Day: March 4, 2018

Zhee Whiz


Looking for Hate in the Wrong Places

Expanding on the growing institutional campaign to use gender-neutral pronouns, the University of Tennessee has confected up some new ones:

Students are increasingly coming to college ill prepared to do the work required, and the (overstaffed) administrations are still piddling about inventing new ways to tongue-tie pupils, ignoring that the English language – unlike, for example, Romance-based ones, Hebrew, Greek, and German – is remarkably devoid of gender specificity except for the basic pronouns, which clarify meaning.  Try this out with zhee: Tom and Mary went to school.  Zhee passed; zhee flunked out.  Who?

Not tongue-tied is the odious Louis Farrakhan, friend of many top Democrats, including Keith Ellison, members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Democratic Congressman Danny Davis, and former president Obama.

This past week, Farrakhan unleashed a ridiculous diatribe to an audience, which included one of the leaders of the upcoming Women’s March (several of whom have allied with him)…to silence from Democrats and those who find aggressions and microaggressions even in ordinary grammar:

During the speech in Chicago, Farrakhan made several anti-Semitic comments, including, “the powerful Jews are my enemy.”


“White folks are going down.  And Satan is going down.  And Farrakhan, by God’s grace, has pulled the cover off of that Satanic Jew and I’m here to say your time is up, your world is through,” he later said.

It’s impossible for me to take issue with Jake Tapper’s tweeted observation:

The difference between Farrakhan and some members of the alt-reich whose heinous bigotry has received a lot of attention this past year: Farrakhan has a much larger following and elected officials meet with him openly.

Congressman Don Young remarked this week that had European Jews been armed, they might have defended themselves and been able to save many.

The ADL responded by asserting that it is “offensive for anyone to manipulate the history of the Holocaust to score political points.”

“It is mind-bending to suggest that personal firearms in the hands of the small number of Germany’s Jews (about 214,000 remaining in Germany in 1938) could have stopped the totalitarian onslaught of Nazi Germany when the armies of Poland, France, Belgium and numerous other countries were overwhelmed by the Third Reich,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, the group’s chief executive, in a statement to The Washington Post.

Young’s statement is strikingly like Condoleezza Rice’s remarks on The View that had the people in her black neighborhood been forced to register their arms, Bull Connor would have confiscated them, and the community would have been defenseless against the Night Riders who beset them. 

And Greenblatt’s perfervid retort came in the same week we learned the leaders of Israel’s Jews had been begging for weapons to join the British in fighting off the Nazis:

Two days after Churchill assumed office, [Chaim] Weizmann published a proclamation in The Times of London that the Jewish people stood ready to assist Britain, and he proposed a Jewish force of 50,000 men.  [Ze’ev] Jabotinsky cabled Churchill directly, offering to organize an army of 100,000 from the half-million stateless Jews in the world and Jewish volunteers.  Ben-Gurion told the British there were “tens of thousands of young Jews” in Palestine eager to fight as British allies.


Ten days after these offers, Churchill directed his cabinet that the Jews in Palestine “be armed in their own defense, and properly organized as speedily as possible,” because Churchill wanted “to liberate the eleven battalions of excellent Regular [British] troops who are now tethered” in Palestine, charged with preventing Arab attacks on the Jews, and move those British battalions elsewhere, where they were desperately needed. …


Jabotinsky told the crowd that “every division may now prove decisive,” and that an army of 100,000 Jewish soldiers could be formed – “even without counting American Jews.”  There was still time, he said, for decisive changes, provided “we all remember the principle by which all great nations live … the principle which is the secret of our own Jewish people’s survival through all these centuries of torture: No Surrender.”  The Times quoted him as challenging Jewish youth throughout the world to “demand the right of fighting the giant rattlesnake.”


Weizmann, Jabotinsky and Ben-Gurion spent a total of 11 months in America during 1940, pursuing support for a Jewish army to join the fight against Hitler.  They didn’t succeed, in part because of a fractured Zionist movement; in part because of British bureaucratic resistance; and in part because much of American Jewry was worried – not without cause – about false accusations of “warmongering” and “dual loyalty” from anti-Semites such as Charles Lindbergh, Father Coughlin, Henry Ford and similar influential American figures.


What bears remembering, however, is not the result, but the heroic effort.  The 1940 campaign to assist Britain, at the lowest military moment of World War II, to join what the Zionist leaders knew was an existential fight not only for Britain but Jewry as well, and indeed for Western civilization, is an important part of the saga of the war – a little-known story from the time when the Jewish people faced their own darkest hour.

The Game of Victims and Oppressors

The pretzeling of language to fit ideas of victims and oppressors is part and parcel of the simplistic reordering of the world into victims and oppressors, noted by Victor Davis Hanson, who had a fine piece this past week in American Greatness.  Reviewing the circular firing squads aimed at Nancy Pelosi, Tavis Smiley, and the producers of Black Panther, he argues:

The concept of “disparate impact” is asterisked by the disproportional “meritocracy” of the NFL or NBA.  Yet meritocratic Asian admittances at UC Berkeley are seen as some sort of unnatural “overrepresentation,” and thus in the past were carefully and stealthily trimmed.  (Isn’t a professional sports billet considered far more lucrative than an undergraduate slot at Berkeley?)


Cultural appropriation aimed at whites is not reciprocal.  The doctrine does not absurdly mean that Latinas should not dye their hair blond, or that talented African-Americans should not become great violinists or opera singers, or that Asian actors should not play Hamlet or Lady Macbeth.  But strangely, it does mean that those who are not minorities should not play minority roles, or even adopt for their own the fashions and styles of nonwhite peoples.


We are told that the concealing and carrying of firearms should be outlawed.  Armed guards at schools only ensure greater violence.  Mace and pepper spray suffice instead of bullets.


Yet politicians, celebrities and marquee athletes require well-armed bodyguards, on the premise that in their unique cases, guns really do both deter and in extremis protect the important.  Do armed guards protect or provoke?


Post-Freddie Grey Baltimore has become a far more dangerous place for African-Americans and for small business owners – even as once oppressive and supposedly Neanderthal police became more socially aware and adopted enlightened reforms.


There are a few common denominators to all these paradoxes that overwhelm the daily news.


One, people are people, unique individuals, not monolithic cut-outs of classes, races, or religions.


Two, in comparative global terms, it is hard for anyone to be oppressed in a free-wheeling, rich, and leisured 21st-century America.  The efforts to appear so can hinge on the embarrassing.


Three, when movements, such as the identity politics core of progressivism, rely on shared oppressions, and when the categories of the oppressed in many demographic groups outnumber the available oppressors, we should expect a confused competition of grievances.


Four, victimhood cannot serve as the basis of a viable political movement.  Contemporary oppression requires a Byzantine regulatory handbook of qualifications, exceptions, and nuances to rank competing reparatory claims on society and culture.  How else to account for things like multibillionaire Oprah Winfrey being “discriminated” against in a Swiss boutique on the basis of supposedly not easily being accorded a customer’s look at a $38,000 crocodile-skin handbag?  And is such a luxury even permissible in the era of PETA.

Years ago, Sultan Knish predicted this:

The Victim Value Index is calculated based on one overriding factor: Disruptiveness. Those who are most disruptive go to the head of the line.  This can be mistaken for a “Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease” phenomenon, and occasionally in the micro it is, but in the macro it goes to the question of why progressives value minorities and for what purpose.


To be a progressive is to be committed to perpetual reform in the name of perpetual grievance for perpetual power.”

Speaking of circular firing squads, former community organizer Barack Obama’s plan for a Memorial Mesoamerican Ballgame and Basketball Court library without books is running into heavy opposition from Chicago community organizers who are using the same tactics he used against “the establishment” against him.

Looking for Hate in the Wrong Places

Expanding on the growing institutional campaign to use gender-neutral pronouns, the University of Tennessee has confected up some new ones:

Students are increasingly coming to college ill prepared to do the work required, and the (overstaffed) administrations are still piddling about inventing new ways to tongue-tie pupils, ignoring that the English language – unlike, for example, Romance-based ones, Hebrew, Greek, and German – is remarkably devoid of gender specificity except for the basic pronouns, which clarify meaning.  Try this out with zhee: Tom and Mary went to school.  Zhee passed; zhee flunked out.  Who?

Not tongue-tied is the odious Louis Farrakhan, friend of many top Democrats, including Keith Ellison, members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Democratic Congressman Danny Davis, and former president Obama.

This past week, Farrakhan unleashed a ridiculous diatribe to an audience, which included one of the leaders of the upcoming Women’s March (several of whom have allied with him)…to silence from Democrats and those who find aggressions and microaggressions even in ordinary grammar:

During the speech in Chicago, Farrakhan made several anti-Semitic comments, including, “the powerful Jews are my enemy.”


“White folks are going down.  And Satan is going down.  And Farrakhan, by God’s grace, has pulled the cover off of that Satanic Jew and I’m here to say your time is up, your world is through,” he later said.

It’s impossible for me to take issue with Jake Tapper’s tweeted observation:

The difference between Farrakhan and some members of the alt-reich whose heinous bigotry has received a lot of attention this past year: Farrakhan has a much larger following and elected officials meet with him openly.

Congressman Don Young remarked this week that had European Jews been armed, they might have defended themselves and been able to save many.

The ADL responded by asserting that it is “offensive for anyone to manipulate the history of the Holocaust to score political points.”

“It is mind-bending to suggest that personal firearms in the hands of the small number of Germany’s Jews (about 214,000 remaining in Germany in 1938) could have stopped the totalitarian onslaught of Nazi Germany when the armies of Poland, France, Belgium and numerous other countries were overwhelmed by the Third Reich,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, the group’s chief executive, in a statement to The Washington Post.

Young’s statement is strikingly like Condoleezza Rice’s remarks on The View that had the people in her black neighborhood been forced to register their arms, Bull Connor would have confiscated them, and the community would have been defenseless against the Night Riders who beset them. 

And Greenblatt’s perfervid retort came in the same week we learned the leaders of Israel’s Jews had been begging for weapons to join the British in fighting off the Nazis:

Two days after Churchill assumed office, [Chaim] Weizmann published a proclamation in The Times of London that the Jewish people stood ready to assist Britain, and he proposed a Jewish force of 50,000 men.  [Ze’ev] Jabotinsky cabled Churchill directly, offering to organize an army of 100,000 from the half-million stateless Jews in the world and Jewish volunteers.  Ben-Gurion told the British there were “tens of thousands of young Jews” in Palestine eager to fight as British allies.


Ten days after these offers, Churchill directed his cabinet that the Jews in Palestine “be armed in their own defense, and properly organized as speedily as possible,” because Churchill wanted “to liberate the eleven battalions of excellent Regular [British] troops who are now tethered” in Palestine, charged with preventing Arab attacks on the Jews, and move those British battalions elsewhere, where they were desperately needed. …


Jabotinsky told the crowd that “every division may now prove decisive,” and that an army of 100,000 Jewish soldiers could be formed – “even without counting American Jews.”  There was still time, he said, for decisive changes, provided “we all remember the principle by which all great nations live … the principle which is the secret of our own Jewish people’s survival through all these centuries of torture: No Surrender.”  The Times quoted him as challenging Jewish youth throughout the world to “demand the right of fighting the giant rattlesnake.”


Weizmann, Jabotinsky and Ben-Gurion spent a total of 11 months in America during 1940, pursuing support for a Jewish army to join the fight against Hitler.  They didn’t succeed, in part because of a fractured Zionist movement; in part because of British bureaucratic resistance; and in part because much of American Jewry was worried – not without cause – about false accusations of “warmongering” and “dual loyalty” from anti-Semites such as Charles Lindbergh, Father Coughlin, Henry Ford and similar influential American figures.


What bears remembering, however, is not the result, but the heroic effort.  The 1940 campaign to assist Britain, at the lowest military moment of World War II, to join what the Zionist leaders knew was an existential fight not only for Britain but Jewry as well, and indeed for Western civilization, is an important part of the saga of the war – a little-known story from the time when the Jewish people faced their own darkest hour.

The Game of Victims and Oppressors

The pretzeling of language to fit ideas of victims and oppressors is part and parcel of the simplistic reordering of the world into victims and oppressors, noted by Victor Davis Hanson, who had a fine piece this past week in American Greatness.  Reviewing the circular firing squads aimed at Nancy Pelosi, Tavis Smiley, and the producers of Black Panther, he argues:

The concept of “disparate impact” is asterisked by the disproportional “meritocracy” of the NFL or NBA.  Yet meritocratic Asian admittances at UC Berkeley are seen as some sort of unnatural “overrepresentation,” and thus in the past were carefully and stealthily trimmed.  (Isn’t a professional sports billet considered far more lucrative than an undergraduate slot at Berkeley?)


Cultural appropriation aimed at whites is not reciprocal.  The doctrine does not absurdly mean that Latinas should not dye their hair blond, or that talented African-Americans should not become great violinists or opera singers, or that Asian actors should not play Hamlet or Lady Macbeth.  But strangely, it does mean that those who are not minorities should not play minority roles, or even adopt for their own the fashions and styles of nonwhite peoples.


We are told that the concealing and carrying of firearms should be outlawed.  Armed guards at schools only ensure greater violence.  Mace and pepper spray suffice instead of bullets.


Yet politicians, celebrities and marquee athletes require well-armed bodyguards, on the premise that in their unique cases, guns really do both deter and in extremis protect the important.  Do armed guards protect or provoke?


Post-Freddie Grey Baltimore has become a far more dangerous place for African-Americans and for small business owners – even as once oppressive and supposedly Neanderthal police became more socially aware and adopted enlightened reforms.


There are a few common denominators to all these paradoxes that overwhelm the daily news.


One, people are people, unique individuals, not monolithic cut-outs of classes, races, or religions.


Two, in comparative global terms, it is hard for anyone to be oppressed in a free-wheeling, rich, and leisured 21st-century America.  The efforts to appear so can hinge on the embarrassing.


Three, when movements, such as the identity politics core of progressivism, rely on shared oppressions, and when the categories of the oppressed in many demographic groups outnumber the available oppressors, we should expect a confused competition of grievances.


Four, victimhood cannot serve as the basis of a viable political movement.  Contemporary oppression requires a Byzantine regulatory handbook of qualifications, exceptions, and nuances to rank competing reparatory claims on society and culture.  How else to account for things like multibillionaire Oprah Winfrey being “discriminated” against in a Swiss boutique on the basis of supposedly not easily being accorded a customer’s look at a $38,000 crocodile-skin handbag?  And is such a luxury even permissible in the era of PETA.

Years ago, Sultan Knish predicted this:

The Victim Value Index is calculated based on one overriding factor: Disruptiveness. Those who are most disruptive go to the head of the line.  This can be mistaken for a “Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease” phenomenon, and occasionally in the micro it is, but in the macro it goes to the question of why progressives value minorities and for what purpose.


To be a progressive is to be committed to perpetual reform in the name of perpetual grievance for perpetual power.”

Speaking of circular firing squads, former community organizer Barack Obama’s plan for a Memorial Mesoamerican Ballgame and Basketball Court library without books is running into heavy opposition from Chicago community organizers who are using the same tactics he used against “the establishment” against him.



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America's Got Felons


President Trump’s State of the Union address was extraordinary not only for the good news the president highlighted about our economy and more, but also for the polarized reactions of Congress on display during this nationally televised event.

The American people were treated to a glimpse of their representatives’ real attitudes and priorities as the Democrats refused to stand or even clap in recognition of improvements in our economy and tax cuts – or even in recognition of and respect for our national symbol: the American flag.

This was far worse than the coddled NFL players misguidedly “taking a knee” during the National Anthem, as if these multimillionaires had a reason to dis America.  After all, these guys just play ball – they don’t sit in the halls of Congress.

Rather than get behind those of Trump’s policies that are clearly good for America and popular with the people, the Democrats behaved like the spoiled kid who loses a game and flings the board and all the pieces in the air to wreck it for everyone else.  They threw a massive temper tantrum.  What a national disgrace!  There’s absolutely no reason for the utter lack of civility in the public square – especially not from our elected representatives.

Think about what they’re modeling for our young.  It’s cool to hate your president and display that hatred and contempt in public.

And these are our elected representatives!  It doesn’t matter that they are Democrats.  They are in the People’s House, and they are comporting themselves with a shocking lack of respect for their role and for their constituents.

Recall that polls show that 75% of Americans gave high marks to the president’s speech.  Yet nearly 50% of Congress openly viewed it with contempt.  A few did this by “boycotting” their president’s State of the Union address to Congress.  Unbelievable!  That’s tantamount to boycotting the Executive Branch of our government.

But perhaps there is a reason for the Democrats’ ill tempered wholesale rejection of the president’s uplifting and inspirational speech, as well as all things Trump.  Perhaps the stakes are personally high for many of them.  Perhaps they have something to hide.

Let’s talk about the memo.

Why were top Dems, including Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and Adam Schiff, wailing that the sky would fall if Trump released the Nunes Memo to the public?

Devin Nunes’s memo is simply a summary of an extensive congressional investigation pertaining to the issuance of FISA Court warrants that permitted the Obama administration to spy on the Trump campaign and associates of Donald Trump, during the campaign, during the transition, and even after Trump was inaugurated.

The memo outlines the fact that the FISA Court was never told that the Steele “dossier” – the entire basis for the special surveillance warrant – was paid for by the Clinton campaign and the DNC and was nothing more than completely unsubstantiated opposition “research.”  Comey himself told the president the dossier was “salacious and unverified.”  He just apparently forgot to mention that it was used as evidence for spying on Trump and his family, advisers, associates, and friends.

We now know that the DOJ and FBI colluded with the DNC and Hillary, who paid for made up “dirt” on Trump to force him off the campaign trail or out of office.  Simply put, Hillary’s pals lied to the FISA Court to get their warrants to spy on an American citizen running for the presidency, though there was no probable cause and no legitimate evidence to justify such a warrant.  Folks, this is yuuuge!

But perhaps the American people aren’t quite as stupid as Gruber or Schiff have arrogantly proclaimed.  Perhaps we can figure out who the culprits are here.  After all, we voted for Trump instead of Crooked Hillary.

In short, these top level government officials sold out their country.  They’re all guilty of high crimes.  If we add to this the felonious use of the phony “dossier” as an “insurance policy” to impeach a duly elected president, well, perhaps we can add sedition and even treason to the list of crimes committed against our nation.

Could that fact be why Rod Rosenstein reportedly threatened members of Congress who are seeking the truth?  Could it be why James Comey keeps squawking from the sidelines?  Could it be why Mueller, thought he’s found no evidence of any “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election after more than a year of investigation, is apparently hanging on for dear life, desperately indicting 13 Russians for placing bots on Facebook to “influence” the 2016 election?  Seriously?

And could it be why Susan Rice, on Inauguration Day, wrote an email to herself proclaiming that during a January 5 White House meeting, Obama insisted that his team conduct themselves “by the book”?  Many are saying this was a CYA email.  I beg to differ.  I think it is accurate.  We just have to assume that the “book” in question is Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals – the book Alinsky dedicated to Lucifer.  By the book, indeed.

Yes, friends, America’s Got Felons!

So the question now is this: what shall we do with them?  Ignore them, applaud them, give them six-figure pensions for life, or bring them to justice?

Image: William Warby via Flickr.

President Trump’s State of the Union address was extraordinary not only for the good news the president highlighted about our economy and more, but also for the polarized reactions of Congress on display during this nationally televised event.

The American people were treated to a glimpse of their representatives’ real attitudes and priorities as the Democrats refused to stand or even clap in recognition of improvements in our economy and tax cuts – or even in recognition of and respect for our national symbol: the American flag.

This was far worse than the coddled NFL players misguidedly “taking a knee” during the National Anthem, as if these multimillionaires had a reason to dis America.  After all, these guys just play ball – they don’t sit in the halls of Congress.

Rather than get behind those of Trump’s policies that are clearly good for America and popular with the people, the Democrats behaved like the spoiled kid who loses a game and flings the board and all the pieces in the air to wreck it for everyone else.  They threw a massive temper tantrum.  What a national disgrace!  There’s absolutely no reason for the utter lack of civility in the public square – especially not from our elected representatives.

Think about what they’re modeling for our young.  It’s cool to hate your president and display that hatred and contempt in public.

And these are our elected representatives!  It doesn’t matter that they are Democrats.  They are in the People’s House, and they are comporting themselves with a shocking lack of respect for their role and for their constituents.

Recall that polls show that 75% of Americans gave high marks to the president’s speech.  Yet nearly 50% of Congress openly viewed it with contempt.  A few did this by “boycotting” their president’s State of the Union address to Congress.  Unbelievable!  That’s tantamount to boycotting the Executive Branch of our government.

But perhaps there is a reason for the Democrats’ ill tempered wholesale rejection of the president’s uplifting and inspirational speech, as well as all things Trump.  Perhaps the stakes are personally high for many of them.  Perhaps they have something to hide.

Let’s talk about the memo.

Why were top Dems, including Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and Adam Schiff, wailing that the sky would fall if Trump released the Nunes Memo to the public?

Devin Nunes’s memo is simply a summary of an extensive congressional investigation pertaining to the issuance of FISA Court warrants that permitted the Obama administration to spy on the Trump campaign and associates of Donald Trump, during the campaign, during the transition, and even after Trump was inaugurated.

The memo outlines the fact that the FISA Court was never told that the Steele “dossier” – the entire basis for the special surveillance warrant – was paid for by the Clinton campaign and the DNC and was nothing more than completely unsubstantiated opposition “research.”  Comey himself told the president the dossier was “salacious and unverified.”  He just apparently forgot to mention that it was used as evidence for spying on Trump and his family, advisers, associates, and friends.

We now know that the DOJ and FBI colluded with the DNC and Hillary, who paid for made up “dirt” on Trump to force him off the campaign trail or out of office.  Simply put, Hillary’s pals lied to the FISA Court to get their warrants to spy on an American citizen running for the presidency, though there was no probable cause and no legitimate evidence to justify such a warrant.  Folks, this is yuuuge!

But perhaps the American people aren’t quite as stupid as Gruber or Schiff have arrogantly proclaimed.  Perhaps we can figure out who the culprits are here.  After all, we voted for Trump instead of Crooked Hillary.

In short, these top level government officials sold out their country.  They’re all guilty of high crimes.  If we add to this the felonious use of the phony “dossier” as an “insurance policy” to impeach a duly elected president, well, perhaps we can add sedition and even treason to the list of crimes committed against our nation.

Could that fact be why Rod Rosenstein reportedly threatened members of Congress who are seeking the truth?  Could it be why James Comey keeps squawking from the sidelines?  Could it be why Mueller, thought he’s found no evidence of any “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election after more than a year of investigation, is apparently hanging on for dear life, desperately indicting 13 Russians for placing bots on Facebook to “influence” the 2016 election?  Seriously?

And could it be why Susan Rice, on Inauguration Day, wrote an email to herself proclaiming that during a January 5 White House meeting, Obama insisted that his team conduct themselves “by the book”?  Many are saying this was a CYA email.  I beg to differ.  I think it is accurate.  We just have to assume that the “book” in question is Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals – the book Alinsky dedicated to Lucifer.  By the book, indeed.

Yes, friends, America’s Got Felons!

So the question now is this: what shall we do with them?  Ignore them, applaud them, give them six-figure pensions for life, or bring them to justice?

Image: William Warby via Flickr.



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The Rise of the Millennial Economy


Second Amendment arguments aside, would you pay $500 for a gun?  That’s about what average guns go for these days – sometimes more, sometimes less, so let’s agree on about $500.  However, what if that gun existed – just not in the physical world?  Would you pay $500 for a gun that you could only look at on your computer?

Welcome to the virtual world of online gaming.

Millions of people play online video games every day – sometimes all day!  And while the games themselves are often free, once inside, players are given the option to buy extra lives, or more weapons, or more bullets.  These “micro-transactions” are how game-developers make their money.  Players are willing to pay a buck here and a buck there to get an extra life and make it to the next level.  It’s not so much individually, but in aggregate that the developers make millions every day.

And then there are the “skins.”

Online games reward players’ successes with new guns, or new knives, or missile-launchers, all called, collectively, skins.  These weapons are better, or stronger, or maybe just a different color – and they are unique.  Moreover, not everybody who achieves a certain level in the game will get the same reward.  Developers limit the number of some prize skins, making certain models rare and coveted.

But what if you don’t need that extra purple-striped pistol?  Or better yet, what if you need a little extra cash so you can move out of your parents’ basement?

It turns out that there is an active secondary market to sell these virtual items and plenty of buyers willing to spend and show them off.  Some games have their own marketplaces built in to trade or exchange skins, with players often charging for them through payment platforms like PayPal.  There are even escrow websites that will hold a skin and collect the sale price (taking a small fee, of course), making exchanges even more secure.

How much do these rare and coveted skins go for?  You won’t believe it!

One escrow site reports an average daily trading volume of almost $250,000.  And while most items exchanged go for $20 or $30, the recent sale of a rare gun closed at $61,000!  That’s not a misprint – someone actually paid a real $61,000 to buy a bright yellow virtual rifle that doesn’t exist physically and can be used only in the game Counter Strike: Global Offensive.

Forget about the developers charging players a buck for some extra bullets.  This is the Millennial economy.

When I was in my mid-twenties, my goal was to buy a house for my family.  While most Millennials probably think that is ancient history, it really was not that long ago.  The first house I bought was $18,000 – and that was in California!  Okay, maybe that was a long time ago.  It wasn’t in a great neighborhood, but it was a starter home.  Even adjusted to today’s dollars using the consumer price index, it would still be only about $31,000.  However, the national real estate data company Zillow reports that the average starter home in California today goes for about $300,000.  What Millennial directly out of college, packing some student debt, can afford this?

People buy a home for a variety of reasons – investment returns, pride of ownership, status.   However, when a consumer can’t afford a specific good, economists tell us he looks for a less costly substitute that provides similar amounts of utility.  Enter the virtual purple-striped semi-automatic pistol.  I can’t build a house, just as a lot of videogamers can’t win the best skins.  But we can both buy what gives us status, pride, and yes…even investment returns.

With the rise of online gaming over the past several years, is it any wonder that the purchase of homes by the Millennial cohort has declined?  Priced out of buying real estate, their age group can afford skins.  Moreover, skins are a fairly decent utility substitute for homeownership.  They generally hold or appreciate in value; the owner can show them off in games online; and, depending on the skin, they communicate status.

In the Millennial economy, virtual assets are supplanting physical ones.  Now if they only had a place to sleep…

Kevin Cochrane teaches business and economics at Colorado Mesa University and is also a permanent visiting professor of economics at the University of International Relations in Beijing.

Second Amendment arguments aside, would you pay $500 for a gun?  That’s about what average guns go for these days – sometimes more, sometimes less, so let’s agree on about $500.  However, what if that gun existed – just not in the physical world?  Would you pay $500 for a gun that you could only look at on your computer?

Welcome to the virtual world of online gaming.

Millions of people play online video games every day – sometimes all day!  And while the games themselves are often free, once inside, players are given the option to buy extra lives, or more weapons, or more bullets.  These “micro-transactions” are how game-developers make their money.  Players are willing to pay a buck here and a buck there to get an extra life and make it to the next level.  It’s not so much individually, but in aggregate that the developers make millions every day.

And then there are the “skins.”

Online games reward players’ successes with new guns, or new knives, or missile-launchers, all called, collectively, skins.  These weapons are better, or stronger, or maybe just a different color – and they are unique.  Moreover, not everybody who achieves a certain level in the game will get the same reward.  Developers limit the number of some prize skins, making certain models rare and coveted.

But what if you don’t need that extra purple-striped pistol?  Or better yet, what if you need a little extra cash so you can move out of your parents’ basement?

It turns out that there is an active secondary market to sell these virtual items and plenty of buyers willing to spend and show them off.  Some games have their own marketplaces built in to trade or exchange skins, with players often charging for them through payment platforms like PayPal.  There are even escrow websites that will hold a skin and collect the sale price (taking a small fee, of course), making exchanges even more secure.

How much do these rare and coveted skins go for?  You won’t believe it!

One escrow site reports an average daily trading volume of almost $250,000.  And while most items exchanged go for $20 or $30, the recent sale of a rare gun closed at $61,000!  That’s not a misprint – someone actually paid a real $61,000 to buy a bright yellow virtual rifle that doesn’t exist physically and can be used only in the game Counter Strike: Global Offensive.

Forget about the developers charging players a buck for some extra bullets.  This is the Millennial economy.

When I was in my mid-twenties, my goal was to buy a house for my family.  While most Millennials probably think that is ancient history, it really was not that long ago.  The first house I bought was $18,000 – and that was in California!  Okay, maybe that was a long time ago.  It wasn’t in a great neighborhood, but it was a starter home.  Even adjusted to today’s dollars using the consumer price index, it would still be only about $31,000.  However, the national real estate data company Zillow reports that the average starter home in California today goes for about $300,000.  What Millennial directly out of college, packing some student debt, can afford this?

People buy a home for a variety of reasons – investment returns, pride of ownership, status.   However, when a consumer can’t afford a specific good, economists tell us he looks for a less costly substitute that provides similar amounts of utility.  Enter the virtual purple-striped semi-automatic pistol.  I can’t build a house, just as a lot of videogamers can’t win the best skins.  But we can both buy what gives us status, pride, and yes…even investment returns.

With the rise of online gaming over the past several years, is it any wonder that the purchase of homes by the Millennial cohort has declined?  Priced out of buying real estate, their age group can afford skins.  Moreover, skins are a fairly decent utility substitute for homeownership.  They generally hold or appreciate in value; the owner can show them off in games online; and, depending on the skin, they communicate status.

In the Millennial economy, virtual assets are supplanting physical ones.  Now if they only had a place to sleep…

Kevin Cochrane teaches business and economics at Colorado Mesa University and is also a permanent visiting professor of economics at the University of International Relations in Beijing.



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China: Colossus or Paper Dragon?


Is China a colossus, and will the 21st century belong to the Chinese, as many think?  Or is China a paper dragon?  Let’s see.

The impressive economic growth China has experienced in the last 40 years started in 1972 with President Nixon’s rapprochement meeting with Chairman Mao.

From that point, China’s growth went into warp drive when President Bill Clinton signed a China Trade Bill in 2001, which gave China a permanent most favored trade status.  Also under Bill Clinton, the U.S. approved China’s entry as a member into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. 

The thought behind granting China these trade privileges – and they are privileges – was that the totalitarian communist regime would mellow and move toward a more open, liberal type of democracy.  That did not prove to be the case.  As Steven Mosher, Asian expert and author of Bully of Asia: Why China’s Dream is a Threat to World Order, says, instead, the U.S. “created a monster” in building up China.  To quote him: “I think allowing China into the World Trade Organization must rank as one of the greatest strategic blunders by any great power in human history.”  This may be an overstatement, but not by much.

Looking at these events in retrospect, the Wall Street Journal called them a “transformational moment in the global economy – the beginning of a new era in globalization.”

And indeed it was, for no sooner was the ink dry on these moves than companies began relocating factories (i.e., jobs) and capital to China.  What Bill Clinton considered the last greatest legislative victory of his presidency was in fact the beginning of the hollowing out of much of America’s industrial base and an explosion in U.S. trade deficits.

That’s the history.  Today, China is the second largest economy in the world behind the U.S.  Some polls show that even Americans think China is already number one.  On top of that, China is building a modern military and seems anxious to replace the U.S. as the country that sets the norms for international trade. 

As formidable as China may appear, some see it as a paper dragon.  Each step in China’s rise was aided and abetted, and in some cases actually engineered, by the United States.  This happened by several means.  First, China’s trade with the U.S., which was key to its growth, has been asymmetric from the start.  China got far more from the agreements than it ever gave.  Not only were the formalities skewed to China’s favor, but U.S. leadership steadfastly turned a blind eye to copyright and patent infringements and blatant theft by China of American technology and trade secrets.  Bully of Asia cites our own FBI’s accounting of these thefts to be worth $600 billion per year. 

It is undeniable that for their own reasons, the U.S. financial, political, and foreign affairs elite each wanted China to succeed by means fair and foul, even if it was at America’s expense. 

America also contributed to China’s rise in other ways.  As Peter Zeihan points out in The Accidental Superpower, the China we see on maps today is an anomaly.  Geographically and historically, China is divided into three distinct regions – the north of the militaristic Han, the central part of the traders, and the southern area of secessionists.  These parts do not naturally hold together.  The different regions want different things and access to the world on different terms. 

In addition to the wealth that came with  trade, there were other American factors that have allowed these regions to coalesce into a coherent whole.  It was America’s victory in the Pacific in WWII that eliminated the main threat to China, which was Japan.  Prior to the war, Japan took whatever in wanted in China and left the hinterland scraps to the Chinese.  China gained true sovereignty only with Japan’s unconditional surrender in 1945.  And it was not only the Japanese navy that historically hamstrung China, but also European ones as well.  These too were eliminated from the Pacific, directly by the Japanese in the war and indirectly by U.S. actions in Europe afterward.

As Zeihan puts it, America “crafted the best of all worlds for the Chinese.  It eliminated the only significant military and economic rivals in East Asia.  It all but banned European influence east of India.  And it provided both the strategic freedom and economic means to attempt true Chinese unification.” 

But that’s all water under the bridge.  What about today?  The unvarnished fact is that China is still greatly dependent on America for its economic stability and even cohesion.  In the Brenton Woods world, which America implemented, the Chinese, like others, took advantage and designed their economy to be export-driven, basically aiming at the open U.S. markets.  The result: Ten to 15 percent of China’s GDP depends on exports to the U.S.  And because much of this trade is unfair, China enjoyed a continual trade surplus with America – some $275 billion in 2017 alone.  Should the U.S. decide to play hardball on trade or just merely demand that cross country-trade be fair, China’s internal stability would be shaken.  And the Chinese know it.

Also, to feed its massive export machine, China has become the world’s largest importer of a wide variety of basic materials like high-tech components, plastics, wood, food, etc., with oil being the most prominent.  The problem here is that China is hemmed in.  Its maritime routes run beside countries like Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Singapore.  If any one of these countries should become hostile, China’s shipping could be disrupted.  What prevents this from happening is not the Chinese navy, not now or in the foreseeable future.  It’s the U.S. Navy and the willingness of America to keep the sea lanes open for all.

The thing is this.  America does not have to do anything directly to harm China.  All that has to happen to shake China is for the U.S. not to become isolationist, but just to 1) adopt a diminished, a more traditional, interest in the world and 2) insist on fair trade. 

Some fear that if the U.S. demanded fair trade with China and an end to its technology theft, this would start a trade war.  But as President Trump recently said, when America is constantly running trade deficits of hundreds of billions of dollars each year, a trade war is “good and easy to win.”  Although the globalists and Chinese apologists will dispute that point, the president’s logic is hard to refute. 

And even if for some reason the U.S. continues to accommodate China indefinitely, the Chinese still face a combination of nearly insurmountable problems, ranging from China’s enormous debt to its inherent corruption and polluted environment to its unsolvable upside-down demographics.  Given all this, it is disputable that China will still exist as a recognizable entity in 30 years.

China is much more fragile than commonly believed.  It may indeed be a paper dragon.

Is China a colossus, and will the 21st century belong to the Chinese, as many think?  Or is China a paper dragon?  Let’s see.

The impressive economic growth China has experienced in the last 40 years started in 1972 with President Nixon’s rapprochement meeting with Chairman Mao.

From that point, China’s growth went into warp drive when President Bill Clinton signed a China Trade Bill in 2001, which gave China a permanent most favored trade status.  Also under Bill Clinton, the U.S. approved China’s entry as a member into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. 

The thought behind granting China these trade privileges – and they are privileges – was that the totalitarian communist regime would mellow and move toward a more open, liberal type of democracy.  That did not prove to be the case.  As Steven Mosher, Asian expert and author of Bully of Asia: Why China’s Dream is a Threat to World Order, says, instead, the U.S. “created a monster” in building up China.  To quote him: “I think allowing China into the World Trade Organization must rank as one of the greatest strategic blunders by any great power in human history.”  This may be an overstatement, but not by much.

Looking at these events in retrospect, the Wall Street Journal called them a “transformational moment in the global economy – the beginning of a new era in globalization.”

And indeed it was, for no sooner was the ink dry on these moves than companies began relocating factories (i.e., jobs) and capital to China.  What Bill Clinton considered the last greatest legislative victory of his presidency was in fact the beginning of the hollowing out of much of America’s industrial base and an explosion in U.S. trade deficits.

That’s the history.  Today, China is the second largest economy in the world behind the U.S.  Some polls show that even Americans think China is already number one.  On top of that, China is building a modern military and seems anxious to replace the U.S. as the country that sets the norms for international trade. 

As formidable as China may appear, some see it as a paper dragon.  Each step in China’s rise was aided and abetted, and in some cases actually engineered, by the United States.  This happened by several means.  First, China’s trade with the U.S., which was key to its growth, has been asymmetric from the start.  China got far more from the agreements than it ever gave.  Not only were the formalities skewed to China’s favor, but U.S. leadership steadfastly turned a blind eye to copyright and patent infringements and blatant theft by China of American technology and trade secrets.  Bully of Asia cites our own FBI’s accounting of these thefts to be worth $600 billion per year. 

It is undeniable that for their own reasons, the U.S. financial, political, and foreign affairs elite each wanted China to succeed by means fair and foul, even if it was at America’s expense. 

America also contributed to China’s rise in other ways.  As Peter Zeihan points out in The Accidental Superpower, the China we see on maps today is an anomaly.  Geographically and historically, China is divided into three distinct regions – the north of the militaristic Han, the central part of the traders, and the southern area of secessionists.  These parts do not naturally hold together.  The different regions want different things and access to the world on different terms. 

In addition to the wealth that came with  trade, there were other American factors that have allowed these regions to coalesce into a coherent whole.  It was America’s victory in the Pacific in WWII that eliminated the main threat to China, which was Japan.  Prior to the war, Japan took whatever in wanted in China and left the hinterland scraps to the Chinese.  China gained true sovereignty only with Japan’s unconditional surrender in 1945.  And it was not only the Japanese navy that historically hamstrung China, but also European ones as well.  These too were eliminated from the Pacific, directly by the Japanese in the war and indirectly by U.S. actions in Europe afterward.

As Zeihan puts it, America “crafted the best of all worlds for the Chinese.  It eliminated the only significant military and economic rivals in East Asia.  It all but banned European influence east of India.  And it provided both the strategic freedom and economic means to attempt true Chinese unification.” 

But that’s all water under the bridge.  What about today?  The unvarnished fact is that China is still greatly dependent on America for its economic stability and even cohesion.  In the Brenton Woods world, which America implemented, the Chinese, like others, took advantage and designed their economy to be export-driven, basically aiming at the open U.S. markets.  The result: Ten to 15 percent of China’s GDP depends on exports to the U.S.  And because much of this trade is unfair, China enjoyed a continual trade surplus with America – some $275 billion in 2017 alone.  Should the U.S. decide to play hardball on trade or just merely demand that cross country-trade be fair, China’s internal stability would be shaken.  And the Chinese know it.

Also, to feed its massive export machine, China has become the world’s largest importer of a wide variety of basic materials like high-tech components, plastics, wood, food, etc., with oil being the most prominent.  The problem here is that China is hemmed in.  Its maritime routes run beside countries like Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Singapore.  If any one of these countries should become hostile, China’s shipping could be disrupted.  What prevents this from happening is not the Chinese navy, not now or in the foreseeable future.  It’s the U.S. Navy and the willingness of America to keep the sea lanes open for all.

The thing is this.  America does not have to do anything directly to harm China.  All that has to happen to shake China is for the U.S. not to become isolationist, but just to 1) adopt a diminished, a more traditional, interest in the world and 2) insist on fair trade. 

Some fear that if the U.S. demanded fair trade with China and an end to its technology theft, this would start a trade war.  But as President Trump recently said, when America is constantly running trade deficits of hundreds of billions of dollars each year, a trade war is “good and easy to win.”  Although the globalists and Chinese apologists will dispute that point, the president’s logic is hard to refute. 

And even if for some reason the U.S. continues to accommodate China indefinitely, the Chinese still face a combination of nearly insurmountable problems, ranging from China’s enormous debt to its inherent corruption and polluted environment to its unsolvable upside-down demographics.  Given all this, it is disputable that China will still exist as a recognizable entity in 30 years.

China is much more fragile than commonly believed.  It may indeed be a paper dragon.



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A Nation of Children Wants a Nation of Gun Control


In the history of protests, there is probably nothing less inspiring than a high-schooler refusing to go to school.   It’s as if the children threatened not to eat their vegetables; or as if a bad Catholic, upset with the bedrock teachings of the Church, refused to go to Mass.   You can refuse any number of things, but you can’t refuse in the most fun way possible, and if you refuse your food, the response of your “oppressors” should be then don’t eat your food.   It’s your life, and should you choose to ruin it by getting skinny or playing hookey, I say best of luck to you.   If you really want to make an impression, you should douse yourself in gasoline and set yourself on fire.   That way, we’ll know you really mean it.

I’m not against children, but I am 100% against “think of the children.”   I like to think of what’s best for the grown-ups.   Whatever works best for free, honest, informed, self-reliant, and armed adults works best for their dependents, and if children are anything, they are dependent.   If they grow up into anything, it is more parents.   If you love a child, remember that the purpose of cuteness is to make sure  kids turn into adults – who in turn are in charge of making us more children.

If some kids have to suffer so that most adults can do well in this world, in most cases, I’ll throw the kids under the bus faster than you can say “lickety-split.”   You get it the other way around, and the end result is that more kids will suffer anyway, like caring more about employees than about businesses, or caring more about the entitlements of citizens than the solvency of the country.     Children are important, but no good, honest, or safe society cares first about its children.   No free republic ever survived by placing the rights of its children above the rights of their parents.   So far as I’m aware, no tyranny ever survived by placing the rights of its children above the rights of their parents.   The end result of even the Cultural Revolution, where Chinese students were encouraged to attack their own parents and professors, was murder upon murder.

In general, you craft the policy around the adults, and everything else falls into place.   The great tragedy of American society is not that we treat too many children too poorly, but that too many people were given rights without ever proving they’d advanced beyond childhood.*   Christ said the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to children “such as these.”   I don’t know how thinking like a child gets you into heaven, but I know how it can get you off the Earth (research the culinary Tide Pod).

This being said, there is no subject in the United States more childishly discussed than the one we have about gun control, and probably because at this moment, children and halfwits are the ones responsible for steering the dialogue.   There are 330 million people in the United States, and at this moment, since 2012, according to The New York Times, there have been 138 deaths by school shooting.   This amounts to 21.3 deaths per year on average – an honorable statistic in a country as populated as ours.   On the other hand, according to Forbes, there were only 31 million Americans who went to Mexico in 2016, and in that same year, we had 75 Americans get murdered while doing it – more American deaths than the total of all other countries combined.

This means that every year, four times as many people are butchered, by foreigners, on vacation, in a single country, out of a pool nearly ten times smaller than the American population.   There is no school shooting epidemic in this country.   The average student is more likely to die from slipping in the bathtub, or going on vacation, and is probably more likely to get molested by his own teacher.   If we really cared more about children’s lives, we would ban students from going to Cancún, and if we really cared enough to say not even one, and we considered how many thousands of Americans are killed by Mexicans every year, and how many kids are ruined or killed by Mexican drugs, we would kick it up a notch and ban Mexico altogether.

A little digging on the internet has yielded the fact that, even according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization allegedly against (white) racism and other forms of (white) “hate,” illegal aliens are responsible for killing a lot of Americans.   They state that between the end of 2001 and 2006, criminal aliens were 28% of our prisoners, about half of this 28% was considered illegal, and 85,000 murders were committed by our criminal population.   If we were to assume illegal aliens were equal-opportunity murderers, this would still put us at 14% of 85,000, which is 11,900 (2,380 a year), and if we considered them twice as safe as the average American, they would still be killing around 1,200 annually.   This extremely generous number is 60 times higher than the 20.3 students killed yearly in our schools, and this still fails to mention the number of people who are raped by illegal immigrants; who catch deadly third-world diseases; or, as Fox News mentions, who are killed every year by unlicensed drivers (7,500 Americans).   This last number alone is 20 per day compared with the school shooters’ 20 per year.   The latest crime statistics are not an improvement.

The problem with America is not that some people don’t care about children.   It’s that some people have no idea what is going on in the country, and that when they do have an idea, they refuse to consider the problem any further.   You put a child against “guns” – an extreme oversimplification for extremists and simpletons – and the child is more important than “the gun.”   You put a white child against a brown man, and the brown man is more important than the white child.

Jeremy Egerer is the author of the troublesome essays onLetters to Hannah, and he welcomes followers on Twitter and Facebook.

In the history of protests, there is probably nothing less inspiring than a high-schooler refusing to go to school.   It’s as if the children threatened not to eat their vegetables; or as if a bad Catholic, upset with the bedrock teachings of the Church, refused to go to Mass.   You can refuse any number of things, but you can’t refuse in the most fun way possible, and if you refuse your food, the response of your “oppressors” should be then don’t eat your food.   It’s your life, and should you choose to ruin it by getting skinny or playing hookey, I say best of luck to you.   If you really want to make an impression, you should douse yourself in gasoline and set yourself on fire.   That way, we’ll know you really mean it.

I’m not against children, but I am 100% against “think of the children.”   I like to think of what’s best for the grown-ups.   Whatever works best for free, honest, informed, self-reliant, and armed adults works best for their dependents, and if children are anything, they are dependent.   If they grow up into anything, it is more parents.   If you love a child, remember that the purpose of cuteness is to make sure  kids turn into adults – who in turn are in charge of making us more children.

If some kids have to suffer so that most adults can do well in this world, in most cases, I’ll throw the kids under the bus faster than you can say “lickety-split.”   You get it the other way around, and the end result is that more kids will suffer anyway, like caring more about employees than about businesses, or caring more about the entitlements of citizens than the solvency of the country.     Children are important, but no good, honest, or safe society cares first about its children.   No free republic ever survived by placing the rights of its children above the rights of their parents.   So far as I’m aware, no tyranny ever survived by placing the rights of its children above the rights of their parents.   The end result of even the Cultural Revolution, where Chinese students were encouraged to attack their own parents and professors, was murder upon murder.

In general, you craft the policy around the adults, and everything else falls into place.   The great tragedy of American society is not that we treat too many children too poorly, but that too many people were given rights without ever proving they’d advanced beyond childhood.*   Christ said the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to children “such as these.”   I don’t know how thinking like a child gets you into heaven, but I know how it can get you off the Earth (research the culinary Tide Pod).

This being said, there is no subject in the United States more childishly discussed than the one we have about gun control, and probably because at this moment, children and halfwits are the ones responsible for steering the dialogue.   There are 330 million people in the United States, and at this moment, since 2012, according to The New York Times, there have been 138 deaths by school shooting.   This amounts to 21.3 deaths per year on average – an honorable statistic in a country as populated as ours.   On the other hand, according to Forbes, there were only 31 million Americans who went to Mexico in 2016, and in that same year, we had 75 Americans get murdered while doing it – more American deaths than the total of all other countries combined.

This means that every year, four times as many people are butchered, by foreigners, on vacation, in a single country, out of a pool nearly ten times smaller than the American population.   There is no school shooting epidemic in this country.   The average student is more likely to die from slipping in the bathtub, or going on vacation, and is probably more likely to get molested by his own teacher.   If we really cared more about children’s lives, we would ban students from going to Cancún, and if we really cared enough to say not even one, and we considered how many thousands of Americans are killed by Mexicans every year, and how many kids are ruined or killed by Mexican drugs, we would kick it up a notch and ban Mexico altogether.

A little digging on the internet has yielded the fact that, even according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization allegedly against (white) racism and other forms of (white) “hate,” illegal aliens are responsible for killing a lot of Americans.   They state that between the end of 2001 and 2006, criminal aliens were 28% of our prisoners, about half of this 28% was considered illegal, and 85,000 murders were committed by our criminal population.   If we were to assume illegal aliens were equal-opportunity murderers, this would still put us at 14% of 85,000, which is 11,900 (2,380 a year), and if we considered them twice as safe as the average American, they would still be killing around 1,200 annually.   This extremely generous number is 60 times higher than the 20.3 students killed yearly in our schools, and this still fails to mention the number of people who are raped by illegal immigrants; who catch deadly third-world diseases; or, as Fox News mentions, who are killed every year by unlicensed drivers (7,500 Americans).   This last number alone is 20 per day compared with the school shooters’ 20 per year.   The latest crime statistics are not an improvement.

The problem with America is not that some people don’t care about children.   It’s that some people have no idea what is going on in the country, and that when they do have an idea, they refuse to consider the problem any further.   You put a child against “guns” – an extreme oversimplification for extremists and simpletons – and the child is more important than “the gun.”   You put a white child against a brown man, and the brown man is more important than the white child.

Jeremy Egerer is the author of the troublesome essays onLetters to Hannah, and he welcomes followers on Twitter and Facebook.



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