August 29, 2014
Richard Florida, Academia Perplexed by Gentrification Research


Gentrification is such a nice, hot phrase for something liberals enjoy while simultaneously decrying it for ruining city slum authenticity. It is not like rich conservatives are gentrifying those areas. Simple reviews of vote history in elections by census tract can show the media progressives how they are just attacking the hands that pay for them. Academia even has a nice myopia or selective amnesia about gentrification. In no other way can one explain this piece of work from Richard Florida.

Immediately, the writer does not notice the circumstances of recent decades where the gentrifying cities suffered sharp declines and White flight while being followed by the FIRE economy real estate bubble. The Sun Belt cities had no gentrification because they experienced their growth in the post-WW2 era as those old, bordering bodies of water experienced decline. Sun Belt cities had no zoning-law red tape and they had cheap land. Rust Belt cities held on a bit longer due to manufacturing sticking around as an economic force longer there than in the older port cities. For liberals who celebrate diversity, they miss diversity of economics, history and land.

Comedy continues as the writer notes research finding that gentrification is very dependent on the percentage of Black inhabitants, with 40% a magic line. It might not just be “explicit racism”, but other factors. Here is an idea: maybe it is crime statistics for the area. Maybe there is a sweet spot where real estate values are depressed by the crime and blight in the area but the crime and blight might be more manageable with an increased police presence. Do black gangs operate in 65% black neighborhoods but have less of a footprint in 30% black neighborhoods? Just asking before I label gentrification scouts as racists.

The researchers find that gentrification does not have spillover effects for bordering neighborhoods. Anyone who has walked in a major Northeastern city knows this. It is an archipelago one navigates for safe zones. These academics, and the writer, have the foolish mindset that if you paint the cage pink, the pit bull will change. The idea that inserting people with wealth into an area will help surrounding areas is an ancient one from the bygone era of ethnic city neighborhoods. Neighbors that all sent kids to the same schools, ate the same ethnic foods, went to the same church, and were a connected unit. Twenty-first-century gentrification is made up by wealthy or adventurous people who love the architecture, the location, the idea of living in, or returning to, the city. There is no connection to the older ethnic enclave mindset; these gentrifiers simply bring the atomized suburban experience to the city.

Looking at gentrification as an economic and lifestyle selection on the part of big-money developers and urban knowledge workers strips the stupidity from these academics’ assumptions. This is not organic neighborhood-building with a bonding drive. It is a homo economicus decision for one’s lifestyle. It is about money—their money. If the natives do not adjust or do not feel the financial benefits, then tough—sell and move out. Gentrification is not evil, and it is also not a solution to improving the plight of the urban poor. A return to the old neighborhoods in American cities is a fantasy. It might not improve the lives of the urban underclass, but gentrification at least improves the quality and utility of the prime real estate in our knowledge economy hubs.


from Richard Florida, Academia Perplexed by Gentrification Research

August 23, 2014
Hidden History: The Last Supreme Court Nominees to Be Discriminated Against


A statement this month by President Obama centered around his thought that he would get to appoint one more Supreme Court justice. Are there any firsts, any unprecedented appointments, left? An Asian justice? An openly gay justice? A justice that does not speak English? America is running out of firsts. The press loves to spotlight such firsts. For the Supreme Court, the first Catholic was in the mid 1800s, first Jew was a century ago, first Black was two generations ago, and we recently had our first Hispanic. Hurrah for progress! No one ever talks about lasts or, even in our victim culture, last instances of discrimination. The last group barred from joining the Supreme Court was the bloc known as Southern White men.

Supreme Court presidential nominations have had few outright rejections in its history. Normally, the President would nominate, the ABA would give its advice beforehand, and the Senate would confirm. A change occurred in the 20th century with the rise of voting blocs as John J. Parker’s nomination failed by one vote due to his attitude towards labor and the newly formed NAACP’s agitation. Eisenhower made appointments during a Congressional recess. Once the progressive takeover of the machinery of the Federal government was complete, the remaining problem was that of exerting control of the court system. The activist Warren court became a fundraising gold mine for the Right as hocus-pocus rights were discovered. Even the Burger Court found a way to twist the 14th Amendment for illegitimate kids. Before the famous Borking incident that birthed a new political atmosphere for nominations thanks to Senator Ted Kennedy, Justice Antonin Scalia, the conservative Mephistopheles himself, was confirmed 98-0. Nominations were political, but not as overtly caustic as now. Incidents always involve politics (increasingly affecting lower court appointments with eyes on future SCOTUS potential), but the Senatorial blockade of Southern White men in ’69-’70 was special.

President Nixon came to power in ’69, and realized that, with most of the government machine controlled by the Left, a way to influence America for a long period was through a “Nixon Court”. Per Ehrlichman’s book, he was looking for strict constructionists, with no racial or ethnic slots, who would come from meat-and-potatoes law schools. Not the Ivy League and “above all, not the Northeast” (Ehrlichman, Witness to Power). This fed into Nixon’s ’68 campaign on law and order, with moves to push the SCOTUS away from it’s liberal, activist Warren behavior that many associated with the unraveling in process in America. When Nixon arrived in the Oval Office, he had the Chief Justice slot to fill, and fortuitously, Justice Abe Fortas was forced to resign due to ethics scandals that mushroomed from initial investigations as he was originally to be raised to Chief. This was an immediate and unique opportunity for Nixon to change America’s political course for far beyond his four to eight years in office.

With two slots, Nixon, ever the political animal, picked Warren Burger for Chief Justice; Nixon said that he “had Burger’s promise that Burger would retire before Nixon did so Nixon could appoint another, younger Chief Justice” (Ehrlichman, Witness to Power). Nixon would banter with his inner circle about possibilities. Politically, they would be strict constructionists, but he understood the identity group bingo game of American politics. He wanted Catholics, women, and Southerners. A problem with female nominees, pointed out by his inner circle and never understood by the press, is that the difficulty in nominating a woman in 1970 or even 1980 started with the lack of women at top flight law schools twenty five years earlier to work their way up the legal ladder. Apply this to anything prestigious, and the Left disregards the filtered funnel concept. Nixon joked about Jewell LaFontant because she was Black and a woman, to which he added that it was “too bad she isn’t Jewish” (Witness to Power). Nixon did have a Jewish legal supporter, Rita Hauser, whom he considered for SCOTUS. Hauser made the mistake of saying there were no Constitutional prohibitions for same-sex marriage. Nixon remarked, “Did you read that? There goes a Supreme Court Justice! I can’t go that far; that’s the year 2000! Negroes [and whites], okay. But that’s too far!” (Ehrlichman, Witness to Power) In April of ’69 in order to help Nixon, Warren Burger created a list of potential nominees to suit Nixon’s quest. After Burger’s confirmation, Nixon first nominated a strict constructionist from the South, Clement Haynsworth, to fill the open Associate slot.

Clement Haynsworth was a sitting judge on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals from South Carolina. He spoke slowly and deliberately with a Southern drawl. His ascension to the Court would be a great signal for Nixon to the South to help with 1972. While Nixon’s team saw the South as a secure area for ’72, they were going to approach desegregation delicately, keeping an eye on how hard they pushed the South, and focus on ethnics and Northern union voters for ’72. The Civil Rights crusade and subsequent formalized mechanisms for forced integration made race a huge concern for Nixon in his first term. Like gay rights today, any black issue was a club used by the Left in political battles. Throughout 1969 and 1970, Nixon’s team was confronted with riots in cities so often that thankfully the outgoing LBJ administration had faced the same problem and left behind the stacks of papers and formal agreements to handle anything. The actual implementation of the Civil Rights crusade’s victory vote was left to be implemented and created a need for sweeping away the old guard.

The Haynsworth nomination put this on display. Haynsworth was attacked immediately for conflicts of interest that were never proved, for being a racist, and for being anti-labor. In Nixon’s memoirs, he cites the simple anger of the left for what Haynsworth believes, which was not a problem when he was nominated thirteen years earlier to the Appeals Court, and writes,

Civil rights organizations immediately called Haynsworth a racist; one group said he was a “laundered segregationist”. George Meany claimed that his record was anti-labor. The press picked up these themes and played daily variations on them. Soon the pack mentality took hold in Washington. Organized interest groups went to work, and letter and phone campaigns began putting pressure on the Senate.

Haynsworth was defeated despite no inappropriate behavior. Haynsworth was a Harvard graduate. Haynsworth was also a Southern White male. Haldeman writes in his diaries that it was not Haynsworth’s abilities. It was “a combination of reaction against the Fortas matter, plus a strong anti-Southern move, plus pure partisan politics” (Haldeman, The Haldeman Diaries). Haynsworth’s nomination was voted down, and he continued to serve elsewhere for many more years.

Nixon was not done trying to nominate a strict constructionist White Southerner; not a Black from the South like Marshall whom the Senate, held by Democrats with Rockefeller GOP help, would support. Nixon then nominated G. Harrold Carswell. Carswell had been nominated by Eisenhower and Nixon and confirmed by the US Senate two separate occasions, including in 1969. Nixon notes in his memoirs, “the ritual charges of “racist” were made in the media and in Congress”. Carswell had made the horrible mistake in his past of saying he supported segregation in 1948, when the Armed Forces were just being integrated. This twenty-two-year-old statement came back to haunt him, there were questions of his “competence”, and his nomination was rejected. This competence was not a problem for the Appeals Court, which somehow gets glossed over due to the political SCOTUS fetish.

It also shows the problem of ever-leftward movement that hurts anyone to the Right of the current zeitgeist. This is easily seen in media coverage of Left vs. Right, as Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama can have anti-same sex marriage statements in their past considered no problem, since they’ve clearly “evolved” since then, but a target on the Right cannot be similarly considered to have “evolved” unless he compromises whatever was right-wing about his previous position. An interesting throwaway fact on Carswell is that it is widely suspected he was gay or at least bisexual. Such a horribly oppressive time Carswell lived in. His closet was full of gay and segregationist skeletons.

Nixon and his team were well aware of the political opposition to the Southern flavor of their nominees. Nixon gave a speech that stressed this Southern problem. While his memoirs deny the anti-Southern animus, his speech reads differently,

I have reluctantly concluded that it is not possible to get confirmation for a Judge on the Supreme Court of any man who believes in the strict construction of the Constitution, as I do, if he happens to come from the South…

When you strip away all the hypocrisy, the real reason for their rejection was their legal philosophy, a philosophy that I share, of strict construction of the Constitution, and also the accident of their birth, the fact that they were born in the South…

Nixon would nominate a good Harvard-trained man from Minnesota, Harry Blackmun. Chief Justice Burger was friends with Blackmun and had told Nixon he would keep an eye on him. Blackmun, the third off Burger’s list, was confirmed by a vote of 94-0. This was another White, Harvard-educated law-and-order type that Nixon nominated, yet he sailed through. All that was different between Haynsworth and Blackmun was their home State. Blackmun would move from a moderate conservative to a consistently liberal judge. Read The Brethren for a fantastic inside view of the SCOTUS written with a super liberal bias to it. Woodward writes Burger as an inconsistent idiot, Marshall as super cool, and Blackmun is always being worked on to become more liberal. After writing Roe v. Wade, Blackmun takes the plunge and grows to be in love with being powerful, citing the case in other cases later in his career with no real connection to Roe.

Think of how often we hear “accident of birth” to explain privilege or some poor criminal’s past to excuse his behavior. Nixon was noticing that these men were simply Southerners, and therefore, not worthy of SCOTUS confirmation by the Eastern Establishment. While the switch of a liberal seat (Fortas) for a conservative was a problem for the Left, the main issue became their simple status as Southern gentlemen. Southerners have been few and far between for SCOTUS concerns. Clarence Thomas, a Black Southern conservative, was born a Georgian. He endured his own witch hunt which, when looked at in hindsight, was simply a political operation with sex as the excuse. The media has remarked in the recent decades about the Southern Strategy, the switch of the Solid South, the South’s political effect on national politics and clout. No one ever mentions this part of it, though. In an odd coincidence, America has seen many firsts since 1970, but no Southern White men confirmed for the Supreme Court. Carswell and Haynsworth were the last two nominated. As the media loves to trumpet, the rickety old doors of discrimination have been knocked down—never mind the new cement doors that the Left does not want anyone to notice that they have erected.


from Hidden History: The Last Supreme Court Nominees to Be Discriminated Against

August 20, 2014
NY Times Misses the Point About ISIS


The NY Times has a fantastic piece out about ISIS and Al-Baghdadi. It is a tremendous look at the myths that are woven around this man. It is also a steady attack on how ISIS and their dear leader are both residue of the American foreign policy and military intervention in the Middle East. This is red meat for its readers. It is also selective avoidance to control the ignorance of its well informed readers. The NY Times does not want to admit it nor even let it be up for debate, but there are diversity, multicultural and religious lessons in ISIS that no liberal wants to touch. ISIS has taken a broken and beaten back group (Iraqi Sunnis) and given them something to rally around, something to fight for and an outlet to channel their energy that cuts along religious and ethnic lines.

ISIS is a terror organization, but one that is pretty well put together with powerpoint presentations, quarterly reports, and other Bond villain ideas. They operate oil and gas facilities to keep revenue up. They think of non-confrontational ways to have leverage, like controlling a dam and threatening to drown Baghdad. They have taken the Caliphate 2.0 concept from Al-Qaeda and actually claimed one. It is a Sunni organization. This is neither pan-Arab nor pan-Islam. They kill those who do not convert and attack groups that are not Sunni Arabs. Kurds might be Sunni but it does not matter. Shias might be Arab but are by definition not Sunni. This is tribal warfare with the basics of you are either one of us or one of them. The NY Times avoids discussing this to harp instead on the US policy moves that led to such a figure as Al-Baghdadi.

The Sunni Arabs went from ruling the region in 2002 to being the losers of a civil war in 2006 to being the main antagonists of a bribe-or-kill policy (the Iraq Surge) to be left a broken, beaten-down minority pushed around, hunted down and squeezed by the central government run by the ethnic majority they used to dominate. Once the US forces all left Iraq, the government security forces became a Shia unit to harass and kill Sunnis. That sounds like a depressed group looking for any positives and primed for a leader. ISIS is nuts and disliked by Sunnis who give sound bites to foreign reporters as they leave battle zones, but check the NY Times article for details. They incorporated old Baath regime generals and leaders. The leadership delegated powers to different groups. The jihdais complain he relies on Baathists too much. Look at the map of where they control, and it shows ISIS controlling ethnic Sunni areas and fighting at the edges of other groups and areas held tighter by autocrats. It is a tribal unit. It has a goal. Proclaiming an independent state as the Caliphate, while sounding bonkers to Westerners, has a strong appeal to Muslims, especially Sunni Muslims in Iraq beaten down the last few years by Shias. ISIS is also winning; The Arabs, and most humans, are known to pick the strong horse and follow the hot hand.

The Times will avoid this rally around the tribe effect because it is an unpleasant reality of the world that globalist, multicultural pushing institutions like the Times doe not want to give any attention. If the Times were honest, they would label him the public face of the fighting front of the Sunnis against the Shias. (We are seeing it right now to a lesser degree in America, with the latest dead-black-criminal-turned-martyr political ritual.) It is not hard to look around the globe and question the viability of liberal democracy or even nation-States themselves. Catalonia? Scotland? Ukraine? The Times would not entertain the idea, or even want its readers to entertain the idea, of different models, but as history moves and the world changes, alternative forms of unification should be explored and debated. While barbaric in their practices, the glue made from ethnic and religious identification and unity exhibited by ISIS and those who are supporting them directly and indirectly should not be excluded from any discussion.


from NY Times Misses the Point About ISIS

August 20, 2014
Russo-German Rapprochement Amid Anglo-German Tension


Foreign policy and money have long been linked. The colonial view of mercantilism is centuries old. Some historians argue Rome was a conquest and plunder economy that started to collapse when they ran out of areas to conquer with reasonable effort. Money is the weak link of the US system. The Russians have been open with noticing this. It is not just the US world order system but the USG domestic situation. A big piece of this system are our vassals—er, friends in Europe. Europe is not the center of the dollar system, but much closer than US allies on the periphery in Asia and below the equator who have had crises in the last thirty years. I wrote months ago about Anglo-German tensions. It appears the tension is real—the Germans are cuddling up to the Russians and the Americans are spooked.

Anglo-German tensions have risen with open moves like gold repatriation, protests against the US Federal Reserve in Germany, and explicit anger over NSA spying. as well as spy ejections. The current geopolitical chessboard features the little Ukrainian piece that the US was eager to topple but Germany wasn’t, inspiring Victoria Nuland to say “fuck the EU”. Fast forward months later, and with a real civil war going on, it has been leaked that the Germans were close to a land-for-gas deal to end sanctions, bring a peaceful resolution to the Ukraine crisis, and keep the gas flowing. Russia is Germany’s 11th biggest trade partner. Germany is a bit more reliant than France or the UK on Russian gas, and right now Germany is the only piece of the EU able to fund all the bailout mechanisms and keep growing. Each time a nation needs some form of bailout in the EU, their share of the bailout responsibility has to be picked up by solvent nations. This gets ugly quick. Germany cannot absorb losses or hits, whether directly to them or to the EU. This is why it makes sense for them to reach out directly, as reported, to solve the USG-manufactured Ukrainian crisis.

Read the UK Independent’s leaked Germany-Russia deal article. Angela Merkel is involved, and the leak specifically cites her dealing with Putin. Contrast this with President Obama’s interactions with Putin.

Such strong trade ties between the two countries have also served to strengthen Ms Merkel’s hand and the Russian speaker has emerged as the leading advocate of closer relations between the EU and Russia. “This is Merkel’s deal. She has been dealing direct with President Putin on this. She needs to solve the dispute because it’s in no one’s interest to have tension in Ukraine or to have Russia out in the cold. No one wants another Cold War,” said one insider close to the negotiations.

It states basic diplomatic measures to get the gas flowing again, recognizes Crimea as Russian, sets up a looser Ukraine, and stops Ukrainian entry into NATO. Peace for Europe, but the USG does not get its way.

This also explains the MH17 crash being something to use on Germany and not Russia. This becomes a quick wedge. Read the land-for-gas link. Germany was ready to wrap up the Ukraine solution until MH17 happened. The initial accusation of Russian involvement paused the negotiations, and now everyone knows, which means the US can apply pressure openly on Germany. The indirect pressure has been out for a while. The US Federal Reserve warned Deutsche Bank for its derivatives portfolio and is throwing up regulatory obstacles to DB’s move into the US. Maybe Deutsche Bank will be the next AIG; Wall Street could use a new fall guy. MH17 is going to be investigated in the Netherlands with German technical help. It would be incredibly evil to set up a plane crash, but no need for much speculation considering no one has an answer for the first Malaysian Airlines crash. Timing is too odd, and so is the American rush to implicate Russia, and now its backing off as evidence seems to be sparse and not pointing to Russia.

The USG, mad drunk leviathan that it is, will not let a peaceful resolution happen quickly. It also must work to keep its clients in line. Germany is making long term moves and must see the future for the USG, which is a destiny the USG mandarins will not accept. German media is noticing that the USG is acting so wild that it would be an easy sell that it was the work of KGB moles to make the US look bad.  It is a bit of a mad world we live in where the Western media demonize Putin, who whether working for Russian interests or just his own, is setting up with the Chinese a monetary bloc to counter and slow down the USG, offered up a solution in Syria that stopped US warplanes, and was just trying to end a Ukrainian Civil War. The US media cannot admit we are at fault because the US media’s chosen good guys are at the helm of the ship. The USG can pull stunts like this now, but eventually the threats will get emptier or a big enough client will force action on a threat, and things will get ugly. Dollars hold it all together, and dollars will bring it down. Germany knows this. If Germany can set up shop in Europe as the regional hegemon, it might as well make buddies with the nuclear-armed eastern neighbor.


from Russo-German Rapprochement Amid Anglo-German Tension

August 20, 2014
The Wisdom of Anti-Intellectualism


A lot of folks from the South (and from some of the other redder, more rural regions of the country as well) nurse a longstanding distrust of intellectuals. Such skepticism, of course, mystifies many better-bred Americans, who chalk it up to typical hillbilly backwardness, the bumpkin’s gap-toothed pride in his own ignorance, that sort of thing. But the truth is that there’s a lot of wisdom in a general aversion to the kind of people who live in the ivory tower, even if expressions of that aversion occasionally traffic in hyperbole and fiction.

One such exaggeration is the idea that every last college professor on campus is some sort of liberal secret agent, carrying out PSYOPs from the lecture stand—a devotee of Marx with a shrine in his closet, a proselytizer of atheism and free-for-all sexual mores, bent on brainwashing impressionable undergraduates into willing foot-soldiers of the culture wars.

Of course there are professors at most contemporary universities who more or less fit this bill, although obviously they wouldn’t put what they do in those same words. But by and large the notion of a widespread and conscious conspiracy to subvert red-state American norms for political purposes is a significant overstatement. That scrawny grad student teaching our sons and daughters ENGL 101 in the Fall semester of their freshman year hasn’t been recruited by the United Nations to prepare the way for Agenda 21. He’s not paid under the table to sow discord.

Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is a little more gruesome than that. That professor might not be on a conscious mission to turn students into defectors from the culture of their parents and hometowns. But he still tends to do just that. Professors do so almost spontaneously, as a natural result of how they conceive of their purpose as educators, as well as their almost fanatical faith in the efficacy of that brand of education to initiate sweeping social change and set the world to rights. These teachers and lecturers sever students from more conservative regions of the States, sometimes traumatically, from the communities they grew up in, simply because of what they take higher learning to be.

The content of higher education has changed dramatically in the past four or five decades, especially in the humanities. You can track that change in the “diversification” of studied or anthologized authors. You can track it as well in the rise of “theory” as a touchstone of literary and linguistic research or, more recently, the ubiquity of round-the-clock multicultural and pro-“tolerance” messaging in the classroom and on the quad. It’s been a significant change. The common answer now, in fact, for what we teach our lowerclassmen in their introductory courses isn’t so much a specific set of skills at all but: “how to think.” Their major goal is to inculcate a “critical awareness” in their students.

Translated into slightly-more-parsable English, what that means is that college educators want their undergraduates to be aware of the various ways in which misogyny, racism, homophobia, ethnocentrism, heteronormativity, etc. have shaped the habits, attitudes, and beliefs that they’ve always held to be normal. And they want their students to be aware of the progress narrative that accompanies these terms, which tells how bigotry, hatred, and a fear of the “Other” have been hallmarks of Western thought throughout history, right up until very recent times. Students are taught that our literature, our art, our politics, our social norms, even our ancestral religions have all been influenced by these dark, regressive forces.

In this schema, then, learning “how to think” takes on a very specific meaning. It means learning only how to think along the aforementioned lines, how to scour one’s own thoughts for various heresies against progressivism, how to police other people’s speech and actions for the same—in short, how to hold in suspicion every worldview not founded upon the aforementioned narrative, not populated by the aforementioned -isms and phobias. (There are rare academics who question these dogmas, but in my many years of higher education I have yet to hear any serious critique of them in person from the lecture stand.)

But not only does the purpose of education have this particular, narrow meaning to the typical college faculty member; the power of education has a peculiar character as well. Education to them is an almost magical force, a panacea for society’s ills.

Of course it would be odd for an educator to think that what he does has no positive effects whatsoever on the world around him. Why would he get into the business in the first place? But, the potentials ascribed to education in the discourse of liberal intellectuals frequently beggar belief.

How does one curtail epidemics of inner-city teenage pregnancy? Education. How do we reverse worsening nationwide trends in income inequality? Education again. How do we fight rape and sexual assault? Education. How do we beat Boko Haram and engender stability and democracy in Nigeria? Also education. How do we lower suicide rates, especially of “marginalized” groups like homo- and transsexuals? How do we prevent the future George Zimmermans of the world? How do we end the “war on women”, promote harmony between recent immigrants and current citizens of America, bring peace to the Middle East? You guessed it: education, education, education. For too many employees of our nation’s colleges, most all of the uglier aspects of the human experience issue from “ignorance” and “backwardness.” Thus all that stands between humanity and heaven on earth is a degree or two in Cultural Studies.

It’s no mystery, then, why so many college professors bring a sort of missionary fervor into the classroom. No mystery why they end up evangelizing to their students and attacking so persistently the beliefs of those students who hail from the less-enlightened hinterlands of America. These professors aren’t every last one part of a secret cabal. They’re not executing cryptic protocols. They just conceive of education as the undoing of “problematic” traditional understandings, and they believe in their heart of hearts that they can change the world by that very pursuit.

Before I went away to college, I was warned in various terms—some almost comically fanciful—about the sort of machinations and indoctrinations that happen in the university lecture hall. In undergraduate I quickly learned to dismiss these warnings for the backwoods, fever-swamp hallucinations I thought they they were.

Nine years of higher education later, with one graduate degree down and another in the works, I’ve come to a more reasoned and settled conclusion: Southern anti-intellectualism might be exaggerative in some of the cosmetic aspects of its critique, but it’s brutally accurate in its spirit and substance. They might not be coordinating their efforts behind closed doors, but there are very real senses in which the people to whom we entrust our young adults look to convert and induct them rather than provide them with the sort of knowledge or insight historically sought on the college campus.


from The Wisdom of Anti-Intellectualism

August 20, 2014
One of the best parts of the Turd Ferguson protests so far was seeing a Brahmin journo regret leaving NYC to cover this story.

One of the best parts of the Turd Ferguson protests so far was seeing a Brahmin journo regret leaving NYC to cover this story.

August 19, 2014
"In the whole vast dome of living nature there reigns an open violence. A kind of prescriptive fury which arms all the creatures to their common doom: as soon as you leave the inanimate kingdom you find the decree of violent death inscribed on the very frontiers of life. You feel it already in the vegetable kingdom: from the great catalpa to the humblest herb, how many plants die and how many are killed; but, from the moment you enter the animal kingdom, this law is suddenly in the most dreadful evidence. A Power, a violence, at once hidden and palpable… has in each species appointed a certain number of animals to devour the others… And who [in this general carnage] exterminates him who will exterminate all others? Himself. It is man who is charged with the slaughter of man… The whole earth, perpetually steeped in blood, is nothing but a vast altar upon which all that is living must be sacrificed without end, without measure, without pause, until the consummation of things, until evil is extinct, until the death of death."

— Joseph de Maistre (via hierarchical-aestheticism)

(via vikingmanx)

August 18, 2014

Mike Brown, a.k.a. Dindu Nuffins, wants to “chop you up with a machete.” 

(at the 00:29 mark)

August 18, 2014
Trickle-Down Class Contempt: Radical Chic in Ferguson


Over four decades later, radical chic lives on.

Radical chic: the term was coined by Tom Wolfe in a 1970 report on a party Leonard Bernstein hosted for the Black Panthers. Radical chic: this is the force that draws Marxist revolutionaries into the house of the egregio maestro, the director of the New York Philharmonic, to eat meatballs petites au Coq Hardi on platters presented to them by White servantsthe force that set off a desperate search for White servants in 1970, when the fashion had yet to become accessible to any smug twenty-something with a degree in something ending in ‘studies’, any hack with rich enough parents to run the gantlet of unpaid journalism internships and make it out the other side, and its practitioners had servants and had to have servants.

The servants are no longer a necessityno longer even a possibility. Radical chic, like any fashion, has trickled down from the top. Julia Ioffe wears it like a high school Marxist’s first Che shirt, but one simply cannot imagine a journalist with servants.

If anything, the people here were disdainful and, mostly, scaredof the protesters, and, implicitly, of black people.

“I don’t think it’s about justice for Michael Brown’s family,” said the teenage boy. “It’s just an excuse for people to do whatever they want to do.”

One man I talked to, a stay-at-home dad who is a landlord to three black tenants and one white one in Ferguson (“my black tenants would never do that,” he clarified) was more sympathetic to Brown and also had the sense that the police had overdone it a bit. But he was scared of the protests. I told him that the protest that day was entirely peaceful, festive almost. “You know,” he said. “I have a wife and three children, and if something were to happen to me, that would be very bad.”

As for the protests, well, they weren’t about justice; they were just an excuse. “People are just taking the opportunity to satisfy their desire for junk,” said one woman, knowingly. As if black people, the lust for theft encoded in their DNA, are just barely kept in line by authority.

Yes, reader, you read that last sentence right. Staircase journalism! Feel the contempt! Snarky, smug retorts, which Ioffe would surely not have the courage to spit in the faces of her interviewing’s victims, embedded in the article itselfthese people, she thinks, are so below her that she can attack and insult them in the pages of the New Republic. Julia Ioffe, you see, has radical chic, and the filthy, racist whitey proles in Ferguson do not.

This fashion has trickled down; yet the elites have not cast it off as a marker of those below them, as they would a style of clothing. If anything, they double down: it was only six years ago that a glowing two-part biopic of Che Guevara was released to great elite acclaim, only six years ago that the cultural elites united to propel a a status-seeking nobody with nothing but radical chic to his name to the highest office of the federal government.

The reason for this is simple. There is nothing in a style of clothing that ties it to one class, nothing about three-day beards or Hitler Youth cuts that necessarily associates them with the rich or the poor, the elites or the prolesbut radical chic is different. Just ask Tom Wolfe.

But if the Bernsteins thought their main problem at this point was a bad press, they were wrong. A controversy they were apparently oblivious of suddenly erupted around them. Namely, the bitterness between Jews and blacks over an issue that had been building for three years, ever since Black Power became important. The first inkling the Bernsteins had was when they started getting hate mail, some of it apparently from Jews of the Queens-Brooklyn Jewish Defense League variety. Then the League’s national chairman, Rabbi Meir Kahane, blasted Lenny publicly for joining a “trend in liberal and intellectual circles to lionize the Black Panthers … We defend the right of blacks to form defense groups, but they’ve gone beyond this to a group which hates other people. That’s not nationalism, that’s Naziism. And if Bernstein and other such intellectuals do not know this, they know nothing.”

The Jewish Defense League had been formed in 1968 for the specific purpose of defending Jews in low-rent neighborhoods, many of which are black. But even many wealthier and more cultivated Jews, who look at the Defense League as somewhat extremist, Low Rent and gauche, agreed essentially with the point Kahane was making.

Worrying about one’s safety implies that one cannot flee to a place where one need not worry. Radical chic is the war cry of the insulated rich against the low-rentwhose worries for their own safety are extremist and gauche. Julia Ioffe, like Leonard Bernstein, does not have to be scared of rioters: for them, the rioters will always be far away. The elite can pay the invisible tax, can buy their way to safety, and then they can show that they’ve done so, can distinguish themselves from people like them in all other regards, by supporting movements that physically threaten those other people.


from Trickle-Down Class Contempt: Radical Chic in Ferguson

August 18, 2014
Ferguson and Social Justice: The Thedish Logic of Political Coalitions


Andrew Wilkow points out a crucial divide in contemporary American politics and culture. He notes that progressives were more than happy to watch the Feds show up at Cliven Bundy’s Nevada ranch earlier this year, seeing it as a proper response to the circumstances. And now, with a similar situation happening in Ferguson, MO, these same progressives find the Feds’ actions to be completely over-the-top, if not fundamentally wrong.

What Mr. Wilkow is noticing is the divide in support for ethnic groups within political coalitions. The men of the Right are often men who look and talk like Cliven Bundy—the middle and working classes who have been referred to as America’s Vaisya caste, characterized as “rugged individualists” who “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” and so on (although it ought to be recognized that Bundy himself probably shouldn’t be considered a mere middle-class Vaisya; as anyone who’s spent time in the American West knows, a man who looks like Bundy can have a hidden empire of land and wealth right behind him). These are the kind of men who may have joined the Tea Party, or have bought a Gasden Flag at the very least, in recent years.

In Ferguson, the Left sees their preferred group of middle- and lower-class people—people of color, notably American Blacks—under assault. The Right, as usual, is left with the task of explaining why rioting in your own neighborhood tends to result in a disproportionate show of force from local law enforcement, while the Left angrily chirps about racism and White privilege and so on. As one might expect, leftists were happy to share earlier this week that people in Gaza were tweeting to people in Ferguson tips on dealing with tear gas and so on.

In short, displays of State power in the face of protest are going to gain support along thedish lines. The Right’s men are rednecks, hillbillies, et cetera. When Bundy’s dispute gained national attention, you certainly didn’t see such luminaries as Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton making appearances in Nevada. For the Left, it’s minorities, no matter their color (well, except perhaps for Asians, against whom they discriminate in college admissions). And for whatever reason, the Left seems endlessly fascinated with attempting to create martyr myths (see Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, et al), and we have another example of this with the troubles in Ferguson over the past week after Michael Brown was shot to death by police.


from Ferguson and Social Justice: The Thedish Logic of Political Coalitions

August 13, 2014
Clickbait: Yellow Journalism as Virtual Governance


The outrage machine that today controls so much of the West is fueled not by serious, sober concern for the state of the world; it cannot distinguish between truth and lies, between the productive and the harmful. The incentive structures by which its pieces operate have little more reason to care about the results of their actions as a superintelligent machine built to maximize the number of paperclips it owns would have to care about the results of turning the entire solar system into paperclips.

John Ashton, the head of the British Faculty of Public Health, sputters that “they’d find a cure if Ebola came to London”: “it seems that the involvement of powerless minority groups has contributed to a tardiness of response and a failure to mobilise an adequately resourced international medical response.” His sentiments are echoed in an Onion article, “Experts: Ebola Vaccine At Least 50 White People Away”, and even a Vox ‘explainer’:

Ebola has no vaccine and no cure.

Here’s what’s surprising and interesting about this state of affairs: it is not caused by a lack of human ingenuity or scientific capacity to come up with Ebola remedies. It’s because this is an African disease, and our global innovation system largely ignores the health problems of the poor.

But Vox undermines this conclusion in its own article: it concludes with a death-rate chart noting that Ebola has only killed about a thousand people. The source they use is from 2012, so there may be another thousand or two; but that’s still several orders of magnitude below every other cause listed, including “fire, heat, and hot substances”, violence, diarrhea, malaria, and AIDS.

Furthermore, Ebola is unlikely to spread outside Africa, and much of its spread in Africa is due to poor hygieneand it was only discovered in 1976. It’s neither surprising nor an injustice that no vaccine yet exists: Ebola’s ability to make headlines is disproportionate to its actual importance.

This conclusion, however, will not play well in the media—and this is, of course, only one of many examples, one that’s particularly easy to debunk. For other examples, consider the outrage-fueled liefest that was the Trayvon Martin case—as well as the common practice of omitting unmentionables like race from news reports on crime, unless it’s convenient to the accepted narrative.

The old saying that a lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on holds even truer today: the media is not incentivized to tell the truth, but rather to generate clicks, and these two goals are not necessarily the same.

Nowhere in this incentive structure is any media outlet given a reason to care about the results of their click-maximization, to care about whether it’s dropping toxic waste in the stream that all our towns drink from. Thus we are forced to incur a significant externality: the agenda is set, and public opinion is manufactured, by nothing more than a collection of click-maximizers. Democracy is rule by whoever informs the peopleand the people will be misinformed.


from Clickbait: Yellow Journalism as Virtual Governance

August 10, 2014
Briefly, On the Significance of Little Boy and Fat Man


69 years ago yesterday, Washington dropped its second atomic bomb, Fat Man, on Nagasaki, three days after the first, Little Boy, decimated Hiroshima. The two prevailing opinions on these events in the United States today seem to be, in so many variations, the following: the first, that the deployment of the atomic bomb was a necessity to prevent further bloodshed in what had already become the world’s most devastating war, however regrettable we may think it to be by our present standards; and the second, that the deployment of the atomic bomb was of such supreme evil that Americans, even today, ought to take it upon themselves to apologize to the Japanese on behalf of their government.

The first view ignores the countless means by which the government at Washington antagonized Japan, not to mention its hand in the dismantling of Europe’s old order during and after the First World War, which geopolitical destabilization made Europe ripe for a second war; the second ignores the fact that the government at Washington has long since given up on the people its was founded to protect, and thus that rural and working-class Americans, and Southerners and Midwesterners especially, would do well not to identify with a regime that has hated or ignored them for generations. Submit to the powers that be, sure—but don’t pretend they care about you as anything but a number.

The old order of Europe was in some sense sacred; it was a handing-down through the ages of norms, customs, institutions, and names, which served as a vital link, or a series thereof, between the modern and the ancient. Likewise, Japan had a sacred order of its own, with which it successfully developed what would be called a “modern” State (leaving aside for now considerations of the pro-Tokugawa point of view). The Allies, quite literally, smashed both of these to pieces.

Today, the same classes of bureaucrats, journalists, and financiers who directed Allied military action appear to be fast at work to make sure no sacred order develops likewise in North America. The American Experiment—a civilizational reboot undertaken by free Western men—would have developed naturally to have its own grand institutions, its own mysteries, its own symbols. But other interests, beginning most decisively in 1861, got their way instead. A century and a half later, the idea of a new form of Western high culture growing from the stripped-down essence of the American frontiersman appears to be nearly the opposite of what the government at Washington is promoting and protecting.

We at Theden have discussed the war crimes of the Allies before, and a consistent observer will note that if millions of dead bodies are enough to invalidate Nazism and Communism, they are certainly enough to invalidate the ideology of the Allies, whatever one may deign to call it. From this point of view, the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are two examples among many of this ideology’s brutality. Resist the urge to defend them, and resist likewise the urge to apologize for them—dissociate from the imperial government that did them. Period.


from Briefly, On the Significance of Little Boy and Fat Man

August 10, 2014
The Many Unmentionables of Ebola Media Coverage


This recent Ebola outbreak is gripping to read about in news reports—not for the fear of contagion on Western shores, but for the written and unwritten realities of sub-Saharan Africa. Classic progressive signaling and approved mentionables are what fill the reports. People need to know the horror that is the Third World, but they also need to know who the appropriate villains are, who to blame for the suffering, poverty and filth. There is much to note and sadly much to discuss about modernity’s, as well as decolonization’s, adverse effects on Africa.

Start with pictures. I notice an overwhelming presence of White American and European medical professionals. This must be that White privilege the Tumblr kids mention. Get an MD, volunteer in Africa, get ebola. Privilege. What happens without those doctors? Are shamans going to cure ebola? No. Haven’t we been told of the rapid growth in Africa’s population since 1950? Where are the home-grown doctors? This can be seen but never discussed in detail because it is the physical manifestation of Western support of sub-Saharan Africa through aid programs.

There are articles trying to pin this on development, but really ebola outbreaks have occurred randomly for decades now. Development and raping the planet is supposed to be a safe bad thing. One unmentionable is the massive urbanization that involves the filthiest of cities. If these are Third-World countries, how did a gigantic city like Lagos form and sustain millions? Why did the world foster such rapid urbanization on a society possibly not ready for it? Europeans got there, built cities out of nothing, left, and the society that had not dreamt those cities up was then asked to administer them. The West then helped them blow those cities up ten or thirty times in size and population. Watch if ebola makes it to Lagos. Lagos is 17 million people large, compared to 290,000 in 1950. Might massive urban megalopolises act like horrible cauldrons of death with a disease like ebola? Oh yes, but don’t push that question too much or the media would have to explain why those cities boomed in population and yet live in squalor compared to Hong Kong, Tokyo, et cetera.

If they have megacities, how can they be so dysfunctional? The colonial legacy will get the blame but that legacy did not prevent skyscrapers and some urban niceties from being built. What could ever be the problem in Africa. Maybe the correlation between Zimbabwe’s agricultural production and its White population is a clue. Where are the proper medical resources to contain a bodily-fluids-transmitted disease in a nation of multimillions that has received millions or billions in medical aid for these very diseases? The concept of a quarantine seems to be beyond the grasp of the government or the mindset of the population. Do not just blame the government. These citizens see the disease kill their loved one and do not think of the wider circle, or themselves, and break quarantine, or just leave bodies out for collection like a Monty Python movie. This outbreak has a kill ratio of roughly 50%, which is low for ebola. Usually ebola kills so effectively that it burns out and limits the spread. Not this time, and African dysfunction plays into ebola’s strengths.

An honest media and academia would critique decolonization as much as colonialism. The opportunity for grandstanding is there since preventable deaths are occurring, and these nations cannot put into effect a quarantine. What made incentives so maddeningly perverse as to create cities like Lagos—full of corruption, violence, and disease, yet still sucking in millions more? How is this allowed to stand and become worse each year? No one will dig into this because the answers will hurt too many people and reveal the rotten fruit of US global leadership. Democracy, self-determination, HIV, rape and murder. It’s a package under Harvard leadership. Diseases with kill ratios over 50% spreading like wildfire are just a special part of the deal.


from The Many Unmentionables of Ebola Media Coverage

August 10, 2014
An Industry Dying For Female Workers


It’s not fair that this industry is one of the only growing industries in the US. They are paying great wages, above the regional norms for jobs not requiring college degrees. These firms are also not reliant on government grants. Worst of all, they are overwhelmingly male. Perhaps we should demand that women be forced on the oil and gas industry.

How come oil and gas firms are never a target for feminist groups? They pay great for education required. They are growing and spread out in many different regions of the US. They are also enclaves of masculinity. All this bitching about brogrammers, yet it is just coding at a desk in an air-conditioned room. The frac operators, mechanics, and cement specialists are doing manly physical work. Wouldn’t getting women involved in this sort of work prove gender equality? Come on, women’s studies majors! This is your big chance.

“We need safe female spaces at oil rigs!”
“It is discrimination to not let 140 lb women haul 70 lb bags of sand!”
“Bubbe, the pay is marvelous—wait, I gotta get dirty and do work? Oh, my back aches; I’ll pass—or do they need a diversity consultant?”

Take Calfrac for example. This is a worldwide firm with 1700 domestic US employees (started with just four). Job opportunities are all over the nation. Calfrac jobs pay well, and if you are unemployed and looking, stop by their website. What percentage of Calfrac employees are female? Just 7% and most of that 7%, if not all, is in the home office. Maybe the jobs involved are why. Check their job openings, which are numerous. Must work in excessive heat, rain or snow. Must lift up to 70 lbs. Must have mechanical skills. The men who work these jobs are usually beaten up pretty good after twenty years, let alone a lifelong career in the industry.

Good paying jobs not needing a degree are there for the taking at a growing firm in a good industry. There will be no feminist push there, because it is hard and hazardous work in a commodity industry that does not need diversity consultants and make work outreach jobs. We also need the oil and gas produced as cheaply as possible to keep the economy going, so phony kumbaya expenses must be kept to a minimum. The same could be said for IT firms, but IT firms are progressive and hip and have enough fat to siphon off revenues for garbage departments. If a women’s studies major wants to be a frac operator or roustabout, let her. I won’t hold my breath waiting for the Adria Richards of the oil industry.


from An Industry Dying For Female Workers

August 5, 2014
A Cashless Society in the World of Fiat


It appears that the Israeli government is looking to move Israel to a cashless economy. The link mentions other nations are considering this as well. The Israelis are using tax revenue, the black market, money laundering as excuses. While those may be good excuses in themselves, anti-money laundering efforts sound weak when banks caught red handed with cartel money get slaps on the wrist. There is something deeper this protects governments from: a loss of confidence.

Zero Hedge rightfully harps on the surveillance capabilities a cashless society would grant its government. A central authority could track the transactions of any questionable individual, preventing anything subversive. The digital aspect would be a much easier sell after decades of widespread credit card use and technology advancements at the consumer level. This would also fully actualize the computer-as-printing-press idea Bernanke discussed years ago.

In a cashless society with a central bank, the unit would be infinite in quantity. It would be a reverse Bitcoin. This would be easy to manipulate and expand to cover any problems in the system from big players. In a confidence crisis, people go to hard money, but in the absence of it or in the case of stratospheric cost, they go to cash. This first move is a signal of lost confidence. Might a cash-heavy world spark not just a loss for the government but for the banking system? Cashless solves that. Bank runs are eliminated as a concern.

This will be interesting to watch because the trends are moving away from petrodollar security. Outright collapse may not happen but change will come. Israel may not pull this off, or they might act as a guinea pig for the rest of the dollar system. A cashless economy would be a wild step to keep the current system in place just a little longer.


from A Cashless Society in the World of Fiat