Daily Pics, My Comic, and The Times
the Daily
the Comic
the Blog
Q: How does a man know when his wife is losing interest?

A: When her favorite sexual position is next door.


Scientists have developed a blood test that can tell who will die in the next ten years. They've also gone on record as telling Charlie Sheen, "Oh, don't bother."

Walmart is suing Tesla after their solar panels broke out into flames. In Tesla's defense, they did break out in flames more efficiently than regular solar panels.

How many syllables are in the word "Gloria"? CATHOLICS: 18

I've always wondered why some people jump off the tops of buildings to see if they can fly. Wouldn't it be safer and make a lot more sense to try to fly UP to the top?

Boise, Idaho is ranked as the best city in which to buy a house. Unless, of course, you're commuting from Savannah.


A man picks up a young woman in a bar and convinces her to come
back to his hotel. When they are relaxing afterwards, he asks,
"Am I the first man you ever made love to?" She looks at him
thoughtfully for a second before replying. "You might be," she
says. "Your face looks familiar."


Millennials flock to join military’s new ‘Safe Space’ Force

BERKELEY, Calif. — Military recruiting offices have been overwhelmed with millennials seeking to join the Pentagon’s upcoming “Safe Space” Force, sources confirmed today.

The proposed force came at the suggestion of President Donald Trump while speaking to a group of young Marines stationed in Miramar, California. The speech was later shared on social media by a number of millennials currently lacking the requisite fitness to join the current military, but who were enthusiastic about reduced physical standards of the Safe Space Force.

“Since there is no gravity in space — and therefore no weight — they can’t discriminate against fit-but-fat people like me,” said Suzanne Paunchy, a gender-studies major that stands 5’4” and is now down to 195 pounds after her recent juice cleanse.

In interviews outside the Marine Corps recruiting office in Berkeley, a number of prospective enlistees spoke of the benefits of their service in the Safe Space Force, which senior defense officials say would likely fall under the Department of the Air Force.

“I haven’t been able to find a job that I am passionate about since I graduated with my poetry degree, so I moved back in with my dad and stepmom,” said Ezra Bard, who graduated from UC-Berkeley in 2013. “Outer space seems like a great way to escape the greed of the corporate world. I just hope the cafeteria serves avocado toast, and that they pay enough for me to afford my Spotify premium subscription.”

“This is the first good idea Trump has had,” said Hillary Stein, a liberal arts major whose father recently purchased her a Mercedes with his rebate from the new tax plan. “I heard that Elon Musk is going to be the Commanding General of the Safe Space Force, and he invented electricity so that means he’s really smart.”

Still, some were more enthusiastic about escaping Earth rather than the prospect of public service .

“I heard climate change will cause the earth to become uninhabitable next year, so humans will need to move to another galaxy to survive. I am excited to be a bona-fide Space Cadet, and I hope to fight the Buggers just like that kid from Ender’s Game,” said Dwight Dorkus, a gluten free vegan and serves as president of the U.C. Berkeley Comic-Con Club.


I'm glad "feta" isn't the plural of "fetus."

If it were, I might have to cut back on eating Greek salads.

Quote of the Times;
The superior man is distressed by the limitations of his ability; he is not distressed by the fact that men do not recognize the ability that he has. - Confucius

Link of the Times;

Issue of the Times;
Why Liberals and Progressives Lie to Blacks by Roger L. Simon
In a Slate article -- "Democratic Candidates Are Misrepresenting Michael Brown's Death"-- the reliably-liberal William Saletan wrote:
Last week, in a Democratic presidential debate, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro read a list of black Americans killed by police violence. Alongside Laquan McDonald, Walter Scott, and Eric Garner, Castro named Michael Brown, who was shot dead five years ago in Ferguson, Missouri. Several of the current Democratic candidates have accused the officer who shot Brown of murder. Brown’s death was a tragedy, but it wasn’t a murder.
Besides Castro, the candidates who have joined in this calumny were Kamala Harris, Tom Steyer, and quasi-frontrunner Elizabeth Warren. Saletan continued:
But at the core of the story, there was a problem: The original account of Brown’s death, that he had been shot in the back or while raising his hands in surrender, was false. The shooting was thoroughly investigated, first by a grand jury and then by the Obama Justice Department. The investigations found that Brown assaulted Wilson, tried to grab his gun, and was shot dead while advancing toward Wilson again.
Saletan, I suppose to protect his liberal bonafides, also notes: "Brown became an icon of the Black Lives Matter movement for understandable reasons." (Oh, really?) But let's leave that aside and examine why the candidates are promulgating such a well-proven lie (Saletan does a good job demonstrating its extent), not even correcting it when confronted by the press, in Warren's case most egregiously so.
The obvious is that they are fishing for votes. Warren has a putative weakness with African American voters. Tom Steyer is unknown to them (as he is to a lot of people). Harris is sinking fast and needs to shore up her rep and Julián Castro's campaign has barely been registering enough to keep him on the debate stage.
But beneath this are more disturbing beliefs, one of which is on the edge of disgusting and actually racist: that African Americans prefer to be lied to than told the truth. The corollary to this is that they are easily lied to if you stir them up. The level of disrespect in this is off the charts.
Also at play here, as it is everywhere in Democratic precincts, is Fear of Trump. African Americans are doing better under Trump than they ever have been in this country with unemployment at record lows and salaries up.
Further, Trump really did something never done before -- spearheaded and signed criminal justice reform legislation. Better not remind black people of that. Distract them or lie to them instead. Call Trump a racist, though why would a racist do such a thing? (At the end of the first paragraph of his article, Saletan cites such reform as necessary with, unsurprisingly, nary a mention of Trump's achievement.)
This is all of a piece with the exploitation of African Americans by the Democratic Party that has been going on since the Age of Johnson, Lyndon. This only got worse under Obama when numerous prevarications and exaggerations encouraged a new separatism in a society that had made immense strides in racial equality. (A new documentary on the Trayvon Martin case explores the dishonesty behind this particular episode.)
This dishonesty to black people practiced by Warren and the others -- fomenting anger toward the police -- makes the lives of African Americans worse, frequently endangering them and resulting in their deaths, as Heather Mac Donald details so well in her The War on Cops. I often wonder how many liberals have read this book. I imagine very few because it so undermines their virtue-signaling narrative with uncomfortable and overwhelming facts. For someone like Warren to fan the flames of cop-hatred is despicable and immoral, but not surprising for someone so willing to lie about her Indian ethnicity. If black lives truly did matter to her, she would never say such a thing.
Just the other day, legendary power forward Charles Barkley, put it this way in his usually pungent manner: "Democrats only talk to black people every four years." He could have added: "And when they do, they lie."
If you ask my son why he joined the Army he will proudly tell you he joined to military to kill people.

He's a terrible doctor.


Two elderly ladies meet at the launderette after not seeing one another for some time. After inquiring about each other's health, one asked how the other's husband was doing.

"Oh! Ted died last week. He went out to the garden to dig up a cabbage for dinner, had a heart attack and dropped down dead right there in the middle of the vegetable patch!"

"Oh dear! I'm very sorry," replied her friend, "What did you do?"

"Opened a can of peas."


Nobel Peace Prize Committee Informs Trump He Has Not Launched Enough Drone Strikes To Qualify

OSLO, NORWAY—The Norwegian Nobel Committee was reportedly considering President Trump as a recipient of its prestigious Nobel Peace Prize, as the president had submitted his name for consideration to them over 67 times. But after reviewing his credentials, the committee concluded that he had not launched enough drone strikes against foreigners to qualify.

"Yeah, you've dabbled in attacks, but what we're really looking for is someone who's really committed to a secret drone war," said a spokesperson for the committee. "Look at previous winners like Barack Obama: now there's a shining example of someone who achieved world peace not through lame diplomacy but by blowing up foreigners with impunity."

Obama also criticized Trump's drone strike count, saying they were "rookie numbers" and he needs to "pump those numbers up."

"My fellow Americans, it represents a danger to democracy when we have a president who's either unwilling or unable to bomb as many foreigners as I did," Obama said, reading off a teleprompter. "During my scandal-free presidency, I was able to drop over 26,000 bombs some years."

"Those were the days," he added, going off-script as his eyes glazed over and he recalled the feeling of dark, evil power that coursed through his veins when he ordered drone strikes on foreign nations we were not at war with, innocent civilians, and the occasional American citizen.

The Nobel Prize committee said they would consider Trump again next year, provided he starts a war with Iran.


There are at least 331 foreign words for positive emotional states and concepts that we don't have in English

One criticism levelled at positive psychology is that it takes an overly Western-centric view of the lighter side of
human experience. Addressing that problem, Tim Lomas at the University of East London has begun a deep investigation
into all the non-English words for positive emotions and concepts that don't have a direct translation in English.

Publishing his initial findings in the The Journal of Positive Psychology, Lomas' hope is not only that we might
learn more about the positive psychology of other cultures, but that hearing of these words might enrich our own
emotional lives. Of course there is a long-running debate about how much words influence our thoughts and emotions.

Few people these days would advocate the idea that you can't feel an emotion if you don't have a word for it. But
Lomas argues that at a minimum, if you don't have a way of identifying a specific emotion or feeling, it "becomes
just another unconceptualised ripple in the ongoing flux of subjective experience."

Lomas' method was to trawl websites devoted to "untranslatable words" (i.e. words that don't have a single
corresponding word in English), then to do some googling and finally to consult colleagues and students. This way he
ended up with a list of 331 untranslatable words for positive emotional states and concepts. To find approximate
English definitions of the words he used online dictionaries and academic references. Here are some examples of the
untranslatable positive words that Lomas has organized into three main categories:

Words relating to feelings, including the subcategories of positive and complex feelings:

Gula – Spanish for the desire to eat simply for the taste
Sobremesa – Spanish for when the food has finished but the conversation is still flowing
Mbukimvuki – Bantu for "to shuck of one's clothes in order to dance"
Schnapsidee – German for coming up with an ingenious plan when drunk
Volta – Greek for leisurely strolling the streets
Gokotta – Swedish for waking up early to listen to bird song
Suaimhneas croi – Gaelic for the happiness that comes from finishing a task
Iktsuarpok – Inuit for the anticipation felt when waiting for someone
Vacilando – Greek for the idea of wandering, where the act of travelling is more important than the destination
Gumusservi – Turkish for the glimmer that moonlight makes on water

Words relating to relationships, including the subcategories of intimacy and more general prosociality:

Nakama – Japanese for friends who one considers like family
Kanyininpa – Aboriginal Pintupi for a relationship between holder and held, akin to the deep nurturing feelings

Experienced by a parent for their child

Gigil – Philippine Tagalog for the irresistible urge to pinch or squeeze someone because you love them so much
Kilig – Tagalog for the butterflies in the stomach you get when interacting with someone you find attractive
Sarang – Korean for when you wish to be with someone until death
Myotahapea – Finnish for vicarious embarrassment
Mudita – Sanskrit for revelling in someone else's joy
Karma – the well known Buddhist term for when ethical actions lead to future positive states
Firgun – Hebrew for saying nice things to someone simply to make them feel good
Asabiyyah – Arabic for a sense of community spirit

Words relating to character, including the subcategories of resources and spirituality:

Sitzfleisch – German for the ability to persevere through hard or boring tasks (literally "sit meat")
Baraka – Arabic for a gift of spiritual energy that can be passed from one person to another
Jugaad – Hindi for the ability to get by or make do
Desenrascanco – Portuguese for the ability to artfully disentangle oneself from a troublesome situation
Sprezzatura – Italian for when all art and effort are concealed beneath a "studied carelessness"
Pihentagyu – Hungarian for quick witted people who come up with sophisticated jokes and solutions (literally "with a relaxed brain")
Kao pu – Chinese for someone who is reliable and responsible and gets things done without causing problems for others
Prajna – Sanskrit for intellectual wisdom and experiential insight
Wu Wei – Chinese for "do nothing" (literally) but meaning that one's actions are entirely natural and effortless
Bodhi – Sanskrit for when one has gained complete insight into nature


Q: How many Californians does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A: Surprisingly just one but it may not do them much good during wildfire season.

Quote of the Times;
Take some personal accountability for yourself and your actions and watch your life improve immediately.

Link of the Times;

Issue of the Times;
Ex-Google and Facebook employee says silicon valley’s use of H1B visa is “institutional slavery” by Didi Rankovic

The H1B visa scheme that the Unites States introduced in 1990 to allow companies to bring in highly skilled foreign workers who were otherwise unavailable in the domestic labor market, has become a very controversial political topic.

Originally, companies could bring in up to 65,000 workers from abroad – most of them computer and engineering talent, but in 2013, this limit was raised to 300,000.

The stated goal was to allow the US to attract the best and the brightest – but the way the program has since been implemented has drawn criticism on multiple grounds. Companies hiring in this way were not required to prove that they tried to fill the position with American workers, and they don't have to pay foreigners the same salary for comparable jobs, as Mother Jones noted back in 2013.

In addition, experienced highly skilled domestic workers are being hired less and less, as the more expensive option compared to the H1B workforce. And a Computerworld report from 2017 said that Apple was able to pay H1B visa holders as low as just over $50,000 a year – in an industry where the average was $93,000. The scheme has not only introduced questionable ethics and hindered job creation in the US, but has also motivated massive layoffs, carried out by vocal proponents of allowing more H1B workers into the country.

With this in mind, the current US administration led by Donald Trump made it one of its policy points to do something about the visa program, seeing it as harmful to the country's economy as cheap imported labor undermines the ability of Americans to find work in these industries. And true to that stance, in 2017 Trump signed an executive order introducing tighter rules around the granting of H1B visas.

The result has been a dramatic increase in rejections of H1B visa applications – from 13 percent in 2017 to 32 percent in 2019, Silicon Republic reports.

On the other hand, critics of the H1B visas also come from inside the tech industry, and from a different angle, that focuses on what seem to be unethical internal policies and poor treatment of foreign workers.

“Institutionalized slavery”

One of them is former Google and Facebook employee and programmer Patrick Shyu, who has made it something of a cause to continue to spill the beans on the inside workings of these giants on his YouTube channel TechLead.

In a new video – tellingly entitled, “Are Facebook employees depressed? (H1B slavery visa & abuse)” – Shyu explores the human cost of the H1B program, in the context of the overall poor treatment of tech employees that often results in mental issues such as depression, and sometimes even workplace suicide.

Shyu sheds light on why tech companies have such a strong preference for bringing in foreign workers over hiring equally qualified American counterparts, and his conclusion is damning: it comes down to a form of modern-day, institutionalized slavery.

According to him, the real reason for US companies to hire foreigners is not their difficulty in filling these jobs at home, but their desire to underpay and control workers in extreme ways. The fact that foreign workers depend on continued employment to avoid deportation means that they will accept working conditions and treatment by managers that US workers, with incomparably greater job options, never would.

Shyu gives the example of Facebook's relentless performance-based stack ranking, that encourages back-stabbing between colleagues, as making others appear less efficient elevates your own status. One of the things encouraged and implicitly expected of employees is to work long hours and weekends; and due to their vulnerable status in the US, H1B workers are more susceptible to accepting these conditions, which can eventually all too easily lead to burnout and harm their well-being.

Shyu goes so far as to say that the tech industry's biggest “innovation” has not been a technical invention, but this “modern slavery” that is beneficial to the companies' bottom line in the way any cheap labor, or indeed, slavery must be.

According to Shyu, the way companies fight to make the most of the H1B program is not merely by using it to its full potential, but also by abusing it – for example by creating job interview techniques that filter out American workers “to get cheap labor that they absolutely control.”

The H1B program has entered the public sphere once again as, last week, a Facebook employee who was reportedly on the H1B visa program took their own life – leading staff to start to speak out on “stressful” workloads at the company.
A father thought it was about time to lecture his son, who was somewhat scatter-brained and frivolous.

"Jim," he said, "You're getting to be a man now and you ought to take life more seriously.

Just think . . .if I died all of a sudden, where would you be?"

"I'd be right here, dad," said Jim.

"The question is, where would YOU be?"


Amazing Anagrams of famous people

• Justin Timberlake: I'm a jerk, but listen

• Arnold Schwarzenegger: he's grown large n' crazed

• Clint Eastwood: old west action

• Jennifer Aniston: fine in torn jeans

• Sean Connery: on any screen

• Howard Stern: wonder trash

• Babe Ruth: he rub bat

• Robin Williams: I warm billions

• Monty Python's Flying Circus: strongly psychotic, I'm funny

• Steve Martin: I'm star event

• Princess Diana: ascend in Paris & end is a car spin

• Harry Potter: try hero part

• Academy Awards: saw drama decay

• the American Dream: meet a dear, rich man

• Declaration of Independence: no finer deed, an ideal concept


Why did the pastry chef hire a softball pitcher?
Because she knew how to handle the batter.

What is the difference between a softball player and a baby?
The baby will stop whining after a while.

Why don't orphans play softball?
Because they don't know where home is.

Q: Why can't you play softball in the jungle?
A: Because there are too many cheetahs.

What was the frog doing on the softball field?
Catching flies.

Why are frogs great outfielders?
They never miss a fly.

Why is an umpire like an angry chicken?
They both have foul mouths.

My wife, a registered nurse, once fussed over every pain or mishap that came my way. Recently, however, I got an indication that the honeymoon is over.

I was about to fix the attic fan, and as I lifted myself from the ladder in the attic, I scratched my forehead on a crossbeam. Crawling along, I picked up splinters in both hands, and I cut one hand replacing the fan belt. On the way down the ladder, I missed the last two rungs and turned my ankle.

When I limped into the kitchen, my wife took one look and said, "Are those your good pants?"

An Irish schoolteacher asks her class to use the word "contagious." Roland, the teacher's pet, gets up and says, "Last year I got the measles and my mum said it was contagious." "Well done Roland," says the teacher. "Can anyone else try?" Katie, a sweet little girl with pigtails, says, "My grandma says there's a bug going round, and it's contagious." "Well done, Katie," says the teacher. "Anyone else?" Little Seamus speaks up and says, "Our next door neighbor is painting his house with a two-inch brush, and my Da says it will take the contagious."

Quote of the Times;
Socialism is rape, capitalism is consensual sex.

Link of the Times;

Issue of the Times;
90% Of Plastic Waste Polluting Earth's Oceans Comes From Asia and Africa by Paul Joseph Watson

Despite westerners being lectured by climate activists like Greta Thunberg, a study has found that around 90 per cent of plastic waste polluting earth’s oceans comes from Asia and Africa.

During her U.S. tour, Thunberg cited “horrifying pictures of plastic in the oceans,” as one of the primary reasons why Americans should listen to her.

However, researchers at Germany’s Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research discovered that a small number of rivers account for the vast majority of plastic pollution and none of them are located in western countries.

“The 10 top-ranked rivers transport 88-95 percent of the global load into the sea,” Dr. Christian Schmidt, a hydrogeologist who led the study, told the Daily Mail.

“The rivers with the highest estimated plastic loads are characterized by high population – for instance the Yangtze with over half a billion people.”

Out of the top ten rivers that produce the most pollution, eight are in Asia and two are in Africa. The Yangtze River in China and the Ganges River in India were responsible for the most plastic pollution.

While westerners are being told to alter their lifestyles and have fewer children to save the planet, virtually nothing is being said about or to the people in the countries responsible for the vast majority of pollution.

This is probably one of the main reasons why many in the west remain skeptical about the true motives of the environmentalist movement.

As we reported earlier, only 38 per cent of Americans believe global warming is man made.
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.
Older Newer
Several animals were savagely beaten in the making of this page, including but not limited to; kittens, rabbits, zebu, skunks, puppies, and platypus. Also several monkeys where force fed crack to improve their typing skills.

And someone shot a duck.

An Images & Ideas, Inc. Service.

No Vegans were harmed in the making of this site. We're looking for a new provider.