This Piece Needs No Title…

     …except possibly “Holy shit!They’re not even trying to hide it any longer:

     The owner of a New York City supermarket chain predicted the food prices will increase sharply in the coming months, with some increasing 10 percent in the next two months.

     John Catsimatidis, the billionaire supermarket owner of Gristedes and D’Agostino Foods, warned that food giants such as Nabisco, PepsiCo, and Coca-Cola will prioritize raising prices on products.

     “I see over 10 percent [price increase] in the next 60 days,” he said in an interview with Fox Business on Monday, adding that the trend will not drop “anytime soon.” Catsimatidis cited rising inflation and supply chain bottlenecks that are currently plaguing supermarkets and other retailers around the United States.

     Catsimatidis then cautioned: “I see food prices going up tremendously” because food company CEOs “want to be ahead of the curve and the way they’re doing it is they’re dropping all promotions. They are dropping low-moving items.”

     Feel the fear.

     No, it’s not just that I got very little sleep last night…or that one of my dogs has been digging escape tunnels in the back yard…or that my wife got so drunk yesterday evening that she actually left her purse, which she normally clutches so fiercely that to detach it from her would take surgery, at a restaurant. Things are really, truly going to Hell in the Land of the Formerly Free.

     Save this URL. You’ll thank me later.

***

     The causal chains are somewhat tangled, but nevertheless they’re evident to anyone with eyes that see and a mind that doesn’t automatically block out the unpleasant like Zaphod Beeblebrox’s unique “safety glasses.” To my way of thinking, the most important elements are:

  • Usurper Biden’s deliberate attempt to shut down the American oil and gas industries;
  • Gavin Newsom’s decree that no internal-combustion vehicles will cruise California’s roads after 2035;
  • The upcoming OSHA regulation mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for all companies with 100 or more employees;
  • The destruction of the dollar by unlimited federal borrowing and deficit spending.

     The first of these has raised the price of all petroleum and natural-gas products, which compels an increase in the prices of anything that requires energy to produce, or that must be moved from producer to retailer. The second has resulted in a sharp decrease of trucks and truckers available to move goods from California’s port cities to their destinations in the U.S. The third has caused millions – yes, millions — of American workers in every field of endeavor to leave or lose their jobs, bringing about a worker shortfall that has crippled the economy generally. And the fourth, by weakening the dollar, has stepped on the accelerator of price escalation, especially as regards anything imported.

     With all this, the utterly contemptible Jen Psaki has the incomparable gall to claim that the economy is getting better because “people are buying things.” There’s the giveaway, Gentle Reader. She’s either too stupid to understand even basic economics, or she’s completely corrupt and willing to purvey any lie, however bald, that will keep her in her job at the lectern. Given that she works for America’s first demonstrably senile president – great God in heaven, you can practically see the marionette strings! – I could easily believe either or both.

     There’s no more pretending that “everything will work out just fine.” The Constitutional federated republic called the United States of America is dead. The Usurpers are busily shoveling dirt into its face.

***

     I just bought a second freezer. I intend to cram it to bursting with meats, legumes, any vegetables that will survive being frozen, coffee, and whatever other edibles belong in a freezer. I figure that between my two freezers and my large pantry, I can store enough to feed us for at least a year. (I can’t eat that “survival food” crap. Too much salt for a man whose blood pressure could be used to power a moonshot.) If we’re still under the Usurpers’ thumbs a year from now, I very much doubt I’ll still be alive. Some uniformed thug – “Just doing my job, sir” – will have posed me, a retiree of reclusive ways, the choice of vaccination or death.

     In that event, I intend to take as many such thugs to Hell with me as I can. I’d consider it a service to my fellow freedom lovers. (Also, I want a decent honor guard when I get there.) If you’re similarly inclined, a few words of advice:

  • Load the shotgun with slugs;
  • Aim for the face.

     Yes, you really did just read all that. Yes, I meant every word. For now, avoid crowds, keep your loved ones close, and be well. I’ll see you on the other side.

Thoughts Rising From a Grocery Trip

I happened to stop at a Walmart yesterday (needed a lot of diverse things – shower rod, hardware, and garden). I didn’t find as much in the store that I had on the list, so I decided to pick up a few things I’d been meaning to get at a grocery.

Guys, I haven’t been that shocked in a LONG time.

The staples were just about wiped out. The kind of things that sensible people have in their pantry or freezer? Flour, sugar, coffee? Seriously depleted, particularly the generic or cheaper items. You could find some gourmet or specialty brands, but you were going to pay for them.

Overall, the prices were at least 1/3 higher than they had been a few months ago. In some cases, IF the items were available, the prices had nearly doubled.

Now, I’ve been insulated from this, because my husband loves to shop. Not just groceries, but also Dollar store type items, clothing, hardware – you name it, he loves to look for bargains. Until recently, I hadn’t been in a store for some time. The only shopping I’d done was with my budget-minded daughter, who steered me to a discount clothing store. And, a local resale shop, where I’d picked up stuff for the new house at bargain prices.

But, in Walmart, I was seeing prices that the average household was paying for basic necessities. And, it was chilling.

Not only higher prices, but things that were not available – for example, crunchy peanut butter. Basic brand-name types of creamy peanut butter were there, as were high-end brands.

But, no crunchy.

I’ll admit it – I’m your standard American – spoiled rotten with expectations of shopping abundance, choice, and prices within reach of the average person. Any shortages are short-term, and often weather or natural disaster caused.

This is a man-made, deliberate change. It has been caused by Leftists and their collaborators, and designed to break our will and ability to resist government authority.

It’s nothing new. Famine and disease have long been used as a tactic against political and ideological enemies. Some famous examples of that include the Ukranian Holodomor, the Ethiopian ‘famine’, and the deliberate starvation of enemies of the Reich. Even a dedicated Leftist, Theodore H. White, recognized the tactic when he saw it in pre-Maoist China. I read his autobiography when it first came out – you can still find used copies. I remember being surprised at his candor about his radical political beliefs. It’s a good look at the issues and forces that lay behind the loss of China to communism (slanted, but also remarkably candid at times).

You have to use caution when reading those books your enemies wrote, taking a skeptical position as to veracity and missing information. But, it does help you to get an appreciation of their viewpoint, as well as understand the seductive nature of their arguments.

I blogged yesterday on a lot of different things – COVID issues, recycling, and Buttigieg, to name a few. About once a week, I’m collecting random bits of news and ideas that caught my eye, and blogging about them. I’m not trying to “get a scoop”, just to focus on what interests me that is not particularly time-sensitive.

Three For Tuesday

     Good Morning, Gentle Reader. As the Usurper Administration, figureheaded by Joe “Gee your heir smells terrific” Biden, proceeds with its campaign to reduce the U.S. to a Third World banana republic, albeit without the bananas, we have some interesting developments for your perusal. One is massively ironic, a second illustrates the extent to which the Usurpers will go to further their agenda, and the third is of truly global import.

***

1. The American Civil Liberties Union?

     Yes, really:

     The ACLU of Virginia filed an amicus brief in the Loudoun County Circuit Court on behalf of ACLU Virginia, ACLU, Equality Virginia, Equality Loudoun, Side By Side, and He She Ze and We. The brief, filed on October 13, 2021, is in opposition to an emergency petition and preliminary injunction request filed by the Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf Mr. Cross and his fellow plaintiffs.

     Mr. Cross is a teacher in Loudoun County and is challenging Policy 8040. This policy was adopted by the Loudoun County School Board before this lawsuit was filed and provides protections to LGBTQ+ students in Loudoun County schools. The Policy includes provisions requiring teachers to use students’ gender-affirming pronouns, which is crucial to the mental health and well-being of trans and gender-expansive children. Mr. Cross spoke in opposition to Policy 8040 at a school board meeting, and refused to comply with the provision requiring teachers to use gender-affirming pronouns, arguing that this requirement violates his free speech rights. He was subsequently suspended, and he then sued to have his job reinstated. The Court ordered his reinstatement, with the Supreme Court of Virginia upholding this order. The case is now back in Loudoun County Circuit Court, with two added plaintiffs Kimberly Wright and Monica Gill, and is challenging the policy itself. Policy 8040 passed during the time Mr. Cross was challenging his suspension.

     While the teachers may disagree with the policy, they do not have the right to violate it in their capacity as K-12 teachers in the Loudoun County school system. The policy protects trans and gender-expansive students from discrimination, and necessitates equal treatment of all students in Loudoun County. We know that discriminatory practices, such as the refusal to use a student’s gender-affirming pronouns, can exacerbate gender dysphoria and harm socio-emotional development during critical childhood years. Policy 8040 ensures that trans and non-binary students can focus on their education without the added stigmatization, stress and anxiety of being misgendered by their teachers.

     Some will agree that schoolteachers may be restricted in what they can and cannot say to their students as a condition of employment. After all, on what other basis could parents prevent the teaching of Critical Race Theory? But the salient point here is that this is the very first time the ACLU has ever argued against free expression, whether in a classroom setting or anywhere else.

     Does anyone else remember Frank Collin, the American Nazi Party, and the Skokie, Illinois case?

***

2. Why The Secrecy?

     That’s what Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and I would like to know:

     Planeloads of underage migrants are being flown secretly into suburban New York in an effort by President Biden’s administration to quietly resettle them across the region, The Post has learned.

     The charter flights originate in Texas, where the ongoing border crisis has overwhelmed local immigration officials, and have been underway since at least August, according to sources familiar with the matter.

     Last week, The Post saw two planes land at the Westchester County Airport, where most of the passengers who got off appeared to be children and teens, with a small portion appearing to be men in their 20s.

     Westchester County cops stood by as the passengers — whose flights arrived at 10:49 p.m. Wednesday and 9:52 p.m. Friday — got off and piled into buses….

     On Friday night, one bus left the Westchester airport and barreled down the Hutchinson River Parkway — which is off-limits to commercial vehicles — at speeds greater than 75 mph before crossing the Throgs Neck Bridge….

     Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis expressed outrage at The Post’s findings, with a spokeswoman saying: “If the Biden Administration is so confident that their open-border policy is good for our country, why the secrecy?”

     “Why is the Biden Administration refusing to share even the most basic information about illegal alien resettlement in communities throughout our state and the entire country?” spokeswoman Christina Pushaw said.

     The Great Replacement is an essential component of the Usurpers’ Great Reset. Other components of note are:

  • The strangling of America’s energy industry;
  • The destruction of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency;
  • The use of the Pandemic Panic to force millions out of their jobs and into government dependency;
  • The alienation of America’s allies and client states;
  • The empowerment of Communist China.

     And it is proceeding unchecked and largely unmonitored.

***

3. Underground Bunker Sales Expected To Increase.

     Someone should check whether the Bidens have any stock in bunker-installation companies:

     Beijing has mocked America by saying their secret test of a 21,000mph nuclear-capable missile, which orbited the globe before returning to Earth to strike its target, is a ‘new blow to the US’s mentality of strategic superiority over China’.

     The jibe follows a report from the Financial Times, which cited five unnamed intelligence sources, said the Chinese military launched the Long March rocket in August carrying a ‘hypersonic glide vehicle’ into low orbit.

     It circled the globe before descending towards its target, which is missed by about two dozen miles, in a technological development that would overcome US anti-ballistic missile systems.

     The incident caught the US intelligence community by surprise, sources say, as it shows ‘China has made astonishing progress on the development of its hypersonic weapons’.

     One person familiar with the test said: ‘We have no idea how they did this.’

     They did it with stolen American technology. That’s China’s principal method for “advancing” in engineering of all varieties. But that’s not really news, is it? The news is rather more somber.

     The U.S. has long opposed the placement of weaponry in Earth orbit. At this time, the prospects for destroying a warhead coming straight down – the ideal trajectory for any sort of bomb – are slim to none. Existing anti-missile technology is effective in a missile’s launch and cruise phases. Once its payload enters final descent, it’s close to unstoppable. An orbiting delivery system could contrive to put its payloads in as close to a straight-down trajectory as orbital mechanics makes physically possible.

     Time was, we would have approximately twenty-five minutes’ warning of an incoming missile bombardment. That’s now down to about five minutes, with a sharply reduced possibility of averting the bombardment altogether.

     I think I’ll be calling these folks a bit later.

***

     That’s all for the moment, Gentle Reader. I have a novel to finish, and a cover artist to hector negotiate with, so I’ll probably be back tomorrow. Until then, be well.

Where Are They Now?

     People occasionally ask this question about the formerly famous who are no longer mentioned in the entertainment magazines and gossip rags. “Whatever happened to Deanna Durbin?” rises the cry. “What became of Andrea McArdle?” was heard for years after Annie finished its run on Broadway. “And what about Naomi?” is heard in certain less-populated precincts. It’s all quite natural. The disappearance of such figures is a warning to us mortals that someday our time will come. (And to those Gentle Readers who accompany me in the Boomer Generation: keep your eyes on Keith Richards.)

     Lesser creatures come and go, too, and we seldom remark on their passing as we do for the formerly famous / infamous / notorious. How much time have you invested in lamenting the disappearance of the passenger pigeon, the dodo, or the coelacanth? They hardly have an entry on my agenda. And in this lies an under-acknowledged tragedy of sorts.

     All of the above must be accorded a mention in the thoughts of those who ruminate on the inevitability of change: “And this, too, shall pass away.” But today my attention is centered on a non-living item that was once ubiquitous and has seemingly Rung Down the Curtain and Joined the Choir Invisible: the coffee table book.

     “What’s that?” I hear you cry. AHA! You don’t have any either! Perhaps you don’t even have a living room coffee table! (If you have a living room, that is.) But the glitterati of our time once made a fetish of them. Social climbers splurged on unnecessarily large apartments on the Upper East Side, just so they could have living rooms large enough for coffee tables. If you had one, to festoon it with books appropriate to your social standing was obligatory. Why, the Wall Street Journal itself has noted the cultural significance of the coffee table book! How, then, could such a totem object have slipped from our national consciousness?

     I have a coffee table book: this one.

     It’s my one and only, and I prize it greatly. But I don’t leave it on my coffee table. I can’t. My Newfs have tended to drool on it, and my cats won’t have it at all. So it sits, blatantly out of its proper place, on one of my bookshelves, waiting patiently in the perhaps forlorn hope that it will someday be returned to its place of pride.

     Perhaps all one can do is lament. But I’m not “one.” (No, my name isn’t “Legion,” either.) And so, in a display of my lofty social consciousness…and because I’m disinclined to produce anything serious today…I present the following, which first appeared at Eternity Road on January 5, 2005.

***

A Project For The New Year

     Your Curmudgeon has taken some fire, both from Eternity Road readers and from folks who know him through other avenues, for always being so deadly serious. Since he takes all criticism seriously and maunders over it interminably, often to the considerable exasperation of the C.S.O., who regularly asks him why a Certified Galactic Intellect should be concerned with the opinions of cretins, he’s decided to do something humorous this coming year.

     What sort of humor, you ask? A book, of course. Software, management, and writing are all he really knows, and it’s very hard to write a funny program or a funny performance review. So he’s decided to produce a coffee-table book.

     In case the term is unfamiliar, a coffee-table book is the sort one leaves on one’s living-room coffee table. It is unclear why one should want to do this, nor is it much clearer why a particular kind of book has evolved to fill this niche. Nevertheless, the facts are inescapable: there exist coffee-table books, they occupy places of honor on our nation’s coffee tables, and dash it all, someone has to write them, at no small investment of effort and time.

     Coffee-table books, apart from their places of honor on coffee tables, all share certain characteristics:

  • They’re physically large.
  • They’re printed on glossy stock.
  • They’re heavily illustrated.
  • They present a history or a survey of a narrow subject of interest: for example, the history of a particular river, or a survey of the work of a particular artist.
  • They’re shriekingly expensive when first offered for sale, but not long thereafter can be found on remainder tables at a deep discount.
  • They’re more often purchased to be given as presents than by the persons whose coffee tables they’ll eventually grace. Indeed, no one has admitted to purchasing a coffee-table book for his own coffee table since before World War II.
  • To persons who lack an interest in the subjects they discuss, they’re pointless impediments to getting at the cheese-and-crackers board on the far side of the coffee table.

     In recent years, the coffee-table book market has fallen on hard times. The books tend to go from first-retailed to remaindered with far greater speed than only two or three decades ago. They turn up less as presents, and are less frequently seen on the coffee tables of America’s tastemakers and trendsetters. Possibly this is a consequence of the Great Weehauken Coffee Table Disaster of February 1978, when a suburban New Jersey family, despondent over its failure to capture the pole-lamp entry, aimed at the Guinness title for most coffee-table books in a single middle-class home, and caused a tectonic subsidence that closed most of the Eastern Seaboard for a full week. (And you thought it was the snowstorm.) If so, it’s understandable; people were plenty nervous about bridges after Tacoma Narrows, too.

     Nevertheless, it is an established facet of our era that he who is willing to defy the trends will often reap a mighty reward, or lose his shirt. As your Curmudgeon has plenty of shirts he’s willing to lose…well, actually, it’s the C.S.O. who’d like to see them vanish, along with most of his shoes and all his ties, but why split hairs?…he’s decided to play for the stakes and advance boldly into this under-served market segment.

     So: the taxonomy is established, the nature of the market is confirmed, and an opportunity awaits. There’s no time to lose! All your Curmudgeon needs is a topic, and he’s narrowed it down to two:

  1. Great Water Towers Of The United States,
  2. A History of Tubular Foods.

     Eternity Road readers are invited to contribute to this Titanic undertaking. Please send your Curmudgeon pictures of significant (by your judgment) American water towers, or pictures of significant (by your judgment) tubular foods, along with your reasons for thinking they’re significant, would look well on glossy stock, and deserve space on America’s coffee tables. Everyone who provides such a picture will be credited as he wishes in the eventual publication.

     A few qualifications:

  1. If you send a picture of a water tower:
      Please include its location, its dates of active service, and as much of its history as you can amass.

    • Please do not include any excessively personal details about any ways in which you might have exploited your favorite water tower; this will be a PG-13 rated publication.
  2. If you send a picture of a tubular food:
    • Please give the name by which it’s best known, its culture of origin, a recipe for it, the format in which you first enjoyed it, and how far you’d run to avoid enjoying it again.
    • If there are historical incidents in which your tubular food figured prominently, please include those as well. However, your Curmudgeon reserves the right to edit such stories, particularly any that involve sex scandals, well known statesmen, or Tom Cruise.
  3. In either case, please include your full name, your city and state of residence, your occupation, your sex, your age, height, weight, shoe size, marital status, bust, waist, and hip measurements, your favorite song and movie, and how you feel about cats.

     Once more, dear friends: Into the breach!

***

     It seems so long ago! I suppose I was born too late after all.

Homicide Rates: Racism Or…Something Else?

     Jared Taylor has the numbers, courtesy of the FBI – and virtually no platform but BitChute is willing to host his presentation:

     The numbers tell quite a different tale from that purveyed by our mainstream media.

Warning: The Following Conversation Did Not Happen…

     …as reported here, that is:

MAJORITY LEADER: All right, why are you holding us up now?
MINORITY LEADER: The usual reason: you’re overspending, you’re doing unConstitutional stuff, and you’re weakening the country.

MAJORITY LEADER: You’ve gone along with us before. I know this bill doesn’t have as many sweeteners in it as previous ones.
MINORITY LEADER: I’ve gone along with you, and advised my caucus to do the same, when the alternative seemed worse – like when you were threatening to withhold all defense spending.

MAJORITY LEADER: A generous defense budget is included this time. Your buddies will get plenty of swag. So what’s the big deal?
MINORITY LEADER: The “big deal” is that if I let you get away with this one, my constituents will crucify me!

MAJORITY LEADER: Oh, I don’t think so. They might primary you, but you have your state party pretty well under your thumb, don’t you?
MINORITY LEADER: Well…

MAJORITY LEADER: I think you do. So in the end, it’ll come down to voting to re-elect you, or to replace you with one of us, won’t it?
MINORITY LEADER: I suppose, but I don’t want the odium for going along with your budget-busting!

MAJORITY LEADER: Alright, enough beating around the bush. What’s your price?
MINORITY LEADER: How dare you!

MAJORITY LEADER: Drop the pretense. You have a price. You just haven’t published it yet.
MINORITY LEADER: My “price,” if you like, is returning my party to majority control of the Senate!

MAJORITY LEADER: And you don’t think this bill would see to that?
MINORITY LEADER: (Stunned, momentarily speechless)

MAJORITY LEADER: By now you should know how the game is played, my friend. We alternate in power, each of us playing the “principled opposition” while in the minority, each of us gradually expanding the federal government’s power and reach, neither of us doing anything that would seriously rock the boat. We’ve already carved the country into blue and red zones, each of them safe for its owner, and a “gray zone” where we pretend to fight for the uncommitted. When we’re in the majority, we pay you guys off with appropriations you can take home to your people, and when it’s your turn you do the same for us. If we haven’t yet made enough provisions for your zone, just tell us how much more you need to go along.
MINORITY LEADER: You’re being awfully candid.

MAJORITY LEADER: This room is soundproof and is regularly swept for bugs and micro-cameras. Why do you think we always meet here?
MINORITY LEADER: I…had wondered.
MAJORITY LEADER: So what’s your price? Which states, which districts, which companies, and how much? The bill can absorb another half-trillion or so…

(Transcript ends here.)

Pearls of expression.

As Biden doubles down on the bad (yet deliberately distracting) hand of what was hoped to be an optically humanitarian policy of vaccine mandates, the masses are getting restless as well as fired…

Solution?

Criminalize the non-consenting as anti-vaccine, anti-science or anti-American “flat-earthers” while denying open discussion on such otherwise relevant topics as basic math, constitutional law, calm science or individual rights…

Meanwhile, those who won’t tow [sic] Biden’s increasingly incoherent mandate (or Don Lemmon’s always coherent ignorance) are losing jobs and/or [being] forced to prioritize (in a Jeffersonian way) individual liberty over financial security.[1]

Choice stuff. You can cut the censorship with a knife these days. These days of Orwellian propaganda and MSM utter [garbage].

As an aside, to not a few people the proper spelling of “lose” has become one of the great mysteries of our time. It’s a relatively recent phenomenon it seems to me but maybe it’s just because skulking around the internet, as I do, exposes me to a great deal of writing that has not seen the eyeballs of any editor. Error correction is also the source of much whoa, it’s true, but I’m not sure that explains the prevalence of this particular mistake.

Coming up on the outside is the difficult task of spelling “toe” as in “toe the line.” Anyone who’s ever seen a formation of troops must surely be able to guess that the phrase connotes obedience to authority, conformance to a standard and not towing anything. But no.[2]

There’re the perennial stinkers of lie/lay, there/their/they’re, criterion/criteria, phenomenon/phenomena, infer/imply, and the dreaded “there’s” plus plural noun of your choice, the incorrect use of which words alerts me to the possibility that the conclusion that the writer or speaker has reached has been arrived at by a process involving but casual observation, little research, limited reflection, and intermittent attention to the rules of logic.

Get the small stuff wrong and I should trust your larger point? is my basic thought here.

Notes
[1] “Distraction As Policy While Our Economic Rome Burns.” By Matthew Piepenberg, ZeroHedge, 10/16/21.
[1] If I’m going to confer the honor of a “Pearls of Expression” designation on our excellent author here I’m just going to decree that I know he knows better.

When Good Figures Trump Bad Facts

     I’m beginning to think there’s room in the media universe for a publication, notionally titled The Daily Outrage, which merely catalogues the many horrifying stories that festoon the Web. There have certainly been enough of them lately. The brutal treatment accorded the January 6 Capitol protestors, capped by the murder under color of law of Ashli Babbitt, should receive front page / above the fold treatment. The destruction of the American energy industry by Presidential decree deserves a six-page feature article. But topping all the rest in this Year of Our Lord 2021 is the Loudon County, Virginia School Board’s attempt to conceal the restroom rape and sodomy of a teenage girl by a “gender-fluid” boy in a skirt:

     The coverage, as horrifying as it is, fails to emphasize the motivation that drove Loudon County educrats in their campaign to hush up this brutal crime. At the now-infamous June 22 school board meeting that elevated the incident from an “ordinary outrage” to something with genuine “full stop / don’t touch that dial” power, the school board literally boasted that it had no record of any sexual assaults having occurred in its demesne. This, while angry father Scott Smith was literally relating the facts of the incident to a mesmerized gathering and demanding to know why it had been covered up.

     It developed that the Loudon County schools had concealed more than that one incident:

     Loudoun County Public Schools did not record multiple known incidents of alleged sexual assault in schools dating back several years, despite a law that requires statistics about school safety incidents to be reported to the public and which includes provisions holding school superintendents personally liable for violations, a Daily Wire review of public records found.

     After The Daily Wire raised the discrepancy with the Virginia Department of Education, VDOE spokesman Charles Pyle said that “VDOE is reviewing the discipline, crime and violence data submissions of Loudoun County Public Schools and is in communication with LCPS to determine whether the division’s reporting is accurate and whether the division is in compliance with state and federal law.”…

     The issue with missing sex assault statistics in Loudoun is not limited to the latest case, raising the prospect that untold numbers of sexual assaults and other infractions have gone unreported.

     In October 2018, in a case that was widely reported by the media at the time, three football players at Tuscorara High were arrested and charged with sexual assault. A source told local media that it’s believed a younger player was “held down by teammates who inserted objects into the victim” in a locker room. A spokesperson for LCPS said at the time that “the case will be subject to disciplinary action.” The annual report for Tuscorara that year reported zero instances of sexual offenses against students.

     In another report, Scott Smith alleged that he and his daughter had been told to “keep quiet” about the assault – that it was their only hope of “justice.”

     But more salient than that is that for Smith to keep quiet was essential to the Loudon County schools’ retaining their record (?) of zero sex assaults. Was there money at stake? Unclear. But the “zero sex assaults” canard was deployed at the June 22 school board meeting as a “refutation” of Smith’s accusations.

     In other words, the facts were bad, but just look at these beautiful figures!

     As a side issue, the nation’s “trans activists” are determined that this incident not be used to discredit them or disparage their cause. “The predator transgender does not exist!” was openly proclaimed at the June 22 school board meeting. And all swans are white, eh?

     At this point it should not be necessary to say this, but as I’m…me, I shall say it anyway:

They who control the “public” schools are entirely uninterested in educating or protecting your children. Their raison d’etre is not to prepare your kids for later life, but to propagandize them into conforming to the Left’s view of existence and enlist them in its various pet causes. As for protecting your children, whether from outside threats or from one another, the record speaks for itself.

     Parents of minor children who close their eyes to these horrors, insisting that “nothing like that could ever happen at my children’s school,” will pay for it. Indeed, we will all pay for it, as surely as the Sun will rise in the East tomorrow.

Your Most Informative Two Minutes Of The Day

     This little video will tell you everything you need to know about the “vaccines” being pushed upon us for COVID-19:

     Told you so!

Systemic Claptrap

     [NOTE: This will be a linkless piece. Either you’ve been keeping up with the news, in particular the developments in left-wing agitprop, or you haven’t. The former group will know what I’m talking about and therefore will need no links. The latter might as well play Solitaire. — FWP]

     Among the highest contributions of the late Sir Karl Popper was his work on falsifiability as a criterion of quality in a proposition about cause and effect – i.e., about “how things work,” the meat and potatoes of science. In brief, to be taken seriously as a potential explanation for some phenomenon, a hypothesis must be objectively testable, with at least some of the possible outcomes of the test proving it false. The hypothesis must be formed so that a test – a prediction of an objectively observable outcome – is possible. If the prediction fails, the hypothesis has been falsified. If a hypothesis is stated in such a way that it cannot be falsified, Popper argued, neither can it be verified. It’s valueless as a statement of causality.

     “Thinkers” with theories that by design cannot be falsified were made furious by this. It blasted their pet theories out of the realm of science and into the domain of faith. They argued against Popper’s contention, often by claiming that truly objective tests of a worthwhile hypothesis are impossible. Nevertheless, Popper’s falsifiability criterion is regarded today as the cornerstone of all legitimate investigation.

     Yet even today there are persons advancing theories that are unfalsifiable by design. The one that’s received the most popular attention lately is “systemic racism.”

     In simple terms, “systemic racism” is a proposed explanation for the statistical differences in various categories between the Negro race and the others. As statistical aggregates, Negroes have not done as well educationally, economically, or socially as Whites. “Civil rights” laws and other statutes intended to counteract deliberate racial discrimination against Negroes have had little influence on those differences. Affirmative action, Head Start, school lunch programs, and so forth have all failed to produce the improvements their proposers expected from them.

     The sole as-yet-unfalsified hypothesis about the causes – i.e., a statistical difference between the races in intelligence, work ethic, aggression, and law-abidingness – is displeasing to the race-hustlers of our time. It cuts the legs out from under their ambitions. Therefore, they proposed that racial discrimination is literally embedded in the fundamental structures of America’s institutions, practices, and customs: i.e., systemic. Moreover, this “systemic racism” is uncorrectable for an appalling reason: the creation and organization of those institutions by Whites. Nothing can be done for the Negro without first “getting Whitey out of the way.”

     But the “systemic racism” hypothesis is unfalsifiable. No imaginable event or outcome, starting from any imaginable initial conditions, would constitute a disproof of the thesis. Thus, while it is safe from being disproved, it is also impossible to confirm by empirical results as long as Whites continue to be the largest American demographic cohort. By the assumptions built into the “systemic racism” hypothesis, Whites’ mere presence in these United States guarantees that it cannot be falsified. It’s an article of faith, quite as much as my belief in God.

     The point of “systemic racism,” of course, is to create grounds for massive governmentally imposed discrimination in favor of Negroes over Whites. Its proponents argue for this on the grounds of “equity:” achieving the equal outcomes that the racism supposedly built into the foundations of our organizations and institutions makes impossible. All our conceptions of individual rights must give way to the drive for “racial justice.” Freedom must be relegated to the dustbin of history.

     That’s the consequence of accepting the “systemic racism” faith. Mature Whites who want only to be left alone and in peace are unlikely to accept it. But those for whom power over others is the Holy Grail think it’s a dandy idea. That’s why it’s being promoted in the government-run schools. As a side effect, it deflects attention from why those schools are no longer worth a damn as educational institutions.

     Other angry activist groups see the “systemic” approach as valuable to their own causes. We will soon see protests about “systemic patriarchalism,” “systemic heterosexualism,” “systemic cisgenderism,” and whatever other causes manage to form a compatible bludgeon-phrase. Success always inspires emulation.

     But as I said recently, success also breeds failure. Americans generally happy with “the way things are” are no longer vulnerable to imputations of unearned guilt. We’re growing calluses over our sensitivities. The consequences won’t always be just or pleasant.

     The late Walter Williams argued that racism is only important when it involves a denial of rights. As such denials are well in the past, Williams contended that what remains of racial attitudes and preferences are, if not entirely harmless, nevertheless not correctable by law without doing even greater harm. Sadly, his reasoning has not received the attention it deserves…and who will ultimately be saddest remains to be seen.

The Vampire And The Caretaker

     [For today I have an agenda that strongly resembles chattel slavery, so have a short story. I wrote it just after seeing 30 Days of Night. It’s the story that gave birth to Evan Conklin, the co-protagonist of Antiquities. — FWP]

***

     Gavin’s alarm clock buzzed with its usual peevish insistence. He cracked an eyelid, noted the hour and the pervading darkness, and pulled the covers over his head, hoping against hope that it wasn’t really his least favorite morning of the week yet again.
     It was not to be. Within seconds came his father’s usual sharp knock.
     “Come on, son.” Even at three-thirty in the morning, Evan Conklin always sounded as relaxed and jovial as a man who’s just finished a fine meal in the company of his best friends. “We’ve got work to do.”
     Gavin grumbled an obscenity and flung back the bedcovers with a sweep of his arm. The winter chill was upon him at once, singing along his spine loudly enough to make his teeth chatter. He slapped at the alarm clock with one hand while he groped for his robe with the other and hurried off to the bathroom for a shower and shave.
     Gavin couldn’t linger over his toilet if he was to set out at the appointed hour. Evan allowed him to sleep half an hour later than he allowed himself. It was hurry, hurry, hurry from the moment his feet touched his bedroom floor to the moment he buckled himself into the passenger seat of their car. The work, his father explained more than once, would not permit it.
     Their destination was only a few miles away, but in the wee-hour blackness of a continental New York winter it seemed like an hour’s ride. It was long enough for Gavin to fall back to sleep, but he didn’t permit himself. One awakening per morning was more than enough. He forced himself to full alertness, stretching out his lower back, loosening the muscles in his arms, hips, and legs, and working his lungs open by steadily deepening his breathing. His father merely drove and said nothing.
     Our Lady of the Pines was completely dark. Evan pulled a ring of keys from his coat pocket, thrust one into the lock that had only last spring been installed in the tall oaken doors, and shepherded them inside, flipping light switches as he went. The nave of the church blossomed into brightness. Evan headed directly for the mop closet, while Gavin went to fetch the vacuum cleaner.
     Gavin had almost finished vacuuming the little church in preparation for the early Mass when the vampire fell upon him.

***

     The creature was tall and evil of aspect. Its grip was cruelly tight. Its breath upon Gavin’s neck stank of ordure and rotting flesh. Despite its form, it was hard to believe that something so foul could once have been a man.
     It had him at its mercy, yet it did not strike. Its attention was fastened upon his father, who stared from the altar steps, mop dangling from his hand.
     “Well?” the creature snarled. “Aren’t you going to plead for mercy? Aren’t you going to offer me your blood in place of your son’s? It’s customary, you know.”
     Evan smiled slightly. “No need.”
     “Oh? You’ll concede me your son’s life if I agree to spare yours, then?”
     Gavin squirmed in terror, but the vampire’s grip was inescapable. Evan shook his head. “Not at all. You won’t be killing anyone this morning.”
     The vampire cackled. “Really? How do you plan to stop me?”
     “I don’t.” With his eyes, Evan indicated the crucifix suspended above him. It evoked a snort of derision.
     “Yet you see that I am here, in the heart of your imaginary God’s house where I’m not even supposed to be able to enter, doing as I will with your boy.” Gavin shuddered as the creature’s talons ruffled his hair. “He looks a tasty morsel. I expect I will enjoy breaking fast more than usual this morning.”
     His father’s gaze remained perfectly serene. “Go ahead, then. Feed on him.”
     A stillness forged of cold iron descended upon the church. Nothing moved nor stirred.
     “Well?” Evan said. “What are you waiting for?”
     The vampire did not respond.
     “You have your victim,” Evan pressed. “He’s helpless in your grip. You know I can’t stop you. Why haven’t you struck him?”
     “What makes you so sure I won’t?” the vampire snarled. It crushed Gavin to itself with lung-emptying force, and he gasped in pain.
     “It’s perfectly simple,” Evan said. “You won’t because you can’t. You don’t really exist.”
     “What?” the vampire roared. “I stand here in your holy place, your son my helpless captive, mocking your Savior as the phantasm you take me to be. I hold your boy’s life in my arms, and you deny my existence with such ease?”
     “Of course,” Evan said. “If God is real, then you are not. A just God would not permit the existence of a creature that could suck the soul out of a man’s body and subject him to eternal torment, he having done no wrong of his own free will. And God exists. Therefore, you do not.”
     The vampire’s grip loosened, and Gavin’s fear was tinted with puzzlement.
     “You see me before you,” the creature said slowly. “You hear my voice and smell my odor. Your son feels my claws upon his flesh. Yet you refuse to believe in me, preferring your faith in a being you cannot see, hear, smell, taste, or touch. What gives you such confidence in your delusion, in the face of mortal peril?”
     “It’s quite simple,” Evan said. “The characteristics assigned to your kind contradict all right and reason. Such creatures could not exist without destroying themselves. In a word, you are implausible. No, wait,” he said. “Not implausible; impossible. A creature of supernatural strength and speed that feeds on human blood, yet cannot endure the light of day? A creature that converts its prey into competitors, ensuring both a geometrically increasing number of predators and a dwindling supply of fodder? The laws of nature as God wrote them literally forbid you to exist.”
     Gavin twisted again, and broke free of the creature’s grip. He stumbled back and gazed upon the thing. But he could not reconcile what his eyes saw with the superhuman monster that had held him helpless a moment before. It seemed to have become insubstantial, ghostly, a mere appearance projected on the screen of reality by some unseen mechanism.
     “You truly believe this?” The vampire’s voice had fallen to a whisper.
     Evan Conklin said, “I do so believe.”
     And the thing faded from sight.
***

     Gavin awoke in a tumult of fright. He could not remember every detail of the dream that had catapulted him from slumber, but the overpowering sense of helplessness and terror, of being at the mercy of something merciless that no human strength could oppose, still pulsed within him. He sat up, switched on his bedside lamp, and breathed as slowly and deeply as he could manage, struggling to calm himself.
     His door opened slowly. His father’s head poked out from behind it.
     “Everything all right, son?”
     Gavin nodded, unwilling to trust his voice. Evan entered and sat beside him on his bed.
     “Bad dream?”
     Gavin nodded again, and Evan grinned.
     “I know how rugged they can be. I used to have some pretty vivid ones, at your age.” He rose and made for the door. “A shower will help. We’ll hit the diner after Mass.”
     Gavin extracted himself from his bed and plunged into his Sunday morning ritual. When he’d buckled himself into the passenger seat of his father’s car, and Evan had backed them out of the driveway and onto Kettle Knoll Way, he said, “Dad? Do you ever…doubt?”
     “Hm? Our faith in God, you mean?” Evan kept his eyes on the dark ribbon of road unwinding before them.
     “Yeah.” Gavin braced himself for the answer. What he got was not what he expected.
     “Now and then,” his father said. “It’s hard not to doubt something you can’t see or touch. But faith isn’t about certainty. It’s about will.”
     “So you…will away your doubts?”
     Evan chuckled. “That would be a neat trick, wouldn’t it?” He pulled the Mercedes Maybach into the small side parking lot of Our Lady of the Pines, parked and killed the engine. “No, I simply command myself to do as I know I should do. Faith is expressed just as much by our deeds as by our words. As long as I can consistently act from faith, I can keep my grip on it, regardless of my doubts.” He nodded toward the unlit church, barely visible in the darkness. “You might say that’s why we’re here.”
     Gavin marveled. “And all this time I thought it was because the parish was too poor to pay for professional cleaning staff.”
     That brought a snort and a guffaw. “Get serious. Though the way you vacuum, I don’t wonder that Father Ray would rather have our money than your labor. No, it’s that hiring your chores done distances you from them. You can’t afford to do too much of that if you want to remain connected to life. I pay a cleaning lady to look after our house, but doing this for the parish keeps us involved in parish life, and mindful of…well, of a lot of things.” He cuffed his son affectionately. “Let’s get moving. We’re already behind schedule.”

==<O>==

     Copyright © 2010 Francis W. Porretto. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

Media Strategies And Tactics

     “Your enemy is your teacher.” – Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game

     There’s vast insight in those five words…and most people miss it completely. How is your enemy your teacher? His objectives are antithetical to yours. Surely he isn’t trying to teach you how to beat him! And yet, in a combat situation, he’s the best teacher you could possibly have.

     Allow me a very brief snippet from one of my own novels:

     “My mentor liked to say that success breeds failure. You tend to repeat your old, successful moves because they worked, while your enemy is developing a new one to clobber you with. I guess he had a point.”

     Your enemy, if he’s at all intelligent and observant, will remember what you’ve done in the past that’s succeeded in thwarting him. He’ll study those moves until he comes up with a countermeasure – and so also must you do with his previously successful tactics.

     We in the Right have railed against the Mainstream Media until we’re breathless and hoarse. Yet we’ve learned relatively little from them. What does that say about our intelligence and percipience?

     It’s time to change that.

***

     When the two-way World Wide Web first appeared, it was mainly a retailing mechanism plus a way to popularize jokes. It didn’t look as if it would amount to much. But the explosion of personal sites – mostly “blogs” – made a huge difference in the transmission and preservation of information and opinion. At peak, there were over 57 million blogs, each of them purveying a particular viewpoint and a selection of items to ponder.

     The wild popularity of the blogging medium caused the barons of the media to sit up and take note. Their control of information was being shaken by the new medium. In particular, they could no longer count on being able to suppress a story their editors disliked. They had to come up with counter-tactics…and they did.

     Their counterattack was multi-pronged:

  • A campaign against “fake news;”
  • The emergence of supposed “fact-checkers;”
  • Cosmetic broadening of op-ed voices: the “token conservative;”
  • Alliances through which to share emphases and preferred modes of expression.
  • A new approach to news obfuscation: a deluge of stories in which casual readers would be lost.

     The old method of restricting coverage of events that cross-cut their preferences remained in the media’s playbook, but coupled to the “deluge” tactic. The combination has proved unusually effective, even synergistic. With hundreds, even thousands of ever-changing “news items” coming at you continuously, how could you possibly retain enough to know which ones are important?

     Many news consumers simply stopped reading and watching. Others developed “focuses:” particular areas of interest to which they paid the greater part of their attention, allowing the rest to pass them by with a glance. Focus can be valuable…if the thing focused on is itself valuable. However, in many cases the focus was on some variety of entertainment. The consequences to date have been mixed, with an edge for the mainstream media.

     The rise of Facebook and Twitter further assisted the media by reducing the desirability of the blogging medium. After all, blogging requires expense and work. It’s so much cheaper and easier to use Facebook, where you can follow others you find simpatico and ignore the rest. For those whose thoughts could be compressed into 140 characters, Twitter provided an even easier method of communication. The blogs dwindled almost as swiftly as they’d arisen.

     The mainstream media quickly formed a covert alliance with the masters of Facebook and Twitter. It proved most salutary…for them.

***

     We haven’t yet learned much from our enemy. Still, there’s time. One of the most important things to study is the “deluge” tactic. It’s been remarkably effective at indirectly suppressing widespread consciousness of developments that the media would prefer we not think about. With relatively few blogs remaining, and those hard pressed to gain attention from significant numbers of readers, important stories are getting less attention than they deserve.

     One of the major weapons in the Right’s arsenal is the ability to keep important stories alive. Consider this item, which ought to have enraged the entire country but is being deluged out of general attention:

     A parent who was arrested during a June school board meeting in Loudoun County, Virginia, is accusing the district of trying to cover up an alleged bathroom sexual assault by a gender-fluid individual against his daughter in order to further its transgender rights agenda.

     Scott Smith was found guilty of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest in August after he was filmed being dragged by police from the Loudoun County School Board meeting on June 22. He was sentenced to 10 days in jail, all suspended, contingent on a year of good behavior, Loudoun Now reported at the time.

     Smith’s image went viral among left-wingers as an example of parents run amok, and the National School Boards Association cited his arrest in a letter last week requesting the Department of Justice to provide federal law enforcement to respond to an increase in violence against school officials across the country. Attorney General Merrick Garland later pledged to have the Department of Justice and the FBI investigate harassment of school board members.

     Now, Smith says there’s much more to his story, telling The Daily Wire that his behavior at the June 22 meeting stemmed from an incident weeks earlier at his ninth-grade daughter’s school, Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn, in which he said a boy wearing a skirt entered the girls’ bathroom and assaulted his daughter on May 28.

     “We can confirm a May 28, 2021 case that involved a thorough 2-month-long investigation that was conducted to determine the facts of the case prior to arrest,” the sheriff’s office told Fox News. “This case is still pending court proceedings. The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office is not able to provide any documents that pertain to a pending case.” The sheriff’s office confirmed that the case involved sexual assault.

     All juvenile records are sealed, but Smith’s attorney Elizabeth Lancaster told The Daily Wire that the boy was subsequently charged with two counts of forcible sodomy, one count of anal sodomy, and one count of forcible fellatio.

     An immense amount of attention has gone to “transgender rights.” Oughtn’t this development to receive a similar amount of attention? Is it part of a developing pattern or a “one-off?” Compare media coverage of the event with the bias the media show toward stories of anti-Muslim “hate crimes” and away from stories about Islam-powered atrocities. See the parallels there?

     A week from today, how many Americans will remember that Scott Smith and his sexually violated daughter exist?

***

     One of the most admirable figures in the neojournalistic environment is writer and vlogger David Rubin. This recent interview with Sara Carter is a noteworthy demonstration of his acuity and courage:

     Author and pundit David Rubin warned that the leftist media is getting further and further from the truth lately. Soon, Americans will not know what’s true and what isn’t. Rubin talked about the future of media on the latest episode of the Sara Carter Show….

     “That chasm between what we can now expose and what they show us, that has gotten so wide. That’s what I’m worried about,” Rubin said. “Because everybody’s sort of falling into the space between those things now where it’s like, we don’t know what’s true anymore.”

     “I think there was this elitist belief, not that they weren’t truthful,” Carter said. “I think that in their own way, they become this elitist group of people that believe they know what’s appropriate for the American people.”

     Rubin is entirely correct. Much of his work has covered significant figures in the Right, what they truly believe and are working toward, and how those things differ from what the media have been promulgating. However, the most important thing about Rubin is his dedication to genuine objectivity: to let events and people speak for themselves. He maintains that there is an entirely objective reality – “what’s true” – and that the mission of the true newsman is to report it.

     We in the Right “should” share that attitude. It’s integral to the rest of our convictions. But to return to the central point: We must be aware of the strategies and tactics the media has used in its victories against us, and we must use the information. In particular, we must find the important stories, the true outrages that deserve to be spread far and wide, and hammer them home so relentlessly that they cannot be downplayed or “deluged” away from popular attention.

     Learn from your enemy. It’s his gift to you.

We own you.

At the same time, Treasury Secretary Yellen insists the IRS needs to step up, inspecting all transactions over $600: wouldn’t a central-bank digital currency make it easier, he asked, recognizing a Trojan horse when he sees one? Yellen also admitted in an interview that the $600 mark is not where tax evasion is happening. That’s in the Pandora Papers which, just as I expected, are fading from public view as rapidly as all the other piles of steaming elite malfeasance elephant-dung in the room.[1]

$600 might cover my weekly alcohol payment but, maybe it’s just me, it seems like the transaction is a private thing. The Fourth Amendment provides that

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

And last I heard that hadn’t been repealed. Pinky swear.

To me, my bank transactions seem as much a part of my “papers and effects” as anything in my file cabinet or under the mattress but the lawyers who work for the IRS and the Congress seem to think that legislation trumps the clear provisions of the Constitution. I’m fine with the “no expectation of privacy” approach to interpretation of the Fourth Amendment but I bristle at the thought that a letter I seal in an envelope and deposit in the mail requires the government to show probable cause before it can get a search warrant to open that envelope yet an email I send has no such protection because I have no expectation of privacy because it’s in plain text and can be read by technicians at every node of the internet on its way to delivery if they have a mind to do so.

Really? A Supreme Court that had any kind of hot anger about infringements on our liberties would find that the internet is the envelope and that the mere possibility of a technician along the way deciding to randomly dip into the hourly flow of billions of emails and out of boredom or idle curiosity pick out one email to read is not enough to entitle the government to argue that I had no expectation of privacy in the message after I hit “send.” The technician and any other person with access to the guts of internet could easily be deemed to have the same right to read, extract, deliver or report what is in my message as my mailman, USPS truck driver, or clerk have, to wit, none.

Similarly, the fact that my bank records are in digital form in the custody of the bank in no way transforms them into hard copy records that I nailed to every tree down mainstreet for public inspection. Clearly this $600 threshold proposed infringes on a highly private matter and the clear language of the Fourth Amendment didn’t get deep sixed just because the world went digital in a big way.

Well, the Supreme Court has groveled at the feet of big government ere since as witness its slobbering approval of a grotesque transformation of the federal government into a monstrous, untouchable juggernaut. So no help from that quarter most likely. Instead, we’ll get a clump of digital age haruspicy from the chin strokers. A giant load of more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger BOHICA flapdoodle that comes with a rechargeable 200V battery. Obey, suckers!

At Gettysburg, Lincoln said we the living highly resolve that the nation “shall have a new birth of freedom.” It seems like what we got was a Long March to tyranny and servility where piss ants infest the Congress, the Court, the executive branch, and most state governments and delight in the fleecing and oppression of the people.

Notes
[1] “Rabobank: Today What Is Passing Is The Glorious Lie That Inflation Was Transitory.” By Michael Every, ZeroHedge, 10/13/21 (emphasis removed).

“A Decent Place To Live”

     Fairly recently, a dear friend became troubled about the way his neighborhood was changing. He was reluctant to speak of it at first, because it involved the anthropological and sociological third rail of American public discourse: race. Several homes near him had recently been purchased by Negro families. After that, several more homes in the neighborhood went on sale. My friend was alarmed, as he saw an influx of black families as destabilizing to what had been a peaceful, safe environment for his wife and children.

     I agreed with him. Even prosperous, seemingly stable black families can bring with them the problems for which their race is known: noise, disruptive behavior, drug abuse, high traffic of nonresidents into and out of the neighborhood, fights and petty crime. The problems arrive with the youth of their race. Many of the same phenomena accompany the arrival of Hispanic families.

     The above are established facts. Charles Murray has put hard numbers to them in his recent book Facing Reality. If my friend wanted to secure his family and home against a degradation in their quality of life, he would have to move. He was reluctant to do so, as it would involve accepting new debt, but in the end he saw that it was the best course.

     Which brings us to today’s topic.

***

     Among the mechanisms prosperous communities have used in attempting to secure themselves, zoning is preeminent. A neighborhood that excludes all but residential properties on large lots has guaranteed that anyone moving into it will at least possess the financial wherewithal to do so. The desirability of the neighborhood will then make the price of such lots high. The exclusion of multiple-family structures raises another significant barrier to entry.

     So-called minority-rights groups have attempted to pierce the barriers created by zoning with “lawfare.” To this point, they’ve been largely unsuccessful. However, the Left is attempting a Samson-smash of the walls around such neighborhoods by outlawing single-family zoning:

     [In Virginia,] in the midst of the high-stakes McAuliffe vs. Youngkin race for governor, the conservative group Frontiers of Freedom Foundation is running an ad that highlights Terry McAuliffe’s support for Joe Biden’s plans to undercut single-family zoning.

     The ad, which I found powerful, reminds voters that attacks on local control of zoning can come from states as well as the feds. In fact, this has happened in California which recently abolished single-family zoning. The anti-McAuliffe ad pointedly reminds Virginia voters of this news from California.

     As commentator Paul Mirengoff notes:

     Few issues matter more to voters than the character of their neighborhoods and the character of their schools. The second issue — schools — has become a high-profile one. Maybe now the first one — neighborhoods — will come into prominence.

     Possible – but expect massive blowback in the form of racism-shouting and claims of “discrimination” and “exclusion.” As it has become an act of extreme courage to reply to such attacks by saying “You bet your ass I want to exclude your kind. You bring trouble wherever you go,” those attacks have more power than usual. Nevertheless, that is the intention, and a perfectly valid one it is.

     In the past, the attack on protective zoning has come via the courts. A case that reached the U.S. Supreme Court in 1974, Warth v. Seldin, is illustrative. Bob Woodward and Scott Armstrong noted it in The Brethren:

     In one case (Warth v. Seldin) civil-rights activists in Rochester, New York had challenged a nearby suburb’s zoning law. The ordinances required all homes to be single-family residences on large lots, in effect barring low-income minorities. The challengers sued to overturn the ordinance as discriminatory. Two lower courts had denied them standing and refused to hold a hearing on their claims. [Associate Justice Lewis] Powell was assigned the majority opinion for his fellow Nixon appointees and [Associate Justice Potter] Stewart, who agreed with the lower courts that the activists didn’t have standing to sue in federal court. His opinion said that the challengers had failed to allege and prove they could not buy a particular residence; the case was hypothetical; the alleged injuries were intangible and speculative….

     As Stewart explained it to his clerks, the case called for a value judgment, not a legal one. The challengers were asking the courts to rule on economic differences that kept low-income minorities from living near affluent whites. “What they are actually asking us to do is to overrule the capitalist system,” Stewart said….

     [Associate Justice William] Brennan’s dissent argued that Powell was using legal technicalities to prevent the disenfranchised groups from pressing their claims. And there was a Catch-22. In order to have the standing to sue, you had to have the money to begin building a low-income housing project and be willing to go to the inconvenience of filing a plan so the local zoning board could reject it. In order for the poor to sue, they had to be rich. Brennan found the whole idea absurd and deceitful. It was the ordinance being challenged—not neutral economic factors—that insured that the housing market would never change….

     Brennan saw this as the extension of a disastrous trend. The lower courts would get the message that the poor must prove precisely how they were affected before they would even have standing to bring suit in federal court. The Court would no longer be the final protector of rights, the guarantor of fair play.

     Those paragraphs from The Brethren express a tremendous amount: first about legal principles and judicial procedures, second about the attitudes and orientations of the Justices. Potter Stewart, a moderate conservative, was aware of the underlying intent of the suit, but in voting on the verdict stayed within the established rules of jurisprudence: The plaintiff must prove that he has been injured, or definitely will be irreparably injured, to have standing. As there was no provable injury from an ordinance that effectively prevented low-income residents from becoming close neighbors to high-income residents, the plaintiff lacked standing and the suit was without merit.

     William Brennan, a left-liberal, saw things differently. He felt the exclusion of low-income people from high-income neighborhoods was itself an injury: a moral wrong. He saw the zoning ordinance as a denial of “minority rights.” That this is an extreme, wholly unjustifiable creation of a right, which Brennan sought to assign to “low-income minorities” against more affluent persons, is at the heart of the greater part of today’s racial and ethnic conflicts.

     Compare Brennan’s implied assertion of a “right” for low-income persons to live cheek-to-jowl with high-income persons with the outcries of exactly the same persons against “gentrification.” Could the hypocrisy be any clearer? But more pointed still is a John Derbyshire essay about the “theory of magic dirt:”

     In the past couple of decades we’ve seen the rise of one particular explanatory strategy. That strategy recently acquired a name—or possibly it’s had the name for a while and I only just recently noticed. Whatever, I really like the name: Magic Dirt.
     The core idea is that one’s physical surroundings—the bricks and mortar of the building you’re in, or the actual dirt you are standing on—emit invisible vapors that can change your personality, behavior, and intelligence.
     That’s why, for example, you read so much about “bad schools” or “failing schools.” The thing to be explained is that schools whose students are overwhelmingly non-Asian minorities—blacks and mestizos—get much worse results on academic tests than schools whose students are majority white and East Asian. This has been so for decades, defying even extravagantly expensive efforts to change it, like the Kansas City fiasco of the 1990s.
     Parsimonious explanation: innate differences in behavior, intelligence, and personality between the races.
     Magical explanation: Bad schools! The bricks and mortar of these schools, the asphalt of their playgrounds, are giving out invisible noxious vapors that enstupidate the kids!

     Gentle Reader, it cannot be said better than that. If one’s physical surroundings or neighbors determine one’s one “behavior, intelligence, and personality,” then pace William Brennan, it would be at the very least unkind to deny “aspiring” low-income Americans the chance to improve themselves by living next door to high-income Americans. But unkindness has no legal weight, so the Left has to represent the claim as a denial of “minority rights.”

***

     Most people would prefer not to live among criminals, drug addicts, the dissolute and irresponsible, or politicians. These persons tend to “lower the tone” of a neighborhood, rendering it displeasing to those of us who like order, responsibility, and privacy. Thus we save as much as we can from what we earn, use it to buy “a decent place to live” when the opportunity presents itself, and thereafter do our best to protect our new homes and their environs from the kind of maltreatment that comes from criminals, druggies, etc. This is in keeping with the American conception of private property rights: You can have what you want as long as:

  1. Someone is willing to sell it to you;
  2. You have the means to pay for it.

     But groups do not have rights as such. Neither do “neighborhoods.” So when a prosperous district coalesces and the residents resolve to limit what changes can occur there, the usual recourse has been zoning ordinances. While the decisions of zoning boards are not always received with approval, preserving the character of neighborhoods for their existing residents is the predominant use of zoning.

     Zoning ordinances can legally specify:

  1. Permitted uses (e.g., single-family residential; multiple-family residential; commercial; light industrial; heavy industrial; mixed);
  2. Minimum lot size.

     They may not say “No parcel in this zone may be sold for less than $X.” And they may not make any mention of race or ethnic heritage. So it’s at least possible, if against the odds, to find a parcel in a “prosperous” neighborhood that’s available dirt-cheap. Legally, if the owner is willing to sell it to you, your neighbors-to-be can do nothing about it no matter what they think of you or yours.

     But dirt-cheap parcels in affluent neighborhoods are exceedingly rare. The demand for such parcels is high. The Law of Supply and Demand functions to make them dear. And your neighbors-to-be probably like it that way, so you’d better have the means.

     As matters stand, Negroes are less likely than Whites and Asians to possess the means to purchase parcels in very affluent neighborhoods. That’s been the case for many decades. Often the minimum lot size dictated by the zoning ordinances is part of the reason. Other things being equal, large lots are more expensive than small ones, for the same reason that large diamonds are more expensive than small ones: there just aren’t that many of them. If the zoning ordinances forbid breaking up such a lot and selling the fragments, there’s nothing to be done about it.

     But the key is not race nor ethnicity; it’s finances. Low-income Whites and Asians face the same barrier to entry. Affluent residents are no more eager to live next to low-income Whites or Asians than next to low-income Negroes– and there are a lot more low-income Whites than low-income Negroes. But you don’t hear them on the six o’clock news. “White trash” is dispreferred by the rights activists as a group to champion.

     All that having been said, this remains: when a formerly all-White neighborhood is first penetrated by Negro families, the residents look to their defenses. Even if the initial penetration is by solidly middle-class Negroes with intact families, homes will swiftly go on the market, often in great numbers. The demographics of the neighborhood tend to change rapidly, as does the prevailing level of law-abidingness, public order, and general civility. Whites have learned to fear what comes with a Negro incursion, and all the wishes of the bien-pensants will not prevail against that hard-won lesson. Good intentions are powerless before the desire for “a decent place to live.”

     See also the meaning of the venerable term blockbusting.

America’s stock in trade — propaganda and repression.

Edward Bernays and his clique contributed heavily to this trend [the neutering of democratic forces] from 1915 onwards: they used public relations and propaganda techniques to give the impression that the USA was free, democratic, open, etc. when it was none of those things. And today the unholy alliance between state and corporations – the definition of fascism, according to Mussolini – has clamped down hard on every trace of individual freedom.[1]

Do you object to open borders, complete anarchy in the streets, attacks on dissident voices, scraggle beards and femadactyls deciding how you should live your life and what you can read or say, or judicial betrayal? Tough. Go pound sand, muchacho.

Notes
[1] Comment by Tom Welsh on “Things Go Awry.” By Israel Shamir, The Unz Review, October 12, 2021.

When A Nun Says Something Like This

     You’d bloody well better listen:

     Note that she explicitly called out Pope Francis as a component in the globalist / Great Reset campaign — and capped it by reminding us that “I’m not telling you anything that hasn’t already been revealed.”

     Is this a second “hour of the power of darkness” — ?

An Echo From Better Times

     I saw this story via AoSHQ:

     Lily Roberts is a pitcher for the Adairsville JV Softball Team. The team they were playing against a couple of weeks ago was about to lose when their pitcher got sick.

     “They were struggling and I knew if I didn’t step up, the game would have to end and they would have to forfeit. So I just thought, I would love to step up,” Roberts told 11 Alive.

     So that’s exactly what she did. Roberts stepped right up to the mound and pitched for the opposing team.

     And she wasn’t lobbing easy balls over the plate against her teammates, she was firing them across home plate for strikes.

“She would smile at them and throw them a strike,” Coach Kelly Abernathy said. “She was pitching like she was pitching in a championship game.”

     Even while Roberts was striking out her own teammates, the girls on both benches were cheering.

     “I think the other team was really supportive of me coming to pitch for them. I did hear them cheering for me when I was pitching, and it made me feel good,” Roberts said.

     Coach Abernathy said it’s not winning that makes him proud, it’s how the players act and the lessons they learn on the field.

     “If we could be as positive as Lily is, there would be a lot less problems in the world,” he added.

     This reminded me of a story I heard from a much older ice hockey fan, about the days when the NHL had only six teams, before the players started wearing enough protective equipment to stop a round from a Vulcan cannon. In those far-off years, the teams played as much for love of the game as they did for fortune and glory. Accordingly, certain practices, not exactly mandated by NHL rules but expected of every franchise, arose to cushion teams against on-ice injuries and other unpredictable events. One of these was “goalie lending.” If Team X’s two goalies were both sidelined by injury or other unfortunate developments while Team Y’s two goalies remained healthy and ready to play, Team Y would “lend” Team X its backup goalie for the duration of the game. That goalie would be expected to play his best – and he did.

     That’s the sort of thing you get from authentic sportsmen. It’s a verdict on our time that nothing of that sort would be imaginable today – in any “professional” sport.

Irony Meters Are Shattering Across The Nation

     It comes as little surprise that Russia’s strongman president – who, whatever you may think of his tactics, clearly loves his country – should castigate the American federal government for violating the rights of its citizens and undermining the security of the nation. Given the developments of recent years, that was almost inevitable. But I never expected this:

     “Real Time” host Bill Maher blasted the “outrageous” harassment Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., faced when she was followed into a restroom earlier this month by activists at Arizona State University….

     “I think this is outrageous,” Maher reacted during a panel discussion on Friday, about the intrusion on Sinema. “You may not like the politics, but when this s— starts to happen, I don’t know where the safe space is in America. And I don’t know where it ends.”

     Did I wake up in the “Bearded Spock” universe?

Just Because I Feel Like It

     I’m in something of a mood this evening, so have a couple of songs from two of the paramount singers of the Twentieth Century. First, from the late, great Stan Rogers:

     And for dessert, the two pieces that made Tom Rush a legend:

     I suppose the Twentieth Century wasn’t all bad, after all.

Interdependency of a GOOD Kind

Horizontal Relationships, and how they contribute to self-sufficiency.

Many on the Right talk of self-sufficient families; some broaden that to the extended family, as well.

The Left prefers to think of “The Global Village”, and have a preference for a top-down approach (i.e., “the Government” should run things”).

Click on the link to get a more nuanced essay that acknowledges the need for individuals to take responsibility for their own destiny, along with arguments for working in small, local groups to reinforce the efforts of those individuals/families.

I’ve been reading and thinking about preparedness for the last few months. When I moved into my new house, I realized that I would need to prepare for emergencies, natural and man-caused disasters, and security – on a limited budget. I’ve been making lists, and prioritizing purchases (There’s a local thrift store that is my new favorite place – and, Mondays are 1/2-off day, so guess where I will be heading tomorrow?).

I chose the SimpliSafe system, in great part because I could inexpensively install the base system, and add on other components as I was able. It was flexible enough to accommodate my needs, and allow me to adapt as I had more experience.

I’m working on shoring up weak spots (locks, outside access, getting to know my neighbors). I’m also working on building up my pantry supplies, a little at a time. I’ll probably be using the Flipp app (for mobile devices), that allows you to enter desired items, and get a side-by-side comparison of local stores/pricing. I’m getting back to a habit that I developed when I first moved to SC; that of bunching up my purchases into a single-trip expedition. We did that in the Low Country, as local stores were pricey and often didn’t have what we needed. At that time, in 2005, Katrina’s landfall meant that gas prices skyrocketed (as they are now). By combining shopping trips, we reduced the need for gas.

And, when I say ‘we’, I mean that I took the trip with a friend, and we made a fun day of it – shopping, a little tourism, and a nice lunch/dinner, before heading home. We did that about every 3-4 weeks. I will likely not wait that long between trips (unless the winter weather makes travel hazardous), but I could, if I had to.

To keep the cost down, I’ll first hit the resale shops, then the places with advertised specials, then online. My goal is to reduce the online purchases to a minimum (Alas, for some electronic components, the only source is Amazon/China).

I’m already beginning to plan to lay in the components (seed, soil, grow lights) for gardens – mostly vegetable, but also some landscaping. I want to use prickly bushes to limit access to windows, bug-repelling flowers, and some indoor plants, just for the soul’s health.

I’m also making a point of being more active, and building up muscle strength. Gardening and home care are labor-intensive, and I plan to do as much as I can myself.

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