Libertarian Island Is an Actual Proposal

Drowning

For years, I had this wicked little idea for a “reality show” called Libertarian Island. In it, we’d drop prominent free-market types on a deserted island, and let them fight to the death. Like The Hunger Games with uglier participants and more cannibalism.

Rush would get killed first, as he has the most meat on his bones. The Koch brothers would form an alliance with Scott Walker, then eat him. Sarah Palin would, ironically, get trampled by a moose. Newt Gingrich would contract cancer and divorce himself. I’m not sure who would win, but Dick Cheney’d be best at shooting into people’s faces.

Unbeknownst to me, there’s been a libertarian think tank that actually wants to create their own floating island. Not for murder (well, not of the rich), but as the ultimate free-market utopia. They’re called the Seasteading Institute, as in like homesteading, on the ocean. (Phonetically, it makes me think of some chic new birthing procedure.)

Apparently, for a while the idea gained real traction among Silicon Valley types, no doubt dreaming of being surrounded by great minds like themselves. (Peter Thiel of the Valley is a major investor, and a major blowhard.) Yet they lost interest (perhaps sensibly realizing they already get every concession they want from America’s political parties).

Happily for fans of really crazy ideas, the project is now back on. The Seasteading people are in negotiations with French Polynesia (islands containing Tahiti, Pago Pago, and other places Marlon Brando lived to be weird).

This would appear to make sense from the Polynesian standpoint; it brings flights to their airports, money to their economy, and some cool stuff to wash up onshore when an eventual typhoon or tsunami wrecks the seasteaders.

A Study in Silliness

I still doubt it can happen. (Why spend all that startup cash when you can just bank in Panama?) Yet the effort they’re putting into it is impressive.

Particularly fun is this academic-style PDF, presented at a conference in the Bahamas. Unless the conference featured peer review, it’s not really an academic paper, but it adds a little intellectual patina. Like having impressive book titles lying around that the owner never intends to read. (A suggested example for conservatives is Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History Of Whine.)

The paper is full of silly pseudo-terminology. Libertarian ideology is “public-choice theory.” (For rich people.) “Constitutional states” are those with, um, actual rules, which are always doomed to failure. (For rich people.) “Mobile citizens”? Rich people. (The authors praise that laboratory of “competitive government” innovation, feudalism.)

Free Market in People

This passage is my favorite:

The European settlement of North America in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries shows this dynamic at work. The open space of this frontier allowed many new jurisdictions to be formed. Colonies, some of which were explicitly for-profit enterprises, had a great deal of independence and varied in their approach to governance. With an abundance of land and a shortage of people, colonies needed to attract residents to survive and grow. Settlers were comparatively mobile and good rules would give a colony an advantage in the competitive struggle for citizens. Churches and various culturally-specific governance providers added to the diversity, and the result was many new entrants into the governance market competing for citizens.

Nothing like genocide and forced labor camps to make the “governance industry more competitive.” You get the sense that if an extinction-size meteor were heading towards Earth, these people would be arguing for regulatory cuts.

Real Governmental Problems

To be fair, the authors do have some good (if common) sense in their criticism of existing governments:

When the role of individual interests in choice are reduced, expressive concerns are even more likely to dominate than is the case in workaday politics.

My monster-to-human translator decodes that as “voters who feel powerless make emotional choices instead of logical ones.” True enough — but Thomas Frank says it more readably.

Enforcement of constitutional promises is usually left to governments themselves, leaving them relatively free to break these rules, either explicitly or through liberal interpretation.

Again, old news.

Real Villains

Democracies are always subject to the risk of regulatory capture — rule by the very organizations they are supposed to be subjecting to law. This was a favorite argument of Milton Friedman.

It shouldn’t come as any shock that one of the authors here is Milton’s grandson, Patri. Naturally, Gramps was more concerned with labor unions and taxes than he was with corporate malfeasance, and so when Patri mentions “special interests,” it’s not hard to guess who he has in mind.

One Little Problem — How the Heck Can It Work?

Ayn Rand

How is this all to be paid for? The magic of the market, naturally. Investors will buy their own floating houses, easily detachable from the Hive if they don’t like how it’s working. (And go … where? To a houseboat community in America? Warning: vermin issues.)

What will power the economy? The authors have some ideas, including aquaculture and medical tourism “enabled by cheap labor.” Well, if you don’t have money for cancer surgery in America, you certainly don’t have the money for tickets to Tahiti.

I suppose they could specialize in experimental treatments for the desperate. And that perennial favorite of rich folks — black-market organ trafficking.

That “cheap labor” line is no surprise — conservatives have loved it forever. But it is telling of a major problem with the model. Cheap labor means a workforce. They have to live somewhere. You’re not going to give them their own fancy detachable houses, as they might detach. They also might want to organize. Which means paying for a goon force, which means taxes.

And we haven’t even discussed military protection yet. Let’s say the floating island is highly popular. What’s to stop a single warship from showing up and demanding a ransom, or threatening to sink the island? Well, for that you need a military alliance of some kind. They’re not going to provide that service for nothing.

So the Seasteaders would need a government and constitution and taxes — or something pretty much the same, if labeled differently. (A “freedom fee”?) Why not just go live in a touristy tax shelter and open some hotel there? It would cost less.

The Ayn Rand Fantasy

These are dreamers, my friends. If you look at their board members, you see a lot of young faces. They’re gonna change the world!

You also see the usual libertarian interest groups. Drug legalization types, gay rights folks, hedge fund managers, Big Ag executives, right-wing think tank members, etc.

These are people who’ve swallowed the Norquist Kool-Aid; the only reason conservative policies haven’t created earthly paradise is, naturally, that pro-business trends worldwide haven’t gone far enough.

It’s the Ayn Rand fantasy. If you only achieve perfect “freedom” for those who can afford it, their brilliance will shower humankind with its blessings. War, famine, global warming, all shall be solved through “market innovation.” (Forgetting that markets are profiting quite handsomely off all three.)

It’s the supreme arrogance of true believers, and ultimately no different from the religious fanaticism that justifies terrorism. Except that it kills far more people.

Best of Luck!

In any case, I hope this project is pursued for years to come. It strikes me as a harmless way for rich idiots to lose their money, which is never a bad thing. Maybe someone can talk President Trump into investing.

He can slap his name on the organ-dealing hospital. And when his sign washes ashore, it can grace some charming Polynesian tiki bar.


Image cropped from pxfuel. Image cropped from Ayn Rand by DonkeyHotey under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Morning Music: Allah-Las

Allah-Las LAHS

Sheep in a Box mentioned Allah-Las as a good comparison to The Kinks.

In the original video, Thoughty2 claimed that The Kinks were much better than Lady Gaga. This is one of many absurdities of that video. It shows that Thought2 really doesn’t take music seriously.

The Kinks are fine. And they are notable in their way. But to hold them up as a band that indicates the days when music was good is ridiculous. What they most offered was a kind of musical primitivism. And if you like that, you should certainly like the Ramones who improved so much on that formula.

The fact that Thoughty2 included The Kinks in his list shows that he started with the idea that old music is just better. He probably assumed that if it came to it, there would be someone around who would be able to justify his pick.

Anyway, Allah-Las is a band from Los Angeles. They don’t sound like The Kinks to me. Their first album sounds more like The Zombies without Rod Argent’s amazing organ work. And they’ve grown from there with some of their more recent work sounding like early Pink Floyd. I mean all of this as a major compliment.

It’s their later work that I find most compelling. So here is “In the Air” off last year’s LAHS, which I love:

Check out the playlist of 16 of their music videos.


LAHS album cover from Amazon via Fair Use.

Morning Music: David Rovics

David Rovics - For the Moment

Sheep in the Box noted in his video that it is wrong to say, “Music’s gone to hell!” And then to justify it compare Bob Dylan to Britney Spears. (For the record, I think Spears is pretty talented. It’s not my kind of music, but that hardly matters.) Sheep said that Dylan should be compared to David Rovics.

It’s a good comparison. They are both folk+ singer-songwriters who are both on the left politically. Of course, I’ve never been especially certain about Dylan’s politics. He’s always seemed too fluid a person to have really static thoughts on the matter. Rovics, on the other hand, is a clear leftist.

He gave an interview back in 2009 when he said a number of things about the US and Israel that would be controversial today — much less then. I agree with pretty much everything he said. But we live in a nation where it is taken as accepted that Israel is Good and any bad thing they do must be due to some justifiable circumstances. Certainly, Israel can’t be held responsible for anything it does!

(I just saw that Intelligence-Squared is having a debate on whether anti-Zionism is antisemitic. That’s very interesting given that all the notable anti-Zionists I know are Jewish. And it’s weird. Jews still die of hate crimes in the US. Yet elites — for example, Bari Weiss — complain that the real antisemitism is people trying to hold Israel accountable for its actions.)

For the Moment

David Rovics is a prolific guy. Most of his work is produced much; it’s just him and a guitar. And he definitely has a lot to say.

He produced a number of albums during the early years of the Iraq War. In 2006, he release Halliburton Boardroom Massacre, which is really good. It reminds me a lot of Bruce Cockburn.

But I’m highlighting the first song off 2005’s For the Moment, “After We Torture Our Prisoners.” I’m using it mostly because it sounds so much like early Dylan. But there’s tons more to listen to. It isn’t necessarily fun but it is good.

Check out David Rovics’ playlist with over 200 songs.


For the Moment cover via Amazon via Fair Use.

Morning Music: Dead Cat Bounce

Dead Cat Bounce

Today, we are going to listen to the band Dead Cat Bounce.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve been writing a lot more about business. And most recently, I’ve been writing about commodity trading. It’s in this capacity that I heard the term “dead cat bounce.”

The term refers to a slight bounce back after a security loses a bunch of money. I thought the term was so evocative, there might have been songs written about it. I didn’t find any. Instead, I found a band.

Now, there is currently a DC-based band called Dead Cat Bounce. They appear to be a cover band — but a really good one. There is also an impressive jazz sextet called Dead Cat Bounce that has released a number of albums. I’m not talking about either of these.

Instead, I’m talking about the Irish comedy band, Dead Cat Bounce that was active from around 2008 through 2012. I’m featuring them here because they represent a bit of a problem for me.

Funny, Offensive, or Both?

You see: I find them incredibly funny. But they are also extremely offensive.

Take, for example, their work-in-progress, “Famine: The Musical.” It is subtitled, “Two lovers, one dream, no potatoes.” But don’t misunderstand (because everyone I introduce them to does), they offer very thoughtful social satire.

For example, the characters in “Famine” go to America, “Where the cotton grows high in the south / And it practically harvests itself.” And then there’s this:

We’re all going to America
To become policemen
We’re all going to America
Just like Brendan Gleeson!

Midget

Which leads us to the first song of theirs that I heard. It actually made me choke. On the other hand, I felt kind of guilty about it.

Another song that shows their satirical strength as well as their tendency to take it to an uncomfortable level is Overenthusiastic Contraceptive Lady. Just wait until the end.

The final thing to note about these guys (and you don’t see it so much in the songs I’ve linked to here) is that they can really play. They’d be worth listening to even apart from the humor.

The last two songs are off You’re Welcome for the Music.


Dead Cat Bounce promotional photo under Fair Use.

Morning Music: The Axis of Awesome

Axis of Awesome

Yesterday, I discovered a new band — because I was researching something about commodity trading of all things. (I’m going to feature them tomorrow, so you’ll just have to wait.) They are a comedy band. And while at a festival, the lead singer said, “There’s obviously a lot of philistine out there in the world of musical comedy. Axis of Awesome. Benny from The Axis of Awesome…”

It’s a standard joke. The Axis of Awesome were huge and this band never particularly took off. The joke is that they are really upset about it even though they were friends. Also: The Axis of Awesome is an Australian band, so the venue makes it funnier.

I V vi IV

But it reminded me that Sheep in the Box had mentioned the band. In particular, he mentioned their song “4 Chords.” In it, they do a medley of songs that use the chord progression: I V vi IV.

It’s a very folky progression and it has been used excessively. But it’s very pleasant and people like hearing the same stuff over and over.

This video has over 42 million views. And it’s really well done. It’s not so much the idea but its construction and production. (I love that annoying pitch correction!) And they seem like such nice nerdy boys.

i iv VII III

I’ve seen people do similar things but on a much less ambitious level. You don’t have to be writing music very long before you start noticing that it’s all very much the same. In fact, I’m amazed there isn’t more unintentional plagiarism.

More recently, The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain did a similar medley using the common but must more obscure i iv VII III chord progression.

I really like it, although it does annoy me a bit that they throw in “Hotel California” when it doesn’t have the same progression. It’s similar, but not the same. It does, however, add a nice quasi-bridge that opens it up.

It also ends with an absolutely fabulous fugue that never fails to thrill me.


Axis of Awesome cover taken from Amazon under Fair Use.

Morning Music: Brett Domino Trio

Brett Domino

This morning we have Brett Domino Trio. They’re a kind of a YouTube band, I guess. The thing about this is that they can appear much more popular than they are. For example, they have ten-times as many views as Lisa O’Neill has on her videos. Yet I can see myself going out to see her perform and I can’t them. Then again, I’m old.

Having said that, they are entertaining and have a nice nerdy charm. They mostly do covers and maybe are better thought of as a comedy act. For example, although the song we are going to highlight is performed by three people, in general, there are only two members of the trio. (Also, the lead singer’s name is Rob J Madin, not Brett Domino.)

Interestingly, when I was in college, I put out my work alone as the Late Night Rhythm and Donut Quartet. This is a silly joke that I’ve never gotten past given my series of half-hour videos (only in script form) called “The Post-Postmodern Comedy Hour.” These are the kinds of jokes that make the teller much happier than the listener.

Insane in the Brian

Today, we are going to listen to Brett Domino Trio perform a cover of Cypress Hill’s Insane in the Brain — shockingly a song I know. What makes the cover work really well for me is exactly what makes me not all that interested in the bad generally: its deadpan disdain for the material.

The original tune has the typical pretense we find in rock and rap. And that’s fine. I like that people are willing to go all in on their art. At the same time, there’s little of that for me to really get into. I can take it only as seriously as, well, Brett Domino Trio.

None of which means they don’t kick ass with their version.


Image cropped from Brett Domino by Michael Crilly licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Morning Music: Gormlaith’s Grieving

List O'Neill - Pothole in the Sky

I don’t remember what the context was that Sheep introduced Lisa O’Neill, but she’s much more the kind of artist I could become obsessed with. She creates beautiful music that she melds to singing and lyrics that are intelligent, sad, and angry.

The appeal of dark music comes from our knowledge of the nastier sides of life. Nothing ossifies a depression like a friend trying to cheer you up. But nothing helps as much as a friend sharing your pain. And that, I think, explains the appeal of Lisa O’Neill.

That and the fact that her work is gorgeous in its simplicity.

Gormlaith ingen Murchada

We are listening today to “Gormlaith’s Grieving.” It appears to be about the Irish Queen Gormlaith ingen Murchada. History is not my thing. And Irish history is even more not my thing. All the names run together. For example, this is apparently the first reference we have to her death, “The Daughter of Murchad son of Finn, queen of Munster, dies.” I want to run for the hills.

Luckily, Wikipedia helped me out a bit. When she was a teen, Gormlaith was married to Amlaíb Cuarán when he was roughly 50. He died soon after when she was only 20.

She then married Brian Boru who would eventually become High King of Ireland (and could have already been when they married, but probably not).

According to fiction written far after her death, Gormlaith then married Irish King Máel Sechnaill mac Domnaill, who was made King (again) after Boru died. (There is no evidence this marriage ever took place.)

Gormlaith got around a lot. And by “got around,” I mean that she was involved in a lot of diplomacy, given this is what all this is about.

Gormlaith’s Grieving

The song takes a more personal approach to Gormlaith. We find her at the funeral Brian Boru in 1014, when she would have been in her mid-50s.

She talks about how her brother and son want to send her away:

Saying I’m bad luck, Brian
It’s dangerous lying beside me.

The tone is sad but determined throughout. Early on she says, “I’ve laid down for many men.” I take this to mean that she’s done what she needed to before and that she will continue to do so. Hence the refrain, “I’ll dance from the grave.”

I might be totally wrong about this. I can’t find the lyrics anywhere and I’m not great understanding accents. But it’s a lovely song.

Lisa O’Neill’s website contains a bunch of her videos that are well worth checking out. Here is her playlist from her YouTube channel:


Pothole in the Sky album cover taken from Amazon under Fair Use.

Morning Music: The Hu

The Hu - The Gereg

As I discussed yesterday, we are going to listen to a bunch of the songs that Sheep in the Box mentioned in his video, “The TRUTH: Why Modern Music Is Awful”: A Response To Thoughty2.

I’m starting with The Hu. They are a Mongolian rock band that uses traditional instruments and throat singing. It was when Sheep in the Box mentioned this band that I realized I would do this series.

But if you want the real reason I’m highlighting them today it’s simple: I’m lazy. My closest work associate is really into throat singing so I sent off a track to her figuring she would find it interesting. So it’s close at hand. Also: I have been ridiculously busy ever since this pandemic struck. (I realize this may be annoying given that many of you can’t work, but I assure you, my life is just different — and probably worse.)

Wolf Totem

The Hu are a pretty new band — formed back in 2016. And I really have no reason to have never heard of them. One of their videos has over 44 million views. And the one I’m highlighting, “Wolf Totem,” has over 30 million views.

But this is what you all like about me: I’m about as unplugged-in as a person can be. Even when it comes to film, the things I’m excited about are not what other people are. And even then, I’m usually ten years behind the time. Right now I’m obsessing about an obscure film from 2003 called The Ghouls, which was never properly released on disc despite starring the great Timothy Muskatell. But I’m getting sidetracked.

“Wolf Totem” reminds me a lot of The Call. The song is modal — basically just one chord throughout. (The Call normally broke into a more traditional chorus.) The lyrics are a series of declarative statements that are linked by a single idea.

Fascism?

I’ve only read a automatic computer translation of the the lyrics. Even still, they are kind of… fascistic. The first line is, “Let’s kill a lion and race.” And it goes on like that. “Let’s race against the elephant.”

It could all be an environmental song for all I know. But that kind of focus on the natural world is very associated in my mind with fascism. It reminds me that George Orwell said that had Jack London lived, he would have become a fascist. And it’s there in the novels. Or go visit his ranch.

Again: I’m not accusing The Hu of anything here. I’m just noting that I find the (doubtless poor) translation of this song troubling.

The song itself is great!


The Hu: The Gereg album cover via Wikipedia under Fair use.

Sheep in the Box Playlist

Sheep in the Box

I was looking for something to listen to in the background and I came upon a video from a YouTube Channel called Sheep in the Box. It was a response to a video by Thoughty2, “Why is Modern Music so Awful?”

Let me explain. Thoughty2 is one of those anti-SJW conservatives who rant on even as they make little sense. He has kind of a blogging approach to making videos. So he gets one idea and makes a video. In this particular case, he decided that music in the 1960s was great and it’s terrible today.

I should be clear: I’m all for people complaining about whatever they want. There are a lot of things I hate. But making generalizations like “music ain’t as good today” is just silly. And so Sheep in the Box responded — much better than the original video deserved.

Speaking of which: people on YouTube are idiots! Thoughty2’s video has over 9 million views with almost 330,000 likes! And it is just a young man ranting like an old man. Meanwhile, Sheep in the Box’s video has less than 2,000 views! What’s more, Thoughty2 has a higher like/dislike ratio.

(Note that Tantacrul also did an excellent and funny response to Thoughty2 — I choked when he said “Arnold Schoenberg.” It makes a clear argument against Thoughty2 and the research it is based on. It is much more technical. But it doesn’t include all the great music shout-outs, so we won’t be discussing it, great though it is.)

I recommend watching the video:

Recommendations From Sheep in the Box

But I’m interested in something else. In this video, Sheep in the Box mentions a number of really interesting musicians. There is a Klingon rapper, a band of pirates, and a Mongolian rock band that features traditional instruments and throat singing.

So I’m going to find whatever songs I can and present them here over the following days. It should be fun. The truth is, I’m far too focused on weird films to have the time to find out what’s really going on outside my limited view of the music industry.

See you tomorrow!

PS: Check out Sheep in the Box’s channel. The limited stuff I’ve looked at is good. If nothing else, check out the auto-play video on his channel; it’s very funny.

Sheep in the Playlist

When I’m done with this, I’ll put a YouTube playlist together. Here are the articles (it will be added to over the coming days):


Image of Sheep in the Box taken from “The TRUTH: Why Modern Music Is Awful”: A Response To Thoughty2 by Sheep in the Box under Fair Use.

What the Coronavirus Pandemic Says About the November Election

Donald Trump

Some of my friends are feeling way too cocky about the upcoming November election. They see that tens of thousands of people have died and that the economy is in trouble, and they think Trump cannot survive. What’s more, Trump has clearly screwed this up and more recently he seems like he’s losing his mind.

It does seem like a slam dunk. But both Obama and Bush Jr had low approval ratings at this point and they went on to win re-election. And the opposite is also true. A year out, Bush Sr had almost a 70% approval rating and he lost badly. I have little doubt that if the election were today, Trump would lose in a landslide. In six months? I don’t know.

Two Scenarios

Roughly speaking, there are two ways this can go. Things could stay bad. The cases could keep mounting and the deaths could continue to climb. The economy could struggle along but more or less stay where it is right now.

If that happens, not only is Trump going down big, so is the entire Republican Party. We could see Mitch McConnell lose his seat in Kentucky. And as much as I do not want to see this happen for my own sake and that of everyone else in the nation, such a defeat would be a silver lining. (But don’t kid yourself: after the Democrats began to heal the economy, the Republicans would come roaring back.)

The other possibility is that things slowly start to get better. In two months, new cases come to a trickle. In 4 months, most people are back at work. And in six months, sports return but with limited seating.

If that happens, people will likely re-elect Trump. They will only see that things are improving; it won’t matter at all that he is the guy responsible for making things so bad. I know: it’s crazy! But this is how people vote.

(I know a lot of my leftist friends are learning this painful lesson. I’ve seen people complaining that most Biden voters are more in agreement with Sanders’ policies. Welcome to the party! Politics really isn’t about policy; it’s about relationships. And if we are ever going to get the kind of power necessary to make systemic change, we need to embrace this.)

The Lynn Vavreck Election

Probably the best scenario is that things do return to normal quickly but we get an election like Lynn Vavreck laid out in The Message Matters. According to her research, an out-party (the Democrats in this case) can beat an incumbent despite strong economic growth if they can make the campaign about something other than the economy.

In general, it’s hard to do this. People care about the economy above all else. Think of it in the most blunt terms: people want to be sure they will have food and a safe place to live. That’s what a strong economy means to them.

I’ve often noted that had Howard Dean won the Democratic primary in 2004, he probably would have won the general election. That’s because he would have made the election about the Iraq War, which was unpopular by then. Instead, the Democrats nominated Kerry, who couldn’t make that case well because he had essentially voted for the war.

Can Biden Vavreck Trump?

Joe Biden 2019

If Biden is smart, he will make this election all about corruption. He could also make it about norms and civility. These are things where Trump is extremely vulnerable. Trump can counter, “Hunter Biden,” but I don’t think that plays outside the people who are guaranteed to vote for him.

One of the problems for Hillary Clinton in 2016 was this weird narrative that had been going on since the early 1990s about her being untrustworthy. Vince Foster killed himself just a few months after Bill Clinton took office and already there were claims that Hillary Clinton had him murdered!

Yes, that was all in the right-wing fever swamps, but it was something that accreted so much garbage over the years that mainstream journalist started thinking there must be something there. Either that or that they simply had to cover such nonsense as though it were real. (Also: it’s pure sexism — the idea that women are duplicitous and can’t be trusted.)

Biden doesn’t have that problem. And I think that whatever happens, Uncle Joe will come out like he did in the 2012 vice-presidential debate. You may remember that Paul Ryan was going on about how Obama was stealing money from Medicare to pay for Obamacare. And Biden came back with, “Look, folks, use your common sense. Who do you trust on this?”

I was blown away with that because it accepts the way people think. You don’t have to look at the numbers. You might not like Obama and Biden for a lot of reasons, but you know that they would protect Medicare better than Romney and Ryan would.

Help Joe Biden Win

So I think as long as Biden does not talk about the economy, he stands a good chance of winning. I can’t say more than that because, as Vavreck showed in her book, when this approach works, it leads to extremely close elections.

Of course, there is another possibility. It could be that our current situation is so unusual that none of the political science based on elections after World War II matter. In that case, we don’t know what will happen.

In that case, we need to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. And that means doing what we can to defeat Donald Trump in November. Sign up to make phone calls or send texts, help people get registered to vote and to vote when the time comes, talk to persuadable people, whatever it takes.

Most of all: don’t assume November is in the bag. We really don’t know.


Trump image cropped from Donald Trump Official White House Portrait by Shealah Craighead in the public domain. Biden image cropped from Joe Biden by Gage Skidmore via Flickr. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Alexander Hamilton on the Modern Republican Party

Alexander Hamilton

Those then, who resist a confirmation of public order, are the true Artificers of monarchy — not that this is the intention of the generality of them. Yet it would not be difficult to lay the finger upon some of their party who may justly be suspected.

When a man unprincipled in private life desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper, possessed of considerable talents, having the advantage of military habits — despotic in his ordinary demeanor — known to have scoffed in private at the principles of liberty — when such a man is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity — to join in the cry of danger to liberty — to take every opportunity of embarrassing the General Government and bringing it under suspicion — to flatter and fall in with all the nonsense of the zealots of the day — it may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may “ride the storm and direct the whirlwind.”

–Alexander Hamilton
Objections and Answers Respecting the Administration of the Government (18 August 1792)


Cropped from Alexander Hamilton by John Trumbull, in the public domain.

Morning Music: Ramones

Ramones

I think a lot of people think of Ramones as a New Wave band rather than a punk band. This is odd, given that New Wave as a thing comes much later.

But okay: Blondie dates back as far, and an argument can be made that they are New Wave. Really though: I don’t even know what New Wave is. Punk is not a form of music, but an attitude toward it. And one could even say that it doesn’t mean all that much because punk was just the embrace of what was always rock: the FUBU of music.

There is no question, however, that Ramones were better able to create perfect pop music gems than any other band of that era — including Blondie. What’s amazing to me is that Ramones never had a top ten hit in the United States. Is it any wonder I complain about pop music? If you can’t love Ramones, then you just don’t like pop music. And if that is the case, why are you even reading this?!

Here is the band back in 1977 at The Rainbow in London, England. The vocals are mixed a little low. They do some of their classic songs off Ramones, Leave Home, and Rocket to Russia.


Ramones album cover via Wikipedia under Fair Use.