The Texas Grocery Store that Helped Push the Evil Empire on to the Ash Heap of History | International Liberty

Heh! Yep, that’s how it always went.

The Houston Chronicle dug into its archives to produce a story about an incident that may have played a big role in history. It’s about a senior communist functionary who was exposed to a slice of capitalism.


Yeltsin visited mission control and a mock-up of a space station. According to Houston Chronicle reporter Stefanie Asin, it wasn’t all the screens, dials, and wonder at NASA that blew up his skirt, it was the unscheduled trip inside a nearby Randall’s location. Yeltsin, then 58, “roamed the aisles of Randall’s nodding his head in amazement,” wrote Asin. He told his fellow Russians in his entourage that if their people, who often must wait in line for most goods, saw the conditions of U.S. supermarkets, “there would be a revolution.” …In the Chronicle photos, you can see him marveling at the produce section, the fresh fish market, and the checkout counter. He looked especially excited about frozen pudding pops. “Even the Politburo doesn’t have this choice. Not even Mr. Gorbachev,” he said.

This random trip to a typical supermarket may have changed history.

About a year after the Russian leader left office, a Yeltsin biographer later wrote that on the plane ride to Yeltsin’s next destination, Miami, he was despondent. He couldn’t stop thinking about the plentiful food at the grocery store and what his countrymen had to subsist on in Russia. In Yeltsin’s own autobiography, he wrote about the experience at Randall’s, which shattered his view of communism, according to pundits. Two years later, he left the Communist Party and began making reforms to turn the economic tide in Russia. …“When I saw those shelves crammed with hundreds, thousands of cans, cartons and goods of every possible sort, for the first time I felt quite frankly sick with despair for the Soviet people,” Yeltsin wrote. “That such a potentially super-rich country as ours has been brought to a state of such poverty! It is terrible to think of it.”

Source: The Texas Grocery Store that Helped Push the Evil Empire on to the Ash Heap of History | International Liberty

Understand yet that no government bureaucrat know as well as you what you think is important? That is the basis of the free market; decide for yourself.

Why Our Commanders Look The Other Way During Child Rape

w7044This is important

The revelation that our generals expect Americans solders to allow screaming young boys to be sodomized and not stop it is simply the latest manifestation of the utter moral bankruptcy infecting the senior ranks of the U.S. military.

The problems with America’s military—which has now failed to win three wars in a row against backward fanatics whom the nineteenth-century Brits would have handily dispatched to hell in time for tea—are not merely budgetary. You can’t buy real leaders, leaders with strategic competence and moral courage. Aging equipment, while a problem, is nothing compared to the incompetence and moral cowardice of our military’s senior leaders.

Note the term “moral cowardice.” Many of these generals are decorated combat veterans who would gleefully charge an enemy machine-gun nest. But that physical courage in the face of the enemy does not translate into moral courage in the face of politicians and social justice warriors. It’s disheartening to see officers with Combat Infantryman badges and silver stars sheepishly nodding along with the lies of the coddled liberal elite.

There are fine generals—I served under many. But enough are not that the ranks are demoralized and the best and brightest future leaders are abandoning military careers, not because they don’t want to serve, but because they know it will be difficult to succeed unless they likewise abandon the principles that propelled them toward service in the first place.

You Can’t Just Blame Obama

It would be too easy to blame Barack Obama. As commander in chief, he is responsible for everything those under his command do or fail to do, and his political agendas and bizarre social engineering priorities, enacted by the eager band of loyalists he has promoted into the senior ranks over more capable warriors, have little to do with fighting and winning. Without a media interested in holding him to account for the dreadful performance of the military since his inauguration, Obama has a free ride.

Source: Why Our Commanders Look The Other Way During Child Rape

That follows from one of the themes we have always spoken of here: personal responsibility.

But, lest you think I’m simply enunciating a diatribe against the top echelon of our officer corp, I’m not. It’s endemic in our society. It applies to every electrician who says “it’s in the plan”, to every person who says “it’s not my job”, to every person who sees a problem and walks away. It’s the reason we have safety rules that protect idiots while making the actual job nearly impossible.

In business we call it careerism, it’s what happens when we look at a problem and decide it might mess up our promotion, if we try to fix a problem, or horrors, someone might accuse us of political incorrectness. You know like saying women are not the same as men (not inferior, they’re not, just different). Political correctness is very often the enemy of common sense. The important thing to remember is that common sense once was common because it is objectively correct, even if it hurts someone’s feelings.

In the church, it’s often called clericalism, and it is both pernicious and corrosive. Trying to live correctly according to God’s will is difficult enough with good guidance from the clergy, it’s nearly impossible if said clergy is trying above all to keep their job, not doing their job.

When I was young and around some military guys, they called it “seeing stars in your eyes” (and on your shoulders). From what they said it most often happened to colonels (and sadly even more often to those colonel’s wives). It did not, let us say, contribute to good order and discipline, for all the reasons that Kurt and I have both said. The difference in the military is that it literally can (and often does) cost lives. it seems to me that it has moved up the rank structure now, it seems to be a persistent infection of the flag ranks, which is also true in business. I’m not saying there is no reason for it, one merely needs to look at Brendan Eich to understand that.

But in our system, it is too important to leave untreated, in any area, and we are not treating it; in the military, in business, in the church, or academia, or anywhere, really.

And until we do, we will not progress. And think about this, as well, as you start to think about who you support for president, in either party. Much of the cure is always leadership, there are good people out there, but they can easily run on the rocks in a culture that usually denigrates telling it like it is, rather than what we wish it was.

Kipling: Norman and Saxon A.D. 1100


The Unit commented the other day that Jess’ influence on me was pretty obvious. He’s right, it is, and its all to the good, I suspect. I also notice that many of you go back into our archives to read her articles. (I do too!). I’ve decided we should share some of those articles, which are favorites of mine (and yours) once again on the front page. Enjoy! (Neo)

Of all the poets who have ever written about England and Englishness, Kipling did it best.  There are many poems one could choose to illustrate the theme that Neo and I are dealing with, but this is one of my favourites. I think it should be on the wall of Congress and Parliament:

“My son,” said the Norman Baron, “I am dying, and you will
be heir
To all the broad acres in England that William gave me for
When he conquered the Saxon at Hastings, and a nice little
handful it is.
But before you go over to rule it I want you to understand this:–

“The Saxon is not like us Normans. His manners are not so polite.
But he never means anything serious till he talks about justice
When he stands like an ox in the furrow–with his sullen set eyes
on your own,
And grumbles, ‘This isn’t fair dealing,’ my son, leave the Saxon

“You can horsewhip your Gascony archers, or torture your
Picardy spears;
But don’t try that game on the Saxon; you’ll have the whole
brood round your ears.
From the richest old Thane in the county to the poorest chained
serf in the field,
They’ll be at you and on you like hornets, and, if you are wise,
you  will  yield.

“But first you must master their language, their dialect, proverbs
and songs.
Don’t trust any clerk to interpret when they come with the tale
of their own wrongs.
Let them know that you know what they are saying; let them feel
that you know what to say.
Yes, even when you want to go hunting, hear ’em out if it takes
you all day.

They’ll drink every hour of the daylight and poach every hour
of the dark.
It’s the sport not the rabbits they’re after (we’ve plenty of game
in the park).
Don’t hang them or cut off their fingers. That’s wasteful as well
as unkind,
For a hard-bitten, South-country poacher makes the best man-
at-arms you can find.

“Appear with your wife and the children at their weddings and
funerals and feasts.
Be polite but not friendly to Bishops; be good to all poor parish
Say ‘we,’ ‘us’ and ‘ours’ when you’re talking, instead of ‘you
fellows’  and  ‘I.’
Don’t ride over seeds; keep your temper; and never you tell ’em
a lie!”

The Swedish daycare experiment has been a social disaster

Robert MacLennan, then SDP leader, addressing ...

Robert MacLennan, then SDP leader, addressing the Liberal Assembly (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is fascinating. Sweden has imposed a system that nearly requires people to place their kids in daycare by age one, and it’s making for not very well educated kids, and horribly stressed out parents (especially mothers). I don’t find it overly surprising, that is the result I expect from leftist programs even, or maybe especially, the ones with good intentions. This is from The Conservative Woman, a very good British site, and is by Jonas Himmelstrand, it was first published by Mercatornet

Sweden is a pioneer in public, tax-subsidised, out-of-home daycare. In 1975, the Swedish government made public daycare available and affordable to all. Daycare expanded greatly during the 1980s and was made even cheaper in 2002 when a maximum fee (maxtaxa) was introduced. No matter how many children, no matter how many hours children spend in care, no matter how high your income – you never pay more than a fixed maximum amount, which is just below CAD $400. A low income family with one child would pay around CAD $150 per month.

Daycare in Sweden is tax-subsidised at a rate of between CAD $18,000 to CAD $23,000 per child annually. Parents who stay home, in most municipalities, receive no benefits of any kind. In high-tax Sweden this forces many homecare families into poverty.

The result, not surprisingly, is that daycare is the new norm in Sweden. Over 90 percent of all 18 month to 5-years-olds are in daycare.

How Swedish daycare got its start

In 1978, the women’s caucus of the ruling Social Democratic Party, a party that was in power for the better part of 40 years, published The Family of the Future: A Socialistic Family Policy.

The pamphlet strongly called for state-funded, affordable daycare. The goals were 1) better outcomes in child social development and academic achievement, 2) class equity, and 3) gender equity (or, as they put it, the liberation of women from their maternal instincts).

The results

Forty years later, official statistics show that the anticipated outcomes have not been realised. Poor outcomes are acknowledged across the political spectrum, but these are not connected to the daycare system in any way. Furthermore, there is surprisingly little interest in finding out why they exist at all. The following list shows what the outcomes are.

Rapidly declining psychological health in youth

Physical health among Swedish youth is among the best in the world, but the same cannot be said for psychological wellbeing. An official Swedish government investigation in 2006 showed that mental health among Swedish 15-year-olds declined faster from 1986 to 2002 than in eleven comparable European countries.

For girls, rates of poor mental health tripled during this period, from nine to 30 per cent. According to the latest report in 2014 from the Public Health Agency of Sweden (Folkhälsomyndigheten) the numbers have remained at these high levels.

The study is based on self-reported symptoms such as anxiety, fright and alarm – a point to which we will return later. The increase happened in all groups of youth regardless of family situation, labour market situation or parental socioeconomic status. These self-reported studies are confirmed by a comparable increase in diagnosed psychiatric illness among youth during the same period.

Suicide attempts among Swedish youth are also increasing.

The Public Health Agency of Sweden is careful about how to interpret these findings. They say they do not know the reasons, but possible causes could be a tougher labour market or cultural changes, like increased individualisation.

Increased sick leave among women

Sick leave for Swedish women is among the highest in Europe with half of all the women leaving work before age 65, due to psycho-social stress.

Source: The Swedish daycare experiment has been a social disaster

In a continuation, the next day the author speaks more about how Swedish parents have lost trust in themselves under this regime. Here’s a taste:

The Swedish government will go far to refute any causal claims regarding daycare and negative social data. This is understandable. If causality could be established it would be a near political disaster.

Typically, loyal government experts say that the poor psychological wellbeing is due to too many choices for young people today, that school results and behaviour are due to lack of demands on the students, and that Swedish parents have never been more interested in their children (which may actually be an indicator that they have lost their parenting instincts).

They go on: Women on sick-leave is caused by men not helping enough at home. The gender-segregated labour market simply shows that child care and parental leave need to be even more regulated. A top political issue in Sweden today is different ways to force the sharing of parental leave between parents, forcing them to take a third to a half each or lose their leave.

Source: Swedish parents have lost trust in themselves under the daycare assault

Before other countries copy Sweden’s public daycare system, they should be careful to consider what the results have been. They haven’t been all that good it seems, or even really acceptable, either for the children™ or even for the parents. Pretty much what I would call a ‘lose-lose’, except for the government, of course, which gains more control over everybody.

Let us stop pretending that the Iraq War was the Worst Thing Ever.

Map of major operations and battles of the Ira...

Map of major operations and battles of the Iraq War as of 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This! From Moe Lane.

(Via Instapundit) This is a pet peeve of mine, and it got triggered by this otherwise not-as-bad-as-it-could-have been article on Obama’s Syria debacle (the NYT prefers the term ‘nightmare’):

American interventionism can have terrible consequences, as the Iraq war has demonstrated. But American non-interventionism can be equally devastating, as Syria illustrates.

Stop. Freeze-frame. Rewind.  Look at those two sentences. Also look at that word ‘equally,’ which means that the author of this piece wants his readers to conclude that there aretwo separate military situations here, each one of which was, well, equally disastrous.

But that’s not even remotely true. We have one situation here. To wit: from 2001 to 2003 the United States did some long overdue corrective actions in the Middle East.  First, we went into Afghanistan and broke the neck of the regime that hosted the group that attacked us on 9/11. Then we went into Iraq and broke the neck of the regime that had been an active danger to the entire region for the previous two, three decades – and that we had unfinished business with, too. Kind of important, that. After all of that we had an insurgency develop – which is something that happens when you occupy nation-states – and then we proceeded to beat that insurgency without resorting to the usual rule of slaughtering the population*.

Source: Moe Lane » Let us stop pretending that the Iraq War was the Worst Thing Ever.

The Common Defense

English: Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)

English: Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let’s start with some basics, way back when, we instituted local government amongst ourselves to protect our group (family, clan, hunting party, whatever) known as us, from everybody else, known as them. Later on, we combined our group with others who thought more or less like we did and combined our power. this is where state (State, federal, whatever) power comes from.

So you see, the first and overriding job of government is to protect us from them. In theory, it’s pretty simple, not always so in practice, but it has worked as a mission since before there was history and still does, where practiced mostly honestly. Here how James Madison put it.

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

But that is true for all legitimate government, even the farce of democracy that is the EU. In this sudden refugee crises, I think they (and we) would be wise to make sure we are not being exploited. Because something just doesn;t smell right here.  Bret Stephens wrote in The Wall Street Journal the other day ( link, permeable paywall.)

In 2003 the political theorist Robert Kagan wrote a thoughtful book, “Of Paradise and Power,” in which he took stock of the philosophical divide between Americans and Europeans. Americans, he wrote, inhabited the world of Thomas Hobbes, in which “true security and the defense and promotion of a liberal order still depend on the possession and use of military might.”

Europeans, by contrast, lived in the world of Immanuel Kant, in which “perpetual peace” was guaranteed by a set of cultural conventions, consensually agreed rules and a belief in the virtues of social solidarity overseen by a redistributive state.

Sadly, our President (and a lot of our ‘elites’) thinks like the Europeans, and the result is the catastrophe enveloping the world. The next decade may make the 1940s look like the good old days.

In any case, about those ‘refugees’. I can accept that they have no paperwork, I can accept that conditions are bad where they are from. I can accept many things, and feel much sympathy for them, just as the Europeans do. But there is this nagging little voice in the back of my ear, that wonders why refugees would be so insistent that only Sweden, Germany, or maybe the UK, are good enough for them. Is it a coincidence that these three have some of the highest welfare rates and payments in Europe? If I was a citizen of one of those countries, I’d be doing some thinking. And there is this, from Great Satan’s Girlfriend.

According to the United Nations, 49 per cent are non-Syrian. As to whether they’re refugees, well, usually, refugees flees as families. Yet here, from those UN statistics, is he breakdown of those “refugees”:

13 per cent children
12 per cent women

75 per cent men

That’s not the demographic distribution of fleeing refugees, but of an invading army.


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