Looks Like I’ve Done It To Myself Again

     Oh my dear, sweet, all-forgiving God. Oh most gracious ruler of the Universe, whose will brought forth the worlds and whose love enfolds them still. Why do You permit me to agree to these things?

     I’ve told myself over and over: Do not respond positively to a review request. I’ve reminded myself of the horrors that have always ensued. I’ve lamented the lost time, the bruised egos, and the weeping and the gnashing of teeth. Yet every so often I find myself saying, “Oh, sure, if you’ll read and review one of mine.” What follows has always been a season in Hell.

     It’s happened again. Correction: I’ve let myself in for it again. Yes, yes, I know: I have only myself to blame. Still, please allow me this cri de coeur. Only thus can I detoxify the urge to hunt down the requestor and murder him in his sleep.

     Why can’t I learn? Why can’t I just chuckle cynically over the solicitations, then delete them and move on as if they’d never arrived? Is it a misplaced notion about what it means to “love your neighbor as yourself?” Or is it some as-yet-unexpunged puddle of optimism about my fellow indies, after so many disappointments over so many years? The former might be excused under the “he was just having a senior moment” paradigm, but for one who styles himself a Curmudgeon Emeritus, the latter would verge on unforgivable.

     But I’m committed. I must read this steaming pile of offal all the way to the end and find something gentle to say about it. I’d rather seek out the perpetrator and force him to take four years of Remedial English. After that, I’d compel him to read five hundred well-written fantasy novels – out loud, while I listen. But that’s probably a felony in this state. Anyway, my pastor would not approve.

     Pray for me, Gentle Reader. I’m so close to doing something untoward. Faking my own death comes to mind. But it would be rather difficult to keep writing and blogging after that, so…

     Just pray for me. Great God in Heaven, what a fool I am!


     A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. – Amendment II

     The above is the most fiercely argued – attacked and defended – statement that has ever been incorporated into any law. More objections to it have been made, and more exceptions to it have been proposed, than any other legal stricture in history. Opposition to it has characterized a great many political figures who’ve come and gone since World War II. Yet before then, very few politicians of great significance ever said a word against it. Why?

     It’s simple, really. American men of the era prior to 1940 had ample experience with the private ownership of weapons. They were unafraid of them. They taught their sons, and sometimes their daughters, respect for weaponry: how to approach them, use them, and care for them. Concerning the dangers posed by weapons, pre-1940 American men treated them as not significantly different from any other powerful tool.

     But ours is a safety-obsessed era. The Safety Brigades perpetually emphasize the hazards that this or that might pose to the unskilled and unwary. The overarching, all-encompassing theme is fear. It’s hammered at us from innumerable sources, continuously. In particular, the media have become caricatures of the “get away from that, you might poke your eye out” overprotective mother, constantly harping on the risks to us from this or that.

     Of course, the Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnibenevolent State is happy to pitch in with restrictions and regulations. Incidents such as the one in Uvalde, Texas are its best nutrition. Another atrocity? Wonderful! More grist for the fear mills! they cackle. Fearful people are easily shepherded, subjugated, and controlled.

     Is there any Gentle Reader who hasn’t yet read Jack Williamson’s novella “With Folded Hands?”


     The above is all “previous work,” of course. We all know what those who want power over us think of the private ownership of weapons. Their opposition has many centuries of history behind it. Medieval authorities strove to keep swords out of the hands of the commoners. Anyone not recognized as a knight in service to some noble was forbidden to own anything more dangerous than a kitchen knife. However, back then there was no pretense about it being for the commoners’ safety.

     Beware the man who claims that all he wants is to keep you safe. God gave you two parents, two hands, and a brain for that role. You don’t need anyone else.

     They who hawk the “safety uber alles” theme don’t content themselves with firearms. Districts in which they predominate also ban and / or regulate crossbows, swords and knives, and bear and pepper sprays. Put that down! You could hurt somebody! It’s when we ask “Who are you protecting?” that matters start to clarify.

     The safety pretense is misdirection – a “Look! Squirrel!” tactic to distract us from discerning the identities of the truly fearful. For it is they who seek absolute and unchallengeable power over us who really fear for us to have weapons and strive to take them out of our hands. Incidents such as Uvalde, or Parkland, or Sandy Hook, or Columbine merely feed their fear campaign extra ammunition.

     I could go on. I could dissect the many assertions that the right to own a gun is strictly about hunting. I could trash the arguments that a gun is more likely to hurt its owner than those who seek to harm him. With John Hinderaker’s assistance, I could debunk the claims that America is soaked in the blood of innocent children because of our “love affair with guns.” But it’s not necessary.

     The theme is fear. You are to be made afraid of yourself and other private, law-abiding citizens. You are to view everyone around you as someone who might decide, on the spur of the moment, to threaten your life. That way you won’t ask the fear-mongers “Why are you, who surround yourselves by men with guns, so anxious to take mine? Who are you afraid of – and why?”

     Have a nice day.

     “Before all else, be armed!” — Niccolo Machiavelli

There Are Days…

     …when I want to pick up the entire political class by its lapels and shake it until its brains start to work. Like today:

     ‘I have news for the embarrassment that claims to be our President — try to take our guns and you’ll learn why the Second Amendment was written in the first place,’ [Republican Florida state Representative Randy] Fine wrote on Twitter, in a post that was heavily ratioed….

     On Tuesday evening Fine addressed the Uvalde school shooting as he called for the gunman to spend ‘eternity in hell.’

     ‘I will never forget presenting a bill on the Floor as I watched my colleagues become frenetic as we learned about Parkland. I think of how heartbroken we were — and are — as we pray for those children, staff, and families in Texas. May the murderer spend eternity in hell.’

     I added the emphasis.

     Yo, arrogant asshole who calls himself a Florida state Representative: That’s theological hatred, the worst sort. When you wish an eternity in Hell on someone, that’s what you’re indulging – and it’s a capital sin, perhaps the worst of them. You’re supposed to hope and pray that the murderer repented and begged God for forgiveness before he died. That’s if you actually believe in Hell. If you don’t…what the Hell do you think you were saying?

     It would be forgivable, albeit with difficulty, if one of the victims of the killing spree were a relative or close friend of Fine’s. Distraught people say such things. I believe God forgives them…at least if they return to moderation after they’ve returned to their senses. But a politician looking to leverage a mass murder into personal elevation with that kind of rhetoric is another thing entirely.

     Apologies, Gentle Reader. I had to get that out before it festered. These days, politicians who are also decent people are getting really rare. Politicians who are also sincere Christians are even rarer. And America is in desperate need of both – in quantity.

     No, I don’t care if Randy Fine is a Jew. I don’t care what he is. What he said is still out of bounds. I hope he thinks better of it. You don’t wish eternal, agonizing punishment on a man for any reason. Wishes like that can come back to bite you on the ass in the afterlife.

A Necessary Castigation

     I try to follow a great many blogging colleagues. We assist one another in several ways, most notably by drawing one another’s attention to stories not everyone catches at their appearance. For that, I am grateful, as no one media organ reports on every story – and no one has the stamina to read all the news media that report daily.

     But now and then, a colleague does something really bad. Here’s the headline:

Tyrant Lukashenko Gets Nukes, There Goes the Neighborhood

     Sounds pretty important! And here’s the thrust of the column:

     Monday, Belarus President Tyrant Aleksandr Lukashenko negotiated with Russia for nukes. Belarus now has nukes.

     “Putin sold an undisclosed number of nuclear-capable 9K720 Iskander short-range ballistic missiles to the country…in addition to the missiles… Lukashenko purchased S-400 missile systems and has plans to manufacture his own by the end of the year, with assistance from Russian weapons experts.”

At the same time President Tyrant Lukashenko was buying nukes from Russia, he wagged his tyrannical finger at the West for creating conflict.

     “In a letter to United Nations Secretary General António Guterres released on Monday, Lukashenko warned that international efforts to bolster Ukraine’s security could lead to the conflict in that country expanding into another world war…Lukashenko said Belarus ‘calls on the countries of the world to unite and prevent the regional conflict in Europe from escalating into a full-scale world war!’”

     Read the above snippet slowly and carefully, Gentle Reader. Run your thumb under the words if it helps. (It helps to slow me down; it might do the same for you.) Do the same with the two stories the column cites. Then take a moment to catch your breath, sit back, and answer a simple question:

Does either of the sources the column cites
Say that Lukashenko purchased nukes?

     Because I can find no such statement in either of them. They report that Lukashenko purchased nuclear-capable missiles and missile systems. They don’t say anything about what warheads were supplied with them – if any.

     Yet the Victory Girls column baldly states that “Belarus now has nukes.” Indeed, it’s in the headline in huge font.

     That could be the result of a spot of misreading by column author Shelby Gallagher. If so, she should be severely criticized and subjected to a spell of editorial supervision for her error, which is among the most serious errors a reporter can make. But it could also be fear porn – click bait. And that would be inexcusable.

     I’m not in the habit of castigating or condemning fellow bloggers. What we do is unpaid, a labor of love. Many of my colleagues are not as appreciated as they deserve. But we should be above the sort of eyeball-magnet tactics for which we’ve justly condemned the Legacy Media on other occasions. Ironically, her Legacy Media source was more accurate than my Victory Girls colleague. Newsweek refrained from asserting that Belarus had acquired nuclear weapons, though it did do a bit of fear-mongering on its own by reporting on the “nuclear-capable” missile sales.

     To any other bloggers reading this tirade: Hold yourselves to a higher standard than this. This sort of thing could do more than befoul our reputations. It could get people killed.

     Think about it.

Solicitors And Solicitations

     No, this won’t be about the British legal system. It’s for any other indie writers in the audience. I suspect there are a few; we tend to “huddle.”

     I believe in charity: that is, in helping those whose needs are unmet through no fault of their own. (Charity toward those who’ve “made their own beds” is foolish and destructive, no matter what the Pope may say about it.) And so I believe in helping other indie writers whose works are worthy of a wider audience: with reviews and complimentary mentions here and elsewhere at appropriate times.

     As it happens, my efforts in that direction aren’t worth very much, as my own audience is small. Still, I’ve tried to do what I can. However, one thing that irritates me greatly is the “something for nothing” request: i.e., the indie who writes to request a review of one of his books, but bridles when I suggest reciprocity. That’s panhandling, and I refuse to encourage it.

     A few years ago, I got a flood of review requests of that sort. I responded to them approximately in this fashion: I’ll do one of yours if you’ll do one of mine. It struck me as reasonable; if my correspondent expects me to dedicate some of my minuscule free time to reading and reviewing his book, surely a return of service would not be too much to ask. Yet not one of my solicitors agreed to the bargain. It said a lot about our milieu.

     It’s been a while since that siege of solicitations. I hadn’t received one such in a couple of years. (I suppose word got around that I don’t style myself a “curmudgeon” because I like the way it’s spelled.) But a fresh one arrived just yesterday morning. I replied as I described above. I have yet to receive a reply. Experience suggests that I shouldn’t expect one.

     This isn’t a growl or a lament. It’s an observation about what’s been happening to prevalent attitudes in recent years. There seems to be a spreading conviction that there’s no reason not to ask for something for nothing. “The worst he can say is ‘no,’ right?” Well, yes: the worst I can say is “no.” But that’s not the only negative consequence.

     First, let’s give this sort of behavior a brief, punchy name. Perhaps we might call it grasping. To whatever extent grasping is not rebuffed, it will be encouraged. There will be more of it. Over time it will become the norm. It will eclipse courteous behavior.

     The general degradation of attitudes is accelerated by every sally of that sort. There are three facets to this: the “everybody else does it, so why shouldn’t I?” aspect, the accumulation of resentment among the importunate, and the hardening-of-heart among those they importune. By gradual steps, the graspers cause us to lose our grip on virtue of charity.

     Don’t read too much into this. You already know I’m a old grump, and besides, you know what I’m like in the early morning. But it was on my mind, and this is how I exorcise such thoughts. Have a nice day.

A Must-Read 2022-05-24

     Gerard Van der Leun has long been one of the brightest lights in the firmament of the Blogosphere. His casual toss-offs are better than 99.9% of what I encounter in my morning circuit of news and opinion-editorial sites. His best stuff…words fail me, Gentle Reader. But perhaps you’re already aware of that.

     Yesterday, Gerard hit the Triple Crown of absolute relevance, estimable concision, and supreme eloquence. A brief snippet:

     At one time in the not too recent past, there were three (3) worlds. The First, the Second, and the Third. The Second world was thought of as those countries that were part of what was then known as The Soviet or Eastern Bloc. With the collapse of the Second world in 1991 those countries in the Second blended into the First and left only the Third. And it left the denizens of the Third world with a deep, burning desire to move from the Third to the First.

     That’s just to set the stage thematically. It’s not even the best part. Hie thee hence and read it all!

It’s a Pattern

First, there were periodic shortages of toilet paper, and a few random foodstuffs. The Officially Smart People (OSPs) blamed the shipping crisis – which was TOTES Trump’s fault, and not, in any way, related to anything that had happened since the Biden administration had taken over.

Especially, it was NOT the New Gay Father (of TWINS) – in charge of the Dept. of Transportation – who had ANY responsibility for it.

Well, OK. Things do, apparently, just happen.

But, then there was a shortages that affected other things – heavy machinery parts, electronics (which hit every part of the economy), more segments of the food industry (including some fires and other incidents at food processing facilities that MAY have been arson).

Speaking of food, SURPRISINGLY, much of the pork processing in America was shut down by “COVID”. The owners had to completely de-contaminate/sterilize the plants, adding to the time involved. AMAZINGLY, the chicken industry also suffered the same problems. So, a lot of food in America came from foreign sources. Apparently, China has little problem keeping their meat processing going, despite having been Ground Zero for the disease.

COVID forms kept mutating. Despite the normal trend of ‘killer’ viruses to become less lethal, COVID, we are told the OSPs, is still going to kill us all, in any form. Pay no attention to the actual causes of death, or the age distribution of those who were hospitalized/died.

We’ve continued to see shortages. When food is plentiful, it’s expensive. The recent formula shortages are making people nervous. I regularly check the shelves when I’m out, on the off chance that I’ll be able to pick up the formula my grandson and his wife use as a supplement for their latest child (fortunately, she has been able to keep breastfeeding, although she fills in with formula).

Now, Jif has recalled a protein-rich food – peanut butter. The recall affected only a few batches initially (reportedly, salmonella was the culprit). But the recall has expanded widely. Please check this linked list, and make sure that you haven’t stocked up on them.

Wheat supplies are down. You would think the OSPs would have been able to realize this earlier, but no. Well, at least families won’t need as much bread, what with the peanut butter shortages. I hope Smuckers is prepared for a drop in one of their OTHER products – jams and jellies.

What’s next?

I’m guessing corn and rice. Probably followed by beans of many types, after which I’d expect the meat industry to be slaughtering their herds, for lack of feed.

Now’s the time to buy a new freezer and stock up as you can (I’d plan on some meat purchases when the price does drop). It’s going to be a long couple of years of scarcity. Read your Bible for what happens then.

On a related note, have you planted your garden yet?

One For The Nerds, The Geeks, And The Dweebs

     If you’ve been wary about the cryptocurrencies, you’re in good company – mine. Crypto, regardless of the “brand,” is a mathematical construct implemented in a rule-based system. And a certainty upon which you, I, and everyone can rely is that it will have a vulnerability in it somewhere. Porretto’s Pessimistic Principle of Engineering applies here:

For Every Engineer,
There Is An Equal But Opposite Engineer.

     Cryptocurrencies and the trading schemes founded on them have been lauded to the world as “unhackable.” In truth, they’re nothing of the sort. You should put no more trust in these digital artifacts than you do in princes. (In other words, the avoidance of crypto is “Porretto-optimal.” 😁) So I was amused if unsurprised when I read this article:

     On Oct. 14, in a house near Leeds, England, Laurence Day was sitting down to a dinner of fish and chips on his couch when his phone buzzed. The text was from a colleague who worked with him on Indexed Finance, a cryptocurrency platform that creates tokens representing baskets of other tokens—like an index fund, but on the blockchain. The colleague had sent over a screenshot showing a recent trade, followed by a question mark. “If you didn’t know what you were looking at, you might say, ‘Nice-looking trade,’ ” Day says. But he knew enough to be alarmed: A user had bought up certain tokens at drastically deflated values, which shouldn’t have been possible. Something was very wrong.

     The subscriber who’d pulled off the fantastic trade was one Andean Medjedovic, a mathematics prodigy in Ontario, Canada. He’d risked about $11,000 and had gained crypto nominally valued at about $16 million. The owners of Indexed Finance treated it as an illegal hack:

     Day had already contacted UmbralUpsilon [Medjedovic’s subscriber alias] to offer a 10% reward for the tokens’ safe return, striking a note of grudging praise—“well played,” he wrote—but hadn’t heard back. So [Indexed Finance co-founder Dillon] Kellar tried a different tactic, messaging Medjedovic and addressing him as “Andean.” This time Medjedovic reacted, taunting Indexed users publicly on Twitter: “You were out-traded. There is nothing you can do about that. … Such is crypto.” When a team member emailed him independently, saying that if he returned the tokens they’d pay him $50,000, Medjedovic responded with a link to an Ethereum address. “Send the money over,” he wrote. They didn’t take the bait from their tormentor—who they’d learned, to their astonishment, was only 18 years old.

     Finally Kellar texted Medjedovic to make one last plea before, he said, they would be forced to bring in lawyers and police. “I implore you to give up now and make this easy on yourself,” he wrote. The teenager responded with “Xdxdxd,” an emoticon that evokes dying of laughter, and added, “Best of luck.”

     Medjedovic’s trade-combination wasn’t a “hack,” by the usual standard. He had spotted a way in which the published rules of the system permitted a complex combination of operations that could be used to make giant gobs of essentially free cryptocurrency. (The article delves deeply into the exploit, but I shan’t quote all that here. Suffice it to say that it would be of interest principally to other mathematically-inclined Gentle Readers. Any who can’t access the article but would like a copy of it can email me for it.)

     Perhaps Medjedovic isn’t a very nice person. (I wasn’t either, at 18 years of age.) But what he did was entirely within the published rules of the Indexed Finance platform. When they sued him, he said exactly that:

     Medjedovic hasn’t officially responded to either suit; he told me [article author Christopher Beam] he doesn’t even have a lawyer in Ontario. But in our email exchanges, he argued that he’d executed a perfectly legal series of trades. Nothing he did “involves getting access to a system I was not allowed access into,” he said. “I did not steal anyone’s private keys. I interacted with the smart contract according to its very own publicly available rules. The people who lost internet tokens in this trade were other people seeking to use the smart contract to their own advantage and taking on risky trading positions that they, apparently, did not fully understand.” Medjedovic added that he’d taken on “substantial risk” in pursuing this strategy. If he’d failed he would have lost “a pretty large chunk of my portfolio.” (The 3 ETH he stood to lose in fees was worth about $11,000 at the time.)

     From my understanding of the platform’s rules, he is entirely correct and within the law. I’d be greatly surprised to learn otherwise.


     I know a number of people who see the cryptocurrencies as a viable alternative to (and escape from) government-controlled fiat currencies. I disagree with them, for reasons such as the exploit Medjedovic pulled off. As clever as it was, it merely revealed the fundamental limitation of all unbacked currencies, governmental or private:

A Currency Cannot Store Value.

     A currency may be accepted as a medium of exchange, but that’s the extent of its utility. A digital currency is as insubstantial as any printed piece of paper. Its greater manipulability makes it even more vulnerable than the Federal Reserve Notes you have in your wallet.

Verbum sat sapienti.

Mourn The Death Of The “Sports Hero”

     Time was, we were told they were men:

     Yankees designated hitter Josh Donaldson made a comment to Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson that Anderson contends was “racist.” The benches cleared, tempers were short, and the controversy is still raging; Major League Baseball officials have begun an investigation.

     Oh my! So words can hurt you! But the story isn’t yet fully told:

     So what happened? Did Donaldson use the dreaded word that shuts down all discourse and rational thought and excludes one from polite society forever after? Of course not. Did he come out to bat wearing blackface? Did he taunt Anderson with old racial stereotypes about blacks? No. All he did was pass by Anderson in the first inning and say, “What’s up, Jackie?”

     Yeah, really, that’s all. Donaldson was needling Anderson over a 2019 Sports Illustrated interview in which Anderson said he felt as if he were “today’s Jackie Robinson” and was “getting to a point where I need to change the game.”

     We must raise a monument to Anderson at once for having survived such a vicious racial attack! And to teammate Yasmin Grandal for defending him:

     White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal threw fuel on the fire in the fifth inning when he began yelling at Donaldson when he came up bat. “Believe me, you don’t want me to tell you guys what I told him,” Grandal told reporters later. “This game went through a period in time where a lot of those comments were meant, and I think we’re way past that. And it’s just unacceptable. I just thought it was a low blow and I want to make sure I’ve got my team’s back. There’s no way that you’re allowed to say something like that.”

     I’ve never been happier to have “kicked the habit” of watching professional sports. Anderson and Grandal are whining pansies, and they deserve all the ridicule that will be heaped upon them. Curt Schilling, for whom I do have great respect, captures it nicely:

     I’m told rugby is still played by actual men. But is it televised?

Is Anyone Sincerely Surprised?

     Honestly, now:

     The Wuhan Institute of Virology assembled a monkeypox virus genome, allowing the virus to be identified through PCR tests, using a method researchers flagged for potentially creating a “contagious pathogen,” The National Pulse can reveal.

     The study was first published in February 2022, just months before the latest international outbreak of monkeypox cases which appear to have now reached the United States.

     The paper, which was authored by nine Wuhan Institute of Virology researchers and published in the lab’s quarterly scientific journal Virologica Sinica, also follows the wide-scale use of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests to identify COVID-19-positive individuals….

     The unearthed study follows the Wuhan Institue of Virology conducting similar research into strains of bat coronaviruses that could infect humans while admitting its facilities lacked proper laboratory safety protocols.

     No legitimate explanation for the recent scare-porn about monkeypox can omit an investigation in depth of that lab. There’s been ample reason to do so for two years already.

The Era Of The Illiterate

     Apologies, Gentle Reader. I have no better word than illiterate with which to describe this sort of locution:

     “No I do not,” [New York City Mayor Eric] Adams said when asked at the “Bans Off Our Bodies” demonstration in New York City whether there should be any limitations on abortion.

     “I think women should have the right to choose their bodies,” Adams said when pressed again about abortions up until the day of birth. “Men should not have that right to choose how a woman should treat their body.”

     Time was, we had certain minimum standards for “public men:” i.e., those who hold public office or aspire to doing so. They had to be well groomed. Their closets had to be free of skeletons. And they had to be able to speak the English language without embarrassing themselves.

     Back then, Eric Adams would never have garnered sufficient public support to be elected dogcatcher. What does it say about New York City, at one time the “capital of the world,” that it has elevated this…person to its highest executive seat?

The War Of The Words

     Yes, the title has been used by others. But the motif is critical to political combat in our time.

     Words are weapons. Words are tools. Define or be defined! — Michael Emerling

     I read in this morning’s news sweep that a Republican Congresswoman, Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ), has introduced a “Women’s Rights” bill. The Left and its Congressional stooges are outraged at this. First, the Democrats feel that “women” are one of their proprietary constituencies, so the Republicans are “trespassing.” Second, Lesko’s bill has the unmitigated audacity to give a definition for a woman! While this should be a great help to future Supreme Court Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, who will henceforward have a handy reference point should she ever again be questioned on the matter, the Left and its evangelist-transgenderist cadre are up in arms over it.

     The Left’s misuse of words, and its insistence that their original meanings no longer apply, is one of their more effective weapons against normality. It exploits the reluctance of normal persons to enter into a confrontation with them. In ceding the field to their distortions, we cede the battle as well, for he who defines the terms of the debate can guarantee himself a victory.

     This has been going on for some time, of course. The list is fairly long: “climate change,” “hate speech,” “racist,” “I identify as,” “speech is violence,” and other nonsense phrases have been wrapped around our discourse with a strangling intensity. Putting appropriate meanings to the important ones (and dismissing the rest with prejudice) is vital. The process cannot begin until we resolve to take up rhetorical cudgels in our own defense.


     I recently read of an encounter between a conservative and a leftist in which the following concluding exchange occurred:

Leftist: You’re a racist!
Conservative: (smiles broadly) Why, thank you!

     The leftist was apparently completely flummoxed by the reply. I can easily understand why. To him, the insult was mortal. It should have elicited either a cringing defense or a resort to blows. Upon getting an expression of gratitude in reply, he was disarmed. He had no way to proceed from that point.

     There’s a trick buried in there. Whether sincerely or otherwise, the conservative chose to interpret being called racist as praise. Perhaps in his reply he was saying “That means that I understand and accept the differences among the races, and that you’ve acknowledged the fact.” he did what the Left habitually does to us: he redefined the term to suit himself. And in that case at least, it worked beautifully.

     There are probably other pejoratives – “sexist,” “homophobic,” “transphobic,” and so forth – to which the same reply would function equally well.


     Note that the Left has completely replaced the old shibboleth, “global warming,” with its new bludgeon “climate change.” This one is insidious, for the climate is always changing. Indeed, it changes from district to district and person to person within each district, for a simple reason that requires only six words to express: “Climate” is just weather we expect.

     A leftist tried to trip Senator Ted Cruz with this one, but Cruz was too smart for him:

Leftist: Senator, do you believe in climate change?
Ted Cruz: The climate’s always changing. What’s your point?

     Once again, the leftist was disarmed. He had to bare the blade concealed within the undefined term “climate:” the suggestion that the changes are catastrophic in nature, in large measure due to human activity, and must be halted if not reversed by altering human activity, probably through coercive means. He did, but he was equally unprepared for Cruz’s reply, and the conversation soon lapsed.


     I could go on from here, but the core of the thing is uniform: We must not let the Left get away with changing or twisting the meanings of words. Even if the only response you can make to one engaged in rhetorical distortion is “You’re an idiot,” it should be made. Reclaiming the language, such that what we say to one another can be clearly understood, isn’t just an important political tactic; it’s also a moral obligation. Some years ago, in a column at Townhall.com, Maggie Gallagher captured the reason:

If there is no such thing as objective truth,
Then all our statements are mere instruments of manipulation:
Attempts to use one another, or to avoid being used.

     And of course our only avenue for expressing the truth is language: the words we use, expecting (if not hoping) that they will be understood as we understand them.


The notification just under the Search bar says it all – this is the WARNING to beat ALL OTHER WARNINGS!

It’s on the website of the National Archives.

Ya’ know, every time I think we’ve hit Peak Stupid, something like this comes along.

Is there no limit to human stupidity? Apparently not.

I’d been having a quiet morning. It rained buckets last evening (The dog went to the door to indicate he had to go. He took one look at the Noah-level deluge, and walked away.)

It’s beautiful this morning – cool and fresh. I’ve been sitting in the sunroom, enjoying the view and just relaxing.

Until I saw this, and was propelled by Weapons-Grade-Outrage to write this post.

Look. Foreign countries can look at our Constitution and think, “Gee, that’s a really dangerous collection of ideas!” Their choice.

But, if you are an American – native-born or naturalized – the one thing you HAVE to agree on is that the ideas, and words about those ideas, contained in the Constitution, are not dangerous. Except to tyrants and their accomplices.

Saturday Smorgasbord

     I feel like the Flying Dutchman: if I stop blogging, either I’ll die or the world will end, whichever would be worse. So here we go again.


     According to Jazz Shaw at Hot Air, the smash-and-grab robberies in California are not ending. I hadn’t imagined otherwise. Indeed, my response upon reading the article was Why would anyone think otherwise? Conditions there are so favorable to such crimes that for them to come to an end would be baffling.

     It’s not just the flaccidity of California law enforcement and its justice system. Smash-and-grabs have begun to proliferate, nationwide. The would-be thieves have discovered that there’s a shortage of people who’ll impede their fun. In any district where the cult of victimism has taken root, individuals who see the opportunities are finding a “conscience loophole” that permits them to get in on the gravy. Few are pursued afterward. Fewer still are arrested, indicted, and tried. So the incentives surrounding such criminality are strongly positive.

     Yes, California cities get more of it than any other city not currently experiencing riots. But that’s California, a.k.a. “The Land of Fruits and Nuts.”


     My Gentle Readers have probably already read about this monstrous bill, which I believe has passed the House and is headed to the Senate. Add to the mix this equal monstrosity, which seeks to turn the right guaranteed by the Second Amendment into a permission, revocable by the federal government at any time and for any reason or none.

     Whoever it was who said that the Second Amendment is the guarantor of all the others had it right. The right to keep and bear arms is what distinguishes the citizen from the subject. If you think your First Amendment freedom of expression is being curtailed today, just wait for the day when you’re no longer allowed to possess weaponry unless the State thinks you can be “trusted.”


     Jeffrey Tucker has written a heartfelt essay on the COVID-19 lockdowns and “the loss of moral clarity.” Tucker sees the connection between the two and pins it as few others have done. In speaking of the empathy fostered by a regime of freedom and free markets, he writes:

     Adam Smith’s masterwork The Theory of Moral Sentiments… is heavy on the analysis of what it means to feel empathy, and not only to feel it, but to rely on it to the point that our own well-being is connected to the belief that others too are experiencing something like a good life.

     What instills this higher sense in our minds? It is the practical experience of depending on others and finding value in their labor, productivity, contribution to community life, and coming to see our own well-being as bound up with the fate of others. This is what the market and socializing encourages: the gradual recognition that others, and indeed all people, are worthy of being treated with dignity and respect.

     The universalization of this sense is never complete, but as civilization and prosperity grow, we make progress toward that end. This is what grants us ever better lives. Without it, we can very quickly descend into barbarism in the way The Lord of the Flies describes. This is particularly true in the volatile years of youth, when the search for meaning is active and the mind is malleable in both good and dangerous ways.

     I could not have put it better.


     The educrats are very worried. Frantic, even. The kiddies are steadily leaving the “public” schools! And you know what that means:

     In New York City, the nation’s largest school district has lost some 50,000 students over the past two years. In Michigan, enrollment remains more than 50,000 below prepandemic levels from big cities to the rural Upper Peninsula.

     In the suburbs of Orange County, Calif., where families have moved for generations to be part of the public school system, enrollment slid for the second consecutive year; statewide, more than a quarter-million public school students have dropped from California’s rolls since 2019.

     And since school funding is tied to enrollment, cities that have lost many students — including Denver, Albuquerque and Oakland — are now considering combining classrooms, laying off teachers, or shutting down entire schools.

     I added the emphasis. Every so often, even the reliably statist New York Times will blurt out the real issue. And so it is in the above.

     I read recently that homeschooled children in these United States now number about five million. That’s quite an increase from the roughly one million of thirty years ago, when I first started to watch the rise of homeschooling. The folks who promoted Critical Race Theory and transgenderism, who turned their classrooms into propaganda centers for socialism and catastrophic climate change, and who engineered the “pandemic” have shot the educrats in the foot, if not somewhat higher up. I couldn’t smile any more widely. What about you, Gentle Reader?


     Speaking of truth-blurting, here’s a case that shouldn’t be missed:

     Some will find this blatantly totalitarian emission shocking. I don’t. Yes, it’s Kinsleyesque, but it reflects the mindset of the corporate captain of our time: Profit Uber Alles. If we can get the State to force the public to buy our product, we’ll be on Easy Street!

“A corporation has neither a body to be kicked nor a soul to be damned,” said Isabel Paterson The incentives built into the existence and special privileges of the limited liability corporation have brought about exactly the sort of person we see in the above: a CEO of a drug company who cares about selling drugs. Nothing else. If he can get the government to push his drugs, he’ll be happier than a clam at high tide.

     The days of the Thomas Watsons, the Thomas Edisons, and the Andrew Carnegies are far behind us.


     I’m not yet ready to sing Blame Canada, but I’m edging toward it:

     Since last year, Canadian law, in all its majesty, has allowed both the rich as well as the poor to kill themselves if they are too poor to continue living with dignity. In fact, the ever-generous Canadian state will even pay for their deaths. What it will not do is spend money to allow them to live instead of killing themselves.

     As with most slippery slopes, it all began with a strongly worded denial that it exists. In 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada reversed 22 years of its own jurisprudence by striking down the country’s ban on assisted suicide as unconstitutional, blithely dismissing fears that the ruling would ‘initiate a descent down a slippery slope into homicide’ against the vulnerable as founded on ‘anecdotal examples’. The next year, Parliament duly enacted legislation allowing euthanasia, but only for those who suffer from a terminal illness whose natural death was ‘reasonably foreseeable’.

     It only took five years for the proverbial slope to come into view, when the Canadian parliament enacted Bill C-7, a sweeping euthanasia law which repealed the ‘reasonably foreseeable’ requirement – and the requirement that the condition should be ‘terminal’. Now, as long as someone is suffering from an illness or disability which ‘cannot be relieved under conditions that you consider acceptable’, they can take advantage of what is now known euphemistically as ‘medical assistance in dying’ (MAID for short) for free.

     Soon enough, Canadians from across the country discovered that although they would otherwise prefer to live, they were too poor to improve their conditions to a degree which was acceptable.

     Not coincidentally, Canada has some of the lowest social care spending of any industrialised country, palliative care is only accessible to a minority, and waiting times in the public healthcare sector can be unbearable, to the point where the same Supreme Court which legalised euthanasia declared those waiting times to be a violation of the right to life back in 2005.

     It seems that in Canada, the waiting times for medical treatments have become so long that they effectively render it unavailable. If he lacks the means to seek treatment abroad, there’s nothing the sufferer can do except suffer. But he can die with State assistance.

     Look ye upon the future of socialized medicine, and despair.


     Just this morning, I ran across this JPG:

     At first blush, it sounds like a perfect solution to the problem of ballot fraud. However, we wouldn’t want to use the technology involved in printing currency.

     In 1980, a single Treasury Department Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) currency printer cost about twenty million dollars. I doubt it’s less expensive today. And they are not simple devices. Consider the implications of having to mark every bill printed with a unique number, so that each bill will be unique. The intaglio printing method – ink squirted onto engraved steel plates – is expensive all by itself. This extra requirement raises the cost.

     Now turn to the ballot-making procedure. The United States has over 88,000 governments, the majority of which have elected members. Each of those election contests would require a set of engraved plates that would differ from any other set, even omitting the serialization requirement. Moreover, the plates would have to be changed from election to election. Printing ballots is already quite expensive. Doing it the BEP way would compel school boards to subcontract their ballot production to larger and richer bodies, such as the federal government. If you’re looking for a way to compel the federalization of all elections, look no further.

     It might be possible to avoid that pass by the use of contemporary digital printers that are highly programmable and don’t require the special paper used for currency, but that means involving some highly special specialists in the programming. How many of those are there? Are they trustworthy?


     Finally for today, a graphic I found earlier that neatly expresses my struggles of yesterday:

     Yes, indeed. But do have a nice day.

Decline And Fall

     At each election we vote in a new set of politicians, insanely assuming that they are better than the set turned out. And at each election we are, as they say in Motherland, done in. – H. L. Mencken

     Among the things I’ve been missing lately are the penetrating and erudite essays of Co-Conspirator Dystopic a.k.a. Thales, both here and at his personal site The Declination. In his emissions, Dystopic presented a deeply thoughtful and knowledgeable case that the United States that we’ve known and loved is on a one-way trip to a destination freedom-loving Americans would never have chosen for themselves. Of course, it wasn’t We the People who chose it, but the strategists and kingmakers of the political Establishment. These don’t rule us directly, of course. Rather, they select and carefully groom puppets to present to us as the only thinkable choices for “our leaders.” Then they run the “leaders.”

     This has never been quite so obvious as in the case of the current occupant of the Oval Office. Joseph Robinette Biden is so demonstrably unfit for the presidency that his selection for the post constitutes the ultimate triumph of black humor. It compels us to question the very evidence before our eyes, for that evidence suggests all but irrefutably that those gray eminences have aimed us at national suicide intentionally and with malice aforethought.

     Why would a group of power-brokers, firmly in command of the richest and most successful nation in the history of Mankind, want to steer the galleon it’s captured onto the rocks?

     Sadly, only one answer fits the data.


     Great thinkers have struggled throughout the centuries with the problem of explaining human cruelty. Thus wrote Robert Burns:

Many and sharp the num’rous ills
Inwoven with our frame!
More pointed still we make ourselves,
Regret, remorse, and shame!
And man, whose heav’n-erected face
The smiles of love adorn, –
Man’s inhumanity to man
Makes countless thousands mourn!

     And it is so. Not all of us are perpetually cruel, of course. But most of us have known the lash of cruelty at some point in our lives…and many if not all of us have also known its appeal.

     Cruelty to others is the purest expression of power:

     ’The real power, the power we have to fight for night and day, is not power over things, but over men.’ O’Brien paused, and for a moment assumed again his air of a schoolmaster questioning a promising pupil: ’How does one man assert his power over another, Winston?’
     Winston thought. ’By making him suffer,’ he said.
     ’Exactly. By making him suffer. Obedience is not enough. Unless he is suffering, how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.’

     The above passage is a kind of syllogism. If those over whom you wish to wield power are not suffering at the moment, it becomes possible to doubt your power over them. But in the mind of one who recognizes nothing as immune to his decrees, that which is doubted becomes illusory, even insubstantial. He must swing into action. He must exert his power in a fashion that will produce palpable results…palpable suffering.

     Couple this bit of reasoning with the oft-repeated maxim that we should assume that a man intends the foreseeable consequences of his actions.


     To a sane man, a preference for power over all other things must seem incomprehensible. Yet most of us have at least a hint of a longing for authority. Authority means you’re important. You matter more than Joe Schmoe who doesn’t have it. You’re closer than he is to the elite.

     Those strategists and kingmakers who select and groom our “leaders” just have a lot more of a taste for it than you or I. Indeed, to the ones at the pinnacle of our society, it’s the only thing that matters. Great wealth is all very well, but once you have all the comforts, all the pleasures, and all the status symbols, of what use is another billion? It’s more satisfying to flex your money muscles, to deploy what you have to massive effect upon the unwashed and unsuspecting. Then you get to wallow in the results: the proof that you have real power.

     Don’t look to the puppets. Don’t puzzle over their vagaries, their frequent self-contradictions, or their contradictions of one another. They’re a living curtain over the real power-wielders, the men who hold their strings. While those strings sometimes become visible, as for example in the case of the Biden family, it is beyond our power to sever them. That’s a great part of why the puppets were chosen.

     The true Establishment is not the gaggle of office-holders upon whose emissions the mainstream media focuses. That focus is an indispensable part of the charade. It’s the men writing their lines and programming their teleprompters.


     In brief, which I seldom am, our ongoing decline:

  1. Was deliberately designed by persons whose names are obscure at best;
  2. Is being carefully managed by them and others of their kind;
  3. To bring about the ultimate demonstration of power.

     There were many components to their strategy. I’ve written about many of them here and elsewhere. Spend a couple of hours in the Baseline Essays section if you’d like to review them. The point of this tirade is their motive: to prove that the power they have amassed over us is absolute and unopposable.

     They are a death force. There’s no telling how much death will satisfy them. Indeed, there might be no upper bound.


     In 2016, an Outsider slipped through the gates. For four hope-filled years, he labored to deprive the Establishmentarians of their power. Their outrage was impossible to conceal. It leaked out on numerous occasions and in several ways. We paid it too little attention.

     They could not abide Donald Trump. He had to go. I have no doubt that had their election-theft machinations proved insufficient, they would have contrived his death. Should he threaten their grip a second time, he’ll be in mortal danger from the outset. So will anyone else who dares to defy them.

     Our fall is drawing near.

     For those who marvel at our ability to stagger from crisis to crisis without experiencing a disaster and think we can continue indefinitely to overload our economic and social system with laws of plunder and legislative nonsense, I will remind you that the man who is guillotined is breathing right up to the moment the blade hits his neck. — “John Galt”

     See also this essay.

The Normalization Of Fear

     Are you afraid?

     You’re meant to be. Influential people in many high places have decreed that you shall be. And they’re putting a lot of effort into getting you there.

     One of the most important enduring features of the American milieu – for virtually the whole of our history – has been the absence of wide-spectrum fears. When have Americans feared invasion? When have we feared famine? When have we feared natural catastrophe?

     It’s not that our tale is entirely without tragedy. Ask anyone whose home was swept away by a flood or destroyed by a tornado. And yes, there have been relatively brief periods in which one of our regions was afflicted by food shortages of some kind. But historically, the American temperament has been an optimistic one. Our circumstances have justified it.

     Things are changing. Fear is creeping over the land. They who seek to rule us eternally and without constraint are contriving some excellent reasons for it.


     Even during the coldest bits of the Cold War, few Americans sincerely feared a nuclear bombardment. The possibility existed, but few of us made any room for it in our plans or arrangements. The head-under-the-desk drills inflicted upon schoolchildren were taken less than seriously, because we couldn’t credit the threat. Home fallout shelters were few. Civil defense preparations were marginal at best.

     But our political Establishment has excited a general fear of a nuclear exchange. Indeed, the insertion of our noses into the Russia-Ukraine conflict seems designed to do that. Unwise? Of course…unless the Usurpers are convinced that they can use the fear without unwittingly evoking the reality.

     The rapid inflation of the dollar and curtailment of our energy resources have combined to raise the prices of genuine necessities unprecedentedly high. The costs of food, clothing, electricity, gasoline, and heating fuels are rising to displace everything else from our budgets. Working-class families, and some nominally middle-class ones as well, are being pressed to their limits.

     He who fears for his ability to provide for his family will be especially cautious about anything, word or deed, that might cost him his livelihood. The variety of threats to the average wage earner’s wages is greater than ever before. There are people working to make it greater and more fearsome still.

     America has had its share of natural threats too: hurricanes, tornadoes, regional floods or droughts, the occasional California mudslide or earthquake. But historically we haven’t been so badly beleaguered by such things as to orient our lives around them. The Usurpers’ “catastrophic climate change” propaganda is straining to change that, especially in the minds of our children. That campaign is providing some of the rationale for limiting our energy supplies.

     What does a parent do when his child comes home from school quaking with fear that the world is about to end – that we’ll all be fried to a crisp unless we go back to Neanderthal standards of living? He’s bombarded with the propaganda many hours per week. It even finds its way into his entertainment. But Mom and Dad are worn to the bone merely trying to cope with their fears. How much room can they make for his?

     Need I point out the “red thread” that connects all these things, Gentle Reader?


     The normal, rational response to fear is to find the cause and remedy it. But how are we to do that with these wholly government-engineered fears? The Usurpers and their allies are even trying to make us fear one another, screaming from their lecterns and media perches about “white supremacy,” “gun violence,” “disinformation,” and “hate speech.” How can we deal with any of this while still attending to our personal and communitarian necessities? Indeed, what can we do when we can’t even be certain that our next election will be acceptably honest?

     As of this morning we have a new fear: the murderous mob, enraged beyond all possibility of constraint by the imminent overturning of Roe v. Wade. Elements of that mob have already harassed and threatened Supreme Court Justices at their homes. Their latest threat is to murder the Justices and destroy the Supreme Court’s building. As the Left has gotten away with such infamies over trivia like the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and George Floyd, dismissing the possibility of nationwide rioting and destruction, with us of the Right the intended victims, seems unwise.

     Apologies, Gentle Reader. This is upsetting stuff. It certainly upsets me to write about it. But it’s what’s on my mind at present. My reason might be yours as well, if the greater part of your retirement savings is in the equities market.

     Memo to me: There’s no such thing as too much ammo. Unless you’re on fire, of course.

What Must Not Be Said

     A little-known incident in the early years of World War I comes to mind this morning. (Actually, most Americans know absolutely nothing about World War I, so much so that the entire conflagration, which cost nearly twenty million lives, could be called “a little-known incident.” But I digress.)

     Like the deputies in Paris, [French commanding General Joseph] Joffre needed a scapegoat for the failure of the offensive and Ruffey’s conduct decided the selection; he was removed that day from command of the Third Army and replaced by General Sarrail. Invited to lunch next day with Joffre, Ruffey blamed his defeat in the Ardennes on the last-minute removal of the two reserve divisions that Joffre had transferred to the Army of Lorraine. If he had had those 40,000 fresh men and the 7th Cavalry Division, Ruffey said, he could have rolled up the enemy’s left, and “what a success for our arms we might have won!” In one of his terse and mysterious remarks, Joffre replied, “Chut, il ne faut pas le dire.” His tone of voice has been lost, and it will never be known whether he meant, “You are wrong; you must not say that,” or “You are right but we must not admit it.”

     [Barbara Tuchman, The Guns of August]

     Given the way the war had begun for France – that is, not merely badly but disastrously, despite Joffre’s optimism about his offensive approach – the latter interpretation strikes me as the more likely one. Considering that after two and a half years in supreme command, and with the war still raging, Joffre was removed and replaced by Robert Nivelle, a little-known figure with only one major success to his credit, he had good reason not to want to discuss the details of his tenure as France’s Generalissimo.

     An awful lot of people don’t want certain matters discussed in detail, with all the data neatly arranged in time series for the perusal of any interested party. I have several such matters in mind this morning. Perhaps you’ve already guessed which ones, but I’ll blather on anyway; it’s what I do.


     First, from the “current events” department:

     Miss Greene’s assessment is unchallengeable. Its forthrightness and clarity are another illustration of why the political Establishment wishes she would dissolve into a vapor and float away. Once again, she has said something they do not wish Us the Great Unwashed to hear or think about.

     The American economy is in shambles. Nothing is working properly. Inflation is rocketing out of control. Supermarket shelves are looking rather bare. You need to take out a mortgage to purchase gasoline. Mothers are unable to find baby formula for their infants. But Ukraine!

     If this isn’t an “ignore that, look over there” tactic of the first water, then I’ve never seen one. It’s the sort of thing the Soviets did repeatedly, to deflect their subjects’ attention from their domestic troubles. And Miss Greene has pinned it to the wall.

     American politicians have become ever more prone to that tactic as government at all levels has swollen past its proper bounds.


     Next up, a little something from the U.K.:

     [Katherine Birbalsingh] has been made “social mobility commissioner” by Boris Johnson’s government, because of her demonstrated ability to attain excellent school-leaving certificate (“GCSE,” aged sixteen, and “A-Level,” aged 18) results from poor-background pupils.

     But she’s got into trouble because, being a born-again conservative, she has a naïve belief in old-fashioned things such as “science,” the empirical method, “truth” and “telling the truth.”

     Last month, she told the U.K. parliament’s “science and technology committee inquiry on diversity and inclusion in Stem subjects” that “physics isn’t something that girls tend to fancy. They don’t want to do it, they don’t like it” [Girls shun physics A-level as they dislike ‘hard maths’, says social mobility head, by Hannah Devlin, The Guardian, April 27, 2022].

     She further told the committee that at her own school only 16% of A-level physics students were girls, which was lower than the national average of 23%. When she was asked why so few girls did A-level (which stands for “Advanced Level”) physics, despite outperforming boys at GCSE (which stands for “General Certificate of Secondary Education”), she said:

I just think they don’t like it. There’s a lot of hard maths in there that I think they would rather not do. The research generally…just says that’s a natural thing. I don’t think there’s anything external. [My emphasis].

     As we will see shortly, Birbalsingh is simply telling the truth. But, as we all know, the Left hates the truth, because it contradicts their virtue-signaling equalitarian dogmas. Indeed, to make matters worse for these “All Physicists Should Be Girls” campaigners, Birbalsingh added that she was “certainly not out there campaigning” for more girls to do physics:

     I don’t mind that there’s only 16%. I want them to do what they want to do.

     Cue: Outrage.

     What’s this? A distinct, measurable difference between the intellectual proclivities of the sexes? This cannot be! Or at least this cannot be said where others can hear. Research and empirical data cannot be allowed to contradict The Narrative! Please read the whole article, Gentle Reader; it’s most definitely worth your time.

     The U.K. is at least as deeply mired in the “indistinguishability of the sexes” canard as are we here in the “colonies.” England’s leading lights cannot and will not abide anyone who dares to speak against it. Miss Birbalsingh had better watch her back.


     Finally for this morning, we have a report about our mainstream media’s aversion to facts about racial violence:

     In 2020, I [former Thomson Reuters director of data science Zac Kriegman] started to witness the spread of a new ideology inside the company. On our internal collaboration platform, the Hub, people would post about “the self-indulgent tears of white women” and the danger of “White Privilege glasses.” They’d share articles with titles like “Seeing White,” “Habits of Whiteness” and “How to Be a Better White Person.” There was fervent and vocal support for Black Lives Matter at every level of the company. No one challenged the racial essentialism or the groupthink.

     This concerned me. I had been following the academic research on BLM for years (for example, here, here, here and here), and I had come to the conclusion that the claim upon which the whole movement rested—that police more readily shoot black people—was false.

     The data was unequivocal. It showed that, if anything, police were slightly less likely to use lethal force against black suspects than white ones.

     Statistics from the most complete database of police shootings (compiled by The Washington Post) indicate that, over the last five years, police have fatally shot 39 percent more unarmed whites than blacks. Because there are roughly six times as many white Americans as black Americans, that figure should be closer to 600 percent, BLM activists (and their allies in legacy media) insist. The fact that it’s not—that there’s more than a 500-percentage point gap between reality and expectation—is, they say, evidence of the bias of police departments across the United States.

     But it’s more complicated than that. Police are authorized to use lethal force only when they believe a suspect poses a grave danger of harming others. So, when it comes to measuring cops’ racial attitudes, it’s important that we compare apples and apples: Black suspects who pose a grave danger and white suspects who do the same.

     Unfortunately, we don’t have reliable data on the racial makeup of dangerous suspects, but we do have a good proxy: The number of people in each group who murder police officers.

     According to calculations (published by Patrick Frey, Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County) based on FBI data, black Americans account for 37 percent of those who murder police officers, and 34 percent of the unarmed suspects killed by police. Meanwhile, whites make up 42.7 percent of cop killers and 42 percent of the unarmed suspects shot by police—meaning whites are killed by police at a 7 percent higher rate than blacks.

     Yet another clearly observed and recorded fact. But it’s unspeakable! You could undermine the whole Black Lives Matter movement with such data – and you know how our circulation depends upon that! So Thomson Reuters “had to” terminate Kriegman — for wrongthink with a sound factual basis.

     It doesn’t get any balder than that, Gentle Reader.


     Marjorie Taylor Greene, Katherine Birbalsingh, and Zac Kriegman are all under fire for daring to say what must not be said. They’ve challenged pieties to the consternation of the priests in the pulpits:

     One cannot challenge the pieties of a society without provoking condemnation or ostracism. To question a piety, even along its margins, is to ask to be thrown out of the church. This is an absolute that applies to all peoples and times….

     Pieties have their dangers. The unquestioned belief, in late 17th Century France, that Catholics were morally superior to Huguenots allowed Louis XIV to revoke the Edict of Nantes, the decree of religious tolerance for the Protestant minority. The resulting mass emigration of Huguenots to Belgium weakened France severely, as the Huguenots were among the most industrious and educated persons of northern France. Indeed, part of the Catholic animosity toward them was that they worked on Sundays, and thus had a competitive edge over Catholics in business and commerce.

     If we are in thrall to a piety contrary to the actual facts of our society, we are in danger too. The question is only of degree.

     But the data are available to anyone who dares to look and to see. The Emperor has no clothes. Must a young child, an indisputable innocent, be the one to say it? Would it have to be a little black girl, to insulate her against shouts of racism and sexism? Or has the time come for all of us, young and old, black and white, male and female, to proclaim from the rooftops that we are being systematically denied some of the most important facts of our day?

     Facts that are not frankly faced have a habit of stabbing us in the back. – Sir Harold Bowden

Christ Is Risen.

“That’s Racist!”

     First, a thematic cartoon:

     Got the idea? Well, then let’s proceed.

     One of the critical conduits for the prescription of attitudes among Americans, and possibly among Westerners generally, is our entertainment stream. This is unlikely to surprise my Gentle Readers, several of whom have complained about it to me – privately, of course. It’s caused me to abjure and forgo conventional television – broadcast and cablecast both – and go looking for something else to watch in the evenings while the C.S.O. and I await the onset of sleep.

     Most recently, we’ve been gorging ourselves on the products of British television, many of which are of appreciably higher quality than American productions. The C.S.O. particularly enjoys British murder mysteries – she’s a pushover for anything with a mysterious death in it – so we’ve mostly been enjoying those in the evenings, via streaming channels Acorn and BritBox.

     But that might not be for much longer.

     In the beginning, there was Midsomer Murders. This series, now in its twenty-third season, is the all-time favorite of bloodless blood-and-gore buffs. Its first fifteen years were guided by the hand and mind of co-creator and producer Brian True-May, who apparently loved it as much as any of its viewers. But True-May was forced out of involvement with the series after someone asked him why there were no blacks or Asians in it:

     The co-creator of Midsomer Murders, Brian True-May, is to step down from his role at the end of the current series after he sparked a race row by suggesting there was no place in the programme for ethnic minorities.

     True-May, the co-creator and producer of Midsomer Murders which began on ITV in 1997, described the show as the “last bastion of Englishness” and said it “wouldn’t work” if ethnic minorities appeared on screen….

     True-May told last week’s edition of Radio Times: “We just don’t have ethnic minorities involved. Because it wouldn’t be the English village with them. It just wouldn’t work. “

     “Suddenly we might be in Slough. Ironically, Causton (one of the main centres of population in the show) is supposed to be Slough. And if you went into Slough you wouldn’t see a white face there.

     “We’re the last bastion of Englishness and I want to keep it that way.”

     Oh, my. Someone who’s fond of the English village as it was and mostly still is! There are very, very few blacks or Asians in the English countryside; they’re almost exclusively urban populations. True-May committed the ultimate offense: he spoke the truth about something that displeases Britain’s racial and ethnic minorities. Clearly, he had to go.

     The series has gone sharply downhill since True-May’s departure. While that also correlates with the replacement of its leading man, the internationally famous and wildly popular John Nettles, by the less popular (and less charismatic) Neil Dudgeon, one cannot escape the feeling that as blacks and Asians have crept into the casting, the series has lost some of its verisimilitude and some of its viewer appeal.

     Still, we must placate the minorities, mustn’t we? They tend to run riot if we don’t. Especially those pesky “Asians,” British journalists’ preferred term for Muslim immigrants from the Middle East, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. The “no go zones” are bad enough already. Mustn’t provoke their further multiplication, enlargement, or intensification.

     That was a case of an entertainment executive speaking his mind without forethought about who might be moved to attack him for it. We know that the racialists and ethnicity-floggers are perpetually on the alert for such things. But now and then there’s no obvious explanation for the sudden insertion of an absurdity into a popular show.

     Let’s turn to our current fare, Grantchester. For its first three seasons, this series, which starred James Norton as Reverend Sidney Chambers of the Church of England and Robson Green as Detective Inspector Geordie Keating of the Cambridgeshire constabulary, featured as a major subplot Chambers’ yearning for Amanda Kendall, whom he’d loved since boyhood. However, Amanda, played by Morven Christie, marries Guy Hopkins, a member of the landed gentry, a match heartily approved by her father. The clash this creates provides a large amount of the show’s propulsion, as Chambers’ steady descent into self-pity and dissolution leads him into one instance of bad judgment after another.

     That thread runs in parallel to another “love that dare not speak its name:” that of curate Leonard Finch, played by Al Weaver, for Daniel Marlowe, played by Oliver Dimsdale. Now, in the years of the series’ setting, the early to mid-Fifties, homosexuality was still illegal in Britain. (It was legalized by the Sexual Offences Act of 1967, after a number of scandals involving the nobility and several members of Parliament.) Thus, such a love was something to be kept out of the public eye…but here we have an ordained curate of the Church of England enmeshed in it, on screen!

     I’d hoped that Leonard Finch’s desire to remain staunch against homosexual temptation would triumph. I was disappointed; late in the third season he succumbs, in blatant violation of his vows as an ordained Anglican priest. Moreover, the series presents this as some sort of triumph for the Right and the Good, even though Finch remains the curate of Grantchester parish.

     But wait: there’s more! While Sidney Chambers does eventually choose his Church and his vows over his love for Amanda, his fidelity to his vows doesn’t last. In the fourth season he becomes instantly infatuated with a young black woman from Georgia, and abandons his parish and his Church to go to America to be with her. In 1954, when the southern states nearly all had laws against miscegenation!

     Implausibility piled upon implausibility, all for the sake of “controversy” – which seems always to mean placating the racialists, the homosexuals, and the ethnic-identity floggers. Yea verily, British entertainment has been colonized and conquered quite as thoroughly as that brewed in America.

     Don’t read too much into this, Gentle Reader. I’m mostly venting. But normal people are coming to recognize the agenda. The implausibilities, the deliberate distortions and cancellations of the normal patterns of association and commitment, have a message: “You cannot escape us. We will follow you wherever you go. Your preferences are irrelevant. We will force you to submit to our ways of thinking and living.” That message becomes more widespread, more insistent, and more brutal with every passing day.


Don’t Look to the Past

Focus on the Future.

We know what the Supreme Court Justices have done in the past. But, the past is not always a good way to predict future actions.

Alito, up until this current abortion case, had been a relatively quiet presence on the bench. However, he was the deciding vote in several 5-4 decisions in the past. So, it’s clear that he does not worry about making waves.

The new justice (who, because of her appointment AFTER the case was argued, will not vote), has – at times – voted against the heavy hand of regulation in previous decisions. That is, what might be called, a starting point for moving HER Overton Window.

I think the more conservative justices might want to spend some time with her, and develop some friendly relations. If she could begin to think of them as decent people, and not ideological enemies, there is hope for the Supreme Court.

Similarly, one or more of the male justices needs to begin cultivating Kagan. I suspect that she is eager for a relationship that treats her as a special individual, and gives her a reason to look forward to starting her working day. Like having a ‘Big Brother’ on the court. One with whom she can share hobbies, brag about nieces and nephews, and perhaps occasionally attend a cultural event or ball game.

My guess is that Sotomayor is both self-absorbed, and kind of a Queen Bee. I don’t see her expending energy to make sure that Kagan’s ego is stroked. I would imagine Kagan wants what everyone wants – to feel noticed.

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