California man charged with driving under the influence…of caffeine

Governor Jerry Brown

I remember when California was a fun place to live in.

Nowadays, not so much, particularly when government officials can easily harrass innocent people by charging them with petty violations of the law.

ZeroHedge reports that Joseph Schwab, who lives in Fairfield, is being charged for driving under the influence…of caffeine.

That’s right. A man may have a DUI mark on his record because he had one too many Red Bulls.

Unfortunately, the law is written so broadly that he could conceivably be convited for this “crime”.

California vehicle code defines a “drug” as any substance besides alcohol that could affect a person in a manner that would “impair, to an appreciable degree” his ability to drive normally.

While Stacey Barrett, Schwab’s attorney, believes it will be difficult for the prosecutor to show that his driving was impaired because of the caffeine and not any other circumstances, it is outrageous that Solano County is charging him under such circumstances in the first place.

Jeffrey Zehnder, a forensic toxicologist who frequently testifies in court cases, calls the case against Schwab “really stupid”. He had never seen a prosecution for driving under the influence of caffeine.

“If that’s the case, then they better come and arrest me,” he joked

Other outrages have occurred in addition to the ridiculous charge, including the following:

  • Even though his initial toxocology report showed no traces of alcohol, benzodiazepines, cocaine, opiates, THC, carisoprodol (a muscle relaxant), methamphetamine/MDMA, oxycodone, and zolpidem, Solano County sent a second sample to a laboratory in PENNSYLVANIA. The only positive result was for caffeine;
  • Solano County filed the charges against Schwab ten months after the day he was pulled over for erratic driving; and
  • While the Solano County’s prosecutor’s office claims that the charge of driving under the influence is not based on the presence of caffeine in Schwab’s blood, Barrett counters that if that is the case, the rules governing criminal proceedings require the county to hand that evidence over to Barrett, which she hasn’t received.

All of this is not surprising when dealing with state and local governments interested in getting and maintaining power. They want laws designed to control behavior rather than protect rights, and officials have no problem using those laws just to show who is boss.

I can’t wait to see what California becomes if it secedes from the U.S.

Coffee drinkers of the world, unite! All you have to lose are your lattes.

The essence of cultural Marxism

One of the recurring themes in many of this blog’s posts is the pervasive nature of cultural Marxism in western society today. What began in elite universities permeates the daily lives of everyday Americans. To truly understand the destructive nature of cultural Marxism, it is imperative to identify its essence. What is the underlying idea that drives it?

Comparing classical and cultural Marxism

Before identifying its essence, we need to understand what we mean by cultural Marxism. We can get a fairly good idea of what it is by comparing it to classical Marxism.

In Tom Woods’ interview of Wendy McElroy about the current rape culture hysteria on college campuses, McEloy’s discussion of social construction is a good starting point to describe cultural Marxism:

McElroy: Social construction is the idea … that there is an active interaction between the culture and your ideas and your identity and who you are. And that’s fine, but it reverses the usual kind of understanding of it. Take Victorian literature, for example. If I said to you that Victorian literature was a reflection of Victorian mindsets, attitudes, thoughts, beliefs, you’d say, yes, of course. Well, and it also feeds back into the culture and to the beliefs, and they’re simply interacting, and you’d say, of course. Social construction says that the beliefs and institutions and such of society do not create its literature, do not create its narrative. The narrative creates the actual human beings of society, their beliefs, who they are, their identities, what they are politically. I’ve often thought that a difference between the Left and the Right is that the Right looks to human nature and it says, what can we say politically based on human nature, how can we get along without violence, and it postulates a society that’s peaceful and civil and things like that. The Left looks to politics as creating human nature and its being the genesis of what human nature and human identity is, like the Marxist man under Marxism.

WOODS: Yeah, in fact, the parallel to Marxism that I saw is the base in the superstructure. In classical Marxism, the ideas that we have, whether they’re religious or cultural or legal or whatever, these are all outgrowths of the means of production that are in use at the time. So they don’t emerge spontaneously from human beings; they are imposed on them by what they live in, and it sounds like they’ve taken that and just removed the materialism from it.

In other words, under classical Marxism, the superstructure of ideas is derived from the relationships developed through the means of production. Under cultural Marxism, politics, or power, define how people identify themselves and relate to one another. Further, politics can redefine how people identify themselves and relate to one another.

On the surface, an argument can be made that cultural Marxism, however repugnant it might be, isn’t Marxist per se. After all, Marx was a materialist. It would be unfair to pin the blame of cultural Marxism, which surfaced well after his death, on Marx himself.

However, I believe that what animated both classical and cultural Marxism is Marx himself. And what animated Marx was his life-consuming drive to remake human nature in his image, which was devoid of not only religion, but every institution that supported Western civilization as we know it.

Marx’s militant atheism driven by a hatred of God

In a brilliant article in The Review of Austrian Economics, Murray Rothbard laid out the ideas that drove Marx’s communist philosophy. What is fascinating, even frightening, about Marx’s worldview is that not only was it militantly atheistic, but it was driven by a hatred of God.

Rothbard describes how Marx, who was raised an orthodox evangelical Christian, developed his militant atheism while attending college:

Going first to the University of Bonn and then off to the prestigious new University of Berlin to study law, Marx soon converted to militant atheism, shifted his major to philosophy, and joined a Doktorklub of Young (or Left) Hegelianism, of which he soon became a leader and general secretary.

The shift to atheism quickly gave Marx’s demon of ambition full rein. Particularly revelatory of Marx’s adult as well as youthful character are volumes of poems, most of them lost until a few were recovered in recent years. Historians, when they discuss these poems, tend to dismiss them as inchoate Romantic yearnings, but they are too congruent with the adult Marx’s social and revolutionary doctrines to be casually dismissed.

Surely, here seems to be a case where a unified (early-plus-late) Marx is vividly revealed. Thus, in his poem “Feelings,” dedicated to his childhood sweetheart and later wife, Jenny von Westphalen, Marx expressed both his megalomania and his enormous thirst for destruction:

Heaven I would comprehend

I would draw the world to me;

Loving, hating, I intend

That my star shine brilliantly

and

Worlds I would destroy forever,

Since I can create no world;

Since my call they notice never

Here, of course, is a classic expression of Satan’s supposed reason for hating, and rebelling against, God.

 

The Satan theme is most explicitly set forth in Marx’s “The Fiddler,” dedicated to his father.

See this sword?

The prince of darkness

Sold it to me.

and

With Satan I have struck my deal,

He chalks the signs, beats time for me

I play the death march fast and free.

All this reveals a spirit that often seems to animate militant atheism. In contrast to the nonmilitant variety, which expresses a simple disbelief in God’s existence, militant atheism seems to believe implicitly in God’s existence, but to hate Him and to wage war for His destruction.

Such a spirit was all too clearly revealed in the retort of militant atheist and anarchocommunist Bakunin to the famous protheist remark of Voltaire: “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him.” The demented Bakunin retorted, “If God did exist, it would be necessary to destroy Him.” It was this hatred of God as a creator greater than himself that apparently animated Karl Marx.

Marx’s communism purposefully negated, not elevated, man’s personality

Although Marx saw religion as harmful, that was merely one institution that needed to be eliminated:

The entire world of man (the Menschenwelt) was alienating, and had to be radically overthrown, root and branch. Only apocalyptic destruction of this world of man would permit true human nature to be realized. Only then would the existing un-man (Unmensch) truly become man (Mensch). As Marx thundered in the fourth of his “theses on Feuerbach,” “One must proceed to destroy the ‘earthly family’ as it is both ‘in theory and in practice.'”

Marx did not believe that a mere uprising was sufficient to bring about the changes needed to remake society:

[O]nly a revolution, an orgy of destruction, can accomplish such a task. And here, Marx harkened back to the call for total destruction that had animated his vision of the world in the poems of his youth. Indeed, in a speech in London in 1856, Marx gave graphic and loving expression to this goal of his “praxis.” He mentioned that in Germany in the Middle Ages there existed a secret tribunal called the Vehmgericht. He then explained:

If a red cross was seen marked on a house, people knew that its owner was doomed by the Vehm. All the houses of Europe are now marked with the mysterious red cross. History is the judge — its executioner the proletarian.

One of the key features of Marx’s communist society, like most societies designed in a mind’s eye, was the communalization of private property. However, to Marx, this communalization did not seek to elevate man’s nature, but purposefully negate it:

In short, in the stage of communalization of private property, what Marx himself considers the worst features of private property will be maximized. Not only that, but Marx concedes the truth of the charge of anticommunists then and now that communism and communization is but the expression, in Marx’s words, of “envy and a desire to reduce all to a common level.” Far from leading to a flowering of human personality, as Marx is supposed to claim, he admits that communism will negate that personality totally. Thus Marx wrote,

In completely negating the personality of man, this type of communism is really nothing but the logical expression of private property. General envy, constituting itself as a power, is the disguise in which greed reestablishes itself and satisfies itself, only in another way.… In the approach to woman as the spoil and handmaid of communal lust is expressed the infinite degradation in which man exists for himself.

If Marx himself recognized that the elimination of private property would lead to human degradation and suffering, why would he have proposed this in the first place? Rothbard argues that Marx believes that somehow, in some way, total evil will be overcome by total good through the mysterious “dialectic”:

But if this communism is admittedly so monstrous, a regime of “infinite degradation,” why should anyone favor it, much less dedicate one’s life and fight a bloody revolution to establish it? Here, as so often in Marx’s thought and writings, he falls back on the mystique of the “dialectic” — that wondrous magic wand by which one social system inevitably gives rise to its victorious transcendence and negation; and, in this case, by which total evil — which turns out, interestingly enough, to be the postrevolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat and not previous capitalism — becomes transformed into total good, a never-never land absent the division of labor and all other forms of alienation.

In other words, Marx believes that by pitting people against one another through the elimination of religion, private property, marriage, and other institutions that have supported Western civilization since Jesus Christ rose from the dead, everything will work out just fine. Because wishful thinking.

Marx played the death march fast and free indeed.

How cultural Marxism is, indeed, Marxist

The essential idea behind Marx’s communism is the same idea behind cultural Marxism.

The current power structure is preventing men and women from being who they truly are. However, before building the new society, one must destroy the old one. Anyone who defends the old society, in any way, is an enemy that is preventing man (or woman, or whatever) from achieving their true potential.

Never mind that there is no basis for whatever statements Marxists of any stripe are making. Never mind that socialism has acheived nothing but human suffering, and cultural Marxism has led to nothing but unnecessary culture wars. Once the right people are in power, everything will turn out just fine.

This game plan never worked under socialism. When it comes to cultural Marxism, why does anyone think it’s going to work now?

 

Psalm 116: He heard my cry for mercy…

Every once in a while, one needs to remember Psalm 116:

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
    he heard my cry for mercy.
Because he turned his ear to me,
    I will call on him as long as I live.

The cords of death entangled me,
    the anguish of the grave came over me;
    I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
    Lord, save me!”

The Lord is gracious and righteous;
    our God is full of compassion.
The Lord protects the unwary;
    when I was brought low, he saved me.

Return to your rest, my soul,
    for the Lord has been good to you.

For you, Lord, have delivered me from death,
    my eyes from tears,
    my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before the Lord
    in the land of the living.

I trusted in the Lord when I said,
    “I am greatly afflicted”;
in my alarm I said,
    “Everyone is a liar.”

What shall I return to the Lord
    for all his goodness to me?

I will lift up the cup of salvation
    and call on the name of the Lord.
I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
    in the presence of all his people.

Precious in the sight of the Lord
    is the death of his faithful servants.
Truly I am your servant, Lord;
    I serve you just as my mother did;
    you have freed me from my chains.

I will sacrifice a thank offering to you
    and call on the name of the Lord.
I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
    in the presence of all his people,
in the courts of the house of the Lord
    in your midst, Jerusalem.

Praise the Lord.

h/t Abbey Roads

The Beauty of the Rosary Novena

Rosary Novena

While I converted to Catholicism over 25 years ago, it is only within the last few years that I have been praying the rosary with any regularity.  As grateful as I am for the rosary, I am in awe by the elegance and beauty of the rosary novena.

The Rosary Novena to Our Lady, as it is known, is of relatively recent origin. It began in 1884, and an English booklet of the novena was originally published in 1924.

Basically, one prays a five-decade rosary each day for 54 days for a particular intention. The first set of three novenas (27 days) are said in petition for the intention, and the second set of three novenas (27 days) are said in thanksgiving, even if the answer to your intention was not yet given.

I have prayed this novena several times over the past few years. Not only has Mary led me closer to Jesus through this novena, she has indeed helped me on whatever intention I have prayed about. I can’t count the number of times when I am agitated and spiritually adrift before beginning a novena, only for the novena to calm my soul and bring me peace of mind. Alas, sometimes my memory is short. It is only when I begin a new novena that I remember its beauty, power, and grace.

One of the beautiful aspects of the novena is its sheet simplicity: three novenas in petition, three novenas in thanksgiving. When the novena was originally adopted, one merely cycled through the joyful, sorrowful, and glorious mysteries eighteen times. Now that are also the luminous mysteries on which to meditate, one can pray it after the joyful mysteries and before the sorrowful ones. However, right now I prefer the elegance of praying the three original mysteries nine times in two sets.

You can learn more about the rosary novena here. You can also purchase the prayer booklet if you’re interested.

The purple revolution ends…

Not with a bang, or even a whimper, but with a pitiful melting into a violet pool of ooze:

While there was a lot of buzz about faithless Republican electors dumping Trump, it turns out that more Democratic electors dumped Clinton.

Specifically, two Republican Texas electors voted for candidates other than Trump:  one voted for John Kasich and one voted for Ron Paul.

But four Democratic electors voted for candidates other than Hillary Clinton:

Only eight of 12 Democratic electors in Washington cast their votes for Democrat Hillary Clinton, who won the state in November.

In an act of symbolic protest, three electors voted for former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and one cast a vote for Faith Spotted Eagle, a Native American elder from South Dakota.

It’s the first time in four decades that any Washington electors have broken from the state’s popular vote for president.

And this woman melting down:

Hat tips to Lew Rockwell and ZeroHedge, respectively.

The New York Times is going into the real estate business

With the New York Times’s operating income and total net income dropping 60% and 95%, respectively, in the third quarter of 2016 compared to the same quarter in 2015, it is reasonable for the company to review its business model. While the legitimate media – which only tells the truth, mind you – has been extremely quick to correct Trump’s incorrect impression that the Times’s subscriptions are declining, apparently its post-election bump must not have been enough to  stop management from making significant changes to how its uses its office space.

How significant? I don’t know. Is moving staff from eight floors so that they can be rented to other businesses significant?

ZeroHedge has obtained and published an internal Times memo informing its staff of these changes, which include converting the remaining floors to open floor plans.

While this fool is sympathetic to those workers who may not be that keen on working in such an environment, these changes clearly indicate the financial stress in which the newspaper finds itself.

Perhaps management can look broadly to identify opportunities to expand its increasingly-narrow readership.

After all, it probably wants to continue operating as a newspaper, rather than a REIT.

 

Purple revolution update: not going well

While there may be a purple revolution playbook, it appears to have been written in crayon.

While the electoral college vote is on Monday, there is very little momentum building to support Clinton winning the vote.

All of the calls for a soft coup have come from the left. For example, liberal actors released a video yesterday, entitled “A Message for Electors to Unite For America”, that is designed to “educate” Republican electors about how the electoral college works.

By the way, notice that Martin Sheen is wearing a purple shirt.

In any event, Mark Dice does a nice job relentlessly mocking the video.

By the way, not only have the comments been disabled, as Dice indicated, but so have the ability for viewers to indicate whether they like or dislike the video.

Meanwhile, Dahlia Lithwick and David S. Cohen published an op-ed in Wednesday’s New York Times, in which they chastise Democrats for being “absent on the national stage” and failing to prevent the country’s “biggest electoral mistake in history”.

On Monday, members of the Electoral College will vote in Donald J. Trump as president. Though he lost the election by nearly three million votes and almost daily generates headlines about new scandals, the Democratic Party is doing little to stop him. If you’ve been asking yourself “Where are the Democrats?” you’re not alone.

Since the election, top Democrats have been almost absent on the national stage. Rather, they have been involved largely in internecine warfare about how much to work with Mr. Trump. The Hillary Clinton campaign, trying to encourage a peaceful transition, has gone almost completely dark, with her most notable appearances coming in selfies with strangers. Nobody deserves downtime more than Mrs. Clinton, but while she is decompressing, the country is moving toward its biggest electoral mistake in history.

While it’s interesting to argue that Democrats have done little to overturn election results, today the Washington Post published an op-ed by former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, in which he excoriates the FBI for its dealing with Russia’s “involvement” in the presidential election.

What has been the result of all of these efforts thus far?

In a word, not a whole hell of a lot.

There have been no stories of purple-clad demonstrators overflowing the streets demanding that the electoral college demand to vote based “on the will of the people”. There are at least a couple of reasons for this. First of all, all of the recent diatribes have not moved the needle in terms of public sentiment. According to a recent poll, 32% of those polled believe that Russia’s actions had a real effect on the election, 59% did not. Second, the arctic conditions in the midwest and east coast aren’t exactly conducive to outside demonstrations.

People have to feel pretty passionate about their cause to go out under such conditions. Apparently, as far as supposed Russian interference in our elections are concerned, they don’t.

Which leads to a factor that the purple revolution playbook should have considered, but appears to have not.

That’s right. I’m talking about Russia.

For reasons Democrats can’t seem to understand, the Russians are getting tired of being blamed for something they claim they didn’t do.

Putin has had enough of the relentless barrage of US accusations that he, personally, “hacked the US presidential election.”

The Russian president’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said on Friday that the US must either stop accusing Russia of meddling in its elections or prove it. Peskov said it was “indecent” of the United States to “groundlessly” accuse Russia of intervention in its elections.

“You need to either stop talking about it, or finally show some kind of proof. Otherwise it just looks very indecent”, Peskov told Reporters in Tokyo where Putin is meeting with Japan PM Abe, responding to the latest accusations that Russia was responsible for hacker attacks.

In the end, however, a playbook’s effectiveness is demonstrated by whether its goal is met. As we get closer to Monday, that seems increasingly unlikely. Based on comments from a variety of state GOP organizations, there is every reason to expect Donald Trump will be elected President in the electoral college.

To put it all together, while the purple revolution may be remembered in history, it may not be for reasons its proponents had hoped for.

Scott Adams on why the purple revolution will fail

Over the past several days, the political elite, including the CIA, have been clearly building up a narrative designed to drive popular support for the electoral college to elect Hillary Clinton as president.

There’s only one problem.

Not enough of the public is biting.

Scott Adams has observed that the initial energy behind Trump election protests is beginning to wane:

About half of the citizens of the United States think they elected a president who will “drain the swamp” in Washington DC and negotiate good trade deals for the public. But the other half believes they are living in 1930s Germany and the next Hitler just came to office. Those are very different movies, yet we all sit in the same theater at the same time. It’s trippy.

As I often say, the human brain didn’t evolve to give us a clear understanding of our reality because we don’t need it to survive as a species. All we need to do is survive long enough to procreate. As long as we can still make babies, it doesn’t matter that we are all experiencing different movies. You can be living in 1930s Germany in your movie and I can be living in 2016 trying to make America Great again, yet the population of humans is still growing. So living in different movies doesn’t matter as much as you’d think.

Immediately after the election was decided, protests against Trump popped up in several cities. Protesting makes perfect sense if you think Hitler just came to power in your country. You must stop Hitler!

But the days went by and the protests fizzled out.

Huh?

If you REALLY believe Hitler just came to power in the United States, why would you stop protesting? What are you doing that is more important than stopping Hitler?????????

So why did the protests fizzle out?

Adams believes that protestors are seeing enough evidence indicating that we’re not going to live in 1930s Germany. The counter-evidence Adams cites includes:

1. Anti-Trump Republicans are making peace and supporting Trump. Would they do that if they thought he was Hitler?

2. Foreign leaders show every sign of being willing and able to work with Trump. Wouldn’t they be yelling “Hitler!” if they thought he was one?

3. Trump continues to disavow White Nationalists when asked. Would Hitler do that?

4. Trump has moderated his more extreme views on immigration, waterboarding, and trying to jail Clinton. That doesn’t sound very Hitlerish.

5. Trump’s public demeanor has transformed from campaign mode to governing mode. He looks more serious now.

6. A year ago it would have seemed ridiculous for a president to be tweeting provocative things several times a day. But now it looks almost normal. We even see the benefit of it because the media is a filter as much as a source of information.

7. Trump keeps meeting with people that opposed him, and both sides seem pleased with those meetings. That isn’t very Hitlerish.

8. Trump is non-interventionist. That doesn’t seem very Hitlerish.

9. Trump has done a better job of managing the county’s expectations and optimism than any prior president-elect. Consumer confidence and the stock market are up. It’s hard to dislike any of that.

10. Trump keeps demonstrating that he likes black people. Kanye West is the latest example. Football great Jim Brown also met with Trump and had good things to say. None of that makes sense if you think Trump is a racist.

11. Trump’s cabinet picks might not please everyone, but they are serious people for serious jobs.

In other words, protestors aren’t going to keep protesting if it looks unlikely that what they’re afraid of happening is going  to occur.

Meanwhile, the top-down nature of “Russia stole our elections!” meme can only work if it resonates with enough of the electorate. While the media has invested considerably in communicating this meme, there doesn’t appear to be sufficient public indignation to overcome the declining utility of the “Trump is Hitler” meme.

After the most rancorous election in modern history, the public is exhausted. The elite, and their arguments, are exhausted. As another day passes, the likelihood of a groundswell of public anger demanding a Clinton victory in the electoral college declines that much more.