Predictions of a coming ice age — 1972

Walter Chronkite [most trusted man in America] was not impressed.

He’s right about the ice being a mile thick where Lake Shore Drive is today, but his reference to 60,000 years ago is a bit off.

The last ice age began 1.8 million years ago and didn’t recede until 11,700 years ago. This time frame defines the Pleistocene Epoch. The first humans appeared just before the Pleistocene Epoch began, about 2.3 millions years ago, and by the time it ended and the ice began to recede humans could be found just about everywhere on planet earth.

It was the melting of the Pleistocene ice that made the Great Lakes and tens of thousands other lakes in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and New York.

America was less superstitious in 1972 and people were not as easily fooled by climate alarmists with dire predictions of gloom and doom unless we give them the power to run our lives.

Henry David Thoreau — Civil Disobedience

Maxham daguerreotype of Henry David Thoreau, aged 39, made in 1856

Maxham daguerreotype of Henry David Thoreau, aged 39, made in 1856

Once upon a time Henry David Thoreau’s 1849 essay, “Civil Disobedience” was a staple of freshman writing classes in colleges and universities across America. I can’t say for sure that it no longer is, but I’d bet dollars to donut holes that it is not.  It would be found to be politically incorrect, I’m afraid.  After all, its opening line is: I heartily accept the motto, “ That government is best which governs least.”

Such sentiment would surely violate speech codes on most college campae of today.  At least it would be considered unacceptable as not politically correct.  How do I know this? Well, it’s a good guess because finding an authentic copy of Thoreau’s essay that has not been bowdlerized by the speech police can be a bit tricky. I haven’t seen one that actually inserts words Thoreau never wrote; the preferred method is to simply omit the most politically incorrect passages.

There are many. Thoreau believed a lot of things that ring true for conservatives today.  Thoreau’s distrust of government was not that it is sometimes or just a little corrupt or unjust but that the government is primarily an agent of corruption and injustice.  Conservatives today would modify that slightly to say that there always exists a danger that government will be corrupt and unjust and that is exactly why the government should be limited and restricted to doing no more than those few things which governments must do, such as enforce a rule of law, provide a stable currency and defend against foreign enemies. It is when government tries to go beyond its necessary and proper functions that it is most likely to become the agent of corruption and injustice.  In Lincoln’s words, government should do only those things which the people cannot do for themselves.  Thoreau would say it this way: Government should not attempt to do those things which the people can do for themselves, and can do better:

Governments show thus how successfully men can be imposed on, even impose on themselves, for their own advantage. It is excellent, we must all allow. Yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way. It does not keep the country free. It does not settle the West. It does not educate. The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way. For government is an expedient by which men would fain succeed in letting one another alone; and, as has been said, when it is most expedient, the governed are most let alone by it. Trade and commerce, if they were not made of india-rubber, would never manage to bounce over the obstacles which legislators are continually putting in their way;

Today’s “leave us alone” conservatives heartily agree.

Thoreau did not believe that the majority was always a legitimate ruler. Merely constituting a majority does not guarantee wisdom and virtue.  In the following passage Thoreau seems to have contemplated what is today called the “low-information voter:”

I hear of a convention to be held at Baltimore, or elsewhere, for the selection of a candidate for the Presidency, made up chiefly of editors, and men who are politicians by profession; but I think, what is it to any independent, intelligent, and respectable man what decision they may come to? Shall we not have the advantage of his wisdom and honesty, nevertheless? Can we not count upon some independent votes? Are there not many individuals in the country who do not attend conventions? But no: I find that the respectable man, so called, has immediately drifted from his position, and despairs of his country, when his country has more reason to despair of him. He forthwith adopts one of the candidates thus selected as the only available one, thus proving that he is himself available for any purposes of the demagogue. His vote is of no more worth than that of any unprincipled foreigner or hireling native, who may have been bought. O for a man who is a man, and, as my neighbor says, has a bone in his back which you cannot pass your hand through!

In the followed passage I have marked out some words, which will be evident, and entered new ones in bold type, to show how Thoreau’s essay presaged a phenomenon we are living with today:

The government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it. Witness the present Mexican war Obamacare, executive amnesty, etc., the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool; for, in the outset, the people would not have consented to this measure.

Thoreau seems to have contemplated much more about what would have been to him, the future, and is now what we see before us today:

This American government — what is it but a tradition, though a recent one, endeavoring to transmit itself unimpaired to posterity, but each instant losing some of its integrity? It has not the vitality and force of a single living man; for a single man can bend it to his will.

If I am correct and Thoreau’s essay is no longer read by college freshman, that is a tragedy. I remember reading it for the first time when I was a freshman, and reveling in it. If today’s millennials would read it they might be on the road to discovering the real roots of their discontent.

UPDATE:  Thoreau’s essay is more timely than ever, as shown by this sampling from current news:  California Prosecutor Falsified Transcript of Confession and this important new book, Licensed to Lie, Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice.

Legal weed and the black market

We have been told for years, yeah for decades, that legalizing and taxing drugs would dry up the black market and the violence that goes with it.  Well, that ain’t happening. The high tax that Colorado imposed pretty much guaranteed the continuation of the black market, but taxes are not the only reason.  Legalization probably also made pot seem cool to people who weren’t doing it before.  The drug cartels are entrepreneurial, innovative and aggressively seeking new customers all the time.

If you want to take the time to do some Google searching you’ll find a lot of news stories about the thriving black market that has literally gotten a shot in the arm from pot legalization.

This one from Business Insider is typical:

Legalizing Marijuana in Washington and Colorado Hasn’t Gotten Rid of the Black Market. SEATTLE (AP) — A year into the nation’s experiment with legal, taxed marijuana sales, Washington and Colorado find themselves wrestling not with the federal interference many feared, but with competition from medical marijuana or even outright black market sales.

In Washington, the black market has exploded since voters legalized marijuana in 2012, with scores of legally dubious medical dispensaries opening and some pot delivery services brazenly advertising that they sell outside the legal system.

Licensed shops say taxes are so onerous that they can’t compete.

Colorado, which launched legal pot sales last New Year’s Day, is facing a lawsuit from Nebraska and Oklahoma alleging that they’re being overrun with pot from the state.

And the number of patients on Colorado’s medical marijuana registry went up, not down, since 2012, meaning more marijuana users there can avoid paying the higher taxes that recreational pot carries.

Unlicensed growers are selling pot on Craigslist in Colorado, according to CNBC:

Underground Weed: Colorado’s Black Market. If you think Colorado’s legalization of marijuana retail sales killed the black market, think again.  Just a click away on Craigslist are hundreds of unlicensed purveyors of everything from smokable bud to hash oil products for a more potent high. CNBC contacted dozens of these sellers, and while most wouldn’t talk, some did.

But wait, there’s more to the story:

It’s the pot that’s moving across state borders that most worries [former] Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, who agrees that Colorado is now competing with Mexico as a drug exporter.

“The truly large black market is the extent to which we’re becoming the supplier of marijuana in states where it’s illegal,” he said. “We’re the black market for Wyoming, Utah, and apparently up to 40 other states in the United States that have indicated to us, ‘We’ve seize Colorado-packaged marijuana.’”

Nebraska and Oklahoma state attorneys general recently sued Colorado in U.S. Supreme Court, arguing their states have suffered “direct and significant harm” from the Colorado pot that has crossed their borders.  Suthers says the suit is without merit, but comes as no surprise.

(Read more: Slideshow – Colorado one year later: By the numbers)

And in the mountains that host some of country’s finest ski resorts, National Forest Service agents are still busting the huge outdoors grows of Mexican drug trafficking groups.  According to Suthers, there’s no indication as yet that legal pot has reduced the presence of the cartels in Colorado, or undermined any other aspect of the black market.

Legal weed allows people to believe the myth that getting stoned on a regular basis won’t screw up their lives.  Legal or not, pot is junk leading to a junked life.

With malice toward none, with charity for all…

Today is the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address.  On March 4 1865 Lincoln took the presidential oath of office for the second time, “to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”  Sherman’s march through Georgia was largely accomplished and Grant’s siege of Richmond was nearly complete. Lincoln’s first inaugural address charted a course to be pursued. His second was a look back at four years of terrible war in which more than 600,000 Americans had perished, still today the highest number of American dead in all wars.

Lincoln’s address wrestled with the question of whether God is just, and the oldest question of what is the relation of God to man and how does man’s suffering fit that relationship? In an address of only four paragraphs, Lincoln addresses these questions in the final two:

One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

During his presidency Lincoln was not given to lengthy and windy speeches. The Gettysburg Address is but 267 words,  the second inaugural 696 words.  Lincoln read all of Shakespeare and often quoted passages from Shakespeare, more so in conversation than in writing or speeches. William Dean Howells wrote that Lincoln was “a diligent student of Shakespeare, to know whom is a liberal education.” It’s no wonder then that he must have taken to heart the lines of Polonius in Hamlet Act 2, scene 2:

My liege, and madam, to expostulate
What majesty should be, what duty is,
What day is day, night night, and time is time,
Were nothing but to waste night, day, and time;
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief.

Would that today’s politicians read Shakespeare.

Republicans must have planned all along to sell out their voters

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 3.52.55 PM

Here is the link that appears in the screenshot above.

Ace of Spades: “I’m personally done with this party.”

The only way Republicans win the presidency in 2016 will be with a clear non-establishment candidate.  Anyone in league with these guys won’t stand a chance.  That pretty much narrows it to Scott Walker, Ben Carson, Rand Paul, Rick Perry or Ted Cruz. [not in any particular order].  Jeb Bush? Mitt Romney? Chris Christie? Never.  No way. Not possible. They’re the establishment favorites. You can’t spit in the faces of your voters and expect them to support you in the next election. That’s what the GOP leaders have been doing since the day after the 2014 election. You’d think they really didn’t want to win, they’re mad they did, and they’re trying to make sure it doesn’t happen again.  There is no other way to explain what these dumbshit bastards are doing.

Rich getting screwed — Poor not paying their fair share

Joint Tax Committee: The Top 1% Receives 19% Of All Income, Pays 49% Of All Income Taxes. Top 10 percent receive 45 percent of all income and pay 82 percent of all income taxes. The top five percent of all tax returns receive 34 percent of all income and pay 71 percent of all income taxes.

The worst thing about this is that the overwhelming majority of voters pay so little in taxes they don’t have much incentive to support lower taxes.  In fact, they can indulge themselves in supporting higher taxes to soak the rich, whom many believe to be their nemesis, with little cost to themselves.

In reality, the middle class and the poor spite their own faces when they support policies they think will hurt the rich.  Raising someone else’s taxes certainly does not create any benefit for them and in fact hurts them by causing capital flight and lost opportunities of their own economic gain.

M. Stanton Evans, RIP

Legendary conservative writer and commentator M. Stanton Evans died today at the age of 80. Evans was the founder of Young Americans For Freedom (YAF). In 1960 Stanton wrote The Sharon Statement, YAF’s statement of principles. It was adopted at a meeting of 90 young conservatives at the Sharon, Connecticut, home of National Review editor William F. Buckley, Jr. The purpose of the Sharon Statement was to present “a succinct summary of the central ideas of modern American conservatism.”

The Sharon Statement

Adopted in conference at Sharon, Connecticut, September 11, 1960

In this time of moral and political crises, it is the responsibility of the youth of America to affirm certain eternal truths.

We, as young conservatives, believe:

That foremost among the transcendent values is the individual’s use of his God-given free will, whence derives his right to be free from the restrictions of arbitrary force;

That liberty is indivisible, and that political freedom cannot long exist without economic freedom;

That the purpose of government is to protect those freedoms through the preservation of internal order, the provision of national defense, and the administration of justice;

That when government ventures beyond these rightful functions, it accumulates power, which tends to diminish order and liberty;

That the Constitution of the United States is the best arrangement yet devised for empowering government to fulfill its proper role, while restraining it from the concentration and abuse of power;

That the genius of the Constitution—the division of powers—is summed up in the clause that reserves primacy to the several states, or to the people, in those spheres not specifically delegated to the Federal government;

That the market economy, allocating resources by the free play of supply and demand, is the single economic system compatible with the requirements of personal freedom and constitutional government, and that it is at the same time the most productive supplier of human needs;

That when government interferes with the work of the market economy, it tends to reduce the moral and physical strength of the nation; that when it takes from one man to bestow on another, it diminishes the incentive of the first, the integrity of the second, and the moral autonomy of both;

That we will be free only so long as the national sovereignty of the United States is secure; that history shows periods of freedom are rare, and can exist only when free citizens concertedly defend their rights against all enemies;

That the forces of international Communism are, at present, the greatest single threat to these liberties;

That the United States should stress victory over, rather than coexistence with, this menace; and

That American foreign policy must be judged by this criterion: does it serve the just interests of the United States?

For what it’s worth, which is not much, one might compare the Sharon Statement to Tom Hayden’s 1962 Port Huron Statement for the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the only similarity between the two being they were both intended as a statement of principles for a political organization.  The Sharon Statement is a call to honor and protect the founding principles of America, those being primarily political and economic freedom under a government dedicated to securing the blessings of those freedoms for all people. The Port Huron Statement is more or less a rant by young radicals against the state of the country they believe they have inherited from their parents.

Ironically, though, the Port Huron Statement is a good deal more conservative and respectful of individual liberty and free will than the current state of radical progressive liberalism under the regime of Barack Obama.

Back to the future in deBlasio’s New York City

I’ve said before that New York Mayor Bill de Blasio must choose between capitulating to Al Sharpton’s demands to reverse the reforms implemented by Rudy Giuliani or listen to NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton’s counsel that crime will increase if Giuliani’s reforms are not kept in place. I don’t think Giuliani style policing has yet been abandoned completely but it’s been heavily criticized by the liberals running the city and a Federal District Court ruling has embolden criminals by finding that the NYPD’s “stop and frisk” policy constitutes an illegal search. The NYPD’s policy had reduced crime just as Broken Windows Policing always does. The idea itself was blessed by the U.S. Supreme Court in Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968). 

Federal District Judge Shira Scheindlin also found stop and frisk to be racially discriminatory because the majority of the stops were of blacks or hispanics. Of course, the majority of crimes in New York are committed by blacks or hispanics, but the judge gave no allowance for that fact.  Finding the NYPD to be racially prejudiced is silly considering that the percentage of black or hispanic cops mirrors or exceeds the percentage of blacks or hispanics living in the precincts where the stops were conducted, and the law-abiding black and hispanic residents who are the main victims of black or hispanic crime support the efforts of the NYPD to reduce crime in their neighborhoods.

The residents of New York City are starting to reap the consequences not only of that judge’s ruling but also their own irresponsible voting patterns: Murders in the City up 20% year-to-year in first two months of 2014.

Told ya so.

Mark Levin at CPAC

Mark Levin spoke Saturday morning at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). In an appeal to the memory of Ronald Reagan, Levin said “It’s time for a new Republican Party.”

The current leaders of the Republican party are not conservatives. This has led the Republican party to weakness and torpor even on the heels of its recent sweeping electoral victory. Watching Congress since last November one would have to wonder what the Republican leadership has been smoking. After campaigning to stop Obama’s unconstitutional attack on the rule of law in America Speaker John Boehner in the House, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the Senate almost immediately forgot every promise they made to voters and for all intents seem to have turned the Congress back over to the Democrats.

Mark Levin could not be more right except that the Republican party is not so much the problem, but rather its current leadership is the problem. The Republican party needs a regime change to give us out in the hinterlands “a new birth of freedom.”

Levin appealed to the memory of Ronald Reagan as he called for conservatives to reject “crony capitalism” and pre-selected candidates. This last was a reference to the manner in which fat cat Republicans donors and Republican campaign consultants, with much help from Democrat plutocrats, rammed Mitt Romney and John McCain down the throats of the Republican voters in 2008 and 2012. Levin warned that if they do the same to get the nomination for Jeb Bush in 2016 the exact same result will likely occur, meaning enough disenchanted conservatives will find something better to do on election day and hand the Republicans another presidential defeat.

Levin understands, and Republican voters understand, that a Republican electoral victory is meaningless when the presidential candidate tries to out-liberal the liberals. In some ways a liberal Republican is worse than a liberal Democrat because a liberal Republican president can advance liberalism faster than a Democrat simply by giving the impression that since both parties are liberal that must be what the American people want them to be. A liberal Republican, usually called a “moderate” since the word “liberal” is a handle politicians in both parties try to avoid, does more damage to the Republican party and the conservative cause than an authentic liberal Democrat can do because such a Republican lends legitimacy to liberal ideology. This demoralizes many Republican voters and has led the party to its current troubles.

All of Levin’s speech was a hit, and here it is in this video: