Archive for Political Science Fiction

Scum alert

Out of the Quora queue, and I really hope this is a troll:

My wife somehow knows about my affair and has threatened to tarnish my reputation especially when I plan to run for political office next year. How do I buy her silence and save my future?

You can’t afford it.

No political party is specified here, but I’m guessing this guy is a Republican, simply because Democrats in this day and age expect, not entirely without reason, that everyone will cover for them.

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Never do as I do

News Item: A new plan from Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) to eliminate the gender pay gap would fine companies if they are unable to prove they’re paying men and women equally, something Harris isn’t currently achieving in either her official office or on her campaign, a Washington Free Beacon analysis found.

Quelle surprise. And I suspect this is a very common response to such tomfoolery:

There’s no way I’ll be voting for President Trump in November of 2020. Although I’m not unhappy with some of his results, he remains a man of unfit character for the office. I’m currently registered as an independent, but in my state my former party allows independents to vote in its primaries. If for some reason Sen. Harris looks strong by the time our primary elections roll around, I’ll definitely take advantage of that opportunity and vote for someone else. If I want a president who overlooks the most basic facts about his or her own policy proposals and isn’t smart enough to game out the most obvious responses to them, then I’ll just stay home because I’m already watching that show.

The primaries and such are still a long way off, but for now, the three Democratic front-runners, all ahead of Senator Harris, are white and seventy-ish. Make of that what you will.

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Weirder things have happened

From that news story:

The law accords citizens the right to self-identify as male, female or a blend of both genders, and to have that identity registered on all official documents, including National Identification Cards, passports, driver’s licenses and education certificates.

The law guarantees citizens the right to express their gender as they wish, and to a gender identity that is defined as “a person’s innermost and individual sense of self as male, female or a blend of both, or neither; that can correspond or not to the sex assigned at birth.”

Oger, herself trans, stood for election to the British Columbia Assembly from a riding in Vancouver in 2017, carrying the banner of the NDP; she lost by a narrow margin to the Liberal incumbent, Sam Sullivan, an advocate for the disabled. (A skiing accident left Sullivan paralyzed at the age of 19.) A religious activist from outside the riding campaigned hard against her; she filed a complaint with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal, which this spring ruled in her favor.

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Just Biden his time

Joe Biden has a reputation for being both touchy and feely:

Joe Biden with an unidentified anime girl, via Brickmuppet

Will this be a problem for his Presidential aspirations? Probably not:

Biden is a formidable opponent, being a rather more folksy creep than the President. His base is very much the same as the President’s, indeed many of Trump’s supporters switched parties because the Dems abandoned the middle class. They are Biden’s natural constituency.

In a battle of the creeps, Biden’s above referenced lack of respect for personal space is being touted by many on the right as disqualifying. This analysis, to be charitable, represents a Brobdingnagian level of stupidity. Witness the fact that so many of us held our noses and voted for Pussygrabber McPottymouth over the Evita Peron von Pantsuit in the last election. Much is being made of the notion that today’s inter-sectional Dems won’t put up with him, but given the choice between placating their snowflakes and gaining power over the rest of us, one can be reasonably certain that the super-delegates will be as loyal to the Democrat activists as they were in 2016.

Indeed. A non-binary person of color may score three Intersectionality Pikachu Points, but so far, has only one vote.

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Gramsci, shmamci

Everyone on the Right knows whom to blame, and perhaps not surprisingly, they got much of it wrong:

The best conspiracy theories are the ones that are actually true, and this one is. You want a grand conspiracy to destroy Western Civ? Here it is, laid out as openly as Marxist prose can express it, in excruciating detail. If anything, I’m being unfair to Antonio Gramsci. He put it all together in true kommissar style, but these ideas were everywhere on the Left in the early 20th century. In America, for instance, Progressives like John Dewey had been maneuvering to get control of elementary schools since the late 19th century. Progressives just looooove putting their hands on children. Have you noticed?

Every single insane, culture-destroying, gulag-enabling idea the Left has had in the last 200 years, starting with Karl Marx’s sub-Hegelian flatulence itself, can be traced directly back to some fucking egghead. I’ll repeat that: DIRECTLY. You can find their works, and quote them, because this stuff is in every syllabus of every Humanities class of every college in the Western world. The prose is opaque as only PoMo prose can be, but the main ideas are easy enough to decipher …

… I wrote “ideas,” but there’s really only one “idea.” Since The Revolution obviously ain’t gonna happen — it seems even Leftists can acknowledge one tiny aspect of reality, if you give ’em twelve decades and 100 million bodies — the Left’s entire program, top to bottom, stem to stern, is shit-flinging nihilism. Hey hey, ho ho, Western Civ has got to go — not because it’s Western, but because it’s Civilization.

How do you fight people like that? Give them something they will understand:

If you want to get really, really nasty, of course, you should get out there with the Bernouts and Trustafarians and agitate for the cancellation of student loan debt. Sure, sure, it’ll crash the economy so hard that the Great Depression will feel like a happy ending at an Oriental massage parlor, but that’s going to happen anyway. At least the blue-haired nose-ringers will starve first.

Not that Senator Little White Dove would ever admit the existence, let alone the universality, of the Law of Unintended Consequences.

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Quote of the week

Who threatens liberty? Looking at the label won’t tell you:

Neither communism, nor socialism, nor fascism, nor progressivism, nor liberalism, nor conservatism, nor any of a thousand different “isms” are the real threat to liberty. The people who adhere to one or more of those are threats to liberty, and yet, the communist is not a threat to liberty because he is a communist. The fascist is not a threat because she is a fascist. Certainly, those and other systems can give power to the ones who adhere to those political and/or economic philosophies. But they are not where the real threat, the most basic and fundamental threat, lies.

The threat to liberty is not determined by where a person or philosophy falls upon some modern version of a left-to-right political spectrum. The fundamental threat to liberty comes from neither the modern leftist nor the modern rightist. Instead, the threat to liberty comes from where it has always come. It comes from the authoritarian and the busybody. It comes from those with a fundamental need to tell others what to do. It comes from those with an unhealthy interest in the lives and activities of others. These are the people who threaten liberty. Regardless of party, regardless of political philosophy, regardless of ideology, these folks have always been and always will be threats to liberty.

Just make sure one of those folks isn’t staring back at you from the mirror.

(Via Pergelator.)

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On the regicide of the street

“If you try to kill the King, you better not miss,” said James Woods, and people who should have known better but weren’t allowed to — you know the type — ganged up on Woods for ripping off a character, and a black character at that, from The Wire. Which is all you can expect from people who think the world began five minutes before they were born:

“It’s a line that stands out because it sounds badass. But it’s also a reference to something less than totally badass, a response Ralph Waldo Emerson sent future Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes over a collegiate attempt to refute the supremacy of Plato’s classification of ideas. ‘When you strike at a king,’ Emerson, then a 60-year-old Unitarian minister, famously wrote, ‘you must kill him.'”

I’m fairly certain Emerson is not the original source for this thought, however. We see it in Shakespeare and in Greek tragedy. It is dangerous to challenge power and to fail in the attempt; ask anyone who observed the Year Of The Four Emperors. With that said, I object to the idea that ol’ Ralph Waldo was “less than totally badass”. He possessed a clarity of thought and expression long gone from the modern conversation. I enjoyed reading him for the same reason I enjoy reading Samuel Johnson — the sense of arguments mustered, marshaled, and marched into battle. Emerson had what we used to call a masculine mind, before that became a slur. He was Thoreau’s superior because he rarely allowed himself to argue from emotion. That’s why we still hear about Walden long after most schools have banished Emerson from the rolls; Henry David’s loosely-constructed, frequently hypocritical, hugely self-centric mode of thinking suits our current cadre of pseudo-intellectuals far better.

I wasn’t around for the Year of the Four Emperors, a mere 1,850 years ago, but considering its beginning — Nero, tried as a “public enemy,” in absentia no less, took his own life — you have to figure that times had to be seriously rough between the ascent of Galba and the arrival of Vespasian, and the two guys who attempted to play the part of the Emperor in between.

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Coming soon to a ballot near you

The Secretary of State has accepted for filing a ballot initiative which would expand Medicaid coverage in this state:

Attorneys with Crowe & Dunlevy today filed a Medicaid expansion ballot initiative Friday on behalf of two Oklahomans, one from Tulsa and one from Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma Secretary of State Michael Rogers’ office posted the seven-page filing online [pdf] and distinguished it as State Question 802. The ballot initiative would make a change to the Oklahoma Constitution, thus requiring 177,958 signatures for it to make the ballot. Signature collection would extend for 90 days after any challenges have been resolved or addressed.

The money quote:

This measure adds a new Article to the Oklahoma Constitution. The new Article would expand Oklahoma’s Medicaid program to include certain low-income adults between the ages of 18 and 65 whose income does not exceed 133 percent of the federal poverty level, as permitted under the federal Medicaid laws.

Several states have already done this in response to the ACA; Oklahoma balked because the potential costs seemed daunting. Jonathan Small of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, in an email received here:

Rather than spend Good Friday contemplating one of the most consequential events in history, as most Oklahomans did, expansion supporters engaged in a political stunt. The petition is meant to bluff state lawmakers into passing an expansion program they know is a bad idea. Lawmakers should stick with their gut and continue opposing this plan. The Obamacare Medicaid proposal is a massive expansion of welfare that will add 628,000 able-bodied adults to Oklahoma’s welfare rolls and could put working families on the hook for a state share of $374 million annually.

Make no mistake, expanding Obamacare in Oklahoma will result in the state seeing the same problems as every other state that has gone down this path. Enrollment levels will be far higher than what expansion supporters predict, at significantly higher costs, to achieve significantly lower outcomes than promised. If you doubt it, just look at states comparable to Oklahoma that expanded Medicaid. Cost overruns in Arkansas have topped $1.4 billion, and Kentucky’s ranking on health outcomes remains low, despite Kentucky spending far more taxpayer money on Medicaid.

Expensive stuff, health care. Still, I’ll probably sign the petition when it’s presented to me, simply because if we’re going to do something like this, it would be nice to have the electorate sign off on it.

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Hold your dung, knave

We got your penumbra right here, pal:

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors rejected a permit for an apartment building that would have included 15 below-market units, because on the longest day of the year, it would have cast a shadow over about 18 percent of a nearby park — for just about 100 minutes.

“Below-market” units? In San Francisco? Why, the townsfolk will never stand for it.

They will, however, contort themselves silly for this:

And if you look at this special map of San Francisco, printed in Forbes, you can see all of the more than 100,000 instances of reported findings of human feces in public since 2001, most likely by some of the city’s 7,500 or [so] homeless residents. Because of the concentration of incidents in certain areas, you can see the phenomenon casting some shadows of its own.

They’d rather you take a dump on any random street than take one upstairs on Folsom Street.

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Wallternatives

Will this work? Nobody knows, because nobody dares try:

What no one is discussing is that maybe the “solution” is not just to build a wall or stop the funding of the caravans by people who have an agenda to change the demographics of the USA (not to actually help poor people) but to cut crime and corruption in these countries.

This can be done: but when someone tries to do it, the SJW/human rights types oppose this solution.

For example, [Philippine President Rodrigo] Duterte has cut crime here, but the SJW (and the Catholic bishops) are busy demonizing him (often by taking his jokes/irony out of context) because hey, stopping criminals by rough justice is evil…

my answer: Yes, it is evil: better to convert the criminals to embrace Jesus.

But from a pragmatic standpoint, rough justice works. Here the “carrot and stick” approach to drug gangs and drug addicts who were fueling the crime wave enabled the ordinary folks to live in safety. But alas too many of the politicians are using the corrupt and inefficient court system to get away with their crimes, and even when they are arrested, the international human rights types take their part and pressure the courts to let them go.

Yes, Mrs. George Clooney, I am talking about you.

Pragmatism, so far as I can tell, is dead; the important thing today is to support the delusions of the ruling class. (At least, that’s how the ruling class sees it, and who are we to point out that they’re completely farking insane?)

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Yeah, that’s the ticket

President Biden? It could happen, sez Jack Baruth:

Mr Biden could declare himself the leader of a newly-formed centrist party, something along the lines of Teddy Roosevelt’s Progressive Party, and run for president that way. Could he beat Kamala and Trump? I don’t see how he couldn’t do it. Virtually every Democrat outside California would vote for him, as would many disaffected Republicans. Ah, but whom could he select as Vice President? Feel free to offer your suggestions, but I think the smartest and most strategic thing to do would be to offer the job to … Michelle Obama. Let the Democratic media machine chew on that. If nothing else, it would make for great television.

And however touchy-feely Joe gets, he’ll almost certainly get his clock cleaned by Mrs O.

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Dead guy loses election

It wasn’t quite a landslide, though:

In Edmond, voters chose to elect Dan O’Neil as their next mayor. On the ballot, O’Neil faced off against deceased mayor Charles Lamb.

Lamb, who died in December at age 72, had filed for another term shortly before his death. His candidacy was promoted by some Edmond residents who opposed other candidates for mayor, with the hope that if he was re-elected, the city council would pick his successor.

O’Neil garnered 4,385 votes, or 67.01%, while Lamb had 2,159 votes, or 32.99%, according to unofficial results.

The late Mr. Lamb’s showing was better than the last dead candidate I recall, circa 1998:

Remember this name: Jacqueline Morrow Lewis Ledgerwood.

The estimable Ms Ledgerwood filed in July to become a Democratic candidate for the United States Senate, hoping to unseat Senator Don Nickles (R-Okla.), the three-term incumbent. To borrow a line from an earlier, more famous, candidate, if nominated she will not run, and if elected she will not serve. The reason for this is simple: she’s dead.

Ms Ledgerwood, it seems, died soon after filing for the office, but not soon enough to meet the deadline for having her name removed from the ballot. So in the Democratic primary on the 25th of August, her name appeared alongside the names of three other wannabes. A chap named Don Carroll garnered about 46 percent of the votes, not enough for a majority, so the top two candidates will face each other in a runoff on the 15th of September — Mr Carroll and the late Ms Ledgerwood, who bagged about 21 percent. Jerry Kobyluk, who finished third, complained loudly and bitterly, but the secretary of the state Election Board would not be moved.

In the general election in November, Nickles won 76 of 77 counties. Haskell County, in the east, is generally reliably Democratic, to the extent that any part of Oklahoma is reliably Democratic; its voters, about three-fifths Democratic, backed the Democratic presidential candidate every year from 1976 through 2000.

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Franchise declined

Every now and, I hear someone asking why they don’t make voting mandatory.

This is why:

There’s a City Council election today. I am not voting. I don’t particularly like any of the candidates and I don’t think any of them will fundamentally make anything better; our city government is pretty broken and I think that’s just how it’s gonna be. I’m also still disgusted over the amount of time (and money) spent to try to suck up to the reality show hosts in the (vain, as it turned out) hope of getting them to name this town their “makeover town.” (Not that that would have done much, I think, other than bring a couple of ritzy and possibly short-lived small businesses to town, and very likely things I would not really patronize.)

Remember when we used to scan the ballot looking for the lesser of two evils? These days, often as not, you wind up with the evil of two lessers.

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This old man, he played none

As opposed to some others we could name, who possibly never stopped playing:

To accuse an old man of making an “unwanted sexual advance” is redundant, because any sexual advance made by an old man is “unwanted.” The number of people — male or female — who want to have sex with David Boren is exactly zero. Certainly there was no reason for him to imagine that his sexual advances toward a 21-year-old college boy would be welcome. Rumors about Boren’s sexuality have circulated for decades; during his 1978 Senate campaign, he quite literally swore on a Bible that he was not gay. This latest accusation is perhaps not completely surprising, and the question is whether it will trigger a #MeToo avalanche of accusations by other men with whom Boren has been intimate, “unwanted” or otherwise. And I suppose some people will blame this situation on “homophobia,” arguing that if it weren’t for the repressive and intolerant forces of hate, David Boren never would have been forced to conceal his attraction to men, blah blah blah.

Except that’s actually irrelevant. Society never forced Joe Biden to conceal his heterosexuality, and yet Biden is now having a #MeToo moment because he was too stupid to realize that the number of women who want to be groped by an old politician is exactly zero. And having seen photos of David Boren in the 1970s, I’m not sure that anyone — male or female — ever found him sexually attractive. Maybe when Boren was in his 20s or 30s, he could have scored with a college guy, but probably not. However, if he did, it would have been easy for Boren to keep it secret, because no guy would ever want to admit that publicly.

There was a brief discussion on Twitter yesterday about some article or other that described Biden as “touchy,” which to normal people means “the equilibrium of the apple cart is constantly threatened.” Perhaps they meant “handsy.”

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The triumph of humor, maybe

Ukraine may be electing a professional comedian to its presidency:

A comedian with no political experience has won the most votes in the first round of Ukraine’s presidential elections, according to exit polls.

They say Volodymyr Zelenskiy — who played the president on TV — received 30.4% of the vote, with current leader Petro Poroshenko second on 17.8%.

The two — who have expressed largely pro-EU opinions — are set to take part in a run-off election next month.

Ex-PM Yulia Tymoshenko appears to have been eliminated on a projected 14.2%.

(Previous coverage here.)

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Give a fence

G. K. Chesterton, from 1929:

In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”

Less than a century later, the wisdom of this approach has been either forgotten or deliberately shoved down the memory hole:

Ideas such as electoral reform, a single-European currency, or the removal of the monarchy, for instance, are all intellectual enthusiasms rarely shared by ordinary folk. All three ideas seem to make perfect sense until you think long and hard about what the hidden virtues of the previous irrational arrangement may be … We could add to this list of expert failures of judgment the promotion of low-fat diets, the support for free movement of labour and the promotion of diesel cars. All were trumpeted as self-evidently good ideas by experts, because experts all shared the same narrow frame of reference. So yes, diesel cars did reduce CO2 emissions: the experts were right there. But widespread use of diesel in cities came at a terrible cost in particulate pollution, which lay outside their model.

There is a huge cast of well-paid people, from management consultants to economic advisers, whose entire salaries are earned by ripping out Chesterton’s fences. Interestingly, these are mostly male-dominated industries (men are more prone to narrow systematising than women). Silicon Valley, which is overwhelmingly male, is possibly the worst offender of all. The very fact that a fence is over ten years old, requires atoms in its manufacture or creates employment for human beings is reason enough for them to want to get rid of it.

Which is not to say that the women can’t keep up with this foolish enterprise:

But in politics, the gender-divide falls away. Elizabeth Warren wants to get rid of the Electoral College. Nancy Pelosi wants to lower the voting age to sixteen.Nancy Pelosi wants to lower the voting age to sixteen. Hillary Clinton wants to regulate the financial industry in a whole new way, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wants to get rid of capitalism, passenger jets and cow flatulence.

The patron “saint” of so many of these miscreants is Edward M. “Need a lift?” Kennedy, and he descended to the right hand of Moloch as he was eulogizing brother Bobby. Said Ted:

“As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him: ‘Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not’.”

It would never have occurred to Bobby, to Ted, or to any of those women, to wake up for a moment and realize that there’s almost always a damn good reason why not.

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Gallows poll

The problem, declares the Z Man, is that we’re just not hanging enough people:

There’s pretty good evidence to suggest the prolific use of capital punishment raised western intelligence and provided the spark for what we think of us as the birth of modernity. By reducing the population of stupid people, the smart fraction increased. This led to a larger smart leisure class, who could then work on technological advances to overcome scarcity and the problems of human organization. More smart people made it possible for more smart people, so a cascading effect gave us modernity.

We know we are getting dumber now, and that may be due to the elimination of capital punishment, or possibly the fact we have eliminated the lethal consequences of stupidity, so the stupid are proliferating. Just as social media makes it possible for the proliferation of grifters, it’s possible that the end of capital punishment has allowed for the proliferation of sociopaths. In another age, these people either would have been killed in their youth or killed soon after reaching adulthood. Their reproduction would have been limited.

In short, what we may be experiencing is the result of western society evolving down a cul-de-sac, like the Panda. The proliferation of smart people resulted in a new social morality that permitted the flowering of a class of sociopaths and also a growing stock of stupid people on whom they can feed. It’s as if the Enlightenment unleashed a pathogen that made the left-handed into status-seeking sociopaths and the right-handed into high-trust altruistic suckers. In time, the former has come to dominate the latter in the West.

I’m not sure we need a whole new cadre of fresh hangmen, but it seems likely that the reduced penalties for stupidity have allowed it to flourish. At the Dawn of Man, if you messed up, you almost certainly wound up dead. Nowadays, we have a plethora of fixers to rescue the foolish from their folly. Maybe if we just hanged them.

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Quote of the week

Severian, on a day when he “got nothin'”:

Fox News informs me that ‘Former Obama White House Counsel and Clinton-linked attorney Greg Craig may soon be charged by the Justice Department for engaging in illegal unregistered overseas lobbying.” Heh. Of all the lies we’re required to believe these days, perhaps the most galling is that Democrats are ever held accountable for anything. One of three things is going to happen to Greg Craig: 1) nothing, or 2) so much nothing that he’ll immediately be hired as an “expert analyst” by CNN. The only other possibility, 3), is that he already let something slip that Herself might consider damaging, in which case he’ll mysteriously commit suicide by shooting himself six times in the head, then jumping off a gorge for good measure.

I’m betting on 2), though, because the banana republicification of America is substantially complete. Coonman is still Virginia’s governor, Fairfax is still the Lt. Gov., Chiquita Khrushchev is still in Congress (even though it’s clearly in the Party’s best interests to kangaroo-court her ass into outer darkness asap), and so on.

Heh. “Chiquita Khrushchev.” This is even funnier than the cattle of Devin Nunes.

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Fault where fault is due

The only person I’ve ever blocked on Y!A is a tedious little crybaby who every two or three days horks up something like this:

Why do people give in easy and allow the powers that be to win?

for instance like all the recent changes that have happened on youtube, which are bad, which i hate … big corporate powers have taken over youtube and turned it into a politically correct corporate site.

yet, people are just accepting it and hiding away, they are not fighting back hard against the corporate tech companies but hiding away like rabbits … too many people online just going with the flow instead of kicking up an outrage like they should.

this, the way people are acting online is really angering me … why won’t people do something to save sites like youtube?

As is often the case with tedious little crybabies, he’s fixed the blame somewhere other than where it ought to be:

At first, I got angry that Youtube is imposing viewpoint discrimination on its users — but then I remembered, Youtube’s parent corporation, Google, does business all over the world, and has to try to satisfy the delicate sensibilities of everyone from effete European Union bureaucrats to vicious Iranian theocrats.

And it’s occurred to me that much of the free-wheeling dynamism of the internet we used to know and love has vanished precisely because of this globalization of authority. Unfortunately it has meant a trend toward forcing content generators in the world’s freest societies to be accountable to repressive police states despite never having come under their jurisdiction, nor ever planning to.

I suspect that our TLC here isn’t at all concerned with the suppression of ideas: what’s got his panties wadded is the possibility that he might have to start paying for music and movies. YouTube’s handling of copyright matters is fumbling at best, but its squashing of discussion is horribly efficient. Google is fine with this, of course; it’s consistent with their current corporate motto, “Don’t be even-handed.”

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Forward to December

So saith Severian:

Ace of Spades’ morning report links to a piece on Taylor Swift’s “political awakening.” Y’all know how much I hate tooting my own horn, but I covered this way back when. Ok, ok, so I mostly just linked that for the picture — never let it be said that I don’t give the people what they want — but seriously, how hard is this to grasp? Swift is now 30, which, since pop tarts age in dog years, means she’s got two generations of younger-hotter-tighter competition coming up behind her. She’s going to hit the wall at Mach 3 no matter what, so since she’s nothing if not a very savvy operator, she’s getting out in front of her inevitable transformation into a “serious artist” (read: BMI above 15). Give it another two years, and she’ll be openly embracing those bisexuality rumors, and by the time she’s 40 she’ll be touring with the Indigo Girls. Sic transit gloria mundi. At least she can keep herself in the spotlight a bit longer by being an obnoxious Leftist (BIRM, I know).

And technically, she’s not 30 until the 13th of December, but that seems like an awfully small nit to pick.

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Poles swapped

The public square is now more of a trapezoid, and the edges are barely edgy anymore:

In 1985, a bookstore refusing to sell a book was no big deal, because there were plenty of bookstores that would sell it. The FCC regulated television and radio, but only for smut. The notion of corporations controlling the public space and un-personing dissidents was beyond fantasy in 1985.

Just think about that for a second. The people in charge will go to the mat to defend pornography freely available on-line, but scream bloody murder if Facebook lets someone talk about biology on their platform. Scientists are losing their careers, while pornographers are celebrated. It’s close to a 180 degree change from thirty years ago. In 1985, retailers were still keeping smut in the back room, away from the general public. Video rental places had a secret room for porn. Today, porn is so ubiquitous no one notices.

That’s the truly bizarre thing about this time, relative to not so long ago. The man in 1985 worried about the IRS and maybe the FBI abusing their power. The only worry about corporations abusing their power was the environmental stuff or maybe screwing their employees in some way. Today, you have much more to fear from the banks and tech giants than the government. If the state becomes aware of you, so what? If Google suddenly takes an interest in you, it might be time to go into hiding.

What makes this age even stranger is that it just sort of happened. In fact, it happened so quickly, most people have yet to upgrade their thinking. Conservatives think they are fighting for liberty and opportunity by defending global corporations. Libertarians are literally writing love letters to global business. Progressives continue to think of themselves as the defenders of the middle-class, despite making war on it. Antifa, an anarchist operation, is entirely funded by billionaires and corporate donors.

I look upon this as further corroboration of the notion that we’re all living in a giant simulation, and that up to this point, the actual players, however many dimensions away, have managed to persuade us that they don’t really exist.

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I’ll just get a Uber

Sure you will:

What about avoiding or getting away from a disaster? If a major hurricane were to threaten your neighborhood, or flooding, or an earthquake or volcanic eruption or other natural disaster, how will you get away from the danger zone without transport under your control? What’s that? You’ll trust City Hall to take care of you? That’s a good one! Tell that to the New Orleans residents who waited to be evacuated before Hurricane Katrina … in vain. In a disaster, Big Brother will do what’s easiest for Big Brother — and that is to control your movements, and force you to stay where you are, or go to where he can control your movements and your destiny. Independence is the last thing on Big Brother’s mind. If he finds it more convenient to restrict or even eliminate voluntary travel at any time, he can and will do so — whether you like it or not. You’ll be treated as a subject, rather than a citizen.

Now imagine this: storm-surge pricing.

Where it’s going to get ugly, though, is when they start calibrating the optics: so far as the politicians are concerned, if 50 survive and 950 perish, those fifty who were able to save themselves will get their Pariah Badge, and will be denounced for not being poor and helpless. It will be at that exact point when you can pronounce the end of the Republic.

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Ending up somewhere

Early 1980s. We’re carpooling to downtown for the night shift, and the freezing white stuff on the road made traction mostly theoretical. On the far side of a shortish bridge, I began to slide. In a second or two, I was facing away from the destination. Not much later, I’d turned that 180 into a 360. But there was more to come, and finally I ground to a halt after 540 degrees of spin.

My passenger clapped. “Do that again!”

How about “no”? Does “no” work for you? These days, nobody ever embraces “no”:

Combine primitive fetish-psychology with the learned helplessness of intersectional prosperity, and you get the fascinating, terrifying spectacle of people with all the time, money, and power in the world doing stuff that wouldn’t make sense to a child 100 years ago. Just as the African who doesn’t crash his car taking a turn at 70 miles an hour figures he’d better take the next turn at 80 just to be safe, morons like Jussie Smollett, Hillary Clinton, Coonman the Babykiller, Incitatus Ocasio-Cortez, and all the rest figure that, since they didn’t face any consequences from their last caper, they’d better double the ante for the next one.

One of the few Africans I know wouldn’t drive like that; perhaps she’s been here too long.

For instance, Smollett wasn’t setting up some White guys to take the rap. It wasn’t a frame up. It’s so terrifyingly stupid that you almost can’t get your head around it, but the truth is, he never bothered thinking that far ahead. He really, truly seems to have assumed that the Chicago PD would, you know, kinda … just … give up once they couldn’t find the mythical MAGA guys. It never occurred to him that every Media outlet on God’s green earth would be hounding CPD 24/7, 365, for not bringing the perpetrators of an outrageous hate crime to justice.

So, too, with Hillary Clinton. It’s not that she thinks she’s invincible. She knows she’s not, because she keeps getting caught. But since she doesn’t face any consequences for getting caught, she figures, fetish-style, that the only way to appease the gods is to pull an even bigger, dumber caper. It’s the only explanation, just like it’s the only explanation for Elizabeth Warren’s DNA test — this woman is 100% metaphysically certain that she’s not an Indian. She cannot possibly have believed it, not for one single second. Moreover, she knows she’s been running her Fauxcahontas scam since at least the mid-1980s, and that it’s a matter of public record — all someone has to do is wander down to the courthouse and pull the paper.

The Greener New Deal, available online before you know it, will include a Federally-guaranteed mortgage on the Moon and a redefinition of “infanticide” to exclude anyone under the age of 36 months. HRC, from someplace that isn’t a jail cell, will endorse it gladly. Enthusiastically, even.

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With whom do I side?

There are things about which Roger and I agree, and some other things about which we don’t. This is to be expected. What I wouldn’t have expected is the similarity between my results on this political quiz and his:

Results to Who Do I Side With? political quiz

The most notable difference, apparently, is in strength of support: Roger’s top nine all finished at 80 percent or above, whereas none of mine broke 60 percent. In the absence of another explanation, I’m just going to assume that he cares about his issues more than I do about mine.

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Upstate, downstate, all around the state

I rate this [warning: autostart video] just slightly less likely than granting statehood to Guam:

New York state Sen. Daphne Jordan is dividing the Empire State into two sides — literally.

Jordan introduced a bill last week that would study the feasibility of breaking New York into two separate states: Upstate and Downstate. The two regions have long been at odds with each other on many things — politically, economically and even football teams (Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets or Giants).

The study would be conducted by a 15-person working group led by the state comptroller, currently Thomas DiNapoli, and it would look into “the process and ramifications of separating upstate and downstate New York into two separate states.”

Jordan, a Republican, represents Senate District 43, in the southern section of “North New York.”

(Via Fark.)

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Tell it like it never was

“The course our city runs is the same towards men and money.
She has true and worthy sons.
She has fine new gold and ancient silver,
Coins untouched with alloys, gold or silver,
Each well minted, tested each and ringing clear.
Yet we never use them!
Others pass from hand to hand,
Sorry brass just struck last week and branded with a wretched brand.
So with men we know for upright, blameless lives and noble names.
These we spurn for men of brass.”

It was true in the days of Aristophanes, and it’s true today: you don’t waste the good stuff if you can do nearly as well with the wretched crap. This explains the contemporary demand, and demand it is, for Fake News:

The fire hose of fake news, conspiracy tales, and selective reporting is also an economical way of solving the propaganda issue. Instead of spending time and money coming up with credible narratives and high production values, the ideological state can simply reduce the verity of all social information to zero. If everyone comes to believe everything they hear is false, the critics of the regime have no way to convince the public.

Think of it this way. Imagine JFK was actually assassinated by a secret cabal within the government. In order to avoid detection they could find a sucker to set up for the crime, but there’s the risk someone could notice defects in the narrative. What if the sap they selected has an alibi or some physical evidence contradicts the story? The other choice is to try and erase all evidence pointing to the conspiracy, but this is hard to do. There’s always a few bread crumbs that point investigators in the right direction.

A third option is to create and promote a wide range of conspiracy theories that are plausible, but lack proof. This not only muddies the waters, it attracts the sorts of people who seek attention. Before long all of the Mike Cernovich types are promoting their favorite theory of the crime. Not only does this obscure the facts of the crime, it makes the real theory seem just as nutty as the fake conspiracies. The very act of trying to identify who killed Kennedy disqualifies the person doing it.

And this works at all levels, from the not quite sublime (“Trump is a Russian asset!”) to the utterly ridiculous (“Michelle Obama is a man!”) The end result is always the same: Who cares? And life goes on the way it does.

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Stat!

In 1976, Congress passed something dubbed the National Emergencies Act, granting extra-Constitutional powers to the President in times of, um, emergency. The story since then:

31 of the 59 national emergencies declared since the act’s passage are still in effect. The other 28 were declared taken care of by the president himself — not one was revoked by an act of Congress. It’s entirely possible that this particular emergency should be revoked, based on any number of reasons that sound good to me. But the idea that the current congressional leadership has suddenly developed an appetite for its congressional duty of crafting, debating and passing legislation for which senators and representatives may be held accountable by their constituents is, as the column notes, ridiculous.

This isn’t a new problem, as James Q. Wilson’s 1987 article from The Public Interest describes. Even without a Lexis-Nexis search, I can bet I’d find exactly zero complaints from these new stalwart defenders of congressional prerogatives about the 13 emergency declarations during then-President Obama’s two terms. There are days when I wonder which is worse — that these twerps expect people to believe what they say or that they don’t.

It doesn’t matter if you believe, so long as you comply. Besides, we have always been at war with Eastasia.

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The inversion climate

Donald Trump takes your alleged values, and spins them around 180 degrees:

Let’s say some Worcestershire sauce gets into the embalming fluid down at the local morgue and we’ve suddenly got a zombie outbreak on our hands. Supposedly the Army has a plan for this, but the psychological impact alone would, I think, render this situation exceptional by Carl Schmitt’s standards. Who decides then? President Trump?

We’ve already got LGTBQ+ groups yelling that it’s homophobic to want to stop the Iranian mullahs from throwing gays off skyscrapers, because Donald Trump says that throwing people off skyscrapers because of their sexuality is bad. The “give peace a chance” crowd wants to nuke Damascus, because Trump wants to get our troops out of Syria. You know as well as I do that if Donald Trump cured cancer, the entire American politico-cultural establishment would call it “lymphoma genocide” and give themselves Pulitzer Prizes for reporting on all the poor oncologists Trump has put out of work.

Do you really want to stake your family’s lives on the notion that all levels of government will obey the President’s orders?

Not a chance. They’ll happily let you die if it means Trump somehow loses. What they won’t do, of course, is sacrifice their own lives.

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More dumb Klux

This guy wields a mighty lynch pen:

The editor and publisher of a local paper in Alabama is under fire for penning an editorial calling for mass lynchings by the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).

The opinion piece ran in his print-only newspaper, the Democrat-Reporter, last Thursday, Goodloe Sutton confirmed on Tuesday.

He said Democrats were going to raise taxes and that the KKK should hang them and raid Washington DC.

Alabama lawmakers have called for Sutton to resign.

Since Sutton owns the paper, resigning would be a bit more problematic than it would be for politicians who make similarly dumb statements.

And it’s not like he’s always been the villain:

The newspaper won national acclaim in the 1990s for its investigation of [Marengo] county sheriff Roger Davis for political corruption, despite his widespread popularity and death threats to editor Goodloe Sutton and his family. Davis and two deputies from the office were sentenced for misuse of public funds and other crimes, including intimidation tactics used against the Suttons.

Still, calling for the Klan to save the day is an amazingly tone-deaf and, yes, dumb idea, even if the Democrats are going to raise taxes, which they most certainly are.

Maybe this is just a reflection of growing up in Linden, Alabama, which before 1818 was known as Screamersville.

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Up where you belong

Politicians are horrible, says Roberta X, but there’s a reason for their existence:

I can think of no group of persons who would more deserve to be saddled with the dull, boring, messy and imperfect process of running government. I don’t much trust them to do it well, or to stay inside the limits they are supposed to observe — but better them than some finer group of men and women, who would be taken away from doing useful and productive work in other fields of endeavor.

Think of a Congressbeing of whom you disapprove — would you want that person driving an 18-wheeler on the same highways you take? Designing a skyscraper or passenger aircraft? Doing brain surgery?

Hey, Alexandria Whatzername-Hyphenate was a pretty decent barista, or so I’ve heard.

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