sad reading the girls’ comments. They angrily defended PP while expressing their cold hardhearted attitudes about killing innocent babies. And yet, these same girls would be outraged and demand prosecution of anyone caught harming a puppy. This is the dire consequence of allowing Leftists to instill their war on the unborn and war on our culture into our kids.

Writing articles about how homosexual activists are bullying everyone into submission was another cultural issue that made my conservative homeys uncomfortable. “We love you Lloyd, but please don’t go there. Leftists will brand you an extremist hater. We might have to dissociate ourselves from you.” Shamefully, I wimped out and backed off the issue.

But as hard as I tried, I could not stay silent. I had to sound the alarm about homosexual activists targeting Christian businesses for destruction. Christians Aaron and Melissa Klein owned a small bakery titled, Sweet Cakes by Melissa. They had been gladly serving their lesbian customer for years. But when the lesbian asked them to bake the wedding cake for her marriage to a woman, the Kleins respectfully declined. The Kleins said they would be happy to bake her a cake, but not a wedding cake because it goes against their religious convictions.

Why didn’t the lesbian respect the Klein’s religion and simply have her cake baked by the ga-zillion bakers out there willing to do so? But no, the full weight, anger and aggression of the American Left descended upon the Kleins, forcing them out of business. The Kleins are a young couple with five kids. The Kleins were court ordered to pay the lesbian couple $135,000 in damages. The supposed damages included absurd claims such as the Kleins caused the lesbian couple to smoke and gain weight.

Now get this folks: Christians across America started an online funding page to pay the Kleins’ $135,000 fine. Leftist activists forced the website hosting the fundraiser to close down the Klein’s page. Clearly, Leftists’ attack on the Kleins was not about taking care of the lesbian couple. The $135,000 fine was about punishing the Kleins and driving them out of business, winning another battle in the culture war. Leftists wanted to send the message to Christians that if they choose to stand up for their God rather than kneel in worship to the god of liberalism they will be destroyed.

Ask yourself: why do Leftist activists never approach Muslim businesses to provide cakes, flowers and so on for homosexual weddings? Islam calls for the beheading of homosexuals. And yet, Leftists demand that we respect Islam while they relentlessly attack Christians. Obviously, Leftists have a serious bug up their derrieres against Christianity.

I wanted to organize a rally in support of the Kleins. Again, conservatives were fearful, “Don’t do that Lloyd. Mainstream media will brand your rally a hate event.”

I realize this quote by Edmond Burke is overused, but it is so true. “All that is needed for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing.”

Trump scored a huge victory in the culture war by appointing Betsy DeVos Secretary of Education. For decades, Leftists have demanded and enjoyed total access to our kids to mold and shape them into their anti-God and anti-American image. DeVos is all about restoring parental rights in choosing schools for their kids. Leftists are literally out of their minds with rage against DeVos.

In my travels across America, I could easily identify home-schooled kids. They were calmer, brighter, smarter, happy and they looked me in the eye. Leftists are relentlessly seeking to make homeschooling illegal.

In silence, we witness America’s cultural rot every day. Most Americans are afraid to speak publicly about it. The late Mary Kay Ash said the “Speed of the leader is the speed of the gang.” Trump’s leadership, throwing his hat into the culture war is a powerful step in the right direction. I hope that more Americans will feel emboldened to stand up to Leftist bullies in defense of God, family and country.

Lloyd Marcus, The Unhyphenated American; Author: “Confessions of a Black Conservative: How the Left has shattered the dreams of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Black America”; Singer/Songwriter and Conservative Activist

As a Christian black conservative political activist, I traveled all over America for several years working to elect conservatives in House and Senate races. Fellow conservatives always got nervous when I wrote articles about cultural issues. 

While campaigning for a Republican candidate in Wisconsin, I met a little old lady who was extremely passionate about abortion. She sounded the alarm that over thousands of babies are killed every day in America via abortion. Some of my colleagues called her the wacko abortion lady. Addressing or talking about cultural issues was not cool.

Remember those shocking undercover videos exposing that Planned Parenthood was illegally running a dead baby chop-shop selling body parts? A senior PP executive was caught on video laughing about how she wanted to buy a Lamborghini. The executive asked surgeons, if possible, to keep the baby intact during the abortion because intact babies and intact baby heads sell at premium prices.

When my wife Mary posted the videos on Facebook revealing the horrors hidden behind the walls of Planned Parenthood, she was verbally attacked by young girls. Mary was sad reading the girls’ comments. They angrily defended PP while expressing their cold hardhearted attitudes about killing innocent babies. And yet, these same girls would be outraged and demand prosecution of anyone caught harming a puppy. This is the dire consequence of allowing Leftists to instill their war on the unborn and war on our culture into our kids.

Writing articles about how homosexual activists are bullying everyone into submission was another cultural issue that made my conservative homeys uncomfortable. “We love you Lloyd, but please don’t go there. Leftists will brand you an extremist hater. We might have to dissociate ourselves from you.” Shamefully, I wimped out and backed off the issue.

But as hard as I tried, I could not stay silent. I had to sound the alarm about homosexual activists targeting Christian businesses for destruction. Christians Aaron and Melissa Klein owned a small bakery titled, Sweet Cakes by Melissa. They had been gladly serving their lesbian customer for years. But when the lesbian asked them to bake the wedding cake for her marriage to a woman, the Kleins respectfully declined. The Kleins said they would be happy to bake her a cake, but not a wedding cake because it goes against their religious convictions.

Why didn’t the lesbian respect the Klein’s religion and simply have her cake baked by the ga-zillion bakers out there willing to do so? But no, the full weight, anger and aggression of the American Left descended upon the Kleins, forcing them out of business. The Kleins are a young couple with five kids. The Kleins were court ordered to pay the lesbian couple $135,000 in damages. The supposed damages included absurd claims such as the Kleins caused the lesbian couple to smoke and gain weight.

Now get this folks: Christians across America started an online funding page to pay the Kleins’ $135,000 fine. Leftist activists forced the website hosting the fundraiser to close down the Klein’s page. Clearly, Leftists’ attack on the Kleins was not about taking care of the lesbian couple. The $135,000 fine was about punishing the Kleins and driving them out of business, winning another battle in the culture war. Leftists wanted to send the message to Christians that if they choose to stand up for their God rather than kneel in worship to the god of liberalism they will be destroyed.

Ask yourself: why do Leftist activists never approach Muslim businesses to provide cakes, flowers and so on for homosexual weddings? Islam calls for the beheading of homosexuals. And yet, Leftists demand that we respect Islam while they relentlessly attack Christians. Obviously, Leftists have a serious bug up their derrieres against Christianity.

I wanted to organize a rally in support of the Kleins. Again, conservatives were fearful, “Don’t do that Lloyd. Mainstream media will brand your rally a hate event.”

I realize this quote by Edmond Burke is overused, but it is so true. “All that is needed for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing.”

Trump scored a huge victory in the culture war by appointing Betsy DeVos Secretary of Education. For decades, Leftists have demanded and enjoyed total access to our kids to mold and shape them into their anti-God and anti-American image. DeVos is all about restoring parental rights in choosing schools for their kids. Leftists are literally out of their minds with rage against DeVos.

In my travels across America, I could easily identify home-schooled kids. They were calmer, brighter, smarter, happy and they looked me in the eye. Leftists are relentlessly seeking to make homeschooling illegal.

In silence, we witness America’s cultural rot every day. Most Americans are afraid to speak publicly about it. The late Mary Kay Ash said the “Speed of the leader is the speed of the gang.” Trump’s leadership, throwing his hat into the culture war is a powerful step in the right direction. I hope that more Americans will feel emboldened to stand up to Leftist bullies in defense of God, family and country.

Lloyd Marcus, The Unhyphenated American; Author: “Confessions of a Black Conservative: How the Left has shattered the dreams of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Black America”; Singer/Songwriter and Conservative Activist



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You Won't Believe These Income Tax Facts!


They tell me that our wise leaders are presently working on a tax reform or cut, or something. So I thought I’d add a new Income Tax Analysis page to my usgovernmentrevenue.com site. The page has a chart showing the federal individual income tax and the corporate income tax going back to 1913. This is what it looks like, as percent of GDP, with individual in blue and corporate in red.

Do you see what I see? In the early days about half of the income tax was collected from corporations, but over the years the corporations have managed to keep reducing their share of the tax. Thanks, Congress. But then the game stopped, for the Reagan tax cuts of the 1980s kept the corporate share to 20 percent of the total take. Let’s take a look at that:

And it’s the same thing with the state income taxes. Yay lobbyists!

On the other hand, if you go back to the first chart, there seems to be a ceiling on the individual income tax. Whenever it gets above 8 percent of GDP then Congress comes in and cuts it. So that’s all right.

But here’s another thing. Given the sky-high tax rates, it’s amazing how little the taxes rise. Total personal income in the U.S. is $16 trillion, and the top rate is just under 40 percent; yet the personal income tax at $1.9 trillion in 2016 raises 12 percent of total personal income. Total corporate profits are $2.2 trillion, but the corporate income tax raises $300 billion a year, or 14 percent of profits, despite the fact that corporate profits are taxed at 35 percent.

What is going on? You know as well as I do. A low tax rate that applies to all provides no opportunity for graft. It’s much better for the politicians to set high rates and then charge a fee to lobbyists and interest groups that want a special exemption.

Obviously, the corporations have done a number on the corporate income tax. When the feds yanked the corporate income tax take from about 1 to 1.5 percent of GDP in the 1920s and 1930s to the 5 percent of GDP that obtained in the mid-1950s, the CEOs and their lobbyists went to work, and slowly reduced the federal bite down to the present 1.5 to 2.0 percent of GDP. You have to admire their slow persistence.

But enough about the real world: what about an ideal world where the arc of history has bent away from brutal leftist tax-everything-that-moves injustice towards the gentle and kindly world of the bourgeois citizen? In that world, people wouldn’t be grabbing the exemptions and deductions for themselves and screwing the rest; they would say that the individual income tax should be the same for all, and if everyone paid their fair share, the income tax rate could be 12 percent. The same would go for corporations.

Okay, why stop there? In my ideal world we would only collect income tax during wars, because the Fourth Amendment and unreasonable search and seizure. Yes, and pensions and health care would be privatized and the poor relieved by billionaires out of their pride and ordinary people out of their own charitable kindness.

Now back to the real world and what I miss about the Trump presidency. I loved that back in the Reagan-era Ronnie and Maggie were banging their Constitution of Liberty on the table and saying “this is what we believe.” Crazy kids like Art Laffer and Jude Wanniski were running around infuriating liberals and making the argument for smaller government. Today I am not hearing a principled argument for repealing ObamaCare; I am not hearing a principled argument about reducing taxes. Instead it is just a question of the votes in Congress: will the wimps have the guts to vote for what they promised?

I understand why. Back in the 80s we thought we were setting a new direction towards smaller, limited government. We thought that the example of the successful Reagan boom would convert hearts and minds. We were wrong.

And another thing. Today in America we are doing hurricane relief, trying to help the folks whose lives have been wrecked by a century of class, gender, and race politics. I am thinking of everyone from the white working class to middle-aged cat ladies and the African Americans angried up by Obama. You don’t lecture those folks on the wonders of individual responsibility and the price system. You just do what you can to help them. That is what Trump was elected to do, and that is what he is doing, with 906,000 new jobs in September.

Wow! A million jobs here and a million jobs there: pretty soon the Obama years will just be a sad memory.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also get his American Manifesto and his Road to the Middle Class.

They tell me that our wise leaders are presently working on a tax reform or cut, or something. So I thought I’d add a new Income Tax Analysis page to my usgovernmentrevenue.com site. The page has a chart showing the federal individual income tax and the corporate income tax going back to 1913. This is what it looks like, as percent of GDP, with individual in blue and corporate in red.

Do you see what I see? In the early days about half of the income tax was collected from corporations, but over the years the corporations have managed to keep reducing their share of the tax. Thanks, Congress. But then the game stopped, for the Reagan tax cuts of the 1980s kept the corporate share to 20 percent of the total take. Let’s take a look at that:

And it’s the same thing with the state income taxes. Yay lobbyists!

On the other hand, if you go back to the first chart, there seems to be a ceiling on the individual income tax. Whenever it gets above 8 percent of GDP then Congress comes in and cuts it. So that’s all right.

But here’s another thing. Given the sky-high tax rates, it’s amazing how little the taxes rise. Total personal income in the U.S. is $16 trillion, and the top rate is just under 40 percent; yet the personal income tax at $1.9 trillion in 2016 raises 12 percent of total personal income. Total corporate profits are $2.2 trillion, but the corporate income tax raises $300 billion a year, or 14 percent of profits, despite the fact that corporate profits are taxed at 35 percent.

What is going on? You know as well as I do. A low tax rate that applies to all provides no opportunity for graft. It’s much better for the politicians to set high rates and then charge a fee to lobbyists and interest groups that want a special exemption.

Obviously, the corporations have done a number on the corporate income tax. When the feds yanked the corporate income tax take from about 1 to 1.5 percent of GDP in the 1920s and 1930s to the 5 percent of GDP that obtained in the mid-1950s, the CEOs and their lobbyists went to work, and slowly reduced the federal bite down to the present 1.5 to 2.0 percent of GDP. You have to admire their slow persistence.

But enough about the real world: what about an ideal world where the arc of history has bent away from brutal leftist tax-everything-that-moves injustice towards the gentle and kindly world of the bourgeois citizen? In that world, people wouldn’t be grabbing the exemptions and deductions for themselves and screwing the rest; they would say that the individual income tax should be the same for all, and if everyone paid their fair share, the income tax rate could be 12 percent. The same would go for corporations.

Okay, why stop there? In my ideal world we would only collect income tax during wars, because the Fourth Amendment and unreasonable search and seizure. Yes, and pensions and health care would be privatized and the poor relieved by billionaires out of their pride and ordinary people out of their own charitable kindness.

Now back to the real world and what I miss about the Trump presidency. I loved that back in the Reagan-era Ronnie and Maggie were banging their Constitution of Liberty on the table and saying “this is what we believe.” Crazy kids like Art Laffer and Jude Wanniski were running around infuriating liberals and making the argument for smaller government. Today I am not hearing a principled argument for repealing ObamaCare; I am not hearing a principled argument about reducing taxes. Instead it is just a question of the votes in Congress: will the wimps have the guts to vote for what they promised?

I understand why. Back in the 80s we thought we were setting a new direction towards smaller, limited government. We thought that the example of the successful Reagan boom would convert hearts and minds. We were wrong.

And another thing. Today in America we are doing hurricane relief, trying to help the folks whose lives have been wrecked by a century of class, gender, and race politics. I am thinking of everyone from the white working class to middle-aged cat ladies and the African Americans angried up by Obama. You don’t lecture those folks on the wonders of individual responsibility and the price system. You just do what you can to help them. That is what Trump was elected to do, and that is what he is doing, with 906,000 new jobs in September.

Wow! A million jobs here and a million jobs there: pretty soon the Obama years will just be a sad memory.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also get his American Manifesto and his Road to the Middle Class.



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Hysterical Christian-Haters for Property Rights


A homosexual coffee shop owner with an angry mind, a foul mouth, and at least a few screws loose, has done Christian conservatives the favor of a lifetime, making the case for a businessman’s private property rights against the progressive oppression of anti-discrimination laws more eloquently — well, at least more bluntly — than any Christian business owner could make it.

A Seattle pro-life activist group that had been handing out pamphlets targeting homosexuals for repentance and “rebirth” decided to enjoy a break from their activities at the Bedlam coffee shop. It so happens the shop is owned by a homosexual man, who, when he caught wind of the group’s presence — they were not proselytizing, mind you, just drinking his coffee, thereby filling his coffers — confronted them…with exactly the kind of expletive-filled, sexually explicit, hysterical hissy-fit rant you’d expect from the stereotypical homosexual coffee shop owner who is hypersensitive about Christian critics of his “lifestyle.”

In short, he rudely and summarily kicked them off his premises. Now we all know that had the owner been the Christian in this story, and the activists the homosexuals, his actions would be plastered all over the mainstream media, Soros-backed communist protests would be exploiting this little nobody’s “hate speech” to increase social unrest and provoke violence, and his butt would be hauled into court faster than you can say “Hello sailor.” He would probably be bankrupted, his name and reputation soiled forever, his children humiliated by their teachers, and his entire family sentenced to community service cleaning the toilets at a homosexual nightclub.

But since the owner is the homosexual, and his patrons/victims Christians, the media will largely ignore the story, the communist agitators will say free speech does not extend to these customers’ intolerance of the LGBTXYZ community — Isn’t it strange how every favored special interest group is a “community”? Does anyone refer to the “white supremacist community”? — and the owner will be receiving letters of sympathy, congratulations, and moral support from all corners of the continental United States. The hypocrisy of the left is obvious, revolting, and displays an unsurprisingly complete lack of principle or honor.

But all that is irrelevant next to this: A man decided, for his own idiosyncratic reasons, that he didn’t want people of a certain kind on his premises — after all, it’s his place, and he didn’t think he should have to put up with opening it to people whose views he abhors — so he told them they were not welcome. Leaving aside the question of whether he owed them compensation for the drinks they had already paid for, this man made in essence the same decision you make every time you lock your door at night. You don’t want a certain kind of people, namely non-residents of the household, availing themselves of your property against your will, so you take active steps to prevent their entry.

This anti-Christian coffee shop case cuts to the basic issue of private property rights: Do you really own what the law calls “your property,” or do you not? If you really own it, then you should certainly have every right to deny access to it to anyone you please, for any reason you please. Placing moral conditions on people’s (peaceful, nonviolent) control over their own property is nothing less than a rejection of the very concept of private property, as it transforms genuine ownership of something into mere conditional permission to use it.

And if our so-called property is in fact just something we are conditionally permitted to use, then the logical question is, “Who really owns it?” Who, in other words, has the true authority to grant the permission and set the conditions for its use?

Socialists who live in a world of willowy abstractions will answer, “Society.” But rational people who look at what is concretely entailed by this conditional permission in practice will answer, “The government.”

If a man, assuming he is doing nothing with his property to abuse or violate other people, has been forced to cede authority over its use to government regulators — as he is forced to do by anti-discrimination laws — then he owns nothing. Property is a sham, a palliative illusion wielded by government to cushion the blow of a harsh reality, namely that the man lives entirely at the mercy and whim of the State. If the State decides it does not approve of the way he chooses to make his property accessible to others, he can be punished and his preferences overruled in the name of “non-discrimination.” (Apparently, discrimination against property owners per se falls outside the realm of self-righteous anti-discrimination sentiments.) 

“But a coffee shop is a place of business!” With regard to questions of discrimination and tolerance, we have all been trained to regard private businesses as a unique case, as though running a business were a public (governmental), rather than a private, endeavor. Think about this: If what you do with the majority of your waking hours, and the majority of your mental and physical energy, does not belong to you, simply because it involves the exchange of goods and services, then does this not imply that the entire “free market” — including the lives and labor of the people who participate in it — is a state-owned apparatus, i.e., that all activity related to producing, exchanging, and consuming belongs to the government?

And if the time and effort — which is to say, the life — a man spends on supporting himself through his labor and productive energy belong to the government, then in what meaningful sense can we say the man owns himself at all?

Offering goods I have produced, or services I have learned to provide, to other people in my community is a private choice, involving my private effort and personal investment. There ought to be nothing, in principle, to distinguish this from my private ownership of my home, with regard to my preferences regarding who should or shouldn’t be permitted entry to my premises, or to whom I should or shouldn’t render my services.

Note that I am talking about private choices, not discriminatory laws. There is no legitimacy in laws forbidding access to private businesses to certain kinds of law-abiding people, for exactly the same reason that there is no legitimacy in laws demanding access to private businesses for certain kinds of people. Discriminatory laws and anti-discrimination laws are, in this sense, just two sides of the same coin. They both ultimately entail government ownership of “private property.”

On the other hand, if a private man, including a small business owner, chooses to discriminate against certain people or kinds of people, then as long as his doing so involves no direct violations of those people’s rights, that is his business. Much as we may dislike his preference, there is nothing we can do about it, short of violating his property. And to be clear for those whose progressive education has left them at sea on the question of individual rights, there is no rights violation involved in being denied access to someone’s place of business through the owner’s private choice. No one can have a right to another man’s property (or to association with him), including his commercial property; hence, no right is violated by your being denied access to that other man’s property.

Do you support the baker who prefers not to bake cakes for homosexual weddings? Do you despise the homosexual coffee shop owner who prefers not to serve his fare to Christians? 

In short, from the point of view of justice, it makes no difference which business owner’s attitude you like or dislike. All that matters is that you accept that in both cases, there are no legitimate grounds for denying these owners their personal forms of “discrimination.” To discriminate is to judge, which is to think, which is to live as a human being. That our thinking is often wrong, and therefore our judgments false and our discriminations wrongheaded, is a problem of human nature. We are imperfect, and often lost in the fog. But contrary to the progressive authoritarian mentality, this natural imperfection is certainly no justification for overriding or obliterating the condition that, above all other conditions, makes practical reasoning, judgment, and discrimination possible, namely freedom.

On the contrary, it is only through the practical, political freedom to make our (sometimes errant) judgments, including regarding our associations with others — commercial or otherwise — that we may gradually grope our way through the fog to the higher kind of freedom every soul seeks.

Daren Jonescu writes about politics, philosophy, education, and the decline of civilization at http://darenjonescu.com/.

A homosexual coffee shop owner with an angry mind, a foul mouth, and at least a few screws loose, has done Christian conservatives the favor of a lifetime, making the case for a businessman’s private property rights against the progressive oppression of anti-discrimination laws more eloquently — well, at least more bluntly — than any Christian business owner could make it.

A Seattle pro-life activist group that had been handing out pamphlets targeting homosexuals for repentance and “rebirth” decided to enjoy a break from their activities at the Bedlam coffee shop. It so happens the shop is owned by a homosexual man, who, when he caught wind of the group’s presence — they were not proselytizing, mind you, just drinking his coffee, thereby filling his coffers — confronted them…with exactly the kind of expletive-filled, sexually explicit, hysterical hissy-fit rant you’d expect from the stereotypical homosexual coffee shop owner who is hypersensitive about Christian critics of his “lifestyle.”

In short, he rudely and summarily kicked them off his premises. Now we all know that had the owner been the Christian in this story, and the activists the homosexuals, his actions would be plastered all over the mainstream media, Soros-backed communist protests would be exploiting this little nobody’s “hate speech” to increase social unrest and provoke violence, and his butt would be hauled into court faster than you can say “Hello sailor.” He would probably be bankrupted, his name and reputation soiled forever, his children humiliated by their teachers, and his entire family sentenced to community service cleaning the toilets at a homosexual nightclub.

But since the owner is the homosexual, and his patrons/victims Christians, the media will largely ignore the story, the communist agitators will say free speech does not extend to these customers’ intolerance of the LGBTXYZ community — Isn’t it strange how every favored special interest group is a “community”? Does anyone refer to the “white supremacist community”? — and the owner will be receiving letters of sympathy, congratulations, and moral support from all corners of the continental United States. The hypocrisy of the left is obvious, revolting, and displays an unsurprisingly complete lack of principle or honor.

But all that is irrelevant next to this: A man decided, for his own idiosyncratic reasons, that he didn’t want people of a certain kind on his premises — after all, it’s his place, and he didn’t think he should have to put up with opening it to people whose views he abhors — so he told them they were not welcome. Leaving aside the question of whether he owed them compensation for the drinks they had already paid for, this man made in essence the same decision you make every time you lock your door at night. You don’t want a certain kind of people, namely non-residents of the household, availing themselves of your property against your will, so you take active steps to prevent their entry.

This anti-Christian coffee shop case cuts to the basic issue of private property rights: Do you really own what the law calls “your property,” or do you not? If you really own it, then you should certainly have every right to deny access to it to anyone you please, for any reason you please. Placing moral conditions on people’s (peaceful, nonviolent) control over their own property is nothing less than a rejection of the very concept of private property, as it transforms genuine ownership of something into mere conditional permission to use it.

And if our so-called property is in fact just something we are conditionally permitted to use, then the logical question is, “Who really owns it?” Who, in other words, has the true authority to grant the permission and set the conditions for its use?

Socialists who live in a world of willowy abstractions will answer, “Society.” But rational people who look at what is concretely entailed by this conditional permission in practice will answer, “The government.”

If a man, assuming he is doing nothing with his property to abuse or violate other people, has been forced to cede authority over its use to government regulators — as he is forced to do by anti-discrimination laws — then he owns nothing. Property is a sham, a palliative illusion wielded by government to cushion the blow of a harsh reality, namely that the man lives entirely at the mercy and whim of the State. If the State decides it does not approve of the way he chooses to make his property accessible to others, he can be punished and his preferences overruled in the name of “non-discrimination.” (Apparently, discrimination against property owners per se falls outside the realm of self-righteous anti-discrimination sentiments.) 

“But a coffee shop is a place of business!” With regard to questions of discrimination and tolerance, we have all been trained to regard private businesses as a unique case, as though running a business were a public (governmental), rather than a private, endeavor. Think about this: If what you do with the majority of your waking hours, and the majority of your mental and physical energy, does not belong to you, simply because it involves the exchange of goods and services, then does this not imply that the entire “free market” — including the lives and labor of the people who participate in it — is a state-owned apparatus, i.e., that all activity related to producing, exchanging, and consuming belongs to the government?

And if the time and effort — which is to say, the life — a man spends on supporting himself through his labor and productive energy belong to the government, then in what meaningful sense can we say the man owns himself at all?

Offering goods I have produced, or services I have learned to provide, to other people in my community is a private choice, involving my private effort and personal investment. There ought to be nothing, in principle, to distinguish this from my private ownership of my home, with regard to my preferences regarding who should or shouldn’t be permitted entry to my premises, or to whom I should or shouldn’t render my services.

Note that I am talking about private choices, not discriminatory laws. There is no legitimacy in laws forbidding access to private businesses to certain kinds of law-abiding people, for exactly the same reason that there is no legitimacy in laws demanding access to private businesses for certain kinds of people. Discriminatory laws and anti-discrimination laws are, in this sense, just two sides of the same coin. They both ultimately entail government ownership of “private property.”

On the other hand, if a private man, including a small business owner, chooses to discriminate against certain people or kinds of people, then as long as his doing so involves no direct violations of those people’s rights, that is his business. Much as we may dislike his preference, there is nothing we can do about it, short of violating his property. And to be clear for those whose progressive education has left them at sea on the question of individual rights, there is no rights violation involved in being denied access to someone’s place of business through the owner’s private choice. No one can have a right to another man’s property (or to association with him), including his commercial property; hence, no right is violated by your being denied access to that other man’s property.

Do you support the baker who prefers not to bake cakes for homosexual weddings? Do you despise the homosexual coffee shop owner who prefers not to serve his fare to Christians? 

In short, from the point of view of justice, it makes no difference which business owner’s attitude you like or dislike. All that matters is that you accept that in both cases, there are no legitimate grounds for denying these owners their personal forms of “discrimination.” To discriminate is to judge, which is to think, which is to live as a human being. That our thinking is often wrong, and therefore our judgments false and our discriminations wrongheaded, is a problem of human nature. We are imperfect, and often lost in the fog. But contrary to the progressive authoritarian mentality, this natural imperfection is certainly no justification for overriding or obliterating the condition that, above all other conditions, makes practical reasoning, judgment, and discrimination possible, namely freedom.

On the contrary, it is only through the practical, political freedom to make our (sometimes errant) judgments, including regarding our associations with others — commercial or otherwise — that we may gradually grope our way through the fog to the higher kind of freedom every soul seeks.

Daren Jonescu writes about politics, philosophy, education, and the decline of civilization at http://darenjonescu.com/.



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Repairing the U.S. Senate


With the Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill to repeal Obamacare flaming out, not even getting a vote, one might wonder whether it was a lousy bill or if something else were amiss. As the bill seemed like pretty decent legislation, its failure to get a vote may be due to what the U.S. Senate has become. Today’s Senate is populated with careerists: professional politicians. Such politicians can be more attuned to the interests of their donors than to those of their constituents.

One of the healthiest things to have come out of Congress in decades was Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America back in the 1994. The Contract promised several huge changes, like welfare reform, and the new Republican Congress, the first in forty years, actually delivered on several of those big promises.

One of the big disappointments of the Contract was the failure to get term limits in its Citizen Legislature Act; the careerists in the House defeated it 227-204. That failure to get term limits left the Senate with two members, Collins and McCain, whose declared opposition to Graham-Cassidy sank it. Collins and McCain would have been long gone if we had gotten the Contract’s term limits.

If we’re ever to get term limits for Congress, the Constitution must be amended. Because the swampy careerists in Congress are never going to initiate such an amendment themselves, we’ll probably need to have an Article V constitutional convention. Good luck on that, (he wrote ironically).

On Sep. 26, the Blaze reported that Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) had appeared on Fox News addressing Sen. McCain’s cancer and advising this: “I think Arizona could help him — and us. Recall him, let him fight successfully this terrible cancer, and let’s get someone in here who will keep the word he gave last year.”

It might be healthy for the state of union if wayward members of Congress could be ousted with a recall election, but unfortunately recall elections aren’t available for Congress. In “Can U.S. Senators Be Recalled?” at the Daily Signal, Benjamin Shelton treats the issue of recall elections vis-à-vis the Congress; it’s well worth reading, and short.

If voters would like to be able to hold recall elections and oust their U.S. senators for breaking their promises rather than waiting for the next regular election, then they’re going to need to mount an Article V constitutional convention, because Congress is unlikely to initiate such an amendment. Good luck.

If you don’t like the fact that your U.S. senators are breaking their promises to you, then you might start blaming yourself, because with the 17th Amendment in 1913, we started electing U.S. senators by popular vote. You, dear voter, have been sending the same people back to Congress year after year, to the point that we’ve actually had a senator or two whose age was in excess of 100. It’s as though the Senate were an episode of “Survivor” (not that I’ve ever watched that show).

If you think that the 17th Amendment was a mistake that should be repealed, then you’re probably going to need to convene the states, as provided for by Article V, because there’s little chance that sitting congressmen are going to initiate an amendment to repeal the 17th. Again, good luck.

The original character of the Senate and the intent of the Founders was laid out in The Federalist in Nos. 62, 63, 64,65, 66, 75, and 76. In Federalist No. 62 we read:

In this spirit it may be remarked, that the equal vote allowed to each State is at once a constitutional recognition of the portion of sovereignty remaining in the individual States, and an instrument for preserving that residuary sovereignty. […]


Another advantage accruing from this ingredient in the constitution of the Senate is, the additional impediment it must prove against improper acts of legislation. No law or resolution can now be passed without the concurrence, first, of a majority of the people, and then, of a majority of the States.

So the House of Representatives is the People’s house, and the Senate is the house of “the several States.” But that was before the passage of the 17th Amendment, which changed the character of the Senate. Now, U.S. senators answer to the People, not their state legislatures. On ObamaCare repeal, Sen. McCain is at odds with his state and its residents. Arizona has experienced ObamaCare premium hikes of more than 100 percent, but Sen. McCain is more interested in “process,” “regular order,” and some ethereal bipartisanship (with the Hun, no less) than he is in getting a little relief to his constituents in Arizona.

Democrats often bemoan the money in politics. If U.S. senators were elected by state legislatures, wouldn’t there much less of a need for campaign money? The 17th Amendment was a mistake and should be repealed, because it changed the character of the Senate. Senators are now “freelancers,” and don’t need to worry about the wrath of the voters until just before the next election. The U.S. Senate has become a club, and it’s a club that isn’t very responsive to the folks. Their job in life is first to raise money for their reelection campaigns, and second to make laws for the rest of us to live by, laws that don’t apply to U.S. senators.

The repeal of the 17th might also contain the right of state legislatures to recall their senators if they aren’t voting in the interests of their state. With such a recall mechanism, Sens. Collins and McCain could be relieved of their duties for their opposition to Graham-Cassidy by their state legislatures. In recent years, several states have been underrepresented because their senator had suffered an aneurysm, stroke, or brain cancer. But there’s no mechanism to replace them, so the state suffers. The 25th Amendment (Section 4) allows us to relieve of his duties a president who is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” but we have no such avenue for incapacitated senators. Recall by state legislatures would also be useful for senators who are just too old, like Strom Thurmond.

If you’d like your state legislature to be able to ensure that you’re fully represented in the Senate by being able to recall and replace ailing senators, then you’ll most likely need to convene the states by way of Article V because sitting senators will likely never approve of such a thing. Good Luck.

Hillary Clinton believes we should abolish the Electoral College and do for the presidency what we did for the Senate a century ago. That is, elect the president by popular vote, i.e. the People. With the Electoral College, the States elect POTUS; the People elect only Electoral College electors. But isn’t POTUS more the leader of the States than the leader of the People?

If we were to abolish the Electoral College, why not go “unicameral” like Nebraska and abolish the Senate as well? Going unicameral, as in having only the House of Representatives, would diminish the States. But if Democrats had enough numbers in Congress, going unicameral might not require an Article V convention, as the Dems don’t seem to have much respect for the States. But the States would then kill it. You see, the Senate is supposed to represent the States, and the States still have a bit of “residuary sovereignty,” (see Federalist No. 62).

There needs to be a great deal more turnover and churn in the Senate. For the last 104 years, since the ratification of the 17th Amendment, the low rate of turnover has been largely due to voters; they send the same people back to D.C. election after election. They do this because their senators “bring home the bacon,” and give them “free stuff.” But the Senate has become dysfunctional, swampy, and corrupt (see Bob Menendez). Because the amendment avenue for fixing the Senate is so daunting, it is left to you, dear voter, to change that body. And the way to do that is to throw the careerist bums out in the caucuses and primaries.

In 1787, the Founders gave us a stable, sound, and solid system, but the tinkering and tweaks since haven’t always improved that system. By not even proceeding to debate on Graham-Cassidy, it may be time to retire this description of the U.S. Senate: “The world’s greatest deliberative body.”

Jon N. Hall of Ultracon Opinion is a programmer/analyst from Kansas City. 

With the Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill to repeal Obamacare flaming out, not even getting a vote, one might wonder whether it was a lousy bill or if something else were amiss. As the bill seemed like pretty decent legislation, its failure to get a vote may be due to what the U.S. Senate has become. Today’s Senate is populated with careerists: professional politicians. Such politicians can be more attuned to the interests of their donors than to those of their constituents.

One of the healthiest things to have come out of Congress in decades was Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America back in the 1994. The Contract promised several huge changes, like welfare reform, and the new Republican Congress, the first in forty years, actually delivered on several of those big promises.

One of the big disappointments of the Contract was the failure to get term limits in its Citizen Legislature Act; the careerists in the House defeated it 227-204. That failure to get term limits left the Senate with two members, Collins and McCain, whose declared opposition to Graham-Cassidy sank it. Collins and McCain would have been long gone if we had gotten the Contract’s term limits.

If we’re ever to get term limits for Congress, the Constitution must be amended. Because the swampy careerists in Congress are never going to initiate such an amendment themselves, we’ll probably need to have an Article V constitutional convention. Good luck on that, (he wrote ironically).

On Sep. 26, the Blaze reported that Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) had appeared on Fox News addressing Sen. McCain’s cancer and advising this: “I think Arizona could help him — and us. Recall him, let him fight successfully this terrible cancer, and let’s get someone in here who will keep the word he gave last year.”

It might be healthy for the state of union if wayward members of Congress could be ousted with a recall election, but unfortunately recall elections aren’t available for Congress. In “Can U.S. Senators Be Recalled?” at the Daily Signal, Benjamin Shelton treats the issue of recall elections vis-à-vis the Congress; it’s well worth reading, and short.

If voters would like to be able to hold recall elections and oust their U.S. senators for breaking their promises rather than waiting for the next regular election, then they’re going to need to mount an Article V constitutional convention, because Congress is unlikely to initiate such an amendment. Good luck.

If you don’t like the fact that your U.S. senators are breaking their promises to you, then you might start blaming yourself, because with the 17th Amendment in 1913, we started electing U.S. senators by popular vote. You, dear voter, have been sending the same people back to Congress year after year, to the point that we’ve actually had a senator or two whose age was in excess of 100. It’s as though the Senate were an episode of “Survivor” (not that I’ve ever watched that show).

If you think that the 17th Amendment was a mistake that should be repealed, then you’re probably going to need to convene the states, as provided for by Article V, because there’s little chance that sitting congressmen are going to initiate an amendment to repeal the 17th. Again, good luck.

The original character of the Senate and the intent of the Founders was laid out in The Federalist in Nos. 62, 63, 64,65, 66, 75, and 76. In Federalist No. 62 we read:

In this spirit it may be remarked, that the equal vote allowed to each State is at once a constitutional recognition of the portion of sovereignty remaining in the individual States, and an instrument for preserving that residuary sovereignty. […]


Another advantage accruing from this ingredient in the constitution of the Senate is, the additional impediment it must prove against improper acts of legislation. No law or resolution can now be passed without the concurrence, first, of a majority of the people, and then, of a majority of the States.

So the House of Representatives is the People’s house, and the Senate is the house of “the several States.” But that was before the passage of the 17th Amendment, which changed the character of the Senate. Now, U.S. senators answer to the People, not their state legislatures. On ObamaCare repeal, Sen. McCain is at odds with his state and its residents. Arizona has experienced ObamaCare premium hikes of more than 100 percent, but Sen. McCain is more interested in “process,” “regular order,” and some ethereal bipartisanship (with the Hun, no less) than he is in getting a little relief to his constituents in Arizona.

Democrats often bemoan the money in politics. If U.S. senators were elected by state legislatures, wouldn’t there much less of a need for campaign money? The 17th Amendment was a mistake and should be repealed, because it changed the character of the Senate. Senators are now “freelancers,” and don’t need to worry about the wrath of the voters until just before the next election. The U.S. Senate has become a club, and it’s a club that isn’t very responsive to the folks. Their job in life is first to raise money for their reelection campaigns, and second to make laws for the rest of us to live by, laws that don’t apply to U.S. senators.

The repeal of the 17th might also contain the right of state legislatures to recall their senators if they aren’t voting in the interests of their state. With such a recall mechanism, Sens. Collins and McCain could be relieved of their duties for their opposition to Graham-Cassidy by their state legislatures. In recent years, several states have been underrepresented because their senator had suffered an aneurysm, stroke, or brain cancer. But there’s no mechanism to replace them, so the state suffers. The 25th Amendment (Section 4) allows us to relieve of his duties a president who is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” but we have no such avenue for incapacitated senators. Recall by state legislatures would also be useful for senators who are just too old, like Strom Thurmond.

If you’d like your state legislature to be able to ensure that you’re fully represented in the Senate by being able to recall and replace ailing senators, then you’ll most likely need to convene the states by way of Article V because sitting senators will likely never approve of such a thing. Good Luck.

Hillary Clinton believes we should abolish the Electoral College and do for the presidency what we did for the Senate a century ago. That is, elect the president by popular vote, i.e. the People. With the Electoral College, the States elect POTUS; the People elect only Electoral College electors. But isn’t POTUS more the leader of the States than the leader of the People?

If we were to abolish the Electoral College, why not go “unicameral” like Nebraska and abolish the Senate as well? Going unicameral, as in having only the House of Representatives, would diminish the States. But if Democrats had enough numbers in Congress, going unicameral might not require an Article V convention, as the Dems don’t seem to have much respect for the States. But the States would then kill it. You see, the Senate is supposed to represent the States, and the States still have a bit of “residuary sovereignty,” (see Federalist No. 62).

There needs to be a great deal more turnover and churn in the Senate. For the last 104 years, since the ratification of the 17th Amendment, the low rate of turnover has been largely due to voters; they send the same people back to D.C. election after election. They do this because their senators “bring home the bacon,” and give them “free stuff.” But the Senate has become dysfunctional, swampy, and corrupt (see Bob Menendez). Because the amendment avenue for fixing the Senate is so daunting, it is left to you, dear voter, to change that body. And the way to do that is to throw the careerist bums out in the caucuses and primaries.

In 1787, the Founders gave us a stable, sound, and solid system, but the tinkering and tweaks since haven’t always improved that system. By not even proceeding to debate on Graham-Cassidy, it may be time to retire this description of the U.S. Senate: “The world’s greatest deliberative body.”

Jon N. Hall of Ultracon Opinion is a programmer/analyst from Kansas City. 



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Harvey Weinstein: Male Predators and Their Targets


Harvey Weinstein bears a shocking resemblance to Quasimodo, as portrayed in the 1982 Hallmark production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. But, other than his uncanny resemblance to Hugo’s hunchback, nothing about Weinstein’s behavior shocks me. 

The first time I can remember a man coaxing and terrorizing me into a sexual favor was when I was 16 years old, working at Koeing Art Emporium, because I loved art, and I had no money.

There, at least three men, all in their late 20s, all in a supervisor position over me, attempted to kiss, maul or touch me in the back room that smelled of framing wood and Chinese takeout. Later, at Baptist Campbell University, my work-study professor would pull me down on his lap, show me condoms and stroke my hair. After I transferred to UNC Chapel Hill, two different professors asked me for sex, and threatened bleak outcomes if I refused.

The first, from the African Studies Department, asked me to sit on the front row in short skirts during lectures. I did not, but compromised and sat on the side row in shorts.  He later asked me to his office, and would rub my skin frantically and promised me an A if I would touch his privates. When I ran away from his office in fear, he ignored me the rest of the semester and gave me an A-. He still teaches there, in blissful tenure.

The more sinister predator was in charge of UNC’s Writing Program. He picked me out of a line of students waiting for approval of transfer credits. This man was intense, tall, and Machiavellian. He told me that if I did not spend time with him, he would not grant any of my English credits from my college transfer.  The details are hazy, but I remember he came to my apartment. We kissed on my couch and I longed for my boyfriend from Campbell, a wrestler whom I adored. When the professor told me he wanted to order a pizza, like we were co-ed couple lounging on a rainy weekend, some ancient wisdom finally reared up in me. I asked him if he was married. He said he was, and I said, “I feel bad for your wife.” He finally left. I avoided him and he eventually gave me the credits after I begged in handwritten letters I shoved his faculty mail cubbyhole.

I moved on with my life, graduated with good grades and even won the Francis L. Philip Travel scholarship.

Sexual harassment continued loud and proud, as I entered the legal workforce after law school. A smirking pervert, who reeked of cigarette smoke from ten feet away, and was the chief prosecutor in a huge county near Tampa, perusing porn on his computer while you briefed a case to him? You betcha. Same prosecutor and his knucklehead cronies ridiculing an African American murder victim’s photos because she had cellulite on her buttocks — as she sprawled naked, bloodied, and beaten on the floor of an old house? I remember it in fluorescent detail.

My boss at the Florida Attorney General’s Office, rubbing my shoulders, telling me I looked like a schoolgirl, and complaining that his nagging wife used the rocking chair as a clothes hamper (he should have seen my bedroom). It happened more than one time.

So, why did this happen to me? And why did it happen to Weinstein’s victims? Was my beauty so overwhelming that these men lost their minds? Hardly. There were other pretty girls, beautiful women in those environments, and they were unmolested. Just as there were other aspiring stunning actresses and waitresses who escaped Weinstein’s sweaty paws.

Was I sending out sexual vibes so strong these men thought I was a little minx? Not likely. I was often compared to Ellie Mae Clampett and was unsure of how to apply eyeliner, often resembling a sad raccoon. Forget seducing a man

So, how does the sexual predator choose who to terrorize?

The answer can be found in looking at Weinstein’s victims did not have, and what I did not have.  Some lone voices on Twitter have demanded: Why hasn’t Gwyneth Paltrow spoken up?

Because she was never sized up as prey. She is protected. Globally powerful men surround Paltrow. Her godfather is Stephen Spielberg. Her deceased father was movie producer. She dated Brad Pitt. She married and divorced a rock star. The girl has alpha men protecting her back.

And his victims? Ashley Judd. I have read Ashley Judd’s biography. Nary a male in sight to protect her.  Not a male with any clout, when she was finding her place as an actress.  Likewise, if my father had been a Platinum Donor to the UNC Alumni Fund, those fat cats that fly into the games on private jets, would these Professors have believed it was an acceptable risk to threaten me with harm if I did not have sex with them, and risk their joke, cushy jobs?  Not a chance.

Predators have a preternatural sense of the vulnerable. They know when a female has no male to turn to when another male attempts to harm her. If there is no powerful, moneyed alpha male to rain down an ungodly firestorm on their heads, it’s a green light to lunge for whatever they desire. 

The dreadful truth is that we have not moved that far from the cave and the campfire. We are still negotiating with Og and his club. And to beat Og, you need a bigger, meaner Og, ready to bash his brains out, or least the resources to pay a cold-eyed proxy (a lawyer these days) to gut him.

Women need powerful men to protect them from other men. For the celebrities who are feigning shock and dismay at this male abuse, they are as believable as an addict rummaging through your bathroom declaring she is looking for aspirin. The idea that this errant male behavior is systemic, and perhaps genetic, is heresy to feminists, the Left, and even people who believe that we live in a world where fairness and civility rule gender relations most days. It doesn’t.

The poor souls who have their faces melted with acid in the meaner parts of the world don’t come from the upper castes. They never have a rich father or a bevy of strong brothers to protect them. In the numerous documentaries I have watched, it is always a lone girl and her mother, trudging to a dusty court with half of her face ruined like a Dali painting, in hopes that someone cares that her life was obliterated by a man who was jealous or pissed off because he was rejected.

Our politically-correctness drenched world does not allow the thought to even bubble: that men are different — as Fitzgerald told us the rich are. Men who have unchecked power, as Weinstein did, will use it to get what they want, and very often, they want sex with young, powerless females. And all the women reporting on sports that they have never played, or a sprinkling of women CEOs in Silicon Valley, or men acting cool with unshaved legs and armpits will not change this. (They actually are not cool with it).

If a woman had an influential, heavy hitting male in her corner, would she have been safe from Weinstein? Would I have been safe? Yes. And yes.

That is why Malia Obama, working her internship at Weinstein’s Miramax, was as clueless and protected as the Queen’s jewels, and why a waitress at the Tribeca restaurant, forced to watch Weinsten masturbate over a potted plan and told to shut up, was unequivocally not.

Harvey Weinstein bears a shocking resemblance to Quasimodo, as portrayed in the 1982 Hallmark production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. But, other than his uncanny resemblance to Hugo’s hunchback, nothing about Weinstein’s behavior shocks me. 

The first time I can remember a man coaxing and terrorizing me into a sexual favor was when I was 16 years old, working at Koeing Art Emporium, because I loved art, and I had no money.

There, at least three men, all in their late 20s, all in a supervisor position over me, attempted to kiss, maul or touch me in the back room that smelled of framing wood and Chinese takeout. Later, at Baptist Campbell University, my work-study professor would pull me down on his lap, show me condoms and stroke my hair. After I transferred to UNC Chapel Hill, two different professors asked me for sex, and threatened bleak outcomes if I refused.

The first, from the African Studies Department, asked me to sit on the front row in short skirts during lectures. I did not, but compromised and sat on the side row in shorts.  He later asked me to his office, and would rub my skin frantically and promised me an A if I would touch his privates. When I ran away from his office in fear, he ignored me the rest of the semester and gave me an A-. He still teaches there, in blissful tenure.

The more sinister predator was in charge of UNC’s Writing Program. He picked me out of a line of students waiting for approval of transfer credits. This man was intense, tall, and Machiavellian. He told me that if I did not spend time with him, he would not grant any of my English credits from my college transfer.  The details are hazy, but I remember he came to my apartment. We kissed on my couch and I longed for my boyfriend from Campbell, a wrestler whom I adored. When the professor told me he wanted to order a pizza, like we were co-ed couple lounging on a rainy weekend, some ancient wisdom finally reared up in me. I asked him if he was married. He said he was, and I said, “I feel bad for your wife.” He finally left. I avoided him and he eventually gave me the credits after I begged in handwritten letters I shoved his faculty mail cubbyhole.

I moved on with my life, graduated with good grades and even won the Francis L. Philip Travel scholarship.

Sexual harassment continued loud and proud, as I entered the legal workforce after law school. A smirking pervert, who reeked of cigarette smoke from ten feet away, and was the chief prosecutor in a huge county near Tampa, perusing porn on his computer while you briefed a case to him? You betcha. Same prosecutor and his knucklehead cronies ridiculing an African American murder victim’s photos because she had cellulite on her buttocks — as she sprawled naked, bloodied, and beaten on the floor of an old house? I remember it in fluorescent detail.

My boss at the Florida Attorney General’s Office, rubbing my shoulders, telling me I looked like a schoolgirl, and complaining that his nagging wife used the rocking chair as a clothes hamper (he should have seen my bedroom). It happened more than one time.

So, why did this happen to me? And why did it happen to Weinstein’s victims? Was my beauty so overwhelming that these men lost their minds? Hardly. There were other pretty girls, beautiful women in those environments, and they were unmolested. Just as there were other aspiring stunning actresses and waitresses who escaped Weinstein’s sweaty paws.

Was I sending out sexual vibes so strong these men thought I was a little minx? Not likely. I was often compared to Ellie Mae Clampett and was unsure of how to apply eyeliner, often resembling a sad raccoon. Forget seducing a man

So, how does the sexual predator choose who to terrorize?

The answer can be found in looking at Weinstein’s victims did not have, and what I did not have.  Some lone voices on Twitter have demanded: Why hasn’t Gwyneth Paltrow spoken up?

Because she was never sized up as prey. She is protected. Globally powerful men surround Paltrow. Her godfather is Stephen Spielberg. Her deceased father was movie producer. She dated Brad Pitt. She married and divorced a rock star. The girl has alpha men protecting her back.

And his victims? Ashley Judd. I have read Ashley Judd’s biography. Nary a male in sight to protect her.  Not a male with any clout, when she was finding her place as an actress.  Likewise, if my father had been a Platinum Donor to the UNC Alumni Fund, those fat cats that fly into the games on private jets, would these Professors have believed it was an acceptable risk to threaten me with harm if I did not have sex with them, and risk their joke, cushy jobs?  Not a chance.

Predators have a preternatural sense of the vulnerable. They know when a female has no male to turn to when another male attempts to harm her. If there is no powerful, moneyed alpha male to rain down an ungodly firestorm on their heads, it’s a green light to lunge for whatever they desire. 

The dreadful truth is that we have not moved that far from the cave and the campfire. We are still negotiating with Og and his club. And to beat Og, you need a bigger, meaner Og, ready to bash his brains out, or least the resources to pay a cold-eyed proxy (a lawyer these days) to gut him.

Women need powerful men to protect them from other men. For the celebrities who are feigning shock and dismay at this male abuse, they are as believable as an addict rummaging through your bathroom declaring she is looking for aspirin. The idea that this errant male behavior is systemic, and perhaps genetic, is heresy to feminists, the Left, and even people who believe that we live in a world where fairness and civility rule gender relations most days. It doesn’t.

The poor souls who have their faces melted with acid in the meaner parts of the world don’t come from the upper castes. They never have a rich father or a bevy of strong brothers to protect them. In the numerous documentaries I have watched, it is always a lone girl and her mother, trudging to a dusty court with half of her face ruined like a Dali painting, in hopes that someone cares that her life was obliterated by a man who was jealous or pissed off because he was rejected.

Our politically-correctness drenched world does not allow the thought to even bubble: that men are different — as Fitzgerald told us the rich are. Men who have unchecked power, as Weinstein did, will use it to get what they want, and very often, they want sex with young, powerless females. And all the women reporting on sports that they have never played, or a sprinkling of women CEOs in Silicon Valley, or men acting cool with unshaved legs and armpits will not change this. (They actually are not cool with it).

If a woman had an influential, heavy hitting male in her corner, would she have been safe from Weinstein? Would I have been safe? Yes. And yes.

That is why Malia Obama, working her internship at Weinstein’s Miramax, was as clueless and protected as the Queen’s jewels, and why a waitress at the Tribeca restaurant, forced to watch Weinsten masturbate over a potted plan and told to shut up, was unequivocally not.



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How Naked Is the Iranian Emperor?


The clock appears to be ticking on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA); more than some may think, less than others may hope. Whatever President Donald Trump decides to do with the unsigned, unratified, unagreed-upon text of the untreaty, it should be clear that the agreement did not moderate Iran’s ambitions — nuclear or otherwise — and pretending will not make it so.

The JCPOA was not designed to end Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons capability.

One reason there is no agreed-upon text is that the sides were negotiating different ends: the U.S. wanted to constrain Iran’s enrichment and other nuclear weapons-related capabilities for a period of time during which President Obama and others said/hoped Iran would become a constructive regional player. Iran was negotiating the terms under which it could continue to enrich uranium with an international imprimatur. Deal supporters acknowledge as much. Paul Pillar of Georgetown University recently wrote, “If there were no JCPOA, then instead of Iran being free of some restrictions on its nuclear activity 10 or 15 years from now, it would be free from those same restrictions right now.”

It wasn’t presented that way, of course. President Obama presented Congress and the American people with a binary choice — the JCPOA or war. The threat of war is so powerful that JCPOA supporters still use it. Ali Vaez, senior Iran analyst at the International Crisis Group, wrote last month, “If the Trump administration kills the deal with Iran…  [that] the rest of the international community is highly satisfied with, it should forget about peacefully settling the nuclear standoff with North Korea.”

Vaez threatens the United States with war in Asia, not for attacking Iran, but for exposing the emperor’s nakedness.

How naked is Iran? For a country that was supposed to moderate its international behavior in light of Western acceptance, money, and trade, Iran has behaved more like a country determined to pursue its own ends with little concern for the opinions of the West.

There is ample evidence of illicit missile trade with North Korea. The infusion of Western money has allowed Iran to field proxy Shiite militias in Iraq; Somali and Afghan mercenaries in Syria – including children, according to Human Rights Watch — along with its Hizb’allah allies; pursue its ballistic missile program in defiance of UN sanctions; arm Houthi rebels in Yemen in defiance of UN arms sanctions; plan billions in military equipment purchases; hold  four (or five) Americans without rights (or charges in two cases); harass American ships in the Persian Gulf; and generally deny its own people civil liberties, including freedom from arbitrary arrest or torture. Iran executed at least 567 people in 2016, making it one of the top three in the world.

Iran’s behaviors threaten large parts of the world and many of its most vulnerable citizens even before the question of whether Iran is actually making progress on its nuclear weapons capabilities now — cheating on the deal it never signed.

For understandable reasons, the IAEA is loath to say it doesn’t have the access it should have to Iran’s military sites to fully understand what the regime is doing. But remember two things: shortly after the deal was agreed (though not signed) the IAEA made a separate deal for Iran to inspect its own facilities at Parchin and other military sites. And, the IAEA does not certify Iran’s compliance, as the inestimable and indefatigable Mark Dubowitz at FDD reminds us:

The IAEA’s mandate with respect to the JCPOA primarily entails monitoring and reporting on Tehran’s nuclear-related actions (or lack thereof) pursuant to the JCPOA’s provisions. The determination of whether Iranian conduct constitutes compliance with the JCPOA remains the prerogative of the individual parties to the agreement: China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Iran, with the high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and security policy.

The Trump administration has been busy setting the stage for a new American policy. In May, there were 40 new sanctions connected to Iranian missile and terrorism activities and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force — including on Qassem Soleimani, head of the Quds Force, and on his brother, Sohrab Soleimani, for his role in running Teheran’s notorious Evin prison. In July, Treasury designated 16 entities and individuals for supporting “illicit Iranian actors or transnational criminal activity.” The State Department separately designated two organizations involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program. The White House is presently considering IRGC a terrorist organization.

Iran’s violations are clear. It remains to be seen how our allies and our adversaries would react to an American decertification of Iran under the JCPOA, or withdrawal from the deal in its entirety.

Vaez, having threatened the U.S. with war in Korea, is more nebulous but no less adamant in threatening disaster. “The IAEA has never had better access to Iran’s military sites. If the Trump administration loses this unprecedented access… it will soon wish for it.”

Our allies are a mixed bag. Generally unwilling to support President Trump, and very fond of the contracts Iran has been throwing their way, they are nervous. Longtime analyst Dennis Ross points out that France’s President Emmanuel Macron is seeking a renegotiation of the agreement — and he is not the only one, Democrats in Congress are suggesting the same. Richard Goldberg, staff member to then-senator Mark Kirk, believes allies will get in line with American policy should more sweeping sanctions be called for.

Most important, however, is Iran’s response. While the IRGC threatened missile attacks on U.S. bases should the president sanction the Revolutionary Guard, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif made overtures to the countries of the P5+1 during the UN session in September, suggesting that Iran’s ballistic missile program — illegal and under UN sanction — could be discussed (modified? adhered to?). That is not the same as discussing or adhering to the JCPOA, but suggests that Iran does not want to be completely cut off from conversation with the West.

It is a dangerous moment. Iran has become more, not less, threatening to global peace and security, and has no intention of transparency in its nuclear programs. But that is as it has always been. The difference now is that the American government is willing to say so.

The clock appears to be ticking on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA); more than some may think, less than others may hope. Whatever President Donald Trump decides to do with the unsigned, unratified, unagreed-upon text of the untreaty, it should be clear that the agreement did not moderate Iran’s ambitions — nuclear or otherwise — and pretending will not make it so.

The JCPOA was not designed to end Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons capability.

One reason there is no agreed-upon text is that the sides were negotiating different ends: the U.S. wanted to constrain Iran’s enrichment and other nuclear weapons-related capabilities for a period of time during which President Obama and others said/hoped Iran would become a constructive regional player. Iran was negotiating the terms under which it could continue to enrich uranium with an international imprimatur. Deal supporters acknowledge as much. Paul Pillar of Georgetown University recently wrote, “If there were no JCPOA, then instead of Iran being free of some restrictions on its nuclear activity 10 or 15 years from now, it would be free from those same restrictions right now.”

It wasn’t presented that way, of course. President Obama presented Congress and the American people with a binary choice — the JCPOA or war. The threat of war is so powerful that JCPOA supporters still use it. Ali Vaez, senior Iran analyst at the International Crisis Group, wrote last month, “If the Trump administration kills the deal with Iran…  [that] the rest of the international community is highly satisfied with, it should forget about peacefully settling the nuclear standoff with North Korea.”

Vaez threatens the United States with war in Asia, not for attacking Iran, but for exposing the emperor’s nakedness.

How naked is Iran? For a country that was supposed to moderate its international behavior in light of Western acceptance, money, and trade, Iran has behaved more like a country determined to pursue its own ends with little concern for the opinions of the West.

There is ample evidence of illicit missile trade with North Korea. The infusion of Western money has allowed Iran to field proxy Shiite militias in Iraq; Somali and Afghan mercenaries in Syria – including children, according to Human Rights Watch — along with its Hizb’allah allies; pursue its ballistic missile program in defiance of UN sanctions; arm Houthi rebels in Yemen in defiance of UN arms sanctions; plan billions in military equipment purchases; hold  four (or five) Americans without rights (or charges in two cases); harass American ships in the Persian Gulf; and generally deny its own people civil liberties, including freedom from arbitrary arrest or torture. Iran executed at least 567 people in 2016, making it one of the top three in the world.

Iran’s behaviors threaten large parts of the world and many of its most vulnerable citizens even before the question of whether Iran is actually making progress on its nuclear weapons capabilities now — cheating on the deal it never signed.

For understandable reasons, the IAEA is loath to say it doesn’t have the access it should have to Iran’s military sites to fully understand what the regime is doing. But remember two things: shortly after the deal was agreed (though not signed) the IAEA made a separate deal for Iran to inspect its own facilities at Parchin and other military sites. And, the IAEA does not certify Iran’s compliance, as the inestimable and indefatigable Mark Dubowitz at FDD reminds us:

The IAEA’s mandate with respect to the JCPOA primarily entails monitoring and reporting on Tehran’s nuclear-related actions (or lack thereof) pursuant to the JCPOA’s provisions. The determination of whether Iranian conduct constitutes compliance with the JCPOA remains the prerogative of the individual parties to the agreement: China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Iran, with the high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and security policy.

The Trump administration has been busy setting the stage for a new American policy. In May, there were 40 new sanctions connected to Iranian missile and terrorism activities and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force — including on Qassem Soleimani, head of the Quds Force, and on his brother, Sohrab Soleimani, for his role in running Teheran’s notorious Evin prison. In July, Treasury designated 16 entities and individuals for supporting “illicit Iranian actors or transnational criminal activity.” The State Department separately designated two organizations involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program. The White House is presently considering IRGC a terrorist organization.

Iran’s violations are clear. It remains to be seen how our allies and our adversaries would react to an American decertification of Iran under the JCPOA, or withdrawal from the deal in its entirety.

Vaez, having threatened the U.S. with war in Korea, is more nebulous but no less adamant in threatening disaster. “The IAEA has never had better access to Iran’s military sites. If the Trump administration loses this unprecedented access… it will soon wish for it.”

Our allies are a mixed bag. Generally unwilling to support President Trump, and very fond of the contracts Iran has been throwing their way, they are nervous. Longtime analyst Dennis Ross points out that France’s President Emmanuel Macron is seeking a renegotiation of the agreement — and he is not the only one, Democrats in Congress are suggesting the same. Richard Goldberg, staff member to then-senator Mark Kirk, believes allies will get in line with American policy should more sweeping sanctions be called for.

Most important, however, is Iran’s response. While the IRGC threatened missile attacks on U.S. bases should the president sanction the Revolutionary Guard, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif made overtures to the countries of the P5+1 during the UN session in September, suggesting that Iran’s ballistic missile program — illegal and under UN sanction — could be discussed (modified? adhered to?). That is not the same as discussing or adhering to the JCPOA, but suggests that Iran does not want to be completely cut off from conversation with the West.

It is a dangerous moment. Iran has become more, not less, threatening to global peace and security, and has no intention of transparency in its nuclear programs. But that is as it has always been. The difference now is that the American government is willing to say so.



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Harvey Weinstein and the Slow-Motion Theft of American Culture


“I cannot be more remorseful about the people I hurt and I plan to do right by all of them,” wrote movie mogul Harvey Weinstein upon being busted for all manner of sexual predations, before adding this only-in-Hollywood non-sequitur, “I am going to need a place to channel that anger so I’ve decided that I’m going to give the NRA my full attention.”

Perhaps even more troubling, the day before Weinstein’s apologia came this unfortunate tweet from Nancy “with the laughing eyes” Sinatra, “The murderous members of the NRA should face a firing squad.”

The Nancy tweet stung more because my once exhaustive consumption of American culture had dwindled down to Turner Classic Movies, Major League Baseball, and the Sinatra Channel on Sirius, and then Nancy had to go and spoil it all by saying something stupid like, “I hate you.” I always suspected that Weinstein did, but even though Ms. Sinatra deleted her tweet, the contempt lingers.

I do not need to watch Weinstein’s Pulp Fiction any more than I already have, but Nancy is the mainstay host of the Sinatra Channel, a daily staple. Having just given up on the NFL, I have to ask myself how much more of our common culture will be denied me and the millions of Americans who would rather desert that culture than be demeaned by its custodians.

It has not always been like this. As recently as 1980, for instance, almost no one in the media openly disrespected people like me. As a young Reagan fan, I had come to that enthusiasm almost entirely through the mainstream media. There was no conservative talk radio to speak of, no Fox News, no Internet, and I caught up with National Review only occasionally at the public library. I watched the evening news and the Sunday morning shows without feeling aggrieved or abused, and I listened to NPR all day long.

Fresh out of graduate school, I worked as Director of Management at the Kansas City Housing Authority. NPR helped me keep my sanity. I was one of only a handful of conservatives working at this place, but no one mistreated me because of it.

Being a witness to the left’s stealthy corruption of the black community, I wrote several articles on what I saw. My African-American boss advised me to use a pseudonym but otherwise had no objection. The Kansas City Star, then still a nonpartisan enterprise, welcomed my insider perspective. Up until about ten years ago, the Star even reviewed my books.

At the time, I served on the board of a local professional theater, had a play of mine produced, and wrote and directed a couple of fundraising mystery spectacles for the theater. Today, like the editors of the Star, the theater’s decision makers will not even read what I submit.

Throughout the 1990s, I produced a series of historical documentaries for the local PBS station. In that the audiences supported my work, I kept getting asked back. For years, I appeared periodically on the station’s weekly news program. That has dwindled away to nothing. The Star reporters will not be on the show if I am. The station needs the Star more than it needs me. Nor have I been on the area’s NPR station in a decade. Like its mothership, the station no longer even feigns an interest in the sixty percent of its red state market that voted for Donald Trump.

In that my wife is a university professor, so were many of our friends. Although they knew my politics, they did not hesitate to welcome us into their world. Although my politics have not changed, we have not been invited to an academic dinner party in at least a decade. Nor have we gone to see a speaker or see a play at the university three blocks from our house in twenty or so years. Chelsea Clinton? Angela Davis? The Vagina Monologues? No, thanks.

I used to watch late night talk shows. Who didn’t? Then the bright minds at the networks thought it would be a good idea to have every one of the main players — Fallon, Kimmel, Colbert, O’Brien — compete for the same angry liberal sliver of the audience. Today, I find myself watching Johnny Carson reruns.

As for comedy, is there any? The 1970s saw an emergence of fresh provocative talent — Steve Martin, Robin Williams, Andy Kauffman, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Monty Python. None of them was conspicuously partisan. Today, many of the best comedians — Seinfeld, Chris Rock — won’t even play college campuses lest they offend the snowflakes.

“Saturday Night Live,” which debuted in 1975, sprang more or less from the side of the National Lampoon, which, if anything, skewed right. The show had a 1990s revival whose cast was arguably better than the original, and the show remained largely apolitical, at least until the emergence of Barack Obama/Sarah Palin. For eight years the Obama humor was tepid and unfunny. Today, the Trump humor is venomous and unfunny. 

In comedy, only “South Park” maintains a niche on the anarchic right, but it is sufficiently vulgar the left doesn’t notice. On radio, Howard Stern has, if anything, upped the vulgarity. Unfortunately, he long ago abandoned his libertarian, street smart iconoclasm to keep the guests flowing on the Hollywood pipeline. Occasionally, he even cheers on the PC police.

Meanwhile, Weinstein’s Hollywood is in full decline. After years of ignoring middle America, its mavens decided it would be a good marketing strategy to insult that audience. It used to be newsworthy when the Oscars got political, even comical when, for instance, Marlon Brando sent Princess Summer-Fall-Winter-Spring (or whomever) to receive his award.

As late as 2003, Michael Moore was booed for his rant against our “fictitious president,” and host Steve Martin was cheered when he snapped back, “Right now, the Teamsters are helping Michael Moore into the trunk of his limo.” Today, the audience would have cheered Moore and booed Martin.

The Oscars have lost their magic because so many adults have lost the habit of going to the movies. There has been almost nothing for them to see. When the worthy film Dunkirk surfaced this summer, I had friends ask me where the theaters were. They had gone to the movies since Forrest Gump.

As to Broadway, it has taken a long, twisted road from Oklahoma to Urinetown. Always friendly to gays, Broadway is now bullied by them. Whereas the message once was, ‘please tolerate us,’ now it is, ‘celebrate us or else.’ Half the shows on Broadway, maybe more, are gay and/or trans themed.

Hamilton seemed to be a bright spot, and then the cast, with the full support of its producers, thought it would be cool to diss vice president-elect Mike Pence to his face. That will do wonders for the touring show. On the Tonys, to show their support for gun control after the Orlando gay nightclub attack, Hamilton’s Continental Army did a drill number without their weapons. They were trying to be sensitive. They just looked silly.

If nothing else, Harvey Weinstein is forcing our cultural masters to face the dark, unseemly side of an industry that much of America has seen through for years. Weinstein’s bust won’t make much of a difference, but it might just make a little. 

“I cannot be more remorseful about the people I hurt and I plan to do right by all of them,” wrote movie mogul Harvey Weinstein upon being busted for all manner of sexual predations, before adding this only-in-Hollywood non-sequitur, “I am going to need a place to channel that anger so I’ve decided that I’m going to give the NRA my full attention.”

Perhaps even more troubling, the day before Weinstein’s apologia came this unfortunate tweet from Nancy “with the laughing eyes” Sinatra, “The murderous members of the NRA should face a firing squad.”

The Nancy tweet stung more because my once exhaustive consumption of American culture had dwindled down to Turner Classic Movies, Major League Baseball, and the Sinatra Channel on Sirius, and then Nancy had to go and spoil it all by saying something stupid like, “I hate you.” I always suspected that Weinstein did, but even though Ms. Sinatra deleted her tweet, the contempt lingers.

I do not need to watch Weinstein’s Pulp Fiction any more than I already have, but Nancy is the mainstay host of the Sinatra Channel, a daily staple. Having just given up on the NFL, I have to ask myself how much more of our common culture will be denied me and the millions of Americans who would rather desert that culture than be demeaned by its custodians.

It has not always been like this. As recently as 1980, for instance, almost no one in the media openly disrespected people like me. As a young Reagan fan, I had come to that enthusiasm almost entirely through the mainstream media. There was no conservative talk radio to speak of, no Fox News, no Internet, and I caught up with National Review only occasionally at the public library. I watched the evening news and the Sunday morning shows without feeling aggrieved or abused, and I listened to NPR all day long.

Fresh out of graduate school, I worked as Director of Management at the Kansas City Housing Authority. NPR helped me keep my sanity. I was one of only a handful of conservatives working at this place, but no one mistreated me because of it.

Being a witness to the left’s stealthy corruption of the black community, I wrote several articles on what I saw. My African-American boss advised me to use a pseudonym but otherwise had no objection. The Kansas City Star, then still a nonpartisan enterprise, welcomed my insider perspective. Up until about ten years ago, the Star even reviewed my books.

At the time, I served on the board of a local professional theater, had a play of mine produced, and wrote and directed a couple of fundraising mystery spectacles for the theater. Today, like the editors of the Star, the theater’s decision makers will not even read what I submit.

Throughout the 1990s, I produced a series of historical documentaries for the local PBS station. In that the audiences supported my work, I kept getting asked back. For years, I appeared periodically on the station’s weekly news program. That has dwindled away to nothing. The Star reporters will not be on the show if I am. The station needs the Star more than it needs me. Nor have I been on the area’s NPR station in a decade. Like its mothership, the station no longer even feigns an interest in the sixty percent of its red state market that voted for Donald Trump.

In that my wife is a university professor, so were many of our friends. Although they knew my politics, they did not hesitate to welcome us into their world. Although my politics have not changed, we have not been invited to an academic dinner party in at least a decade. Nor have we gone to see a speaker or see a play at the university three blocks from our house in twenty or so years. Chelsea Clinton? Angela Davis? The Vagina Monologues? No, thanks.

I used to watch late night talk shows. Who didn’t? Then the bright minds at the networks thought it would be a good idea to have every one of the main players — Fallon, Kimmel, Colbert, O’Brien — compete for the same angry liberal sliver of the audience. Today, I find myself watching Johnny Carson reruns.

As for comedy, is there any? The 1970s saw an emergence of fresh provocative talent — Steve Martin, Robin Williams, Andy Kauffman, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Monty Python. None of them was conspicuously partisan. Today, many of the best comedians — Seinfeld, Chris Rock — won’t even play college campuses lest they offend the snowflakes.

“Saturday Night Live,” which debuted in 1975, sprang more or less from the side of the National Lampoon, which, if anything, skewed right. The show had a 1990s revival whose cast was arguably better than the original, and the show remained largely apolitical, at least until the emergence of Barack Obama/Sarah Palin. For eight years the Obama humor was tepid and unfunny. Today, the Trump humor is venomous and unfunny. 

In comedy, only “South Park” maintains a niche on the anarchic right, but it is sufficiently vulgar the left doesn’t notice. On radio, Howard Stern has, if anything, upped the vulgarity. Unfortunately, he long ago abandoned his libertarian, street smart iconoclasm to keep the guests flowing on the Hollywood pipeline. Occasionally, he even cheers on the PC police.

Meanwhile, Weinstein’s Hollywood is in full decline. After years of ignoring middle America, its mavens decided it would be a good marketing strategy to insult that audience. It used to be newsworthy when the Oscars got political, even comical when, for instance, Marlon Brando sent Princess Summer-Fall-Winter-Spring (or whomever) to receive his award.

As late as 2003, Michael Moore was booed for his rant against our “fictitious president,” and host Steve Martin was cheered when he snapped back, “Right now, the Teamsters are helping Michael Moore into the trunk of his limo.” Today, the audience would have cheered Moore and booed Martin.

The Oscars have lost their magic because so many adults have lost the habit of going to the movies. There has been almost nothing for them to see. When the worthy film Dunkirk surfaced this summer, I had friends ask me where the theaters were. They had gone to the movies since Forrest Gump.

As to Broadway, it has taken a long, twisted road from Oklahoma to Urinetown. Always friendly to gays, Broadway is now bullied by them. Whereas the message once was, ‘please tolerate us,’ now it is, ‘celebrate us or else.’ Half the shows on Broadway, maybe more, are gay and/or trans themed.

Hamilton seemed to be a bright spot, and then the cast, with the full support of its producers, thought it would be cool to diss vice president-elect Mike Pence to his face. That will do wonders for the touring show. On the Tonys, to show their support for gun control after the Orlando gay nightclub attack, Hamilton’s Continental Army did a drill number without their weapons. They were trying to be sensitive. They just looked silly.

If nothing else, Harvey Weinstein is forcing our cultural masters to face the dark, unseemly side of an industry that much of America has seen through for years. Weinstein’s bust won’t make much of a difference, but it might just make a little. 



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Catalonia and the Guns of October


The secret of the Catalan side is that they may not have had a clear majority vote to secede.  Yes, they claim that 90% voted for secession, but the voter turnout was only 43% of the electorate.  A Spanish court had declared the vote illegal, and those Catalans likely to vote against secession may have stayed home.  Blame part of that low turnout on the Spanish police, but it is still low for a major plebiscite.

On major issues, such as independence, it has been the practice of republics to insist on super-majorities of three fifths, two thirds, or three fourths.  While 90% sounds as though it meets such a criterion, given the low turnout, it amounts to only 39%.  To declare independence based on 39% is to subvert the historical understanding of representation.

To put it bluntly, the October 1 vote does not give Catalan president Carles Puigdemont a true mandate to declare independence.

Yes, we can blame the Spanish government for interfering.  I do not hold Prime Minister Rajoy innocent in this.  The Spanish police acted like thugs, but that does not remove the obvious objection.  Puigdemont has no democratic mandate – not with only a 43% turnout.

In June, just a few months ago, a poll taken by the Catalan government showed that most Catalans did not want independence (see page 11).  The results were 41.1% for independence, 49.4% against.  More interesting is that the percentage of independentistas had shrunk from March.  It seems that the Catalans were getting tired of Puigdemont’s grandstanding.

This crisis has been aggravated by Prime Minister Rajoy’s right-wing Partido Popular (P.P. – Popular or People’s Party) since day one.  Spain and Catalonia had reached a somewhat amicable agreement that gave Catalonia more autonomy and control of taxes in 2006, similar to the autonomy given to the Basque.  The Spanish Parliament agreed to it.

It was Prime Minister Rajoy’s P.P. that sued to get the Catalan autonomy overturned in 2006.

The People’s Party [PP] filed an appeal against Catalonia’s Statute of Autonomy on the 31st of July, 2006, challenging 113 of the 221 articles, including the most important ones. …


However, the PP got a first member of the Court excluded from the debate and verdict on Catalonia’s Statute of Autonomy, shifting the majority towards the conservative sector. …


28th June, 2010. The Constitutional Court finally issues its verdict on the Statute of Autonomy, with a 4-year delay and manifold political interferences.

The P.P. used tricks to make sure that the court would be packed with hostile conservatives. Had the P.P. not tried to subvert a democratic agreement, arrived at by the Parliament, by means of judicial activism, Catalonia today might be as quiet as the Basque region presently is.

It was on July 10, 2010, after the court intervention, that the Catalans finally had enough.  One point one million Catalans were on Barcelona’s streets protesting.  The Catalans had learned their lesson.  The Basque, with their history of armed struggle, had gathered more rights.  Like it or not, though the Basque ETA was despicable, it seems that armed resistance spawned results.  The Catalans were taking it to the next level.

The P.P. is primarily responsible for this crisis.  There is no reason why the Catalans could not have been offered what was tendered to the Basque, especially the financial autonomy.  There was no reason why the P.P. should have sued to get so much of the agreement between the Spanish Parliament and Catalonia overturned.

To get a sense of the absurdity at play in Spain, a Spanish court overturned Catalonia’s ban on bullfighting in 2016.

The court voted 8 to 3 against the Catalan ban, finding that lawmakers from the region could not prohibit a practice that the justices said was enshrined in the cultural patrimony of the Spanish state.

We are talking about a court not defending civil rights, but rather upholding a mythical Spanish tradition that many consider animal abuse.  Does it sound as though Catalonia has any real autonomy?!

The Partido Popular has to admit that it is the author of this slide down to a disaster.  It was the P.P., not the Catalans, who subverted the Spanish government’s will, approved by the Spanish Parliament in 2006.

However, Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and the independentists have played this to the hilt.  They have taken the historic Catalan desire for independence and used political tricks to subvert democracy also.  The coalition in the Catalan parliament who want independence have nothing in common with each other but a desire to leave Spain.  This is not a coalition to build a nation on.  Frankly, the Catalans have not even prepared for such a split.  Do they even have currency printed?  The Catalan government seems to have anticipated E.U. support and was shocked when support did not arrive.

The independentistas had no clear majority in Catalonia this summer – by their own poll numbers – and they manufactured a crisis, counting on the P.P. to overreact, which the P.P. obligingly did, to garner support.  With this questionable support, Mr. Puigdemont may go to the Catalan parliament and ask for independence next week.

Two irresponsible leaders – Mr. Rajoy and Mr. Puigdemont – have created a theater of the absurd.

Mr. Puigdemont, if he has any respect for democratic principle, can halt this irresponsibility and instead offer this choice to his parliament next week.

He can acknowledge the overwhelming vote in favor independence but also acknowledge that it was not enough of a turnout to merit a democratic mandate.  He can put forth this proposal to be voted on in a few months –  enough time so that things may calm down.

IF THE SPANISH GOVERNMENT WILL NOT INTEFERE WITH A SECOND VOTE, THE QUESTION PUT TO CATALANS WILL BE:

1) DO YOU WANT INDEPENDENCE IN THE FORM OF A REPUBLIC?

2) DO YOU PREFER THE REAL AUTOMONY AKIN TO THAT OFFERED BY THE 2006 AGREEMENT BEFORE THE COURT INTERFERED?

3) THE TURNOUT MUST BE AT LEAST 67%, WITH 67% OF VOTERS FOR A SUPER-MAJORITY FOR INDEPENDENCE

This is how a vote for a matter of such gravity should be set up.  The vote in the British colonies of the states’ representatives at Independence Hall in July 1776 had to be unanimous to pass.  A simple majority is not sufficient to declare independence.  This is not a tax bill they are considering.

This would be a true choice.  It would place the responsibility with the Spanish government to allow a second vote to occur.  If the Spanish interfere with the vote a second time, it would be Spain shown as the guilty party.  A super-majority would also remove the independence vote from the purview of rabble-rousers.  Catalonia claims that it has the right to independently act, apart from the rest of Spain.  True!  But for matters this grave, it does not have the right to act with less than two-thirds internal Catalan approval.  The vote on October 1 did not provide that – not with a 43% turnout.

It would also allow the Spanish Parliament to make a genuine counter-offer of real autonomy to Catalonia.  They might resurrect the 2006 agreement.  It would be a real defeat for the P.P., and it would show the world who is truly democratic.

It would also force the independentistas to stop their grandstanding.  Nations are born not by temporary swings of popular opinion.  If the Catalans cannot vote by a two-thirds majority for independence, then there is no democratic principle that they should separate.

Both sides have abused democratic principles.  Mr. Puigdemont can rescue them next week by not unilaterally declaring independence and by acting like a statesman.

In August 2014, swaggering loud-mouthed European leaders unsheathed their Guns of August and led Europe to a disaster from which Western civilization may not yet have recovered.  Let’s hope that in Spain, cooler heads prevail.

Mike Konrad is the pen name of an American who wishes he had availed himself more fully of the opportunity to learn Spanish in high school, lo those many decades ago.  He also just started a website about small computers at http://thetinydesktop.com.

Everybody in Europe is talking about Catalonia, chiefly because everyone is staring into the abyss of what could happen in Europe if things go wrong – copycat secessionism.  It looks as though things may go wrong.  There is a small chance for sanity, and it involves both sides stepping back and pulling away from fire-breathing rhetoric.

Let’s examine at the situation.

The secret of the Catalan side is that they may not have had a clear majority vote to secede.  Yes, they claim that 90% voted for secession, but the voter turnout was only 43% of the electorate.  A Spanish court had declared the vote illegal, and those Catalans likely to vote against secession may have stayed home.  Blame part of that low turnout on the Spanish police, but it is still low for a major plebiscite.

On major issues, such as independence, it has been the practice of republics to insist on super-majorities of three fifths, two thirds, or three fourths.  While 90% sounds as though it meets such a criterion, given the low turnout, it amounts to only 39%.  To declare independence based on 39% is to subvert the historical understanding of representation.

To put it bluntly, the October 1 vote does not give Catalan president Carles Puigdemont a true mandate to declare independence.

Yes, we can blame the Spanish government for interfering.  I do not hold Prime Minister Rajoy innocent in this.  The Spanish police acted like thugs, but that does not remove the obvious objection.  Puigdemont has no democratic mandate – not with only a 43% turnout.

In June, just a few months ago, a poll taken by the Catalan government showed that most Catalans did not want independence (see page 11).  The results were 41.1% for independence, 49.4% against.  More interesting is that the percentage of independentistas had shrunk from March.  It seems that the Catalans were getting tired of Puigdemont’s grandstanding.

This crisis has been aggravated by Prime Minister Rajoy’s right-wing Partido Popular (P.P. – Popular or People’s Party) since day one.  Spain and Catalonia had reached a somewhat amicable agreement that gave Catalonia more autonomy and control of taxes in 2006, similar to the autonomy given to the Basque.  The Spanish Parliament agreed to it.

It was Prime Minister Rajoy’s P.P. that sued to get the Catalan autonomy overturned in 2006.

The People’s Party [PP] filed an appeal against Catalonia’s Statute of Autonomy on the 31st of July, 2006, challenging 113 of the 221 articles, including the most important ones. …


However, the PP got a first member of the Court excluded from the debate and verdict on Catalonia’s Statute of Autonomy, shifting the majority towards the conservative sector. …


28th June, 2010. The Constitutional Court finally issues its verdict on the Statute of Autonomy, with a 4-year delay and manifold political interferences.

The P.P. used tricks to make sure that the court would be packed with hostile conservatives. Had the P.P. not tried to subvert a democratic agreement, arrived at by the Parliament, by means of judicial activism, Catalonia today might be as quiet as the Basque region presently is.

It was on July 10, 2010, after the court intervention, that the Catalans finally had enough.  One point one million Catalans were on Barcelona’s streets protesting.  The Catalans had learned their lesson.  The Basque, with their history of armed struggle, had gathered more rights.  Like it or not, though the Basque ETA was despicable, it seems that armed resistance spawned results.  The Catalans were taking it to the next level.

The P.P. is primarily responsible for this crisis.  There is no reason why the Catalans could not have been offered what was tendered to the Basque, especially the financial autonomy.  There was no reason why the P.P. should have sued to get so much of the agreement between the Spanish Parliament and Catalonia overturned.

To get a sense of the absurdity at play in Spain, a Spanish court overturned Catalonia’s ban on bullfighting in 2016.

The court voted 8 to 3 against the Catalan ban, finding that lawmakers from the region could not prohibit a practice that the justices said was enshrined in the cultural patrimony of the Spanish state.

We are talking about a court not defending civil rights, but rather upholding a mythical Spanish tradition that many consider animal abuse.  Does it sound as though Catalonia has any real autonomy?!

The Partido Popular has to admit that it is the author of this slide down to a disaster.  It was the P.P., not the Catalans, who subverted the Spanish government’s will, approved by the Spanish Parliament in 2006.

However, Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and the independentists have played this to the hilt.  They have taken the historic Catalan desire for independence and used political tricks to subvert democracy also.  The coalition in the Catalan parliament who want independence have nothing in common with each other but a desire to leave Spain.  This is not a coalition to build a nation on.  Frankly, the Catalans have not even prepared for such a split.  Do they even have currency printed?  The Catalan government seems to have anticipated E.U. support and was shocked when support did not arrive.

The independentistas had no clear majority in Catalonia this summer – by their own poll numbers – and they manufactured a crisis, counting on the P.P. to overreact, which the P.P. obligingly did, to garner support.  With this questionable support, Mr. Puigdemont may go to the Catalan parliament and ask for independence next week.

Two irresponsible leaders – Mr. Rajoy and Mr. Puigdemont – have created a theater of the absurd.

Mr. Puigdemont, if he has any respect for democratic principle, can halt this irresponsibility and instead offer this choice to his parliament next week.

He can acknowledge the overwhelming vote in favor independence but also acknowledge that it was not enough of a turnout to merit a democratic mandate.  He can put forth this proposal to be voted on in a few months –  enough time so that things may calm down.

IF THE SPANISH GOVERNMENT WILL NOT INTEFERE WITH A SECOND VOTE, THE QUESTION PUT TO CATALANS WILL BE:

1) DO YOU WANT INDEPENDENCE IN THE FORM OF A REPUBLIC?

2) DO YOU PREFER THE REAL AUTOMONY AKIN TO THAT OFFERED BY THE 2006 AGREEMENT BEFORE THE COURT INTERFERED?

3) THE TURNOUT MUST BE AT LEAST 67%, WITH 67% OF VOTERS FOR A SUPER-MAJORITY FOR INDEPENDENCE

This is how a vote for a matter of such gravity should be set up.  The vote in the British colonies of the states’ representatives at Independence Hall in July 1776 had to be unanimous to pass.  A simple majority is not sufficient to declare independence.  This is not a tax bill they are considering.

This would be a true choice.  It would place the responsibility with the Spanish government to allow a second vote to occur.  If the Spanish interfere with the vote a second time, it would be Spain shown as the guilty party.  A super-majority would also remove the independence vote from the purview of rabble-rousers.  Catalonia claims that it has the right to independently act, apart from the rest of Spain.  True!  But for matters this grave, it does not have the right to act with less than two-thirds internal Catalan approval.  The vote on October 1 did not provide that – not with a 43% turnout.

It would also allow the Spanish Parliament to make a genuine counter-offer of real autonomy to Catalonia.  They might resurrect the 2006 agreement.  It would be a real defeat for the P.P., and it would show the world who is truly democratic.

It would also force the independentistas to stop their grandstanding.  Nations are born not by temporary swings of popular opinion.  If the Catalans cannot vote by a two-thirds majority for independence, then there is no democratic principle that they should separate.

Both sides have abused democratic principles.  Mr. Puigdemont can rescue them next week by not unilaterally declaring independence and by acting like a statesman.

In August 2014, swaggering loud-mouthed European leaders unsheathed their Guns of August and led Europe to a disaster from which Western civilization may not yet have recovered.  Let’s hope that in Spain, cooler heads prevail.

Mike Konrad is the pen name of an American who wishes he had availed himself more fully of the opportunity to learn Spanish in high school, lo those many decades ago.  He also just started a website about small computers at http://thetinydesktop.com.



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