I was wasting time improving my mind, when I ran across a reference that took me to this page:
The Democratic Party came into prominence in the 1840s by harvesting three out of five uncast slave ballots to check the North’s attempts at abolition. When Northern Whigs and Abolitionists had enough of Democrat vote padding under the three-fifths compromise, they formed the Republican Party to finally stop slavery for good.
This was shown in the movie “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” in a scene that puzzled me, the first time I saw it. The saloon was closed, all the men (no women) voted on the representatives they wanted to go to the capitol of the territory to vote on statehood. It’s an open vote, by voice.
Before that, I’d just never realized what an improvement a secret ballot was.
Ballot Harvesting is a mechanism that allows party-affiliated representatives to go into homes, nursing homes, and other residences to collect a voter’s absentee ballot. There are many stories about collecting from easily intimidated elders, semi-coherent nursing home residents, and other people without the ability to insist on a private vote.
Think of how dubious this process is by its very nature. You have someone show up to your house. They state they are there to collect your mail-in ballot for you. And you just hand over your ballot to a stranger who comes to your door. Government officials warn you about strangers coming to your door and trying to sell you anything from magazines to solar panels, but they legalize someone coming to your door with potentially ginned-up credentials to take your sacred ballot to the election officials.
Do any Gentle Readers remember the 1991 Rodney King incident, and the trial that followed? Do you remember that, though provided with a complete video recording of the incident, Los Angeles news station KTLA chose to show only the most damning, easily misinterpreted part? Do you remember that once the whole video had been made available, three of the four policemen charged with assault / excessive force for that encounter were acquitted of all the charges?
Riots ensued that ripped Los Angeles asunder. Fifty-three people died, many others were injured, and there were many millions of dollars in property damage. The chaos and destruction were worse than the Detroit riots of July 1967, which had to be quelled by Army and National Guard troops.
One of the worst consequences was the nullification of the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee against double jeopardy. The L.A. policemen were tried a second time, this time on a bizarre, extra-legal federal charge of “violating King’s civil rights.” Two were convicted and imprisoned; two were completely acquitted.
Justice, if the video recording of the King incident can be believed, was of little interest to that second trial. It was held entirely to mollify the mobs that threatened to destroy California’s largest city.
It wasn’t long afterward that a second travesty of justice occurred in Southern California. The evidence for O. J. Simpson’s guilt in the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and bystander Ronald Goldman was overwhelming. The jury, which was predominantly black, acquitted him anyway. This time, the second trial was a civil one: a damage suit against Simpson by the families of Brown and Goldman, in which the plaintiffs prevailed despite the earlier acquittal.
Bizarre, eh? But it wasn’t unprecedented, at least not qualitatively. The 1922 Teapot Dome scandal, in which Interior Secretary Albert Fall accepted a huge bribe from oil magnate Edward Doheny in exchange for a federal-lands oil lease, resulted in Fall’s conviction…and Doheny’s acquittal. Thus, a Cabinet Secretary was convicted for accepting a bribe that, according to the court verdicts, had been paid to him by no one.
Yes, the above is plenty bad, but there’s more and worse coming.
No doubt all our Gentle Readers are familiar with the name of Derek Chauvin. His is a notoriety characteristic of our race-inflamed times. He’ll soon be tried for murder for the death of George Floyd. The facts in the case are sufficiently muddled that I can’t allow myself an opinion about how it “should” come out. Anyway, that’s why we have courts and juries, isn’t it?
The likelihood here is that, as with the cops involved in the Rodney King affair, Chauvin’s acquittal would touch off riots that would utterly destroy Minneapolis. That’s the way violence-inclined Negroes and their white supporters must be expected to react should Chauvin be exonerated. The probability is even higher than in the King case, owing to the rioting, looting, and vandalism that have already plagued Minneapolis this past year. The violence-inclined may be perfectly sure that the “forces of order” will do nothing to impede them, much less stop them and arrest them.
What, therefore, are the prospects for a fair trial – i.e., a trial whose outcome has not been decreed before it begins? If judges, prosecutors, and jurors face the specter of personal suffering for acting on their consciences – if the high officials of a city already crackling with racial animosity and barely repressed violence must anticipate that one possible verdict, however just and fair, would result in the demolition of their city – what future has justice?
Worse, the minorities of the continent are watching. If violence or the threat of it can predetermine the course of a criminal trial, violence-prone groups from coast to coast will draw the moral. Success, after all, breeds emulators. Precedents will be set. Incidents in other cities and towns will be used as a pretext for looting and vandalism.
But sooner or later there will be a reaction. Americans, the best armed citizenry in the history of the world, won’t sit idle forever. Citizen militias will take to the streets of the afflicted cities. Many persons will die…including, no doubt, some who deserved to live.
The great tragedy here is that, had the police of Minneapolis and other riot-torn cities reacted immediately and with their full powers to quell the rioting, far fewer persons would pay the ultimate price. We’ve already seen the cost of not acting swiftly and with decisive force in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland.
Minneapolis is braced for impact. The evidence is ambiguous. There’s much fear abroad of what could follow the “wrong” verdict. Stay tuned.
Indeed I tremble for my country when reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference! — Thomas Jefferson
When you sign up/into an online service with a Google identity – such as your GMail account – you will be tracked on any subsequent activity, whether you know it or not.
If you signed up with GMail, your Facebook account will be tracked.
The same with ANY service you sign up for, using that GMail account.
Now, since so many of us do that, what does you mean for privacy?
It’s easy to do so. It simplifies the process. I’ve done so, in the past.
Full disclosure – my Facebook account is linked to Google. My phone will not work on most of my apps, if I limit Google’s privacy reach. That’s not uncommon. MOST of us find that smartphone use is just about impossible, without that access to my data.
But-but-but – didn’t Bill Gates LOSE that antitrust case, and have to break up that “evil empire” of Microsoft?
In reality, he just started buying companies that were “affiliated”, and would, by making the process easier, ENCOURAGE you to give up your privacy to them ALL. Some of the associated companies (Alphabet is the parent company):
Nest – that wants your smarthome under their control. The aim is to have ALL your devices – whether high-tech or low-tech, under their watching eye. Lights, plugs, TV, phone, locks on your home, thermostat, smoke alarm, security (cameras, motion sensors), wifi router – just a short list of those devices that have been Smart-enabled. Now, older appliances/devices may not be fully compliant. But, just like the newer TVs, within a very short time, ALL the new items you could purchase WILL be.
DoubleClick – the actual entity tracking your Web movements. The underlying machinery actually providing the ad targeting. So, when MS/Gates says “we don’t track you”, TECHNICALLY, he is correct. His subsidiary company does. That distancing allows him to testify that his hands are clean – but, those of his puppets are not.
Looker – allows those companies/NGOs using it to easily look at the analytics of their users. Makes it possible, with some moderate work, to handle the process in-house, rather than having to employ the tech specialists.
YouTube – and, we all know just how heavy-handed their control over use is. Not so much for porn/Leftist content, heavy for NLDs (Non-Leftist Dissidents). Without it, reach of videos is limited, at this time.
Waze – crowd-sources mobile traffic advisory and navigation. Has branched into selling ads that are targeted to those who are nearby/whose path will take them near.
FitBit – the wearable location tracker (I have worn one for years). They do work well to seamlessly track your steps. OTOH, they allow your position, and the positions of anyone else wearing them to be located with precision. Do I trust government not to use that data against me? Don’t be ridiculous! Of COURSE I don’t.
So, what about Google’s claim that they DON’T sell your data?
Google never says “I am going to take your data for ads/nefarious purposes”. They say, “I’m going to make your life easier”.
Which, to be fair, they do.
It’s just that the cost is high. And, the tentacles reaching into every facet of our lives are becoming more enmeshed.
Take e-records, the part of Obamacare that was so insisted on – it would be a major savings, they said. It would prevent patient medication errors, they said. It would reduce the amount of tests that were made.
It is important for all ethnic groups, even the smallest ones, to know that this is their Motherland with no other for them, that they are protected here and are prepared to lay down their lives in order to protect this country. This is in the interests of us all, regardless of ethnicity, including the Russian people.
~ Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation.
Compare this view of the Russian nation with the determined balkanization of America. Who here lays it on the line for minorities that this is their Motherland, not Wakanda? That fouling your own nest is an act of supreme stupidity?
What leaders speak of protecting the country as opposed to pursuing will-o’-the-wisps of exceptionalism, regime change, democratic “values,” white supremacy, domestic terror, Russian dreams of world conquest, and life free of pain and effort? Compare and contrast our decaying polity and what Putin demands.
That moment you really get it that the American political class is something hostile and parasitic.
The destruction of savings, which perversely is the policy intention, is a consequence of interest rate policies pursued to their Keynesian endpoint with social implications too important to overlook. Because they are not on any central bank’s radar, the misery of the loss of income for small savers is ignored along with the damage to private sector pensions and the higher insurance premiums compensating for lower investment returns. The whole thing is a deepening morass, but it seems central bankers are determined to continue with these policies nonetheless.
You know we’re toast when the financial leaders all believe in free money (see below). Have none of them heard of the “free lunch” insight into human economic behavior? I gather the Turks have a saying, “Nobody loves you for your baby blue eyes.” Or, stated in up-to-date terms a la Google, Facebook, and the rest, if something is “free” to the citizen it’s likely that it’s the citizen who will be footing the bill. And we are on board with this, make no mistake. The government does the most damage with its embrace of “free money” but we take the crumbs from that and don’t insist on “real” economic policy that focuses on production. There are obvious stirrings of great unhappiness. Hence the obvious, strong, but still rather inchoate appeal of “MAGA.” Tea Party anger but more.
Inflating the quantity of money in circulation has become the most important objective for monetary policy. The other stuff about interest rates, quantitative easing and yield curve control is little more than supporting flimflam, even diverting attention from the inflation objective which reeks of confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is reinforced by the increasing dependency of the state on this form of financing. The fact it is apparently free money, justified by its alleged stimulative qualities, makes monetary inflation highly addictive. An understanding of the damage it causes is casually dismissed and along with it the painful alternative of cutting government spending to escape a downward spiral into the financial gutter. As an inflation addict, the US Government is edging closer to that gutter, now with the addition of an intensified socialistic modern monetary theory adopted by the Biden administration.
The inevitable massive loss of small business and jobs that is just around the corner, on top of the sleezy, giant middle finger to American patriots in the form of Zimbabwe-scale election theft, will rip the face off of all of this. And the Democrats will, you may be certain, blame it all on “capitalism.” It’s not sure what kind of “reality” will take the stage. It won’t be anything like our current fairyland “Overton window.”
Mr. Macleod’s article is worth your time. If for no other reason that it serves up a heaping dish of what passes for normal in the world of banking, finance, investment, and government policy. That’s not a criticism of him just an observation that the “debate” among the uber technocrats is surreal, and he does a good job in describing it.
I don’t see any marker buoys laying out the passage to safety. Anywhere. And these fools lecture us about “climate change” and “Great Resets.” I can’t find the exact comment but I liked what a gent said to the effect that the political class has managed to destroy one of the most successful nations nations ever in two generations or so. Complete joke status achieved.
Fasten your seat belts. Some turbulence ahead folks. Even for the people in First Class.
In his defense of Christianity as a mystery religion, C. S. Lewis has told us that we must deal with the facts, and as John Adams has said, facts are stubborn things. Among the facts at hand, we have the Passion and Crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth and His subsequent Resurrection.
The Passion and Crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth are historical facts. The evidence for them, both sacred and secular, is so strong that it takes an act of willful rejection to dismiss the episode as “just a myth.” Jesus’s Resurrection – the key miracle upon which the Christian faith is founded – is almost as strongly supported by the available evidence. The recent movie The Case for Christ, which is based on investigative journalist Lee Strobel’s book of the same name, lays out these points in a simple and persuasive fashion.
(Yes, yes, yes: it is still intellectually defensible to say “I reject the evidence” and remain an atheist. The episode, after all, cannot be repeated, nor is it possible to go back to 33 A.D. and witness it for oneself. It will always be that way. It’s in the nature of a supernatural event. End of digression.)
But the evidence of the events leaves us with questions about the reasons for them. In particular, people – believers and skeptics both – have always asked “Why were the Passion and Crucifixion necessary?”
It’s a good question, one of the best of those relevant to Christian theology. God, after all, is omnipotent. He has no needs, as men understand the concept. Specifically, He had no need to allow His Son to be tortured to death. What’s that? He allowed it because it was necessary for the remission of our sins? He could have remitted them with a single act of His divine will. Chattering about “needs” and “necessities” when speaking of God is inherently self-deluding.
From the accounts of the Passion, it was plainly about as intense a period of agony as a human body can experience. One of the visions of the Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich depicts the earliest part of it – the scourging of Jesus prior to His walk to Golgotha – in vivid fashion:
These cruel men had many times scourged poor criminals to death at this pillar. They resembled wild beasts or demons, and appeared to be half drunk. They struck our Lord with their fists, and dragged him by the cords with which he was pinioned, although he followed them without offering the least resistance, and, finally, they barbarously knocked him down against the pillar. This pillar, placed in the centre of the court, stood alone, and did not serve to sustain any part of the building; it was not very high, for a tall man could touch the summit by stretching out his arm; there was a large iron ring at the top, and both rings and hooks a little lower down. It is quite impossible to describe the cruelty shown by these ruffians towards Jesus: they tore off the mantle with which he had ‘been clothed in derision at the court of Herod, and almost threw him prostrate again.
Jesus trembled and shuddered as he stood before the pillar, and took off his garments as quickly as he could, but his hands were bloody and swollen. The only return he made when his brutal executioners struck and abused him was, to pray for them in the most touching manner: he turned his face once towards his Mother, who was standing overcome with grief; this look quite unnerved her: she fainted, and would have fallen, had not the holy women who were there supported her. Jesus put his arms round the pillar, and when his hands were thus raised, the archers fastened them to the iron ring which was at the top of the pillar; they then dragged his arms to such a height that his feet, which were tightly bound to the base of the pillar, scarcely touched the ground. Thus was the Holy of holies violently stretched, without a particle of clothing, on a pillar used for the punishment of the greatest criminals; and then did two furious ruffians who were thirsting for his blood begin in the most barbarous manner to scourge his sacred body from head to foot. The whips or scourges which they first made use of appeared to me to be made of a species of flexible white wood, but perhaps they were composed of the sinews of the ox, or of strips of leather.
This was plainly torture of the most intense variety, designed not just to inflict pain but to shorten the Victim’s time on the cross as greatly as possible, so His executioners wouldn’t have to keep watch over Him for more than a few hours. So why did He allow it?
A brief segment of the aforementioned movie comes to mind:
But that answer stimulates a fresh question: “What did love have to do with it?” And it is upon the only plausible answer to this question that a Christian’s faith must be founded.
The religious and social conditions that applied in first Century Judea constitute a critical context. First, Jesus’s message – His proclamation of the Kingdom of God and the requirements for admission to it – was a radical departure from the doctrines of the Jews. The Judaic faith incorporated a huge list of commands and demands; 613 discrete ones, by one enumeration. That made being a perfectly observant Jew a supremely difficult undertaking. It also made doctrinal compliance something of a competitive matter. Jesus’s prescriptions and proscriptions were blessedly few and brief. Consider the Gospel According to Matthew 19:16-19, and this famous statement from G. K. Chesterton:
“The truth is, of course, that the curtness of the Ten Commandments is an evidence, not of the gloom and narrowness of a religion, but, on the contrary, of its liberality and humanity. It is shorter to state the things forbidden than the things permitted; precisely because most things are permitted, and only a few things are forbidden.”
Second, when the requirements for compliance are so many and so various, it can become a matter of argument which of the requirements “really matter.” Now, you’d think that the original Ten Commandments, handed by God to Moses during the Jews’ desert wanderings, would take precedence, but it appears that Judaic priests’ promulgation of ever more commands and demands, beginning with those in the book of Leviticus, muddled matters sufficiently to throw that notion into doubt. In consequence, acts explicitly forbidden by the Ten Commandments were placed on an equal footing with trivia such as the halakhic proscription against lighting a candle on the Sabbath.
Third, the ancient, pre-Christian religions, including that of the Jews of first Century Judea, all insisted that there can be no remission of sin without the shedding of blood. The blood shed for that dubious purpose was seldom that of the sinner. It was far more often that of a sacrificial animal, sort of a stand-in for the sinner himself. That was the pervasive belief of the era in which Jesus entered the world as flesh and blood.
It was within that context that the Redeemer sought to establish His New Covenant and persuade men to adopt it. To countervail the weight of the Judaic priesthood and the power of a millennium of tradition, He had to do something so dramatic, and so filled with certainty, that there could be no doubting His sincerity. His acceptance of death by the era’s cruelest forms of torture fit the need so perfectly that no other gesture could compare to it – especially when on the third day He returned from the dead, certifying His Divinity and authority irrefutably.
Yes: the answer to “Why?” is love – Jesus’s divine love for Mankind. He came as a liberator of several kinds. First, He came to proclaim the Kingdom of God and announce that the sins of Mankind would be remitted. Second, He came to replace the old, Levitical Covenant with His New Covenant, a simpler and far more easily comprehended set of rules. Third, He came to set at naught the authority of the Judaic priesthood, an important component in the matrix of oppression of that time and place.
Jesus had to perform His ministry among the Jews for many practical reasons. That requirement, and the conditions it imposed, made His Sacrifice of Himself unavoidable – but not because the sins of Mankind could be remitted in no other fashion! It was a demonstration of His sincerity, His authority, and His love that could never be improved upon. The contrast that it made with the demands of other, current and prior religious “authorities” drove the point home with irresistible force.
Meditation on the intensity of Jesus’s sufferings during His Passion should not evoke a desire to experience them personally – horrible thought! Rather, it should remind us of how great a price the Son of God was willing to pay to make it irrefutably clear not only that He meant what He said, but that He loved us enough to demonstrate it in so extreme a fashion.
He is not content, even Himself, to be a sheer arithmetical unity; He claims to be three as well as one, in order that this nonsense about Love may find a foothold in His own nature. [C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters]
These are just the ones that have caused me to pause, reflect, and adjust my thinking over the last week.
This has been a tough week for me, physically – nothing major, just the accumulation of a lot of little things:
Stupid cold lingering for over 2 weeks – the first week, I felt sick. Now, I just have leftover coughing, a runny nose, and a need to take a nap every day.
A swollen left eyelid, pain in it when touched, and no other symptoms (which means that it’s not pinkeye, which would have developed into an oozing mess by now). I wavered between going to Urgent Care and just waiting until my appointment with the opthalmologist on Tuesday morning. Finally made my decision when the UC center refused me service inside the facility after I admitted I had a cough (though they would allow me to be seen outside the facility). I declined, not wanting to be treated like a leper.
That above attitude is GETTING to me. I have asthma, and, sometimes, I just have to cough. At times, when I need an inhaler, it becomes a series of dry coughs, that leave me breathless. None of that is contagious. But, since COVID, people treat me like I’m Typhoid Mary. There are approximately 19 million asthmatics in the United States – what the hell are we to do, stay home because you’re AFRAID you might catch our non-existent Wu-Flu?
Look, it’s not the first time I’ve run up against this “imposed-upon” attitude. I was taking a graduate class in a dormitory, during a 3 week-teachers’ course, and had an attack. I eventually had to get up, unpack my breathing machine, and take several treatments in the common living room. I was informed that other people had their sleep disturbed, and asked if I could be quieter. As if! Lady, not if I wanted to keep breathing! Of course, I could have gone to a hospital (having to call an ambulance, as it was dangerous to try to drive myself in the middle of an attack). That would have caused me a lot of money, due to co-pays and deductibles. And, would have been the same treatment I was administering in the dorm. People with attitudes like that would have asked Stephen Hawkins to turn off his ventilator, as it “was too loud”. However inconvenient it might be for the complainers, at least at the end of it, they can walk away and live their normal life – unlike us.
Finally, I’m just going to point out the hardships involved in masking for the hearing impaired (I wear hearing aids). It’s not JUST a little convenience, it’s a MAJOR imposition. Yes, I DO know that I could use a clear face shield. NO, that won’t help me, as the problem is all the other people who are masked up, and virtually unintelligible to those who are hearing impaired. For now, one tiny suggestion? When someone asks you to repeat yourself, over and over again, try to hide your frustration. It’s a lot worse for us, who truly cannot understand what you are saying. Every time someone says (always in an aggrieved, impatient tone), “NEVER mind!”, I have to restrain myself from bitch-slapping them. It’s like rolling your eyes when a cripple asks for you to slow down – completely unacceptable.
On Amazon? In a search with the words “Clarence Thomas documentary”, the Pro-Left Anita: Speaking Truth to Power is the second film to come up. But, no mention of the Clarence Thomas documentary, at all. A search using the phrase “Black History Movies” also fails to bring up any mention of the film.
During Black History Month!
Ornery Dragon asks, “Cui bono?”. If you read the whole thing, you’ll also come across links to a full explanation of what constitutes Freedom of Speech. I’d suggest checking out the link, and bookmarking it.
One very good suggestion that the OD makes is this:
So, read. Watch movies. Pass those books and movies around to your friends (but make sure you get them back!).
May I add that you should either buy a hard copy of those books that are foundational, or, if electronic, make sure they have Loan privileges, to encourage information transfer? Or just send the person a gift of the book (don’t just give an Amazon gift card, buy a Kindle version of the book, and send that link).
The electronic nature of e-books, and their dependence on the popular app from Kindle, makes them vulnerable to this deletion. On other e-stores, this is not a problem, as long as you get those books in a non-Kindle format (a powerful argument for using other means to access those books).
[A short story for you. The corruption of the 2020 presidential balloting has had me thinking about what the Right might do to counter further attempts in that direction. Perhaps the idea encapsulated in this story would suffice, though I’m sure there would be the most vigorous of protests from the Left. – FWP]
“What time you got?” the driver muttered.
Simon glanced at his cellphone. “One ten. Plenty of time left. Anyway, they’ve already got all the windows boarded up and posted guards at the entrances, so we’ll be okay even if we arrive a little after three.”
“Good,” the driver said. “Then I’m not gonna push this rig any harder.” He grinned. “She’s got a few years on her. Like me.”
Simon grunted but made no other reply. Be a lot easier to relax about this if we didn’t need to have this crap trucked in from out of state. But there’d be too many ways to trace a load printed in Minnesota.
The enormous surge of support for the Trump / Gaetz ticket had almost caught the Democrats unaware. There would be little chance of saving Minnesota’s electoral college votes for the Harris / Cortez ticket without deploying every known stratagem. Simon was just thankful that those methods had proved effective four years previously. Fortunes of war, I guess. You do what you have to do to win, and make adjustments later.
He sat back, let his eyes rest on the passing woods, and tried to relax.
Less than two miles from the Minnesota state line, a seeming explosion erupted from the front of the truck’s cab. The vehicle listed and slewed wildly to the left. The driver wrestled with the steering wheel as the truck slid several hundred feet forward before he could safely bring it to a stop. They debarked, hustled around to the front of the cab, and found that both the truck’s front left tires had been blown out.
“God damn!” the driver snarled.
“Can you fix it?” Simon said.
The driver shook his head. “I only got the one spare. Can’t run the cab on just one. Not enough traction. So what now?”
“Hang on.” Simon pulled out his cellphone. He looked up the number for Minnesota Democratic headquarters and started to dial. “Drop it! Hands in the air!”
Simon’s head jerked around toward the unfamiliar voice. He saw six men in camo and balaclavas, each toting a rifle, approaching from the right. Six more, similarly garbed and equipped, were converging on the truck from the left. He raised his hands.
The first of the intruders swung the butt of his rifle at the cellphone in Simon’s right hand. It flew thirty feet and landed on the macadam with a distinct sound of shattering plastic and glass. Simon gasped and cradled his bruised hand.
“That was a fifteen hundred dollar iPhone 14,” he ground out.
“So sorry,” his assailant said. “I did tell you to drop it.”
“What the hell is this?” the driver shouted.
“We just want to perform a quick inventory of your load, my friend,” Simon’s assailant said. “We have to satisfy ourselves that you’re not carrying contraband.”
“You won’t find anything valuable,” Simon said.
“Value is relative,” Simon’s assailant said. He gestured his companions forward and around to the back of the truck. It seemed he was the leader of the force that had waylaid them. “It depends on context. And today’s context is the kind that discards diamonds and sneers at gold, but puts great value on slips of paper.” He waved at the driver with the muzzle of his rifle. “Open up.”
Muttering, Simon and the driver trudged around to the back of the truck. The driver looked meaningfully at Simon, who nodded. The driver unlocked the tailgate and stepped back.
The leader nodded at the hundreds of cardboard boxes. “As we suspected. Pull ‘em out, boys.” The others converged on the load, toted boxes out, stacked them in the street a decent distance from the truck, and ripped them open. The leader crouched and riffled through the contents of several boxes, grunting as he went. Finally he rose with a fistful of papers: the ballots Simon had had printed in New York. Each bore a vote for the Harris / Cortez presidential ticket.
The leader turned to Simon. “We’ll be confiscating these.”
“But—” Simon immediately forced himself back to silence. The leader nodded.
“It’s not going to be like last time, my friend. The votes of Minnesotans will be tallied up without any…help from your sort. This will be as honest an election as we can make it.”
Simon sneered. “Are you a Minnesotan?”
The leader pulled off his balaclava and smiled. “As it happens, I am,” he said. “As are most of the others here. But it wouldn’t have mattered if I weren’t. What you were about to do constitutes a federal felony. Interstate election fraud, and in a presidential election at that. I don’t know how many years you would get for it, but I think they figure them per ballot.” He waved at the boxes. “You’ve got thousands of ballots here. You wouldn’t be getting out of prison except in a pine box.”
The leader quickly surveyed the inside of the truck to ensure that his team had missed nothing, turned to another of his companions, and beckoned him forward. As the man approached the load, it became apparent that he was toting a flamethrower and wore a cylinder of compressed gas as a backpack. At a nod from the leader, he lit the device, adjusted its throw, and played bright blue flames over the boxes of ballots.. When the leader was satisfied that all the boxes had been reduced to uselessness, he turned to the driver and smiled.
“If you don’t have a cellphone,” he said, “I’d be happy to call a truck repair service to deal with those tires for you.”
“I’ve got one,” the driver muttered.
“Then I suppose our business is concluded.” The leader gestured his team back into the woods that flanked the highway.
“This won’t change anything,” Simon said. “You think stopping us will sweep back the tide? There are a whole lot of others out tonight working to make sure President Harris gets a second term.”
“Oh, we know it well,” the leader said. “We have a whole lot of teams out tonight too. Some of them are monitoring the roads into Minnesota, like my team. Some of them have cordoned off the ballot counting centers, to make sure that anyone who gets past us with a load of fraudulent ballots won’t get in. And some of them are in those centers, armed just as we are, standing watch over the ballot counters to make sure there’s no hanky-panky with the legitimately cast votes. You see,” he said, “you threw away the rules. You decided that the only thing that matters is winning—retaining power. But if there are no rules for you, there are no rules for us, either. The difference between you and us is that we trust the voters to make the right choice.”
He glanced over his shoulder at his team as it vanished into the forest, faced Simon, and nodded once more.
“You have a nice day, now. Minnesota nice!”
There are days when the cleavages become all too clear…when the battle lines are too bold and bright for anyone to dispute that there’s a war on. Today is such a day:
La Mesa, California Trustee Charda Bell-Fontenot told fellow board members that in-person school learning is “a very white supremacist ideology.” She told the fellow board members who want to open schools that they should check “their privilege.”
To top it off, she claimed in-person learning is “slavery.”
One must wonder how the slaves would have felt about that comparison.
“I know what we are doing is wrong. That seems like a very white supremacy ideology to conform…privilege you guys….check it……I’m not gonna force anyone to do what they don’t wanna do. That’s what slavery is. I’m not gonna be a part of it,” Bell-Fontenot said.
This…person has just ripped the mask off the entire “white supremacist / white privilege” black-racialist campaign – and she’s too stupid even to realize that she’s done so. (Clearly belongs on a school board, eh what?) Think about it for a moment before I begin my explication de texte.
Statistically speaking, white kids consistently outperform black kids in school…when the schools are open and functioning normally. Today, it’s far too easy for any child to ignore the “remote learning classes” that substitute for classroom instruction, with the direct supervision of students by teachers that makes possible. In the “remote learning” context, the student’s incentives to slough off are large and the difficulties are few. More, the inability of teachers to check students’ work – if it really is their work – is near-total. Result: the white kids are no longer outperforming the black kids! Leveling is at last achieved!
Leveling has always been the Left’s goal. The black racialists and grievance mongers are a key part of its coalition. It cannot placate them in any other way – and the black racialists’ resentment over their enduring inferiority is their strongest motivator. But leveling never raises those “below” to parity with those “above.” As I’ve noted in a previous piece, mediocrity cannot be stretched:
[I]t is just as impossible for Leftists to admit an unpleasant fact about one of their coalition-constituencies – in this case, Negroes – as to admit to having made a mistake about crime and justice. The typical Negro public-school inmate studies far less than his white and Asian counterparts. He has, on average, a lower degree of innate intelligence with which to approach scholastic material. Perhaps worst of all, his home situation is frequently indifferent or antagonistic to concentration and study. But these facts cannot be permitted to intrude into a discussion of why Negro youths are “under-represented” in elite schools. It’s much more profitable politically to blame it all on “racism.”
It has not been proved impossible that the intellectual gap between the white and black races might somehow, someday, be eliminated constructively. Neither is it impossible that the study habits and home situations of black children might someday rise to parity with those of their white counterparts. But we must deal with the state of affairs of today – and that state of affairs, a consistent and objectively verifiable pattern of white / black differential achievement that’s uniform from coast to coast, is the fodder that the black-racialist movement, with all its cant about “white privilege” and its unceasing demands for “reparations,” subsists on.
Compare this foofaurauw with the relatively new “mathematics is racist because it demands correct answers” cant that’s entered the national discourse.
Today’s miseries are founded on a single central problem. It’s not a new problem, even for the United States. We’ve seen it in many contexts and guises, here and elsewhere. It’s the problem we must solve if we’re to restore any semblance of normality to American public discourse.
Truth is an evaluation: a judgment that some proposition corresponds to objective reality sufficiently for men to rely upon it. The weakening of the concept of truth cuts an opening through which baldly counterfactual propositions can be thrust into serious discourse. Smith might say that proposition X is disprovable, or that it contradicts common observations of the world; Jones counters that X suits him fine, for he has dismissed the disprovers as “partisan” and prefers his own observations to those of Smith. Unless the two agree on standards for relevant evidence, pertinent reasoning, and common verification — in other words, standards for what can be accepted as sufficiently true — their argument over X will never end.
An interest group that has “put its back against the wall” as regards its central interest, and is unwilling to concede the battle regardless of the evidence and logic raised against its claims, will obfuscate, attack the motives of its opponents, and attempt to misdirect their attention with irrelevancies. When all of these have failed, its last-ditch defense is to attack the concept of truth. Once that has been undermined, the group can’t be defeated. It can stay on the ideological battlefield indefinitely, preserving the possibility of victory through attrition or fatigue among its opponents.
It cannot be put any more plainly: the unwillingness to accept that there is an objective truth renders a disagreement irresolvable. That makes assaults on the concept of truth the most dangerous of all threats to human society. And the refusal to accept objective truth is at the core of all the Left’s campaigns today.
Let’s start with a proposition that was once uncontested: Human beings come in two sexes: male and female.
You’d have to be Rip van Winkle not to know that today there are many who decline to accept that proposition as true. Yet it conforms to objective reality: we come out of the womb either male or female, and nothing else. Cosmetics and surgery can change an individual’s presentation, but they cannot change his genes.
Now, as it happens I number two transwomen among my friends. I, being a courteous sort – enough with the smirks and cackling, you in the back rows – treat them as they present themselves. As they’re both decent people, responsible, self-supporting, and (as far as I know) law-abiding, nothing else really matters.
This is not new. It’s been going on for decades. Until it became a political cause celebre, it was entirely tolerable. We often take appearances as “of a tactically higher priority” to reality, for the sake of social peace. And to be perfectly candid, there are many counterfactual beliefs and convictions we tolerate to minimize social discord. Consider all the folks who think 9/11 was an Israeli plot, or that America never landed men on the moon. The rest of us, when we encounter such persons, smile and change the subject, or excuse ourselves to use the rest room.
Walsingham nodded. “It is a disorder, you know. A man once born cannot become a woman in truth.”
“Agreed,” Holly said. “Yet it is not impossible for one born a man to present as a woman. Hormones, minor surgery, cosmetics, and diligent study of the personalities and mannerisms of women will suffice for those who already have feminine inclinations and aspects of appearance. For example, you just referred to Heidi as ‘her’ without any apparent tension. That suggests that my portrayal of her in Unashamed was convincingly feminine. I gave her the appropriate appearance, personality, and manner to persuade others to take her as a woman and to treat her as such. I had her respond to such treatment as a woman would respond. An American woman, at any rate. Thus, despite her Y chromosome and male genitalia, she was able to pass in common society as a woman, as was her preference. Only if she had chosen to announce her birth sex to those around her, or to bare her lower body in public, would there have been any conflict about it. Any necessary conflict, that is.”
He blinked and set his glass on the table.
“What about love?”
Holly smiled. “Didn’t Heidi and Roland solve that puzzle adequately?”
“Yes…yes.” He looked briefly away. “It should not have startled me. We have those on the other side of the Atlantic, as well.”
Holly took a moment to choose her next words.
“I’ve been told that a wise man once said that ‘love laughs at hardware.’ I know the sort of love Heidi and Roland chose to enjoy isn’t to everyone’s taste. It’s not that long since it was illegal, both here and in the U.K. Oscar Wilde went to prison for it, did he not?”
“He did,” Walsingham said.
“Is sodomy still against the law across the water?”
“That law was overturned quite some time ago,” he said. “There have been attempts to have it reinstated, but all have failed.”
“It’s the same here, and just as well,” Holly said. “There can be no pretense of autonomy or personal privacy in a land where the private bodily conduct of consenting individuals is a fit subject for the attention of the police.”
Walsingham’s face worked. “That is the usual argument. Yet there are many who regard the maintenance of society’s moral standards to be of greater importance.”
“I know. It’s unclear to some how utterly impossible it is to have both individual freedom and legally enforced sexual standards at once. The Constitution was the touchstone for reform here, particularly the Fourth Amendment. But America has groups demanding the return of the old laws, too.”
She drained her glass. Walsingham gestured at her with the bottle, and she nodded. As he poured she said “As you know, a law that specifies permitted and forbidden modes of sexual conduct would pose a huge problem for Rowenna. Given her bodily configuration—”
“Her alternatives are celibacy or functioning as a man,” he said. “I’m aware. But it doesn’t appear a problem for you and Rowenna. You are lovers, are you not?” Here it comes.
Holly inclined her head. “Yes, we are.”
“And it would seem that the tension that arises from making love to what seems a woman but having her function sexually toward you as a man has caused you no difficulty,” he said. “Or no amount you could not surmount.”
She smiled and saluted him with her glass.
“I do present rather convincingly as a woman, don’t I, Sir Thomas?”
Holly, my transwoman protagonist, is candid about her own state. She has “the dreaded Y chromosome” in every cell. Yet she presents as a woman, convincingly enough to win treatment as such from those around her. While a presentation that convincing eludes many real-life transwomen, the rest of us are (mostly) generous enough to make allowances…once again, for the sake of social peace.
It’s not transgenderism per se but the politicization of transgenderism – making it into an evangelistic campaign that demands complete acceptance from the rest of us, including the denial of the genetic realities – that has shattered that peace.
We now pass to the supreme controversy of the day: the 2020 presidential election. Here is the evidence that supports the proposition that the election was stolen:
Truckloads of late ballots driven from state to state at night;
Ballots in suitcases without a provenance, much less a chain of custody;
Ballot-counting places boarding up their windows to prevent witnesses from watching activity;
Republican poll watchers forcibly excluded from watching the ballot counting;
Over 1,000 sworn affidavits by witnesses to various kinds and degrees of vote fraud;
Huge batches of ballots (many thousands per batch) received after the acceptance deadline that contained only a vote for Biden and no other votes;
Mailed ballots that lacked any postmark;
Mailed ballots that came from fictitious addresses;
Refusal by election officials to grant auditors access to ballots and / or voting machines;
Biden prevailed in only 470 out of 3300 counties, yet received more votes than any candidate in history.
To me and to many others in the Right, this looks conclusive. The Democrats, accordingly, are doing their damnedest to prevent the discussion of this evidence, or of the unwillingness of election officials and courts at various levels to examine the evidence and rule on it. To this date, no court has been willing to look at the evidence. Only one has issued an order compelling election officials to grant access to the ballots and counting machines – and the results favor the conclusion that massive fraud, well beyond the margin of victory, took place.
Now, I could be wrong. I could be completely misinformed about all the above. But whatever the case, there is an underlying objective reality…and the Left doesn’t want it to be examined or discussed.
This is a truth crisis that could result in the destruction of the Republic. It’s already persuaded at least 40% of the country that the presidency was stolen. What reason, therefore, do those four-in-ten Americans have to respect the “president” or to pay the slightest attention to his many decrees? Yet the Left and the media tell us that demanding an inquiry is what will make people distrust federal authority and destabilize the country.
A campaign by Smith to silence opponent Jones is a reliable indicator of fear: fear that what Jones will say will be damaging to Smith. It certainly doesn’t suggest that Smith is confident in his position. And if there are facts available to be examined that Smith resists examining, the case against him goes from damaging to damning.
It’s a very un-American thing to focus on class (the more nuanced Elite will, sometimes, but point out that this is just an artifact of our bigoted system, and if we just give the lower classes access to a stable income, that will all go away). The term “socio-economic class” is used, again, with the idea that money is somehow a pivotal part of it.
Which, it really isn’t. Even with money, the Clintons are never going to be fully accepted by the Elite. And, no matter how many little money a child of an Elite makes, they will retain the ability to call in a few favors, and use connections to get their way out of trouble.
Tragically, [the refusal to deal with obvious problems in the electoral system is] not inexplicable. It’s very explicable. It’s that the explanations are chilling and uncomfortable. Our Supreme Court is now part of the Washington Swamp, and the Washington Swamp is now totally divorced from any understanding of or caring about the rest of the nation. Roberts surrendered to the Swamp shortly after being seated. Kavanaugh and Coney-Barrett have done so even quicker.
Our Supreme Court is now no more an agent of a free people than similar courts are in places like Venezuela and Nicaragua. Our nation is becoming ungovernable, because there is no reason for a thinking person to have any respect for our institutions like the FBI, The Justice Department, or our courts on any level. We are facing dark days indeed.
Not to mention astonishing dereliction of duty in defending the borders, preserving citizenship, and maintaining basic public order. Public officials who take a stand for the American nation and the rule of law are in short supply.
I’m regaining a little dexterity in my hand, even though I still have a splinted finger, so let’s see how this goes…
I’ve ranted before about the insidiousness of licensure. In effect, it reduces a right to a permission that can be denied at the government’s whim. It’s usually introduced under the rationale that it’s necessary to ensure “order” and / or “public safety.” And regardless of any evidence that might emerge subsequently to challenge that “necessity,” the licensing regime never, ever goes away. Power, jobs, and graft have their own logic, don’t y’know.
Right after right has been reduced to a permission in this manner. Most Americans have accepted it as “just one of those things.” The flacksters of “American democracy” tell us that as long as we have the right to say whatever we think and vote for the candidates we prefer, we can always change such things to suit our preferences…and that “that’s what freedom is all about.” But as of today, the process has finally reached the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of expression:
Two Congressional Democrats sent letters of demand to thirteen prominent cable and streaming services, including Amazon, Roku, Hulu and Apple streaming services attempting to shred what is left of free speech….
The final demand comes with an ominous tone;
“Are you planning to continue carrying Fox News, Newsmax, and OANN on U-verse, DirecTV, and AT&T TV both now and beyond any contract renewal date? If so, why?”
Behind those “demand letters” stands the implied threat of regulatory constriction of the threatened streaming services. In this fashion, the Democrats hope to extend Washington’s stranglehold over traditional broadcasting onto the Internet. Their rationale: combatting the spread of “disinformation and extremism.” The probable mechanism would be the use of the Commerce Clause to impose federal control on the Net, with all that implies.
Feeling a chill yet?
The fear I’d harbored was that the late, unlamented Fairness Doctrine would return. This is plainly worse: an attempt to censor streamers if they carry disfavored content. It begins with intimidating inquiries such as the ones cited here; it will end with draconian regulation. I should have been more paranoid, not less.
Consider: the “disinformation” the Democrats are most determined to suppress concerns the blatant theft of the 2020 presidential election. They don’t want any further propagation of the evidence for that theft. A fair number of Republicans would unhesitatingly support them in that goal. It’s all about “order” and “public safety.” Can’t have the peasants marching on the palace with torches and pitchforks, now can we? Too may rice bowls are at stake!
Your vote has already been neutered. Your right to keep and bear arms, as heavily restricted as it already is, is likely to be restricted even further. Now your access to channels through which to receive and further disseminate important information – information the Usurper Regime doesn’t want you to have – is under attack.
When a world already in trouble was hit by a severe financial crisis in September 2019, the dose of debt was already excessive. But as the Fed and the ECB opened the money spigots fully, they filled the world with poisoned or fake money. The BY team (Biden & Yellen) will now be certain to finish this process with their profligate spending plans.
MAJOR CENTRAL BANKS BALANCE SHEETS UP 6X SINCE 2006
The financial system has been poisoned for decades by governments’ excess spending and central banks’ prodigal printing of toxic and worthless money.
It’s amazing how so many incredible fortunes are made now by just moving pieces of paper or digital bits around. The notion that the financial world is focused on the fundamentals of a productive economy is absurd. Mr. Von Greyerz publishes a graph showing the take of total income that the tip top 10% enjoy. On the eve of the Depression, it was 50% and now it’s the same. From 1940 to 1980 their take went down to the mid 30s, a period Von Greyerz labels the American Dream. But it’s gone. People today hang by a thread.
I emphasize that “capitalism” is something amazingly productive and creative but that it can only operate correctly in a symbiotic relationship with government. Ordered liberty if you will but with a focus on production and growth.
What is wrong with the current approach is not “capitalism” but the failure of the political class to concern itself with anything other than cashing in, short-term gain, gaming the system (electoral as well as economic), or pandering to minorities for political leverage and, now, control. Every last significant act of the federal monstrosity since the start of the Great Society has been utterly without regard to long-term consequences — creation of a dependent welfare class, consequent destruction of the nuclear family, hyperfeminism, absurd censorship, mass surveillance, Glass-Steagal repeal, “climate” anything, off-shoring, mass third-world immigration, fiscal lunacy, monetary panic, and pointless, ruinous war in pursuit of our dumbass notion that the world needs and hungers for our, so help me God, leadership. Because . . . wait for it . . . “our democratic values.”
This is the perfect formula for the creation of a crisis of legitimacy that the Tea Party and Donald Trump only hinted at politely. Congress strains at a gnat (Russia!!, vindictive impeachment of Trump, Capitol Hill “insurrection”) but swallows a camel (National Guard around the Capitol, year-long AntiFa criminality, alliance with terrorists in Syria, sanctions against naughty foreigners, unbelievable lockdown destruction blithely ordained, fiscal hemorrhage, spit-in-your-face plutocracy).
But the political class are oblivious and, as an earlier post showed, have in their infinite wisdom embarked on a strategy of currency debasement as a way to fiddle their way out of the predicament caused by their abysmal stewardship and utter lack of fidelity to the Constitution and the nation. Unlike the socialist and progressive morons, I don’t want to fiddle with “capitalism” by adding more cars for its magnificent engine to pull or throwing sand in the gears. I do think that major changes are in order that are premised on pure populism, namely, reducing the inordinate economic and polical power of a tiny class of humans who seem to think they are gods and can determine the fortunes of mere human flotsam and jetsam. Great Reset anyone? And we all know what that entails, don’t we? No. No Great Reset. Kcuf that. The Great Devolution, is more like it. Dumping Citizens United and gutting the federal government like a hog. For starters. Then deporting every last illegal alien with a vengeful fury that would make Sam Jackson turn pale.
Then there’s this kind of poison:
Protests premised on baseless claims of alleged voter fraud and irregularities were to blame for President Donald Trump’s electoral defeat have rocked state capitol buildings and election centers at a regular pace since the November 3 election. These so-called “Stop the Steal” rallies have often attracted far-right elements, including militia movement groups, pro-civil war “Boogaloo” supporters, violence-prone Proud Boys members, white nationalist activists, and conspiracy theory driven extremists. A handful of far-right figures, including white nationalist podcaster Nicholas Fuentes and conspiracy theorist broadcaster Alex Jones, have received top billing at a handful of Stop the Steal protests. Other events have featured speakers who are notorious for creating and spreading disinformation online.
Thus are the great issues discussed in the public square.
Let’s put some effort into backing their opponents in the next election, shall we? Perhaps Mrs. Limbaugh can get a fund set up, and give it a little seed money, as a memorial to her husband’s life’s work. I think he would have appreciated that.
The Left looks at the Cancel Culture, the Deplatforming, and the stranglehold they have on the televised news, and thinks, “We’re WINNING!”
Because so many in that group are unacquainted with any of the Normals, except as 2-dimensional characterizations, they miss the essential point:
PEOPLE ARE STARTING TO GET PI$$ED OFF.
Not cowed and fearful.
Not stupid enough to posture with weaponry in public venues.
But, I’ve had many conversations with people who are not activists, nor unusually hardcore NLD. Just regular folks, trying to live a decent life.
And, they’re getting no help from government. In fact, the government seems to be going out of its way to hinder that goal. And, it’s starting to make them angry.
Angry enough to:
First, secure their own responsibilities (family, friends, neighbors). Prep. Install those security features on the property. Arm up. Start a Bug-out stash – both money and supplies. Get fit. Learn skills that may come in handy in any economic/political disruption.
Second, start connecting with each other. On the QT. Offline. NOT plotting sedition, but preparing for the other side to strike first. The same plan that the Minutemen (the original ones) had. Don’t start nothing, but don’t back down.
I have asthma. One of the common issues with it is that coughing and breathing episodes tend to cluster in the early morning hours – literally, in the middle of the night.
I used to think of this as a bad thing. However, since I developed asthma, in my 40s, I’ve used that late night wakefulness to read, plan, and write. Attacks involve needing to sit up in a chair, take my meds, and get my breathing back to normal. Then, often staying awake a while longer, just to get my racing heart to slow down – the meds used in an attack are chemically very similar to adrenaline.
I used to think of this all as a BAD thing. Tonight, for the first time, I wondered whether I would have ever start writing without that happenstance.
So, maybe my late night quiet alertness is a GOOD thing..
It made me think about the connection between Leftist adherents, and the fact that so many of them are WOMEN.
Now, despite their cherished view of themselves as independent thinkers and non-conforming, STRONG women, unlike those wishy-washy stay-at-home moms, in reality, the females who are most outspoken in promoting SJW/CRT/Leftist Dogma are generally those unwilling or unable to act alone.
They are the ones who feel most alive in the company of others who think, talk, and act as they do. They are what were called the “Woooo!” girls on an episode of How I Met Your Mother.
I wonder whether, in ages of promiscuity, many a virginity has not been lost less in obedience to Venus than in obedience to the lure of the caucus. For of course, when promiscuity is the fashion, the chaste are outsiders. They are ignorant of something that other people know. They are uninitiated. And as for lighter matters, the number of people who first smoked or first got drunk for a similar reason is probably very large.
It is likely that this desire to fit in – to act in ways that the crowd deems worthy – that fueled many of those involved in the actions of January 6. Normally, most of them were average in their activities – these were not the ones that met with fellow revolutionaries in quiet places and plotted sedition. No, they were those who enjoyed gathering with others, the kind of crowds in which they didn’t have to watch ever word or facial expression, where they could let fly those forbidden thoughts about liberty.
It’s not just extroverts that fall prey to this; even introverts sometimes yearn to be a part of a valued clique. In fact, the geeky outsider may be even more vulnerable to the lure of inclusion.
I’ve enjoyed speculating on future events. I will continue reading and touching base on the political situation, and that includes local, national, and international happenings.
But, I’m not going to make that my major focus in the future. I have a life, however limited at the moment, and I have plans for how I want to spend it.
I started writing again this weekend (on my stories and books), and I liked it. I got a satisfaction that I’d been missing.
The same with other parts of my life. On Friday, I reorganized the office area, moving furniture, and cleaning behind the cabinets and shelves (Lord, it was disgusting!). Sitting in my desk on Saturday, I experienced a pleasure I’d been missing. I was able to find things, work on my projects, and just feel less stressed.
I have a large house that needs weeding out. I’ve been putting off tasks, lured as I’ve been into following the Rabbit down the Hole.
I’m planning to broaden my local connections. I need to re-attach to the physical world, and lessen my time online. I will be re-engaging, focusing on the here and now, and making sure that, in my desire to keep the country intact, I don’t lose myself. Part of that determination is to make sure that, for at least a set period of every day, I focus on the day-to-day tasks that have been piling up – taxes, paperwork, necessary phone calls, and my own writing (not blog-type).