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The scene is sometime in the old era when cockpits had round dials plus
flight engineers and navigators. The crusty old-timer captain is breaking in
a brand new navigator.

The captain opens his briefcase, pulls out a .38 and rests it on the glare
panel. He asks the navigator, "Know what this is for?"

"No, sir," replies the newbie.

"I use it on navigators that get us lost," explains the captain, winking at
his first officer.

The navigator then opens his briefcase, pulls out a .45 an sets it on his
chart table.

"What's THAT for?" queries the surprised captain.

"Well, sir," replies the navigator, "I'll know we're lost before you will."


At my granddaughter's wedding, the DJ polled the guests
to see who had been married longest.’
It turned out to be my husband and I who had been.’

The DJ asked us, "What advice would you give
to the newly-married couple?"

I said, "The three most important words in a marriage are,
'You're probably right.'"

Everyone then looked at my husband.’ He said,
"She's probably right."


Democrats sue Iran over right to use ‘Death to America’ as 2020 campaign slogan

The Democratic National Committee has sued the sovereign country of Iran over the right to use “Death to America” as their 2020 Presidential campaign slogan.

The lawsuit, which includes the right to use “America is the great Satan (even though we don’t believe in God)” as well, will be the first lawsuit to capitulate at the outset and just give the world’s #1 state sponsor of terror a flat fee of $4 billion in cash.

“We believe that we have the right to use this slogan in our materials as we Democrats have been trying to kill America much longer than Iran has,” DNC Chair Franz Finklebottom said.


Exchanges Between Pilots And Control Towers:

Tower: "TWA 2341, for noise reduction turn right 45 Degrees."

TWA 2341: "Center, we are at 35,000 feet. How much noise can we make up here?"

Tower: "Sir, have you ever heard the noise a 747 makes when it hits a 727?"


From an unknown aircraft waiting in a very long takeoff queue: "I'm f-ing bored!"

Ground Traffic Control: "Last aircraft transmitting, identify yourself immediately!"

Unknown aircraft: "I said I was f-ing bored, not f-ing stupid!"


A Pan Am 727 flight, waiting for start clearance in Munich, overheard the following:

Lufthansa (in German): "Ground, what is our start clearance time?"

Ground (in English): "If you want an answer you must speak in English."

Lufthansa (in English): "I am a German, flying a German airplane, in Germany. Why must I speak English?"

Unknown voice from another plane (in a beautiful British accent): "Because you lost the bloody war!"


AUBURN, CA - Local 36-year-old man Nate Ripley, who identifies as a six-year-old, “absolutely crushed” a game-winning homer at a local tee-ball game and won the championship for his team Monday evening, reports confirmed.

Ripley reportedly walked up to the plate in the bottom of the 6th, pointed his bat toward the left-field wall looming 130 feet in the distance, and let her rip, sending the ball rocketing over the fence and into a parking lot as the fans cheered and his coach yelled out, “Attaboy, Nate! Good job, bud!”

His team, the Lil’ Padres, attempted to hoist him up on their shoulders in celebration of their great victory over the favored Tiny Tigers, but were unable to pick up the large 230-pound man.

Ripley’s feat comes at the end of a momentous tee-ball season, in which the self-identified six-year-old absolutely shattered every record set prior to that point. With a 1.000 batting average, 52 home runs, and an incredible showing at first base, second base, shortstop, third base, and pitcher, the man is being called an inspiration to other six-year-olds everywhere.

Quote of the Times;
“Macron cannot even avoid a foreseeable fire in a church that is a world heritage site,” Lorenzoni (chief of staff to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro) said in a reference to the blaze that devastated the Notre Dame cathedral in April. “What does he intend to teach our country?

Link of the Times;

Issue of the Times;
The Last Communist City by Michael J. Totten

A visit to the dystopian Havana that tourists never see.

Neill Blomkamp’s 2023 science-fiction film Elysium, starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, takes place in Los Angeles, circa 2194. The wealthy have moved into an orbiting luxury satellite—the Elysium of the title—while the wretched majority of humans remain in squalor on Earth. The film works passably as an allegory for its director’s native South Africa, where racial apartheid was enforced for nearly 50 years, but it’s a rather cartoonish vision of the American future. Some critics panned the film for pushing a socialist message. Elysium’s dystopian world, however, is a near-perfect metaphor for an actually existing socialist nation just 90 miles from Florida.

I’ve always wanted to visit Cuba—not because I’m nostalgic for a botched utopian fantasy but because I wanted to experience Communism firsthand. When I finally got my chance several months ago, I was startled to discover how much the Cuban reality lines up with Blomkamp’s dystopia. In Cuba, as in Elysium, a small group of economic and political elites live in a rarefied world high above the impoverished masses. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, authors of The Communist Manifesto, would be appalled by the misery endured by Cuba’s ordinary citizens and shocked by the relatively luxurious lifestyles of those who keep the poor down by force.

Many tourists return home convinced that the Cuban model succeeds where the Soviet model failed. But that’s because they never left Cuba’s Elysium.

I had to lie to get into the country. Customs and immigration officials at Havana’s tiny, dreary José Martí International Airport would have evicted me had they known I was a journalist. But not even a total-surveillance police state can keep track of everything and everyone all the time, so I slipped through. It felt like a victory. Havana, the capital, is clean and safe, but there’s nothing to buy. It feels less natural and organic than any city I’ve ever visited. Initially, I found Havana pleasant, partly because I wasn’t supposed to be there and partly because I felt as though I had journeyed backward in time. But the city wasn’t pleasant for long, and it certainly isn’t pleasant for the people living there. It hasn’t been so for decades.

Outside its small tourist sector, the rest of the city looks as though it suffered a catastrophe on the scale of Hurricane Katrina or the Indonesian tsunami. Roofs have collapsed. Walls are splitting apart. Window glass is missing. Paint has long vanished. It’s eerily dark at night, almost entirely free of automobile traffic. I walked for miles through an enormous swath of destruction without seeing a single tourist. Most foreigners don’t know that this other Havana exists, though it makes up most of the city—tourist buses avoid it, as do taxis arriving from the airport. It is filled with people struggling to eke out a life in the ruins.

Marxists have ruled Cuba for more than a half-century now. Fidel Castro, Argentine guerrilla Che Guevara, and their 26th of July Movement forced Fulgencio Batista from power in 1959 and replaced his standard-issue authoritarian regime with a Communist one. The revolutionaries promised liberal democracy, but Castro secured absolute power and flattened the country with a Marxist-Leninist battering ram. The objectives were total equality and the abolition of money; the methods were total surveillance and political prisons. The state slogan, then and now, is “socialism or death.”

Cuba was one of the world’s richest countries before Castro destroyed it—and the wealth wasn’t just in the hands of a tiny elite. “Contrary to the myth spread by the revolution,” wrote Alfred Cuzan, a professor of political science at the University of West Florida, “Cuba’s wealth before 1959 was not the purview of a privileged few. . . . Cuban society was as much of a middle-class society as Argentina and Chile.” In 1958, Cuba had a higher per-capita income than much of Europe. “More Americans lived in Cuba prior to Castro than Cubans lived in the United States,” Cuban exile Humberto Fontova, author of a series of books about Castro and Guevara, tells me. “This was at a time when Cubans were perfectly free to leave the country with all their property. In the 1940s and 1950s, my parents could get a visa for the United States just by asking. They visited the United States and voluntarily returned to Cuba. More Cubans vacationed in the U.S. in 1955 than Americans vacationed in Cuba. Americans considered Cuba a tourist playground, but even more Cubans considered the U.S. a tourist playground.” Havana was home to a lot of that prosperity, as is evident in the extraordinary classical European architecture that still fills the city. Poor nations do not—cannot—build such grand or elegant cities.

But rather than raise the poor up, Castro and Guevara shoved the rich and the middle class down. The result was collapse. “Between 1960 and 1976,” Cuzan says, “Cuba’s per capita GNP in constant dollars declined at an average annual rate of almost half a percent. The country thus has the tragic distinction of being the only one in Latin America to have experienced a drop in living standards over the period.”

Communism destroyed Cuba’s prosperity, but the country experienced unprecedented pain and deprivation when Moscow cut off its subsidies after the fall of the Soviet Union. Journalist and longtime Cuba resident Mark Frank writes vividly about this period in his book Cuban Revelations. “The lights were off more than they were on, and so too was the water. . . . Food was scarce and other consumer goods almost nonexistent. . . . Doctors set broken bones without anesthesia. . . . Worm dung was the only fertilizer.” He quotes a nurse who tells him that Cubans “used to make hamburgers out of grapefruit rinds and banana peels; we cleaned with lime and bitter orange and used the black powder in batteries for hair dye and makeup.” “It was a haunting time,” Frank wrote, “that still sends shivers down Cubans’ collective spines.”

By the 1990s, Cuba needed economic reform as much as a gunshot victim needs an ambulance. Castro wasn’t about to reform himself and his ideology out of existence, but he had to open up at least a small piece of the country to the global economy. So the Soviet subsidy was replaced by vacationers, mostly from Europe and Latin America, who brought in much-needed hard currency. Arriving foreigners weren’t going to tolerate receiving ration cards for food—as the locals do—so the island also needed some restaurants. The regime thus allowed paladars—restaurants inside private homes—to open, though no one from outside the family could work in them. (That would be “exploitative.”) Around the same time, government-run “dollar stores” began selling imported and relatively luxurious goods to non-Cubans. Thus was Cuba’s quasi-capitalist bubble created.

When the ailing Fidel Castro ceded power to his less doctrinaire younger brother Raúl in 2013, the quasi-capitalist bubble expanded, but the economy remains heavily socialist. In the United States, we have a minimum wage; Cuba has a maximum wage—$20 a month for almost every job in the country. (Professionals such as doctors and lawyers can make a whopping $19 extra a month.) Sure, Cubans get “free” health care and education, but as Cuban exile and Yale historian Carlos Eire says, “All slave owners need to keep their slaves healthy and ensure that they have the skills to perform their tasks.”

Even employees inside the quasi-capitalist bubble don’t get paid more. The government contracts with Spanish companies such as Meliá International to manage Havana’s hotels. Before accepting its contract, Meliá said that it wanted to pay workers a decent wage. The Cuban government said fine, so the company pays $8–$19 an hour. But Meliá doesn’t pay its employees directly. Instead, the firm gives the compensation to the government, which then pays the workers—but only after pocketing most of the money. I asked several Cubans in my hotel if that arrangement is really true. All confirmed that it is. The workers don’t get $8–$19 an hour; they get 67 cents a day—a child’s allowance.

The maximum wage is just the beginning. Not only are most Cubans not allowed to have money; they’re hardly allowed to have things. The police expend extraordinary manpower ensuring that everyone required to live miserably at the bottom actually does live miserably at the bottom. Dissident blogger and author Yoani Sánchez describes the harassment sarcastically in her book Havana Real: “Buses are stopped in the middle of the street and bags inspected to see if we are carrying some cheese, a lobster, or some dangerous shrimp hidden among our personal belongings.” Perhaps the saddest symptom of Cuba’s state-enforced poverty is the prostitution epidemic—a problem the government officially denies and even forbids foreign journalists based in Havana to mention. Some Cuban prostitutes are professionals, but many are average women—wives, girlfriends, sisters, mothers—who solicit johns once or twice a year for a little extra money to make ends meet.

The government defends its maximum wage by arguing that life’s necessities are either free or so deeply subsidized in Cuba that citizens don’t need very much money. (Che Guevara and his sophomoric hangers-on hoped to rid Cuba of money entirely, but couldn’t quite pull it off.) The free and subsidized goods and services, though, are as dismal as everything else on the island. Citizens who take public transportation to work—which includes almost everyone, since Cuba hardly has any cars—must wait in lines for up to two hours each way to get on a bus. And commuters must pay for their ride out of their $20 a month. At least commuter buses are cheap. By contrast, a one-way ticket to the other side of the island costs several months’ pay; a round-trip costs almost an annual salary.

As for the free health care, patients have to bring their own medicine, their own bedsheets, and even their own iodine to the hospital. Most of these items are available only on the illegal black market, moreover, and must be paid for in hard currency—and sometimes they’re not available at all. Cuba has sent so many doctors abroad—especially to Venezuela, in exchange for oil—that the island is now facing a personnel shortage. “I don’t want to say there are no doctors left,” says an American man who married a Cuban woman and has been back dozens of times, “but the island is now almost empty. I saw a banner once, hanging from somebody’s balcony, that said, DO I NEED TO GO TO VENEZUELA FOR MY HEADACHE?”

Housing is free, too, but so what? Americans can get houses in abandoned parts of Detroit for only $500—which makes them practically free—but no one wants to live in a crumbling house in a gone-to-the-weeds neighborhood. I saw adequate housing in the Cuban countryside, but almost everyone in Havana lives in a Detroit-style wreck, with caved-in roofs, peeling paint, and doors hanging on their hinges at odd angles.

Education is free, and the country is effectively 90 percent literate, thanks to Castro’s campaign to teach rural people to read shortly after he took power. But the regime has yet to make a persuasive argument that a totalitarian police state was required to get the literacy rate from 80 percent to 90 percent. After all, almost every other country in the Western Hemisphere managed the same feat at the same time, without the brutal repression.

Cuba is short of everything but air and sunshine. In her book, Sánchez describes an astonishing appearance by Raúl Castro on television, during which he boasted that the economy was doing so well now that everyone could drink milk. “To me,” Sánchez wrote, “someone who grew up on a gulp of orange-peel tea, the news seemed incredible.” She never thought she’d see the day. “I believed we would put a man on the moon, take first place among all nations in the upcoming Olympics, or discover a vaccine for AIDS before we would put the forgotten morning café con leche, coffee with milk, within reach of every person on this island.” And yet Raúl’s promise of milk for all was deleted from the transcription of the speech in Granma, the Communist Party newspaper. He went too far: there was not enough milk to ensure that everyone got some.

Even things as simple as cooking oil and soap are black-market goods. Individuals who, by some illegal means or another, manage to acquire such desirables will stand on street corners and whisper “cooking oil” or “sugar” to passersby, and then sell the product on the sly out of their living room. If they’re caught, both sellers and buyers will be arrested, of course, but the authorities can’t put the entire country in jail. “Everyone cheats,” says Eire. “One must in order to survive. The verb ‘to steal’ has almost vanished from usage. Breaking the rules is necessary. Resolví mi problema, which means ‘I solved my problem,’ is the Cuban way of referring to stealing or cheating or selling on the black market.”

Cuba has two economies now: the national Communist economy for the majority; and a quasi-capitalist one for foreigners and the elite. Each has its own currency: the Communist economy uses the Cuban peso, and the capitalist bubble uses the convertible peso. Cuban pesos are worth nothing. They can’t be converted to dollars or euros. Foreigners can’t even spend them in Cuba. The convertible pesos are pegged to the U.S. dollar, but banks and hotels pay only 87 Cuban cents for each one—the government takes 19 percent off the top. The rigged exchange rate is an easy way to shake down foreigners without most noticing. It also enables the state to drain Cuban exiles. A million Cuban-Americans live in south Florida, and another half-million live elsewhere in the United States. They send hundreds of millions of dollars a year to family members still on the island. The government gets its 19 percent instantaneously and most of the remaining 87 percent later because almost every place that someone can spend the money is owned by the state.

Castro created the convertible peso mainly to seal off Cuba’s little capitalist bubble from the ragged majority in the Communist economy. “Foreign journalists report on the creation of ever more luxurious hotels, golf courses, and marinas,” Eire says, “but fail to highlight the very simple and brutal fact that these facilities will be enjoyed strictly by foreigners and the Castronoid power elite. Apartheid, discrimination, and segregation are deliberately built in to the entire tourist industry and, in fact, are essential to its maintenance and survival.”

Until a few years ago, ordinary Cubans weren’t allowed even to set foot inside hotels or restaurants unless they worked there, lest they find themselves exposed to the seductive lifestyles of the decadent bourgeoisie from capitalist nations like Mexico, Chile, and Spain. (I cite these three countries because most of the tourists I ran into spoke Spanish to one another.) A few years ago, the government stopped physically blocking Cubans from hotels and restaurants, partly because Raúl is a little more relaxed about these things than Fidel but also because most Cubans can’t afford to go to these places, anyway.

A single restaurant meal in Havana costs an entire month’s salary. One night in a hotel costs five months’ salary. A middle-class tourist from abroad can easily spend more in one day than most Cubans make in a year. I had dinner with four Americans at one of the paladars. The only Cubans in the restaurant were the cooks and the waiters. The bill for the five of us came to about $190. That’s five months’ salary.

The Floridita bar in downtown Havana was one of Ernest Hemingway’s hangouts when he lived there (from 1940 until 1960, the year after Castro came to power). He was in the Floridita all the time—and, in a way, he still is. There’s a statue of him sitting on his favorite bar stool, grinning at today’s patrons. The décor is exactly the same, but there’s a big difference: everyone in the bar these days is a tourist. Cubans aren’t strictly banned any more, but a single bottle of beer costs a week’s salary. No one would blow his dismal paycheck on that.

If he were still around, Hemingway would be stunned to see what has happened to his old haunt. Cubans certainly aren’t happy about it, but the tourists are another story—especially the world’s remaining Marxoid fellow travelers, who show up in Havana by the planeload. Such people are clearly unteachable. I got into an argument with one at the Floridita when I pointed out that none of the patrons were Cuban. “There are places in the United States that some can’t afford,” she retorted. Sure, but come on. Not even the poorest Americans have to pay a week’s wage for a beer.

Cubans in the hotel industry see how foreigners live. The government can’t hide it without shutting the hotels down entirely, and it can’t do that because it needs the money. I changed a few hundred American dollars into convertible pesos at the front desk. The woman at the counter didn’t blink when I handed over my cash—she does this all day—but when she first got the job, it must have been shattering to make such an exchange. That’s why the regime wants to keep foreigners and locals apart.

Tourists tip waiters, taxi drivers, tour guides, and chambermaids in hard currency, and to stave off a revolt from these people, the government lets them keep the additional money, so they’re “rich” compared with everyone else. In fact, they’re an elite class enjoying privileges—enough income to afford a cell phone, go out to restaurants and bars, log on to the Internet once in a while—that ordinary Cubans can’t even dream of. I asked a few people how much chambermaids earn in tips, partly so that I would know how much to leave on my dresser and also to get an idea of just how crazy Cuban economics are. Supposedly, the maids get about $1 per day for each room. If they clean an average of 30 rooms a day and work five days a week, they’ll bring in $600 a month—30 times what everyone else gets. “All animals are equal,” George Orwell wrote in Animal Farm, his allegory of Stalinism, “but some animals are more equal than others.” Only in the funhouse of a Communist country is the cleaning lady rich compared with the lawyer. Yet elite Cubans are impoverished compared with the middle class and even the poor outside Cuba.

About half the dinners I had were acceptable, and a few were outstanding, but the breakfast buffets in my hotel, the Habana Libre, were uniformly disgusting. Bacon was half-raw, the sausage made from God-knows-what. The cheese was discolored, the bread hard and flavorless. Yet the grim offering was advertised in the lobby as “exquisite.” Maybe if you’ve spent your entire life on a Cuban ration card, it’s exquisite, but otherwise—no. The question wasn’t what I wanted to eat, but what I thought I could eat without my stomach rising up in rebellion.

Leftists often talk about “food deserts” in Western cities, where the poor supposedly lack options to buy affordable and nutritious food. If they want to see a real food desert, they should come to Havana. I went to a grocery store across the street from the exclusive Meliá Cohiba Hotel, where the lucky few with access to hard currency shop to supplement their meager state rations. The store was in what passes for a mall in Havana—a cluttered concrete box, shabby compared even with malls I’ve visited in Iraq. It carried rice, beans, frozen chicken, milk, bottled water, booze, a small bit of cheese, minuscule amounts of rancid-looking meat, some low-end cookies and chips from Brazil—and that’s it. No produce, cereal, no cans of soup, no pasta. A 7–19 has a far better selection, and this is a place for Cuba’s “rich” to shop. I heard, but cannot confirm, that potatoes would not be available anywhere in Cuba for another four months.

Shortly before I left Havana, I met a Cuban-American man and his wife visiting from Miami. “Is this your first time here?” he asked. I nodded. “What do you think?” I paused before answering. I wasn’t worried that I would offend him. He lives in Miami, so his opinions of Cuba are probably little different from mine. But we were in a crowded place. Plenty of Cubans could hear us, including the police. They wouldn’t arrest me if I insulted the government, but I didn’t want to make a scene, either. “Well,” I finally said. “It’s . . . interesting.” He belted out a great belly laugh, and I smiled. His wife scowled.

“I hate this place!” she near-shouted. Fidel himself could have heard, and she wouldn’t have cared. She wasn’t going to be quiet about it. Tourists who visit Cuba and spend all their time inside the bubble for the “haves” could leave the country oblivious to the savage inequalities and squalor beyond the hotel zone, but this woman visits her husband’s family in the real Cuba and knows what it’s really like.

“His family is from here,” she said, “but mine’s not, and I will never come back here. Not while it’s like this. I feel like I’m in Iraq or Afghanistan.” I visited Iraq seven times during the war and didn’t have the heart to tell her that Baghdad, while ugly and dangerous, is vastly freer and more prosperous these days than Havana. Anyway, Iraq is precisely the kind of country with which Castro wants you to compare Cuba. It’s the wrong comparison. So are impoverished Third World countries like Guatemala and Haiti. Cuba isn’t a developing country; it’s a once-developed country destroyed by its own government. Havana was a magnificent Western city once. It should be compared not with Baghdad, Kabul, Guatemala City, or Port-au-Prince but with formerly Communist Budapest, Prague, or Berlin. Havana’s history mirrors theirs, after all.

An advertisement in my hotel claimed that the Sierra Maestra restaurant on the top floor is “probably” the best in Havana. I had saved the Sierra Maestra for my last night and rode the elevator up to the 25th floor. I had my first and only steak on the island and washed it down with Chilean red wine. The tiny bill set me back no more than having a pizza delivered at home would, but the total nevertheless exceeded an entire month’s local salary. Not surprisingly, I ate alone. Every other table was empty. The staff waited on me as if I were the president of some faraway minor republic.

I stared at the city below out the window as I sipped my red wine. Havana looked like a glittering metropolis in the dark. Night washed away the rot and the grime and revealed nothing but city lights. It occurred to me that Havana will look mostly the same—at night, anyway—after it is liberated from the tyrannical imbeciles who govern it now. I tried to pretend that I was looking out on a Cuba that was already free and that the tables around me were occupied—by local people, not foreigners—but the fantasy faded fast. I was all alone at the top of Cuba’s Elysium and yearning for home—where capitalism’s inequalities are not so jagged and stark.
A recent survey shows that of all jobs, caddies live the longest.

They get plenty of fresh air and exercise, and if there's ever a medical emergency, a doctor is always nearby.


Two Polish brothers are separated in 1939, one sent to Siberia, the other to Germany. After the war, the German prisoner is repatriated to Poland, but the other remains in Siberia. Then, in 1987, a reporter at Polish television gets wind of the story, and he knows somebody at Russian television headquarters, and they track down the missing brother, now living in Minsk. A joyous reunion is arranged in Moscow, in Red Square, before television cameras.

The Polish brother flies in with a Polish television crew, and a whole bunch of dignitaries. The brother from Minsk comes also to Moscow with an even larger entourage of dignitaries. Across the great square, all decorated with red banners and roses, the illustrious Polish delegation approaches an equally illustrious array of Soviet dignitaries. Television cameras record the historic moment. With the delegations still at a great distance, the man from Poland rushes to one man in the crowd of Russians, throws his arms around him, and kisses his long-lost brother.

“This is amazing,” somebody from television says. “How did you know it was him in such a great crowd, at such a great distance, after so many years?”

“Easy,” says the Polish brother. “I recognized the coat he is wearing.”


AUSTIN, TX - Claiming the common-sense measure would save untold lives, mayors from 37 major American cities issued statements Thursday in favor of outlawing hollow-point silver bullets after the latest wave of gruesome werewolf slayings. “There is simply no place on our streets for ammunition with the destructive capability to blow off a werewolf’s entire head in one blast,” said Austin Mayor Steve Adler, who was moved to champion the bill after the brutal December slaying of beloved physical education teacher and nightwalking loup-garou Davis Johnstone. “With these bullets—designed for trained monster-hunters, not inexperienced civilians—easily accessible at every Walmart, is it any surprise that this country can’t seem to go one full moon without another lycanthrope getting gunned down in the prime of life?”

Adler further stressed that the ban would be even more effective if combined with measures requiring background checks for every purchase of wolfsbane.


In Ohio, a man is being accused of committing 10 felonies and two misdemeanors against seven people within a span of 21 minutes. He may have set a record earning his record.

According to a new study from, 8 out of 10 people have cried at work. Most, on paydays.

A study says a record 768 Million U.S. vacation days went to waste last year. Remember, as a friend, if you need me to take a couple of them for you, I'm your guy.

Has anyone else ever wondered if, in a pinch, Jim Henson ever used Kermit as an oven mitt?

"Instinct" has been canceled after two seasons on CBS. I'm going to miss it. Yep, never watched a single episode, so I'm going to miss it completely.

Whoever said that you can catch more flies with honey has obviously never played outfield in a softball league.

A 6 year-old-boy in China had 61 magnetic balls pulled from his stomach. Of course, he can no longer stick to the refrigerator now…..


We really need only five things on this earth.

Some food, some sun,

some work, some fun, and someone.

Quote of the Times;
Having childres is the ultimate confidence vote on the futurye: Number of abortions in US falls to lowest since 1973.

Link of the Times;

Issue of the Times;
Even Swedish Socialism was Violent by Phillip W. Magness

Few subjects are more taboo among self-described socialists than the historical track record of socialism in action.

Bernie Sanders recently bristled at the suggestion of any commonality between the government of Venezuela and his own platform, even though less than a decade ago he was touting the country along with other leftist governments in South America as exemplars of the “American dream.”

When Anderson Cooper presented Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with a similar question, she scoffed at the suggestion. It is unfair to link their ideology to its violent forebears, they insist, because the “democratic socialism” they envision is a Scandinavian-style welfare state, modeled after the economy of Sweden.

There are many problems with this comparison. Sweden’s government has actually been trending away from the centrally planned economic approach favored by Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez. The country reined in public spending with a system of budget caps in the 1990s, scrapped its wealth tax in 2007, and has generally followed a path of privatization and deregulation over the past two decades.

But there’s also a neglected dark side to the Swedish welfare model that its “democratic socialist” admirers seldom mention. That same welfare system developed in explicit conjunction with a violent and coercive eugenics policy, intended to ensure its fiscal solvency and prevent abuses of its programs by persons who were deemed genetically “unfit” by the state.

Both policies trace their modern origins to the 1930s with the political ascendance of the Swedish Social Democratic Party (SDP). Following an SDP victory in 1932, Swedish premier Per Albin Hansson organized his government around a principle he dubbed “folkhemmet,” roughly translated as “the people’s home.” This new philosophy sought to bring private industry into economic and political partnership with the state, subject to socially progressive regulatory guidance as an alternative to a more rigid centrally planned approach, as seen under Soviet socialism.

Along with egalitarian measures intended to tax and redistribute wealth, Hansson also envisioned a greater role of government involvement in daily economic life to achieve a sweeping set of social goals. His prescription entailed taking a hands-on approach to the social safety net, wherein poverty alleviation, public education, health care, public housing, old age pensions, and child care formed a comprehensive package of state-provided “social well-being.”

The folkhemmet platform would dominate Swedish politics until the 1970s, overseeing the design and implementation of the welfare state that Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez, and other “democratic socialists” celebrate today.

Although politically popular, the SDP’s programs created new economic strains on the government. They imposed unprecedented expenses on the public treasury. In addition, Sweden was experiencing a declining birth rate, which portended fiscal insolvency as an aging population left the workforce and became public pensioners. If 1930s birth rate trends continued, the population of the elderly would surpass the income-generating workforce by mid-century, eventually resulting in the fiscal collapse of the entire system.

These issues became the subject of the influential 1934 book Crisis in the Population Question by the husband-and-wife team of Gunnar and Alva Myrdal. To this day the Myrdals remain intellectual giants in Scandinavian social democratic politics, and their economic beliefs are occasionally invoked as a model for Bernie Sanders to follow in the far-left press. An economist and member of the Swedish parliament, Gunnar went on to win the Nobel Prize in economics in 1974. Alva, trained as a sociologist, held a number of prominent diplomatic appointments and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1982. Their book became an intellectual blueprint for policy under the SDP’s Ministry of Social Affairs, especially as it concerned the need to stimulate population growth.

The Myrdals prescribed a state-ordered natalist policy to boost the birth rate. Child rearing assistance, public health care provision, paid medical leave after childbirth, housing assistance and rent subsidies for parents, and robust expenditures on public education could all be deployed to incentivize fertility, as well as socially engineer a working population that would be able to sustain its pensioners. The SDP politicians saw a double-edged sword in this approach however, as it also incentivized the poorer classes to reproduce — and at a faster rate than the wealthy. On the surface this chafed with the SDP’s emphasis on social equality. If new births disproportionately came from the lower classes, the Myrdals feared, they could become additional drains on the public treasury by becoming lifelong dependents on the very same welfare state.

To counteract the perceived risk of welfare dependence, the SDP government consciously paired its new welfare policies with a complementary system of eugenic laws — intended to prevent or dissuade “unfit” persons from reproducing. These included a narrow compulsory sterilization program, applied to persons with hereditary “defects,” and a much larger “voluntary” sterilization program targeting behavioral considerations. As part of the latter program, the government could induced lower-class citizens to submit to the procedure by using the suasion and levers of the new welfare state itself.

The “voluntary” measures went far beyond involuntary sterilization, which was restricted by law to explicit eugenic reasons. As a 1997 study of the program documented, government officials are known to have used submission to “voluntary” sterilization as a condition for release from mental institutions and public hospitals, for continued access to certain forms of public housing, and even marriage licensing among the poor. In total, an estimated 63,000 Swedes were sterilized between the 1930s and the expiration of the main eugenic law in 1976.

Coercive policies also extended beyond eugenic sterilization, forced and voluntary. As part of the same effort to limit the fiscal strain of welfare dependents, Sweden adopted a parallel system of “environmental” policies where children were forcibly removed from parents and households that the government deemed unsuited for a child’s social development. Swedish authorities used poverty, alcoholism, perception of mental disorders, and a multitude of other discretionary diagnoses to forcibly remove an estimated 250,000 children into state-supervised foster care during this period. According to the theory, this socially engineered change in environment would reduce the child’s likelihood of becoming a dependent.

Elements of both approaches — eugenic and environmental — may be found throughout the Myrdals’ writings, even though some of their modern enthusiasts have tried to rehabilitate the couple by downplaying their commitments to explicitly racial variants of the policy. After the adoption of Sweden’s eugenic laws in the 1930s, both continued to espouse the state-sanctioned social engineering as a necessary and complementary component of the Swedish welfare model. They remained central figures in Swedish politics for the next half-century.

While their Swedish population studies usually took the form of dry academic works, Alva Myrdal laid out the policy implications more explicitly in a little-studied but remarkably candid article from 1939. As its opening line revealed, she sought to delineate a “democratic population policy” as Sweden’s “enlightened” alternative to the “contemporary fascist and communist population experiments.” After outlining the case for using the welfare state to stimulate the birth rate, Alva summarized the paradoxical situation that Sweden faced: “quantity should not be bought by sacrificing quality.”

She explained that Sweden’s racial homogeneity and mobile social structure gave its model advantages over other countries, and stressed a “practical value premise that the main social groups be considered of equal hereditary worth.” There remained however “a small bottom layer of society [that] could rightly be regarded as biologically inferior” and that “should not be classified within any of the large socio-economic classes.” This premise limited the scope of “negative eugenics,” but among the affected, involuntary “sterilisation, however, is utilized against a residuum of all social classes whose perpetuation is considered least desirable.”

Pointing out the narrow scope of the measure, Alva then touted a proposed voluntary sterilization law that the SDP government would soon enact in 1941:

Sterilization is considered to be indicated when the defect of which there is risk of perpetuation by heredity is a grave one (mental or bodily illness, deformity, psychopathy or genuine epilepsy). Carriers who do not show the trait may be sterilized under this law but not under the previous one. Further recognized reasons for sterilization are found in cases in which persons would be incapable of caring for, or rearing children, social and economic insufficiencies being also taken into consideration as adding weight to other reasons for sterilization. Having thus given the legal provision for excluding from procreation the decidedly undesirable group, a border-line group has next to be considered. This group is probably the most difficult to handle in any eugenic program, its heredity values being doubtful, though not enough so to indicate sterilization, but its social capacities being unfavorable to child rearing. It is officially planned, though as yet scarcely put into practice, to influence this group to severe family limitation by direct propaganda and instruction in contraceptive methods.

These measures only applied to the “bottom” strata of Swedish society, whereas the welfare state’s benefits encompassed the class of poor persons who were not “biologically inferior to the rest of the population” but faced economic strains. At this point, Alva explained, the welfare state became a supplementary mechanism of environmental improvement through state-managed education, health care, housing, and nutrition.

Far from being paradoxical on account of their budgetary implications, a eugenic policy and the welfare state could be designed to operate as direct complements. Birth control would serve as a further bridge between the two, yielding a social system of consciously engineered “quality” improvement within the population. As Alva explained:

Together they form a new system of prophylactic social policy, safe-guarding the quality of the population in advance and not merely partly curing its ills. Such a policy is considered to be to a much higher degree an "investment," and an investment in the human capital of the country, fully equal to or more profitable than investment in factories and machines and other property which “rust can corrupt and the moth consume.”

This eugenic pairing remained a conscious theme of the Myrdals’ work, even after the events of World War II revealed the horrors of the fascist variant that Alva juxtaposed against the Swedish model in her 1939 article. She continued to advise the implementation and expansion of the new system for several decades after the war — the period when the majority of the “voluntary” sterilizations were carried out.

The effects of these policies quickly spread abroad. Other Scandinavian countries copied the Swedish model in conjunction with their own welfare states, often citing the “scholarly” studies of the Myrdals. Denmark, for example, sterilized approximately 11,000 people between the early 1930s and the end of the policy in 1967. Norway and Finland adopted similar models, but remain far less studied.

Gunnar also strongly hinted at the adaptability of his system to the United States in his 1944 book An American Dilemma. The study of racial discrimination is still touted by academics today, who applaud its criticism of segregation laws. Yet its pages are also littered with eugenic content, drawing upon the Swedish experience. One notorious chapter outlined “The Case for Controlling the Negro Birth Rate.” In Gunnar Myrdal’s mind, many southern blacks were “so destitute that from a general social point of view it would be highly desirable that they did not procreate.” Despite the clear implications of his argument, he strangely enjoys a reputation as a racial egalitarian on the modern political left.

In terms of atrocity, the Swedish welfare state’s eugenic component seems minor compared to the violence found in other varieties of socialism (not that falling short of Mao and Stalin is anything to be proud of). The number of sterilization victims attains alarming perspective when compared to Sweden’s small population size. Other countries including the United States dabbled in sterilization during this era, but few approached the scope found in Sweden. The United States, for example, is believed to have sterilized a nearly identical total — 60,000 people in the same period out of a 1940 population of 132 million. Sweden’s 1940 population was just 6.3 million.

It would be unfair to claim that the Swedish welfare state today is dependent on perpetuating the violence of its sterilization programs. The policy was abandoned in 1976, and the Swedish government has since taken steps to make amends to its surviving victims. At the same time, however, the historical link between eugenics and the Swedish welfare state was clear and intentional, and took place within living memory.

Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez, and today’s “democratic socialists” might legitimately disavow such a policy today (although Sanders has gotten into hot water recently with his own comments about population control, specifically invoking the poor). But they should not perpetuate the illusion that the historical Swedish welfare state was some democratically attuned and victimless alternative to the more notorious socialist regimes of the 20th century. As with other more extreme variants of socialist ideology, it too has a violent historical legacy to account for.
Researchers in Japan say that cats actually understand when you say their name, they're just choosing to ignore you.

Further research shows that dogs want their owners to know, "I tried to tell you!"


Being a writer, I don't get out much. I tried writing at the beach once, but some big guy kicked sand into my laptop and now every time I hit a capital A (ouch), I get a shock. To this day, whenever I need to invoice someone I have to send my bill to the O-ccounting Department.

That's why I was so excited to receive my summons to jury duty--I was needed! So I jumped right up, shut off my computer, called my editor and ran out the door. Then, of course, I went back in to change out of my Dave Barry pajamas, before heading off to municipal court.

It's an interesting concept--trial by a jury of one's peers. Except for the time they tried the guy for painting his tires completely white so the meter maid's whacking stick wouldn't show, I never seem to have much in common with the defendants. But I guess the idea is that anyone can be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Like today's case-a young man found at three in the morning, behind Circuit City, holding two VCRs, a boom box, and a large screen TV. Apparently, his escape was thwarted by an alert employee, who wouldn't let him leave the parking lot without purchasing an extended warrantee.

I took a seat in the back of the courtroom and listened as they called the first twelve names--including mine. Proudly, I walked toward the jury box, stealing a glance at my accused peer. He was wearing a white shirt and red tie, which contrasted nicely with the blue facial tattoos and the silver chain that ran from nose to his eyebrow, to his ear, and then connected to his wallet.

The judge began by asking everyone to state their marital status and occupation. There was a physicist, a molecular biologist, several teachers, some engineers and then, right before me, a writer. But not just any writer, a published novelist, produced screenwriter and award-winning journalist. Off in the distance, I heard a voice...

"Mr. Witham?"

"Huh?" The judge cleared his throat.

"Your occupation, Mr. Witham?"

"I err... that is... brain surgeon ."

"You're a brain surgeon?"

"Ahh almost. I'm still in training."

"Oh? UCLA?"

"No. Home correspondence."

"I see." He sounded skeptical, but he moved on. "Does any member of the jury have any connection to the defendant or any of the principals in the case?"

Dutifully, I raised my hand.

"Yes, Mr. Witham?"

"I once dated a woman with the same last name as the defense attorney." "Her name is Smith."

"Thought I'd better mention it."

"Right." He took a deep breath, then he told us how important we were to the judicial system and the entire free world, therefore we would be receiving five dollars a day for our efforts. I was elated. That was twice what I was making as a writer.

Once again the judge cleared his throat. "Now, before we begin, is there anyone here today who has worked in law enforcement or has had any confrontations with law enforcement?"

Again, I raised my hand high.

"Mr. Witham." "I used to be a crossing guard at Harvard Street Elementary School."

"Thank you, Mr. Witham..."

"I should also mention that I recently had a run-in with an usher who caught me bringing in my own popcorn."

"Thank you, Mr. Witham..."

"And then there was that ugly incident with the museum tour guide. Like something that old wouldn't have broken soon anyway."

"Thank you, Mr. Witham..."

"She sure could run fast, though, for a woman wearing high heels."

"Mr. Witham!"


"Have you ever served on a jury before?"

"Well, I've been called a number of times. And I usually get this far, but for some reason I never get to stay."

"That, I believe, Mr. Witham. You are dismissed."

I sighed, stepped down, and headed for the door. Then I stopped.

"Will I still be getting the five dollars?" I asked.


Tower: "Eastern 702, cleared for takeoff, contact Departure on 124.7."

Eastern 702: "Tower, Eastern 702 switching to Departure... By the way, after we lifted off, we saw some kind of dead animal on the far end of the runway."

Tower: "Continental 635, cleared for takeoff, contact Departure on 124.7; did you copy the report from Eastern?"

Continental 635: "Continental 635, cleared for takeoff. Roger; and yes, we copied Eastern and we've already notified our caterers."


She was in the kitchen doing the boiled eggs for breakfast.

He walks in and she says, "You've got to make love to me this very moment".

He, thinking it's his lucky day, makes love to her over the kitchen table.

Afterwards he says, "What was that all about?"

She says "the egg timer's broken"!


Five Unnecessary Product Descriptions:

Single-use Toilet Paper

Wearable gloves

White powdered sugar

Teeth-cleaning Toothpaste

Gluten-free non-GMO water

Quote of the Times;
There seems to be this idea floating around out there that “unity” just means we all hold hands and dance in a big circle, like hippies at Woodstock. Notably; those complaining the most seem to have actually been at Woodstock at one point.

Link of the Times;

Issue of the Times;
Can't America have a little self-respect on immigration? by Ann Coulter

Couldn’t America have a little self-respect? Japan, Denmark and Israel do.

Year after year, for decades, America has accepted more refugees than the rest of the world combined. No country we admire does anything close to this.
Score one for Donald Trump: In 2017, after he became president, our refugee admissions finally dipped slightly below “more than every other country in the world combined.” Go USA!
These aren’t immigrants the host country specifically wanted. We’re not saying, "You know, this country could use some people who know how to restore 17th-century woodwork" or "Wow, this guy and his wife are both neurosurgeons!" Refugee admissions to America are so reckless that this country has taken in Iraqis who deployed IEDs against our own troops and, in at least one case, one of the perpetrators — not victims — of the Rwandan genocide.
The idea of humanitarian immigration is that people are being persecuted in their own countries and must immediately seek safety elsewhere. Naturally, therefore, most nations accept refugees from their area of the world. The transport is shorter, the climate and culture are similar, and it will be easier for them to go home once conditions improve.
Since the civil war in Syria, for example, millions of Syrians have sought refugee status abroad. The majority resettled nearby, in the Middle East and North Africa. About 20 percent headed for Europe’s generous welfare states.
But the U.S. also took in Syrian refugees — more than 21,000 of them.
Why did we take any? We’re two oceans away! "Help me! Help me! Just get me anyplace but here — actually, I think I’d like to go to Los Angeles. I want a house like in 'The Fresh Prince of Bel Air."
How about this? The U.S. will admit as many Syrian refugees as France takes in Central American asylum-seekers. Why is it unthinkable to send Central Americans to France but perfectly logical for Eastern Europeans, Middle Easterners, Asians and Africans to resettle in the USA?
Japan is closer to Syria than America is. Guess how many Syrian refugees Japan has granted asylum? Twelve. Not 12,000. Twelve.
In fact, Japan barely allows in any immigrants at all. Less than 2 percent of Japan’s population is foreign-born — and most of those are Chinese and Koreans.
No one denounces Japan for “racism.” To the contrary, Business Insider rushed to explain that Japan had reasons for refusing refugees that are more “complex” than they appear. (Not really.)
The New York Times explained Japan’s highly restrictive immigration policies as proceeding from “a desire to preserve their culture, a goal echoed by some conservative groups in the United States.” (Duh.)
And National Geographic clarified that Japan’s policy was simply a matter of the Japanese preferring “a racially unique and homogenous society.”
Luckily for the Japanese, they aren’t white, so this utterly logical, natural position on immigration didn’t trigger “white nationalist” alarm bells in our mainstream media.
Denmark is white! That happy, homogenous country is hailed by American liberals such as Bernie Sanders as a socialist paradise. Of course, the precise reason Denmark has been able to maintain those munificent social welfare programs is that it shut the door to immigrants with low “integration potential.”
For nearly a decade, the “integration potential” test effectively operated as a Muslim ban — long before the Muslim ban was a twinkle in Trump’s eye. Eventually, Denmark dropped the “integration potential” — and soon thereafter suspended its participation in the United Nations refugee resettlement quota program (apparently after noticing that it was a country and not a subdivision of an international debating society).
To be extra sure their prelapsarian society would not be disrupted, during the migrant crisis of 2015, Denmark suspended railroad service from Germany. Government services for refugees were cut back, and an incentive was offered to those who learned Danish. Indeed, a law was passed allowing authorities to seize cash and valuables from refugees to help defray the costs of their resettlement.
In addition to the gushing tributes from American liberals, Denmark routinely ranks as the No. 1 or No. 2 “happiest country.”
Another country with a basic sense of self-respect is Israel. Syria is in Israel’s backyard. Guess how many Syrian refugees Israel took? Zero.
A few years ago, more than 20,000 Eritreans and Sudanese fled to Israel seeking asylum — they just wanted a better life! Israel initially granted refugee status to a grand total of seven Eritreans and two Sudanese. The rest were put directly into detention camps and given a choice: stay locked up or leave. Israel closed the camps in 2018 after accepting thousands with conditions and deporting others to third countries or their homelands. Maybe Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) should have gone to cry at those camps.
The Israelis, who seem to be fairly competent at running their own affairs, also built a fence — 15 feet high — along their entire 150-mile southern border. In year one, illegal immigration was reduced by 99.8 percent. After a few more wall enhancements, the number of illegal immigrants crossing Israel’s southern border was cut to — let’s see, checking my notes … ZERO.
Why doesn’t House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tell Israel that a wall is “immoral” and “ineffective”?
Our country is being inundated with 100,000 Latin Americans every month. That’s in addition to the thousands of refugees being admitted each month from the rest of the world.
Did we vote for this? I’m fairly certain we did not. In fact, as I recall, Americans have voted for the exact opposite every time they’ve been given the chance to vote on immigration. We even chose an utterly implausible individual as president of the United States — because he was a developer and he said he’d build a wall.
William Lear, Founder of the Lear Jet Corporation, named one of his daughters…

Crystal Shanda Lear.


The king wanted to go fishing, and he asked the royal weather forecaster the forecast for the next few hours.

The palace meteorologist assured him that there was no chance of rain.

So the king and the queen went fishing. On the way he met a man with a fishing pole riding on a donkey, and he asked the man if the fish were biting.

The fisherman said, "Your Majesty, you should return to the palace! In just a short time I expect a huge rain storm."

The king replied: "I hold the palace meteorologist in high regard. He is an educated and experienced professional. Besides, I pay him very high wages. He gave me a very different forecast. I trust him."

So the king continued on his way.

However, in a short time a torrential rain fell from the sky. The King and Queen were totally soaked.

Furious, the king returned to the palace and gave the order to fire the meteorologist.

Then he summoned the fisherman and offered him the prestigious position of royal forecaster.

The fisherman said, "Your Majesty, I do not know anything about forecasting. I obtain my information from my donkey. If I see my donkey's ears drooping, it means with certainty that it will rain."

So the king hired the donkey

And thus began the practice of hiring dumb asses to work in influential positions of government.

The practice remains unbroken to this day.


As the manager of our hospital's softball team, I was responsible for returning equipment to the proper owners at the end of the season.

When I walked into the surgery department carrying a bat that belonged to one of the surgeons, I passed several patients and their families in a waiting area.

"Look, honey," one man said to his wife. "Here comes your anesthesiologist."


British Humour

Two Muslims have crashed a speedboat into the Thames barrier in London.

Police are checking for the start of Ram-a-dam.

They've had to cancel the pantomime 'Jack & the Beanstalk' in Birmingham , Bristol , Oldham, Bradford, Leicester, Manchester and London.

Apparently the giant couldn't smell any Englishmen.


Years ago it was suggested that, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away."
Nowadays, I've found that a bacon sandwich works much better.


Our last fight was my fault: My wife asked me "What's on the TV?"

I said, "Dust!"

Quote of the Times;
I don’t have a vendetta against all of Hollywood. Hollywood has afforded me to have a great life. I have a vendetta against the liberal media that refuses to expose, indict and imprison the criminals, pedophiles, con artists, molesters and rapists that are in charge of Hollywood. - Isaiah Washington

Link of the Times;

Issue of the Times;
Walmart’s ‘Woke’ Capitalism by Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel

Walmart — the world’s largest retailer — has announced it’s taking a side in the gun debate. The company will no longer sell handgun ammunition at its stores, nor will it sell rifle rounds that can be “also used in large capacity clips on military-style weapons.” Then, Doug McMillon, Walmart’s CEO, issued a statement calling on Congress to ban many semiautomatic rifles and seize firearms from some Americans who haven’t been convicted of a crime — or even charged with anything. For a company that operates primarily in rural America, all of this was a big step. How do rural Americans feel about it? We can only guess. There’s not a lot of polling going on in Dixon, Montana, or Roxbury, Maine. But in the most expensive parts of New York and Los Angeles, all the smart people were deeply impressed. They love Walmart now.

As you may remember, years ago, Walmart was the subject of coordinated attacks from the left. Progressives used to attack the company for destroying small-town America and exploiting workers. The company never really changed the way it does business, and yet, somehow, the left has mostly stopped attacking them. How did that happen? Part of the answer is that liberals got rich and lost interest in economics. Instead, they adopted identity issues. But Walmart also figured out it could buy immunity from the left’s criticism by mouthing left-wing pieties. That’s all it takes. Sound “woke” and they will leave you alone. Notice that Walmart still plans to sell the remainder of its AR-15 ammunition. This couldn’t really be about saving lives, obviously. It’s about the money. It’s only about the money. But that’s unsurprising; there’s a lot of money at stake.

Revenue at Walmart is the largest in the retail world. The Walton family is collectively worth more than $150 billion. How did they get so rich? Largely by selling foreign goods to domestic consumers. According to the Economic Policy Institute, America actually lost 400,000 jobs thanks to Walmart’s reliance on Chinese imports. And it shows. Drive down the boarded up main streets of many small towns and you’ll see what rural America looks like today because of Walmart. Compare that to some of the gleaming new cities the communist Chinese government has built with the profits.

Allegedly, Walmart has sometimes sold goods at a loss just long enough to drive American competitors out of business. Smaller retailers and the jobs they provided have vanished. In many places, Walmart is one of the few remaining employers. As of today, more than 1.5 million Americans work at Walmart. By and large, it’s not an improvement over what we had before.

And it’s not getting better. In 2005, 20% of Walmart employees worked part time. Today, the majority work part time. Why? If Walmart keeps employees part time, the company can avoid paying them benefits. People can’t live like that, and Walmart knows it. But Walmart also knows that the federal government — i.e., taxpayers — will subsidize low wages with health care benefits. In other words, you’re working so that the Walton family doesn’t have to pay their employees enough to live. That’s happening right now, but we’re keeping quiet about it because Walmart is pushing gun control. But go back and look what’s happened. The same company that pushed the appalling lie that brightly colored plastic from China will make us happy is now lecturing normal Americans, the Americans they’ve hurt, about how immoral they are for daring to protect themselves with firearms. That’s what they’re saying. And everyone in Washington, New York and Los Angeles is applauding them as they do it.

Ironically, one thing you don’t hear about much from Walmart — or from the so-called progressives cheering on Walmart’s new political correctness — is China. Walmart is one of the biggest importers of Chinese goods. Walmart does a truly massive amount of business in China. Walmart’s got all this new corporate courage on guns. Is Walmart also going to take a stand for mistreated Chinese workers? Chinese citizens are under constant surveillance. Is Walmart going to take up their cause? China’s state-managed economy has wreaked environmental devastation Americans couldn’t imagine. Is Walmart taking a stand for that? We haven’t heard much.
I was raped by whoever Trump picks to replace Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.


Two political candidates were having a hot debate.

Finally, one of them jumped up and yelled at the other, "What about the powerful interest that controls you?"

And the other guy screamed back, "You leave my wife out of this!"


25 Words That Are Their Own Opposites

Here’s an ambiguous sentence for you: “Because of the agency’s oversight, the corporation’s behavior was sanctioned.” Does that mean, "Because the agency oversaw the company’s behavior, they imposed a penalty for some transgression," or does it mean, "Because the agency was inattentive, they overlooked the misbehavior and gave it their approval by default"? We’ve stumbled into the looking-glass world of contronyms—words that are their own antonyms.

1. Sanction (via French, from Latin sanctio(n-), from sancire ‘ratify,’) can mean "give official permission or approval for (an action)" or conversely, "impose a penalty on."

2. Oversight is the noun form of two verbs with contrary meanings, “oversee” and “overlook.” Oversee, from Old English ofersēon ("look at from above") means "supervise" (medieval Latin for the same thing: super-, "over" plus videre, "to see.") Overlook usually means the opposite: "to fail to see or observe; to pass over without noticing; to disregard, ignore."

3. Left can mean either remaining or departed. If the gentlemen have withdrawn to the drawing room for after-dinner cigars, who’s left? (The gentlemen have left and the ladies are left.)

4. Dust, along with the next two words, is a noun turned into a verb meaning either to add or to remove the thing in question. Only the context will tell you which it is. When you dust are you applying dust or removing it? It depends whether you’re dusting the crops or the furniture.

5. Seed can also go either way. If you seed the lawn you add seeds, but if you seed a tomato you remove them.

6. Stone is another verb to use with caution. You can stone some peaches, but please don’t stone your neighbor (even if he says he likes to get stoned).

7. Trim as a verb predates the noun, but it can also mean either adding or taking away. Arising from an Old English word meaning "to make firm or strong; to settle, arrange," trim came to mean "to prepare, make ready." Depending on who or what was being readied, it could mean either of two contradictory things: "to decorate something with ribbons, laces, or the like to give it a finished appearance" or "to cut off the outgrowths or irregularities of." And the context doesn’t always make it clear. If you’re trimming the tree are you using tinsel or a chain saw?

8. Cleave can be cleaved into two homographs, words with different origins that end up spelled the same. Cleave, meaning "to cling to or adhere," comes from an Old English word that took the forms cleofian, clifian, or clīfan. Cleave, with the contrary meaning "to split or sever (something)"—as you might do with a cleaver—comes from a different Old English word, clēofan. The past participle has taken various forms: cloven, which survives in the phrase “cloven hoof,” “cleft,” as in a “cleft palate” or “cleaved.”

9. Resign works as a contronym in writing. This time we have homographs, but not homophones. Resign, meaning "to quit," is spelled the same as resign, meaning "to sign up again," but it’s pronounced differently.

10. Fast can mean "moving rapidly," as in running fast, or "fixed, unmoving," as in holding fast. If colors are fast they will not run. The meaning "firm, steadfast" came first; the adverb took on the sense "strongly, vigorously," which evolved into "quickly," a meaning that spread to the adjective.

11. Off means "deactivated," as in to turn off, but also "activated," as in the alarm went off.

12. Weather can mean "to withstand or come safely through" (as in the company weathered the recession) or it can mean "to be worn away" (the rock was weathered).

13. Screen can mean to show (a movie) or to hide (an unsightly view).

14. Help means "assist," unless you can’t help doing something, when it means "prevent."

15. Clip can mean "to bind together" or "to separate." You clip sheets of paper to together or separate part of a page by clipping something out. Clip is a pair of homographs, words with different origins spelled the same. Old English clyppan, which means "to clasp with the arms, embrace, hug," led to our current meaning, "to hold together with a clasp." The other clip, "to cut or snip (a part) away," is from Old Norse klippa, which may come from the sound of a shears.

16. Continue usually means to persist in doing something, but as a legal term it means stop a proceeding temporarily.

17. Fight with can be interpreted three ways. “He fought with his mother-in-law” could mean "They argued," "They served together in the war," or "He used the old battle-ax as a weapon." (Thanks to linguistics professor Robert Hertz for this idea.)

18. Flog, meaning "to punish by caning or whipping," shows up in school slang of the 17th century, but now it can have the contrary meaning, "to promote persistently," as in “flogging a new book.” Perhaps that meaning arose from the sense "to urge (a horse, etc.) forward by whipping," which grew out of the earliest meaning.

19. Go means "to proceed," but also "give out or fail," i.e., “This car could really go until it started to go.”

20. Hold up can mean "to support" or "to hinder": “What a friend! When I’m struggling to get on my feet, he’s always there to hold me up.”

21. Out can mean "visible" or "invisible." For example, “It’s a good thing the full moon was out when the lights went out.”

22. Out of means "outside" or "inside": “I hardly get out of the house because I work out of my home.”

23. B**ch can derisively refer to a woman who is considered overly aggressive or domineering, or it can refer to someone passive or submissive.

24. Peer is a person of equal status (as in a jury of one’s peers), but some peers are more equal than others, like the members of the peerage, the British or Irish nobility.

25. Toss out could be either "to suggest" or "to discard": “I decided to toss out the idea.”

The contronym (also spelled “contranym”) goes by many names, including auto-antonym, antagonym, enantiodrome, self-antonym, antilogy and Janus word (from the Roman god of beginnings and endings, often depicted with two faces looking in opposite directions).


Bernie Sanders Arrives In Hong Kong To Lecture Protesters On How Good They Have It Under Communism

HONG KONG—As soon as Bernie Sanders heard about the democratic protesters in Hong Kong, he knew something had to be done. The U.S. senator quickly chartered a flight to Hong Kong in order to throw himself into the fray.

Sanders bravely stood in the middle of the conflict between police and protesters, shouting at the "ungrateful little dissenters" that they don't know how good they have it under a Communist regime.

"Remember, you could have it a lot worse - you could be in America!" Sanders bellowed as police officers for the totalitarian regime beat protesters in the background. "Hey, you! You on the floor there! You're not looking very appreciative of living in one of the greatest Communist countries on earth!" Sanders continued his long-winded rant about the need for the government to own the means of production, how great breadlines are, and how bad things are in capitalist America as protesters got dragged away by police to be disappeared.

"Just think - in America, we have to pick between 14 different types of deodorant!" he said, his fingers flopping around like limp sausages.

According to sources, Beto O'Rourke is planning on joining Sanders to inform Chinese citizens how lucky they are that they don't live in a racist country like America.


If I had invented Kevlar, I'd have called it "Bullet-Be-Gone" or "Non-Penetrato".

Just so that, you know, there would be no question.

Quote of the Times;
Countries with guns are bound to have tragedies, however countries without them are bound to have genocide. History has shown us this repeatedly.

Link of the Times;

Issue of the Times;
Why Hasn’t Brexit Happened? by Christopher Caldwell

Incoming British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s first address to the House of Commons on July 25 coincided with the arrival of a heat wave so devastating it sparked talk of a global-warming apocalypse. Steam rose out of the Thames, overhead electrical wires melted on the London-Luton train line, and the Cambridge University Botanic Garden registered the highest temperature (102° F) in the history of the British isles. Naturally there was joking among political pundits about “hot air” and a government “meltdown,” but there were darker grumblings, too. This was a descent into “populism,” one could read in the pages of the Guardian, the Independent, and papers from the European continent. That the Conservative Johnson had moved into the prime ministerial townhouse at 10 Downing Street meant that Britain was now under the control of a “clown,” a “saboteur,” or, worse, the British equivalent of U.S. president Donald Trump.

Whether one backed the antic, mop-haired Johnson or not, it was obvious at a glance that he exhibited none of the traits that the adjective “populist” is usually meant to evoke. Eton- and Oxford-educated, he has been a foreign correspondent, the editor of the venerable weekly the Spectator, the mayor of London, and, until his resignation in 2018, foreign secretary. The real grounds for elite hostility toward him lay elsewhere: Johnson came to office promising—“do or die,” as he put it—that the government would honor its commitment to withdraw the United Kingdom from the 28-nation European Union on October 31. In a long-sought 2016 referendum, British voters had approved this British exit, or “Brexit.” At a time when British politicians of all establishment parties had stood against Brexit in almost unbroken solidarity, Johnson had made himself its most prominent backer.

Johnson’s Conservative predecessor, Theresa May, found the job of implementing the referendum’s mandate either beyond her powers or not to her tastes. More than three years later Britain remains stuck in the E.U. Johnson has taken a different tack—he has burned his ships. He nominated Dominic Cummings, an architect of the referendum campaign, to mastermind the implementation of Brexit, and filled his cabinet with convinced Brexiteers, purging every last “gloomster,” to use his vocabulary. He solemnly told a divided Parliament that “under no circumstances” would he appoint a new U.K. commissioner to the European Union. And he announced that, should Britain’s European neighbors prove unwilling to let the country go its own way, he would leave the E.U. without agreeing to a deal—a course Theresa May considered too fraught with danger to undertake.

One of them—either May or Johnson—is going to be vindicated in the eyes of history. To figure out who, we need to figure out why Brexit didn’t happen—why Britain’s government has thus far not declared its independence from the E.U. despite an explicit promise to its people that it would do so. Perhaps, in an interdependent world, national sovereignty is as unrealistic an indulgence as the E.U.’s champions always claimed. Or perhaps the E.U.’s ability to evade democratic accountability has proved even more robust and tenacious than the champions of Brexit had feared.

Project Fear

The E.U. was conceived by ambitious Cold War politicians as a federation-in-embryo, but presented to the public as an exercise in international friendship. Its main achievement has been to impose economic deregulation on duly elected national governments wherever they have resisted it, thus grooming Europeans for global capitalism. But it has also made ever bolder claims to chart the destinies of the countries that make it up, meddling in questions of school bullying in Spain, pensions in Italy, and press regulation in Hungary. European voters have been losing patience with the E.U., even as zeal for it among local governing elites has risen.

The Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath brought the United Kingdom into the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973, and voters ratified the decision in a referendum two years later. But discontent spread, especially after the Maastricht Treaty of 1992 transformed the European Community into the E.U., setting its member countries on a path toward an “ever closer union.” Maastricht was narrowly and rancorously passed in the U.K. Parliament, in a way that poisoned British politics, especially among Conservatives, or Tories, as they are sometimes called. Whenever British people were asked their feelings about the E.U. in a way that didn’t activate either their insecurity (disliking the E.U. is low-class) or their fear (leaving the E.U. will cause a depression), they opposed it. It took constant vigilance to keep anti-E.U. sentiment from rising to the surface.

The (large-c) Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron assented to the 2016 referendum in order to silence a rebellion of his (small-c) conservative colleagues. He did so reluctantly, and put himself at the head of the pro-E.U. “Remain” forces. Although experts doubted voters would want to pull out of the E.U., Cameron well understood that those experts were complacent. That is why he turned the 2016 campaign into “Project Fear,” to use an expression one of his own campaigners had coined for a different referendum two years earlier. He enlisted British businessmen to describe Brexit’s dire consequences for employment. He commissioned studies from the Treasury to illustrate the deadly impact of Brexit on the British economy, and used government funds to have these studies printed in brochures that were distributed to every household in the country. (Those projections have turned out to be spectacularly off-target.) He invited leaders from around the world to warn Britons of the contempt in which the international ruling class would hold the United Kingdom if they favored London over Brussels. United States President Barack Obama went so far as to tell British voters that if they chose to leave the E.U. they would find themselves at “the back of the queue” in their dealings with the United States.

These elaborately manufactured and precision-timed bombshells were lobbed at the rate of one per news cycle throughout the spring of 2016. Shortly before the vote, Cameron even gathered veterans of World War II to his side as he warned that, should his listeners be rash enough to exit the E.U., the United Kingdom might soon reacquaint itself with what he called the “serried rows of white headstones in lovingly tended Commonwealth war cemeteries.”
It was, in short, a thoroughly unfair campaign. But because the side against which the deck had been stacked won, the referendum seemed to have a calming effect. Turnout for the election had been massive, and the 52% to 48% victory extraordinary. The 17.4 million people who voted to leave the E.U. were the largest number of Britons who had ever voted for anything. Only the 1975 EEC referendum came close. No political party had ever come within 3 million votes of it.

Independence Ignored

It was reasonable to assume that in Britain’s heart of hearts, absent peer pressure and government scare tactics, sentiments were even more pro-Brexit than the impressive majority at the ballot box could convey, and that the change of regime would be almost self-enacting. “The Government will implement what you decide,” leaflets distributed during the referendum had promised. So the Brexit forces disbanded. The beery wiseacre Nigel Farage, whose U.K. Independence Party (UKIP) had focused single-mindedly on discontent with the E.U., retired from politics. The Tories returned to business as usual. Upon Cameron’s resignation, members chose as his successor the former home secretary Theresa May, who had not even backed Brexit herself. That seemed not to matter. “Brexit means Brexit,” May dutifully intoned. It was government policy. Brexit would be a bureaucratic sideshow to the real business of her premiership, which May laid out when she devoted her first major speech to “Seven Burning Injustices,” most of them involving race, class, and gender. On March 29, 2017, Parliament activated Article 50, which fixed the date for Britain’s departure from the E.U. exactly two years later. Now Brexit seemed locked in beyond the shadow of a doubt. May then called (and was nearly ousted in) a general election, on which the Brexit question had hardly any effect, because her Labour foes treated the matter as settled. And then, two years later...

No Brexit. It has been postponed. Yes, Britain will regain its independence on October 31, if Brexit’s adversaries do not find a way to block it. But those adversaries include almost the whole of Britain’s political, economic, and journalistic elite, and they have been ingenious in finding ways to block it thus far. The largest and highest-stakes exercise in democracy that the country ever engaged in—the culmination of decades of soul-searching, in which the country insisted on its independence, its national identity, and the primacy of its constitutional system—is at risk of simply being ignored.

May left office in disgrace and in tears, burbling about “race disparity audits” and “gender pay reporting” and fair treatment for gays. Perfectly legitimate subjects for another time, but not for a moment when the country’s sovereignty hung in the balance. Her inability to understand the stakes of her three-year premiership made her the country’s most significant political failure since Neville Chamberlain. What does this mean for Boris Johnson? To the alarm of all Remainers (many of whom despise him), and even a good number of Brexiteers (many of whom envy him), it places him in the most Churchillian situation of any incoming premier since Margaret Thatcher after the strike-ridden “Winter of Discontent” in 1979, or possibly since Churchill himself in 1940.

The press mostly sees Britain’s current impasse as the result of some oversight or mistake, whether May’s or the voting public’s. “Parliament has bungled Brexit,” wrote a correspondent in the conservative Telegraph. A “national haemorrhage of shared purpose and belief began in earnest in June 2016,” according to the progressive Observer, “when Britain voted to leave the E.U.”

But this explanation is quite wrong. The divisions were there in the first place. In Britain as elsewhere in the world, the struggle has been unleashed by innovations in administration that have arisen since the Cold War. These shift power from electorates and parliaments to managers of information, inside government and out. From thousand-year-old constitutional ideas to five-year-old ones. From habeas corpus to gender identity. Because it was Britain that did the most to construct the ideal of liberty which is now being challenged, Brexit clarifies the constitutional stakes for the world as nothing else.

Over decades, British citizens have cloven into two parties of roughly equal strength. The Brexiteers are the party of the unwritten British constitution as it existed from the Glorious Revolution of 1688-89 until Britain’s accession to the E.U. in 1973. This is the tradition of “parliamentary supremacy,” as John Locke called it, or “parliamentary sovereignty,” as it more often came to be called. It can be a confusing doctrine. In a constitutional context, “Parliament” means the House of Commons, plus the Lords, plus the Queen. “The Queen in Parliament” is the ultimate law-making, and constitution-making, authority. The House of Commons legislates and so (to a lesser extent) does the House of Lords; the cabinet exercises executive prerogatives in the name of the Queen. Courts can’t “overturn” anything, though traditionally there was a role for the Lords as legal interpreters of last resort. Important parts of this arrangement have been scuppered, and if you favor that scuppering you’re probably a Remainer. Remainers are the party of the European Union’s constitutional tradition, the tradition of human rights and judicial review. And, to make things more confusing, of referenda. The 1973 vote to enter the EEC was the first the United Kingdom ever had. The Brexit referendum of 2016, paradoxically, used an E.U.-era innovation to put an end to the E.U. era.

Only once the process of Britain’s secession got underway was it possible to understand fully the conflict between these two constitutional traditions. Federal Europe had penetrated British constitutional life much more thoroughly than Brexiteers could face or Remainers admit. E.U. law had become “entrenched,” to use a British legal term. As Brexit began dis-entrenching that law, it threatened to dis-entrench along with it the privileges of a whole class of people at the top of society. In response, that class coalesced with a mighty solidarity. Just after the Brexit vote, the London Review of Books essayist James Meek wrote of a gentle, cosmopolitan liberal friend who had asked him: “What about all these powerful backroom interests in the City that are supposed to have the government in their pocket? Why aren’t they stepping in behind the scenes to stop this?”

Britain’s politics was coming to resemble something Donald Trump’s adviser Steve Bannon had said in a different context in February of 2017: “If you think they’re going to give you your country back without a fight, you are sadly mistaken.”

The Constitution and the Courts

Many statesmen warned from the outset that British ideas of liberty would not survive a merger with the E.U. The most eloquent early diagnoses came from the Labour Party, not the Tories. That is because the fundamental disposition of the E.U. is to favor technocratic expertise over representative government, and the Tories have not generally been the British party that placed the highest priority on the passions of the masses. In 1962, as Tory Prime Minister Harold Macmillan was eying EEC membership, Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell warned, “[I]t does mean the end of Britain as an independent nation state.... It means the end of a thousand years of history. You may say ‘Let it end’ but, my goodness, it is a decision that needs a little care and thought.”

Gaitskell was right, but it is only in recent years that people have begun to see exactly why he was right. It was always understood that joining the EEC in 1973 compromised Britain’s national sovereignty. All countries that joined had to acknowledge the supremacy of E.U. law over their own. This was a deadly serious thing if you reasoned the consequences to the end. For one thing, it deprived Britain’s monarchy of its (already somewhat vestigial) logic. Monarchs are not underlings: in joining the EEC, Britain could be said to have deposed its queen. Pro-E.U. politicians assured their voters that it wasn’t as serious as that. Britain, they said, had to give a little bit of its sovereignty up in order to receive the benefits of cooperation, the way it did in, say, NATO. Other European countries had done so without wrecking their systems.

But this was a false analogy, as the political scientist Vernon Bogdanor explains persuasively in his recent book, Beyond Brexit. NATO was a treaty. The EEC was a merger. What is more, the EEC that Britain joined had been designed by the major countries of continental Europe in line with their own traditions and interests. It was not in line with Britain’s. Britain had no institutions like the European Commission, an unelected body that could (and still does) initiate legislation. Britain’s politicians didn’t understand the rules intuitively and were less able to work the system. British political institutions were unsuitable as a “farm system” for training E.U. politicians.

And there was an even larger problem than the loss of national sovereignty, Bogdanor shows. The E.U. destroyed the system of parliamentary sovereignty at the heart of Britain’s constitution. For all its royalist trappings, Britain has traditionally been a much purer representative democracy than the United States, because it excludes courts from reviewing legislation on any grounds. British politicians tried to calm the public with assurances that, where British law and E.U. law clashed, British law would prevail. But the acknowledgement of E.U. legal supremacy in the treaties meant that E.U. law was British law. In the 1980s, British judges began finding that parliamentary laws had been invalidated by later British laws—a normal and time-honored process, except that these new “British” laws had been imported into British statute books not by legislation but by Britain’s commitment to accept laws made on the continent. Bogdanor, who is a Remainer and a defender of human rights, does not necessarily condemn this development. But it meant that, through the back door, judicial review was being introduced into a constitutional culture that had never had it.

Quangos and foundations began designing cases—concerning migrants’ rights, gay rights, search-and-seizure—that unraveled the centuries-old fabric woven from the rights and duties of British citizenship. A new fabric began to be woven, based (as are all such systems in Europe) on post-Civil Rights Act American law and on the litigative ethos of the American bar.

In 1998, Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair passed the Human Rights Act, which swept into British law the European Convention on Human Rights (a pre-E.U. document dating from 1953). It also bound Britain to abide by decisions reached by the European Court of Human Rights, which sits in the French city of Strasbourg. Article 8.1 of the Convention (“Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence”) was supposed to protect people from the prying eyes of the state, as our Fourth Amendment does. But as the judge and scholar Jonathan (Lord) Sumption noted in a series of lectures this summer, it quickly became the “functional equivalent” of the due process clause of the American 14th Amendment—grounds for all kinds of judicial adventurism. British judges discovered that Article 8:

potentially covers anything that intrudes upon a person’s autonomy unless the Court considers it to be justified…the legal status of illegitimate children, immigration and deportation, extradition, criminal sentencing, the recording of crime, abortion, artificial insemination, homosexuality and same sex unions, child abduction, the policing of public demonstrations, employment and social security rights, environmental and planning law, noise abatement, eviction for non-payment of rent and a great deal else besides.

In the late 1990s, Blair began a reform of the House of Lords, depriving all but a few dozen hereditary peers of their right to sit. He replaced those ousted with a body that was meant to be more meritocratic but wound up less diverse and arguably more class-bound—a collection of activist foundation heads, “rights barristers” (as legal agitators are called), think-tank directors and in-the-tank journalists, and political henchmen. Judicial functions that the House of Lords once carried out were calved off into an actual Supreme Court, which took over as the high court of the land.

Eventually even the reliably anti-Brexit Economist came to see that some of Britain’s major problems had arisen from constitutional meddling. David Cameron’s 2011 Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, in particular, made it much more difficult to call the general elections that would ordinarily have been provoked by the resounding repudiation of Theresa May’s withdrawal package. Blair and Cameron, the magazine noted, “came to power when history was said to have come to an end. They saw no need to take particular care of the constitution.” E.U. membership hid these problems—if Britain wasn’t paying attention to its constitution at the time, it was partly because it had been using someone else’s.

These shifts in Britain’s constitutional culture have become obvious during the rolling European migration crisis of recent decades. The more courts took control of immigration policy, the harder immigration was to stop. As home secretary under David Cameron, May promised to limit Britain’s galloping population growth to “tens of thousands a year, not hundreds of thousands.” But net migration has been running at around a quarter-million ever since, rising as high as 333,000 in 2015. Last year, according to Migration Watch U.K., net migration was 258,000. That means 74,000 Europeans added to 232,000 non-Europeans who arrived, and 48,000 Britons who left. May was just a talker when it came to immigration policy, but no politician in three decades had done any better. Once the judiciary rules politics, all politicians are just talkers. Understand that, and you are most of the way to understanding Brexit.

The transfer of competences from legislatures to courts is a superb thing for the rich, because of the way the constitution interacts with occupational sociology. Where the judiciary is drawn from the legal profession, and where the legal profession is credentialed by expensive and elite professional schools, judicialization always means a transfer of power from the country at large to the richest sliver of it. This is true no matter what glorious-sounding pretext is found to justify the shift—racial harmony, European peace, a fair shake for women. In a global age, judicial review is a tool that powerful people expect to find in a constitution, in the same way one might expect to find a hair dryer in a hotel room.

Negotiating the Withdrawal

From the beginning, a certain number of Remainers had called for a second referendum, arguing that the people had not really known what they were voting for when they chose Brexit. The Independent newspaper had the gall to call this hypothetical rerun a “People’s Vote,” though sometimes they called it a “Final Say.” The People themselves were suspicious. It was the oldest trick in the E.U. book to hold second referenda when—and only when—the public’s wishes diverged from those of Brussels. It had been used in Denmark in 1993 and in Ireland in 2002 and 2009. By 2017, though, these do-overs had become a Europe-wide symbol of contempt for voters. And that is why Parliament voted overwhelmingly in March 2017 to validate the referendum, activate the E.U.’s Article 50, and fix the date for British withdrawal.

But there were a couple of details left. Article 50 called for a two-year negotiating period between the seceding country and the E.U., in order that the two might come to an optimal post-separation arrangement. From the outset there was a dangerous asymmetry of motives. Britain had nothing against its neighbors on the continent—it sought only the right to make its own decisions again. The E.U.’s leaders, however, had an incentive to inflict maximum hardship on Britain. In most member countries the E.U. was being blamed for stagnating economies, dizzying inequality, and out-of-control immigration. If Britain were granted a pain-free exit, others would follow suit.

Early in the negotiating process, Britain’s ambassador to the E.U., the Brussels insider Ivan Rogers, submitted his resignation, warning that Britain was going to get its head handed to it at the bargaining table. “Serious multilateral negotiating experience is in short supply in Whitehall,” he wrote, “and that is not the case in the [European] Commission or in the Council.” He was right about that, and it was a lesson in the sociology of Brexit. In England, at least, the electoral map of Brexit looked like the electoral map of Donald Trump’s presidential victory in America would look later that year. Remain was the choice of those who benefited from the global economy. It won overwhelmingly in a few compact islands of rich people, intellectuals, and minorities—London, Oxford, Cambridge. The ranks of Remain-aligned politicians were crowded with well-educated, tech-savvy, cosmopolitan people. Leave won everyplace else. It was the choice of yesterday’s Britain, the Britain of losers.

Even after its victory, Leave found itself constantly out-thought, out-classed, and out-worked by Remain. May made David Davis, a party bull approaching the end of his career, her chief negotiator. He didn’t seem to think the post would require too much energy, expertise, or imagination—because, at the end of the day, Britain could walk away from the negotiating table with no deal. How could May have put Brexit at risk by picking someone like Davis to secure it? Well, how could Donald Trump have put his presidency at risk by picking someone like Jeff Sessions to defend it? The answer in both cases was the same: in populist causes, the pickings are slim, personnel-wise.

The continental negotiators, by contrast, were the cream of Europe’s educated classes. The E.U. is a highly elaborated administrative state. Indeed, it is an especially logical and efficient one, because it has developed before the underlying society—so there are no pragmatic or traditional considerations to complicate its rules or shrink its remit. Rogers loved legalistic gobbledygook, noting that the E.U. tacticians would know how to withhold “adequacy determinations” under the “GDPR” (General Data Protection Regulation) and they were masters of “equivalence decisions”—whatever any of that meant. His slashing book on the whole Brexit process, 9 Lessons in Brexit, would become a bible of London’s pro-E.U. intellectuals, from historian Simon Schama to Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling. But to read it is to be struck by a blind spot.

Constantly belittling the public for not understanding the ins and outs of negotiating trade agreements, Rogers, for all his smarts, failed to understand that a) this was a negotiation about something deeper than trade, and b) the sovereign people sets parameters for negotiators, not vice versa. Rogers could not see that his countrymen did not feel the same loyalty to the E.U. and its “process” that he did. He couldn’t imagine why people would want it to go away.

Where Loyalties Lie

Rogers and other British experts were strangely unimpressed by the powerful practical levers their own side disposed of. Britain was the largest importer of cars from Germany. It had a trade deficit with most countries on the continent, which meant that any breakdown in talks would idle more European factories than British ones. It was, with France, one of only two serious military powers in Western Europe. It had an intelligence-gathering relationship with the United States that continental Europe was desperate to preserve the benefits of. It contained 40% of Europe’s data servers. It was due to recover its own rich fishing banks—schools of mackerel north of Scotland, beds of prawns southwest of Cornwall—where E.U. vessels took 59% of the haul. And it was the financial capital of the world. The E.U. would have no choice but to do business with an independent Britain.
And yet there was a hangdog tone in all elite descriptions of the Article 50 discussions. People were wishing their own country ill in an international negotiation. “If I were an E.U. negotiator,” wrote the Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament Sir Ed Davey in a fantasy of his own country’s humiliation that appeared in the Independent, “my starting position would be to increase the divorce fee to £50bn, arguing that the U.K. must now pay the E.U.’s cost of handling the no-deal Brexit, after refusing the first deal. Given the severely negative impact of a no-deal Brexit on everything from our sheep farmers to our NHS [National Health Service], I rather think any U.K. government would be so desperate to make some deals that £50bn might suddenly seem a bargain.”

Remainers’ hearts were with the Europeans at the table, not with the Brexiteers who were supposed to be their countrymen. There may be an innocent “epistemological” explanation for this. When a regime is changing, the old world is made of concrete things that have lost their legitimacy, while the world to come is made up of legitimate things that have not yet become concrete. Rogers hated the whole enterprise of undoing existing E.U. structures: “[W]e are privileging notional autonomy to make our own laws over real power to set the rules by which in practice we shall be governed.” The Financial Times columnist Martin Wolf similarly saw no point in the Brexiteer reluctance to bind Britain’s trade policy to the E.U.’s. “It would only prevent the U.K. from making trade deals that are less important than maintaining good relations with the E.U.,” Wolf wrote in the Financial Times.

Every negotiator on the British side behaved as if there were nothing more important than maintaining good relations with the E.U. Perhaps that was to be expected. The E.U. pursues the goal of transcending (a fancy way to say “getting rid of”) the nation-states that make it up. As the Union grows ever closer, there must eventually come a moment when the loyalty of subjects is transferred from the institutions of the nation to those of federal Europe. Brexit showed that, for elites to whom the E.U. offers a grand role, that moment has come already. The E.U., not Britain, is their country. They saw Brexit not as most British people did—as a solemn and even sacred uprising by an ancient people against a usurper. No. Elites saw Brexit as a local nuisance in the domestic politics of the only legitimate custodian of Britain’s long-term interests: the E.U.

Theresa May fell under the influence of these views, particularly after dropping conservative adviser Nick Timothy in the days after her general election loss in 2017. It was Timothy who had written her “Brexit means Brexit” speech. Without him, she, too, lost sight of what Brexit was. Brexit turned into a word that meant its opposite. It was now a “damage-limitation exercise,” as Timothy would later put it. May came to believe that Brexit meant honoring the patriotic emotions that had led to a national temper tantrum, while protecting the country against any foolish actions that might result from such emotions—such as breaking relations with the European Union. In mid-2017, May opted for getting experts on board. Olly Robbins, an E.U.-friendly aide who had risen under Tony Blair and David Cameron (and who had been Rogers’s successor as Blair’s private secretary), took over as lead negotiator from the Brexiteer Davis.

The Irish Backstop

Brexiteers now began to suspect that May’s own negotiators were conniving with the European Union’s to trap Britain in E.U. membership. The means of doing this would be Ireland. In 1998 Britain had negotiated the Good Friday Agreement, a treaty aimed at quelling the guerrilla war that the terrorist Irish Republican Army had waged for decades in order to reunite 6 Northern Irish counties that belonged to the U.K. with the 26 Southern ones that belonged to the Irish republic. The E.U. insisted on a guarantee, now referred to as the “Irish backstop,” that after Brexit Britain would maintain a “soft” border with Ireland, an E.U. member state.

It was an unusual demand for a number of reasons. There had never been a hard border between the two countries, outside of military emergencies. Nor was there a need for one now. Britain and Ireland were part of the same island region, cut off by ocean and law from the E.U.’s “Schengen” area of free movement. Britain had as much reason to demand border guarantees from the E.U. as the E.U. did from Britain. And while such borders might present new challenges after Brexit, there were proven solutions: non-E.U. Switzerland, for example, keeps its borders, travel, and trade open with four major E.U. countries. These problems only became “insoluble” when E.U. diplomats discovered they might be used to tangle up the Brexit negotiations.

In December 2017, May made a terrible mistake. She agreed in a joint E.U.-U.K. report that there would be “no diminution of rights” for anyone in Northern Ireland. This was a promise inconsistent with Brexit. Northern Ireland, like everyplace else in the United Kingdom, would have its native constitutional regime restored by Brexit. As such, it would be moving from a polity that operates primarily through court-conferred rights back into one that operates primarily through the will of Parliament. While the Northern Irish might wind up more free, happy, and self-reliant, their “rights” would be delineated and protected in different ways, and in some respects this difference would be a diminution. Rogers had been right about the skill of E.U. negotiators. They had taken the backstop, an issue that no one had even considered until Brexit was voted, and turned it into an E.U. veto on the whole of Brexit.

Some suggested that Northern Ireland remain under the same customs regime as the Irish republic. But under the terms of the 1998 peace agreement, it couldn’t. The most important guarantee to Northern Ireland had been that Britain would not “make any change in the status of Northern Ireland [in its relation to the rest of the U.K.] save with the consent of a majority of its people.” Making Northern Ireland subject to the laws of a foreign country would count as a rather large change in status. But this difficulty prompted May’s negotiators to come up with a more ambitious solution. The backstop would cause no change in Northern Ireland’s status within the U.K. if the whole U.K. could be included in the European Customs area. So Britain could solve the problems created by its departure from the European Union by agreeing to remain subject to the European Union!

An abyss opened up in July 2018 at the prime ministerial retreat of Chequers, when May released a plan for future relations with Brussels. It called for harmonization with E.U. rules and regulations, described the backstop in a way that made it look inescapable, and envisioned a role for the European Court of Justice. Johnson said that May was “volunteering for economic vassalage” and resigned as foreign secretary. “[W]e continue to make the fatal mistake of underestimating the intelligence of the public, saying one thing to the E.U. about what we are doing and saying another to the electorate,” he explained. “[I]n important ways, this is…Brexit in Name Only.” Davis resigned too.

The final negotiated Withdrawal Agreement that May unveiled to Parliament last November caused the whole country, Brexiteers and Remainers alike, to gasp in horror. May’s team had been sent away to declare British independence and had returned with a document of surrender. The agreement not only contained (as expected) a £39 billion ($50 billion) “divorce” fee, but also left E.U. courts free to top that fee up. It locked Britain into a customs union with the E.U., with no mechanism for leaving it—ever. The E.U., and the E.U. alone, would decide when Britain had fulfilled the backstop agreement, and any move to break it unilaterally on Britain’s part would be resolved by giving the E.U. jurisdiction over Northern Ireland’s economic relations. It subjected Britain to E.U. trade sanctions more onerous than those meted out to other countries. It laid out contexts in which E.U. law would retain its supremacy over U.K. law.

The Withdrawal Agreement not only did not end Britain’s ties to the E.U. In the name of Brexit, it actually deepened and constitutionalized them. This ensured that pro-Brexit Tories would not vote for it. But it also renounced Britain’s official membership in E.U. institutions, and indeed its right to have any say in them, dooming it for anti-Brexiteers of all parties. In January it was rejected in Parliament by the largest margin of any measure in British parliamentary history. It was subsequently rejected twice more.

The Withdrawal Agreement thrilled Remainers, even if they wouldn’t vote for it, and breathed new life into their cause. They could now present the Agreement not as a twisted document put together by a pro-Remain bureaucracy but as faithful depiction of modern reality. We told you there was no possible governing arrangement better than the European Union! Back came Project Fear, now carried out by the Financial Times, the Guardian, and the Independent. Back came the calls for a people’s vote, and back came all the scare vocabulary about how a no-deal Brexit would cause Britain to go over the “cliff edge” and “crash out” of the European Union.

Once the Withdrawal Agreement failed, no-deal was the form that independence had to take. It would be no deal or no Brexit. And Remainers were alarmed to realize that no-deal Brexit was the law. It had been agreed on March 29, 2017, and it would automatically become reality on March 29, 2019, unless something could be done to stop it.

The Deep State Intervenes

It was surprising how much could be done to stop it. Remainers were a synonym for the governing class. They had an infinity of tools, and they were no longer scared of the voters. No one wanted to be so contemptuous as to repeal Brexit, but Parliament could put a “no-deal Brexit” on hold, which it did. May’s negotiators had already produced a “Brexit” deal that caused misgivings among the Brexiteers themselves. The prime minister’s cabinet secretary, a powerful member of the career civil service, now wrote a 14-page memo warning that no deal would lead to higher food prices and more crime. Someone in May’s office helpfully forwarded it to the Daily Mail. The chancellor of the exchequer, Philip Hammond, warned that Parliament might have to repeal Article 50 to “protect the value of the pound.” May herself entered into consultation with the old-school Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to see if he would help pass her deal, in the course of which she even offered to agree to a second referendum. Perhaps that revealed what May had thought of Brexit all along. It was not a constitutional demand but a psychiatric symptom.

Some of the most extraordinary moments of these winter debates involved the interventions of the Speaker of the House, John Bercow. Elected as a Conservative, he had, in David Souter-esque fashion, discovered once in power that he actually opposed Conservative policies on most things, very much including Brexit. On April 3, Bercow transferred control of primary legislation from “the government” (as the cabinet is called when it presents legislation in Parliament) to a group of Brexit rebels. That did away with a rule on which Parliament had done business for the past 330 years and threw the country into a serious constitutional quarrel. Anti-Brexiteers used their control of debate to pass the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2019, which ordered Theresa May to seek an extension of Brexit from the European Union. And that began the process that led to postponing the Brexit deadline until October 31.

Once the legislature had seized the powers of the executive, the genie could not be returned to the bottle. Brexiteers now understood that Bercow might unilaterally block any moves toward Brexit, rendering parliamentary debate futile. So some Tories began to think: what if Parliament were prorogued—kept out of session until after the next deadline passed? Labour had resorted to a prorogation in 1948, which made the idea less of a trespass on parliamentary procedure than Bercow’s. In the event, the prorogation maneuver was blocked by an amendment in the House of Lords that essentially bans Parliament from going out of session in October.

The failure of Brexit was the worst humiliation of a British government in decades, deepened by the sudden realization that Britain would have to take part in the European Union elections in late May. In early April Nigel Farage announced his return to politics and hastily assembled a ragtag formation called the Brexit Party. Five weeks later, with a list of nobodies, has-beens, and famous politicians’ sisters, Farage’s Brexiteers took 29 of Britain’s 73 seats to become the single biggest party in the European Parliament; May’s Tories took only four. Johnson announced his bid for the leadership, saying: “There is a very real choice between getting Brexit done and the potential extinction of this great party.”

Making Things Explicit

Most commentary on Brexit dismisses those who sought it as fantasists and the Parliament that debated it as a madhouse. “Bungle” is the favored verb in most articles on the subject, which generally explain that Britain’s difficult winter and spring illustrate what a misbegotten idea Brexit was in the first place. The Dutch diplomat Frans Timmermans, a veteran E.U. commissioner involved in negotiations, told the BBC that his British counterparts had been “running around like idiots.” European Council president Donald Tusk said, “I’ve been wondering what the special place in hell looks like for those who promoted Brexit without even a sketch of a plan of how to carry it safely.” Washington Post columnist Fareed Zakaria said in March, “Britain, famous for its prudence, propriety, and punctuality, is suddenly looking like a banana republic as it makes reckless decisions, misrepresents reality and now wants to change its own self-imposed deadline.”

But the reasons for the chaos of the past winter—and for the fact that Brexit has still not happened—lie elsewhere. Brexit is an epochal struggle for power, and an exemplary one. It pits a savvy elite against a feckless majority. There have been scares before for those who run the institutions of global “governance”—the rise of Syriza in Greece, with its attack on the common European currency, the election of Donald Trump, the nation-based immigration restrictions put forward by Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini and Hungarian president Viktor Orbán. But it is Brexit that has hit bedrock. If Brexit happens, our future will look one way. If not, it will look another. Those people who warn, as Zakaria does, that voting for Brexit has decreased Britain’s importance in the world—are they joking?

Only when the Leave side won the referendum did it become clear that the vote had been about not just a policy preference but also an identity. It raised the question for each voter of whether he considered himself an Englishman or a European, and of whether it was legitimate to be ruled by one power or the other. As such it made certain things explicit.

The main legacy of the European Union in the past three decades has been the suppression of democracy and sovereignty in the countries that belong to it. We can argue about whether this is the main purpose of the federation, but suppression of self-rule certainly counts as one of its purposes. Extinguishing national sovereignty was E.U. technocrats’ way of assuring that what Germany, Italy, and Spain set in motion in the 20th century would not repeat itself in the 21st. The architects of the Brussels order proclaimed this intention loudly until they discovered it cost them elections and support. The E.U.’s suspicion of nationalism is understandable. But its hostility to democracy is real.

The self-image of today’s E.U. elites is still that of protecting Europe from its historic dark side. They are confident history will regard them as the fathers of a Common European Home. In the imaginary biography he carries around inside his own head, a British builder of the European Union, whether a human rights lawyer or a hectoring journalist, will cast himself as one of the righteous heroes of his time, one of the enlightened. He is a man who “stood alone” to “fight for his principles” and so on. Maybe posterity will even see him as a European James Madison.

Many people in all member states have sought to puncture this kind of “Eurocrat” self-regard, but Britain’s anti-E.U. intellectuals have been particularly direct and pitiless. In mid-July, Robin Harris, a longtime adviser to Cold War Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, wrote an article in the Telegraph urging Boris Johnson to carry out “a peaceful but revolutionary seizure of power by the British people from a supranational authority and a home-grown but deracinated, collaborationist elite.”

Imagine how it strikes a man who has spent decades working for the E.U. dream—Tony Blair or Donald Tusk, for instance—to see his work likened to “collaboration.” Special place in hell, indeed! Those who sought the Brexit referendum placed a proposition before the British electorate that these self-styled architects of “Europe,” these idealists, had been, all along, not Europe’s Madisons but its Quislings. Worse, when that proposition was placed before the British people, they assented to it.

Brexit was not an “outburst” or a cry of despair or a message to the European Commission. It was an eviction notice. It was an explicit withdrawal of the legal sanction under which Brussels had governed Europe’s most important country. If it is really Britain’s wish to see its old constitutional arrangements restored, then this notice is open to emendation and reconsideration. But as things stand now, the Leave vote made E.U. rule over the U.K. illegitimate. Not illegitimate only when Brussels has been given one last chance to talk Britain out of it, but illegitimate now. What Britons voted for in 2016 was to leave the European Union—not to ask permission to leave the European Union. It is hard to see how Britain’s remaining in the E.U. would benefit either side.

And yet, given that Britain is the first country to issue such an ultimatum, given that pro-E.U. elites in other European countries have reason to fear its replication, given the moral ambitions of the E.U. project, given that the British who support Remain have transferred their sentiments and their allegiances across the channel, given the social disparity between those who rule the E.U. and most of those who want to leave it, how could the reaction of Britain’s establishment be anything but all-out administrative, judicial, economic, media, political, and parliamentary war? The battle against Brexit is being fought, Europe-wide, with all the weaponry a cornered elite has at its disposal.

It has proved sufficient so far.
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