Gauges Of Popular Confidence

     Today, David Reavill at Independent Sentinel writes about one of the financial mainstays of Americans who pursue home ownership: the 30-year mortgage:

     For most of us, purchasing our home is the largest single financial transaction we will ever make. It is also a tremendous obligation. As we sign that mortgage loan for the purchase, we often commit to completing 360 consecutive monthly payments—a thirty-year contract to pay both amortized principal and interest to our lender.

     It is not an obligation that anyone takes lightly. I remember my mother’s incredible joy when she made her last mortgage payment and paid off “the house.” It would be best if you felt you would have the income or assets to meet those payments. You have to have a pretty optimistic view of your future to make such a commitment.

     I’ve often thought that the best survey of the nation’s view of our future is the number of people who purchase a home and thereby take on that life-altering, long-term mortgage.

     I applaud analysts who look for innovative ways to measure public opinion. I’d say we need a lot more writers with such inquiring minds. But as with the more conventional techniques, one must be careful about one’s inferences.

     Given that anyone who buys groceries is aware that the price of just about everything has been increasing rapidly, how much confidence in “America’s future” is really warranted? With the big luxuries –second homes, new cars, and “big toys” such as boats – becoming unaffordable, and the little luxuries – high-quality foods and beverages, eating in restaurants, family vacations – threatening to follow, ever more Americans are uncertain about their ability to maintain their current standard of living. It’s reasonable to infer that John Q. Public would be more nervous about committing to a mortgage today than were his ancestors. But that looks at only one side of the equals sign.

     The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has inherent risks for the lender that have lurked in the fiscal woodwork like silverfish since 1913. Among other things, federal government entry into the mortgage market and government intrusions into lending decisions on the grounds of “discrimination” have created large uncertainties in that market. Lenders are largely attuned to such risks today, which is why many financial institutions that make mortgage loans are reluctant to issue long-term fixed-rate obligations. It’s become steadily harder to get one ever since the Nixon Administration. Those that remain willing to lend long-term are more likely to nudge prospective borrowers toward adjustable-rate mortgages, which reduce lenders’ risks.

     Finally, a growing fraction of potential homebuyers have become just as aware as the lenders that their incomes, savings, 401(k)s, and so forth, all denominated in dollars, have no enduring value. They can be drained of value by the inflation of the currency, which the federal government has been doing systematically since 1913. The most recent orgy of federal spending — entirely fueled by inflation — has opened millions of eyes to the “money scam” perpetrated upon us by Woodrow Wilson and FDR. Add to that the mushrooming talk about wholesale changes to the “money system:” for example, the elimination of all physical currency and its replacement by an infinitely manipulable (and trackable) digital dollar. Rationalizations about the government’s “need” to pursue drug dealers and tax cheats cannot reduce the ominousness of such proposals.

     He who knows that “his money” is infinitely fragile, capable of being taken from him by stealth at any moment, will naturally be wary of long-term obligations, regardless of whether he’s a borrower or a lender. To one who’s aware of money’s fragility, a 30-year mortgage looks more like a trap than a device for acquiring a home under favorable tax treatment. It’s a pity it’s taken Americans this long to awaken to what’s being done to us through currency manipulation, but at least some are awake to it now.

Stages of Societal Collapse

The ever-readable Wilder, Wealthy, and Wise blog has a particularly important post. In it, John Wilder relates the Stages of Grief to the psychological process we’ve been working our way through over the last decade.

In the order, Wilder labels the stages:

  • The Warning
  • The Event
  • Disbelief
  • Panic
  • Heroism
  • The Cliff
  • Disillusionment
  • Rebuilding

Exactly what constituted The Warning and The Event (I have my own ideas about those) are arguable. For many, the period of Disbelief has been cushioned by the generous – many think OVER-generous – relief offered under the guise of Covid Isolation/Quarantine. Many people are now hovering around, nervously checking for signs of a “Return to Normal”. Those in proximity to power – many of them media and academia – insist that THIS is the ‘New Normal’.

The disconnect between what you might call The Event Deniers, and those that used that brief interrupt of normal life to make plans, reduce spending, stockpile supplies, and prepare for the worst, is the difference between Those That Can See the Writing on the Wall (the Normals), and those who Walk into Walls (The Event Deniers).

There HAS been time to adjust, it’s just that some saw no reason to. They were largely insulated from the pain of income drops, budget-busting inflation, and fear of the future. Many, particularly those whose focus is still on getting the government to cover the cost of their loans, literally don’t see the economy heading to the dumpster (some would argue that it’s already hit it).

I’m like a lot of people. In between planning and stocking up, I had periods of needing to get away from the reality. I basically stopped watching television news – from ANY part of the spectrum. I got what information I needed from reading on the web, from a variety of viewpoints. I probably missed a lot of news, focusing as I did on the most essential.

For example, I’m not up to date on the progress of the Russia-Ukraine War, other than noting the Ukraine has been holding off the Russians with major losses of people and property, and that Putin should be worrying that he has exposed the weakness of the Russia military to the world.

And, by world, I mean China. They are the ones that would be most eager to see Russia fail.

China is in a slow collapse – economy, real estate, manufacturing – all are in serious distress.

But, as I’ve pointed out, I’m no expert on any of that.

Today, my focus is the PANIC stage.

That’s the one that is likeliest to get many of us killed, or wiped out of resources.

From what I see in my neighborhood, most people are sensible. They take care of their home, their families, and their immediate surroundings. I’m in a neighborhood with mid-to-higher incomes; many own the houses they live in. Some of those homes are multi-room, multi-story, restored Victorian mansions. Others are more modest, although 3-4 bedroom houses, for the most part, in good condition.

These are the people that pay their bills, discipline their children (the neighborhood kids are a delight), and pick up after themselves. The neighborhood is quiet after dinner, with few people on the street. They have offered assistance to others – I had a neighbor, who noted that I was struggling with a leg injury, who brought my garbage cans back after pickup for several months, without asking if I needed help.

Others have helped me chase down my dog when he got loose in the neighborhood, and always take the time to acknowledge me when I’m out and about.

Not in-your-face-nosy, just aware and caring people.

I don’t believe that they will be the ones panicking, when TSHTF. They have resources, stored food (not necessarily prep-level, just sensibly taking care to keep the pantry/freezer full of essentials. They will have access to cash/credit/tradable goods in an emergency. They have family and friends, also with some resources.

Judging from the number of neighbors with security systems, they also have a sensible mistrust of strangers nosing around for easy pickings. I’m guessing that there are a few of them who have defensive weapons, and I don’t mean kitchen knives.

The ones I worry about are those that have spent their lives being the Feckless Grasshopper, and – should they run out of food/fuel in a crisis – will not hesitate to look around for an easy way to ‘liberate’ what they need from someone weaker and less defended. As I walk my dog around, I’ve taken care to vary my route. I’m on the alert for signs of chaos:

  • Neglected yards – uncut grass, trash, and other signs that the residents either don’t care, or are renters. Glass in the sidewalk that is not attended to within a few days. Badly sagging porches and other poorly maintained housing.
  • Vicious dogs – not necessarily a bad thing to have a watchdog, but a dog that doesn’t just bark, but indicates that he might tear my head off, should the chain not hold is a BAD sign.
  • Aimless wanderers – when you see a guy with a backpack in the early morning, that’s often someone who is either living on the streets, or one who has been turned out of temporary housing for the duration of the day (a common practice in homeless shelters – it gives them time to clean and do their paperwork, without having guys hanging around that need watching).
  • Public housing – that includes half-way houses, shelters, and senior living situations. A lot of public housing doesn’t look like it used to – it may be Section 8, or other subsidized housing situations. But, the people occupying it don’t have a financial stake in that residence.
  • Vacant houses and lots. Piles of bricks (not being used to make repairs). Groups of young men hanging around, or walking in an intimidating manner. Panhandlers. Graffitti.

That’s just a few of the things I’ve been on the lookout for – you can probably add others.

While in my car, I make a point of noting highways/roads/torn-up roads, and detours. As this is Northeast OH, road repairs are a given in the warmer months. I’m trying to build up my awareness of alternative routes, no-go zones, and accessible fuel stations, places I might get help, and escape routes.

I’ve not been out much at night, so bars with problem patrons haven’t been on my radar, so far.

Why is all of the above important?

My personal guess is that the majority of panic will be from those problem points I’ve noted. That’s not to say that an hysterical person in a good neighborhood can’t cause their own chaos, but, as I’ve mentioned, we are – mostly – stable families here. Most with a man on premises. I’d be cautious about women living with men in a temporary alliance – they might have a good, although non-marital partner. Just be careful.

Remember, panic is contagious. And, FWIW, in my experience, women are most likely to suddenly panic, putting everyone around them in serious danger. If they cause a large number of your neighbors to suddenly leave, that leaves an open niche for predators to take over the environment. Not a good thing.

And, for God’s sake, know where your Karens live. They are NOT to be trusted in a chaotic situation.

“Fuck You America, We’re Doing This”

     That line is from a recent novel by K. M. Breakey. The novel itself is undistinguished, essentially wish-fulfillment fiction, but that line is a perfect summary of the interval from November 7, 2020 to the present day. Indeed, nothing else could capture the grim arrogance of the Usurpers who have stolen this country from us.

     I needn’t recount the individual episodes for my Gentle Readers. You pay attention to events. You know what’s been going on. The recent raid on Mar-a-Lago, the predicate for which the Usurpers are determined to conceal, is just bitter icing for a sour cake. When President Trump is finally indicted, probably all I’ll have to say about it is What the hell did you expect?

     I’ve been concentrating, if that’s the right word for peripheral attention exerted in a weary frame of mind, on matters “around the edges:” principally developments pertinent to the sociocultural milieu:

     There’s nothing hopeful-looking in there, is there? But why should we expect otherwise?


Our elections are untrustworthy.
Our churches have been castrated.
Our media have become propagandists.
Our armed forces have been turned against us.
Our children are told they’re racists because they’re white.
Our “justice system” has become a criminal protection racket.

     In this Brave New World, you can choose your own victimization and parade it in the streets. As long as you’re opposed to something the decent majority holds dear, such as biological reality, you’ll get the benefit of the law, the media, and every doubt. Those who speak against you will be silenced and shunned – at the very least.

     Perhaps it could be worse. In Britain, vegans are attacking non-vegan restaurants. That will happen here too, if it hasn’t already.

     The portents are uniformly bleak. It appears that Americans have lost our spines. While the greatest experiment in human freedom ever conceived is being burned to ash by political arsonists, the most heavily armed citizenry in the history of Mankind is sitting on its collective ass. We’re drunk or high, obese from junk food, and mesmerized by the colored lights on our ubiquitous screens. We pause only for bathroom breaks, text messages, and the occasional whine of complaint. What would Sam Adams and Patrick Henry think of us?

     I’m exhausted. I feel I’ve said all I have to say. I can’t repeat myself any longer. I’d rather shout into a well and argue with the echo.

     What happens when “Fuck you America, we’re doing this” morphs into “Fuck you America, we’ve done this and there’s nothing you can do about it” — ? When will future historians say that point was reached? The election theft? The mass imprisonment and protracted torment of the January 6 protestors? The raid on Mar-a-Lago? Or will it be when the Usurpers’ Myrmidons come for our weapons and we meekly surrender them?

     After a nine year hiatus, I’ve rejoined the John Birch Society. It’s a course I heartily recommend to everyone horrified by the Usurper counter-revolution. Not only has the Birchers’ diagnosis of an “insider” political coup proved accurate in virtually all particulars, they actually seem to have some energy left with which to fight. They might be the last men standing. As for what comes next, we shall see.

     Put not your trust in princes…or politics. And don’t expect too much from me for awhile longer. If you need something worthwhile to read, the essays at this site are mostly excellent. If you’d rather have something from my fingers, you could read a few of these. I’ve marked them all down to $0.99 each, both at Amazon and at Smashwords.

     Back later, perhaps.

A Few Words On Classification

     As this is likely to be a hot topic for the next few weeks – say, up to and possibly well beyond the DOJ’s near-inevitable attempt to indict President Donald Trump for something — I thought I’d throw what I learned about the classification system and the authorities pertinent to it into the pot. Mind you, I’m not in that world any longer. Some details might have changed. What I provide below is my best recollection of what I learned in my years in defense engineering.

     First, the classification system has several degrees of severity. In the usual case, civilians not directly employed by the federal government will have access to one of the following three levels: the lowest levels of the classification pyramid:

  1. Confidential: This is the lowest level of information security, which pertains to information which, if revealed to unauthorized persons, would cause mild to moderate damage to American security interests.
  2. Secret: Information classified Secret, if revealed to unauthorized persons, would cause moderate damage to American security interests, which would be difficult to repair.
  3. Top Secret: Information classified Top Secret, if revealed to unauthorized persons, would cause severe damage to American security interests, from which it is doubtful that recovery would be possible.

     The levels above Top Secret are not usually available to civilians not directly employed by the federal government. They usually involve compartmentation and codewords for extra security. Persons with access to those levels must undergo special vetting and training in the responsibilities involved. (NB: There’s no “Suicide After Reading” level, rumors to that effect notwithstanding.)

     All media that contain any classified information, whether readable by eye or a form of analog or digital recording, when not in use must be kept in locked containers specifically authorized for the purpose and for their classification level. Violations of that particular requirement have cost several former colleagues their jobs.

     You may have read or heard that all it takes to make a document classified is to type its classification level at the top of each page. That’s not quite correct. To create a classified document of any sort requires classification authority. There are two varieties:

  1. Original: One who holds this authority can create a classified document on the basis of his knowledge and judgment that the information in it should be classified. In the usual case, such authority is limited as to what level of classification the holder can declare an item to be. Also, it’s a violation to use it frivolously; a holder of Original authority can’t declare his grocery shopping list Top Secret.
  2. Derivative: One who holds this authority can create a classified document only if it contains classified information from an original document that’s already classified. (Note that the “original document” need not come from a source that holds Original authority. It can be one that was classified by Derivative authority. What matters is that some or all of the information in it was already classified.)

     So the canard about “just typing TOP SECRET at the top” is simply false. The classifier must hold the correct authority and must use it correctly. Atop that, and perhaps most important of all, he must have a need to know the classified information he handles.

     “Need to know” is central to the handling of classified information. One who seeks some item of classified data must have a need to know that item, deriving from his assigned responsibilities. Even the president of the United States must have a need to know any classified information he demands from the intelligence services. (In practice, the president’s need to know is rarely questioned.) Moreover, a person legitimately in possession of classified information must not disclose it to anyone until he has verified:

  • The other’s access level as being equal to or higher than the classification level of the information;
  • The other’s need to know;

     …through the appropriate authorities.

     For this reason, conferences in fields that deal with classified information can be complex, even unwieldy. There are a lot of steps involved in assuring that each attendee will have access only to information for which his level is adequate, and which he has a need to know. Special partitioning of meetings, special phones, special badges, and security coordinators abound in such venues.

     What’s most likely to become a point of contention in the arguments over the FBI’s raid of President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home is the president’s declassification authority. In theory, the sitting president has arbitrary authority to declassify whatever he pleases. In practice, he will normally consult subject matter experts from the military and the intelligence services before making such decisions. The bias of such experts tends to be toward keeping classified information classified. However, I have no personal knowledge of a case in which the president was on one side of such a matter while the subject matter experts were on the other.

     Other persons in the federal government possess limited declassification authority, once again constrained by access level and need to know. However, they will seldom possess unilateral authority, and will always give great weight to the opinions of subject matter experts before proceeding.

***

     Those are the “bare bones” of the classification and classified material handling rules. There are many others at the higher levels of classification. Fortunately, information classified above Top Secret is less voluminous. The two fundamental laws pertinent to information security, the National Security Act and the Espionage Act, only lay out the basic rules. The devil, as usual, is in the details, which are subject to change without much notice…if any.

     Keep the above handy as the fur flies over the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago.

Salk or Sabin…

…or, BOTH?

BOTH varieties of polio vaccine have their drawbacks. They both have similar effectiveness, but the Salk (dead virus) doesn’t stop the spread, and the Sabin (live virus) can – occasionally mutate BACK into the nasty type of polio.

My question, other than the extra expense, is – why not do BOTH? Do the Sabin with the younger infants, to get that protection both painlessly and at an early age, then, for the kids who haven’t been immunized, before the kid heads into preschool/kindergarten, add in the Salk vaccine, which doesn’t mutate.

Administer the Salk type into the populations at the border – both local natives who weren’t vaccinated, and ALL – child and adult – who arrive without having gone through normal procedures. And, for the local areas where there is a mysterious outbreak of polio, administer the Salk vaccine there to ALL – child and adult.

It should be voluntary, not mandatory. My guess is that the problem of polio uptick is almost exclusively among those who received the Sabin vaccine. The Salk vaccine is both stable and well-tested, and should NOT need a federal program to get it into the hands of the health departments.

While we are at it, do a full hold/health inspection of any wanting entrance. If they carry a disease we don’t want, whether Monkeypox, Covid, or other communicable disease, kick them back to the border they violated to get here.

Now, after the Covid immunization debacle, will there be resistant populations? Of course. And, those people have GOOD REASON for their suspicions. We should never have a vaccine that is mandatory for all, nor required to be able to work.

“Praise The Lord And Pass The Ammunition” — ?

     If you seek to destroy a community united around a set of ideas, but you can’t effectively refute the ideas or persuade the allegiants to abandon them, the most promising alternative is to attack the community’s icons and its symbols.

     We’ve already seen quite a lot of this, these past few decades. Note the assault on the great men of America’s past. It’s not confined to the removal of their statues from public places. History is being rewritten to cast them as villains, regardless of their convictions and verified accomplishments. For example, many schoolchildren of today are entirely unaware of the importance of George Washington to American independence from Great Britain, or of Thomas Jefferson to American ideals of liberty and justice. That’s not because their monumental historical roles were innocently omitted or downplayed by their teachers.

     Symbols have been under equally determined attack. Many a homeowners’ association has made it “an offense against the community,” punishable by a fine, for a homeowner to fly the American flag. The Christian cross, the indispensable grave marker of a fallen soldier, is gone from other kinds of public places today, under the bizarre notion that it constitutes an “establishment of religion.” The Ten Commandments plaques and monuments once found on virtually all public buildings are largely gone as well.

     The mind, like Nature, abhors a vacuum. When the symbols we revere have been driven from our consciousness, and the icons that personalize the ideals we honor have been defamed, other conceptions will flow into the vacated space. Perhaps it isn’t quite so simple as “Remove Christ and you get drag queens,” but the progression from the one to the other is observable nevertheless. The really scary part is that the drag queens aren’t the terminus of that progression.

     Which brings me to this article from The Atlantic:

     Just as the AR-15 rifle has become a sacred object for Christian nationalists in general, the rosary has acquired a militaristic meaning for radical-traditional (or “rad trad”) Catholics. On this extremist fringe, rosary beads have been woven into a conspiratorial politics and absolutist gun culture. These armed radical traditionalists have taken up a spiritual notion that the rosary can be a weapon in the fight against evil and turned it into something dangerously literal.

     Their social-media pages are saturated with images of rosaries draped over firearms, warriors in prayer, Deus Vult (“God wills it”) crusader memes, and exhortations for men to rise up and become Church Militants. Influencers on platforms such as Instagram share posts referencing “everyday carry” and “gat check” (gat is slang for “firearm”) that include soldiers’ “battle beads,” handguns, and assault rifles. One artist posts illustrations of his favorite Catholic saints, clergy, and influencers toting AR-15-style rifles labeled sanctum rosarium alongside violently homophobic screeds that are celebrated by social-media accounts with thousands of followers….

     Militia culture, a fetishism of Western civilization, and masculinist anxieties have become mainstays of the far right in the U.S.—and rad-trad Catholics have now taken up residence in this company. Their social-media accounts commonly promote accelerationist and survivalist content, along with combat-medical and tactical training, as well as memes depicting balaclava-clad gunmen that draw on the “terrorwave” or “warcore” aesthetic that is popular in far-right circles….The “battle beads” culture of spiritual warfare permits radical-traditional Catholics literally to demonize their political opponents and regard the use of armed force against them as sanctified. The sacramental rosary isn’t just a spiritual weapon but one that comes with physical ammunition.

     We’ve moved past the atheistic arrogance of Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, and have reached the “know your enemy” stage. Catholics – Catholics! The original Christian church! The only denomination that welcomes interaction with persons of all faiths, without exception! – have become an imminent threat to public peace. Fantastic. Just fantastic. Canadian author Daniel Panneton must have been bitten by a Catholic in pre-school. Or perhaps he was frightened into incontinence by the sight of a habited nun.

     The funniest element of Panneton’s diatribe is his association of “rad-trad” Catholicism with America’s most popular rifle, the AR-15. Great God in heaven, if I were to set out to write something this fatuous and ridiculous, I don’t think I could do it. But then, Panneton is a Canadian, and to Canadians the AR-15 is a token of the ultimate evil. (Free-market medicine comes a distant second.)

     There are more than 70 million self-described Catholics in these United States today. I have no doubt that in a number that large, there will be a few screwballs. Possibly even a couple of mass-murderers in the making. But rosary beads as symbols of Christian nationalism? Really? Is Panneton unaware of how non-Catholic Christians view us – i.e., with a considerable degree of disdain and distrust? Is he unaware of how consistently Catholics are told to seek peace and accommodation even with those who hate us?

     But the larger point is the one that matters. The “know your enemy” stage is penultimate. It comes just before the word goes out to “get them before they can get us.” Whether innocently or not – and I’ll reserve judgment on that, thank you – Panneton is promoting a pogrom against Catholics, particularly Catholics of the traditionalist / Tridentine Mass variety.

     It’s a damned good thing for Daniel Panneton we’re taught to love our enemies and pray for those that persecute us. Not only is he perfectly safe from us, he desperately needs the prayers – and the example.

     Applause to Pacific Pundit for the citation of the Atlantic article. Under normal circumstances, I’d be about as likely to read that relic of a magazine as I would be to poke myself in the eye with a fork. But it may not yet have reached its nadir. Perhaps the Atlantic’s next issue will feature a full-color spread of St. Teresa of Calcutta in leather fetish gear, or St. John Paul II in a grenade-festooned tactical vest and brandishing an AR-15. We can only wait and see.

     Have a nice day.

     PS: My beloved wife Beth – not a Catholic, to my pastor’s unending chagrin – chides me for omitting all mention of the ultimate weapon: an AR-15 that fires rosary beads! However, that modification is only available to the military at present. Non-Catholics can relax.

Choice observations from Dr. Robert Malone on Covid-19.

The truth is that at this point, we have no idea how many US deaths were actually due to the coronavirus because of the perverse financial incentives provided by HHS to hospitals and medical care providers, and grossly inappropriate use of PCR assays. The official mortality count attributed to the virus by the HHS is among the highest in the world. Many emerging economies have population adjusted mortality rates which are aligned with the Scott Atlas scenario. Haiti, which population chronically takes Chloroquine to prevent Malaria, has one of the lowest mortality rates in the world. Likewise the African Malaria belt countries.[1]

And:

But the record clearly demonstrates that the real sin here was the active suppression of early treatment by the HHS Administrative State and its leading bureaucrats. Greater than 90% of deaths actually attributable to COVID were probably preventable.[2]

And:

I am often asked whether Fauci, Birx, Woodcock, Peter Marks, Rochelle Walensky and that whole crowd will ever come clean. Will they ever admit their mistakes?

Hell no.

They will just double down in their efforts to hide their complicity in destroying our economy, the legitimacy of the entire HHS enterprise, bioethics, clinical research and regulatory affairs norms, hiding the toxicity of the genetic vaccines, and compromising the education and health of our children.[3]

Destruction of the economy wasn’t even an afterthought to these imbeciles. One of the things that was so maddening during the hysteria over Covid-19 was the complete absence from the public debate or official maneuvering of anything that resembled a national risk-benefit analysis. Instead we go “Mortal peril. Therefore, mad overreaction.”

You see the same thing with the gun controllers. A sparrow has fallen in the forests. Therefore, a massive official assault on one of the bedrock principles of our constitutional republic is in order.

Compare this approach to the thinking on the role of the automobile in the U.S. Tens of thousands or deaths result each year from the operation of automobiles on public roads but no moron takes the position that that risk of death is not outweighed by the obvious benefits of our all having access to cheap and overwhelmingly safe automobile transportation.

No. With Covid-19 it is and was all about narratives, and “narrative” is just a genteel way of saying “stinking propaganda.” As a nation we did untold damage to ourselves by accepting the lies and maneuverings of these disgraceful and dishonest human beings. On balance we showed that as a nation we are incapable of honest intellectual inquiry and debate. Search your memory banks and you’ll recall similar areas of public policy that are rife with similar denial and distortion.

Notes
[1] “Rewriting History: Just Another Day In DC.” By Dr. Robert W. Malone, ZeroHedge, 8/14/22.
[2] Id.
[3] Id.

Awakenings

     This one is particularly piercing:

     The Six Flags CEO is having to explain the decision to raise prices and eliminate discounts at the company’s parks, in light of the emerging fact that attendance is down by 22% since the decision was made. He said in a statement that the price increase was a result of the company’s problems with what he referred to as “rowdy teenagers.”

     We realized that we had discounted too much and we were filling the park with the wrong kinds of customers. So, we only got the discounter or we became a day care center for teenagers. It was a cheap day care center for teenagers during breaks and the summers. So we began raising prices to reduce the numbers of rowdy teenagers running around.

     By rowdy teenagers, he means groups of feral black teens who had bought discount tickets before running amok in the parks and beating the shit out of customers who were paying full price. The Six Flag parks were becoming areas that families were learning to avoid.

     Please read it all. It’s short, punchy, and angering.

     I may have recounted this incident before, so please bear with me if you’ve already heard it. It’s from 1981, when I had begun to question the left-liberalism I’d been soaked in while in college. Two friends of mine, a white middle-class urban liberal couple who worked in higher education, were declaiming about racial injustice to me for reasons I can no longer recall. So I asked the woman whether it would be wrong to sell my house because an influx of Negroes was threatening the property values. She practically screamed at me that it would be my moral duty to remain where I am.

     Pretty words and pious sentiments cannot substitute for realism.

     Applause to Mike Hendrix for the link.

The Lawless FBI

     If you still think of the FBI as a repository of “Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity,” read this stunning piece. Apparently the Bureau’s willingness to act outside the law in pursuit of its objectives goes way, way back.

     Applause to Mike Miles for the link.

Agents Of The Status Quo

     Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket. – a misquote of Eric Hoffer

     Up to now, America has not been a good milieu for the rise of a mass movement. What starts out here as a mass movement ends up as a racket, a cult, or a corporation. – What Hoffer actually wrote

     It’s hard to see the difference. Indeed, if I were Hoffer – I’m not, for those without a program – I’d prefer the misquote. It’s neater and punchier. But the import is the same in each case. Lay it alongside Robert Conquest’s Second Law of Politics:

     Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.

     There’s a striking similarity, though one is about causes, which might seem apolitical, and the other is about political orientation. It’s worth reflecting on the parallels. Sufficient thought leads one, like Prufrock’s half-deserted streets, to an overwhelming question:

Why would anyone want power over others?

     Let that one simmer for a moment while I put up another pot of coffee.

***

     Ace writes this morning about private-sector agents of the state:

     I’ve mentioned this a dozen times before, but: a student can break into another student’s locker and find pot and turn that in to the cops. And the kid caught with the pot can be prosecuted.

     But if a cop tells the student, “Why don’t you break into the locker for me and take a look?,” the student becomes in that moment an agent of the state and subject to all the rules that any agent of the state is bound by. That is, the student is a deputized law enforcement officer for the purposes of the Fourth Amendment. If he breaks into the other student’s locker, he has violated that kid’s civil rights, and nothing he found there can be introduced at trial against the kid whose rights were violated.

     This is exactly correct. It’s as much a violation of an individual’s Fourth Amendment rights as if the cop were to do the breaking and entering himself. The wrongness of it has been an important motif in many police-procedural dramas. Compactly put, the State cannot sanitize an unconstitutional action by delegating it to a private-sector agent.

     Yet, in the matter of suppressing information and opinions it doesn’t like, the Usurper Regime has openly delegated the task to major private-sector organizations. We all know the big names. We call them, collectively, Big Tech. But there are other names to be noted as well.

     Various organizations and institutions that have long been thought of as “conservative” in orientation have collaborated with the Usurpers in suppressing important news and opinion. The method of suppression has often been as simple as not reporting on the story. Sometimes more elaborate measures are employed: burial in irrelevancies, attacks on the messenger or his motives, tu quoque nonsense, and so forth. The result is the same: something Americans really ought to know about is either never mentioned in the “organs of information” on which they rely, or is relegated to page A36, the bottom right corner.

     What would move a “conservative” organization to participate in this symphony of suppression? Given the grotesquely social-fascist nature of government in our time – verily, all the way back to the Wilson Administration – what possible interest could conservatives have in doing such things?

     The answer is simple: They’ve decided what they want to conserve. And no, it isn’t individual freedom or Constitutional governance. It’s their corner in the status quo, with the associated revenues, prestige, and perquisites.

     Remember this one:

     That came from Bill Kristol, a supposedly conservative opinion-monger and one of the Marquee members of the “We Hate Trump” club. There are quite a lot of members in that club, nearly all of them self-described “conservatives.” What do you suppose they are determined to conserve, and why?

     Give it some thought.

***

     As long as I’m quoting Eric Hoffer, let me add another tidbit:

     A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people’s business…The vanity of the selfless, even those who practice the utmost humility, is boundless.

     This is the bureaucrat in a nutshell. For what else does it mean for a man to arrogate unto himself the “authority” to dictate how others must live and work? Add to this the facelessness of the “faceless bureaucrat:” he’s unidentifiable and unapproachable by design. Oftentimes even his colleagues don’t know who he is or what he does. As for the private citizens he dictates to, forget it; he might as well be a Martian.

     Who would aspire to such a position? What would his priorities be?

     Now think about the public “public man:” the politician, whether in office or aspiring, whose name and face are well known, who orates for the papers and struts for the cameras. He often postures as if he possesses “all the answers.” He demands every accommodation and bridles at every rebuff. Note how such an individual treats the possibility that he could lose public notice. What do you suppose his priorities must be?

     We have an interesting example before us in Texas politics: the odious Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke:

     O’Rourke, who has long pushed for stricter gun laws, said that 19 children and two teachers were killed at Robb Elementary on May 24 after a teenage gunman “legally purchased” an AR-15 rifle, adding that the weapon was originally designed for use in combat….

     Seconds later, O’Rourke turned to snap at a person reportedly standing among a small group of Abbott supporters who had laughed as he spoke.

     “It may be funny to you, motherf****r, but it’s not funny to me,” he told the person, eliciting cheers from the crowd.

     Oh my. Someone actually dared to laugh at this ball-less wonder who thinks himself fit to rule others. What cheek! If there’s anything a “public man” cannot abide, it’s to be belittled, especially in public. It’s like enduring a public orchidectomy.

     (I wish the laughing citizen whom O’Rourke called a motherfucker had turned and said menacingly “What did you call me?” The pissant would probably have wet his pants. I’d like to think I’d have done so. Sadly, I reside in the Northeast, am no longer able to use mass transit for health reasons, and so am precluded from such applications of pro-social lese majeste. But I can still dream.)

     I regard the point as having been established. Now apply it to the “second echelon:” the people who make their livings by commenting on the sayings and doings of “public men.” Is it at all reasonable to suppose that their priorities would be substantially different?

***

     The “conservative” organizations that have collaborated in the suppression of information and opinion that would be of interest to many millions of Americans are conservative in only one way: they seek to conserve their niches in journalism and commentary. This militates toward conserving the status quo, for any material change in The Way Things Are could overturn their rice bowls. They might have to get actual jobs. That’s an unpleasant prospect for one who’s made his living by bloviating.

     The status quo might strike you and me as a horror we can barely endure. We might be lamenting the Cheyne-Stokes breathing of the greatest country in history. We might be desperate for a hope of change for the better…of a return to the Land of the Free that was. But I’d lay a pretty penny that even for us, there are some features of the status quo we’d prefer to preserve. We might even agree on some of them.

     How much stronger must the “conservatives’” intent be to preserve that which, by criticizing it in the press, the airwaves, and the pixels of the Web, provides them with their daily bread?

“But Then They Might Not Get The Shot!”

     Everyone on Earth – certainly, everyone with a minor child – should read this incredible conversation between a distraught father and a pharmacist:

Father: Are you a pharmacist?

Pharmacist: Yes, how can I help?

Father: Yeah. Hey, I’ve got a question. My wife, against my wishes, brought my seven-year-old son a few days ago for a COVID jab, and he’s now in the hospital with myocarditis. And I was obviously not very happy with you guys or with my wife. She told me that she was not told that was a potential side effect. So why wouldn’t you have told her that?

Pharmacist: Okay — sorry. So it’s quite a rare side effect as well.

Father: No, it’s not. No, it’s not because I’ve been doing research; it’s common. In the US, there’s tens of thousands of them [myocarditis cases] reported to the CDC site. So why are you not telling parents this?

Pharmacist: We might scare the parents, and they don’t want to get their child vaccinated.

     Because maximizing the number of kids they vaccinate against a disease kids are supremely unlikely to get is the most important thing, isn’t it?

Torch Song Elegy

     I’m on an “Internet retreat” at the moment, in case you’ve been wondering where the interminable essays have gone. But I want to post a quick word before returning to my fiction labors. Perhaps it will serve to explain why I’ve absented myself.

     You don’t need me to read the news to you. Anyone who can fog a mirror is aware from recent events that the Usurper Regime has gone completely extra-Constitutional and lawless. It’s their way of saying to the rest of us: Your numbers and weapons don’t mean shit to us. We laugh at your invocations of the Constitution. We know you won’t rise up. You’re too comfortable, and too cowardly.

     And they’re right.

     There couldn’t be a clearer indication that the midterms have already been “fixed.” Oh, the GOP will be allowed to gain a few seats in the House of Representatives, but the Senate will remain in Usurper hands, and the RINOs in the House will ensure the continuation of Usurper dominance. Our utter flaccidity to this point has convinced the Usurpers that we will mount no effective countermeasures to the avalanche of vote fraud they’ve arranged.

     It’s time for the mourning for America-that-was to begin.

     Don’t kid yourself. The Great Experiment is over. We proved unworthy of it. By flexing its muscles openly and without pretense against its political adversaries, the Regime has shown us a reality that we’ve needed to confront for some time: ourselves.

     Bye-bye, America. It was great while it lasted. Don’t mind me; I’m going back to writing fiction. There, I can find heroes.

It’s a 1st World Problem, I Know

But, the last few days have been mega frustrating. My internet has been in and out. Completely out, I could live with. You just put down the e-thingies, and go about your life.

But, when it SOMETIMES works for brief periods, and then abruptly cuts off, it’s maddening.
The service person won’t be here until late Wednesday afternoon.

I’m in the mist of my annual recertification, and it’s all online since Covid. I have to finish in the next week, or I won’t have time to also train and test with the carriers before the window closes.

I did part of the review at the library in 60 minute increments, but it’s noisy and hard to concentrate.

I really shouldn’t complain, but it does relieve my stress.

We Have A Winner In The Ultimate Obscenity Contest

     And it’s Walt Disney Corporation:

     Walt Disney has been cancelled by Walt Disney.

     Here’s the back story:

     When Disneyland first opened in 1955, Walt Disney delivered a speech welcoming people to the happiest place on Earth.

     To all who come to this happy place: Welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams and the hard facts that have created America with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world. Thank you.

     Walt Disney

     For 67 years that speech was delivered – but not this year.

     Disney won’t say why they made the change, but I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that the word that triggered the woke Disney execs was “America.”

     Please reflect on the “values,” if the word fits, of a company whose management has decided to cancel its founder, the highest icon of children’s entertainment America has ever produced.

     Words fail me. But then, sometimes there are no words.

A Spot of History

     This comes from FEE, by way of our favorite Graybeard. It concerns the first important communications development of the 19th Century, the telegraph:

     In America, the first telegraph line was run by the federal government, from 1844 to 1846. As historian Burton Folsom explained,

     Cave Johnson, the Postmaster General, argued that the use of the telegraph “so powerful for good or evil, cannot with safety be left in the hands of private individuals uncontrolled.” Only the government, Johnson concluded, could be trusted to operate the telegraph in “the public interest.”

     Johnson’s assessment proved dead wrong. After two years, Congress tired of the losses and privatized the line. Entrepreneurs figured out how to make it profitable and quickly turned the telegraph into a national, then international enterprise.

     Though the scent of power lured Congress into arrogating the telegraph unto itself, the reality of financial loss convinced it to surrender that monopoly. That doesn’t happen too often these days, does it?

It’s Fun To Swim At The…

     YMCA? Perhaps not for Julie Jaman:

     Julie Jaman, an 80-year-old woman from Port Townsend, Washington, expressed her discomfort and fear when she encountered a male in the women’s shower area at the local YMCA.

     The YMCA’s reaction? Jaman was permanently banned from the facility, according to the Port Townsend Free Press.

     Your discomfort only matters if it and you are “politically correct.”

     Also, longtime reader Daniel Day sends this tidbit:

     WALTON COUNTY, Ga. — A Walton County couple has been arrested and are facing child sex crime charges for acts deputies say they committed against their adopted children.

     Last month, the Walton County Sheriff’s Office raided a home in unincorporated Loganville where they believed a man was downloading child pornography. When interviewing him, the suspect admitted to collecting child porn and identified a second suspect in Oxford.

     The suspect told deputies that the other suspect was making the child porn with at least one child who lived in his home. The first suspect’s identity has not been released.

     Deputies were able to get arrest warrants for both adult men living in the home, William Dale Zulock, 32, and Zachary Jacoby Zulock, 35.

     Walton County’s Division of Family and Child Services joined deputies in responding to the home to help protect the two children in the home.

     After making sure the children were safe, investigators found evidence that the couple, who were the adoptive fathers of the pair of brothers living there, were recording themselves committing sexually abusive acts against the children.

     We will soon hear the activist homosexuals reassuring us that “Pedophilia is not a gay disease!” Along with the folks who want to “normalize” the inclinations and practices of “minor-attracted persons,” of course.

     I’ve got my pitchfork, Gentle Reader. What about you?

Gold in the comments.

Here’s a comment by chopsuey4[1] on ZeroHedge:

[T]hese lawbreakers in DC are [really] insane and a complete waste of everyones time. For gawd sakes, they are always backpedaling to maintain their financial interests and to cover-up lies from the past. The past they helped destroy by sending manufacturing like semiconductors to oversea interests. THe country has been sold out, gutted and betrayed by these utterly useless, unintelligent and uncaring bitches in DC, and all their associates. Day in and day out we see DC thugs bickering, gaslighting and misprioritizing the issues close to americans.

The power to destroy our way of life use to be one of their sickest objectives. Now its simply their power to destroy life whether through direct violence, policies, arrogance or vile selfishness. A sickening bunch at best that needs weeding out.

CS4 gets down to business and captures the astonishing hostility of the political elite to the nation and its people. I particularly like his word “misprioritizing.” Every minute of our lives we’re faced with choices that have tradeoffs. Individuals generally figure out what matters to them the most.

But not at the federal level. We just extricated ourselves from Afghanistan and within months there we were fooling around in Ukraine — hugely sensitive territory to the Russians — at huge cost and great danger to us. And we’ve been playing around there since 2014 at least.

In what school of statescraft is it considered wise to engage in pointless, reckless, murderous foreign military adventures back to freaking back and dumping $40B on on the bizarre state of Ukraine with no more than an afternoon of consideration in the Congress? Money for a wall on the southern border? So difficult, my fellow citizens. Keep out foreign job thieves and welfare parasites? So many human rights complications. So sad. Not run up the debt by $40B? You’re joking, right?

But training and arming Ukrainian troops right on the Russian border? Makes perfect sense. Our lives depend on it.

Notes
[1] “Biden Wants China Hawks To ‘Put The Brakes’ On Bill Gutting 40 Years Of Taiwan Policy.” By Connor Freeman, ZeroHedge, 8/6/22.

The Most Awful Day, 108th Anniversary

     If you haven’t read this Baseline Essay, today is the day for it. Most people’s historical memory is weak. Few know anything much about the War to End War. This, everyone should know.

     Make your day a better one than the one commemorated above.

De Gustibus Dept.

     This has been on the Web about 2317 billion times. Even so, I can’t help but laugh every time I see it:

     I suppose that makes me a little strange…or a Y-chromosome bearer. Whatever.

The Weather Channel one-note ukulele.

Climate change hysteria time again, folks.

8/3/22 — “New Climate Change Study Predicts Timeline For Next Mass Extinction.”

It’s the big one, Elizabeth.

8/2/22 — “UK Heat Wave ‘Extremely Unlikely’ Without Climate Change, Scientists Say.”

“An analysis by the World Weather Attribution initiative found climate change made the event 10 times more likely.”

7/31/22 — “Beaver Dams Helping To Mitigate Severity Of Climate Change.”

Nuff said.

7/30/22 — “WHO Has A Climate Change Message For Your Mayor.”

“Here’s what local leaders should do to help their communities take action on climate change.”

7/30/22 — “Can Slowly Evolving Penguins Survive Climate Change?

Ok. Now I’m REALLY worried.

7/29/22 — “Congress Considering New Climate Bill – Here’s What It Could Do.”

Climate change mitigation, tax credits, more energy-efficient vehicles.

7/28/22 — “US To Plant 1.2 Billion Trees.”

Forests fight climate change by storing CO2 and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere.

7/26/22 — “Beloved Air Conditioning Comes At Big Cost.”

“The heat wave encompassing much of the country is leading to widespread use of air conditioning, which puts a strain on energy grids and leads to more greenhouse gas emissions.” And we know what happens when there are greenhouse gas emissions. Don’t we?

7/26/22 — “How Climate Change Makes Floods Like In St. Louis More Likely.”

“Climate change is making floods, like the one in St. Louis, more likely.”

7/8/22 — “Fin Whale Populations Recovering From Near- Extinction.”

And there’s a bigger environmental impact here because the recovery of fin whales in the area could help restore an ecosystem that’s crucial for controlling carbon in the atmosphere.

6/13/22 — “Taxing Cow Burps?

Taxing farmers for methane emissions” will help New Zealand reach their “long-term climate goals.” Reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That sort of thing.

6/13/22 — “Two Major Antarctic Glaciers May Be Melting Faster Than Any Time in Past 5,000 Years.”

The earth continues to warm so what do you expect?

6/7/22 — “The Alps Are Losing Snow and Becoming More Green.”

Culprit = climate change. Seriously.

6/6/22 — “Average Summer Temps Have Increased Since 1970.”

Climate Central is on it. Temps rising. (Cue video of coal trucks, gas flares, belching smokestacks.) “Extreme heat is becoming more common due to climate change.” And that’s due to such things as fossil fuel burning and deforestation. Not looking good.

6/3/22 — “Federal Government Seeks Tougher Building Codes to Respond to Climate Change.”

“Experts say coastal communities should brace themselves for more intense storms as a result of climate change.”

6/3/22 — “2020 Hurricanes Were Stronger Because of Climate Change.” That would be climate change being considered. As being involved.

6/1/22 — “Number of Intense Hurricanes Could Double in the Next 30 Years.”

“Researchers found that warmer ocean waters due to climate change will fuel more Category 3 and higher storms.”

6/1/22 — “Back-to-Back Landfalls To Become More Frequent, Faster.”

Communities getting less time between hurricanes. “That’s getting more likely as the world warms.”

6/1/22 — “Tropical Cyclones Could Hit Northeast More Often, Says Study.”

“A new study using satellite observations and simulations found that the Northeast could see impacts from tropical storms and hurricanes in the future due to global warming.”

6/1/22 — “France Waters Green Spaces With Swimming Pool Water to Combat Drought (PHOTOS).”

“France’s drought comes as areas across the world have seen severe drought worsened by climate change over the last several years.”

5/31/22 — “Archaeologists Work Furiously To Study Ancient City Revealed by Drought in Iraq.”

Extreme drought a result of climate change.

5/3/22 — “Where Tornadoes Strike Most Frequently Is Changing.” By Ally Hirschlag.

22 videos in today’s list. 118 videos in all previous lists.

Previous lists of Weather Channel hysteria:

5/31/22 — “The Weather Channel on ‘climate change.’ Beatin’ it like a rented mule.” 26 videos.

5/5/22 — “The “we’re all going to die” narrative. Version 87.01.” 22 videos.

4/12/22 — “Another load of Weather Channel climate change hysteria.” 16 videos.

2/14/22 — “Yet more Weather Channel hysteria, campers.” 21 videos.

12/4/21 — “Stuffing us like a goose.” 15 videos.

12/1/21 — “More Weather Channel climate hysteria.” 10 videos.

11/11/21 — “Six days of Weather Channel climate hysteria.” 8 videos.

For some perspective, see also “From ice age to global warming – the climate doom-mongers’ swift about-turn.” By Ivor Williams, The Conservative Woman, 4/26/22. It’s well worth reading even if you’re not a conservative woman.

And Prince William gets it about messaging:

Prince William Praises TV Writers For Inserting Climate-Change ‘Programming’ Into Shows.” ZeroHedge, 5/10/22. Isn’t he “the good one”?

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