Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

When the shoe is on the other foot in politics

original article: God Bless Harry Reid
February 2, 2017 by CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER

Senate Democrats have Reid to thank for being powerless to block Gorsuch’s nomination.

There are many people to thank for the coming accession of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Donald Trump for winning the election. Hillary Clinton for losing it. Mitch McConnell for holding open the High Court seat through 2016, resolute and immovable against furious (and hypocritical) opposition from Democrats and media. And, of course, Harry Reid.

God bless Harry Reid. It’s because of him that Gorsuch is guaranteed elevation to the Court. In 2013, as then–Senate majority leader, Reid blew up the joint. He abolished the filibuster for federal appointments both executive (such as cabinet) and judicial, for all district- and circuit-court judgeships (excluding only the Supreme Court). Thus unencumbered, the Democratic-controlled Senate packed the lower courts with Obama nominees.

Reid was warned that the day would come when Republicans would be in the majority and would exploit the new rules to equal and opposite effect. That day is here. The result is striking.

Trump’s cabinet appointments are essentially unstoppable because Republicans need only 51 votes and they have 52. They have no need to reach 60, the number required to overcome a filibuster. Democrats are powerless to stop anyone on their own.

And equally powerless to stop Gorsuch. But isn’t the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees still standing? Yes, but if the Democrats dare try it, everyone knows that Majority Leader McConnell will do exactly what Reid did and invoke the nuclear option — filibuster abolition — for the Supreme Court, too.

Reid never fully appreciated the magnitude of his crime against the Senate. As I wrote at the time, the offense was not abolishing the filibuster — you can argue that issue either way — but that he did it by simple majority. In a serious body, a serious rule change requires a serious supermajority. (Amending the U.S. Constitution, for example, requires two-thirds of both houses plus three-quarters of all the states.) Otherwise you have rendered the place lawless. If in any given session you can summon up the day’s majority to change the institution’s fundamental rules, there are no rules.

McConnell can at any moment finish Reid’s work by extending filibuster abolition to the Supreme Court. But he hasn’t. He has neither invoked the nuclear option nor even threatened to. And he’s been asked often enough. His simple and unwavering response is that Gorsuch will be confirmed. Translation: If necessary, he will drop the big one.

It’s obvious that he prefers not to. No one wants to again devalue and destabilize the Senate by changing a major norm by simple majority vote. But Reid set the precedent.

Note that the issue is not the filibuster itself. There’s nothing sacred about it. Its routine use is a modern development — with effects both contradictory and unpredictable. The need for 60 votes can contribute to moderation and compromise because to achieve a supermajority you need to get a buy-in from at least some of the opposition. On the other hand, in a hyper-partisan atmosphere (like today’s), a 60-vote threshold can ensure that everything gets stopped and nothing gets done.

Filibuster abolition is good for conservatives today. It will be good for liberals tomorrow when they have regained power. There’s no great principle at stake, though as a practical matter, in this era of widespread frustration with congressional gridlock, the new norm may be salutary.

What is not salutary is the Reid precedent of changing the old norm using something so transient and capricious as the majority of the day. As I argued in 2015, eventually the two parties will need to work out a permanent arrangement under which major rule changes will require a supermajority (say, of two-thirds) to ensure substantial bipartisan support.

There are conflicting schools of thought as to whether even such a grand bargain could not itself be overturned by some future Congress — by simple majority led by the next Harry Reid. Nonetheless, even a problematic entente is better than the free-for-all that governs today.

The operative word, however, is “eventually.” Such an agreement is for the future. Not yet, not today. Republicans are no fools. They are not about to forfeit the advantage bequeathed to them by Harry Reid’s shortsighted willfulness. They will zealously retain the nuclear option for Supreme Court nominees through the current Republican tenure of Congress and the presidency.

After which, they should be ready to parlay and press the reset button. But only then. As the young Augustine famously beseeched the Lord, “Give me chastity and continency, only not yet.”

congress, constitution, Democrats, government, ideology, legislature, politics, Republicans, unintended consequences

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Filed under: congress, constitution, Democrats, government, ideology, legislature, politics, Republicans, unintended consequences

A Closer Look At Why There Aren’t More Black Conservatives

In January of this year The American Conservative published “Why Aren’t There More Black Republicans” by Musa Al-Gharbi. I found some excellent and insightful points in Al-Gharbi’s piece. While there are also some legitimate grievances mentioned (which the GOP needs to take seriously) I believe many of these grievances are aimed in the wrong direction. I admit my perspective is not one of a political insider or policy wonk. I’m just a regular Joe trying to make a living. With that in mind, please consider the following.

Al-Gharbi makes the remarkable (and rare) point that the GOP has a positive historical record on civil rights and that Americans need to be reminded of this history. Al-Gharbi also touches on some important Democrat history of American politics and race. Can you imagine what campaigning would be like today if Americans were reminded of historical Democrat opposition to civil rights (including filibustering civil rights legislation in the 1960s)? For more eye opening info on this topic, Bruce Bartlett writes about the abysmal Democrat past on civil rights in his book Wrong on Race: The Democratic Party’s Buried Past. Dinesh D’Sousa’s movie “Hillary’s America” is another good place to look.

But when Al-Ghardi moves off of history and into the meat of his article there is a vital distinction between Republicans and Conservatives that is not mentioned – the difference between conservatives and RINOs (Republicans In Name Only). This distinction, I believe, would reshape many of his points. Another point I want to reexamine in Al-Gharbi’s article is what appears to be a left wing perspective on many issues.

Take, for instance, the argument on the supposed harm inflicted on black Americans “by advocating for voter ID laws, which disenfranchise primarily low-income and legal minority voters.” We can ask, in what way does a common sense (and internationally speaking, a very common) election security precaution disenfranchise anyone? The “widespread evidence” standard is a legitimate one, and I’d like to see widespread evidence that such abuse is inevitable in the implementation of voter id laws. For the liberal left it is standard procedure to ignore or downplay stories of various forms of election fraud, and we should not neglect the fact this fraud is so often in their favor. The numerous cases of voter fraud are often simply ignored or actively covered up by those who benefit from them (which should not be surprising). I humbly suggest the complaints of Voter ID laws should not be taken at face value.

EDITORIAL: North Carolina answers Democrats’ question ‘What vote fraud?’

N.C. proves multiple voting occurs and dead cast ballots

Voter Fraud: We’ve Got Proof It’s Easy

53,000 Dead Voters Found in Florida

If “widespread evidence” and “a single example of when such voting has actually turned an election” (criteria Al-Gharbi mentions) are the standard Voter ID proponents must measure up to, why not hold opponents of Voter ID to that same standard?

A couple examples of voter fraud come to my mind. A Philadelphia man gleefully admitted on live television he voted multiple times for Barack Obama. Imagine all the details that have to work together for this to occur. First, the only system innate in the voting process to prevent multiple voting is the poll workers. Unfortunately, the poll workers either don’t notice or don’t care that he voted more than once. And he feels so confident that nothing is wrong with this he is willing to admit on TV that he committed the crime. Some questions ought to naturally follow. Was this man charged? Did anyone in law enforcement follow up?

In another example, this woman, (who was a poll worker at the time) admits voting for Obama multiple times and yet denies committing voter fraud. When the perpetrators of voter fraud don’t recognize or even deny their crime it makes sense there would be difficulty in finding “widespread evidence” for it. As an experiment, one could show these two examples of voter fraud to people who voted for Barack Obama and ask them if these incidents qualify as voter fraud, and subsequently discover why “widespread evidence” for this crime is so difficult to find. Many people are so enamored with the idea of the first black president, election laws seem to be irrelevant.

On the other hand, there was an article a few years back on how the current election system (regardless of voter IDs) may be designed to disenfranchise black voters by default. Could it be that requiring voter ID might help liberate the black community from this and other common election shenanigans which already disenfranchise them?

I would also ask for widespread evidence that “Republican legislators court Neo-Confederates and other ethnic nationalist movements” as Al-Gharbi states. There seems to be no concern for nuance here (such as the difference between groups reaching out to politicians and politicians actively courting organizations). Do we know such groups reach out to conservatives and not to RINOs? RINOs are more likely to get government involved and appeal to special interest groups because RINOs act more like Democrats than like conservatives.

But does it matter when questionable groups have ties to politicians? It apparently didn’t matter in regard to the late Democrat Senator Robert Byrd, as Bill Clinton explained Sen. Byrd was merely “trying to get elected” by being a member of the KKK. A lame excuse, sure, but it worked. Evidently it doesn’t matter that Robert Byrd spent half a century representing people for whom a “fleeting association” (full blown membership) with the KKK counted as an asset rather than a liability. As Al-Gharbi already mentioned, the liberal narrative would sugar coat and disregard this record with a racist hate group. Then, curiously, Republicans would be blamed for the evils committed by that group. Despite many theories, the reality of why Democrats and Republicans are treated so differently on matters of racism escapes me. Even the myth that the parties “switched sides” is losing its influence as more people learn the truth of the matter, yet Democrats often get a pass for overt racism. There are no more whites only water fountains, restrooms, lunch counters, etc. It is not incidental that Republicans dominate the American South during its LEAST racist era. Racism abounds throughout the country, we are constantly told, and the South is no longer the preeminent example of it.

On the matter of affirmative action, I don’t doubt there was a time for this sort of government intervention. But it has become a crutch for the black community. The left wing narrative constantly promotes the idea that black Americans cannot survive without Uncle Sam’s helping hand on a daily basis. This, of course, makes it easier to displace white people to make room for demographic quotas in various jobs (though I don’t see much effort to REDUCE counts of blacks among professional athletes (such as the NBA or NFL) to make the demographics more closely match those of the general population). This narrative is promoted largely by perpetuating the belief that there has been no progress in the battle against racism over the last half century, that racism still lurks around every corner. No one claims racism has been eliminated but it certainly sounds like Democrats infuse race into every discussion possible. Fear mongering and race hustling work for Democrats.

But what should we expect from people who, as Bob Parks put it, make money finding racism even when it isn’t there? The Duke Lacrosse scandal is one of the more prominent examples of how the ghost of racism is kept alive because the fear of racism is fuel for the fire – even if liberals have to lie about it. But let us not forget that manufactured racism and affirmative action both provide the same benefit for Democrats: a belief that the black community needs government, and that government can solve all of life’s problems.

We should question whether government can solve such problems. There is an astounding degree of blind faith in the magical powers of government. This faith is often supported by questionable data if not outright lies. The figures Al-Ghardi provides sound familiar, much like the feminist data constantly touted about the supposed wage gap. I’d like to see the data that show “Black families have, on average, 5 percent of the wealth of their white counterparts.” How do we know “blacks earn only 60 cents for every dollar that white people earn in salary and wages.”? (And if blacks did earn 60 cents for every dollar that whites earn, wouldn’t blacks have 60 percent of the wealth of their white counterparts?) Are these numbers produced in the same way the specious 77 cents wage gap figure was produced? And if the methods for producing the 77 cent or 60 cent figures are valid there are other questions we should put on the table; such as is it okay for Hillary Clinton to pay her female workers 72 cents for every dollar she pays a male?

Others have made good points in that the data show the black community was stronger and more likely to overcome the lingering effects of slavery and racism before government started trying to “help” in the 1960s. In fact, Dr. Thomas Sowell and others who have looked into this issue make a good case that the lingering effects of slavery and racism we see today are largely perpetuated by government intervention (meaning Democrats and RINOs).

In conservative thought, a nanny state government is an insatiable government. Every decision the government makes on our behalf is a decision we no longer have the right to make for ourselves. Every effort for the government to “help” people grows the power and influence of the state, which diminishes the autonomy and liberty of the individual. Over time this sort of help infantilizes people, who look to government more and more to take care of them, and they eventually become slaves to their own government. Conservatives expect other conservatives to accept this viewpoint. RINOs don’t really care about the size or fiscal appetite of government.

I appreciate the viewpoint diversity Al-Ghardi speaks of. I would like for viewpoint diversity to be valued among our increasingly closed minded, intolerant, progressive culture. Progressives are astoundingly judgemental and abusive to those expressing dissent. (Just as an experiment, find a moment to say out loud to a group of progressives “marriage is between one man and one woman” as if you actually believed that statement, and tell me how tolerant they are of a view they disagree with.)

On any number of issues you can find ample viewpoint diversity among conservatives, of any race. But on the fundamental issue of liberty vs. government influence, to veer away from this premise is to veer away from conservatism. Given there are relatively few people who subscribe to this belief, conservatives gladly embrace all who agree with this view regardless of race. It is one of the building blocks of all conservative thought.

But to Democrats and liberals/progressives, to free people from a nanny state form of “help” is uncompassionate and even dangerous. Stoking racial strife is one of the most common ways for Democrats to promote their idea of benevolent government. Alan Keys, Herman Cain, and Ben Carson do not “downplay the significance of historical disadvantages or institutionalized racism” when they speak of the natural result of increasing government power, as Al-Gharbi suggests. Slavery is in fact the destination at the end of that road. Democrats, on the other hand, do downplay the significance such evils when they constantly accuse Republicans of racism, such as VP Joe Biden’s comment about putting black people back in chains.

As to alienating blacks, quite frankly it is not conservatives who do that. According to one of my favorite conservative commentators, Alfozo Rachel, it is the black community who alienates Republicans. And it is liberals who accuse black conservatives of being sell outs among other things. There is a concerted effort to marginalize black conservatives. Black conservatives often pay a huge price for coming out of the closet as conservatives.

RINOs do in fact offer the “top down” approach Al-Ghardi mentions, the same government-knows-best approach Democrats offer the American people. But RINOs and Democrats fail to understand something about economics that is common sense among conservatives: poor people don’t create jobs. On the other hand, somehow the American people have largely been convinced raising their taxes helps them.

One of the biggest lies in American politics is about taxes. So many people who claim to want “fairness” are led to believe “the rich” and “corporations” don’t pay their “fair share”. I’m still waiting for someone to tell me what “fair share” actually means. One question on this issue conservatives like to ask is “how much of other people’s stuff are you entitled to”? Many Americans are in fact “looking for government handouts” and they are “demanding wealth redistribution as a corrective for historical disenfranchisement”. It is not conservatives who are doing this, it is liberals/progressives. I see it in the black community, the hispanic community, the white community, etc. American culture, with the exception of conservatives, is largely infected with an entitlement mentality – an attitude of “somebody owes me something”.

Everyone claims to desire a “fair playing field, opportunity for social mobility” but many people will likewise demand government handouts without even noticing the contradiction. In fact, from what I’ve seen, when liberals say they want a fair playing field and opportunity for social mobility, they actually mean government regulations and handouts. Thankfully conservatives are pushing back against this distortion. Black conservatives are doing a lot of this pushback but they are often marginalized and ignored, or attacked with racial epithets by those favoring government handouts.

I don’t know anyone who actually opposes a social safety net that prevents people from sinking into total despondency (though I know many who are blithely accused of opposing any social safety net at all). The biggest objection I see to the current American social safety net is that it is corrupt and inefficient, and has a tendency to trap its recipients in poverty. As Bill Whittle put it, the food, housing, education, and even cell phones offered by the government are all crap, crumbs from Uncle Sam’s table. And human beings deserve better than that.

Sadly, crumbs are the best we can expect from a massive, corrupt government. This is what “micromanaging the poor” looks like – the government-run social safety net. It is not conservative Republicans who support the inefficient social safety net, it is RINOs and Democrats who support it. That’s why conservatives preach so much about freedom. Crumbs we can get easily but if we want more than crumbs we have to work for it. This is why conservatives are constantly talking about getting government out of our way – so people can live their own lives.

But that brings us to a core difference between the way conservatives and others see life. Conservatives don’t look at life from a perspective of helping people attain minimal survival, but from one where people should be allowed to thrive. We don’t seek a social safety net as the peak of civilization, we seek prosperity so that a social safety net does not overwhelm all of us (as is inevitable given the way Democrats and RINOs constantly seek to expand that net). These things require work, a lot of work. Smart work. Making good decisions is crucial to prospering in life.

Making good decisions is a challenge faced by us all, but it seems the black community is more challenged than any other group of Americans. We can tell ourselves this is a result of slavery and discrimination, but perhaps a closer look might shed further light on the matter. Unfortunately, this closer look could lead to some socially unacceptable observations, even if they are true.

In the black community there is very common disdain for education, especially among young males. And why shouldn’t this be the case? From decades of telling the black community they can’t succeed because of racism, and then forcing the black community into what is arguably the worst sector of American education (often riddled with a political agenda), why should the black community believe success is possible for them? Why shouldn’t they expect a life of government handouts? That’s an alarmingly common attitude among the general American population, not merely in the black community. Many times I’ve witnessed people share ideas on gaming the entitlement system, with the mentality of getting as many benefits as possible from the government. And that’s one result that can be traced back to slavery but perpetuated by government: dependency on a master.

Conservative Republicans want to set people free from this kind of misery. One major effort to achieve this freedom is school vouchers. School vouchers empower parents to decide what sort of education is best for their children. But school vouchers take this power away from a bureaucratic state, which is the lifeblood of progressivism today. Thus Democrats typically oppose school vouchers, and make people fear the freedom this would grant them by making that freedom look “raysiss”.

The same is true of government entitlement programs. These programs often trap people. Promoting liberation from a minimum standard is often viewed as “draconian restrictions” on the “assistance provided” by government. And this brings us from bad government programs back to good individual decisions.

Government handouts have made headlines for buying alcohol, drugs, and other entertainment. To the people whose resources were confiscated by government and then redistributed, these sorts of purchases look like a betrayal of trust. We have been lead to believe the social safety net is intended to prevent “people from sinking into total despondency.” Buying booze, drugs, porn, etc., make it seem some of the recipients of these benefits are not as poor as we’ve been lead to believe. Like anything else in life, the people who genuinely need the social safety net have to suffer consequences of others, of those who abuse or defraud the social safety net. Republicans don’t want to make “draconian restrictions” on those who actually need assistance but they do want to stop fraud and abuse of programs which spend other people’s money. Social trust is an important element for those being forced to pay the bill. As long as abuse and fraud occur conservatives will be offended by the waste of aid intended for those who really need it, and seek to prevent such waste. Wasting this aid harms those who really need it. Shouldn’t we all be offended by that?

But rather than simply cleaning up corruption in the system, conservatives want to move beyond merely talking about setting people free and actually set people free. This requires a total change from the predominant safety net paradigm.

Which brings us back to taxes. The current government structure rests on making people think someone else should pay more taxes. The brilliance of this progressive system is that most people don’t realize they are the “someone else”. Businesses “pay” business taxes because they first raise the prices we pay – we the people actually pay all taxes. We can call it corporate tax, or employment tax, or whatever the government wants. But it is we the people who pay. Raising taxes directly impacts we the people, hitting the poor the hardest. Rather than building a massive government scheme designed to control wealth (the progressive way), conservatives prefer to reduce government involvement to the minimum required (military, police, courts, roads, etc.). With minimal government control over wealth there is also minimal government appetite, and thus less government involvement, thus minimal burden on the people. Imagine the jobs that would naturally be created if even 10% of the wealth currently confiscated by the government were instead left to the people who generated that wealth in the first place. People who create wealth naturally put it back into the economy in the form of purchases and business expansion. But we are supposed to call this greed, and consider increased jobs a bad thing when businesses are allowed to create them rather than the government.

And that leads us to another difference between conservatives and others. The ability to freely exchange among our fellow Americans is hampered by over taxation and corrupt regulation. Making life more expensive works quite well for government as it feeds the perceived need for government intervention, thus making a self fulfilling prophesy. But it does not work so well for the people, particularly the poor. Government’s strength is greatest in the act of taking and controlling, but the market’s strength is greatest in offering goods and services for voluntary exchange.

Which brings us back to politics. Conservatives want to change the “getting help” paradigm (government intervention) to a paradigm of achievement (individual liberty). Conservatives also want to redirect the new cultural obsession with “fairness” and return to an obsession with liberty. It is possible. There are prominent black Americans showing us success is possible if people were simply free from an over burdensome government. But that’s the rub; to be free to live one’s own life also entails the responsibility of doing so. A very important question conservatives should ask is “do you want to be free, or do you want to be taken care of?”. It is alarming to see how many people say they want the former but act like they want the latter.

Blind faith in the power of a benevolent government does more harm than good, especially to those it is allegedly trying to help. Democrats have an unwavering faith in the myth. RINOs share this faith. RINOs betray the Republican identity by becoming nothing more than diet Democrat. Democrats and RINOs betray the American people by making false promises resulting merely in more expensive government control of people’s lives. Obamacare is a prime example, from lies about keeping your insurance, to lies about reduced costs, to lies about improved access to health care.

Conservatives should work harder to reach the culture rather than look to politics to solve life’s problems. The “if government doesn’t help, no one will get help” myth must be confronted. So should the lies told which make people think a nanny state government taking of them and making decisions for them is “empowering”. Democrats and RINOs have a vested interest in making people look to government to solve life’s problems. The American people have a vested interest in the truth. It is conservatives who must tell it.

capitalism, conservative, economy, freedom, funding, government, health care, ideology, nanny state, public policy, reform, Republicans, taxes, unintended consequences

Filed under: capitalism, conservative, economy, freedom, funding, government, health care, ideology, nanny state, public policy, reform, Republicans, taxes, unintended consequences

For Trump detractors and supporters

Bill Whittle has some great points to make about Trump. Whatever your opinion of him we should at least recognize Trump is a wild card. And that should invite a closer look into this candidate.

campaign, elections, elitism, ideology, philosophy, politics, Republicans, video

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How Government Inaction Ended the Depression of 1921

original article: How Government Inaction Ended the Depression of 1921
May 20, 2015 by Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr.

As the financial crisis of 2008 took shape, the policy recommendations were not slow in coming: why, economic stability and American prosperity demand fiscal and monetary stimulus to jump-start the sick economy back to life. And so we got fiscal stimulus, as well as a program of monetary expansion without precedent in US history.

David Stockman recently noted that we have in effect had fifteen solid years of stimulus — not just the high-profile programs like the $700 billion TARP and the $800 billion in fiscal stimulus, but also $4 trillion of money printing and 165 out of 180 months in which interest rates were either falling or held at rock-bottom levels. The results have been underwhelming: the number of breadwinner jobs in the US is still two million lower than it was under Bill Clinton.

Economists of the Austrian school warned that this would happen. While other economists disagreed about whether fiscal or monetary stimulus would do the trick, the Austrians looked past this superficial debate and rejected intervention in all its forms.

The Austrians have very good theoretical reasons for opposing government stimulus programs, but those reasons are liable to remain unknown to the average person, who seldom studies economics and who even more seldom gives non-establishment opinion a fair hearing. That’s why it helps to be able to point to historical examples, which are more readily accessible to the non-specialist than is economic theory. If we can point to an economy correcting itself, this alone overturns the claim that government intervention is indispensable.

Possibly the most arresting (and overlooked) example of precisely this phenomenon is the case of the depression of 1920–21, which was characterized by a collapse in production and GDP and a spike in unemployment to double-digit levels. But by the time the federal government even began considering intervention, the crisis had ended. What Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover deferentially called “The President’s Conference on Unemployment,” an idea he himself had cooked up to smooth out the business cycle, convened during what turned out to be the second month of the recovery, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).

Indeed, according to the NBER, which announces the beginnings and ends of recessions, the depression began in January 1920 and ended in July 1921.

James Grant tells the story in his important and captivating new book The Forgotten Depression — 1921: The Crash That Cured Itself. A word about the author: Grant ranks among the most brilliant of financial experts. In addition to publishing his highly regarded newsletter, Grant’s Interest Rate Observer, for more than thirty years, Grant is a frequent (and anti-Fed) commentator on television and radio, the author of numerous other books, and a captivating speaker. We’ve been honored and delighted to feature him as a speaker at Mises Institute events.

What exactly were the Federal Reserve and the federal government doing during these eighteen months? The numbers don’t lie: monetary policy was contractionary during the period in question. Allan Meltzer, who is not an Austrian, wrote in A History of the Federal Reserve that “principal monetary aggregates fell throughout the recession.” He calculates a decline in M1 by 10.9 percent from March 1920 to January 1922, and in the monetary base by 6.4 percent from October 1920 to January 1922. “Quarterly average growth of the base,” he continues, “did not become positive until second quarter 1922, nine months after the NBER trough.”

The Fed raised its discount rate from 4 percent in 1919 to 7 percent in 1920 and 6 percent in 1921. By 1922, after the recovery was long since under way, it was reduced to 4 percent once again. Meanwhile, government spending also fell dramatically; as the economy emerged from the 1920–21 downturn, the budget was in the process of being reduced from $6.3 billion in 1920 to $3.2 billion in 1922. So the budget was being cut and the money supply was falling. “By the lights of Keynesian and monetarist doctrine alike,” writes Grant, “no more primitive or counterproductive policies could be imagined.” In addition, price deflation was more severe during 1920–21 than during any point in the Great Depression; from mid-1920 to mid-1921, the Consumer Price Index fell by 15.8 percent. We can only imagine the panic and the cries for intervention were we to observe such price movements today.

The episode fell down the proverbial memory hole, and Grant notes that he cannot find an example of a public figure ever having held up the 1920–21 example as a data point worth considering today. But although Keynesians today, now that the episode is being discussed once again, assure everyone that they are perfectly prepared to explain the episode away, in fact Keynesian economic historians in the past readily admitted that the swiftness of the recovery was something of a mystery to them, and that recovery had not been long in coming despite the absence of stimulus measures.

The policy of official inaction during the 1920–21 depression came about as a combination of circumstance and ideology. Woodrow Wilson had favored a more pronounced role for the federal government, but by the end of his term two factors made any such effort impossible. First, he was obsessed with the ratification of the Treaty of Versailles, and securing US membership in the League of Nations he had inspired. This concern eclipsed everything else. Second, a series of debilitating strokes left him unable to do much of anything by the fall of 1919, so any major domestic initiatives were out of the question. Because of the way fiscal years are dated, Wilson was in fact responsible for much of the postwar budget cutting, a substantial chunk of which occurred during the 1920–21 depression.

Warren Harding, meanwhile, was philosophically inclined to oppose government intervention and believed a downturn of this kind would work itself out if no obstacles were placed in its path. He declared in his acceptance speech at the 1920 Republican convention:

We will attempt intelligent and courageous deflation, and strike at government borrowing which enlarges the evil, and we will attack high cost of government with every energy and facility which attend Republican capacity. We promise that relief which will attend the halting of waste and extravagance, and the renewal of the practice of public economy, not alone because it will relieve tax burdens but because it will be an example to stimulate thrift and economy in private life.

Let us call to all the people for thrift and economy, for denial and sacrifice if need be, for a nationwide drive against extravagance and luxury, to a recommittal to simplicity of living, to that prudent and normal plan of life which is the health of the republic. There hasn’t been a recovery from the waste and abnormalities of war since the story of mankind was first written, except through work and saving, through industry and denial, while needless spending and heedless extravagance have marked every decay in the history of nations.

Harding, that least fashionable of American presidents, was likewise able to look at falling prices soberly and without today’s hysteria. He insisted that the commodity price deflation was unavoidable, and perhaps even salutary. “We hold that the shrinkage which has taken place is somewhat analogous to that which occurs when a balloon is punctured and the air escapes.” Moreover, said Harding, depressions followed inflation “just as surely as the tides ebb and flow,” but spending taxpayer money was no way to deal with the situation. “The excess of stimulation from that source is to be reckoned a cause of trouble rather than a source of cure.”

Even John Skelton Williams, comptroller of the currency under Woodrow Wilson and no friend of Harding, observed that the price deflation was “inevitable,” and that in any case “the country is now [1921] in many respects on a sounder basis, economically, than it has been for years.” And we should look forward to the day when “the private citizen is able to acquire, at the expenditure of $1 of his hard-earned money, something approximating the quantity and quality which that dollar commanded in prewar times.”

Thankfully for the reader, not only is Grant right on the history and the economics, but he also writes with a literary flair one scarcely expects from the world of financial commentary. And although he has all the facts and figures a reader could ask for, Grant is also a storyteller. This is no dry sheaf of statistics. It is full of personalities — businessmen, union bosses, presidents, economists — and relates so much more than the bare outline of the depression. Grant gives us an expert’s insight into the stock market’s fortunes, and those of American agriculture, industry, and more. He writes so engagingly that the reader almost doesn’t realize how difficult it is to make a book about a single economic episode utterly absorbing.

The example of 1920–21 was largely overlooked, except in specialized treatments of American economic history, for many decades. The cynic may be forgiven for suspecting that its incompatibility with today’s conventional wisdom, which urges demand management by experts and an ever-expanding mandate for the Fed, might have had something to do with that. Whatever the reason, it’s back now, as a rebuke to the planners with their equations and the cronies with their bailouts.

The Forgotten Depression has taken its rightful place within the corpus of Austro-libertarian revisionist history, that library of works that will lead you from the dead end of conventional opinion to the fresh air of economic and historical truth.

budget, conservative, crisis, economics, economy, funding, government, history, ideology, philosophy, politics, president, public policy, recession, Republicans, right wing, spending

Filed under: budget, conservative, crisis, economics, economy, funding, government, history, ideology, philosophy, politics, president, public policy, recession, Republicans, right wing, spending

Are Democrats the party of old white people?

Women and minorities are clearly welcome in the Republican party. Whose in the Democrat ticket for 2016? Old white people.

bias, campaign, Democrats, diversity, elections, hypocrisy, news media, politics, propaganda, relativism, Republicans

Filed under: bias, campaign, Democrats, diversity, elections, hypocrisy, news media, politics, propaganda, relativism, Republicans

You know there’s no such thing as a perfect political candidate, right?

A story from Epic Times relates a poll on the viability of a Ben Carson candidacy for president:

ONLY 31% SAY BEN CARSON IS THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR PRESIDENT
May 5, 2015 by EpicTimes

The biggest grievance I’ve heard about Dr. Carson is his comments on the 2nd Amendment. In asking whether Carson is the right man for the job, one comment exemplified many others I’ve seen elsewhere:

carson_guns

Now, it’s worth noting a few things here. This person “Julie” seems to think she knows exactly what Carson believes about guns (possible, but I have my doubts) and that this issue alone is enough for her to consider him unworthy of being president. Hmm. Are there single issues that should make or break a candidate? Sure, I think so.

There are some pass/fail issues on my list. By pass/fail, I don’t mean I’ll gladly vote for a candidate simply if that person espouses what I think are the correct beliefs on such and such issues. I mean there are several hoops for a candidate to pass before I’ll even consider voting for them. Abortion would be one such issue: if you’re willing to play semantic games with personhood, denying children in the womb all civil rights (sometimes even children outside the womb) merely for the convenience of someone else, I don’t believe I can trust you with anyone’s rights. Do you remember who else from human history used the “they’re not really people” argument? If you’re willing to take that road, you’re not getting my vote. Other issues are heavy like this one; acknowledging that the most innocent of humanity have the right to life just like the rest of us is merely the first such hoop for me.

The second amendment is a pretty big issue too, I think. Now, most of the criticism of Carson on the issue of gun rights seem to mindlessly treat him as though Carson approves of any and all gun control legislation. He doesn’t. From what I’ve heard him say, Dr. Carson’s concerns about gun violence are hardly the same as the rabidly anti-gun control freak progressives. We conservatives like to say we’re far more open minded and intellectually honest that the political left. That’s often true, but it’s something that has to be proven every day. Conservatives are the last people who should be proving this statement by Dr. Carson:

Sometimes people just hear one little thing and they don’t hear anything else.

So you heard Carson say something about guns that you don’t like. I’m with you. But have you actually paid attention to the other things he’s said on that same issue?

DR. BEN CARSON AGAINST GUN REGISTRATION: WE ‘SHOULD BE REALLY CONCERNED’ ABOUT MARTIAL LAW

Ben Carson On Gun Rights: 2nd Amendment Doesn’t Cover Tanks, Rocket Launchers

Now, I’m not sure I agree with Carson about that tanks and rocket launchers, but I’m not sure I disagree with him either. But he’s totally right about gun registration. If you’ve not taken the time to actually research Dr. Carson on the gun rights issue you should show some of that open mindedness you believe you posses: Attacking Ben Carson Over Gun Conrol.

When people condemn Carson for his supposed stance on gun control (either because they aren’t paying attention or because he needs to clarify a few things) it sure sounds like they are demanding perfection, especially when they don’t seem to care about anything else he has to offer.

There could be some merit to the issue of Carson’s lack of political experience. Then again, political experience (like handing out forms) hasn’t been such a valuable asset to people who’ve been running the country has it? However, political incompetence is not sufficient to explain the current troubles the United States is experiencing. In fact, with what President Obama is doing it seems like he is succeeding in precisely what he set out to do, things like “fundamentally transforming America”. The harm we’re suffering as a nation is the natural result of Obama’s philosophy. That’s the embedded progressive, “government knows best” philosophy that’s been employed for decades. Obama is merely the latest player in that long tradition of concentrating power. Dr. Carson has the opposite philosophy, something that hasn’t been tried in a generation. That’s worth something to me.

And because Carson isn’t a professional politician he’s not trained in the fundamental flaws of politics: peddling influence and spending other people’s money. I don’t want a professional liar in the oval office. I’ve had enough of that. I don’t want a political insider running things whose time is largely occupied by paying back political favors gathered over a lengthy career in politics. I don’t want a president beholden to innumerable special interests. I want someone running the show who knows how to make a living outside the public sector, whose made a name for him/her self doing some grand things of his/her own initiative.

Republicans have a reputation for eating each other’s candidates alive long before the primary elections. Republicans also have a reputation for being very logical and driven by common sense while simultaneously being politically stupid. Some of those descriptions are good and should remain, but the other things need to change. Attacking each other’s preferred candidate has worked great in the past, right? Why don’t we save that sort of thing for the general election in 2016 instead?

american, bias, campaign, conservative, culture, elections, government, gun rights, ideology, politics, Republicans, right wing, second amendment, video

Filed under: american, bias, campaign, conservative, culture, elections, government, gun rights, ideology, politics, Republicans, right wing, second amendment,

Dear GOP, I’m not sure you actually want to win in 2016

So the GOP won big in November’s mid term elections. Well, technically, you did. In reality, the Obama agenda lost big.

After 6 years of trying Obama’s extreme left ideology the American people repudiated his policies earlier this month. You establishment GOP folks did exactly what you needed to do to exploit these troubling times for the Democrats: stay out of their way. It’s a classic Napoleonic tactic: when you see your enemy making a mistake, don’t interrupt him. And you did this quite well. Unfortunately, that’s about the only thing you’ve done well politically for some time now.

I’m just an ordinary citizen, I’m not a political insider. But I’m amazed at how clueless you political professionals seem to be.

In 2008 you offered up John McCain (the main stream media’s favorite GOP option) as the Republican presidential candidate, thinking he actually had a chance. Realizing he is a progressive Republican, it eventually occurred to you that he needed some conservative credibility, so you found a Washington outsider to join the presidential ticket. She didn’t sound like the typical well polished professional liar we come to expect from the Washington establishment. It was refreshing. But because most in the news media want a polished professional liar lying to them they ridiculed Sarah Palin to no end, and still criticize her to this day. You didn’t defend her, you helped your political opponents destroy her. You treated Palin as a liability, when in fact she is the only reason McCain’s chances of winning the 2008 election were anywhere near the realm of possible. Progressive (or “Moderate” as you like to call them) Republicans are diet Democrats. You offered liberal lite because you thought the American people were inclined to vote for progressive ideals. That didn’t work out so well for you. And instead of blaming yourselves for the stupid decision of allowing the media to choose a progressive GOP candidate for you, you blame the 2008 defeat on Palin and grassroots conservatives.

In 2012 it seems you tried a little harder to sell yourselves as a conservative party. But you offered up the guy credited with Romneycare, the Massachusettes health care policy that supposedly inspired Obamacare (which incidentally, appears to be the primary reason Democrats lost so badly in Congress just recently). You might have actually won that election, but you can’t always account for everything, such as natural disasters that seem to help Obama win a second time. But even with a supposedly more conservative candidate in 2012, for years now you have made it abundantly clear you don’t want to be a conservative party.

What similar problems do we find in these two elections? I’ll address only one right now. You treat a hostile news media, which votes overwhelmingly for Democrats, as reliable news. When the news media portray the Tea Party as extreme or racist, you go along with it. When alternative media expose racism and extremism among Democrats, but the main stream press avoids the story, you likewise seem uninterested. When the news media caste an issue in a light favorable to president Obama (no matter how absurd the logical distortion is or how false it is) you seem to go with the premise they establish, and allow them to define the argument. When the news media constantly ridicule and mock conservatives, you fail miserably at defending us – if you try at all.

You’ve made it clear you don’t want conservatives in the GOP. You want progressives. You even went so far as to support Thad Cochran’s efforts to act like a Democrat in the primary election earlier this year, race baiting ads and all. Some of you even made personal donations to Cochran’s campaign against conservative Chris McDaniel, knowing Cochran was trying to gain Democrat votes for the primary election, and knowing full well those same African Americans would NOT vote for him in the general election. There is no doubt among grassroots conservatives that the Washington establishment (the political class) harbors disdain for conservative America, the part of America that DOESN’T think increasing regulations and taxes and government dependency equal freedom.

And now we are hearing talk about progressive Republican candidates for 2016. For example, I’m not quite sure what to make of the fact that Jeb Bush thinks he has a chance to win the presidency. While he seems to hold a reasonable position on Obamacare, he is a strong supporter of Common Core, which appears to be doing to public education what Obamacare is doing to health care. He also supports amnesty for illegal aliens and taking more money away from hard working Americans by raising taxes. And he’s just one of many possible GOP candidates with strong leanings toward an expansion of government with the stink of progressive meddling in people’s lives. Oh, with the intent to “help” us, of course.

What concerns me is that the GOP seems aimless, even soulless. Not as soulless as Democrats, who seem to want government to practice compassion so ordinary folk don’t have to. No, the GOP is soulless because it wants to cut out its conservative core and replace it with diet Democrats. Because casting the GOP as diet Democrat has worked so well in recent elections, I guess. Is this still the philosophy behind the GOP? Are the GOP establishment really this out of touch with reality and with the American people? Do you really think you’ll win elections by selling yourself to the political left and the political right as liberal lite? If you do that, I’m staying home in the 2016 elections. Well, there may be a way to get me to the polls that day.

I would gladly vote for Dr. Ben Carson for president. He is a remarkable man, and humble, and compassionate. He is the face of American conservatism. It’s true, he is not the polished professional liar so many in politics and the news media clearly want. As far as I’m concerned, that’s all the more reason to vote for him. But he may be too kind for politics. If Dr. Carson is to truly have a chance of winning the presidency in 2016 he would need a lion for a VP. Not a wishy washy “moderate” Republican who tries not to offend anyone. The GOP VP candidate will need to be a fierce fighter for common sense, the rule of law, and small government. Hey, there’s your “moderate” element, a moderate dose of government instead of the overdose we’ve been hit with for decades. Who can fit that bill? Well possibly more than one, but I think one in particular would be the best choice. Imagine seeing this ad all over America:

Carson Gowdy 2016

Congressman Trey Gowdy is a lion. He fights for common sense relentlessly and he fights against corruption. That’s what America desperately needs. We need someone who will fight for what is good and true, for freedom, for integrity. We need someone who will attack lies with the truth, and attack hard enough to make the liars themselves realize how idiotic they look for telling such blatant lies in the first place. We don’t need more moderates.

I say this because I think you GOP establishment professionals have lost your way. You seem to think government is the solution to all of life’s problems, just like the Democrat party thinks. You seem to believe a political candidate will save America, just like Democrats do. I think Dr. Carson understands it is the American people who make America work, not the federal social safety net. Dr. Carson seems the kind of man who will release the government shackles put on the people for decades and unleash the American spirit that has been trapped in a state of dependency. I believe Dr. Carson understands we the people can and will take better care of each other than the nanny state can. Dr. Carson wants to set us free in a country where we can’t even practice compassion without government approval anymore. And Congressman Gowdy can defend him when he is attacked for trying to set us free, because I don’t think you will.

Since you in the political class seem to think a political solution is what America needs, I suggest a Carson/Gowdy ticket for 2016. Instead of trying to remake America (a prospect which requires first tearing it down) President Carson and Vice President Gowdy would allow we the people to rebuild it.

If the GOP allows the main stream media to select a liberal lite candidate for the Republicans in 2016 I will see no difference between the GOP and the Democrats. If the GOP helps the main stream media or the Democrats attack Dr. Carson, I will see no difference between you and them. If the best the GOP has to offer is the pathetic argument that walking toward serfdom is better than sprinting, I will see no difference between the elephant and the ass. If I see no difference, why should I vote for you?

Filed under: campaign, elections, ideology, philosophy, politics, president, Republicans

Highly selective reaction to racism

Don Yelton’s name, whenever recalled, will be associated with racism.

Racist Republican Still Racist After Resignation, Still Dropping The N-Word
October 25, 2013 by Chris Gentilviso

Fired Republican Daily Show Guest Don Yelton Still Talking, Still Racist
October 25, 2013 by Joe Coscarelli

So complaining that some people get a free pass for using a racial epithet because they are of a certain ethnic background is in itself an act of racism. But this isn’t?

From the example of Democrats, liberals, progressives, and other supposed defenders of civil rights one might get the impression that, under many circumstances, racism isn’t so bad after all.


Race Card deck

Race Card deck


Race baiters, civil rights charlatans, racial opportunists, and progressives in general needlessly interject race into debate. It’s time to call them on it. Get your Race Card deck today. 54 copies of the Race Card. You’ll have no problem finding opportunities to give Race Cards to those who deserve them. A quick way to make the point that race really should be a non-issue.

click here to get your Race Card deck today


bigotry, Democrats, diversity, hate speech, hypocrisy, left wing, liberalism, news media, pandering, political correctness, propaganda, racism, racist, relativism, Republicans

Filed under: bigotry, Democrats, diversity, hate speech, hypocrisy, left wing, liberalism, news media, pandering, political correctness, propaganda, racism, racist, relativism, Republicans

Does the president know what negotiation means?

So President Obama will talk with terrorists. But he won’t talk with Republicans. Republicans decide to give in to a major demand of Democrats. And the president and Democrat controlled Senate reject the offer, demand more.

Now you might be tempted to say that’s exactly how negotiation works, and Democrats are executing it brilliantly. If that were the only factor to consider you’d be right. But to reject almost every offer made by Republicans and yet continue blaming Republicans for the government shutdown doesn’t compute. Without willing accomplices among the information gatekeepers logic leads us to conclude the people who won’t accept any deal unless they get EVERYTHING they want are in fact responsible for the shutdown. But with a news media who does for Democrats what marketing does for business all you need is to put out a ridiculous narrative about how Republicans won’t play nice and it gets blindly repeated at almost every media outlet.

Thinking for yourself is tantamount to racism, so don’t bother trying. With a team like this who needs to negotiate?

bias, congress, crisis, Democrats, diplomacy, economy, government, health care, hypocrisy, ideology, left wing, legislature, liberalism, nanny state, news media, pandering, politics, president, propaganda, public policy, racism, racist, Republicans

Filed under: bias, congress, crisis, Democrats, diplomacy, economy, government, health care, hypocrisy, ideology, left wing, legislature, liberalism, nanny state, news media, pandering, politics, president, propaganda, public policy, racism, racist, Republicans

Can black people be trusted with freedom?

Today is election day where I live, for local offices. I was asked to manage one property where the voting will occur. The facility is a church, which is a 501(c)(3) organization, so the normal rules forbidding campaigning on premises were supposedly in effect. I met one of the councilmen running for re-election and he was holding a campaign sign with his name on it. So I approached him and asked about the campaign rules. After a bit of friendly chat he and I both got confirmation that the contract allowing the use of the facility for voting including an exception for the campaigning rules. So all was well, and he continued his last minute campaigning for the day.

During our brief conversation the discussion moved from the rules about forbidden campaigning to illegal exceptions to that rule. We touched on the fact that “black churches” can at whim violate this separation between tax-exempt groups and political activism. As if that wasn’t bad enough, this councilman then told me something shocking. Being intimately involved in the political process, he told me the ballots handed out to voters at black churches are already filled in. If you don’t realize what that means, it means the people who vote at these churches are told how to vote and apparently are not given the option to think for themselves. And he was telling me this as if he was proud of it, since it was his name written on those ballots. “I’ve got the black vote” he said.

Given our historically ignorant American culture, it’s probably necessary to explain something in the history of black voting. When the KKK was formed they did many things to support their racist agenda, but one of these despicable acts included voter intimidation – which is an understatement. Blacks who were not murdered were often terrorized and told they would be killed if they voted Republican. Not long after the war between the states, the newly freed slaves voted Republican, because that’s who fought their Democrat oppressors. This is part of the reason for the 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Although slavery was officially banned by the 13th Amendment in 1865, by 1870 the 14th and 15th Amendments were also ratified. That’s 3 new amendments to the constitution in 5 years time – all related to the issue of slavery. Where the 13th Amendment bans the institution of slavery, the 14th addresses several things. But the 15th Amendment specifically protects only one thing: the right to vote. The KKK knew the emancipated slaves would vote against them during any election, thus the use of force and terrorism to prevent blacks from voting, or at least from voting Republican. Because of such shenanigans the intent of the 15th Amendment wasn’t truly realized until about a century later.

Another dirty Democrat tactic was known as Jim Crow. For decades after the 13th Amendment banned slavery, these ordinances and other such laws were designed to treat blacks as non-persons, as second-class citizens. Many Jim Crow laws focused specifically on voting, adding absurd requirements or restrictions on the right of blacks to vote. Voting was considered an essential right and an essential aspect of what it means to be a free people. That’s why it was so important to the KKK and their political superiors to control how black people voted.

We have a very different idea about voting today. Our culture seems to have forgotten the vital importance in the right to vote. Politicians and political wonks haven’t forgotten it, but the general population has. And it is astonishing how black people are still treated today regarding this right. But it’s like the flip side of the same coin. Instead of trying to prevent blacks from voting, there is overwhelming pressure to vote a certain way. This pressure appears in the form of telling black people how to vote (such as described above) and in ridiculing black people who don’t vote the way “they are supposed to”. Today, a black person voting Republican is treated like a “traitor to the race”. The myth about the two major political parties switching is a powerful political tool for Democrats. The Southern Strategy indeed was an brief and despicable attempt by the Republican Party to siphon off racist Democrat votes; and thankfully it was a failure. But today it seems as if the only people who get accused of being racist today are Republicans. The only real racists I personally know are life long Democrats. As is the case on many controversial issues, here too there is a major disconnect between what people think they know and what is actually true. That’s what propaganda is for.

The Republican and Democrat parties have indeed evolved over the generations, but they have never switched sides. Now instead of supporting overt slavery, Democrats support keeping people (especially minorities) dependent on government programs. Now, instead of being racist for supporting slavery, people are called racist for not supporting government dependency. Republicans are still promoting the same basic concepts such as equal before the law, and people being judged by the content of their character as one famous Republican once said. Democrats have totally switched their narrative innumerable times, but not their ultimate agenda. They latched onto the “Progressive” label in the early 20th century, which turned out to be a horrible philosophy. When that moniker ended up turning too many voters away they called themselves Liberals instead, which turned out to be Progressives with a new name. Now they’re back to using the term Progressives. Dependency is the new slavery – convincing people they can’t survive in the world without government hand outs. But these hand outs will continue only as long as the recipients vote “like they are supposed to”. Democrats are still trying to control how people vote, a time honored approach in the party. They are now using the carrot instead of the stick, bribes instead of threats or violence, but it is still voter control.

Progressive Republicans try the same tactics today, thinking bribes are what win elections. Unfortunately, they’re right. But conservative Republicans still prefer using reasonable persuasion, which simply doesn’t work well when people have been trained to expect grand promises, only to find out later the politicians can’t really deliver. Pandering works. And victimization is one of the best forms of pandering. Training black people to blindly follow the Democrat Party is very easy today. This was something much harder to do in the years immediately following the civil war. But when most of the country has been convinced, with no evidence, that the parties have switched sides, it’s easy to build up the voter base with promises of more dependency.

Despite these advantages, some threats to the Democrat voter base still exist. One of the most fearsome threats is a black voter with the gumption to think for him/her self. This is the prime reason black public schools are designed the way they are, so black people can be kept ignorant of any number of things in the name of education. But some rise above the system. When these threats are dealt with is when we see the ugly side of the propaganda machine. This is when we see the political left revealing who they really are: when they try to put black people back “in their place”. Names like Uncle Tom, oreo, and other blatantly racist terms get thrown about with the defenders of civil liberties remaining silent. The notion that black people are just as capable of succeeding in life as anyone else is ridiculed as racist. Even looking at American history is deemed racist, especially the parts where Democrats are unquestionably the guilty party. It seems Democrats don’t trust black people with their own freedom and must be lead like cattle to think and vote the proper way. After all, when left to think for themselves, it looks like black people might vote for someone else.

campaign, conservative, constitution, culture, Democrats, elections, freedom, government, history, ideology, left wing, liberalism, oppression, pandering, politics, propaganda, racism, racist, Republicans

Filed under: campaign, conservative, constitution, culture, Democrats, elections, freedom, government, history, ideology, left wing, liberalism, oppression, pandering, politics, propaganda, racism, racist, Republicans

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