Monday, March 25, 2019

Short Story of the Day: 'The Diamond Necklace' by Guy de Maupassant

Guy de Maupassant





















Commentary: 'The Life and Death of American Democracy' by Graham Seibert

Democracy became extremely appealing in Europe after the success of the American experiment, notwithstanding the disasters accompanying the French Revolution.

America was sui generis.  Founded on a new continent by people brave enough to cross the ocean on frail wooden boats. People who had the intelligence and courage to fight the indigenous people and conquer a new land.  They brought with them the legacy of England's common law, a workable set of institutions.

In addition to an intelligent and motivated founding population, the United States generally enjoyed a high level of homogeneity. The diversity that Benjamin Franklin lamented was that of Germans, who are by history and blood very closely related to the English themselves.

Early America was small enough that people knew each other and knew their representatives. There were under four million people at the founding.

Those were considerable advantages – small, homogeneous, and intelligent. Michael Woodley of Menie makes a strong argument in "At Our Wits' End" that the intelligence of European peoples in general peaked right about that time, and the downward slide has been accelerating ever since.

Book Review: 'Timeless Deja Vu: A Paranormal Personal History' by Bruce Solheimv (Illustrated by Gary Dumm)

Timeless Deja Vu by Bruce Solheim

Interview: Bill Mitchell believes that "American resistance towards illegal immigration really comes down to a fairness issue"

Editor's note: This article was originally published on February 1, 2017.

This is the third part of my discussion with Bill Mitchell. The first and second segments are available on-line. Quoted text below appeared in previous articles, offering background on our conversation.
Story by Joseph Ford Cotto

There are a great many talk radio hosts, and all of them are clamoring to be heard. Just how many, though, really offer something which deserves your time and consideration?


While the number is far too small for my liking, Bill Mitchell certainly makes the cut.


He has not been a force in the chattering class for long. Before Donald Trump's candidacy took off, Mitchell could best be described as a talent recruiter for various businesses who just happened to dabble in politics via the Internet. Today, he is a bona fide on-line celebrity. Last year, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology named him the foremost average fellow impacting election season.


Among all those influencing the race -- including Barack Obama, CNN, and Harry Reid -- Mitchell came up twenty-sixth. He beat Paul Ryan, The Associated Press, and Michael Moore, to mention a few.


What makes Mitchell so popular is not strategic positioning in FM markets -- his program is Internet-only -- or access to the most powerful names on the District of Columbia-New York City-Boston/Los Angeles-San Francisco-Seattle culture corridors -- he lives in Charlotte. Rather, Mitchell knows how to handle Twitter, focus on pertinent data, and explain complex, contentious matters in a down-to-earth yet coherent fashion.


Despite being in his late fifties, Mitchell is one of American conservatism's rising stars. His star is powered at a time when 'conservatism' is in rapid flux; changing from its family values, pro-free trade, immigration-friendly Reagan-Bush incarnation to a model built around national sovereignty, economic protectionism, and cultural cohesion. 


Essentially, 'American' conservatism is becoming Europeanized. 


Mitchell and I had a candid discussion regarding right-leaning politics and their relation to American life. Some if it is included below.



****
Cotto: The popular support for what Trump stood for on immigration – restriction, essentially, on the movement of people and the economic implications of that – I would suppose that it always remained popular to have less immigration, even though, on both sides, the powers-that-be wanted more immigration. This seems to be the case because people saw what went on in their lives, and they saw that this did not relate to what they were being told by people in the media or on Capitol Hill.

Painting of the Day: Edward Vickers by John Singer Sargent

File:Edward Vickers.jpg

Edward Vickers by John Singer Sargent, 1884

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Short Story of the Day: 'In The Wood' by Ewart Alan Mackintosh

Ewart Alan Mackintosh

Commentary: 'Social Darwinism: The Radical Racial Ideology that Caused Two World Wars and Continues to Kill' by Camillus

What inspires young men to slaughter innocent people? Terrorists from Norway to New Zealand have latched onto an apocalyptic vision of racial struggle. These extremists may become radicalized through hate sites and social media, but the core of their dangerous ideology is far older.
While ethnic conflicts have existed since the dawn of time, the 19th century development of nationalism and the biological sciences changed how these conflicts were understood. Nationalists applied the pseudoscience of Eugenics to “prove” their racial superiority. They also misappropriated Darwin’s theories, understanding “survival of the fittest” (a phrase not even used by Darwin) as an eternal struggle for racial supremacy. In a vicious, zero-sum world, peoples must fight for their existence or face extinction. In the early 20th century, such Social Darwinist beliefs were widespread. Their jingoistic believers would plunge their nations into unparalleled misery and death.

She Weighs on Us Like A Nightmare

In 1914, Germany was the most powerful state in Continental Europe, with the largest economy and the strongest military. German leaders should have taken pride in their nation’s bright future. Instead they were pessimistic. To their East, backwards Russia was modernizing rapidly. “She grows and grows, and weighs on us like a nightmare,” said German Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg. His alarm reflected the conservative establishment’s anxiety that Slavic hordes would sweep across Central Europe and destroy the Germanic peoples. To these Social Darwinists, only one group could dominate Europe, the German or the Slav. As a pan-German publisher explained, “they must make room. Only by growth can a people save itself.”

Book Review: 'The Conservative Sensibility' by George Will


Interview: Wayne Allyn Root says he is "a huge supporter of gold and the gold standard", explains why

Editor's note: This article was originally published on February 1, 2017.

This is the third of five articles spanning my discussion with Wayne Allyn Root. The first and second pieces are available on-line. Material quoted below appeared in previous articles, offering background on Root and our discussion.
Story by Joseph Ford Cotto

What does it mean to be a libertarian nowadays?

There is no shortage of philosophical diversity among people who describe themselves as such, which is hardly surprising since libertarianism is not a belief system for those congenial to group-think.  Nonetheless, when devout family values-oriented Christians and atheist gay pride marchers both claim the same label, it is understandable that many folks are left scratching their heads.

Few individuals have so much experience with both libertarianism as an idea structure and Libertarian partisan politics as Wayne Allyn Root. He is an author, talk radio host, entrepreneur, and, generally speaking, observer of the human animal. In 2008, he was the Libertarian Party's vice presidential nominee. 

It can be argued that no other second-placeholder on the Libertarian ticket has ever done as much to publicize his party and its ideals as Root did. During Barack Obama's presidency, Root took voiced limited government concerns with gusto and ultimately decided that the Libertarian banner was not making a serious difference in American political life.

While supporting Mitt Romney and -- on an enthusiastic level -- Donald Trump, Root retained his libertarian values. 

In a 2012 statement, which made clear his vacating Libertarian Party affairs, Root said he entered them as "a S.O.B. (son of a butcher), small businessman, home-school dad, Las Vegas oddsmaker, and political newcomer". Now, Root's recently published Angry White Male: How the Donald Trump Phenomenon is Changing America -- and What We Can All Do to Save the Middle Class has attained bestseller status. 

Agree or disagree with his brand of 'Ronald Reagan libertarianism,' Root certainly has made a success of it.

He spoke with me about many issues pertaining to libertarianism and its role in American society. Some of our discussion is available below.



****
Joseph Ford Cotto: Some claim that the surest way for America to enjoy monetary stability is a return to the gold standard. Do you believe that, given current socioeconomic affairs, this is a viable option?

Wayne Allyn Root: I am a huge supporter of gold and the gold standard. We are $20 trillion in debt -- thanks to a madman named Obama. We have no choice. We cannot afford to keep spending like drunken losers, high on cocaine. This is pure insanity. If we keep spending unchecked, it’s the end of America. A Gold Standard provides a check on spending. It’s the only way to stop the politicians. They will never slow the spending unless they are limited by law. We need a Gold Standard, a Balanced Budget Amendment and a Line Item Veto. We also need a President with the courage to veto all excess spending.


And one more thing -- we need to fire one third of government employees. Their salaries are obscene, their pensions are unimaginable and unaffordable and in so many cases they spend all day watching porn and looking at their watches waiting for 25 years to arrive, so they can retire at age 50 and collect a pension for NOT working for the rest of their lives. What a waste of taxpayer money. No wonder America is a bankrupt debtor nation. This has to end. 

Cotto: Many have heard about the fair tax, but fewer know much about it. In a summary sense, what are your views on the concept?

Root: I like the “Fair Tax.” My adopted home state of Nevada had led the nation in population growth, economic growth and job growth for most of the past EIGHT DECADES (only interrupted by the Great Recession, but now back to the top again). Nevada is also at the top of every survey of “Best States to Do Business In.”

We basically have a “Fair Tax” system- meaning no income taxes, only a sales tax. It works. If that system made Nevada such a success, why not adopt it nationwide? California has the prettiest scenery and the nicest weather in the nation. Nevada is a big ugly desert. Yet I left beautiful Malibu to move to Las Vegas. For one reason: low taxes. Nevada is the Monte Carlo of America- the low tax capital. No matter how much money you make, Nevada doesn't tax one cent of your income. We tax your spending (sales tax) and your fun (gambling, marijuana, prostitution). 

That’s the model for America. By the way, it's not just Nevada. That model works everywhere. The six states that have zero income tax (Nevada, Texas, Florida, Wyoming, Alaska, Tennessee) badly beat the highest tax states (New York, California, Illinois) in economic and population growth. And those high tax states lead the nation in moving vans moving OUT.

______________________________________________


Order it on Amazon today.
Two kings. Two princes. One queen. The true story of five aristocrats separated by time, culture, and circumstance -- all of them bound to the United States by accidents of history and left to hope for a tomorrow better than today. Prepare for a vision of the American Dream as few others have ever seen it. 

Painting of the Day: Ellen Peabody Endicott by John Singer Sargent

File:Ellen Peabody Endicott.jpg

Ellen Peabody Endicott by John Singer Sargent, 1901

______________________________________________


Order it on Amazon today.
Two kings. Two princes. One queen. The true story of five aristocrats separated by time, culture, and circumstance -- all of them bound to the United States by accidents of history and left to hope for a tomorrow better than today. Prepare for a vision of the American Dream as few others have ever seen it. 

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Short Story of the Day: 'The Alchemist' by H.P. Lovecraft

Howard Phillips Lovecraft

Bob Morris Interview: Amy Radin on Disruptive Innovation (Part Two)



Book Review: 'Under the Crown and Stripes: Two Kings, Two Princes, a Queen, and Their American Dreams' by Joseph Ford Cotto

Order it on Amazon today.




























Interview: Bill Mitchell says "Donald Trump was a shock to the system – to break it out of the pattern that it’s been in"

Editor's note: This article was originally published on January 31, 2017.

This is the second part of my discussion with Bill Mitchell. The first segment can be read here. Quoted text below appeared in yesterday's article, offering background on our conversation.
Story by Joseph Ford Cotto

There are a great many talk radio hosts, and all of them are clamoring to be heard. Just how many, though, really offer something which deserves your time and consideration?


While the number is far too small for my liking, Bill Mitchell certainly makes the cut.


He has not been a force in the chattering class for long. Before Donald Trump's candidacy took off, Mitchell could best be described as a talent recruiter for various businesses who just happened to dabble in politics via the Internet. Today, he is a bona fide on-line celebrity. Last year, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology named him the foremost average fellow impacting election season.


Among all those influencing the race -- including Barack Obama, CNN, and Harry Reid -- Mitchell came up twenty-sixth. He beat Paul Ryan, The Associated Press, and Michael Moore, to mention a few.


What makes Mitchell so popular is not strategic positioning in FM markets -- his program is Internet-only -- or access to the most powerful names on the District of Columbia-New York City-Boston/Los Angeles-San Francisco-Seattle culture corridors -- he lives in Charlotte. Rather, Mitchell knows how to handle Twitter, focus on pertinent data, and explain complex, contentious matters in a down-to-earth yet coherent fashion.


Despite being in his late fifties, Mitchell is one of American conservatism's rising stars. His star is powered at a time when 'conservatism' is in rapid flux; changing from its family values, pro-free trade, immigration-friendly Reagan-Bush incarnation to a model built around national sovereignty, economic protectionism, and cultural cohesion. 


Essentially, 'American' conservatism is becoming Europeanized. 


Mitchell and I had a candid discussion regarding right-leaning politics and their relation to American life. Some if it is included below.



****
Joseph Ford Cotto: More than anything else, why have principles such as immigration restriction and cultural cohesion managed to evade scrutiny from 'respectable' politicos on both sides and secure starring roles in the future of American conservatism?

Painting of the Day: Elsie Palmer by John Singer Sargent


File:Elsie Palmer.jpg

Elsie Palmer by John Singer Sargent

______________________________________________

Order it on Amazon today.
Two kings. Two princes. One queen. The true story of five aristocrats separated by time, culture, and circumstance -- all of them bound to the United States by accidents of history and left to hope for a tomorrow better than today. Prepare for a vision of the American Dream as few others have ever seen it.