Author: Steve Prestegard

Presty the DJ for May 18

If you wanna be happy, listen to the number one single today in 1963:

Another one-hit wonder had the number one single today in 1968:

The number one single today in 1974 might be the very definition of the term “novelty song”:

The number one British single today in 1975:

(Which more appropriately should have been called “Stand by Your Men,” since Tammy Wynette had had three husbands up to then, and two more thereafter.)

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Presty the DJ for May 17

First,  for those who believe the British are the height of sophistication and are so much more couth than us Americans: This was the number one song in the U.K. today in 1986:

The chicken is not having a birthday. Pervis Jackson of the Spinners is:

So is drummer Bill Bruford, who played for Yes, King Crimson and Genesis:

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for May 17”

Presty the DJ for May 16

Today in 1980, Brian May of Queen collapsed while onstage. This was due to hepatitis, not, one assumes, the fact that Paul McCartney released his “McCartney II” album the same day.

Today’s rock music birthdays start with someone who will never be associated with rock music: Liberace, born in West Allis today in 1919.

Actual rock birthdays start with Isaac “Redd” Holt of Young–Holt Unlimited:

Nicky Chinn wrote this 1970s classic: It’s it’s …

Roger Earl of Foghat …

… was born one year before Barbara Lee of the Chiffons …

… and drummer Darrell Sweet of Nazareth:

William “Sputnik” Spooner played guitar for both the Grateful Dead …

… and The Tubes:

Richard Page of Mr. Mister:

Krist Novoselic of Nirvana was born one year before …

… Miss Jackson if you’re nasty:

Finally, Patrick Waite, bassist and singer for Musical Youth, which did this ’80s classic, dude:

The new GOP?

The Deseret News in Salt Lake City publishes this manifesto of anti-Trump Republicans (the signees are at the end):

These United States, born of noble convictions and aspiring to high purpose, have been an exemplar of self-government to humankind. Thus, when in our democratic republic, forces of conspiracy, division, and despotism arise, it is the patriotic duty of citizens to act collectively in defense of liberty and justice. We, therefore, declare our intent to catalyze an American renewal, and to either reimagine a party dedicated to our founding ideals or else hasten the creation of such an alternative. We call for a rebirth of the American cause and do so in partnership and loyal competition with others committed to the preservation of our Union. With abiding belief in the value and potential of every soul and with goodwill for all, we hereby dedicate ourselves to these principles and make common cause in the flourishing of this great nation and its diverse states, communities, and citizens.

Democracy. We seek the preservation and betterment of our democratic republic and the endurance of our self-government, free from interference and defended against all enemies, foreign and domestic. We support reforms that make our system more accessible, transparent, and competitive, oppose the disenfranchisement of voters, and reject populism and illiberalism, whether of the right or the left.

Founding Ideals. We reaffirm the self-evident truth that all persons are created equal and free, having the same inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that it is the prerogative of all to make personal decisions in accordance with their free will. We, therefore, condemn all forms of bigotry such as racism, religious intolerance, sexism, and persecution based on sexual orientation.

I would argue the Democratic Party has been far worse on that “free will part,” but the GOP certainly has been lacking of late. Neither party is very libertarian.

Constitutional Order. We uphold the Constitution as the inviolable and collective contract protecting liberty and justice for all, and honor the essential separation and balance it establishes among coequal branches of the federal government and the states.

The only part of the Constitution that Democrats respect is the upholding of abortion rights.

Truth. We recognize truth and reason as essential to a free and just society, and expect our leaders, citizens, and press to seek and promote them. We oppose the employment of fear-mongering, conspiracism, and falsehoods and instead support evidence-based policymaking and honest discourse.

Rule of Law. We maintain that the impartial rule of law is essential to a free and just society to protect the rights and property of all people. No one is above the law, and our criminal justice system must treat everyone equally without discrimination based on race, status or other unrelated factors.

Ethical Government. We demand that public officials and aspiring leaders — regardless of party — act with integrity and honor, the absence of which is a harbinger for abuses of power that threaten the republic.

Pluralism. We are committed to a pluralistic society defined by its ideals and welcoming to all peoples rightfully seeking safety, opportunity, and a better life by becoming contributing members of our diverse nation. We reject the notion that America should be characterized by the races, birthplaces, religious affiliations, or partisan identities of its citizens.

Democrats also laugh at this notion and call anyone who criticizes the concept of the hyphenated American racist.

Civic Responsibility. We believe that all Americans share civic responsibility, which is essential for our self-government and national success. Thriving communities are built by faithfully engaged citizens working to overcome differences with mutual respect and the bonds of civil affection. The solutions to many of America’s greatest challenges can only be found in our diverse communities.

But not through government. Government at every level creates more problems than it solves, and the truth is that there are no pervasive problems within American society that can be fixed by government. People will stop shooting each other only when they decide that violence against someone solves nothing.

Opportunity. We recognize open, market-based economies as consistent with our natural liberty and the optimal means of ensuring economic mobility and the allocation of scarce resources. We support sensible and limited regulation, including to ensure equal opportunity, and affirm government’s vital role in assisting vulnerable citizens, while encouraging self-reliance and ingenuity without the impediments of cronyism and corruption.

Free Speech. We reaffirm the Constitution’s guarantee of free speech and freedom of the press as essential to accountable government and the American way of life. We sustain the rights of individuals and private entities to exercise this freedom, even to express unpopular views, and condemn efforts to erode press freedom and public support for its vital role.

You might be able to count the number of Americans who really support free speech — which really means the expression of views you oppose — on two hands.

Conservation. We consider vital our shared stewardship of America’s resources — natural, environmental, and financial. We accept responsibility to conserve for ourselves and future generations these public assets, and to protect them from both natural and man-made harms.

The historic abuses from the Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Natural Resources should make you what model of conservation they have in mind.

Common Defense & Welfare. We uphold that government is instituted by the people to secure those essential, collective goods that individuals cannot attain for themselves, particularly providing for the common defense and promoting the general welfare. We, therefore, support policies that further public safety, health, and defense as required for enduring national sovereignty and prosperity.

Leadership. Having thrived in the abundance of a choice land, we believe that these United States must work in conjunction with friends and allies to advance worthy interests abroad and to promote freedom by example and with the judicious application of power.

This is a worthwhile document for two reasons — first, Republicans ran on Trump principles and are no longer in charge in Washington; and there is little evidence that Trumpian principles (whatever those are) have much staying power beyond Trump.

But … appealing to our better angels is so 20th century, it seems. Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans continue to fail to grasp that one reason why Republicans supported Trump is that he took the fight to Democrats, unlike (in their opinion) other Republicans. If you felt that your values were being spat upon by Democrats and establishment Republicans were doing nothing about it, well, who would you support? Politics, remember, is a zero-sum game; one side wins, therefore the other side loses. (And taxpayers always lose.) The anti-Trump Republicans have done a horrible job of explaining why their way is better, and most Trump supporters see little difference between Democrats and “establishment” Republicans.

The reaction to this will be interesting to watch.



“A little rebellion, now and then …”

Selwyn Duke:

It was said during our Mideast military adventures, and has been considered a truism of war, that you can’t really win a conflict without “boots on the ground.” For it’s difficult to completely subdue a people from afar. It may not be too different with battles for civilization.

I stated in 2012, addressing a long-developing reality, that the culture war was over as the Left had achieved social dominance. “What is occurring now is a pacification effort,” I wrote — one designed to stamp out the “conservative” guerrilla-group diehards.

Other than its intensification, the only thing that has changed about this effort in the last decade is that it has a new name: “cancel culture.” With GoogTwitFace (Big Tech) having upped its bias and dropped its mask and corporate America joining academia, the media and entertainment on the Dark Side, these entities act as a malevolent monolith silencing dissident voices from Maine to Maui. But it would be naïve to think the Left, which craves power and wants total control, will be satisfied with its current soft authoritarianism.

This brings us to two developments that could cause the raising of eyebrows if not militias. Consider: If you heard about a Third World country in which the leadership was purging the military of political opponents, would you assume it was just an exercise in ideological nepotism? Or would you suppose the leaders wanted a military of devoted fellow travelers who would, when asked, unflinchingly turn their guns on domestic opponents of the regime who couldn’t be cowed by other methods?

Now, should the assumption be different just because the military purge occurs in a developed country?

Just such an event has been taking place in the U.S. for at least a decade. It began under Barack Obama, who not only tried to socially re-engineer the military but also engaged in a widely noted purge of top military brass.

President Trump didn’t (couldn’t?) do enough to reverse this process, and now it has been kicked into high gear. Having largely corrupted the armed forces’ upper echelons, the Left now aims for rank-and-file ideological conformity. Thus do we hear about how we must stamp out the imaginary boogeyman du jour, “white supremacy,” from the military. Preposterously, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin even issued, in early February, a 60-day stand-down order to address the alleged internal threat it poses.

Of course, white supremacists are about as common as straight, happily married women at a NOW convention; why, I’m well into middle age and I don’t know that I’ve ever met one. This isn’t to say there aren’t liberals delusional enough to believe the threat is real; that they’re detached from reality is partially why leftists are so dangerous.

Yet it’s clear there’s a different motivation among the Machiavellian leftists. It hasn’t escaped the Left’s notice that the military traditionally leaned Republican. Moreover, even if this has changed somewhat, having armed forces that are obedient to the ruling party to the point of wickedness isn’t possible with dissidents in the ranks. (Besides, “fragging” is a real thing.)

So you need a purge. You do this by conjuring up a boogeyman — in our case “white supremacy” — and then characterizing it as a widespread, existential threat. This now means defining Trump support, patriotism, opposition to illegal migration and, really, any deviation from the Left’s agenda at all as reflecting white supremacy.

It’s an old tactic: Portray already persecuted minorities or political opponents as the persecutors so you can leverage even more control over them. It’s how you create your own Enabling Act moment.

Pre-election polls showing that military members favored Joe Biden over Donald Trump indicate how the armed forces have already been partially transformed (this is true even if the polls were manipulated, and some of what they reflect is general societal “leftward” drift). Yet controlling the military is only part of the equation. You must also own the other boots on the ground: the police.

As soon as the talk of dismantling/defunding/“re-imagining” law enforcement began last year, I pointed out that while much of the movement was driven by blind passion, there’s only one rational reason to want to nix the police. “Certain leftists want to eliminate the police,” I wrote June 7, “because they want to become the police.”

Power-mongers attack those whose power they crave. Leftists want centralized control over local police just as they now have control over the intelligence agencies. They especially want this because law enforcement is generally, it appears, even more conservative than the military (its members are older, for one thing).

In this vein, it hasn’t eluded leftists that certain sheriffs are engaging in nullification efforts, having vowed not to enforce some new anti-gun and/or COVID-related laws. Remember that sheriffs are elected by an area’s local population and, with most counties being conservative (Trump won 83 percent of counties, or about 2,600, in 2016), such nullification isn’t surprising; moreover, expect more resistance to radical leftism in a good portion of this 83 percent of the nation.

So while the Left is quickly gaining monolithic federal control by virtue of large population centers that vote (and steal votes) heavily for Democrats, controlling Middle America with its more patriotic police is a different matter.

That is, unless the Left can institute federal police. Ergo, the “re-imagining” of law enforcement.

Once your sheriff is an Antifa/BLM-sympathizing ideologue installed by D.C. (District of Communism) and hailing from 1,000 miles away — with no local community ties — he’ll happily “discipline” the white supremacists lurking around every corner.

If the Left can co-opt the military and police, it will have seized our country’s last two remaining (relatively) “conservative” institutions. It will also have what’s necessary to quash that impediment to total coast-to-coast hegemony: America’s framework and tradition of state and local control.

Leftists know that the Left-Right divide is intensifying and that more “conservative” states — such as Florida, South Dakota and South Carolina — are increasingly beating their own path. They know that increased nullification of federal dictates lies ahead (heck, leftists wrote the book on it with their violation of federal immigration and drug laws). And they know that as their philosophical soulmate Mao put it, “Power grows out the barrel of a gun.”

There’s no question that certain leftists have thought about using boots on the ground to conclude their pacification effort. Remember that Bill Clinton might have once said: “I loathe the military” back when leftist protesters were calling Vietnam-era soldiers “baby killers” and that today’s socialist rabble spew venom at police. But they don’t in principle hate either institution.

And just as they’ve flipped from hating to liking the intelligence services because they now control them, so would they love the military and police — and use them with zeal — upon seizing them.

Also note that so-called “leftism” is not an ideology (how could it be? Its “principles” change continually). Rather, it currently represents movement toward moral disorder. And leftists are morally disordered people, the worst of them being vice-ridden, amoral and driven by base appetites such as power lust. As I wrote in “The Time for Talking with the Left is Long, Long Past,” perhaps the best way to prepare yourself for contending with them is to “pretend you’re dealing with Satan.”

Vanguard leftists are above nothing and beneath contempt. If you read the worst possible intentions into whatever they do, you won’t too often go wrong.


James Freeman:

Inflation is surging as Washington prints and spends money at historic levels. Meanwhile Covid-related policies are still making it hard for businesses to staff up and increase production. A former Trump economic adviser isn’t the only one concerned that too much money chasing too few goods may be more than a temporary problem.

The former Trump adviser, Kevin Hassett, served as chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Now he’s outside government and watching the feds shovel cash to consumers while making life more difficult for producers. Today Mr. Hassett writes via email that “the Biden Administration is providing the biggest positive stimulus to demand since WWII, and at the same time doing everything it can to suppress supply. Higher [unemployment insurance] benefits, closed schools (which keep one parent at home), and promised corporate tax hikes practically guarantee that supply can not keep up with demand. It is a recipe for an inflation shock we have not seen in the U.S. in a generation.”

It’s not just the Biden administration’s reckless fiscal policy at issue. On the monetary side of the Beltway swamp, the Federal Reserve continues to maintain emergency easy-money policies even though the U.S. economy has been rebounding since last summer. And all of the money the Fed has created is not just showing up in markets for virtual coins and actual beach houses. Some Fed officials have dismissed general inflation as merely “transitory” following the pandemic. The Journal’s Gwynn Guilford reports today:

Consumer prices surged in April by the most in any 12-month period since 2008 as the recovery picked up, reflecting both rising demand as the Covid-19 pandemic eases and supply bottlenecks.

The Labor Department reported its consumer-price index jumped 4.2% in April from a year earlier, up from 2.6% for the year ended in March. Consumer prices increased a seasonally adjusted 0.8% in April from March…

U.S. stocks fell and government bond yields rose after the inflation data was released. Investors are concerned that rising prices could prompt the Federal Reserve to move on interest rates sooner than expected.

This column has been surprised that America’s asset managers have not reacted more aggressively in response to the inflation threat. Perhaps it is because so many of the people who run money are too young to remember the inflation of the 1970s or have only vague childhood memories of their parents’ anguished discussions on the topic. But if bond investors demand higher yields, consumers feel the pain when they borrow at higher interest rates. If both investors and consumers come to expect higher prices in the future, the problem will not be transitory.

Richard Fisher does remember the 1970s. As a young economist he joined the Carter Treasury Department while inflation was raging. More recently he spent a decade running the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. He’s undeclared on the question of whether the current inflation spike is transitory or not and says “we’re in a tug-of-war” between big near-term price pressures and long-run inflation expectations. “I hope the Fed is right,” he says in a Wednesday phone call.

Mr. Fisher respects his former Fed colleagues while also noting the “risk they are running” in waiting before taking measures to fight inflation—like raising interest rates or shrinking the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet to drain cash out of the financial system. He notes that it takes time for Fed policy changes to “work their way into the real economy” and so by the time Fed officials recognize a problem it’s possible that producers and consumers will already expect long-term inflation, which in itself can create more than a temporary problem. He also noted the challenges for businesses that now must make investment decisions in an environment of rising costs for raw materials.

Maybe some Fed officials are beginning to appreciate the risks they’ve been running. Now the Journal’s Paul Kiernan reports from Washington:

A top Federal Reserve official said on Wednesday he was surprised by a larger-than-expected jump in inflation last month, but stressed that more data would be necessary for the central bank to begin scaling back its easy-money policies.

“I was surprised,” Richard Clarida, the Fed’s vice chairman, said of the 4.2% increase in consumer prices in April from a year earlier. “This number was well above what I and outside forecasters expected.”

Perhaps Mr. Clarida and his Fed colleagues will consider the idea that they’ve already created enough money.

Much of the easy-money crowd wants the Fed to run loose until unemployment falls much further. But increased unemployment benefits that discourage work are not the only reason the money-printers may not get the job creation they want in return for the inflation they’ll tolerate. Research from San Francisco Fed economist Marianna Kudlyak and Stanford’s Robert Hall suggests that Washington’s ability to manage the speed of hiring within a recovery is limited:

A remarkable fact about the historical US business cycle is that, after unemployment reached its peak in a recession, and a recovery begins, the annual reduction in the unemployment rate is stable at around one tenth of the current level of unemployment. For example, when the unemployment rate was 7 percent at the beginning of a year, the unemployment rate fell by 0.7 percentage points during the year. The economy seems to have an irresistible force toward restoring full employment.

As for the forces who run the Fed, let’s hope that their current inclination not to act against inflation won’t create irresistible problems for the rest of us.

“The Fed has to be hoping that their nonchalance is reassuring rather than destabilizing for inflation expectations. I hope they’re right,” says former Richmond Fed President Jeff Lacker.

During the 1970s inflation helped end the presidencies of Gerald Ford (whose “Whip Inflation Now” campaign didn’t stop the 5.76 percent inflation rate) and Jimmy Carter. Carter seized on economist Arthur Okun’s “misery index” to criticize Ford’s economy, when the sum of the inflation rate and the unemployment rate (which should be the U6 number instead of the popularly quoted unemployment rate) was 12.7. By June 1980, Carter’s misery index was 21.98. (Which is why Ronald Reagan defined a recession as when your neighbor loses his job, a depression as when you lose your job, and a recovery as when Carter loses his job.)

By the way, the misery index as of April is 15.03.



Presty the DJ for May 13

The number one British single today in 1957 gave a name to a genre of music between country and rock (even though the song sounds as much like the genre as Kay Starr’s “Rock and Roll Waltz” sounds like rock and roll):

The number one single today in 1967:

The number one British album today in 1967 promised “More of the Monkees”:

(Interesting aside: “More of the Monkees” was one of only four albums to reach the British number one all year. The other three were the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” the soundtrack to “The Sound of Music,” and “The Monkees.”)

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Presty the DJ for May 12

The number one single today in 1958:

Today in 1963, the producers of CBS-TV’s Ed Sullivan Shew told Bob Dylan he couldn’t perform his “Talking John Birch Society Blues” because it mocked the U.S. military.

So he didn’t. He walked out of rehearsals and didn’t appear on the show.

The number one album today in 1973 was Led Zeppelin’s “Houses of the Holy,” which probably didn’t make Zeppelin mad mad mad or sad sad sad:

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