Sunday, January 31, 2021

Dad Joke XXI

Why is it a bad idea to have a wedding in the winter?

Someone might get cold feet. 

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Vince Gill - One More Last Chance

The Party of Youth and New Ideas has appointed the ever youthful John Kerry to be Climate Czar.  His Czarness is introducing new ideas to address the challenges of our age, most notably his remark that the UK Climate Summit is the World's "last best chance".

We've heard this song before - actually over and over.  Remember Al Gore's warning that we have ten years to save ourselves from Global Warming?  That was in 2006.  Ah, but this is one more last chance.  There's a country music song about that.

Vince Gill needs no introduction to music lovers.  Front man to Pure Prairie League in the '70s, super star in the '80s and '90s he has 21 (!) Grammys to his name.  This video is just plain fun, with a cameo by George Jones riding a John Deere.

One More Last Chance (Songwriters: Vince Gill, Gary Nicholson)

She was standing at the front door
When I came home last night
A good book in her left hand
And a rollin' pin in the right
She said you've come home for the last time
With whiskey on your breath
If you don't listen to my preachin' boy
I'm goin' to have to beat you half to death

Give me just a one more last chance
Before you say we're through
I know I drive you crazy baby
It's the best that I can do
We're just some good ol' boys, a makin' noise
I ain't a runnin' 'round on you
Give me just a one more last chance
Before you say we're through

First she hid my glasses
'Cause she knows that I can't see
She said you ain't goin' nowhere boy
'Til you spend a little time with me
Then the boys called from the honky tonk
Said there's a party goin' on down here
Well she might've took my car keys
But she forgot about my old John Deere

So give me just a one more last chance
Before you say we're through
I know I drive you crazy baby
It's the best that I can do
We're just some good ol' boys, a makin' noise
I ain't a runnin' 'round on you
Give me just a one more last chance
Before you say we're through

Friday, January 29, 2021

7 Types of People At The Range

This is a few years old but I just ran across it.  I have to say I LOLed a couple times.


Although I must say that I've never been muzzled as horrifyingly as they show here. Yikes!

Dad Joke XX

 What's the best way to talk to giants?

Use big words.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

The Paths to Secession

It looks like a national divorce will be very difficult to avoid.  On one side is the political establishment who look like they stole an election and who seem determined to dominate and impoverish the working class.  This attempt to dominate has been going on for decades, as American manufacturing has been off-shored and millions of illegal workers have flooded the labor market.  This combination of cheaper foreign and domestic labor has fattened corporate bottom lines but it has hollowed out entire regions (c.f. the "Rust Belt").

The Biden Administration looks to be dialing this up to 11, perhaps because they fear the 2022 elections when redistricting will eliminate a bunch of Democratic House seats.  Or maybe they think that after stealing an election they don't have to respect the traditions of unity and governing in the interests of all citizens.  But the agenda is radical indeed, not just banning oil drilling on federal lands but preventing oil drilling at all in the country.

Doubling the price of gasoline is a massively regressive tax.  Combined with the loss of millions of jobs, it's hard to see how those on the losing end would want to stay in a union with a party who they suspect did not legitimately win the election, and who they seeing as governing illegitimately.  And so to the "What comes next" part of the question.  What will come next will be very, very messy.  You see, we're not divided along "Red State/Blue State" lines, we're really all mixed together.

This is a map of the 2020 election returns by county.  The size of the circles represents the number of votes for Joe Biden (blue) or Donald Trump (red).  What you see are very few states that are almost all one color or another.  A few, yes, but not many.  And so to the breakup scenarios.

The Slovenian Option

On June 25, 1991 the province of Slovenia seceded from Yugoslavia.  The Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) invaded the province but were defeated in a shockingly short 10 day conflict.  Slovenian police blocked key road junctions and blockaded JNA barracks.  The JNA forces never were able to establish unit or territorial cohesion.  You could see something similar playing out in, say, West Virginia.  Even though it is only an hour or so from Washington D.C. most of the state is very rough terrain.  Local sheriffs would likely be able to block passage to unfriendly forces.  The Slovenian option is the cleanest option, but is also the most limited - a fairly cohesive population (almost all red, almost no blue) combined with difficult terrain make this unlikely for most of the country.

The Croatian Option

 Fighting in Croatia actually started before fighting broke out in Slovenia, when Serbs opposed to Croatian independence pre-emptively seceded from the province of Croatia.  Things escalated and by the summer of 1991 it was a full scale shooting war between the JNA and the Croatian forces.  This was no 10 day war; fighting continued into 1995 and much (perhaps most) of the ethnic Serb population became refugees.  We might be able to term this the "Texan Option", where multiple enclaves of Blue voters exist in a sea of Red voting neighbors.

The Sarajevo Option

The siege of Sarajevo lasted four years and destroyed much of that city.  It was famous for attacks on the civilian population, and indeed thousands of civilians were killed in the conflict by artillery and snipers, among other horsemen of the Apocalypse.  This is what Civil War would look like in Atlanta, Detroit, Pittsburg, and Denver.  The ugliness here will be proportional to just how hard the Democrats push the working class red state populations - and right now it looks like they want to push pretty hard.

The Mixed Option

Nothing says that these options are mutually exclusive.  Indeed, they would probably all be seen although in different locales.  But looking at the map it's hard to see a stable Blue government outside of New England/Mid-Atlantic and Pacific Coast.

In Yugoslavia something like 150,000 dead and 4M refugees were the result, from a starting Yugoslav population of 24M.  It's hard to extrapolate those losses into what we would see but it's hard to imagine that there would not be many millions - maybe tens of millions - of refugees and hundreds of thousands dead.  That's quite a butcher's bill for today's Progressive Left who seemingly will not just leave half the country alone.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

A note about politeness on this blog

I know that lots of things are up in the air and that emotions are running high.  But please note the message at the top of the comment box: Remember your manners when you comment here.

That also applies to those of you who email me directly. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Dad Joke XIX

I wasn't quite good enough to get admitted to the prestigious marionette school but I knew someone who could pull some strings for me. 

UPDATE 26 January 2021 18:14: Here's a bonus Dad Joke:

Q. Why can't dogs dance?

A. Because they have two left feet.

Amazing origami

What's even more amazing is that the artist is from Finland.  Check them out.

I wish this didn't look so plausible

Six years ago I posted The Inevitability of Secession which laid out how it seemed that the wheels were fixin' to come off the Republic.  Donald Trump - despite the insanity suffered by the left - gave a 4 year breather for this, by directly addressing the legitimate grievances of those most likely to leave the Union.  Now with the Democrats back in the White House and Congress - and the insanity not one whit less than before - it looks like we're maybe going to accelerate into a great national divorce.

As with all divorces, it will be very, very messy.  I have some thoughts on that for a later post but for now this looks pretty prescient.

(Originally posted 20 March 2015)

The inevitability of secession, part 1: Introduction

Chief Justice Salmon Chase was wrong.  In Texas v. White (1869), he wrote the majority opinion on secession:
The Union of the States never was a purely artificial and arbitrary relation. It began among the Colonies, and grew out of common origin, mutual sympathies, kindred principles, similar interests, and geographical relations. It was confirmed and strengthened by the necessities of war, and received definite form and character and sanction from the Articles of Confederation. By these, the Union was solemnly declared to 'be perpetual.' And when these Articles were found to be inadequate to the exigencies of the country, the Constitution was ordained 'to form a more perfect Union.' It is difficult to convey the idea of indissoluble unity more clearly than by these words. What can be indissoluble if a perpetual Union, made more perfect, is not?
Except the Republic did not date its governing principles to the Articles of Confederation, which were clearly a failure - a failure clear at the time, in fact.  Instead, it dated to the Constitution.  That was ratified by all original thirteen States, and it is clear that it would not have been ratified if the States hadn't thought that they couldn't leave if they had needed to.  Indeed, the ending of the Articles of Confederation were essentially an act of secession.

Chase was an interesting bird.  He founded the Free Soil movement - "Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men".  It was an unabashedly abolitionist party, and reflected what was very probably the real cause of the American War of Southern Independence (the "Civil War" to you Yankees).

And Chase wasn't just one of the chief proponents of the political position, he was Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.  One of the charges leveled at the post war Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals was that it was "Victor's Justice"; America had an 80 year history of Victor's Justice, dating back to Texas v. White.

And so secession was ruled illegal.

The problem, of course, is that it was only illegal because "Honest Abe" Lincoln determined that it was better that 10% of the military age population be killed or wounded in battle than a set of States should choose to leave the Republic.  For a while, it worked.

For a while, the Fed.Gov demonstrated that it could deliver - more growth, more prosperity, freedom increasing through the 1960s.  In 1969, the Fed.Gov landed a man on the moon.  It was the high water mark of government legitimacy.

What we've seen since then is an intentional fracturing of the Republic, based on race, gender, and class.  Political careers have been made for those who have done this - Al Sharpton is a particularly loathsome example of this, but he is by no means alone.  Barack Obama may be the most successful of these, parlaying racial themes of guilt and offered redemption into two terms in the White House during which he has thoroughly politicized the Federal Agencies.  Eric Holder was the chield law enforcement official in the land but ran the Department of Justice along racial grievance lines.  If you have any doubts about this, read up on the New Black Panther Party, George Zimmerman, and Ferguson MO.

Obama reflected a small but well organized segment of society determined to fundamentally reshape society.  Unsurprisingly, this hasn't turned out to be popular with much of society who overwhelmingly voted Democrats out of House and Senate seats - historical defeats for Obama's Democratic Party.  The voters gave significant majorities to the Republican Party in both houses of Congress, because GOP candidates ran on a platform of overturning Obama's overreach on health care, immigration, and general weakening of the USA on the international stage.

So how's that working out for GOP voters?
Conservative talk show host Glenn Beck on Wednesday announced he is leaving the Republican Party.

“I’ve made my decision — I’m out,” Beck said Wednesday on “The Glenn Beck Program,” his broadcast on “I’m out of the Republican Party. I am not a Republican. I will not give a dime to the Republican Party. I’m out.”

The host said Republicans lost him with their inaction on both ObamaCare and illegal immigration.

“All this stuff that they said and they ran and they said they were doing all of these great things and they were going to stand against ObamaCare and illegal immigration — they set us up,” Beck added. “They set us up. Enough is enough. They’re torpedoing the Constitution and they’re doing it knowingly.”
Can't really argue with any of that.  And he's not the only one:
Yes, Establishment GOP, you can teach us that you will always lie to us, stab us in the back, humiliate us and crush us; but if you teach us that, be aware we are learning another lesson, too. Not just that "The Establishment Will Always Crush You," but the lesson that There is no hope in any kind of conventional politics for those of us who want better than this Pile of Shit the two parties give us.
And the mutterings have been going on for years:
1. Many inner-circle strategists in the Republican Party machine basically believe the game is over demographics wise. They’ve believed this for a long time. Call them the “We Are Doomed” Machiavellians, trying to make a barely-palatable lemonade out of some very nasty lemons.
2. Privately, personally, they probably agree with everything Richwine and all the rest have ever said. But it doesn’t matter, because, on the strategic time scale, we’ve already crossed the Rubicon.
3. Tactically, short-to-medium term, you could follow the Sailer Strategy and, maybe, squeeze out a few Revanchist wins for Republicans, but it would be counterproductive. The Cathedral (they don’t call it that, of course) would make easy hay of “the hateful white party” in due time, and it would go the way of the Know-Nothings in Boston – permanent obsolescence.
4. So, the best you can do, if you care at all about the long-term survival of anything like even a fake opposition party in out decadent democracy, is to embrace the Latin American / Texan model, an increasingly Brazil-esque society, but one in which, in some places, at some times, you can still get some Hispanics to feel fondly about and vote for the Republicans.
5. To do this, you must absolutely, positively, and, most importantly, preemptively cave to everything you think the Democrats could possibly leverage against you. Which, in practice, means being the volunteer auxiliary PC-enforcer on your own side. It also helps when you’ve got big business on your side.
Salmon Chase had been a member of the Whig Party, which fractured under the strain of abolitionism.  The Republican Party looks like it's headed for the same crack up.

But it doesn't really matter: it's clear that the citizens of this Republic will not vote themselves out of this mess.  The Establishment is united - across both Parties - against the population which holds them in increasing contempt.

So if there's no way to vote in representatives who will represent the will of the People, what remains?  It's hard to see any alternative to the country splitting into two or more parts that will eliminate the Washington D.C. Establishment as something that can impose unpopular laws on them.

Not everyone believes this will happen:
Secession was tried before in the US and it failed. If part of the US tries to secede, the Protestant-Hippie-Communist-Jesus types get offended and their blood lust knows no bounds. They were fine with the death of hundreds of thousands to prevent secession. Then they took property, installed new governments and destroyed local economies for the better part of a century.

Secession in the US is only a long, drawn-out suicide. 
This time, it's hard to see a politician willing and able to sacrifice 10% of the military age population in a War of Secession.  And so Chief Justice Chase's decision is more or less irrelevant.  He had the legitimacy imposed by a victorious army at the point of the bayonet; the current Establishment doesn't have that and doesn't seem to be fixin' to get it anytime soon.

And so if reform is not possible, exit is the obvious result.  The Republic has large parts what are tired of having a left wing ideology rammed down their throats - and an ideology that enriches Wall Street and the big banks, at that.  These people have played the game the way it has been laid out, by the rules that were what everyone had been told were just - one man, one vote.  And that vote clearly is a waste of time.

Okay, then.  But things will not continue as they have.  

Monday, January 25, 2021

Dad Joke XVIII

Did you hear about the buffalo who lived 200 years?

He just celebrated his Bison-tennial. 

Dog Beach

We took Wolfgang and his niece Birdie to the Venice (Florida) dog beach yesterday.  It's a great facility - fenced so the dogs can run free in the waves, and they have hoses to wash the pups off when you leave.  Wolfgang even met one of his German Shepherd buddies from the dog park there.

Birdie liked to play bathing beauty in the pavilion.

Driving back, the pups had a nap - all worn out from playing in the surf.

If you are in the neighborhood with a four footed friend, the Venice Dog Beach is a really fun time.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Dad Joke XVII

What type of shorts do clouds wear?  Thunderwear. 

Friday, January 22, 2021

The thought for the day

You can define "privilege" as not suffering from consequences.  We have watched our "Elites" imposing restrictions on us for decades - shutting down whole towns to "save the Spotted Owl", driving oil prices higher by banning drilling (and the high paying jobs that go with that industry), and most especially opening the borders to drive down incomes - it's not just hourly workers suffering from this now, it's also computer programmers put out of work by H-1B visa holders.

We've listened for decades about how "free trade" grows the economy and that everyone will be better off in the long run if we just keep up these policies - all the while watching whole towns, counties, and states wither as jobs flee and the population sinks into poverty.

In 2016 the people who were sinking into poverty actually stirred themselves and voted Donald Trump into office.  It was finally consequences for the "Elite" class.

And we saw how they reacted - with disbelief, rage, contempt, and ultimately destroying the norms that had sustained this Republic by stealing an election.

Privilege in action, right there.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Tech that rats you out

ASM826 is doing a great job on how the authorities use your cell phone location data to track you.  E.M. Smith wrote about burner phones (among other things; go read if you already haven't).  Here are some other personal technologies that collect all sorts of data on you.

Cell Phone apps, particularly Facebook and Google apps.  These companies are notorious about accessing all sorts of data that they really have no business grabbing (like location data).  Apple just changed the rules about what apps have to disclose about this to you.  Interestingly, Google hasn't updated their apps to do this, even after a month.  

Alexa, Google Home, and other voice-activated devices.  Don't ever let any of these into your house.  I mean, stop and think about it: they have to send all your voice recordings to the cloud for analysis.  How else will they know that you said "Alexa, am I a lazy bum?"  You have no control over what they do with that data and there is evidence that they save this.

OnStar and other online car services.  Combine all the security nightmares of Alexa with all the security nightmares of your cell phone, and then add in the ability of the service to shut down your car.  What could possibly go wrong, amirite?

Ring doorbells (and competitors).  Miguel just posted about this so that I don't have to.  The local Po Po have access to all the video, for all time.

Internal cameras.  I mean, you're kidding me, right?  In the link above Miguel talks about a decent approach to cameras when you're away, but while you're there?

"Smart" TVs.  I've posted a bunch here about the sewer that is "Smart" TV security.  Don't turn this on.

I'll gather my thoughts and put together a Best Practice for personal privacy.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Anonymity, Privacy, Security

Maybe you don't have to pick two out of three.  E.M. Smith has a long and detailed post with a bunch of tips, and will be adding to this moving forward:

The Open Software Community has fought hard to maintain some degree of Privacy, Security (even against Government Agents and TLAs), and Anonymity. I’m still fighting that battle for myself, though at a low level as I’m mostly “out of the business” now. It is VERY hard to fight BOTH the Government TLAs and their laws (while complying with them), while also keeping the Black Hats out. Yet that is what we must do to have Anonymity, privacy, and security.

This is the first of many postings to come on this theme. I’m going to move, step by step, through a re-implementation of all of it (with the possible exception of the Mail Box and Pre-Paid card steps) with the intent of giving enough detail that a Noob can be relatively secure in things like buying a VPN, ordering a pizza, and maybe even leaving a conservative comment on a blog… without fear of a horrible reprisal.

 You should mosey on over and bookmark him.

After ten years, we're all TJIC

I don't think that any single post did more to attract attention to this blog than I Am TJIC, posted this day ten years ago.  TJIC had his guns seized by the People's Republic of Arlington (Mass) for posting about the Gabby Giffords shooting.  There was no better illustration of how vague gun control laws are applied in Blue states.  Now the Congress is promising more of the same* and even Florida has a bunch bad bills under consideration.  Ten years ago it looked like gun rights were ascendent, now it looks like we all may end up like TJIC.  My comment about Heller and MacDonald looks pretty naive right now, as the Republic slips into Banana Republic territory. 

* To answer Sarah Hoyt's question, molon labe is pronounced "moh LOHN la VEH".

(originally posted 19 January 2011)


I've linked several times to posts over at the blog Dispatches from TJICistan.  TJIC is an outspoken (some might say extremely so) advocate of smaller government.  He's also a firearms owner in the People's Republic of Massachusetts.  While he owns guns, it appears that he's no longer allowed to possess any:
ARLINGTON (CBS) – A blog threatening members of Congress in the wake of the Tucson, Arizona shooting has prompted Arlington police to temporarily suspend the firearms license of an Arlington man.
It was the headline “1 down and 534 to go” that caught the attention. “One” refers to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head in the rampage, while 534 refers to the other members of the U.S. House and Senate.

Police are investigating the “suitability” of 39-year-old Travis Corcoran to have a firearms license
Let's ignore for the moment how many people were investigated for making similar comments about George W. Bush.  Let's look at the "logic" being exercised by the Arlington Po-Po, shall we?

They claim that Corcoran is so dangerous that, while he has done nothing more than put up a blog post, he must be restrained from possessing firearms.  However, it appears that it's not worth it for the police to follow him, or stake out his place, or arrest him.


Look, guys, if you think that his speech rises to the level of an actual threat of specific harm to specific persons, he should be in jail.  If you're not sure, then do the leg work to establish whether it is or not.

So, what do we know about the Arlington Police Department?  We know that they're lazy - nobody assigned to watch over this "dangerous" suspect.  We know that they're biased - Arlington is a hotbed of George W. Bush hatred, and the last decade would offer a wealth of examples of similar or worse speech, none of which was investigated.

And we know that they're idiots.  It's not like there isn't a ton of case law on how the First Amendment applies to threats of political violence.  Arlington will lose this, if it ever gets to trial.  Post Heller and McDonald, they'll lose even worse.  Idiots.

But this is, as JayG points out, an attack not only on the First Amendment, but on the Second as well.  An attack of this sort - groundless in logic, and arguably mendacious in nature - is an attack on all.  And so I have to stand with TJIC.

I am TJIC.  So are you.  If you blog, you are hereby authorized to use this image (created by your humble host, using The Gimp, not that it took any skill).  Please link back to this post.

It would be one thing if the law were applied equally to all.  It's not, and it will be applied disproportionately to us, because we hold views considered by some in power to be Double Plus Ungood.  Lefties in particular, this is your moment.  You say that you stand for good governance.  Prove it.

It was not a famous Massachusetts citizen who said We must all hang together, or surely we will all hang separately.  Benjamin Franklin was more circumspect than the men from Massachusetts, such as Sam Adams, who said this:
Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say 'what should be the reward of such sacrifices?' Bid us and our posterity bow the knee, supplicate the friendship and plough, and sow, and reap, to glut the avarice of the men who have let loose on us the dogs of war to riot in our blood and hunt us from the face of the earth? If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!
Eliminationist rhetoric right there.  Clearly, the Arlington Police would have seized his firearms.  What a sad, degraded state for a once proud Commonwealth.  It seems that I got out just in the nick of time.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Dad Jokes XIV - XVI

Yeah, I've been busy - my excuse it that it involve targets at 300 yards.  But I've missed a bunch of Dad Jokes.  Lucky you, they're all here for you now.

Dad Joke XIV:

Dad! Leave me alone!

Okay, how much do you want? [This one hits a little close to home] 

 Dad Joke XV:

I'm like the fabric version of King Midas.  Everything I tough becomes felt.

Dad Joke XVI:

Snowmen always get hurt when they play sports.  The never warm up before play.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Southwest Florida February Blogshoot - update

The private range is not available on February 20, but it is available on Saturday, February 27.  I have a verbal commitment to reserve it - there was a mix up last time but the range will be available this time around.  It will give us not only a 25 yard pistol range but a 200 yard rifle range as well.

Please leave a comment to confirm that you are planning to come on the 27th.

Also, if you are an NRA certified RSO can you please email me with your RSO cert which the gun club wants.

The Venue:

When: Saturday, February 27 at 10:00 AM (until 4:00 PM)

Where: Manatee Gun and Archery Club1805 Logue Rd, Myakka City, FL 34251

Facilities:  Some of our readers are bringing their betters halves (as am I) and the fairer sex will be relieved to know that there are proper, civilized facilities in the club house.  


The Barbarian hopes — and that is the mark of him, that he can have his cake and eat it too.He will consume what civilization has slowly produced after generations of selection and effort, but he will not be at pains to replace such goods, nor indeed has he a comprehension of the virtue that has brought them into being. Discipline seems to him irrational, on which account he is ever marveling that civilization, should have offended him with priests and soldiers.... In a word, the Barbarian is discoverable everywhere in this, that he cannot make: that he can befog and destroy but that he cannot sustain; and of every Barbarian in the decline or peril of every civilization exactly that has been true.

We sit by and watch the barbarian. We tolerate him in the long stretches of peace, we are not afraid. We are tickled by his irreverence; his comic inversion of our old certitudes and our fixed creed refreshes us; we laugh. But as we laugh we are watched by large and awful faces from beyond, and on these faces there are no smiles.

- Hilaire Belloc

It's such a relief that we have the fiercely conservative Republican Party manning the battlements.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Dad Joke XII

The furniture store keeps calling me but I only wanted one nightstand. 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Chain of Command

I posted before about how my Son-In-Law the Chief has been deployed on the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt.  Those of you who have been in the military or its orbit know what this means to his wife and kids.  Military families are in a basic sense the core of our armed forces, and knowing that their families are doing okay is as important to our military as it was to Centurion Macrinus in the Roman Legions.

But it's hard for those left at home.  It's juggling school and work and (yes) a lot of military stuff - military families look out for their own.  My step-daughter is in nursing school with all of this and was turned down for base day care for her young kids.

But then the Chain Of Command kicked in.  My S-I-L the Chief went to the U.S.S. TR's Command Master Chief and explained the problem.  The Base Command Master Chief got a phone call from the TR, and then the Base Day Care organization got a call from the Base Command Master Chief.  Suddenly, the problem was addressed.  The military looks after their own and the Chain Of Command worked brilliantly.  

This time.

Aesop talks about how the Chain Of Command has broken down.  Go, read.  That Chain of Command is broken, from the top.  It's not always this way.  I posted this video years ago, a graduation speech from the Air Force Academy; a lesson on the Chain of Command taking care of what needs taken care of. It's particularly important around 40:15.  

(You should really watch the whole thing which is entirely excellent, but at least watch it to 41:30)

That's a chain of command that's worth a damn.  But that was then, and this is now.  My Son-In-Law saw what needed to be done, and his chain of command supported him.  It's a damn good thing that he didn't need to route this request through this Congress of Clowns in the Pentagon E-Ring.  What a pathetic bunch of losers.  No doubt they will all end up with cushy positions on the Board of Directors of some Defense Contractor.

Like I said, go read Aesop.  He says it differently, but he says it well.

Dad Joke XI

What's blue and smells like red paint?

Blue paint.


Nothing like 2 levels of management above you leave the company to give new meaning to the word "busy".  I'm hopping like the one legged waitress at the iHop ... 

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Dad Joke X

My wife does a great job ironing.  I'm completely impressed


Monday, January 11, 2021

Dad Joke IX

Dad, your jokes are hilarious.  I think I have your sense of humor. 

Well, you need to give it back.  Fill up the tank first.

Donald Trump's legacy

Adam Piggott says something that I have been thinking for a while:

Trump was here to draw aside the curtain and calmly show us that everything that we thought was true and good was only a pile of lies. From government, to the media, to world organisations, to modern thinking and philosophies, to everyday people that you meet on the street, all has been revealed for what it is. The purpose of this time is not to return you to a comfortable life. It is to wake you up and force you to make a decision of whether you will continue to be woken up or if you will willingly crawl in bed with those of the grave. You know it’s not steak but it just tastes so damn good.

In regards to this burden Trump has been spectacularly successful. For a few of us, there is no putting the lid back on this box. The force of Trump has forced people to pick a side. Among your own family, friends and colleagues, you now know where they stand. You even know where complete strangers stand; driving alone in your car wearing a mask anyone?

The reference to the steak, of course, is from the iconic film The Matrix.  I have been thinking for a while that Donald Trump has "Red Pilled" millions of Americans.  The Red Pill reference, of course, if from the film The Matrix:

Back in 2014 I wrote about the "Red Pill/Blue Pill" comparison as it applies to government :

The Dark Enlightenment is a topic that is getting more and more attention, even from mainstream publications.  I've touched on it here ("Barack Obama is a communist" is perhaps the best opening line to a post I've ever written), but an old post from Isegoria (you do read him every day, don't you?) gives the best introduction to the topic, phrased in explicitly "Blue Pill"/"Red Pill" terminology:

The nature of the state
    • The state is established by citizens to serve their needs. Its actions are generally righteous.
    • The state is just another giant corporation. Its actions generally advance its own interests. Sometimes these interests coincide with ours, sometimes they don’t.
The power structure of the West
    • Power in the West is held by the people, who have to guard it closely against corrupt politicians and corporations.
    • Power in the West is held by the civil service, that is, the permanent employees of the state. In any struggle between the civil service and politicians or corporations, the civil service wins.
The extent of the state
    • The state consists of elected officials and their appointees.
    • The state consists of all those whose interests are aligned with the state. This includes NGOs, universities, and the press, all of whose employees are effectively civil servants, and side with the civil service in almost all conflicts.

The last one in particular is a concise description of what is called the "Cathedral" - social institutions not directly subject to the Throne but which work in explicit or implicit ways to support it.

You should click through the link to Isegoria's post which discusses ten specific comparisons.  Isegoria picked these up from Mencious Moldbug, who is typically wordy:

Have you ever considered the possibility that democracy is bunk?

I grew up believing in democracy. I’ll bet you did too. I spent 20 years of my life in democratic schools. I’ll bet you did too.

Suppose you were a Catholic in 16th-century Spain. Imagine how hard it would be for you to stop believing in Catholicism.

You are a Catholic. Your parents were Catholics. You were educated by Catholics. You are governed by Catholics. All your friends are Catholics. All the books you’ve ever read were written by Catholics.

Sure, you’re aware that not everyone in the world is a Catholic.You’re also aware that this is the cause of all the violence, death and destruction in the world.

Look at what Protestants do when they get into power. They nail genitals to the city gates. They behead their own wives. Crazy stuff!And let’s not even start on the Turks…

Now suppose you’re you. But you have a time machine that lets you talk to this 16th-century Spanish Catholic version of you.

How do you convince this guy or gal that the answer to all the world’s problems is not “more Catholicism”? How do you say, um, dude, this Trinity thing—the virgin birth—transsubstantiation… ya know…

So you see how hard it is to explain that democracy is bunk.

And along came Donald Trump and showed millions of Americans what is going on behind the curtain.  That toothpaste isn't going back in the tube.  I expect that's why they hate him so much.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Dad Joke VIII

What do you call an iguana in a snowstorm?  A blizzard

And watch out!  They may be falling.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Dad Joke VII

Some people think my Dad Jokes are childish, which is crazy.  They are obviously full groan jokes.

Juvat, you wanted me to schedule a daily groan for you ...

Cale Moon - She's Got My Heart

If you like real country music - as opposed to the current country "Bro Pop" nonsense - then Cale Moon may be just the guy for you.  I ran across him by accident: he was giving a street concert as I was walking Wolfgang.  He's good.

He also likes Wolfgang (I assume his "Hello, beautiful" was aimed at Wolfgang, not me).   

It's hard to find much information about his music (not sure if he writes his own music, and I can't find lyrics).  But like I said if you like country music like George Straight serves it up, you'll like Moon.

The Queen Of The World suggested this song, and because she's got my heart it's today's musical selection.  Enjoy.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Dad Joke VI

I used to be addicted to the Hokey-Pokey but I turned myself around.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Slouching towards the abyss

The Political Class combines cluelessness and rapaciousness in a way that would have 18th Century French aristocrats scribbling notes:

For decades now, across the board, nearly every policy that’s been pushed by the establishment here in the US and in most other industrial nations has benefited the middle classes at the expense of the working classes. That’s why we’ve gone from the situation in 1960, when one working class income could support a family comfortably, to the situation in 2020, when one working class income won’t keep a family off the street.  Those changes weren’t accidental, nor were they inevitable; they were the results of readily identifiable policies pushed by a bipartisan consensus, and defended by government, corporate, and media flacks with a disingenuousness that borders on the pathological.

The difficulty we’re in now, of course, is that a very large number of people are aware of this, and they’re far from happy about it. Here in the United States, a vast number of citizens—quite probably a majority—believe that they live under a senile kleptocracy propped up by rigged elections and breathtakingly dishonest media, in which their votes do not count and their needs will not be addressed by those in power. What’s more, they have more than a little evidence to support these beliefs, and strange to say, another round of patronizing putdowns by the mouthpieces of the well-to-do is unlikely to change their minds. The resulting crisis of legitimacy has become a political fact of immense importance.

A few years back, my fellow blogger and more than occasional debating partner Dmitry Orlov wrote a series of essays (later collected into his book Reinventing Collapse) pointing out that the United States is vulnerable to the same sort of sudden political implosion that overtook the Warsaw Pact nations of eastern Europe in 1989 and the Soviet Union in 1991. His point has lost none of its sharpness since then. When political theorists of an earlier generation noted that governments exist by the consent of the governed, they were stating a simple fact, not proposing an ideal; a government, any government, survives solely because most of the people it rules play along, obeying its laws and edicts no matter how absurd those happen to be.  If they withdraw that consent, the existing order of things comes tumbling down.

As we saw some thirty years ago, the most effective way to get people to withdraw their consent from the government that claims to rule them is to show them, over and over again, that their needs and concerns are of no interest to a self-aggrandizing elite, and that they have nothing to hope for from the continuation of the present system and nothing to lose if it falls. A very substantial share of Americans, and a significant number of people in other Western industrial countries, have already had that experience and come to those conclusions—and the enthusiasm displayed by the comfortable classes for shoving off the costs of change on the impoverished majority while seizing the benefits for themselves has played a huge role in that state of affairs.

As a result, it’s entirely possible that at some point in the near future, when next the United States faces a serious crisis, most Americans will shrug and let it fall, as most Soviet citizens did when the Soviet Union hit its final crisis in 1991. Keep in mind that the vast majority of active duty US police and military personnel—the final bulwark of any regime in crisis—voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020, and might not be in any hurry to come to the rescue of a system that treats them with the same casual contempt it turns on everyone outside the circles of privilege. It’s entirely possible, in other words, that ten years from now people will talk about the former United States the way they talk about the former Soviet Union.

A number of folks have pointed out that most cops and military will follow orders, because of the paycheck.  History shows that unpopular orders are followed without enthusiasm, and often without rigor.  We'll see.  But there's very little doubt that there's a Bad Moon rising, and political leadership to slow this is in very short supply.

Dad Joke V

What did the windmill say when it met the celebrity?

"OMG, I'm such a big fan!"

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Dura lex, sed lex.

As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see "the River Tiber foaming with much blood."
- Enoch Powell MP, quoting Virgil in "The Rivers of Blood" speech

Enoch Powell was one of the first politicians to be de-platformed.  As with most of these sorts of innovations, this happened in the Old World in the 1960s.  I posted about this seven years ago, although Google can no longer find this; DuckDuckGo can, though (and that tells you everything you need to know about search engines):
45 years ago last month, British MP Enoch Powell gave a stunning speech.  In it, he looked on the immigration of foreign peoples into the Kingdom and the way that this was changing the UK's culture.  It was widely criticized by all Right Thinking People® but at the same time was wildly popular with working class Britons.  Indeed, a thousand dockworkers marched on Parliament in protest when Powell was sacked from his positions of leadership.

Dockworkers marching in support of a Tory politician.

The most famous line in his speech is where he quoted Virgil:
As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding. Like the Roman, I seem to see 'the River Tiber foaming with much blood'.
He was roundly damned for his "inflammatory" and "racist" remarks.  And so the British Political Class went back to sleep - indeed, the last Labour government intentionally accelerated immigration to make the UK "less British".
Today we saw the occupation of the Capitol building by people "annoyed" by what they (and many others) see as the theft of a Presidential election.  The protesters chased off first the Capitol Hill police and then the Congress itself.  It looks like one women lost her life, shot by a cop.  We'll have to see - early news is notoriously unreliable.

But looking at this, I thought of Virgil.  He of course, did not make up the Aeneid out of whole cloth; Virgil wrote propaganda for the first Roman Emperor, Augustus.  The Aeneid was propaganda, but what propaganda.  It made Caesar Augustus' family history into legend.  Because it was propaganda, it was exaggeration, but it was useful exaggeration to Augustus who while not related to the Great Leaders of the previous century was able to deftly exploit those leaders' exploits to his own advantage.

The most important leader at the beginning of the end of the Roman Republic was Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus,  He was the guy who noticed that while the Roman Republic had swept all foreign enemies before it, the working class had suffered despite the great riches of empire.  Tiberius Gracchus decided to run for public office despite his great family wealth, and to put forth his formidable political skills to benefit the Roman Working Joe.  He failed, because the Roman political establishment buried their traditional political differences in the face of Gracchus' challenge, and in fact had him killed.    

In short, the Roman Deep State closed ranks to block needed reform.  It was the beginning of the end of the Roman Republic as long cherished political norms (Mos Maiorum) were cast aside.  And so two generations of the Roman political elite were exterminated in a civil war so profound that what was left of the exhausted Republican Elite welcomed the first Imperator with open arms because he ended the civil wars.

Throughout this whole period in Roman History, the Law was supreme.  Of course, the Law bent to the prevailing political winds.  As the Roman said, "The Law is harsh, but it is the Law".  Dura Lex, sed Lex.

Donald Trump is the Tiberius Gracchus of our day.  He is the guy who noticed that while the American Republic had swept all foreign enemies before it, the working class had suffered despite the great riches of empire.  Donald Trump decided to run for public office despite his great family wealth, and to put forth his formidable political skills to benefit the American Working Joe.  He failed, because the American political establishment buried their traditional political differences in the face of Trump's challenge, and in fact had him [well, we'll have to see if they let him live free, or jail him, or kill him].

But Tiberius Gracchus had many supporters, who didn't let the Roman political elite rest easy.  Likewise with Donald Trump, as we saw today:

Some of Gracchus' supporters were killed, as we saw today.  Looking forward, I am filled with foreboding.  Like the Roman, I seem to see the river Potomac foaming with much blood.  We're already started, it seems.  The only questions really remaining is who is to play the part of Augustus Caesar, and how many of the elite families (and, it must be said, other families) must die before a grateful Republic reaches for their savior Emperor?

But the Founding Fathers knew about the failings of the Roman Republic.  They strived to avoid them in their Republic.  As a student of history I must say that they avoided the Roman pitfalls for 200 years.  Not bad at all.

Never mind that the Romans avoided these for almost 500 years.  God Save this Honorable Republic.

The European Union's winners and losers

Why did the Deutsche Bank give up their beloved Deutsche Mark and join the Eurozone?  It was good business for Germany:

A 2019 German think tank report, entitled ‘20 Years of the Euro; Winners and Losers’, costed the single currency’s impact on individual states. From 1999 to 2017, only Germany and the Netherlands were serious winners with the former gaining a huge € 1.9 trillion, or around €23,000 per inhabitant. 
In all other states analysed the Euro has provoked a drop in prosperity, with France losing a massive €3.6 trillion and Italy €4.3 trillion. French losses amount to €56,000 per capita and for Italians €74,000.

 Those are big numbers.  You could do the same analysis here looking at Rust Belt vs. Coastal enclaves and I suspect you would see the same sort of thing.  The proof point for that is how working class incomes rose under the Trump administration for the first time in decades.  No doubt the Biden administration will get to work on that.

I really struggle to understand how The Powers That Be in both Brussels and Washington don't see the revolutionary implications in this.  Didn't they read Marx?

Hat tip: Samizdata.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Dad Joke IV

"Hey Dad, are you coming to the baby shower?"

"I'd prefer a full sized shower, thanks." 


There have been a number of questions and comments about yesterday's post regarding COMSEC for the new year.  These seem to me to be related to OPSEC - Operational Security which as I mentioned is very hard to pull off flawlessly.  But it's terribly important and so I'd like to talk at least briefly about them.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail mentioned that TOR is difficult to use, which is God's Own Truth.  This makes it easy to screw up, which can expose bread crumbs that can lead the Federales back to you.  Use of a VPN and a privacy enhanced browser (like Brave which I recommend) are Very Good Things Indeed, but a VPN will also shine the light of suspicion on you.  Also, you have to ask yourself just how much you trust your VPN provider not to, say, comply with warrants and National Security Letters and such.  In short, a healthy paranoia is worthwhile and VPN won't replace what I was talking about yesterday.

Chuck Pergiel mentioned that Ross Ulbricht (the Dread Pirate Roberts who ran The Silk Road) was caught because a one-time user account only needed for the initial setup of something leaked out and let the Feds trace back to him.  Ross was said to be particularly good about OPSEC and this still happened.  Basically, he had to be perfect every single time he was online and the Feds only needed a single screw up.  I'll post tomorrow about an OS-on-a-stick and how to use it securely, but the important thing is that you can't use anything from your public OS on the private one, and vice-versa.

Jonathan H mentioned Eschelon which was a blast from the past.  He also mentioned using fax with handwritten messages.  I'm not so sure here, for a couple reasons.  Firstly, optical character recognition is advancing every year and this seems like an area where machine learning may end up able to read even doctor's handwriting, and secondly the public fax services may save copies of your transmissions.  There are lots of questions here.

Stefan points us to Pixelknot for Android.  Android is a problem, for a couple of reasons.  Google is the funder of Android and while it is Open Source, there are millions and millions of lines of code.  Google's revenue model is based on collecting data on users and I just don't trust the OS not to do that to me.  Also, if you run this on a mobile phone there will be geolocation data added to user data that is collected.  No bueno.

Paranoia runs deep - at least it should.

Monday, January 4, 2021

COMSEC for 2021

A lot of folks are wondering what happens if things get spicy.  Big Country has been posting tactical tips, as did Aesop last year (it doesn't look like he has a blog post tag for these so you'll have to dig).  Other folks are posting, and they have an expertise there that I simply don't.

On the other hand, I do have a (professional) background in COMSEC - Communications Security.  This post is how to pull off a level of COMSEC and OPSEC that will make it harder for you to end up on The Powers That Be's radar.  Note that I said harder, not impossible.  Ross Ulbricht messed up OPSEC, and he was very good at it.  A professional grade level of paranoia is not just desirable, it's probably mandatory.

One thing that I keep seeing repeated is the phrase "Be the Gray Man".  That's the primary objective here.  That will limit the sorts of communications that you will be able to (hopefully) keep off TPTB's radar.  And so what I'm going to write about here is not useful for voice or email protection (mostly), and won't help with GPS geolocation tracking.  It's purely a thought experiment on how to transmit decently large quantities of information without TPTB being likely to understand the content, or even know that information is likely being transmitted at all.

That last point is the key.  Traffic Analysis is pretty terrifying, at least to those in the know, and was by far the biggest issue in the whole Snowden/NSA brouhaha.  I'm not sure that this solves that problem, but it takes some steps in that direction.  Remember, your mileage may vary, void where prohibited, do not remove tag under penalty of law.

The first thing we need to look at is how to hide data in a way that doesn't make people think that there's any hidden data.  XKCD captured the problem for the would-be crypto nerd:

This is actually called the Rubber Hose Attack, and it's considered generally effective.  So encrypting your hard disk is A Bad Thing, because it tells anyone who looks that the data is encrypted.  More to the point, encrypting your data communications is A Bad Thing for exactly the same reason.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Using TOR is the absolute opposite of being The Gray Man.  Ignore the widespread reports of state compromised entry or exit nodes, just the use of the TOR network protocols puts you on the list of "People who think they have Very Important Data that might be worth monitoring".  It's the express lane to Fed.Gov snoops.

OK, so no encryption.  How do you keep communications confidential from prying eyes, and ideally make traffic analysis less likely?  This is Borepatch, and so that means that we'll start with a history lesson.

People have been trying to keep secrets secret for pretty much as long as there have been people.  Growing up, there was a pretty interesting book in the Borepatch household library, Hidden Images.  It gave a number of historical examples of how people hid images of things that were considered double plus ungood, typically via distorting perspective or some such.

This was a picture of (IIRC) English King Charles I who had been beheaded by Parliament.  It was dangerous for people to have images of the dead King, and so you had to use a reflective cylinder to make the distorted image of the Sovereign comprehensible.  The problem is that you need the cylinder, and you have a pretty suspicious distorted picture.  Either of these if discovered in a search might result in a Rubber Hose Attack.  We'd like to have our data in a normal image (I'll get to how to hide the "cylinder" in a bit).

There's a modern tool available to do this, called Steganography.  It relies on the fact that many of the data formats in common use today are "lossy" - you can remove a lot of the original data bits without degrading the message.  Jpeg image format is one example, MP3 is another.  Stego uses this to introduce loss into the picture without degrading the picture (or into an MP3 without degrading the audio).  The "loss" introduced is your secret message, which can be text, image, audio, or whatever you'd like.  I did this once here:

Crash the Wundercat contains a secret message (well, the picture of Crash does; work with me here).  You need a tool that does Stego to embed the message/data, and the person who wants to extract the message/data needs a Stego tool.  Windows users can use OpenPuff which will embed your data in images, audio, video, and Flash.  It will even encrypt the data and add white noise to make it even harder to detect.  It's free and open source.  Steghide is perhaps your best bet for Linux.

And now we have to peel the onion: how do you get your message distributed?  The answer here is to use your regular methods.  You shouldn't use email, as it's pretty direct (you sent it to someone, which is interesting in an of itself).  Social Media is a much bigger haystack to hide in - Facebook, blogs (hello!), Reddit, Flickr - all of these excel as "dead drop" locations for seemingly innocuous pictures of your cat.  The people you want to read your secret message have to know what password you're using in your stego, but there are a lot of ways to do that - for example, everyone has a copy of Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and uses the 11th word on the page as the password.  Each day, use the next page.

Sure, NSA will see that people are looking at Reddit, but it's an extra layer of indirection that they're looking at what you posted to Reddit.  It's potentially a very large haystack indeed.  By now you should see why this isn't any good for voice communications or email.  

And so now to the last layer of the onion - reducing the chance of a rubber hose attack.

Remember the mirrored cylinder that was used to view the picture of King Charles?  That was a give away.  Well, so are steganography tools.  If it comes to an investigation and someone finds that you've, say, installed the Ubuntu version of Steghide, there will likely be a lot of questions.  So how do you hide your stego tools?  I think that the best way is via the Purloined Letter approach - hide them in plain sight.

This is a USB drive.  It will hold a ton of data.  Unfortunately, everyone knows that it's a USB drive, including Mr. Fed.  Should the day come where The Man swoops down to investigate your electronic breadcrumbs, they'll look for stuff like this.  What we want are the electronic guts of the drive, in an innocent looking exterior.  Maybe something like this:

This is a Lego toy.  Actually, it was a Lego toy until someone took a box cutter, Dremel, and some manual labor to cut it open and embed a USB drive in it:

You can have a whole Operating System with Stego tools on it.  Boot from it when you need to encode/decode, copy the resulting image/MP3/etc to a different (maybe disposable) USB drive to load onto your regular computer for posting to Reddit/etc.  Just keep it with a bunch of other similar figurines in a bucket of toys in the basement in case someone comes snooping around.

Or you could just buy a Lego brick USB drive.  Remember to keep it with your other Lego.

Now it's important to point out here that nothing is foolproof.  NSA will be collecting traffic data showing that you're uploading to Reddit and Facebook.  They will see that other people check Facebook and Reddit.  They will build maps of relationships - maps showing who knows who.  Someone might take a look at your Facebook page.  If they really want to spend the time with the right people analyzing your pictures (or podcasts, or youtube vids) they might very well sniff something fishy. But they'll have to work a lot harder, and the work will be much less automated.  That means that it will be expensive, and there will be a lot less of that sort of thing going on.

And this will give you a close to "Professional Grade" level of paranoia which is a Very Good Thing.  If I seem that way myself, please remember that I was trained to be that way by the finest minds in the Free World. 

This is an updated version of a post from 2013, but the information is as needed now as then.