Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Homeward Bound

Paul Simon is retiring from touring. We drove up to Greensboro, N.C. and saw him in concert. We caught one of the last U.S. venues. Here's one of the songs he performed in the encore.

It is the music we used to listen to when we were dating. Her old vinyl albums and a little record player. Back when all the future was in front of us and I hadn't even decided to go to Parris Island yet.

“Music is a language that doesn’t speak in particular words. It speaks in emotions, and if it’s in the bones, it’s in the bones.” ― Keith Richards

OK, this is a cheap shot

But it's a funny cheap shot.

When Hollywood made films about evil crony capitalists

The Queen Of The World and I watched a really interesting film the last movie night.

First, it was a good flick, with a good script, good acting, interesting characters, and a compelling story.  We give it two thumbs up, and the QoTW thinks it for for a royal command performance.  She remembered the film and picked it for movie night.*

But what I thought was particularly interesting was the choice of villain - a US Senator in the pocket of Tucker's competitors.  The Senator used the FBI and the IRS to go after Tucker's company and shut it down (this story is a little timely, amirite?).

You see, Tucker had designed a revolutionary car, one with enhanced safety features, fuel injection, a padded dash, and a third headlight that would pivot as the car went around corners to light up the road ahead.

And this film wasn't just made in Hollywood - it was produced by George Lucas and directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

Remember, the bad guys are the Senator and the corporations donating to his re-election campaign.  It is best described as a polemic railing against the power of the government when it is directed by big business to crush small, innovative competitors.

But the car was sweet:

You can see the third headlight in the picture.  They only built 51, but 48 are still running.  The film asked the Tucker Automobile Club of America for volunteers, and 21 of those 48 cars appear in the film.  Pretty cool.  Martin Landau was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar and Joe Jackson (yes, that Joe Jackson) was nominated for a Grammy for his composition.

Recommended, especially if you have kids.  This is entirely family friendly, and appropriately subversive.

* She's clearly not just a pretty face, but smart as a whip.  And delightfully subversive, too.  Unexpectedly so for a Queen.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

About sums it up

How long would it take for the police to confiscate every gun in America

It's a trick question, of course - a Trillion dollar "War on Drugs" has led to illegal narcotics for sale on every street corner and an epidemic of overdose deaths.  But let's do a thought experiment here.  The left loves their fantasies of rounding up all the guns, so just how long would that take?

A few months back I ran the numbers and the answer is 3 years.  And that was with all sorts of assumptions about how gun owners would just chill out the whole time.  Whatevez, bro.

Eric Raymond comments on a new article that made the same calculation, and came up with a pretty similar number to what I derived (hey, the numbers are the numbers).  But he did some calculation on the expected rate of violent resistance.  The numbers are pretty stark:
There’s a different way to slice these numbers. Applying the 3:1 force ratio military planners like to assume, this means the number of violently resistant gun owners – people willing to shoot a doorknocker rather than watch their country sink into tyranny – needs to be about 249000.
Is this a plausible number?
This is an interesting approach to the problem - take current military doctrine and calculate backwards to see if you have a plausible input.
The NRA has about 5.2 million members. That’s about 1 in 20 NRA members.
According to the General Social Survey in 2013, about 1 in 4 Americans owned guns. That’s 79 million gun owners, and probably an undercount because gun owners are chronically suspicious of the intention behind such questions. But we’ll go with it as an assumption that’s best-case for the doorknockers.
That means that in order to stop attempted gun confiscations dead on a purely force-on-force level, only one in 317 American gun owners needs to remember that our first American Revolution began as spontaneous popular resistance to a gun-confiscation order.
That's 0.3% of American gun owners.  That's ten times less than the Threepers talk about.

The comments are pretty interesting, with a bunch of Europeans telling people that this is no big deal (Whatevez, bro), and getting hammered pretty hard for it.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Quote of the Day: Vulgarity edition

Lone Star Parson cuts to the heart of the matter about why the elites despise Donald Trump: he's vulgar:
President Trump, vulgar?!? You mean he puts ketchup on his steak and builds GOLDEN TOWERS with his name on them?!? How very vulgar, can't vote for him; so much better to have one of our inside-the-beltway, political class elites run the country.

You know, the same crew who've been country club asset-stripping the country for a couple of decades.
There's more, and it's just as insightful.  RTWT.

Damn. Now that's a vicious dog

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Gustav Holst - The Planets: Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age

The Romans considered Saturn to be the father of the Gods, and their temple to him on the forum was (and remains) impressive.  The temple is gone except for the columned portico, shown in the left of the picture here.

Saturn was a big deal to them, so much so that the state treasury was housed there.  Saturn also had a somewhat associated with time, and the year end festival of saturnalia was a time for revelry and celebration.  This may be a bit odd for the father of the Gods, but today is Father's Day, so what the heck.

Gustav Holst included a movement for Saturn in his indispensable "The Planets" - unquestionably his most famous composition.  It was ironic; according to his daughter he seems to have hated conducting it, but couldn't really avoid doing so.

But the music is great, so happy Father's Day!

This is an interesting listener's guide to Saturn:

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Associated Press: the Democrat's winning strategy

It seems like they're not tired of all the winning they've been through lately:
It’s not one size fits all, with every candidate checking every box wanted by the activists driving the opposition to President Donald Trump and the GOP Congress, and Democratic voters typically aren’t tapping the most liberal choices in targeted districts. But, taken together, the crop of nominees is trending more liberal than many of the “Blue Dog” Democrats swept away in Republicans’ 2010 midterm romp. 
That means voters now represented by a Republican will be asked to consider some or all of the mainstream Democratic priorities that may have been considered “too liberal” in the past: more government involvement in health insurance, tighter gun laws, a path to citizenship for people in the country illegally, reversing parts of the GOP tax law, support for LGBTQ rights.
Ignore that Trump is an effect, not a cause.  Keep focusing on him, Democrats.  It's not eight years of over the top leftie policies, nope, no way, nada, no no no.

Double down of what got Trump elected - this time it will be totally more effective.  Do it again, only harder this time.

Tagged with the post tag "shadenfreude" because, well, you know.

Hat tip: The Queen Of The World, who is not tired of all the winning either.

Friday, June 15, 2018

And I Return

It's hard to completely disconnect anymore. It has to be a conscious choice. For a week, I used my phone one a day to check in with home and nothing else, then I turned it off and put it away. No email, no text, no news. The world didn't miss me, it seems no worse, or better, than when I left.

But I am better.

Sore and tired perhaps, but better.

Damned small cars

Should have brought a friend's car with you to hold up the other end.

Thoughts on the FBI Inspector General's report

You don't become an FBI Agent if you're stupid.  You are trying to catch criminals, so you have to know how to gather evidence that will be enough to convict.  You know how to turn over rocks to see what scurries away.

And so it's sort of mind blowing to see the sorts of text message discussions that are detailed in the IG report.  Go easy on the Hillary investigation because she's going to be President, that sort of thing.  FBI Agents know that text messages can be used as evidence - they've gathered evidence this way themselves.  So why were they so seemingly careless about doing it themselves?

The only answer that makes sense is that they didn't think that any of this would come to light.  They didn't think that anyone would turn over their rock.

The next obvious question, of course, is which other Agencies have this going on?  Are there, say, texts from EPA employees about "hiding the decline"?  Are there texts from IRS Agents about the Tea Party?

I wrote a long time ago (too lazy to find it in the 12,000 posts here) that Democrats should be invested in good governance because they are the party of big government.  The FBI IG report is a disaster for the Democratic Party because what's in the 500 pages of the report will dribble out, chinese water torture like, over weeks and months leading up to the election.  What's there is dirty, although perhaps not criminal.  That dirt will stick to the brand of governance in general, and the party of big government in particular.

It will be made worse by the inclination of the Democratic politicians to down play this as not important.  People want their government to be honest, and hearing the Usual Suspects saying that this isn't dishonest will make them look dirty.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

An armed robber tried to carjack two cars in Florida

Both drivers pulled out their guns and stopped him:
Police say a man who tried to carjack two people was thwarted after the victims both pulled out guns to protect themselves.
According to Fox 30, Jacksonville police officers arrested 36-year-old Christopher Raymond Hill, charging him with strong-arm robbery, carjacking with firearm or deadly weapon, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and trespassing.
Don't mess with Florida.

Top shelf snark



I notice that Google has no doodle for Flag Day.  No surprise.

A Father's Life - A Brigid Guest Post

One thing I made sure was working properly on my last visit out was Dad's chair that lifts him up to the standing position, then, he can lean into it and gently have it sit him back down (and I have to say the DeBeers Diamond  "three months salary" marketing staff have nothing on the folks that sell furniture for older folks).

He loves it, one more thing to help him stay in his home. He recovered from his stroke a few years back better than anyone thought, but he now has a hard time standing and sitting without a little help.  Every morning, he gets up and gets settled in it and reads the daily message from "Our Daily Bread" and then the Bible.  That's something he's done every day since retirement after his morning work out (Dad was a Golden Glove Boxer and still has a very strict exercise regiment that included swimming and Nautilus at the Y with my Step Mom well into their 80's).  Then it's time to get dressed and get about enjoying the day. At 98, he's had some setbacks, and been hospitalized a couple times for infections, but he seems to bounce back pretty well.

But we had one scare, he woke in the middle of the night after dreaming of a home break-in (the house was secure) and called 911.  He then couldn't get out of bed due to a sudden dizzy spell and police broke the door down. They found him having a medical issue and got him an ambulance to the hospital. Bless them for their response and handling of him, as it was really scary for him.  He now has 24-hour care, still refusing to live with family who'd love to have him.

My favorite photo of Dad, taken when he was 92.

Actually, I checked the chair out when he was sleeping in one day, it's quite comfortable and seems to be built better than some of theexpensive yuppie furniture that I used to own.

But dang, I was hoping for an auto-launch feature that would get me airborne. 

Initiate Launch Sequence!  (that's it??)

The family room, where the chair is housed, has barely changed since I was in sixth grade.  My parents built it onto the house over what was most of our huge cement patio.  We took a vote as a family one year when I was in grade school. Vacation to Hawaii with the kids (the parents had already gone on their 25th anniversary alone) or add on a family room?  The kids decided it.  Family room!  We can play!  We can make noise.  We can spill stuff!  We can take the TV set completely apart with tools while they're at the grocery store (oh, dang, busted)

It has the previous living room carpeting down over the original harvest gold linoleum now and the drapes have been updated.  But much is unchanged. The 1970's fixtures for the fluorescent lights that Dad crafted by hand. Still there. That Mexican hat on the Wall?  A VERY embarrassing River dance gone South episode from some tap recital of mine.  The barre built into the wall where I did my ballet warm-ups was removed and replaced with paneling.  It was there under the kitchen window that Mom once took out with a golf ball from the backyard when that was the back window to the house. Fore! (hey, I didn't know Mom knew that other word!)

On the walls are funny tin signs and Montana art.  On another wall are numerous awards and mementos from the community and  Uncle Sam, every single member of our family - Mom, Dad, brothers, sister, serving in Defense, Local or Federal Law Enforcement or the Armed Forces, with the Air Force and Navy battling it out for the best space. And the picture of Jesus, which has witnessed slumber parties, ping pong games (we'd set the table up inside in the winter) Loony Tunes, and probably cursing during that 1983 Minnesota-Nebraska college game.

The couch is new, but the quilt is one my Mom crocheted in the 70's.  There is another one, but it sits in my linen closet at the Range, where I can occasionally hold it, smell the scent of Chanel No. 5 that only exists in my memory.  It's where I can remember her hands working away on it while we kids watched westerns on TV and tried to outshoot Marshall Dillon with our little cap guns under the watchful eye of our Lord.
We've made just a few changes in the house.  The main bathroom, tub and shower were outfitted with handles and bars and a shower chair for ease of bathing. The waterbed was replaced with a quality regular mattress that makes it easier for him to get out of bed, but with a heated mattress pad so it's warm through the night.

The small bath by the family room, though, was in dire need of help.  It was always the "utility" bathroom, old faded paint, bare window, no storage at all, and small and hard to get around in as there was nothing for him to hold onto if his balance or strength waned.  But it's the one he uses the most.

Before he died, Big Bro took care of the construction and I took care of the  paint and the decorating.
Still, with a full-time home health aide I arrange and lawn service that comes weekly I am happy he can stay in his home. He originally said he wanted to move in with me when my Step Mom was diagnosed with cancer and I bought an old money pit of a big house on some property with a view of a small lake, a single story, no steps, "mother in law set up" outside of town, the original "Range." I hoped he'd be happy there. But she went into remission, with great thanksgiving, but was then diagnosed with Alzhemers.

He cared for her in his home through that, until her death, years more than we expected, but not easy years for him.  But as she was his cross, she was also his salvation and he refused to put her in a nursing home, even when she acted out in anger against her children, not recognizing her own life, but somehow, always recognizing him.

But after she was gone, he changed his mind. His Mom was from Indy, and he enjoyed it there, but he didn't want to leave where he's lived all these years.  He wanted to stay where his memories are, good or bad, in his own church, in that old house.  I  understood and sold the place I had bought, at a loss, but one I gladly bore.

This is the home in which his memories reside, in every furnishing that's 30, 40, 60 years old.  There have been other houses, for summer vacations and the old family home in Montana, but this modest little place was always the center of the family.  Outside, is the bed of my Mom's rose garden, replanted with other flowers now, yet still containing for him, those pink and red and coral buds and blossoms, long after they've fallen to dust, no more dead to him than the hands that tended them, the drops of blood they sometimes drew.
In that family room, he sits in his recliner and watches his favorite sports, while around him are the artifacts of loves never lost,  triumphs and defeats, as well as the living laughter of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Not one of them are related to him by blood, but by the strongest bond - family.

My room at home is virtually unchanged and that was not by my request, but his will. Photos of family and family and extended family all around.  The rainbow I painted on my walls in junior high. Dad said I could, but I had to use leftover paint which is why my rainbow is every shade of totally tacky 1970's paint we had.  (yes, we had rooms painted those colors!)
There is no view. There used to be a view of beautiful mountains, but they are hidden from where we sit by tall, big box marts. He refused to sell when they literally bought up several blocks, RE-zoned residential and commercial, so we look out the windows to the vast walls of a commercial business, their parking lot lights illuminating the place like Attica Prison during a break. Curtains keep the light out at night, sort of.  Dad realizes the value of the home just went to zip, but he doesn't care. It's his home,  it's our home.  It's where we lived, and it's where he will pass, hopefully and quietly in his favorite chair, his Bible open and a can of cold beer waiting for when the game is called.

He knows his days are short, we all do. But he's very happy, lousy view and all. The pastor comes and gives him communion regularly.  His neighbor's have him over for meals and their children come and play board and card games with him.   I fly out as often as I can, becoming an expert on the cheap air fares (how many stops?)  My step brother and his wife drive three hours to take him to lunch. My cousin Liz drives up from California several times a year (her partner's family live an hour from Dad).  Liz and I oversee his bills and such, removing that responsibility after he sent thousands to shyters that prey on the elderly.

But he's happy. He has friends, good ones, but new ones, as all of his original group has passed on. He still works out each day, including an exercise bike and he eats very well with a hot meal daily from the sweet ladies that are his home health aides and the snacks and small meals I leave for him in little freezer containers between visits.
Around the house are small sayings, quotes that mean things to him, verses from the Bible.  "This is the Day the Lord hath Made, Let us Rejoice and Be Glad in It" is one that always makes me think of him. Each day is a gift from the Lord, he says, and I can't disagree.

I can't say what the future will bring, but one thing my brother and I both agreed on before he left us. Dad has outlived two beloved wives and two children (he and Mom lost a baby when they were first married) and I'm going to fight to make sure he does not experience any more loss of what he holds dear.

- Brigid

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Ah, but the year is yet young

Us: This is so goofy we've reached peak 2018.

2018: Hold my beer.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Self Driving Car software is worse than you think

This is kind of jaw dropping.  The cars cannot avoid ramming stationary objects at high speed:
A natural reaction to these incidents is to assume that there must be something seriously wrong with Tesla's Autopilot system. After all, you might expect that avoiding collisions with large, stationary objects like fire engines and concrete lane dividers would be one of the most basic functions of a car's automatic emergency braking technology. 
But while there's obviously room for improvement, the reality is that the behavior of Tesla's driver assistance technology here isn't that different from that of competing systems from other carmakers. As surprising as it might seem, most of the driver-assistance systems on the roads today are simply not designed to prevent a crash in this kind of situation.
This is bizarre, and I strongly recommend you read the entire article.  You would think that this would be a basic capability, but since the system was put together from parts that evolved over time, this is something that seems to have dropped through the cracks.  It's highly doubtful that this is the only think that can kill you that has dropped through the cracks.

Holy cow, what a mess.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Wow, the New York Times is trying to get Trump re-elected

The Times put it above the fold on the front page, which says they think it makes Trump look bad.

[blink] [blink]

After Napoleon's fall, the old Bourbon monarchs were restored to the French throne.  They combined viciousness with incompetence in equal measure.  It was said of them that they had learned nothing and forgotten nothing.

You'd wonder if the Times realizes that a lot of people voted for Trump because he said he would stand up to bad trade deals, but actually you shouldn't wonder.

Dear NYT: the Re-Elect Donald Trump 2020 Campaign looks on and smiles.

Jonathan Leshnoff - Symphony 2, What Is Man?

Libertyman sent this as a suggestion.  My selections of classical music run to the older and traditional, because that's my taste.  I mostly don't care for most modern classical music - it's too often amelodic and dissonant.

But Jonathan Leshnoff is an interesting modern composer, and very widely performed.  My guess is that it's because he goes against the grain of modern composition.  I'm still not sure if it's my cup of tea, but uniquely for modern classical music, it's listenable.

Thanks to libertyman for an interesting suggestion.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

From the place that Great Britain used to be

45 years ago

Via Chris Lynch, we learn that this is the 45th anniversary of the greatest horse race in history, the 1973 Belmont Stakes.  Not only did Secretariat blow away the field, the race resulted in what I believe is the greatest sports photograph of all time.  Photographer Bob Coglianese positioned himself perfectly to capture the moment as Secretariat beat the field by 31 lengths.  The composition is superb, giving both the sense of unbeatable speed and the total domination of what is likely the fastest horse of all time - and what is still the fastest 1.5 miles on dirt ever recorded.  He beat the rest of the field by almost 3 seconds (!).

Chris has video of the race, which is simply astonishing.  More background on Secretariat and the race here.

And the Queen Of The World likes Justified to win today, although not by 31 lengths.  She picked him for both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, and picked him for the Triple Crown from the begining.

Friday, June 8, 2018


Time to go out on the boat!

Or not.

More Climate data tampering

This time it's tidal gauges - the devices that measure whether sea level is going up or down.  We're told that Global Warming is making the seas rise and we'll all be flooded out.  Strangely, it seems that some of the reported rise is because the databases no longer record data from sensors that report that sea levels are falling:
In performing todays’ analysis, I visited again the PSMSL and the SONEL web sites, and I discovered how the “adjustocene” progresses within intergovernmental projects.
  • PSMSL does not link any more the Fremantle tide gauge information to the SONEL page of the PERT GPS dome.
  • SONEL, that proposes the computed absolute sea level rises by correcting the relative rate of rise from the tide gauge with the subsidence rate from the GPS monitoring, does not propose any more the absolute rate of rise negative for Fremantle.
If you look at the images of Figure 2, with the same time window for the online graph, with reference to two years ago, the negative absolute sea level rise of Fremantle has disappeared, similarly to the negative absolute sea level rise of a Japanese tide gauge.
As I've been complaining about for nigh on a decade, the data have been fiddled.

NTSB report: Tesla autopilot responsible for fatal crash

It accelerated into a concrete wall:
The National Transportation Safety Board has released its preliminary report on the March crash that killed driver Walter Huang in Mountain View. The report provides a second-by-second description of the events that preceded Huang's collision with a concrete lane divider. 
The report confirms that Autopilot was engaged ahead of the crash, and it appears to confirm that a navigation mistake by Autopilot contributed to Huang's death.
Are you willing to trust your life to a huge software program that nobody really knows how it works?

Thursday, June 7, 2018

US Government: Hacking commercial jets "only a matter of time"

Hard to argue with this:
US government researchers believe it is only a matter of time before a cybersecurity breach on an airline occurs, according to government documents obtained by Motherboard. The comment was included in a recent presentation talking about efforts to uncover vulnerabilities in widely used commercial aircraft, building on research in which a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) team successfully remotely hacked a Boeing 737.
If DHS is working on this - penetration testing combined with working with the vendors on a fix - then this is really good news.
The documents, which include internal presentations and risk assessments, indicate researchers working on behalf of the DHS may have already conducted another test against an aircraft. They also show what the US government anticipates would happen after an aircraft hack, and how planes still in use have little or no cybersecurity protections in place.
I'm not opposed to looking for security holes.  In general, everything is vulnerable, especially if nobody has spent much time on looking for the holes.  What disturbs me is when people refuse to look, or make fixes when someone else looked.

This program seems to be pointed in the right direction.  It gets ugly when an airliner's computers go haywire.

Lousy Security finally costs a company some sales

A year ago I wrote about the incredible lack of security in CloudPet toys, a set of holes so wide that someone could turn the "smart" toys into recording devices to spy on your kids.  A year later, no security fixes have been released, and retailers are pulling the toys from their catalogs:
Amazon on Tuesday stopped selling CloudPets, a network-connected family of toys, in response to security and privacy concerns sounded by browser maker and internet community advocate Mozilla. 
The move follows similar actions taken by Walmart and Target last week. And other sellers of the toy are said to be considering similar action. Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment but CloudPets have vanished from its website.
Let's see: Amazon, Wallmart, and Target - that reduces your addressable market a bit now, don't it?  And this is hilarious (if entirely expected):
Spiral Toys, the maker of CloudPets, did not immediately respond to inquiries.
Not sure how big a hit this is to their bottom line, but their combination of incompetence and lack of diligence in fixing this deserves a big hit.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The most compelling D-Day post today

Old Air Force Sarge has it.  Go, read.

You're welcome.

"Hold mah beer", Military edition

I'd think that stealing an armored personnel carrier is the express lane to Levinworth, but maybe that's just me.

The Persecution of the Deplorables

To the commission chosen to superintend the sacrifices. From Aurelia Ammonous, daughter of Mystus, of the Moeris quarter, priestess of the god Petesouchos, the great, the mighty, the immortal, and priestess of the gods in the Moeris quarter. I have sacrificed to the gods all my life, and now again, in accordance with the decree and in your presence, I have made sacrifice, and poured a libation, and partaken of the sacred victims. I request you to certify this below.
- Certificate of required sacrifice to Emperor Decius, 250 AD
Haec pictura ab Wikipedia
The Roman Empire was massive, and even in the disastrous third century stretched from Scotland to Egypt.  Unlike the old Republic of four centuries before, it was not a single ethnic nation-state.  Instead, its 50 million subjects were from many different groups, all ruled by a single state apparatus.

Quite frankly, even in the 3rd century that state apparatus was pretty effective.  There were surprisingly few armed rebellions against Roman rule - the fighting was mostly civil war style battles between rival claims to the Imperial throne.

What held this vast and diverse population together was not a shared history or common language, but rather a shared acceptance of Roman political institutions as, if not just, then at least a damned sight better than the alternative.  Key to this acceptance was recognition of the office of Emperor as the head of the Roman world.

This is an enormously important point, and you really can't understand the remarkable success of the Roman Empire without knowing a bit of the official state propaganda about the office of the Emperor.  Patrick Wyman goes into this in some depth in episode 5 of his great Fall Of Rome podcast: Just How Screwed Up Was The Late Roman Empire?

You can't understand the persecutions of the Christians without understanding the propaganda about the Emperors.  The persecutions weren't about religion at all; instead, they were a mandatory, public acknowledgement of acceptance of that Imperial propaganda.  It was a matter of state security, you might say, and it's not accidental that you didn't see these persecutions during the height of the empire (Trajan through Marcus Aurelius), but rather during the difficult years of the third century when it looks for a while that things might fall apart.

The fly in the ointment, as you well know, is that the Christians did see this as religious, and a lot of martyrs filled out the list of saints.  Their clinging to their guns and religion was seen as subversive to the state in its hour of need.

We see this happening today.  Roseanne Barr's show was canceled because she sent out a supposedly racist tweet.  Disney's stated reason for killing their top show doesn't have a lot of credibility, because they also canceled Tim Allen's Last Man Standing show a year back.  It was their second most popular show at the time, and he hadn't made any comments like she did.  It was just here today, and gone tomorrow.

And does anyone remember Brendan Eich, the former head of the  Mozilla Foundation?  Gone, because he donated to a political campaign as a private citizen.  Beyond these shores, we see more of the same.  Tommy Robinson has been jailed in England because he speaks HateFacts™.  The EU just tried to keep a nationalist Italian government from forming - the reaction to the Italian election was so dictatorial that even George Soros tried to wave the EU off.  Seventy percent of College students support suppression of free speech on Campus.

It's all quite strange, unless you think about the Decian Persecutions.  The Global Elites are feeling threatened all over, just like the Roman Emperors did in 250 AD.  The elections of Donald Trump, Brexit, and populist revolts across western Europe show that the "glue" holding together the current Western Progressive Empire is breaking down.  The diverse populations that once accepted the rule of the Global Elite are now restive, and questioning the legitimacy of that elite.

And so the people must sacrifice to the Emperor or pay the consequences.

That means publicly mouthing the required platitudes about globalism, progressivism, diversity, and the rest of the pantheon of Imperial propaganda - this is to demonstrate the citizen's allegiance to the anointed rulers.

And those who don't - who, say, have a popular TV show that showcases conservative or libertarian or populist ideas running counter to that propaganda?  They have to go.  The elites must make an example of them, to influence weaker minds that might be wavering from full public support of the official Imperial propaganda.

It won't work, of course, any more than it worked for Decian or his successors.  What it did then was to harden the resolve of the persecuted Christians and build support for them among their non-Christian neighbors who were revolted at the senseless cruelty of the persecutions.  It is doing this today, as the legitimacy of the global elite and its imperial propaganda is rejected  by a growing number of Deplorables, world wide.  We know this because we see the persecutions, which are a result, not a cause.

The Dinosaurs sniff a change on the wind, and roar their defiance.

UPDATE 10 June 2018 16:08: Lots of examples of official and unofficial persecution here.

Thoughts on the anniversary of D-Day

We've come a long way in 74 years.  This is what a united American nation did back then:

Decades of intentionally divisive politics have led us to where we now are, a disunited and fractured American empire:

There is no common identity, no shared polity.  There's only a winner-take-all sense of strife between groups who increasingly have little in common with each other.

More thoughts on this here.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Call of the Beguiled - A Brigid Guest Post

The sun was setting, leaving wisps of lavender ribbons across the sky; clouds moving up the mountains, strands through which I could see the last phase of the moon. The bobber moved slightly, a fish, or the wind? I had seen one huge fin slicing the surface of the water, it was either a big carp or Nessie. I was tempted to jerk the line, but I waited. This is what patience is all about, being wholeheartedly engaged in the process that's unfolding, rather than yanking the line to see what's at the other end. Patience is good. I've been going full tilt for so long that it's time.

I learned to fish, up here on the Gray's river, within eyesight of an old wooden covered bridge that's still here today. The waders and equipment are still stored in Dad's garage if the urge to go out on the water, arises. Steelhead fishing isn't for the impatient, or the truly hungry, for we would come home without a fish more times than with.

I've had more than one female friend say"  "Aren't you bored?"
Then there was the salmon fishing,  early mornings in the back of a boat, making the treacherous trip across the Columbia River Bar, glad we went with a more expensive ride out to sea, rather than the one handed dude with a boat named "Roll of the Dice". On such trips, we usually brought home a fish but that was after being drenched with water that shot up against the bow like a geyser, the colors of the sea's rainbow glittering on the hull, as only slow deliberate movements are made, lest one get tossed into a white, hissing eternity.

I've fished both saltwater and freshwater salmon, the freshwater moving in from the oceans of their life into the rivers to spawn. There's nothing like it, that fixed spot in space when you think maybe you've snagged a rock on the bottom and suddenly the whole bottom begins to move and shake and you've got a freight train on your line. While your vision is clouded with bacon wrapped salmon and the hickory smell of the smoker firing up, your muscle memory is having a boxing tournament with a fish as big as a 3 year old, jumping out of the water, dancing on his tail like a washed out celebrity, then diving back into the water.

The male salmon is, as they say, all show and no roe, cocky and overambitious, The female, though, not inclined to bite, when she does will liein with a heavy and placid stubbornness that begs you to start something. Like arguing with any female of strength and persuasion you had either be prepared for a long drawn out test of will or simply get out the scissors, cut the line and admit THAT was a mistake

Bored? Never.
Patience isn't stressed, rushed; it is a steady strength we apply to life as we face it, be it staff to train, forms in quadruplicate or aging parents. As I waited, the call of a loon brought me back into the moment and I thought things happening back at home, rather than why I came here. And then the sound of it reminded me. "Can you hear that?" I whispered to the old dog sitting by my side, poised to strike in case I reeled in a pound of bacon. "That" being the sound of a small bass jumping on a small span of water on a planet spinning through space. This is what fishing is all about, not catching anything for supper, but simply a time with nature to be savored, when delight imbibes through every pore with the gossamer cast of a line. I really don't care if I catch anything tonight. I just enjoyed the communion of elemental waters.
This is why I hated the modern version of camping. Huge motor homes, where roughing it means doing without ESPN. Neighbor's closer than found in any subdivision. My camping was a fire built with magic and swear words, burned wienies and good beans, wood smoke and bug spray, paper plates that fell apart. My camping was the sound of a hoot owl as the sun sets, itw dying rays reflected in a cup of beer as a black lab snoozed happily by the fire. I'm here, for those times when I don't wish to sacrifice the wonder of the present moment to work, society or noise. A loner always, I want a broad margin to my life. I can sit in the fading sunlight of a doorway between two trees from dinner til dark fall, rapt in a revere in undisturbed stillness and solitude.

As dusk settles in, I wonder about the lapse of time, the evening seeming like a mere moment, time like a season in which I grew like flowers in the night.
Philosophers talk about contemplation and the forsaking of work and out here I realize what they meant. The day advances as the light comes into it, it's morning, and now it's evening, and nothing memorable is done. My days are not minced into deadlines of a ticking clock or the perusal of things no longer breathing. Let mornings be lazy, afternoons pass by in long walks or a flip of a fishing pole and if the day becomes wasted in the warm rapture of a sunset as nature sings its song in my ear - what's the harm?
Poets talk about "spots of time," but its only been flying and on the water where I've experienced eternity compressed into a moment. A moment where in an instant you can see your whole life and make a choice. No one can even explain to you what this "spot of time" is until your whole horizon is a fish and then the fish is gone. I thought of one large fish up in Alaska. I shall remember that fish when I'm an old lady. When I brought him up and saw the sun glinting off his back, rainbow diamonds of light against the waves, I was so enamored of him I couldn't even take a breath and in that instant, before he was gone time stopped. Only then did it hit me what I had lost.

I thought back to fly fishing in Montana, watching the fly fisherman standing, rod in hand, in the rushing water. His movement the languid strokes of a lover, making the most beautiful movements, a ballet of line and wind and hook. A ritual of the chase, the cast like a tease to the unsuspecting trout, content in their world, until he pulled them into his. As the trout took the bait, the man would smile, that quick knowing smile, and pull with a quick flick of his fingers and hands, like light strokes on a keyboard, touching yet pulling, desire planted, hook in place. Then after reeling the trout in, he ever so gently pulled the hook from the mouth of the trout, gently cradling her in his hand, a tender goodbye. Without a sound, just a quick unemotional tickle of her belly, he released her back downstream. He never looked back.

Catch and Release.

This was the outdoors. Splashes of daylight that recharged what you came here with. This was our outdoors. Unidentifiable sounds in the darkness that made you hold your breath at the bottom of your sleeping bag. A good book read with a dying flashlight, shadows dancing on the wall of a small canvas tent, and the musty smell of freedom and adventure. A quiet prayer to my God over a meal garnered by my own hand and cooked over a campfire.  A time when growth may not be on the surface but may be internal, and the weekend quietly drifts by in the warm embrace of the woods. But even in the woods, any good day must end.

As the last of the daylight seeped out of the sky, I thought back to work, but only briefly, for my mind now is rippled, not storm-tossed. These small ripples of water raised by the evening's wind are the only hint of turmoil in the calm. As the day pulled out of the sky, taking the wind with it, I cast one last time out into the still center of the water. There, utter and complete stillness, holding my breath, because even inhaling and exhaling was like a cacophony. The animals of the day were hunkering down for rest, and the night creatures not quite yet stirring, there was no breeze, no recognition of air even; it was the sound of nothing and everything. It felt like all my life past and present was contained in one space, and I was not just casting into it, I was part of it. Where for just a brief moment in the universe, the clock stopped ticking, and the world hushed.
The last night I went fishing back West I didn't bring a trout home for dinner, my true catch was as intangible as the starlight now playing on the water. I think of Thoreau's words "many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after". To fish it to flirt, to flirt, we fish, dancing with fate. Icy water and warm lips, we thirst, we reach with that last translucent breath, closing our eyes to softly bite the secret barb. We are drawn in with a soft gasp of breath, chest softly heaving, as we look into the unknown, up into the eyes that desired us.

This was my catch. Some nights in the woods, where I was able to pull the barb of civilization from my lips and swim rapidly to where the wild called to me. Where my heart is always at home.

Analysis of the Supreme's "Bake me a cake, hater" ruling

I am not a lawyer, but Rick is and sent this interesting analysis (published with his permission):

Analysts are idiots.  I keep reading how it was a "very narrow win" for those touting religious liberties.  I read the opinion.  Plus the three separate concurrences and the dissent.  Let me tell you what is really going on. 
The majority opinion was written by Kennedy, who not coincidently was the Justice that Gorsuch clerked for and also is the one that had the swing vote in the case recognizing gay marriage.  Bear in mind that the case on appeal about the baker was an appeal of a decision written by Gorsuch while sitting as a circuit court of appeals judge.  In that opinion, the freedom of religion rights were most definitely NOT recognized in a narrow manner. The supremes voted 7-2 to uphold the lower court decision.  
Had Gorsuch merely joined in Kennedy's opinion then there would have been five justices agreeing with the narrow view of the case.  Alito and Thomas wrote their own concurrences that in essence agreed with the reasoning Gorsuch used when in the lower court.  So why did Gorsuch not join the majority but instead write a concurrence?  Simple, had he joined with Kennedy, then there would have been 5 votes--a majority. That would have created binding precedent. By concurring, he left only 4 justices agreeing to the majority opinion.  Therefore it is NOT binding precedent.  Gorsuch made sure that the decision could be written his way the next time it comes up--AFTER Trump appoints another justice of course.
The one thing that I would add to this inside baseball take is that Gorsuch may have inside information on whether one of the other justices (Kennedy?) might retire at the end of this session.  In which case, Rick's last paragraph snaps into sharp focus.

Monday, June 4, 2018

The real reason for the Second Amendment

"But Borepatch," I hear you say, "why would the people need arms against a government of the people, and for the people, and by the people?"  Why, indeed?

Hey, remember that "Scientific" survey saying 97% of climate scientists think we're causing global warming?

Never mind:
In this 2012 peer-reviewed study published not long after Cook’s ridiculous 97% claim, only 36 percent of geoscientists and engineers believe that humans are creating a global warming crisis. Published in Organization Studies, a majority of the 1,077 scientists who responded to the survey believe that nature is the primary cause of recent global warming and/or that future global warming will not be a very serious problem.
Notice those words: peer-reviewed?

Saturday, June 2, 2018


G7 Summit is convening in rural Quebec, and farmers have been asked not to manure their fields.  Srlsy.

The jokes write themselves, don't they?

Friday, June 1, 2018

Meanwhile, On London's Gun Free Streets

Here's the link. How long does it takes for a society to unravel?

The collapse of governmental legitimacy in the UK

Peter has a long and well thought out post concerning the jailing of UK activist Tommy Robinson:
At the time, Robinson's supporters tried to claim that his arrest and (suspended) sentence were violations of his right to free speech.  They were not, as the judge made clear.  He violated British laws, he ignored common practice concerning interfering with defendants and/or witnesses in a criminal trial, and he arguably jeopardized the defendants' right to a fair trial by his conduct.  I have no issue with the sentence given him.
Peter is correct and puts together a strong argument for following long established social norms - which is after all, what the legal code is supposed to encapsulate.  You should go RTWT because I am going to pose a number of questions, all pointing to the same meta question: has the UK government lost its claim to legitimacy, and if so, do any of these long held social norms still apply.

Question 1: Is justice being served in the UK?

Technically, it is a "Court of Law", but when we speak in terms of governmental legitimacy the view is broader.  It must be a Court of Justice if society is to keep to the old bargain negotiated 1000 years ago.  Back in the Dark Ages, "justice" was the responsibility of the people - specifically their extended family.  Clan feuds were the norm - and this has echoed faintly down to our own times with stories of the Hatfields and McCoys.  Government was weak then and so justice was rough.  The deal that was negotiated between the states and their subjects over the next 600 years was that the State would administer justice, but do it as fairly as it could, making blood feud unnecessary.

Is justice being meted out in Her Magesty's Scepter'd Isle?  For those who haven't been paying much attention, there have been dozens of arrests (perhaps hundreds) of adult men who have gang raped under age girls.  This has occurred in many locales throughout the land.  It has been doing on not for years, but for decades.  The number of victims is not reported, but is certainly in the tens of thousands.  In each case, the State knew what was happening.

As far as I can tell, none of the State officials - local, county, or national - have lost their jobs over this.

Remember, the deal was that the State would enforce justice fairly so that blood feud would no longer be needed.

Question 2: Who is speaking the truth here?

Sharp-eyed readers will note that I referred to Robinson as an "activist" while Peter refers to him as "Alt-Right".  I used this journalistic technique intentionally, partly because it highlights what the left-wing media does all the time when referring to Left Wing terrorists like Earth First! and the like.  But it also cuts to the heart of this question.  If we don't look at who the messenger is and whether we like him, and instead look at who is speaking the truth, things start to look grim for the UK establishment.  The Government certainly did not speak the truth, and in fact covered up these crimes for decades.  The media did at least publish the stories when they came out, but there is a strange soft peddling of the story.

The alleged perpetrators are described as "asian males", as if some of them were from China or Korea.  This leads to more questions, as we try to peel the onion to get to, you know, the truth.

Are the "asian males" actually Pakistani immigrants?  Are they all muslim?  Is their muslim identity a key factor in why they chose English girls as victims?  To simply ask these questions is to answer them.

The Government officials damn themselves by their silence here.  It's actually worse - one single person in a position of power (a Shadow Cabinet Secretary - the Cabinet of the out of power party) actually did speak the truth here, and was promptly sacked.

It seems very unhealthy that the only people who appear to be speaking the truth here are what we're told is an "Alt-Right" fringe.

Question 3: Is the root cause of all these crimes the fact that Europe is really bad at assimilating different cultures?

This is the Question That Must Not Be Asked, whether in Leeds Crown Court, in Cologne or Berlin, or in Paris.  If Europe does a particularly poor job at assimilating immigrants from other cultures into a collective Body Politick, then the Europe-wide governmental policy of massive immigration from the 3rd World assumes a very different perspective.

You might get, you know, mass instances of gang rape.

This is a particularly ugly question, and it the question that all European governments (and their lap dog media) are trying desperately to suppress.

Because if the State will not protect the public, then the whole deal is off.  Blood feud may be the only option.

Question 4: Is this worse than the Child Abuse done in the Catholic Church?

Peter has written eloquently about the crimes that were committed by many, many priests, and covered up by their bishops.  I myself lived outside Boston when the scandal broke, and saw Cardinal Law recalled to Rome (and promoted) by the Pope himself - a more stark depiction of institutional rot is hard to imagine.

But now consider that membership in the Catholic Church is voluntary.  If you don't like their church, you are free to go to a different one.  But if you don't like your local UK Council (local government), you have to move away from your family and friends.

I guess you could try to vote them out, but what are your chances making this an election issue when there's a chance that some Judge will throw you in jail for talking about it?

Question 5: Is Justice being served in the UK?

Yes, I already posed this question, but want to bring it back into focus after the discussion above.  Certainly some people think that the answer is no:
Even if everything done by the police or the court was perfectly legitimate and reasonable, the problem is that many people in England believe that Tommy Robinson is being unjustly persecuted by his government. The fact that he was arrested so shortly after his successful Day for Freedom event, where he gathered thousands of people in support of free speech, strikes many as a little bit more than a coincidence.

This is what a collapse of legitimacy looks like.  The answers to the questions are more or less irrelevant; the fact that they can be posed without being dismissed out of hand is the point.  Societies are remarkably resilient: Adam Smith famously said that there's a lot of ruin in a country, and Roman political and social institutions outlived the fall of the Western Empire by a century or more.  But that was because everyone more or less agreed that those institutions still deserved support even though the Emperor had been replaced by the Rex of the Goths.

That's not we're looking at here.

Things get ugly when the government, as the Chinese say, loses the Mandate of Heaven.  We are seeing political signs pointing to this all over the place: the election of Donald Trump, BREXIT, the waxing of nationalist political parties across Western Europe, the alliance in Italy of left-wing and right-wing nationalist parties.  Everywhere you look the populations are rejecting the existing governments.  Each of the governments are desperately trying to suppress this rejection.  And so the air is going out of the legitimacy balloon.

But remember, a millennium of expectations do not go softly into that good night.  The deal was that blood feud would be replaced by the State using its monopoly of force to ensure justice.  What happens when a big enough portion of the population thinks that the deal has been broken?  How big does that group need to be?

I certainly don't have answers to any of these questions, but the answers are not important.  What's important is that the questions can be asked and not be rejected out of hand.

UPDATE 1 June 2018 12:42: Via Brock Townsend, I see that I'm not the only one who sees things this way.