A Board Game to Steal an Election? Can you Win?

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Once in a while, something comes along that cheers our progress toward liberty. In this age of cultural discouragement, it is good to see a product that not only entertains but educates about how elections may be stolen, manipulated, or purchased… you pick the term that suits your sensibilities.

Unlike watching a movie, or listening to a podcast, the board game just introduced called Fraud-U is based on many factors discovered during the 2016 and 2020 elections. It covers the full gamut from mass ballot drops, the use of mules, and circumstances created by embedded electronic fraud.

As described to us, this is a fast-paced game, utilizing a similar layout to monopoly. As a dice-based game, it is fraught with chance. In addition, the game is heavily biased toward a certain political party. If a player chooses to take on a Republican role, he must be prepared to sweat.

The game begins with a dice roll to determine party affiliation, if not voluntarily chosen, and an initial board position that establishes a candidate’s volunteer base and funding. As the game progresses, a dice roll will tell the player what space to next occupy. That space is accompanied by instructions that correspond to the six numbers on the die. The player may gain or lose funds, votes, or volunteers. The financial aspects of campaigning are not ignored. Contestants enter the results of these moves on a Score Pad that can be examined by any other player. The final objective of the White House is achieved after all players have cleared the yellow brick road and all votes are tallied.

The game is designed for 2 to 6 players and can be completed in about 40 minutes. There are many laugh lines in the instruction cards that will bring a chuckle to anyone who is even slightly to the right of the political center. The company producing this is called Ezekiel’s Games.

Interested readers can go to the social media crowd-funding site IndieGoGo, the link for which is provided below, or use the optical scanner code below. Anyone with a smartphone can simply photograph the code and get to the site.  Once at that site, click on the red options button and you can either purchase the game at a discount or you can participate in crowdfunding, raising capital to produce and distribute the game.

The Prickly Pear has no financial connection with the firm that produced this board game although anything that makes people more aware of election integrity is something we can endorse.  We think it is a clever idea and we suspect they won’t be getting financing from any large media company. We at The Prickly Pear believe in building new citizen-driven institutions and platforms similar to our own citizen journalistic enterprise.

If you would enjoy a game of bare-knuckle politics  that can interest your family and friends, remember the tagline, ” Give me liberty or give me Fraud-U for Christmas or Hanukkah.”

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Link for the purchase of the game of Fraud-U: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ezekiel-s-games-introduces-fraud-u-board-game#/

Here is the Optical Scanner Code:

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Carbon Lifestyles of the Rich, Famous and Hypocritical

Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

If global warming is truly an existential threat, then the nation’s elites are a threat and should be dealt with accordingly.

 

Of all the varieties of hypocrites, carbon hypocrites are among the worse, because they harm poor people the most.

You’ve heard about the two-faced archetypes: Uber-wealthy and powerful, they say that global warming is an existential threat while they own multiple mansions, fly around the world in private jets, and drive electric cars that go from zero to 60 in four seconds, powered by massive battery packs full of mined materials and recharged with carbon-generated electricity. The vehicles are green only if they come in that color. 

As will be discussed shortly, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is one of the carbon hypocrites.

He and his ilk display their hyper-hypocrisy while looking down on the proles, bitter clingers, deplorables, Walmart shoppers, and clodhoppers. Then, even with their prep school and Ivy League pedigrees, they can’t figure out why the hoi polloi are attracted to Donald Trump.

Many of the hypocrites live in New York City, where Trump became a national name because the city’s sophisticates enabled him by bending zoning regulations for him, by living in Trump Tower along with Arab and Russian petro plutocrats and giving him constant publicity, including his own TV show.

I lived in metro New York for ten years and knew more of them than I wanted to know, as a result of heading an influential environmental group in the metro area. I told my board of directors and members to stick with facts and not engage in hyperbole, misinformation, or disinformation—although it would have been easy to get the media, politicians, and the public to swallow such baloney, given that environmentalism is one of those issues that plays more to emotions than to reason. (Other issues in this vein are poverty, inequality, equity, and racism.)

New Yorkers tend to believe that the city is an energy miser because it is densely populated, has extensive mass transit, has short commutes for city dwellers, has tiny apartments that don’t use much energy for heating and cooling, and has a corresponding lifestyle that makes it possible to get by without owning a car. Left out of the energy calculus, however, is the city’s “offshoring” of carbon burning to New Jersey, to other parts of the US, and to the world. 

Refineries, factories, warehouses, and fleets of trucks that service Manhattan line miles and miles of the New Jersey Turnpike. Commuters travel to and from the city not only on the turnpike but also on I-78 and I-80, including from as far away as Pennsylvania. Others commute from suburbs in Long Island and Connecticut. Tens of thousands of cars and trucks sit in massive traffic jams during rush hours. Thousands of trucks descend on Manhattan during the night to deliver food and goods, with their diesel engines running as they double-park to unload. Much of the food served in five-star restaurants is grown in the heartland with fertilizer produced from fossil fuels. Trash is either incinerated or put on trains and trucks to be shipped to landfills in other states. Squadrons of private jets fly in and out of Teterboro Airport in New Jersey, and commercial jets en route to LaGuardia, JFK and Newark airports circle for a half-hour or more in bad weather, burning petro and spewing pollution and noise over large swaths of the metro area.

On weekends and holidays, many of the city’s movers and shakers escape to their mansions on the north shore of Long Island and elsewhere. Of course, the mansions are heated and cooled when they aren’t there. No doubt, many of them are heated with oil, which is delivered by truck.

It’s lunacy to think that all of this carbon use can be converted to so-called clean energy in a couple of decades, that industrialized nations can survive without fossil fuels, that poor countries can end poverty without fossil fuels, that less burning of fossil fuels in one nation won’t result in more burning in other nations, and that global warming is existential and not just another serious problem that will be overcome. On the other hand, it is not lunacy to believe that wealthy elites, unlike common folks, have the money and political power to survive and prosper under draconian reductions in fossil fuels.   

This brings the discussion back to Michael Bloomberg.

The billionaire has launched a campaign called Beyond Petrochemicals to end the production of petrochemicals. The initial funding of $85 million will be spent on stopping 120 planned petrochemical projects in the US. 

It is not known if any of his targets are petrochemical plants that produce ammonia for fertilizer for feeding the world. But Bloomberg probably thinks that a little starvation would be good for humanity.  After all, when he was mayor, he wanted to lower the consumption of soda through higher taxes on the product, ostensibly to reduce obesity.

It’s telling that he went after soda but not Starbucks, even though the chain sells high-calorie milkshakes masquerading as coffee. Soda tends to be the drink of choice of those wearing blue collars while Starbucks tends to be the drink of choice of those wearing white collars.

I’d like to throw a Big Gulp in Bloomberg’s smug face, given his environmental hypocrisy. If memory serves, he owns several mansions, including a house in Bermuda. Does he travel there by rowboat or sail there with Greta Thunberg?

And how about the Bloomberg publishing industry and thousands of Bloomberg computer terminals? How are they powered?

If Bloomberg really believes that the world is going to end from global warming, then it is a moral imperative that he reduce his carbon footprint by selling his mansions and living in an efficiency apartment.

Speaking of mansions, the real estate section of the Wall Street Journal is geared to Bloomberg’s social class and fellow hypocrites. Below are excerpted descriptions of six homes recently featured in the section. I’ve edited the descriptions for brevity. They’ll give you a sense of the carbon lifestyles of the rich, famous and hypocritical.   

I’ve never been one to have class envy or begrudge the wealthy, but the hypocrisy of the nation’s elites makes me want to overthrow them, or at least force them to live like they want everyone else to live.

* * *

Excerpt One:  A 17-foot-long pool is a cherry on top of a $39.995 million Manhattan townhouse. The brick-and-limestone Tribeca home is about 23½ feet wide and approximately 10,600 square feet. The sellers are commercial real-estate investor Lucky Bhalla and his wife, Laura Bhalla, who purchased the property for $1.5 million in 2003, property records show. Mr. Bhalla founded the Manhattan investment firm Ascot Properties NYC.

Excerpt Two: A London-based businessman paid $50 million cash for a Gilded Age mansion in New York.  The buyer, who plans to use it as a pied-à-terre, never stepped foot in the building before buying it. Everything was done through his representatives.

Excerpt Three: An 18-Acre waterfront compound on Cape Cod is listed for $15.995 million. The property on Red Brook Harbor includes two houses, a boat house, a tennis court, a 20-foot-long dock, and a private sandy beach. A husband and wife named Bisson own the compound.  They enjoyed using the property for boating to locations such as Bassetts Island and Martha’s Vineyard. Mr. Bisson is currently a commercial real estate investor, and the Bissons own a restaurant called Wicked Craft in Boston.

Excerpt Four: An Aspen mansion has sold for $69 million in one of Aspen’s priciest-ever deals. Known as Silver Lining Ranch, the estate has a roughly 18,000-square-foot, three-story house with 10 bedrooms, according to Meriwether. The sellers were John and Elizabeth Burgess, records show. Mr. Burgess is a co-founder of BC Partners, a British private-equity firm.

Excerpt Five:  A Manhattan apartment long owned by the late pharmaceutical executive Martin Howard Solomon is coming to market for $55 million. Mr. Solomon and his wife, Sarah Billinghurst Solomon, paid $25 million for the Upper East Side home in 2004, according to property records. The neo-Italian Renaissance-style building, a co-op on the edge of Central Park, was designed by prominent architect J.E.R. Carpenter around 1920. The boutique building has drawn power players such as the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. The five-bedroom apartment has views over Central Park and the city, said Serena Boardman of Sotheby’s International Realty, one of the listing agents. With 11 rooms, it has large entertaining spaces, multiple wood-burning fireplaces, and a dining room that can seat close to 30 people, she said. Ms. Boardman declined to specify the unit’s square footage.

Excerpt Six: In 2016, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos paid $23 million for two side-by-side historic mansions in Washington, D.C. The sprawling early-1900s houses had been a museum, but Mr. Bezos converted them into a massive home, where he has since thrown glittering parties attended by the likes of Bill Gates and Ivanka Trump. Now another one of the city’s grand historic mansions is hoping to follow suit. Jewett House, a circa-1905 Georgian Revival mansion that has been used for decades as the headquarters of the progressive Bauman Foundation, is listing for $14.5 million. Spanning about 16,500 square feet, the property is the most expensive home on the market in the city. “This house would be a perfect one for Bezos,” said John Landrum Bryant, vice president of the Bauman Foundation. Or, since Mr. Bezos already has a residence in D.C., an ideal buyer would be the mogul’s ex-wife, philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, he said. Mr. Bryant knows a thing or two about the housing preferences of the elite. Aside from being married to real-estate heiress Patricia Bauman, whose father launched the Bauman Foundation, he carries the title of prince of Monteagudo, a town in Spain, and goes by Prince John.

Drag Queens Are the New Black Face

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

It is easy to find on YouTube numerous videos of parents dragging their own children to drag queen shows where the children are encouraged to touch the genital areas of the performers or stuff dollar bills into the same geography. Or they will haul their children to a place of learning, usually a library or school, where they can see strange men dressed up as women.

The ostensible reason for this is the holy cause of “diversity” and the acceptance of gay men.

One area to explore is the danger this is to children. The other less explored area is the danger this is to women.

Recently, a woman on Twitter made the comment that drag queens are the new black face. As is typical with Twitter, she had space only for the floating thought, that was left undeveloped. If I could remember who she was, I would be glad to give her complete credit for an eye-opening observation.

That more women are not speaking frankly about this cultural rot is a source for another essay. A few are, but they are still largely silent. Likely, they feel some sort of sympathy. Having struggled as women, they empathize with people struggling to be gay.

Suffice it to say, this man will attempt his own development of this passing observation. We won’t stay silent. It is time for men, who really love and honor women, to speak up. I hope many more women will follow.

For a man to assume the persona of a woman, is a degrading form of cultural appropriation. Having not held down a job and raised children, and been a good wife, all difficult and exhausting tasks; this man has the temerity to put on garish makeup and clothes for a few minutes and pretend to be a woman.

We are supposed to honor his pretensions and celebrate his kinkiness.

The woman he portrays, of course, is not a woman who has endured labor several times and gotten up to nurse and change diapers at 2 am in the morning and then went on to an 8- or 10-hour job. No, he sees a woman through his own sexual desires and designs a highly stylized version of female entertainment for men. Almost always there is makeup applied with a trowel, garish in color, fingernails that could shred a buffalo, a flamboyant dress, huge eyelashes, and enormous artificial breasts. All this is usually in the cause of “pride”, that is to say, his sexuality trumps the normal.

In this “art form”, women are sexual objects for men, projected by a man pretending to be that sexy woman.

This is deeply offensive to all the courageous and caring women around us. I think of my mother, who found in her the energy to love and raise me, even though I was one of eight. I think of my wife of more than 40 years, who trained as a special education teacher, and wound up with an autistic son. She raised two normal girls, wrote three books, acquired credentials as a life coach, and still cares for our 38-year-old son. He needs 24-hour one-on-one care. She has done all this, and still had time for me. What a woman. I think of my sisters, struggling with their lives and yet accomplished in their fields. I think of both of my daughters, strong and accomplished women, who are above all, really good people. I burst with pride when I think of them. I think of my business associate of 15 years, who helped make my success with her hard work and dedication, all done while raising a young family. I think of the female doctors and nurses who have helped me when I was in pain and physical danger. My personal doctor is a woman, my eye doctor is a woman, heck, my veterinarian is a woman.

These were all women of great courage, compassion, intelligence, perseverance…all noble qualities in a man, and equally so in women.

Does this get reduced to stage porn? A man dressed as a woman cavorting provocatively in heavy makeup and plastic boobs? This usually is all promoted by people who tell us women should be more than sexual objects!

Come to think of it, this is degrading even for legitimately sexy women who entertain men. They at least are real women, who know they are titillating men. They are not a man titillating himself.

What was so offensive about blackface?  It was mostly men dressing up as black people without having their difficult “lived experience” and sort of saying, you are inferior to me, but I like the way you can dance and sing, so I will put on makeup and clothes and pretend I am black.  Because it is insulting to black people, the rubes I entertain will find it funny. I will fake the talent you have and express my art because it benefits me, and not you. And, for the black person who may see my display of fake talent, enjoy the show and the mockery I am making of your difficult experience.

So, to the point made by the woman on Twitter, what really is the difference?

We live in the time of “presentism”, a perverse form of historical analysis that judges the action of people and events in history, through the prism of today’s morality and sensibilities. It is almost always selective and dishonest analysis because it assumes that those we criticize from centuries ago have the knowledge we have today. Ironically, the harsh judgments they make about our forefathers are constantly made by people who say we should not be judgmental!

Well, why is making fun of and degrading women by men, gay or not, acceptable? We say this not judging people from the past, but people in the present, by the standards of the present, who lecture the rest of us on being sensitive to others’ “lived experience.” Why is this acceptable to progressive women?  Why is this display of disrespect something we should take our children to see? Why are female librarians and school officials promoting this crap?

It is fascinating to see that progressives, who are big advocates of presentism and critics of “cultural appropriation”, and who pretend to champion women are the very people promoting drag queens and transgenderism in general.

Now it is true drag shows are not new. But previously, they were limited to specialized clubs and other narrow venues of entertainment where ID was checked or the clients controlled. Now, however, activists want these shows for children. What happened to safe spaces for students?

As they say, the word irony just is not sufficient to convey the level of contradiction and hypocrisy we see on display by our cultural elites. How about storybook time, in blackface with dramatic readings from Little Black Sambo?  How would that go down? Well, that is what you are doing to women. Why should the denigration of women be inflicted on children while blackface is banned?

For men who truly love and respect women, we should simply say, you fake sick fools, you are not even a pale shadow of the women I know. Keep your fetish at home. It is not suitable for children and it is degrading and insulting to the brave and inspiring women all around us.

Which History and Whose History is the True History?

Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

True history certainly isn’t the cherry-picked history told by the intelligentsia at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

 

The Wall Street Journal recently published a letter to the editor by Kenneth Weine, the chief communications officer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Judging by what Mr. Weine wrote, his job title could just as well be “propaganda minister”—or, better yet, “platitude minister.”

Mr. Weine’s letter was in response to a Journal op-ed that claimed that the Met and other art museums had sacrificed art on the altar of wokeness. The op-ed gave an example of the Met placing an interpretive sign next to an exhibit, explaining that the former benefactor who had donated the collection on display had benefited from slavery and the slave-based sugar industry.

In defending the sign, the platitude minister parroted platitudes about the museum having a mission of understanding “mankind” (his word, not mine), as well as examining the “uncomfortable truths about our history.”

Not surprisingly, as is the case with so many esteemed members of America’s white overclass, Mr. Weine went on to reveal an obsession with skin color, lamenting that “half of the museum boards have only white trustees.” He did not specify which of the hundred or so unique ethnic groups in America and the world with whitish skin are represented on the boards. Thus we don’t know if Iranians or Kurds or Turks or Armenians or impoverished Scots-Irish Appalachians or other white minorities are board members.

If you believe that it is overwrought to refer to Mr. Weine et al. as an “overclass,” click on the following link to see the photos and bios of the top leadership of the Met.

Although Mr. Weine isn’t in top leadership, he fits the mold:

With their advanced degrees, mostly from the Ivy League, one would think that they would understand the folly of reducing to a sign an understanding of mankind and the uncomfortable truths about our history. 

A full understanding of mankind requires a knowledge of history beyond one fact or point in time, a history that includes the uncomfortable truths about not only American history and white history but also the uncomfortable truths about all the other nationalities, races, skin shades, civilizations, and tribes.

But it is not the agenda of the Met’s woke leaders to tell balanced history. Their agenda is to negatively portray America and people they deem as white, a group that includes themselves. Why aren’t they honest about that?

Mr. Weine should know better. As a vice president of the New York Public Library for four years, he had access to stacks and stacks of history books. He could’ve learned in just several shelves that human nature is universal—that it is both good and evil, that it transcends race and geography, and that all peoples have both good and evil in their history.

That’s a very different but accurate message to convey to museum patrons than the shopworn, unoriginal, copycat woke message that the Met wants to convey.

Mr. Weine is welcome to borrow books from my personal library, which includes books that detail the good and bad of the United States and its founding Anglo-Saxon Protestants. But it also includes books that detail the good and bad of other nations, ethnocultural groups, and skin shades.

One of the books is a history of Cuba and the horrors of the sugar industry on the island: Cuba: An American History, by Ada Ferrer. It will have you rooting for Cuban revolutionaries, including Fidel Castro—or at least his early years before he turned communist.

There is a big problem with the book, though, at least from the perspective of the Met: It goes against woke dogma by also telling the truth about “Hispanics,” which is a catchall name given to anyone in the Americas whose full or partial ancestry goes back to Spain or Portugal. It is a grab-bag of a category that includes widely diverse nationalities, races, mixed races, ethnicities, skin shades, and socioeconomic classes.

According to woke mythology and diversity and inclusion initiatives, Hispanics are considered a disadvantaged minority, although Americans so categorized far outnumber scores of ethnic groups that are considered to be in the majority. For example, Americans of Mexican ancestry alone number about 36 million, or six times more than the number of Americans of Italian ancestry, an ancestry that Anglo Saxons didn’t see as white in the early twentieth century, leading them to pass the Immigration Act of 1924 to restrict the immigration of Italians and other southern Europeans.

The truth is that Hispanics were heavily engaged in the sordid sugar industry, where they brutalized not only indigenous peoples and African slaves but also mestizos, who in turn brutalized other mestizos. Moreover, Hispanics engaged in the slave trade decades before 1619 and enslaved considerably more Africans than the English and Dutch did.

Crooked and authoritarian Hispanics ran Cuba for decades, with the backing of the United States. Cuba President Gerardo Machado was one of them. In August 1933, in the face of being deposed by a public that hated him, he and a few loyal companions carried bags of gold to the airport in the middle of the night and escaped on an airplane. One of the loyalists was Desi Arnaz Sr., the former mayor of Santiago and father of Desi Arnaz Jr., who would become the male lead in the popular long-running TV series, “I Love Lucy.”

Using the Met’s standards, any reruns of the show should come with a prefatory warning about Desi’s tarnished family history.

In terms of my heritage, Frank Sinatra’s records and movies also should come with a warning. Why? Because he was connected to the Italian mob, which was connected to the crooked Batista regime. As dramatized in the “Godfather” movie, the major US mob families held a meeting in Havana, in December 1946. Not only did Sinatra perform for the mobsters, but, as rumor had it, he had carried $2 million in cash on his trip to Havana for delivery to Lucky Luciano.

For sure, the Met shouldn’t take any donations from Citibank, do business with Citibank, or have any members who work for Citibank. An excerpt from the book Cuba explains why:

A much greater percentage of sugar profits, however, were invested in US industries such as coal, iron, manufacturing, railroads, banking, and so on. Moses Taylor, a New York sugar broker, made his early fortune in what everyone called “the Cuba trade” and then invested it in banking and industry. Within a few decades, he was president of the National City Bank of New York, a precursor to Citibank. When he died in 1882, his estate was worth at least $35 million, the equivalent of perhaps $1.3 billion in 2020.

Phew! Think of the number of interpretive signs it would take to adequately cover the history of just Cuba. Given that the aforementioned book with the eponymous name is 630 pages, it would take at least that number of signs.

Come to think of it, the Met should move out of Manhattan or plaster it with interpretive signs, considering the history of the island.     

An outstanding history of early Manhattan is the book, The Island in the Center of the World, by Russell Shorto. It is balanced history, which is a foreign concept to the woke bigwigs at the Met, or anywhere else for that matter.

The book tells the story of the Dutch founding of Manhattan and its surrounding area. It is based on seventeenth-century records and correspondence that had been lost until recent times and then went untranslated for many years because few scholars knew the old Dutch language.

Under Dutch rule, Manhattan was highly tolerant and multicultural, with the Dutch living mostly in harmony with other Europeans, other faiths, Native Americans, and free blacks. The Dutch were much more tolerant than the Pilgrims and Puritans and didn’t share their religious zealotry. In the context of seventeenth-century mores, they were quite progressive, in spite of engaging in the slave trade. Russell Shorto makes a compelling case in his book that America’s humanism, pluralism, democratic republicanism, and free trade stem more from the Dutch than the English.

One indication that Shorto wrote a balanced book is his coverage of relations between the Dutch and Native Americans. Shorto is not reticent in detailing the atrocities committed by the Dutch when their otherwise good relations with Native Americans went awry and resulted in bloodshed. But at the same time, he’s not reticent in detailing the atrocities committed by Native Americans, not only against the Dutch but also against competing Native-American tribes.

In other words, Shorto follows history, wherever it takes him and whomever it might offend. That’s not the path that the Met and other woke institutions take. They think in black and white, not greys; they think in terms of modern sensibilities, not in historic contexts and nuances; and they cherry-pick history to advance a political agenda.

In any event, the Met is going to be busy trying to erase the stain of Dutch history from New York City and its environs. After all, Brooklyn got its name from the Dutch Breuckelen; the Bronx is named after Jonas Bronck, a Dutch farmer; Yonkers is named after a Dutchman who was known as “the Jonker” and whose property was called “Jonker’s land”; and Long Island got its name from the Dutch Lange Eylandt.

Given all of the reminders of Dutch evil and white evil in New York, it would be easier for the Met to move to a part of the world where there is no history of evil.  Sure, a move would be expensive, but the museum would not have to spend money on interpretive signs explaining uncomfortable truths, as there would be no uncomfortable truths in their newfound utopia.

 

 

Panem et Circenses ad Nauseum

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

College football and professional golf exemplify the nauseating money-grubbing of today’s sports.

In the early second century C.E., the Roman poet Juvenal wrote:  “. . . nam qui dabat olim imperium, fasces, legiones, omnia, nunc se continet atque duas tantum res anxius optat, panem et circenses.”

Loosely translated, it meant that the Roman people had been seduced by cheap food and circuses provided by politicians.

In an updated version, Americans have been snookered by politicians, sold cheap pizza made with government-subsidized cheese, and seduced with ever-increasing commercialization of sports.

The commercialization is marked by hyper hype, breathless commentary, more inane commercials per hour than the minutes in an hour, more logos on display than even all of the tacky billboards in Houston, pre-game shows more interminable than a speech by Joe Biden, and contrived playoffs, where, like grade inflation in schools, mediocre teams make the grade.

The two seemingly different sports of college football and professional golf exemplify commercialization and money-grubbing.

Let’s start with football.

Unless you’ve been in a coma induced by a speech from the Oval Office, you know that the college football playoff will be extended to 12 teams by 2026; that the Pac-12 Conference, formerly known as the Pacific Coast Conference, has lost the California schools of USC and UCLA to a conference far removed from the Pacific Ocean; and that players can now make money off their name, thus confirming what everyone already knew:  that college football was amateur in name only and was actually a minor league for professional football.

This is being written in Tucson, which is my adopted home, the home of the University of Arizona, and a third-tier city with a tiny media market.  With the exit of USC and UCLA from the Pac-12, the University of Arizona Wildcats will have an even tougher time competing for talent and a TV audience.

You might be asking, So what?  Good question.

Some would say that higher education and semi-pro football don’t go together, especially considering that most football programs lose money and most players would flunk out if it were not for academic standards being lowered for them.  Others would say that because college football is a longtime American tradition, the two will never be separated.   Both are right.

I say that there is something unseemly about the state of the marriage between the two today.  In the case of the Wildcats, the team’s huge stadium and swank training facilities are on the edge of a poor barrio, in a city with a poverty rate that is near twice the national average, with a lot of poorly performing K-12 schools, and with a large homeless population.

Yet the football coach makes 75 times more than the average annual pay in the city.  But that’s peanuts compared to the $95 million that former Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly will be paid over 10 years at Louisiana State, which of course is in Louisiana, a state with the second-highest poverty rate in the US and with abysmal K-12 test scores.

Then there is the fact that much of this extravagance is subsidized by tuition, and much of the tuition is paid with student loans, which have enabled colleges to be insensitive to cost, which in turn has driven up tuition, in an unvirtuous circle.

Such inherent contradictions have triggered cognitive dissonance among football fans on the left and right.

Those on the left in Tucson claim to care about the poor but don’t demand that the Wildcats football program be folded and the money spent on making college more affordable for the poor—or turning the Wildcats stadium into a homeless encampment, where at least the homeless would have restrooms, would have some protection from crime and the elements, and wouldn’t be blighting parks and other public places.

Those on the right rant about the tuition loan scam and the ever-rising cost of college but don’t rant about football being one of the causes.

Professional golf is ridden with just as many contradictions and as much cognitive dissonance.

Confession: I’m somewhat jaundiced about golf.  This stems from working as a teen in my hometown of St. Louis at a country club that excluded Italians, Catholics, Jews, and African-Americans from joining as members.  I was the only non-black on an otherwise all-black clubhouse staff of janitors, porters, cooks, and waiters.  The club members treated me as black, however, because Italians weren’t seen as white back then.  Now seen as white, we’re stereotyped in some quarters as being racist, fragile, and privileged.

Anyway, several years ago, the PGA embarked on public relations campaign to change the image of golf from being a sport for upper-crust whites to being a sport that embraced diversity, inclusion and social justice—or at least embraced clichés and platitudes on these subjects.

Among the initiatives to change the image, the PGA established a program called the First Tee, which marketed golf as a way for kids, especially so-called minority kids, to learn responsibility, hard work, and manners.  Or was it a cynical ploy to get America’s youth to take up golf in order to stem the decline in the number of Americans playing golf?

The PGA also gives airtime to CEOs of companies sponsoring tournaments to tout everything they are doing to “give back to the community,” as if they had stolen something from the community—and as if they were personally paying for the giving back out of their own pockets instead of the pockets of shareholders and the wages of employees.  In terms of message, speaking style, and mannerisms, all of them come across as having attended the same media training program.

Players also come across in interviews as having attended the same program.

Until recently, the size of purses for golf tournaments was rarely talked about on the air, thus leaving the impression that players were playing primarily for the love of the game.  The new Saudi Arabian LIV tour changed that.  Players have left the PGA to play for the Saudis expressly for the money.  In response, to show that it can compete monetarily with the Saudis, the PGA has increased purses and now cites their size many times during broadcasts, as well as saying how much the winner will take home.  (Rory McIlroy took home $18 million for winning the recent Tour Championship.)

Of course, athletes, sports organizations, and sponsors have a right to make all they can, as long as they’re not taking public money, such as the public funding of sports stadiums.  Likewise, fans have a right to spend all they want on watching sports and gambling on sports.

I just wish they’d stop all of the hype, hypocrisy, hokum, and hogwash.

If Conservatives are the New Punks, are Progressives the New Puritans?

Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

Conservatives, particularly those linked with the Moral Majority, have typically been viewed as the fun police. Every week, right-wing radio hosts and TV talking heads objected to the abundance of sex, violence, drugs, and decadence in the lives of Americans. Dungeons & Dragons weren’t just a kid’s game but rather a gateway to Satanism. Rock music wasn’t just fun to dance to but promoted free love and endorsed drug use. Violent movies weren’t just entertaining stories but were responsible for violent crimes. Whether it was on TV, at the movies, being played on the radio, or being sold in the stores, there always seemed to be something prudish conservative critics could point out that millions of normal Americans enjoyed, highlighting the moral decline of the United States. But for some, the days of Glenn Beck condemning the lyrics of My Chemical Romance and Cooper Lawrence decrying the sex scenes in the videogame Mass Effect on Fox News seem like a distant memory.

Today, it is rightwing personalities like The Daily Wire’s Michael J. Knowles, comedian and Fox News host Kat Timpf, Mary Katharine Ham and Vic Matus on the Getting Hammered Podcast, and Twitter sensation “Comfortably Smug,” who seem to be having all the fun. Shows featuring online shock jocks like Louder with Crowder and PragerU revel in entertaining their audiences by trolling liberals and mocking the bizarre beliefs held by extreme progressives. Between the copious amounts of Bang Energy drinks, the irreverent speeches, and the presence of adult film stars, companies like Turning Point USA have conferences that can almost resemble a rock concert. Further, compared to the straight-laced image of former Republican presidents, Donald Trump’s opulent lifestyle, crude demeanor, and ridiculous memeablity seem to have been attractions, not drawbacks, for many voters. All of this has led some commentators to declare conservatism the new “punk rock,” a sentiment that has been echoed and embraced across much of the MAGA right.

In turn, the left—once the bastion of people eager to “stick it to the man” and preachers of anti-conformity—has become the home of “the new Puritans,” according to Commentary’s Noah Rothman in his new book. While moral panics have been constant fixtures of the post-New Left university campus, as Rothman highlights, they have now begun to manifest in parts of the food industry, the entertainment business, and the publishing world, just to name a few. As Rothman’s subtitle denotes, a “war on fun” is being raged by energized activists and nothing the average American enjoys can escape it. From the entertainment we watch, to the comedy we laugh at, to the clothing we wear, to even the food we consume, a new kind of fun policing has emerged over recent years to take issue with all of it. So many of the things Americans take for granted as sources of enjoyment, entertainment, and escapism are now deemed “problematic,” precisely because they remain avenues for fun. As evident from so many online outrages, those willing to dissent and criticize these everchanging progressive orthodoxies might soon find themselves at the wrong end of the Twitter mob and quickly jobless. But for Rothman, this isn’t just a kind of puritanical progressivism, but rather, a new manifestation of Puritanism itself.

Though The Atlantic’s Anne Applebaum and plenty of others have likewise compared this anxiety wrought by social media’s call-out and cancel culture to a new kind of puritanism, Rothman’s assessment is distinctive in that he argues that “woke progressivism” isn’t just analogous with Puritanism, but rather has direct historical ties to it. Indebted to George McKenna’s The Puritan Origins of American Patriotism (2008), Rothman argues that far beyond the colonial period, the United States owes much of its cultural norms and traditions, on the left and the right, to the legacy of the Puritans, and the country has been continually shaped by their spiritual descendants. From evangelicals eager to Christianize 19th-century America to crusading efforts of the temperance movement to prohibit alcohol in the early 20th century, the United States has repeatedly seen the rise and fall of various Puritanisms.

Rothman’s analysis in many ways complements John McWhorter’s assessment that “wokeism” (loosely defined) has become a new religion for those on the left eager to force conversions, crush infidels, and punish heretics. But while McWhorter and Rothman agree that this intense zealotry has a religious component, Rothman does not go so far as to say “wokeism” is a new religion per se, due to the lack of a deity/deities (or “superhuman powers” as the University of Notre Dame’s Christian Smith would describe them). Even so, for Rothman, its ideological adherents manifest an enthusiasm that can only be compared to religious zealotry. While the new Puritans may not share the intense Protestant ethos of their 17th-century counterparts, what they do share according to Rothman is a commitment to “waging war on decadence, frivolity, and pleasure for its own sake” as well as a “seriousness” that “looks more to the uncommitted observer like fanaticism.”

Examples of this new Puritanism offered by Rothman are as frightening as they are funny, and troublingly frequent. The New Puritans recounts sagas of outrage and spectacles of progressives, from the fate that befell former host of The Bachelor Chris Harrison, the N.F.L. playing two national anthems (“the Star-Spangled Banner” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing”) to display its commitment to anti-racism, the championing of anti-comic Hannah Gadsby, as well as the rise and fall of the restaurant Holy Land. Though many of Rothman’s case studies are extreme, one does not have to go far to find similar instances of people being branded with a scarlet letter for bucking any given trend in activism.

Throughout the book, Rothman offers readers comparative case studies between the 17th-century Puritanism and today’s so-called new Puritans. Both dislike how sports distracted audiences from the more important subjects, namely the Gospel for the old and the work of antiracism for the new. Both held strong moralistic approaches to the consumption of food and alcohol, critical of those who would enjoy food for its own sake rather than devote their diets to higher ends. Also, both hold apocalyptic world views about the imminence of the end of days, with the new Puritans constantly warning about the fast-approaching dangers of climate danger rather than the Second Coming of Christ. In Rothman’s view, one would be hard pressed to see much of a difference between the dour op-eds stemming from BuzzFeed, The Guardian, and The New Yorker and the theological indictments of Cotton Mather, Benjamin Coleman, and Jeremiah Burroughs.

Many of Rothman’s comparative attempts between 17th-century Puritans and modern progressives, while interesting and at times humorous, do not go beyond surface level similarities.

But in attempting to directly link today’s progressives with historic Puritanism, Rothman’s arguments suffer from many of the same problems McKenna’s do. Rothman repeatedly labels almost every reformist movement from the 19th century onwards as “puritan” inspired or “puritanical” in effect, despite their dramatically different theologies and contexts. Many of Rothman’s comparative attempts between 17th-century Puritans and modern progressives, while interesting and at times humorous, do not go beyond surface-level similarities due to a rich and complex historical context that one cannot grasp in a book like this.

In doing so, the term “Puritan” is continually stretched well beyond its historical meaning and context which makes it difficult to keep the throughlines of Rothman’s argument straight. What is apparent throughout The New Puritans is Rothman’s familiarity with the excellent scholarship of Michael Winship, and Rothman does an exemplary job at dispelling many of the myths surrounding Puritans. But despite these attempts, one cannot help but see H. L. Mencken’s uncharitable view that Puritanism, at its core, is “the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy” underlying much of Rothman’s presentation.

Early on, Rothman confesses that he is preaching to the choir, acknowledging that his book will be most readily consumed by those already mindful of these intense cultural war actors. Because of this, it is doubtful that his warnings will reach those who probably should heed them the most. Though this complaint could be leveled at any number of conservative thinkers and commentators, Rothman’s goal is to apply an intellectual framework to an observable phenomenon, offering conservatives a means for analysis. Likewise, as with so many books designed for a culturally engaged conservative audience, terms like “the left,” “progressives,” and “liberals” quickly become unwieldy.

Because almost all these controversies (or non-controversies) begin on social media, particularly Facebook or Twitter, one quickly gets the impression that this phenomenon is reserved, for the most part, for the “very online.” We all might “live on campus now” as Andrew Sullivan puts it, but certainly not to the same degree or intensity as those hyper-engaged on certain corners of the internet. While The New Puritans is rich with anecdotes, it is short of hard data to comprehend how widespread and how encouraged this kind of “anti-fun progressivism” is. Even so, if Rothman is correct, most ordinary citizens will not be touched by the intensity of the so-called new puritans, but rather the subtle but creeping efforts of like-minded reformists. Furthermore, given the steady diet of online outrage being dished from the right, for example the decrying of LGBT representation in animated Disney movies like Lightyear or the lyrics such as Cardi B’s W.A.P., there is still plenty of conservative puritanism to go around.

Regardless of the gaps in Rothman’s thesis, his antidote, like other critics of online shaming is well taken: Log off (or even delete your accounts) and have fun in the real world with real friends and family. But for those braver, Rothman charges readers to mock the new Puritans into irrelevancy, the tried and true (though equally perilous) tactic used against the Puritans of yesteryears. Much like the scope, influence, and power of this new kind of puritanism, how many people will be willing to risk scarlet letters is an open question.

*****

This article was published by Law & Liberty and is reproduced with permission.

Biden Paying Off Loans for Gas Guzzling Cars

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

In an announcement that shocked many, the Biden Administration has announced they will be paying off all car loans and leases for people who have internal combustion engine cars. This is their biggest move yet to migrate Americans from their gas guzzlers to EVs.

President Biden made the announcement saying “We had to take this bold move to achieve our goal of getting my fellow Americans to transition to electric vehicles. As long as these people are burdened by these financial obligations, they will be blocked from making the decision they want to make – a clean, energy-efficient vehicle. We are unleashing the power of the American economy.”

An immediate response of overwhelming joy came from the environmental community. The President of the Union of Concerned Scientists, Ray Bradbury, applauded the move. He said, “With this stroke of bold leadership we will remove millions of those environment-destroying vehicles from our highways.” Rachel Carson, the Sierra Club spokesperson stated, “We can’t imagine a better move by the current administration to eliminate destructive CO2 gases and save our forests.”

“This is going to change the lives of a lot of people,” said Mark Huelsman, director of policy and advocacy director of the Hope Center, a higher education think tank. When a reporter pointed out that is the exact same statement, he made about student loan relief Mr. Huelsman blurted “Yes, but I really mean it this time.”

Congressional allies of Biden loved the move. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called Biden and told him “It’s the right thing to do morally and economically.” He expressed how he was personally pleased that his own car loan will be alleviated by the government action. He spoke of getting an EV because of the program and how that would improve the world.

Speaker Pelosi had previously stated that it was unconstitutional as this action was outside the rights of the executive branch. She was now thrilled that her husband’s Porsche was not burdened by the debt he had on it when caught drinking and driving.

The response was not nearly as favorable from the Republicans. Congressional Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy said he was stunned by the announcement. “Does Biden think he is a dictator? Where does he think he gets the authority to do this? What is next: credit card debt and home mortgages?” Steve Scalise, Minority Whip, jumped in and grabbed the microphone yelling “Please don’t give him any ideas.”

The authorization for this debt relief as stated by the Biden Administration is the Heroes Act of 2003, the same act that was used for waiving college loans. The Biden Administration stated they were doing this due to the current status of it being a national emergency. When asked what aspect of this was a national emergency a spokesperson for the Biden Administration stated, “Every part of our administration is a national emergency.”

Many people are concerned about the inflationary effect of this debt relief. Economists were highly concerned that the $300 billion or more of college loan debt that will be absorbed by the federal government was a big inflation stimulant. One of the people who had expressed concern after the student loan debt relief was Jason Furman, chair of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers. When asked about this announced debt relief Furman was very succinct in his answer, “We’re screwed, we are all screwed, you can’t believe how screwed we are.”

Reporters asked the president’s press secretary what the financial effect of this policy will be. In her answer Karine Jean-Pierre stated, ah we don’t know exactly what she stated, we are analyzing her response and we will circle back to you on that once we figure it out.

There are a lot of unanswered questions yet. People are trying to figure out if they get the auto loan relief will they still be able to get the $7,500 credit off their taxes for buying an EV. Jared Bernstein, a member of the Council of Economic Advisers, observed that elements of the programs have to be flushed out yet. He should know what he is talking about since he has a music degree and plays the standup bass. Mr. Bernstein noted he was instrumental in the Biden Administration decision. He said he also consulted Herbie Hancock.

It is unclear how this entire program will check out. The Biden Administration could not quantify exactly how much debt would be piled on the existing debt of the government. It is estimated the outstanding auto loans are in the $1.5 trillion range. They have no clue of how much the cost of relieving auto leases will be and whether they will be paying off the residual on the vehicles also. There are many unanswered questions.

It is clear that President Joe Biden will be a transformational president. When asked how he will be perceived in the pantheon of presidents, Biden said “I told you I could change this country more than that Obama guy.”

*****

This article was published by Flash Report and is reprinted with permission from the author.

YouTuber J.P. Sears’ Skewering of Covid-19 Shamanism

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Warning: This article describes crude adult humor.

 

YouTuber J.P. Sears’ skewering of Covid-19 shamanism seemed a bit dated to those at my table at one of his middle America standup shows this summer. We had moved on from those pagan rituals more than two years earlier.

Still, the sold-out flyover audience roared and cheered as Sears repeatedly sucker-punched the global ruling class’s irrational and authoritarian Covid response. It was that response, the long-haired redhead told the audience, that moved the oddball YouTuber’s mission “from making people laugh to waking them up.”

Before 2020, Sears was a YouTuber who pilloried other social tics, like psychosomatic gluten sensitivities and the narcissism of the “spiritual, but not religious” crowd. The ruling class’s Covid policies inflamed a hippie-projecting guy into a biting satirist of the woke left.

Pioneering a form of comedy that could be called “clapter for the right” also appears to have amped Sears’ career. His summer tour not only sold out repeatedly, but superfans also coughed up double to do a group Q&A with him after each show.

Sears’ AwakenWithJP YouTube channel is now at 2.7 million subscribers. His videos regularly rake in hundreds of thousands of views, sometimes millions. A video featuring his jacked male body in a female racing swimsuit is at nearly 5 million views. “How to Be a Woke White Person” has hit more than 3 million. YouTube has taken down a few of his videos, another indication of his success. It’s also likely one consideration — besides money and career leveling up — behind Sears developing his own email list and going on tour.

Laughing So Hard It Hurts

Onstage as online, Sears wasn’t nuanced about going for the political jugular. Although his press team politely declined an interview with The Federalist for this article (maybe they wanted me to cough up the extra $75 for the Q&A?), last year Sears told a lefty Spokane, Washington, newspaper interviewer that the ruling class’s Covid oppression transformed his political apathy into white-hot flames.

When COVID hit, I started realizing our freedoms are being taken away. … Pro-freedom became a conservative movement. Giving up freedom became a movement on the left.

I was never political before, but I’m insanely behind freedom. I have conservative values. During the spring of 2020, me being pro-freedom caused some backlash. I realized if I spoke of my personal truth, I would possibly lose some of my audience, but I had to follow my heart and be true to myself. What happened is that my audience has grown exponentially, since the majority of comics lean left. So few comics are conservative, and I play to a niche audience.

In his standup, Sears played directly to that niche, and his audience was there for it. Many came wearing Sears’ or other politically right shirts and American flag designs and after the show swarmed his merch table to buy more.

From the enthusiastic audience feedback to Sears’ overtly political show, it was clear attendees wanted backup for their repressed and belittled non-PC beliefs. They wanted some relief from America’s ever-present woke culture inside a little comedic dungeon where they could laugh at penis jokes for five minutes and the tightening leftist strangleholds on their everyday lives for much longer.

They laughed when Sears mimed shooting a hypothetical guy who introduced himself with his pronouns, and when he kept slipping in jokes about Joe Biden’s senility. They laughed at Sears rhetorically filleting Anthony Fauci, joking about transgender foods, and even implying that while performing at a private reception for 45 in Florida, he had encouraged the previous president to grab his wife’s genitals.

The fishnet-stockinged, well-endowed Gen-X waitresses and the trigger warning on the club’s background screen reinforced the generally left leanings of even this non-coastal comedy venue. But right-winger Sears filled the place to the fire marshal’s limit multiple nights in a row with patrons who bought plenty of beer and hard sodas to pay its overhead. Sears brought them in from watching his videos alone on their phones to eyeballing each other and a new scene.

The roughly even mix of Boomers, Gen-Xers, and Millennials laughed instead of cringed, as I did, at Sears’ R-rated sex jokes, and were indistinguishable in appearance from the crowd at a Donald Trump rally. The evening’s vibes suggest Sears may be a gateway drug for the kind of people who get tattoos identifying with the political right, in the same way as Trump, lockdowns, and America’s general immiseration under unchecked Democrat rule.

It’s clear from his standup, videos, history, and few interviews that, like many Americans under one-party rule, Sears is still working out what it means to identify with the political right. With the Supreme Court returning abortion policy back to the states, for example, Sears released a non-satire video explaining that he used to support abortion but has moderated into now supporting limits after 15 weeks of gestation. It’s a stance pretty well in line with middle America’s current views, but not tolerated among the ruling class.

Home Birth Was Way Funnier than Fauci

Becoming a husband and father only in the last few years also certainly influenced the 40-year-old’s change of heart on abortion. In fact, to our table, Sears’ nonpolitical jokes were the funniest. Later in the show, he seemed to be trying out fresh material about his child’s birth — which occurred at home with his wife and their midwife.

I’m also granola enough to have birthed six kids outside of hospitals, but it’s not me who made those wild experiences wildly funny. Until Sears’ show, despite more experience with it than just about everyone who’s not a labor and delivery nurse, I never had laughed about childbirth until tears came out of my eyes.

I’d encourage J.P. to keep exploring nonpolitical themes and take his audience with him as he continues to grow. Doing so would require an exhibit more comedic skill. It would also help strengthen his mission of “expanding freedom” by catching more apolitical people like his former self in the way the ancients called the most effective: With honey, not vinegar.

Vinegar is how to catch nasty flies that accelerate decay, like politicians. Honey, however, is for the people who could come to their senses by experiencing new tastes. They do well together, and Sears’ acidic comedy has a lot of growth potential in the honey direction.

Leftists Are Following Their Hearts Too

According to his interview with the Spokane paper, Sears may have it inside him to develop in this direction, and just needs more time: “My message is to follow your heart. It sounds cliche, but when an individual follows their heart, the heart will never be misled.”

This statement has some truth to it, but it’s also missing something big: The people complying with Covid authoritarianism also followed their hearts. You see, mobs are emotion. They are what happens when wicked rulers manipulate people’s emotions to bring about the rulers’ perverted desires. Such mobs are what kill the liberty that Sears prizes with a love that has transformed his life and career.

So what’s lacking in our society is not feelings, but the existence of an objective standard that our society agrees to submit to and that guides those feelings towards a truth that we force ourselves to acknowledge no matter how we feel about it. Many of Sears’ videos demonstrate he knows this, even if he still has to work out the details in his head, like we all do. Here’s one recent example.

America’s tradition of ordered liberty is predicated on acknowledging external and unchanging realities, including each individual’s natural rights that our government is legally and morally bound to respect. It’s the erasure of these external and unchanging restraints on people’s feelings that are also erasing American freedoms. What will restore freedom, then, as Sears desires, is not merely awakening feelings, but aligning people’s feelings with reality?

Laughter can do that. That’s why authoritarianism crushes laughter, like YouTube cracking down on Sears and fellow conservative comedians such as Steven Crowder. Laughter represents the freedom to think outside the box. It causes a glitch in the matrix that can allow some to see what they wouldn’t or couldn’t see before. What will take J.P. out of being a niche comic to a great one would be letting humor do its own work on the people who hear him, without getting his developing politics too much in its way.

*****

This article was published by The Federalist and is reproduced with permission.

Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut, Sometimes You Don’t

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

The headline is taken from an old television ad and accompanying jingle to help distinguish between two candy bars: Almond Joy and Mounds. We would interpret this to mean that sometimes one feels like a candy bar with a large nut, chocolate, and coconut,  and sometimes you just want the coconut and chocolate. Such matters of taste and craving can be fluid and quickly changing. Clever and the jingle was catchy.

But should one’s legal sexual status, as it relates to legal documents,  be as fluid as choosing a candy bar?

In Europe, the answer seems to be yes.

The website iamexpat.com says that German law (if approved by Parliament) will allow individuals to state their “sexual identification” on legal documents once a year. This necessity to bend the law apparently stems from the “right to a self-determined life”. 

When does this right begin or end?  Are there any limits to these “rights?”

For every right, there is a responsibility. What are the responsibilities of a “self-determined” life? 

Maybe the Germans will instruct us.

What if I identify as Peter Pan? That is my determination of my life. Will I age or will I always be a child?  If I think I can fly, do I need to contact the FAA and file a flight plan? What kind of a craft am I?

Hmmm…since sex and gender are fluid concepts, is once a year really often enough?  It would seem that daily or hourly changes are more appropriate. Otherwise, one might be trapped inside another body for a year and that seems overly harsh.

The article goes on to say this simply gets German law up to speed with Denmark, Switzerland, and the country I think most appropriate to copy, Ithinkastan.

The idea that you really are what you think you are, and that this supplants DNA, hormones, and sexual organs, and what you previously thought you were; was first perfected in Ithinkastan, or at least I think so.

It has gone beyond demanding pronouns. Now legal documents that relate to gender, names, and descriptions, can be changed at will based on how you “feel” at least annually. 

How is this going to work in practice? I would presume that “legal” documents are legal, and binding to the law, right?

So, let us suppose I forcibly penetrate a young girl against her consent. A description is put out by the police and I am arrested.

I should be able to claim I am female, if that is how I feel, and I would most assuredly feel that way, facing prosecution. Since I am now not the person described by the victim, I cannot be prosecuted since I am no longer that person, legally speaking. If I am really a female, I could not possibly commit the crime of which I am accused. The crime was committed by a male, and I no longer think of myself as male, and therefore the law must recognize I am another person. The crime was committed by someone else.

Or let us suppose, I want to compete on a girl’s athletic team. I can change my sexual preference and get on the team, right? That is now accepted in the US by the NCAA and prestigious Ivy League Colleges. So, is the aforementioned hypothetical that far-fetched?

Women prisoners are being impregnated by other  “female” prisoners. Oh, so the example is not so far-fetched.

If I claim I am a woman, can I get lower insurance premiums because women live longer and thus I am entitled to the different actuarial table? This male swimmer for the University of Pennsylvania says he is a woman, how is his/her car insurance premium handled? Young women are not as reckless as drivers as males and often pay lower premiums.

What kind of havoc will gender-bending legal documents have on the law, actuarial science, and society at large?

Can I “identify” with different ages, and alter my birth certificate, as they now do with gender? If so, can I get Social Security at 22? Could I lower my age, become a minor, and thus have all my records sealed and get lesser penalties?

I mean, why should “self-determination” be limited to gender?

Can I get into medical school ahead of others, because my new gender/race/ethnic group is sought by recruitment boards seeking to fulfill their “diversity and inclusion” mandates? And since Facebook says there are 64 genders, can I keep rotating until I get the spot I want?

Seriously, why should “self-determination” be limited to gender? A whole subculture is developing of “furries”, or people that identify as cats and dogs.

So, if arrested, you could claim both different sex and a different species. That should throw the jury for a loop. If they don’t accept how you identify, they are clearly bigots of the worst sort.

We already have the case of people identifying with another race, and that did not end too well for the former Seattle head of the NAACP.

It seems the poor “woman” has had difficulty finding work. Why the difficulty of choosing a different race but you are celebrated if you choose a different gender, given the universal right to self-determination?

She was accused of being a “race faker.” Can one be a gender faker?

There used to be a concept regarding personal liberty that suggested, “you are free to swing your arms until it impacts my nose.”  

It suggests toleration for a broad swath of aberrant behaviors, as long as they are done privately and do not impact the law and harm the public that does not wish to participate in the given quirk, fetish, or identification.

I really could care less what people do “in the privacy of their homes.” I feel sorry for their mental illness. But these gender activists are doing mischief with the law, trying to influence our children and culture, altering sports competitions, and harming other people and their livelihoods. They can ruin your bakery, have you de-platformed, and have you fired. They are harming us.

This now is impacting all of our “noses.”

Worse yet, the medical profession, especially psychiatrists and healthcare workers, are either ambivalent or defending this nonsense. And, to suggest you are what you “feel”  is nonsense and not supported by any science until five minutes ago.

Sometimes you feel like a nut because that is precisely what you are.

What Litter Says about America

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Especially telling is a water bottle that is marketed as eco-friendly.

Like an archeological dig, the litter that my wife and I pick up on our daily five-mile walk says a lot about American society.

The daily debris comes from all socioeconomic classes. Receipts found among some of the items show that they were bought miles away in impoverished parts of town. Other litter comes from a nearby resort, where guests pay a few hundred dollars a night and then throw stuff out of the window of their luxury car upon departure. 

We’ve walked in every region of the United States, in both urban and rural areas. Judging by the amount of litter and trash along roadsides, public places, and even hiking trails and national parks across the country, civic-mindedness, civic pride, and manners are in short supply in America.

On our daily walks, we’ve picked up fast-food debris, beer cans, and bottles, liquor bottles, water bottles, shards of glass, Styrofoam cups, face masks, latex gloves, cigarette packs, vaping devices, nitrous oxide cartridges, drug paraphernalia, plastic bags, Swiffer cleaning cloths, cardboard boxes, Styrofoam peanuts and other packing material, car parts from accidents, construction materials blown out of the beds of pickup trucks, and even a leather briefcase full of vomit.

On two occasions, we found a wallet that contained a driver’s license, credit cards, and cash. Each time, we promptly mailed the wallet to the owner, who never thanked us.

The volume of litter is greatest the day after Memorial Day and Independence Day. It’s as if Americans show their patriotism by trashing America.

The most telling and ironic piece of litter that we’ve ever picked up was a white and blue designer water bottle, or carton, with the brand name of “Just Water.” The particular bottle was found next to plastic carry-out food containers, which indicated that the items had been discarded together.

Marketed as eco-friendly, Just Water bottles are plastered with feel-good homilies about sustainability and greenness. Let’s look at the wording on the bottles before returning to the commentary.

One side of the square bottles says:

100% Spring Water

+ naturally alkaline

+ plant-based carton

+ sustainably sourced

Another side says:

YOU JUST DID A GOOD THING.

This carton is made almost entirely from plants, which pull CO₂ from the air (instead of adding more). And because the premium we pay for our water goes directly into improving local water infrastructure, we’re actually helping the small American city we source from.

One carton might not save the world, but it’s a start.

SO THANKS,

AND NICE MOVE.

A third side says:

A system that’s out to change everything.

We partner with a small city [Glens Falls] in upstate NY

to buy their excess spring water at 6X the municipal water rate.

which puts more $$$ into their local economy.

Then we package it up in a carton made from 54% paper

and 34% plant-based plastic, totaling 88% renewable content,

which means up to 74% less carbon emissions vs. similarly sized plastic bottles.

So if you’re going to buy packaged water, this one’s better for everyone.

A fourth side gives the following packaging facts, among other information:

Paper 53.9%

Plant-Based Plastic 34.6%

PE [polyethylene] Plastic 8.1%

Foil 3.4%

None of the information says how much energy was used to pump the water, to fill the bottles, to warehouse the bottles, and to ship the bottles across the country from Glens Falls, New York, to Tucson, Arizona, where I found the bottle in question. Nor does it mention that paper production is one of the most energy-intensive and environmentally harmful industries.

Also unsaid is how Just Water compares to municipal water in price, purity, and environmental impact. No doubt, the city water that I drink out of reusable, non-BPA glasses and hiking bottles—after running the water through filters that remove chlorine and other substances—comes out way ahead in these measures.

In any event, Glens Falls can better afford bottled water than Tucson. The New York town has a poverty rate of 14.7%, which is seven percentage points lower than the poverty rate in the City of Tucson. One reason for the disparity is that Glens Falls is 89.6% non-Hispanic white, versus only 43.3% for the City of Tucson. When Tucsonans buy Just Water, they are sending money to New York.

It also should be noted that spring water isn’t necessarily good water. As a case in point, my father-in-law lived in a bucolic hamlet in the Allegheny National Forest in northwestern Penn., not far from the New York border. The hamlet’s unofficial water system was connected to a spring. Sounds good, unless one happened to know that the spring is in the middle of old oil fields and near a former charcoal/chemical plant. Because the water had a strange-looking sheen to it, I didn’t drink it and reluctantly showered with it.

Moreover, if left untreated, spring water can contain lead and arsenic, since these elements occur naturally in the ground.

The discarded bottle of Just Water is a perfect illustration of how Americans fall for green marketing but are oblivious to the trashing of America.