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The Orange Dog That Didn’t Bark

 

One way or another, Trump’s DoJ did not raid Hillary.  And specifically, I mean that either he didn’t order the DoJ to turn her vodka cave upside-down, or the DoJ refused to do it because reasons.

Either Trump was a better, more moral President than Biden, or the mutiny and coup against Trump was real — or both.  But it cannot be the case that neither claim is true.

I know that I sound like a broken record at times, but Benghazi was a clarifying moment for me.  The Deep State is real. It amounts to at least a fourth branch of government, the investigation is the cover-up, and while many kooks are wrong, some of them are right.

Clinton’s e-mail server held a great many secrets which would be injurious to her, to Obama, and to the Democrat / Deep State project.  This is also why it existed in the first place — to avoid legally required monitoring and potential disclosure.  “Yoga,” my butt.

Hillary’s server was the nexus of a lot of bad stuff, because the people using it felt secure.  Fools.  One of my favorite targets for dumpster-diving that thing would have been the emails surrounding conversations between Hillary and folks like Petraeus, for whom I lost all regard.  I do think that the kerfuffle surrounding his affair was a lifeline to get him out of the line of questioning, the same way Susan Rice was moved under the Executive Privilege umbrella just in time.  Petraeus could still have answered questions related to his time in the previous office (and so could Rice), but for some reason, the excuse “no longer in office” was allowed to fly, and neither would return to testify when the heat was on.  Convenient, that.  And by heat, I mean the unanswered question, “who gave the order to stand down?”

Remember that the Benghazi debacle occurred shortly after Obama declared Mission Accomplished in the war on terror, and shortly before his re-election.  This is why Susan Rice peddled the absurd Nakoula Nakoula YouTube video story on five Sunday morning shows.  Bad America, you offended the Islamic Jihadis whom Obama, I assure you, soundly defeated  Nothing to see here — not a terror attack, nothing to do with the administration.  The incomprehensible action of absolutely nothing was our response.  The only way our response could possibly have been nothing is if there was immense pressure to suppress every instinct, trained response, and formal duty of various subordinate decision-makers and force commanders in the area.  It came from somewhere.

The ship has sailed on “Who gave the order?”, we will never get the answer, and Hillary cruised away from another disgusting episode, the key to which was that server.  Why do you think she had the server vaporized, and fought so hard to resist efforts to preserve, to obtain copies, to publicize the contents?  And why was she allowed to get away with it despite Republican control of the House?  Remember Darrell Issa?  Remember Trey Gowdy?  Great fiery speeches.  Bolshy Slovos.

Add to that the pay-for-play Clinton Global Initiative, the presence of obviously classified material, sometimes mutilated to remove classification markings, and the well-founded suspicion that John McCain’s own version of Charlie Wilson’s War running guns from Libya to Syria was represented on that server.  That server was the Hunter Biden laptop of the Clinton operation, and it slipped away.  Somehow.  Because reasons.

The server’s existence itself was a crime, it contained evidence of multiple crimes, and the clean-up was yet another crime.  Net result — no crime committed, no criminal intent, “no reasonable prosecutor would bring charges.”  You know the drill.  “Deny, deny, deny”, and when the “unimportant” and unaskable become old news and “already answered”, the thing is complete.

Slipped away because reasons, maybe, but via methods, and those methods have increasingly been brought to bear against the Republic itself.  Through the Benghazi cluster of very bad things, the Deep State both honed its tools and learned that it could get away with a lot more than it had thought.  This was not a case of the President knocking over countries and abandoning good — great — men to die in foreign hellholes.  This was something below the surface doing it regardless of the President’s intent.

Clinton was only in Washington DC for Obama to “keep his enemy closer”.  By putting her in the cabinet, he restricted her freedom of movement, except it only sorta worked out.  He reduced her threat to himself, and empowered her to lay waste to swathes of the government and the world at large.  he could lean on her, but she could also operate her cabinet-level department as she saw fit, and that’s exactly what happened.  The Clinton Crime Family Global Initiative rolled on, after all, with her faction increasingly competing not against Obama, but against the Biden Crime Family.  Even at the time, they fought for the number two spot regardless of title.  Russian Reset.  Burisma.  Rosemont Seneca Bohai and ten percent for the big guy.

I would say that for fans of Kremlinology, the US is now the most “Kremlinized” major power, followed by China and then Russia.  The DNC/DLC split has never actually been resolved, and during the Obama administration, it seems to me that Obama went with the third option — he weaponized the government itself as a partisan tool, and now he and his shadow government subsist entirely within the intel community and the inscrutable Byzantine bureaucracy.  ‘The One” has ascended into the machine.   The Biden camp and the Clinton camp are still competing for the number two spot.  They both have to in order to keep their permanent campaigns up so that any attempt to bring them to justice is met with media howls about the power of government being used for partisan purposes against a political rival.

And then we have Trump, against whom no number of impeachments, show trials, real FBI raids, Democrat pillaging of American cities,  or other Goldsteinization will ever suffice.  The two-minutes-hate will continue to be broadcast for 47 minutes of every hour, every day, and will not stop regardless of your eventual capitulation.  Comrade.

I suspect (and I almost never credit this throwaway laziness) that we do not have words adequate to convey the horror of what is happening.  I suspect the Russian language abounds in them.  And perhaps soon, Chinese.  Those people are waking up while we sleepwalk.

Oh, the Road Not Taken.

Kill Your TV

 

I remember seeing hippie Volkswagen™ bugs and buses with the regulation number of Grateful Dead™ bumper stickers, mandalas apparently commissioned in nail polish, and somewhere in there, just above Free Tibet© and to the right of the Air Force “bake sale” sticker, would be one that read “Kill your TV.” Insane, right? Buncha gravel-munching druids, rolling joints, and blowing stop signs at seven miles per hour.

Kill your television. What you allow into your ears will eventually come out of your mouth. With freedom comes responsibility, and with the protection of society come duties.  With the freedom to do as you please and to be left alone also comes an obligation to carefully tend your garden of ideas, dreams, and the focus of your effort.  That’s your brain, and while mine may be made of Play-Doh™, I assure you that it is a cultivated mix of flavors. I mean colors. What was I saying?

Oh, right. I would rather be governed by the anonymous trolls at 4chan than by the first 2,000 names in the National Review’s™ Rolodex™.

I Suppose That I Missed the Gloating

 

Reports are that Trump-backed candidates were 15-0 in the Senate.  Now not all of them were the right sort of people, but we assume that a Trump-backed reprobate may be less ruined than a Trump-opposed and soon-to-be tarred and feathered reprobate.  Welllll, it’s a process, not a moment.

Red Wave inbound! (May be slow to load — stick with it)

I was looking for some more numbers I saw earlier today on the phone, and, well —  we did well.  In particular, Trump-backed candidates performed well.  So much for round three of “Trump is the kiss of death”.  Yeah, he can’t win, he should stay away, he’s poll-box-office poison… heard it before.  As I said a while back, the utilitarian Trump-Nopers with their “Trump is simply *bad* for the party’s prospects!” may be misjudging the American mood once again.

I’ll take a moment from my victory lap here to admit that I am not sanguine, but I think I’ve been keeping my doom pill under wraps pretty well these days, as the future is wide open, and we never know whether’s tomorrow’s harvest is more fertility or more fertilizer.  We do have excellent prospects, yet the GOP hosers are more than capable of hosing this up.  Maybe even by accident, although not necessarily.  Prophecy, prediction, warning, threat — there’s a spectrum.  Watch for the usual suspects (no, not people here on-site) to begin proving with geometric logic how this just means worse performance in the mid-terms, because now the cat is out of the bag or something.  My my my, the Democrats might wake.  We should hurry up and lose all of our elections so that never happens!

There may not be many reasons to be giddy, but we deserve a Mimosa to start the day this morning, and By Gum, two on Saturday morning.  Sunday?  Kari bar the door.

Oh, these are just primaries, or minor elections.  Yeah?  Where you at, NeverTrump?  Thought you were going to put us down once and for all, especially after the walls closed in on Trump what with the bombshell show trials, produced by real show people and everything.

I have a bottle of champagne which has gone unused since its purchase in November of 2020.  Might bust that out this weekend.  So now after the news has broken, but before the stunned Trump-Nopers regain their mathematical faculties (such as they are), I’m just savoring the sound of a pin dropping.  Tinnnng!

Thanks, Trump!

Without Rule of Law: State Dept Resists Investigation into Afghanistan Collapse, Will ‘Choose own Auditors’

 

The lawless State Department has informed SIGAR, the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, that it will choose who gets to audit the State Department. There’s a lot that stinks here. SIGAR is not impressed:

Two SIGAR audits are also being hindered by a lack of cooperation from State and USAID. The first evaluates your agencies’ compliance with the laws and regulations prohibiting transfers of funds to members of the Taliban and the Haqqani Network. The second concerns ongoing emergency food assistance to Afghanistan.

SIGAR was also informed by State that the Department would not cooperate with future financial audits conducted by SIGAR, but would from now on choose its own auditors. It should go without saying, but neither SIGAR’s authorizing statute nor the Inspector General Act of 1978 contain a “choose your own auditor” provision.

The series of letters linked to below are full of things like this:

Your claim that these matters are not within SIGAR’s jurisdiction is astonishing. SIGAR has been reviewing, auditing, investigating, and reporting on these and related issues for more than 12 years, including USAID humanitarian assistance (for example, food assistance programs) and support to Afghan refugees. These audits and requests for information are squarely within areas in which we have conducted oversight in the past. Moreover, SIGAR has been issuing Congressionally mandated quarterly reports on security, governance, and economic and social development since 2009, incorporating large amounts of information obtained from your agencies. Prior to the collapse of the Afghan government in August 2021, State and USAID generally cooperated with our audits and requests for information. What has changed?

I wanted to write more, and better, but I seem to have a real block about some of this stuff.  So enjoy the linked sources:

Good write-up at Gateway Pundit, which also links to the real-deal source docs. (There are several letters in that one pdf.)

Say what you will (and what I will) about TGP, but they got this one right.

h/t patriots

Progretheus Unbound

 

I have no answer, but a question: What will happen when the Democrats lose control of the Progressive monster they have created?

The monster has several heads, including the pod-people infesting education, Obama’s army in the streets, the union of Party and media, the co-option of Big Tech by Big Government, and now the supremacy of a government-within-a-government, the “intel community.”

We see now the pinnacle of this development — a supine, ridiculous administration feebly figure-headed by a doddering fool, subject to zero ridicule by the state-controlled media, defended by Big Tech censorship (nope, no government censorship here, that’s all private sector, Bub!) — all in the service of a literal cabal, literally behind the scenes, literally insulated from Republic-style representation, accountability, or even identification.  The left has won — they are unassailable and, but for the widespread armament of millions of Americans, they would be omnipotent in this human sphere.  They control the horizontal and the vertical.

Which famous tragedy is this?  At the moment of supreme triumph, the winner’s own nature destroys him.  In a Greek tragedy, we might survive.  In a Shakespearean tragedy, I suppose we all die, which sounds about right.  It is not as though the failure of the Republican will leave the Republicans standing.

Democrats have summoned a demon and cackled as it mote the right, decency, justice, education, our language, culture, the Republic, elections, and the economy.  The demon will not go back into its box willingly, and the process to kill it has been pre-emptively slain.  Should a stolen election threaten to become un-stolen, a coalition of the intel community, the deep state, the Pentagon, Big Tech, the media, and a seemingly un-prosecutable Brownshirt mob will enforce the decision of the ruling cabal — there is no remedy this side of unthinkable (and certainly unprintable) preparations and response.

Decent people are in a pickle, and now so are the indecent.  Political violence being overlooked, then overseen, then flat-out sponsored by the government is the last stage of bread and circuses.  The demons of the Democrat party have fostered an addiction among their base to excitement, spectacle, and instant gratification.  Oh, and violence.  Don’t like speech?  Threaten the speaker, and if the government won’t shut him up, then the mob will.

War is coming.  It will not be started by the right — you could say that is has already been started by the left.  Is it any less a war if they only wage it in the streets, with fire and beatings, and during election seasons?

Nothing that any Republican has said — any — compares to the mob incitement of Schumer, Pelosi, Waters, and so on.  It only takes one person to set a house afire, no matter how many people live in it.

2016 All Over Again

 

Well, here we go. History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.

We are now engaged in that argument that we already had in 2016, except that everything is either different, or the same.  Not sure which.  Many hatchets were buried after Trump’s election, some in opponents’ skulls.  As a side note, I know that TPTB tried to cool things down by ruling some terms such as “NeverTrumper”, “Vichy”, and “Trumpkins” (IIRC) off-limits, which surprisingly enough, like water on a grease fire, technically did some good, but probably did more harm.

Reluctant Trumpers may be seen as those who broke off from NeverTrumping after the election, either by dint of “He’s the guy now,” or being pleasantly surprised by the lack of armageddon literally promised us by folks including certain former editors of the site.  I recall elaborate proofs laid out by members which hath shewn with geometric logic — sufficient to find a quart of strawberries — that he could not ever win.  The smug anticipation of one-upping, two-upping, seven-upping the Trumpsters “after he loses”.  Those were the days!

The great crazy variable thrown into the machinery was not Trump per se, but the American mood.  I would be interested to know if any of the folks who are not fond of Trump still put any credence in the “Russia Collusion” line of thought, as outside of Hillary and some die-hard communist media outlets, I do not think anybody believes that Trump somehow stole the 2016 election.  The American people put Trump in office in 2016, much to the horror of some people who used to be here, and to the mixed chagrin of many who are still here.  Fair enough.  Trump was not my first choice, but he was my last, and I dare say I got there before many.

I’ll just gently say that those who feel they had misjudged Trump and were pleasantly surprised (or at least not horrified) had in fact misjudged the American mood.  I don’t wish to lean upon some unseen Deus ex populi (‘The polls are all wrong, you’ll see!”), but I do think there’s a decent case that the American people are more sour now than in 2016, and even less likely to own up to political leanings away from the Democrat-media complex.  Soviet-style denunciations are very real these days, with very real consequences.  What was a threat in 2016 is simply a fact by now.

China dispossessed all depositors of a certain bank in Henan by turning their COVID codes red — they were unable to visit the bank, which was made a requirement in order to withdraw funds.  Who needs physical Gulags, when the government rules and isolates us through its digital militants at Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft?  So I think that it is fair to say that expression of counter-establishment views are increasingly under-represented.  I won’t lean on it — I prove nothing.  Just a data point to consider with however much weight you give it.

We will be back on the Trump fight for a while.  Maybe he’ll run, maybe not.  Maybe he’ll become the nominee, maybe not.  Maybe he’ll be elected, maybe not.  I understand that things are different now than they were then — of course.  I also understand that those who were mistaken (regardless of their level of conviction) about Trump’s viability in 2016 are likely to lean toward mistaking the mood of the American people on the same question eight years later.  Surely, there are many pieces in motion, and just like last time, we will not know what’s what until the dust settles.

Myself, I am convinced that without changes somewhere, the mutiny and coup that installed Biden will never allow another fair election.  Yet as folks like Hugh Hewitt have pointed out for decades, they can’t steal a blowout.

If you do not feel that the 2020 election was stolen (and much more), then you will not agree with my other premises.  I hear ya.  You will feel that Trump single-handedly crashed the Party, just like you said he would.  You probably also feel that the Republicans can not accomplish anything without supermajorities in both houses, which somehow are not needed for Democrats to get things done.

As for me, I lay much blame at the feet of Perfidious Paul Ryan, whom I have disliked since before I ever heard of Trump, and for consistent reasons.  He’s Boehner without the orange.  I would say without the tears, but yesterday I read that Paul Ryan said he wept when he saw January 6th, and then went on about “the building where I had spent so much time”.  Well, that’s what I expect.  Poor Paul Ryan.  It was never his fault.  Nobody brought him a supermajority, and that’s why he couldn’t do anything, boo-hoo.

Anyway.  Here we go again.  I was pretty unpleasant at times (but always entertaining).  I shall endeavor to be less unpleasant.  I dare say that the site has improved greatly in the way it handles things — less school-marming, less “instruct the pogues”, fewer tut-tuts.  Ricochet used to be very small, and collegial.  It has become less of both, and in both cases I think that is an improvement.

What will happen with Trump?  I certainly do not know.  But I know that we will argue about it.  Please don’t think me rude if I dismiss guarantees issued as warnings.  I heard enough of apocalyptic guarantees last time around.

A Republic of the Heart

 

Here’s a bit of a ramble in two directions at the same time:  I take as my jumping-off point Cassandro’s excellent Paging Jimmy Carter and the International Election Integrity Community, which you should go read and then come back here.  Specifically, I Walton made a comment in which he mentions “pulling out in whatever pieces can do so“, which got me a-thinking about a video (link to follow) in which the video guy treats a potential civil war (present-day) as if it would be various states vs other states, which is not at all the case.

States are now largely dependent creatures of the national (no longer federal) government.  Yes, this is the exact opposite of what it is supposed to be, but “things have changed”.  It doesn’t much matter which states have shipyards and ports, airbases and missile silos, and so forth.  States barely function as it is, and when the SHTF, states will simply be steamrolled by the “federalization” of every enforcement or security organization.

NOT YOUR GREAT-GRANDFATHER’S CIVIL WAR

Any state which might choose to resist officially will see its command centers smashed and gassed, with the patriots led out blinking and gasping in zip-ties.  That will be the end of the civil war proper, and whether that all happens or not, the next phase will be the only thing that will work: guerilla warfare.  And smart guerillas they must be.  This isn’t Red Dawn, and blowing national guard troop transports out of the sky is the wrong approach.

What might make a big difference is which areas of the country can feed themselves, but this is pretty thin.  We like to think that honest hard-working middle America can feed itself while the cities are brought around by their hunger, but food is not so simple as all that.  You have a wheatfield, I have a mill, Derek owns a bread plant, and none of us are able to service, lubricate, maintain, or replace at least some of the critical infrastructure.  Distribution networks that collapse will not suddenly become effective but smaller, partisan distribution networks.  Pockets of resistance may be able to hold out, but they will over time become more isolated, less capable, and eventually these pockets will simply cease to matter.  What cities have in abundance — people — is the thing they will send out to co-opt, coerce, and replace the farmers.  They won’t need to touch everybody — a few farmers get whacked, a bunch get strong-armed, and the majority do what it takes to keep their families alive.

We live in a fascinating time, worse than merely interesting.  As noted in Will Time Bring Perspective? (hey lookit that, another one by Cassandro!), eventually the story will be told.  Will it be told by people who have learned from us? Or will our cover-up and burial simply be accomplished?  At times I get in a mindset such as the Ghost Dancers, or Asimov’s Foundation types.  All is lost, our bones to dust, etc.  And make no mistake — we lost.  The Republic is gone, and no amount of ratchet-clunk “victories” and feel-good Americana will bring it back.  This is a post-Republic totalitarian state of forced smiles.  (EDIT: Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg was a great book, no matter where he is now).  The North Korean people when polled turn out to be the happiest in the world.  Just ask them in North Korea.  I could complain about our post-Republican Party, but I’ll save that for another post (and a bit more later), and at any rate — you’ve heard it from me since 2012.

Well, what to do in our post-Republic?  We may wind up fighting for something, but IMHO the forces of darkness have successfully closed the window on fighting to save the Republic.  The way I see it, the deep-state / intel-community cabal probably closed it about the time most of us began to see the opening.  Well done, taxpayer-funded mutineers, well done.  All that money went to competence, not fidelity.  Or to put it another way, (and as politely as possible) the competent ones worked on an internal project.

RESISTANCE AND INFORMATION

We have an internal project to carry out as well.  The difference is that we will never enjoy secure communications, we will never be allowed to assemble freely without filling in blanks in our affiliation graph.  We will have no secrets and trust few if any persons explicitly.  There will be no WOLVERIIINE in the woods — satellites, cell towers, and the horrifying Bluetooth Low Energy surveillance infrastructure (thanks, iPhone and Amazon!) make any use of technology futile.  Cars are no better.  Here’s a Washington Post article from minutes before COVID hit, and it’s worth visiting WaPo to read it — it’s that good.  Yes, your car is absolutely spying on you, and no, there’s nothing you can do about it besides buy cars old enough that they have NONE of this stuff onboard.  Granted, even a 1967 F-100 can have something hidden in the headliner or tucked behind the radio and you just don’t see it, but at least you know the darned thing isn’t spying on you implacably by design.  Cash for Clunkers ring a bell?  Gotta get those old cars off the streets because they’re useless for government surveillance.

Good luck supposedly turning off options on your phone, in your car, on your computer.  Neither the software nor the hardware is under any legal obligation to actually do what you tell it.  Were I an evil genius, I would give users the option to “turn off” all sorts of bad things, keep right on doing those bad things, and increase my surveillance of those who seem to make the right choices for privacy.  I can always say that such things have been turned off “for most purposes, to protect your privacy”, but that I am required by contracts and permitted in the EULA, etc., to maintain a certain baseline level of connectivity.  “Know your customer” laws and all that.

So just as the ancient Greeks discerned the existence of atoms using nothing more than observations and logic, we can see the trap, even if we cannot prove it.  You’re not crazy and neither am I — as Cassandro says at the end of Will Time Bring Perspective:

Is this really happening?

Yes, it is.

Our internal project can only succeed in public.  We cannot plan in secret — we must plan in public.  We cannot assemble in private — we can only assemble in public.  We cannot escape surveillance and opposition — we must confront it.  We can take steps to confound the surveillance, but this is of limited effect.  No matter how good the tools we use may be (encrypted HDD, OpenBSD, 2x VPN, wired network only, etc), the fact is that we are overmatched and can only present the equivalent of “kid sister” encryption.  The most serious tools and the most scrupulous discipline are frankly unmaintainable for most people, including me.  Edward Snowden is the pinnacle of personal security, and they probably have him sussed as well.  It’s just not worth it to kill or capture him.  His defense is his publicity, not his privacy.

A REPUBLIC RUNS THROUGH IT

Short of consigning our lamented futures to the spirit world, or carefully writing it all down for a later civilization to discover after the New Dark Ages, we have a refuge in a Republic of the Heart.  The want of such a thing is why the subjects of the Soviet totalitarian state were so meek in opposing their subjugation — here’s the usual Solzhenitsyn quote, emphasis added:

“And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”

None can surveil the heart.  It may be written on our faces, and clear through our much-surveilled actions, but as Viktor Frankl famously points out, nobody can take away the way you choose to respond to anything.  Your actions may be denied, but your attitude remains under your control.  He also points out that  “An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.”

Taking Frankl with Solzhenitsyn, we must accept a limited despair, and use it as motivation.  We must face up to what we have lost, most of which will not come back, or we will never be motivated to improve our position.  We can go upward or down, but we cannot go back — we must admit that it’s all gone.    Yet we must do this without losing hope!   It’s a difficult line to find, much less follow.  I admit to slopping this way and that, going between red-pilled and black-pilled.  I consider myself somewhere “dark of crimson”, meaning that I got the whole red-pill (much is lost, and we know who took it), but I work at times to cough up the black pill (all is lost and it doesn’t matter who took it).  The sense of loss is the only thing that can save us (that is, put us on the road to hope), but not if we allow it to consume everything.  Those who hope without accepting the magnitude of our disaster are merely (blessedly, perhaps, but uselessly) optimists.  The optimists were wrong, and until they change, they will continue to get it wrong.  Still, they can be a comfort.  Problem is, comfort breeds complacency.  Gulags and other institutions of reduction operate by coercing and cajoling you and your circle at first.  “You have five minutes to pack a bag for one week, chop-chop.”  Heh.  You don’t have time to think it through, and you grasp at the proffered straw of hope — optimism seals your fate.  The bag is soon removed from you and you never return home.

It is comforting as well to quote our great patriot leaders such as Patrick Henry and Samuel Adams — yet differences abound.  Yes, the Crown was powerful, yes, the local government at the time was indeed rebelled against, and yes, they risked everything.

The houses of William Ellery, Lewis Morris, and Josiah Bartlett were burned. Those of George Clymer, Lyman Hall, John Hart, William Floyd, William Hooper, Francis Hopkinson, and Arthur Middleton were destroyed or thoroughly ransacked. Altogether seventeen of the signers suffered extreme, and in some cases total, property losses. One in nine of them lost his life. But not one man of the fifty-six lost his “sacred honor.” Throughout the long ordeal of an often-floundering war, in a cause that at times seemed hopelessly lost, there was not among the fifty-six men a single defection—despite the reservations that some had had about independence at the beginning and despite the repeated sagging of popular support for the war.

American Heritage

Yet the surveillance state we live in (not that the US is special in this regard) presents a different set of challenges.

There is no doubt that the signers of the Declaration knew they were up to something far more serious than making a brave gesture when they put their signatures on the document. Indeed, for reasons of security, the Declaration with the signatures was not published until January, 1777—six months after the signing—for it was fully understood that if the Revolution failed, the signers would be rounded up, their property confiscated, and their lives forfeited.

That is simply not an option for us.  Big Brother is in our websites, our networks, and our very PCs.  All the nifty encryption and VPN tools in the world mean nothing when the OS itself is part of the problem, and with precious few exceptions (I suspect that OpenBSD is okay), they’re all part of the problem.

Who here is ready to forego everything for a heartfelt but futile gesture?  Not me.  We’re not at Sacred Honor territory, and probably never will be.  “Five minutes to pack for a week” sounds a lot like “vote harder next time”.  Frog, pot, boil, etc.

TEA PARTY REPUBLIC

The way I see it, the Tea Party is the right idea.  I don’t mean the brand-name TEA Party ™ beloved of the “I was here first” Ron Paul hipsters.  I mean the grassroots fury-from-the-hinterlands movement.  I consider the Trump phenomenon a continuation of the Tea Party.  If you don’t like Trump, help get a better guy in the slot, but that’s the path.  Ron DeSantis?  Fine, sign me up.   I’ve always said that the Trump movement is not about Trump, and that he is a symptom, not a cause.  I’m grateful to him, but he is not what matters — WE ARE.  Whenever the Tea Party / Trump effect was effective, it obeyed some key principles, here presented in a bit of a jumble:

  1. Change the GOP from the inside — rather than form an actual third party
  2. Threaten the GOP from the inside — because without credible threats, nothing will change
  3. Make your despair their despair — if their victories are not our victories, then their defeats are not our defeats
  4. Fearlessly attack those who dilute, pervert, disrupt, derail, sabotage, etc the effectiveness of the party / movement — you may make a friend of the target — you may make five friends who now believe in you.
  5. Do not be co-opted by organizers.  Organization is how we get slaughtered.  We cannot have an actual structure, which was proven in the Lois Lerner debacle.
  6. If you have a candidate, back him. As with managing our weaponized despair, at some point you have to get on the bus.

“You mean I should back Trump, right?”  For argument, let’s truncate the end of Trump’s term — as of November 1, 2020, Trump’s support among those righties who had not voted for him in 2016 had ballooned.  They were pleasantly surprised.  Chalk January 6th, etc., up to a reasonable perception that the election was stolen.  After all, if you had thought that it was stolen, you would applaud the man’s efforts.  We didn’t pay him to lie down on the job and simply accept the subversion of OUR election.  So expanding this to a general principle, back your Tea Party candidate if he is the nominee.

And here it comes to the old division: the GOP vs. the Tea Party.  If you would push back against the business-as-usual conditions which allowed the growth of the deep-state / intel-community / media / bureaucracy cabal to develop, you need to understand that the majority of the GOP edifice is not like the majority of GOP voters, who are in turn not like the Tea Party.  This is the nature of our specific political insurgency — expanding margins where we can.  We cannot outnumber the “normies”.  We also cannot entice the great mythical middle to join at rates faster than a disgusted base will walk.  The Tea Party has to take care of the normies while advancing the base’s interests.

Yes, I realize that it’s “not fair” or something that I want the normiecons to get on the bus when my whole MO here is to threaten the establishment nominees and incumbents, etc.  I’m not interested in being fair.

Threaten to primary bastards.  Don’t believe the hype about doomsday if we don’t all fall in line.  We get doomsday anyway when we do fall in line — when their victories are not our victories.

Anyway.

This Republic of the Heart (as opposed to a Republic of the Mind, which seems to be the purview of those who write sweetly, and at any rate is already taken) is a cellular “organization” with no real structure.  I recall asking myself between 2008 and 2012 (and asking others after 2012), “Where is the Resistance?”  Of course, that was before Big Government Hillary lost and tried to arrogate the term for her Big Government friends to impress the suddenly re-employed factory workers.  It didn’t work for her.

The Resistance doesn’t have an organization.  There’s no phone number, no website, no secret handshake.  To join the Resistance, you say to yourself, “I am the Resistance,” and you conduct yourself accordingly.  Who is the Tea Party?  I am the Tea Party.  I figured it out when yet another person asked what our actual platform, priorities, programs, etc were.  Who’s in charge of the Tea Party?

“I am.”

The way I see it, I am in charge of my chapter.

  • We don’t have meetings; we have conversations.
  • We don’t keep records; we remember.
  • We don’t have a membership list; we have friends and acquaintances with whom we see eye-to-eye.

Well, how can you tell who’s on our side, and who’s in a chapter?  Think about conversation and debate.  “You don’t make peace with your friends — you make peace with your enemies.”  True enough, and with a little Bayesian inversion, we see that our friends are those with whom we are able to make peace.  If unable to make peace, they remain your enemies.  This is the key to conversation and debate in the public arena these days.  Long have I said (oh about ten years) that facts no longer matter, words no longer matter (and more recently, votes no longer matter) — only power matters.  This is not the way I want it, but it is the world into which we find ourselves shoved.  “Five minutes to pack for a week,” and now there are words we’re no longer allowed to say, opinions we cannot hold, and two plus two is at best indeterminate.  We cannot reason with the left.  We may be able to reason with each other.

If you consider yourself a Tea Party leader, good for you.  If you feel rather more on the fringes, you’re in an excellent position to expand the circle.  The Tea Party (or whatever you wish to call it) stands to gain from a certain Big Tentism, albeit with finer and better filters than the establishment uses.  If anything, as a cellular organization, this Republic of the Heart is a loose coalition of loose coalitions.

BALL DIAMOND BALL

I’ll skip the story, but I take my nom de plume from a clause in the Rules of the Road which allows for a signal to be shown by those vessels which are unable to conform to the rest of the Rules due to the nature of the work they are engaged in.  Aircraft carriers when launching aircraft do not yield to sailboats — dredges currently dredging make way for no vessel, regardless of relative positioning.  THAT SAID, it is still incumbent upon each vessel to do what it takes in order to avoid collision.  There’s no free check to be a jerk.  Lean too hard on the claimed exemption, and it will collapse — see you in Admiralty Court if you survive the wreck.

Those who have sworn a duty to the Constitution, to support and defend it against all enemies, foreign and domestic; well, those people have a bit of a conundrum before them.  I simplify it as this: when the angle between loyalty and integrity grows too large, the difference forces a decision.  Loyalty is how you stick with your mates, your team, your leadership, your organization.  Integrity is the bottom line, and domestic enemies of the Constitution can by definition not be external foes.  The lines in that oath have meaning, and talking about it should not be off-limits.  It should in fact be required.

The conversation is going on among all the wrong people — those for whom loyalty and integrity can be talked into the same thing.  Those who understand the Constitution as some malleable, ephemeral thing, composed mainly of penumbras and an abbreviated Robert’s Rules of Orders.  The bad guys are winning, and they are the boss almost everywhere.  We (I mean, uh, some of you) sit through their training and delete their emails, but without sufficient provocation, there’s nothing actionable for which an integrity-suffused individual will set himself alight as a beacon for others.  Diversity, Inclusion, Equity.  Safe spaces.  Nonsensical “pronouns” allowed in official mail.  Five minutes to pack for a week.  Chop-chop.

SOLZHENITSYN, I THINK

We would be arrogant to describe ourselves as Zeks, inhabitants of the Gulag, or any other historical institution of reduction (reduction being the grinding down of citizens, either to death or merely to ghostly threadbare half-men).  Yet here we are no longer even at the trailhead, but picking up speed as we head down the road that dissidents and ex-communists have warned us about for decades.  It is entirely appropriate for us to re-read Solzhenitsyn, or peruse a bunch of his quotes and quoted passages.  It is that time, after all, like it or not.

His warnings and exhortations were not addressed to Soviets in the past, or only to be broken out after all the battles are lost and the populace enslaved.  He was speaking to us.  Now.

I once wrote something about the Road to Hell leading not away but within, a slippery slope into the human heart, and then something about that heart being the battleground between good and evil.  Well, it turns out I was accidentally stealing from Solzhenitsyn, from whom I shall be proud to swipe as much as possible.  Hacks steal from hacks.  Artists steal from masters.  I was looking for a quote that I thought was Solzhenitsyn, but I cannot find it.  But it goes something like this:

What if it’s all just so much paper-mache?  What if with one good shove, the whole fearsome edifice comes tumbling down?

Nut with a Gun

 

Yup.  Another one.  I am referring to the Highland Park (Chicago) incident on Independence Day.

Yes, I have been doing some digging.  No, I m not going to provide links or media.  No names, no URLs, no pictures.

This guy was 22 years old, obviously had mental issues, was on illicit drugs, and had plainly, visibly, alarmingly, come unhitched from both society and reality.  In my opinion, his parents are both culpable for their failure to parent.  When your son is this strange, you monitor.  If they did monitor, they should have been horrified.  If they did monitor and were horrified, then they should have gotten help.  Police help.  This kid was flashing red for weeks before the incident, maybe a year.  His social media appearance had gone from merely ‘drug-addled, dusty, self-pitying, delusional loser’ to the next inevitable (without intervention) step, mass shooter.  That’s how this goes.  That’s how this always goes.

His mother was 41 years old, and his father 58, for a 17-year age difference.  Reports so far say that she and he are his natural parents, that they are married (not sure when they got married), and that she never took his name.  She has another child (rumored to be by a different man), and up to two more in common with the father of the loser in question.  So three plus one, I think.  Media outlets are being tight with information about his siblings, which is fair enough — for now.

Assuming that the parents named are in fact his parents, and taking his age of 22 into account, we can do some math.  When the loser was born, his parents would have been 36 and 19.  That’s a lot.  The Rule (age(F)=> age(M)/2+7) tells a miserable story.  When they conceived him, he would have been fully twice her age.

The father’s brother, uncle of the loser, gave an interview in which he was visibly shaken and all apologies.  The father ran for office reportedly as a Republican.  He tweeted in support of Trump once and in support of gun rights.  So, right-winger, yeah?  Not so fast.

The loser is on video/images twice attending a small Trump rally (different rallies, I think), one time costumed as Waldo as in Where’s Waldo, and once in his bizarre loser sweats and hoodie pulled over the head as if he were some sort of feeble, ugly, teen-aged Jedi.  In all images that I’ve seen so far (going through the archives), he is facing the camera.  Another photo shows him posing standing on a (classroom?) chair wearing a Trump flag like one that I own as a cape.  Another video shows a White House figure (presumably Trump) arriving on an Air Force jet (presidents will use one of the AF2-style 757s to get into small domestic airports) and passing by in the presidential limo.  The video eventually swings around to show the blurry face of the loser, a.k.a. “Awake the Rapper” (the rapper named “Awake”).  That’s what the cursive tattoo on his forehead reads.  These clips and stills, with his father’s single run for office as a Republican are what many outlets are using to justify calling him a Trump supporter, a conservative, a MAGA person.  One of us.

But this loser-man is a performance artist, and incidentally, he does not seem stupid.  He seems intelligent.  He just also happens to be full-on crazy.  In shots and clips taken (three suppositions:)  1) in the tiny shack 2) next to his parents’ house 3) where he lives, above his bed is a single wall decoration — a newspaper page with the banner headline “Oswald Slain in Jail Shift”.  Also visible is a fictitious Time magazine cover with the headline “World Stands on the Brink” which was used to promote the first-person shooter (video game) “Call of Duty”.  These clips and stills are used in a variety of media projects made by the loser, either mumble-rap videos, video accompaniment to pre-existing electronic music, or bizarre little video nothings.  He was clearly disturbed, the disturbance was getting worse, and it was very public.

Incidentally, aspiring mumble rapper Awake The Loser produced stuff far superior to “Gentle Giant” Michael Brown, who also posted apocalyptic “If I die right away, remember me well” type crap before his own suicide by cop.  This particular loser was a screwed-up young man with something to say — the same thing that all screwed-up lonely neglected losers have to say.  But he had talent — the sort that takes brains.  I’ll go out on a limb here and straight-up guess that he had a well above average IQ, and probably suffered from schizophrenia absolutely unchecked, neither by family nor by effective medical/mental health care.

His mother seems (so far, from an in-progress review of hastily archived social media) to have been a “thirst trap”, a woman preoccupied with showing her cleavage online and telling alternately happy and sad tales to gain sympathy/envy/boners from simps and you-go-girls in her online audience.  Addiction destroys.  She was 17 years junior to her pushing-60 husband, and cougars gonna coug.  If I’m cross-referencing pictures and text correctly, it was sometimes not easy to tell her apart from her daughter, except that the mom had the cleavage.  Can’t say about the daughter (don’t care), but the mom waved it around like a can of deodorant after dad’s marathon newspaper session on the toilet.  One photo seems to show mom wearing absolutely nothing in a pose designed to lift and smoosh, from oh, about the mid-biceps level on up.  I don’t know that this was from the loser’s account, but it sure is on the internet.  As one online miscreant has said, “I bet she has an OnlyFans account.”  Where the whores are.  This is a tough row to hoe for a young man.

The father is less visible online (so far in my look-see), and in my opinion has more responsibility for the development of a son than the mother does.  Easy to blame mom — classical “overbearing mothers” and “Oedipal complex” problems are dragons to be slain by the father.  A young man is entitled to as much, and those without such masculine pushback are abandoned to the degree that the problems are allowed to persist.  But the father, born in (say) 1964 will never really relate to the mother, born in 1981.  [n.b. All birthdays and such are calculated based on reported ages at the time of the incident, so plus or minus a year, depending.]  The Beatles’ ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand‘ was the top song of his birth year; hers, ‘Bette Davis Eyes‘ by Kim Carnes.  More telling, 15 years of age is supposedly the year of “your” definitional music, so for her, ‘Macarena‘, and for him, ‘My Sharona‘.  Let us assume a shotgun/honorable wedding, in which the sins of haste are repented at leisure, and lots of people have made it work.  Sometimes it works just fine.  March-June romances become June-September, despite the fact that he was twice their age at the conception of their son, the loser.

I harp on the age difference because this is of course a fault-finding tour.  Even the (I suspect) onset of schizophrenia is only one factor at play here.  In defense of the family, however, just because I have not seen strenuous measures does not mean that they were not taken.  My own family experience with schizophrenia has made me both wary of its effects, perhaps attuned to its signs, but also sympathetic to any who must deal with it, including the family.  If you think that one who suffers from a worsening, full-haywire schizophrenia is helpless, reflect on how much more helpless are the family members. If I had to summarize the effects of that particular malfunction, I would say that it removes the individual from his own zone of control to his zone of influence, and from the family’s zone of influence merely to the zone of concern.  It moves the person further from those who would change him, including the now-tethered individual.  Schizophrenia demotes human beings, diminishing all of the selves concerned for quite a radius.  So I don’t know.  Even so — assuming that they have the right guy and all of that, the results are clear and the verdict is a shoo-in: no amount of calumny and abuse is too much for this perpetrator.

The duty of a parent, when confronted with a child (of any age) displaying signs of distress, is not to encourage, facilitate, support, or otherwise enable the problem, but to be the person whom the child should become.  The duty of the parent in a case like this, where the child has tattoos, multi-colored hair, no job for years, no girlfriend, a drug problem, lives in a shack, and produces violent disturbing videos online — is to push back against the darkness consuming the child.

Because we as a society, and as individuals trying to live in that society, still have rights, and it is in our interest to mobilize to burn the witch, pitchfork the monster, slay the dragon — wherever we find it.  Discrimination is key, but an implacable resolve not to live as mice or slaves, and not to lose loved ones to the various demons haunting the minds of others is sufficient justification to kill it.  Kill it with fire.

The problem is that witchcraft, monsters, and dragons do not exist.  We are confronted with mere human beings, subject to all of our own faults and features.  Likewise, we are subject to all the faults and features both of our heroes and of our villains.  Hitler and George Washington, Charles Manson and Audie Murphy, the Denver theater “Dork Nut” shooter, and the mother who rescued her children from the Uvalde shooting; all are merely human — just like us.  This is the hardest part to confront.  Demonic possession, malign spirits, monstrous nature — whether real or not, these things certainly come in handy when it comes time to describe the difference between our vaunted selves and the malfunctioning others.

And so we come again to politics.  Surely he must belong to the party of others.  I confess that I no longer watch nor read the news for the most part.  After all, it’s just the same old manure day after day, decade after decade, and the minutiae of the inchworm’s progress need not be reported breathlessly inch after brave and stunning inch.  Squash the inchworm from your mind and free yourselves from its tiny little grasp.  So in my ignorance, I have only seen the “Highland Park shooter is a Raging Trump Fan” idea stated explicitly in a couple of fringe nonsense sites, but it’s coming.  Above, I described the evidence that is used to support this claim.  It’s thin stuff, and readily seen as nonsense when viewed as just a part of his performance.  A man who hasn’t held a job in two years, befouled with tattoos and drugs, suffering from schizophrenia (I suspect), making sorta-rap sorta-videos about unattainable women, injustice, and a bloody death; that fellow is not on the road to stardom just by continuing to film himself in his bedroom and sampling better musicians than himself to mumble over.  And he knows it.  In his bloody confrontation video (animated, not filmed), his character is still alive at the end.

The majority of his social media presence features logos, slogans, dress, contacts, famous figures, news outlets, quotes, and imagery associated with the left.  From the mainstream left all the way through ANTIFA, this guy is a lefty acolyte through and through.  Yet it seems to be at least partly a matter of style, the result of abandonment to the forces currently abusing all of us.  I don’t know that he would identify as a Democrat, but he is in their camp.  There is no shortage of posts, images, clips, re-tweets, and so forth which clearly put him there.  These, you are not likely to see on the evening news.  Do not be deceived.  If I may appropriate the voice of the Great Maharushi — DO NOT DOUBT ME.  I don’t know what he will say when asked, or if asked previously, but this character is a product of the left, and of madness — which reinforce each other, but that’s another topic.

The Loser cranks out apocalyptic virgin never-gonna-reproduce zeta male “rap” videos and like any male seeks immortality.  In his delusions, he has decided to attain immortality through a horrific act of violence.  He has less to say than the NZ shooter, and less logic than the Norway day-camp killer.  Yet a point he has, and he insists upon making it.  He seems to have intentionally targeted Trump supporters, or perhaps had other reasons for ensuring that he appeared in photographs at Trump events.  Find the photographs — they’re all intentional.  Selfies, or arranged with a photographer to capture him at rallies.  Why Trump rallies?  Maybe he just wanted to be where the action was.  Heaven knows Trump was the only person to draw a crowd in the last decade.  His Where’s Waldo costume speaks more to a performance than any non-ironic participation, and his cape stunt in a (class?) room does not make him a Trump supporter.

His pointwise stunts notwithstanding, he followed Pelosi and Schumer on social media, along with Fox News and ALL of the lefty outlets.

The sort of people who “love” Fox News do not also follow MSNBC, YAHOO News, CNN, NPR, and so forth — but The Loser did.  MAGA Trump Patriots do not shoot up 4th of July parades, or anything else for that matter — The Loser did.

  • The accounts he follows on social media are Pelosi, Schumer, MSNBC, CNN, and mostly follow in that vein.
  • He doesn’t really address issues as far as I can tell.  I think he’s apolitical and heavily crazy.
  • He certainly covers himself in leftist slogans, logos, imagery, and style.
  • I suspect he is a product of the left in the way that a child born in the eighties is a product of the eighties.  It’s there, it made him — but he had little to do with it.

My purpose is not to prove that he is some sort of leftist.  I think that it’s more complicated than that.  I think that he is just an amazingly screwed-up young man-child who has been failed by multiple systems, including his parents (I will accept evidence to the contrary if offered), and who has malfunctioned so hard that he now warrants killing.

My purpose is to arm those who may care with enough of a picture to push back against the incoming wave of “MAGA!” nonsense.  No way this guy was “one of ours.”  His appearances at rallies were performance art, and it shows in every picture.  He was building a legacy, so now let him sleep in it.  Five-foot-eleven and 120 pounds — prison will not be kind to him, and I’m fine with that.  It’s too late for pity or any of the rest of that.  That’s a shame, but that’s just the way it is.

Where Were You on June 9, 2022?

 

On the ninth day of the sixth month, in the year of our Lord Two Thousand Twenty-Two, the American House of Representatives convened a television show about a political protest some years earlier.  The clips from this show will be used as “facts” for elections in 2022 and 2024.  These clips will be used by Democrat campaigns, of course, but more to the point, they will be used by the state-run media to condition voters and vote managers.  The more people in on the next steal, the less work each plotter involved must do.

I cannot rate the show very highly.  It has terrible pacing and features weak performances from the usual crew of identical new faces who for some reason keep showing up on our screens.  It wasn’t like this in the old days.  It used to be that a show needed some strong performances and tight writing to get popular.  There was a kind of platinum age of television heralded by the beloved but now-unwatchable “Babylon 5,” which was a watershed in long-arc, multi-season plotting of a broadcast series.  Shows followed in different genres: “The Sopranos,” “Battlestar Galactica,” “Dexter,” “Game of Thrones,” “Breaking Bad,” “Better Call Saul.”  This current offering from the House is poorly done.  It’s amazing it got greenlit.

I never watched the Sopranos until these days.  I’m midway through the fourth Season.

FBI Arrests MI Republican Candidate for Governor — Over Jan 6 Protest

 

I’ve done a little digging about this story: here’s the video on YouTube.

Michigan is having a lively Republican primary. The FBI arrested one of the contenders at his home and the local news, of course, broadcast pictures of his home showing the street number.

He was arrested for something like remaining in a public building without the King’s warrant. Hard to tell. It’s a misdemeanor.

He needs to run for federal office if he wants to use candidacy as a defense — works for Democrats. Most of the comments on the YouTube video are pretty good.

GOP: Collapse on Guns and It’s All Over

 

Kurt Schlichter has a great post up at TownHall.

“Here is my proposed gun control compromise following the latest attack on children that millions of us did not commit. Ready? You gun fascists can kiss my Schumer and we keep our guns. In fact, let’s also repeal the National Firearms Act and impose national constitutional carry.”

This is what I’m talking about when I say that I do not care about the details of the Uvalde shooting, etc. I already know where I stand on an issue that transcends crime and violence from a pro-constitutional point of view.

It’s a good article with plenty of timely political commentary, and I agree with everything in it.  If this election is truly the Republicans’ to lose — going flaccid on guns is exactly how to lose it.

On Words and Deeds

 

It’s okay to be angry.  It might not be healthy, but that’s your business, and “your business” is the key issue in American politics and society.  Always has been.

It’s okay to be angry at the elected representation and “leadership”, and frankly, to do something about it.  There’s nothing more categorically American than seizing control from a corrupt or feckless (or both) government.

Those of us who (still) oppose riots and brutal block-to-block warfare express our fury through politics.  This is neither the time nor the arena to be acquiescent, agreeable, amenable, or any of an entire alphabet of stupid approaches.

It’s okay to tell your fickle failure of a political party to pound sand.  The Republican Party was born of an abolitionist fury at the lack of meaningful difference between one party and another.  Sounds familiar.

There is something to be said for working within the system, but this is not the same as settling down.  It means waging the same angry war in the house as in the streets, and so long as that warfare is still metaphorical, that is right and good.  The comfortable inside the big house will never change unless made uncomfortable, and this is better accomplished peacefully from within than from without.  Yet peaceful does not mean placid, meek, polite, civil, or any of that.  Specifically, it means not violent.

It is right and good to withhold support for a party that has serially failed to make good its promises.  That which is rewarded will be repeated, and so forth.

I still work to elect Republicans, but on a case-by-case basis.  I am all for primarying losers, and frankly, some targeted Democrat victories can be a good thing.  Obviously, this does not include the Presidency or critical razor-thin majorities.  I once circulated tracts clarifying when to support, when to primary, and some limited cases where I recommended supporting Democrats.  For example, if you can retain the House comfortably but do away with a particularly bad speaker (John Boehner, Paul Ryan) by helping him lose his seat, I don’t care if it’s a can of paint who wins that election.

There is a place for angry rhetoric, which will frequently exceed the grasp of real action.  Those who insist that you put your vote where your mouth is are missing the point of non-violent opposition to our government’s accelerating slide into fascism.  They’re talking you out of your opposition by presenting you with a false dichotomy between shooting war and meekness.

SHOUT!  Shout your dissatisfaction, your implacable opposition, your desire to support obvious bad guys over the treacherous bad guys that we supposedly have no choice about.  You don’t have to do everything you say — you don’t actually have to vote like Jimmy Dore in order to acknowledge that he is right about a lot of things, and you don’t have to vote for Tulsi Gabbard to use her as a threat.  Not all credible threats are acted upon — that would be stupid.

If you would be of any use at all, let uncertainty and worry dawn in the minds of the comfortable politicians who take you for granted.  Make your uncertainty their panic.  Make your worries their political terror.  Short of violence, and short of voting for destruction, there is an honorable space for shouting your fury at the miserable bureaucrats and threatening to burn their whole party to the ground if it doesn’t get religion quick.

It is your right, and nobody gets to soothe you out of it or name-call you into the boxcars.  That is a fatal anesthesia.

If deeds must match words, then there is no use in speaking, and we might as well pour into the streets.  If reasonable people cannot talk about this, then unreasonable people will shoot about it.  It is entirely reasonable and responsible — commendable — to sound unreasonable, even irresponsible.

Give ’em Hell.  Or accept Hell.

Operation Praying Mantis

 

Now in glorious YouTube-Vision.  On April 14th, 1988, USS Samuel B. Roberts struck an Iranian mine.  Sailors worked with incredible stamina and ingenuity to save the fractured ship, to include welding cleats outside the hull and lashing those together with wire rope (“cables”) to hold the hull together.  On April 18th, US Navy forces in and around the Persian Gulf damaged or destroyed half of the Iranian Navy.

At that point, I was so new that my YES concert tees still reeked of dope (not mine) and I was in training, but I manned my gear in the Electronic Warfare spaces aboard USS Enterprise.  Gee, this Navy stuff sure is exciting!  The Iranian action caused us to leave the area late, so we canceled a port visit to Australia, which I would not see until over a decade later.  On the other hand, this freed up schedule time on the balance, which we dissipated in the Philippines.

We pulled into Seattle and our money was no good.  We had shown Iran and the world that the US Navy wasn’t taking any crap off of any mullahs.  We were going to return to homeport Alameda (in the San-Fran-cisco-Bay) on the fourth of July, and the fanfare was — what’s that, Lassie?  You say USS Vincennes just blew an Iranian airliner out of the sky killing hundreds of civilians, and the whole thing looks bad from any angle?  Oh, damn.  Well, I guess high winds will keep us out at sea until after sunset, and then we’ll just sneak off the ship and hit the bars on Webster Street asking each other What the Hell just happened.

Vincennes never returned to the Persian Gulf.  Probably a good call.

When I later departed Enterprise, I retained (great verb) the by-then outdated copy of Jane’s Fighting Ships which my Chief had used during Praying Mantis, with his yellow highlights indicating corrections that would have to be made in the next edition.  Dave K. got the gas log, and hey Doc Watson — I have your family bible.  Are you still alive?

‘YouTube Influencers’ Revealed, Chinese Genocidaires Hardest Hit

 

You remember SerpentZA — he’s one of the two guys who used to ride around in China doing motorcycle’s-eye-view commentary from a long-term Westerner’s perspective.  Then they and their wives got out while they still could.  Great stuff.  In this magnificent and short video, he absolutely flays the putrid meat from the sickly bones of yet another shill for the coming totalitarians.

YouTube Influencers, or Tikky-Toke, or Instapr0n, whatever the platform — “influencers” are paid lobbyists, paid spokesmen, paid shills who pretend not to be advertising, lobbying, propagandizing.  I don’t mind advertising, and sales is an honorable well, a legal profession. This is not that.

SerpentZA details the minders/handlers, the internal press, and the external propaganda.  The coverage is as compelling as it is short.  He also draws a couple of parallels to other successful propaganda efforts.  He is right that the Communist butchers in China are really “ham-fisted” about their supposed finesse of western opinion — Heaven knows our own propaganda is so good that we can hardly tell.

Here’s the AP trying their hand at it.  Rabbit-hole, indeed:

Obama did not sign a law allowing propaganda in the U.S.
By ARIJETA LAJKA
August 27, 2019

CLAIM: Former President Barack Obama signed a law in 2012 allowing government propaganda in the U.S., and making it “perfectly legal for the media to purposely lie to the American people.”

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. In 2013, Obama signed legislation that changed the U.S. Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948, also known as the Smith-Mundt Act. The amendment made it possible for some materials created by the U.S. Agency for Global Media, the nation’s foreign broadcasting agency, to be disseminated in the U.S.

Strike “puppy”, insert “little dog.”  Still a little clunky and obvious, but nobody’s perfect.  The term you’ll be searching for shortly is “Smith-Mundt.”

Will Smith Is Weak

 

Will Smith lost his temper, smacked Chris Rock, still got the Oscar, and gave a tearful speech about how he was doing God’s work at home, in Hollywood, and presumably by assaulting the emcee of that very show.  How do you not get thrown out and stripped of your win after that?  Shame on the Oscars morons, and shame on the weak and publicly cuckolded prostitute Will Smith.

His miserable, grasping no-talent shrewish wife has dragged his name and their family through mud and Hell, with the kids turning into circus freaks and her addiction to going on talk shows to run down her zillionaire husband while talking up her dead ex, Tupac.  And Will Smith participates — he allows this nonsense, and he encourages it with his weakness.  The whole family is now run through with infidelity, gender confusion, novel “orientations”, and the whole host of modern woke insanities.  Congratulations, Will.  This is your body of work.

Smith is a talented man and has tried to foist his non-acting family upon us time after time — fair enough.  His family is apparently having none of it, and the rot is on display in his wife, whom weak Will excuses and covers for.  Will has a problem, and it is internal — he’s no saint in that freak-show marriage, but at least he’s the breadwinner.  He has issues that he “deals with” in the Hollywood way — by not dealing with things except in some superficial pop-psychology fashion.  Of course, he got up and slapped Chris Rock on live TV for making an anodyne joke about her haircut.  “Take my wife’s name out yo G-D- mouf!”  Sorry Will, she’s a public figure thanks to your incessant efforts.  Fair game at the Oscars.

Smith’s anger is displaced.  He is actually angry at himself for his own failure as a father, as a husband, and soon as an actor.  He can no longer contain or compensate for his shame and emptiness.  All the progressive dogma in the world cannot carry a man through a crisis like the one that has been brewing for Will Smith.

I hope Chris Rock presses charges and sues the crap out of Will Smith.

United States of Hapsburgs

 

It may be that our national decline has much in common with inbred imperial dynasties. The inbreeding is figurative (we presume), but since George H.W. Bush became Vice President in 1981, power in American politics has become focused, clubby, dynastic. And it has produced a declining series of leaders with one exception — the only fresh blood in a generation or two, and the only “never done politics before” fresh-blood in likely a great deal longer.

The fascinating part is not the natural progression of routine concentration of power — that’s a built-in function of organizations without controls to prevent it. What I find more interesting is the apparatchiki who defend the thing, who enable, and in fact, demand it. The functionaries and bureaucrats who know where the butter on their bread comes from, and who ferociously fend off any outsider — from either party.  President Tulsi Gabbard would get the Trump treatment from her party’s Paul Ryan contingent.

The Deep State is a cross between a state-within-a-state and a praetorian guard. It has so surrounded and overshadowed the actual elected power that the weakness at the center has become a donut-hole in the political landscape, with the real tools of policy held out of reach from the center by the courtiers and rentiers.

No leader leads without a staff; no ruler rules without an administration, but our inattention to the Constitution (remember when over a decade ago Pelosi actually laughed when asked if a given law was Constitutional) has allowed the creatures of the government to take it over. A copy of a copy of a copy effect, as the government is literally the creature of, the “thing created by” the Constitution. Government has escaped the Constitution, and now the bureaucracy has escaped the government. The bureaucracy outnumbers, outweighs, and has in fact outmaneuvered the government. It is in the bureaucracy’s short-term interest to foster the concentration of power into as few hands as possible — fewer hands are more manageable, both in simplicity and effort.  Yet that short-term interest is relative to an individual bureaucrat.  For the bureaucracy itself, the concentration of power is also in the long-term interest, so short-term political adventurism is not discouraged by the more senior “professionals”.

The Bushies love the Clintons and the Obamas. I’m all for some collegial, sportsman-like (dare I say statesmanlike?) good conduct, but these folks are too alike for any competition or meaningful distinction to be drawn. I am reminded of the Armchair Economist’s (Steven Landsburg, Amazon link, no affiliate, honest) explanation of why he hates bipartisanship.  When two gas station owners agree, it is only to collude against the customers, and so on for two political parties. Chummy bipartisanship is much-admired these days, but it serves us poorly, particularly the half of us whose end of bipartisanship involves alternately being polite and getting slaughtered. It costs the politicals of “our” side nothing to treat us this way — the only threat to those folks is in disturbing the imperial hangers-on and fixers.

You say the Emperor is an inbred moron? That generations of political consolidation have desiccated the pool of ideas and outlooks? Well, we have these people programmed. They need us, and we farm them. No way are we rocking the boat. Funding, farming, helping, harming — it just doesn’t matter. The machine keeps running and it keeps producing the desired outputs. Neither party actually matters anymore, as they have utterly merged. They are proud of their heraldry and their ancestry, and will fight to defend their perks, but not against each other. They fight against We The Subjects while the machine no longer responds to the party’s respective inputs any more than it does to “ours”, whomever we are anymore.

Both parties might as well be hostages in the castle, but held “captive” in such comfort that the last thing they want is rescue. And Heaven knows — they cannot survive outside.  Why then they would have to face — us.

How to Exfil Everything

 

So this is just my “functionally paranoid” (the motto of OpenBSD, by the way) estimate of where things are. I’ll describe two problems, one of which I call the trumpet problem, and the other is plain theft.

Trumpet

There’s a lot of security to be had involving encryption. When you visit a website using https://, you establish an encrypted connection so that the data is garbled in transit. Still visible are the source and sender. So then you use a VPN, which separately encrypts a connection between you and the VPN provider, so that you seem to be somewhere else — you seem to be somebody else, from a networking perspective. This is a pretty good set-up for excluding casual threats along the way for most of the length of the connection between you and the website you are using. An obvious vulnerability is a weak or dishonest VPN provider, which happens a lot. Still, one of the more effective reasons to use a VPN is to prevent your ISP (Verizon, say) from collecting that tasty, tasty metadata about where you go and when, and in what combinations. Although the VPN ends at some point, it carries you safely past the ISP who knows a lot about you. Also, the VPN encrypts everything, not just browser connections one at a time. https:// doesn’t protect your local email application’s traffic, but your VPN does.

Think of this more-or-less secure connection between you and your chosen website as two metal pipes — one of which goes from you to your VPN provider, and a narrower pipe inside that one that reaches past the end of the VPN pipe all the way to the website’s server. Yet there’s still the problem of the open ends of the pipe. You have no control over the far end, and in fact, you have very little control over the near end either — “your” computer.

The attack surface expands greatly at the near end, like the bell of a trumpet and is anyway open to you, as well as to anybody who manages to attach to that big flaring bell. The distant server end is more like the mouthpiece of the trumpet. It’s typically better-managed, using more securable technologies than your PC at home. So yes, each of us lives at the loud end of the trumpet, which soothes us with music while the server surreptitiously scoops up our data.

You use a browser to access things on the server. The browser is almost always a full-powered no-kidding executable application on your machine. It has permissions and powers, and access to all of the hardware, software, system calls, configurations, logs, and all of your “personal” files. It has on-board facilities for interpreting many types of mobile code — even HTML is an attack vector, as the browser is just a system for getting instructions (HTML) and content (files) from a server, carrying out those instructions, and displaying that content. “Carrying out instructions” is all that computers do, and those instructions can come from any source.

Websites that show you advertisements almost always simply reach out to an ad-host, pull down some of this mobile code, and stuff it into the content that you wanted from the actual site server. What’s in that advertising mobile code? Who knows? Banner ads, pop-ups, and the like are mad vulnerabilities.

Cookies are files that your browser stores on your computer at the request of … whomever. They typically contain some gibberish which one way or another is meaningful to somebody — just not to you. A cookie can be position-coded, or a unique ID, or a hash of options from a finite set, or plain old encrypted data. The point of a cookie was of course benign at first, so that you didn’t have to log into a site like Amazon every time you surfed to a new page. It established a “session” so that whenever your browser showed the cookie to Amazon, they said, “Oh, it’s you, Bob.” The problem is that cookies were fundamentally a way to write to your computer, store on your computer, and read from your computer. That’s kind of like saying it’s not your computer. There are numerous controls over cookies, which are honored in some cases and not in others. In general, though, it’s bad. The most effective control over cookies is the generally-accepted limit on their size. This limit varies, but it is a limit, which is better than nothing.

Bob’s cookie identified him to Amazon in a fairly secure way. If somebody else had that cookie’s “session ID”, they could jump onto Amazon and act as Bob — a man-in-the-middle attack. A little cookie, a little SYN/ACK tomfoolery, and Bob is no longer your uncle. So https:// encrypts the connection between you and Amazon in order to protect your session ID as well as whatever you were actually doing.

Still, a great many sites want to know who you are, what you’re looking at, what you buy, who you talk to, and so forth. If you can successfully conceal who you are, the rest of that is much less valuable, and your identity must be reconstructed (“de-anonymized”) by those who wish to complete the picture and sell it. Enter browser fingerprinting.

A browser is a program that first knows itself. It tells websites and such what sort of browser it is, what version it is, how much file storage space is allocated to it, whether or not it can use java, flash, DRM systems, and so forth. It then knows about the system it is on, and so it dutifully reports the easy things like OS version, hardware (Dell model 1234), the date the machine was set up, username of the current user, and so forth. Then it gets really interesting. The server on the far end can use straightforward or truly subtle trickery to tease a lot more information from the browser. Straightforward would be asking what the video card is, what the current resolution and max resolution of the screen are, the window’s size. Subtle goes into things like exporting a list of all wireless access points in view as well as the signal strength indicated, and timing responses from the video system.

The browser doesn’t have to be told what typefaces (“fonts”) are installed on your system — it will just attempt to write meaningless phrases on a screen that doesn’t exist in every typeface that the server knows, and the browser reports success or failure. Now the server knows more than the browser does about your typefaces, your neighbors, your exact location, and a partial history of places you’ve been (say, cached wifi APs). This information when combined provides a numerically formidable idea of your identity.

Typeface analysis alone can greatly narrow the range because your browser (probably) automatically downloads typefaces needed to make various websites look proper. Each individual typeface says little, because each typeface is used by a large number of sites. But they don’t all use the same subsets, and the list of all the typefaces that you have collected will match with subsets of sites that are observed together.

Consider this — your PC certainly knows your own wi-fi name (MAC address if nothing else), and the server trying to figure out who you are can compare that MAC Address (like a networking hardware serial number — sorta) against the records it collects from everybody else. The thing about “just the metadata” and “anonymized” is that they don’t need your data to de-anonymize you. They just need to be able to cross-reference enough data points to nail you: time, place, name, likes, friends, and sites visited. These datasets exist, the number-crunching power required is almost trivial compared to what exists, and there is no turning back. Not one of us will ever disappear from the records. We who were online from the web boom in 1993-94 have left a shining trail, littered with autographed self-portraits. The only thing we can do now is try to limit the amount of data and metadata that we currently leak.

Theft

Yet increasingly, all tech companies are data theft companies. The hardware makers are in on it. The OS makers are in on it. The application makers are in on it. The network, switch, routing, ISP, VPN, backup, file-sharing, heartbeat monitoring, and step-counting people are in on it. Why, there oughta be a law, and of course, there sort of is, but the real target would be a world-changing combination of RICO, contracts of adhesion, privacy, and monopoly law. This will never happen, because of the cozy arrangement between big government and big tech. Tech steals what government is unable to demand, and government protects what tech is unable to defend. They do it together; they share in the spoils.

In general, online services are consumed on your PC by applications, which use the operating system to run on hardware. So: services / apps / OS / HW.

With our trusty metal pipe, we have managed to secure the online services, so that the applications can trust them. The applications need securing. Some are securable, while some are hopeless. My current browser of choice is “LibreWolf”, which you may think of as Brave for Firefox (Brave is a much more secure version of Chrome, and LibreWolf is a MUCH MUCH more secure version of Firefox). LibreWolf by default turns off a lot of the fingerprinting stuff, and there are pre-made config files you can download which go a lot further. Personally, I use the arkenfox config with tweaks. Why not use arkenfox on Firefox? You could (and I would guess that it started there), but the LibreWolf guys actually compile the browser with different options than Firefox, because some of the options cannot be changed through config.

So let us stipulate that my applications are now “secure” (ha!). Next comes the OS, the operating system. Fundamentally, the OS is the part of an application that every application needs in order to run on a computer (like reading and writing files, printing, getting online, accepting keyboard inputs, and showing things on the screen), so they just collect all that junk and make a special application that does nothing but provide those services to other applications. Naturally, this “Operating System” application must be all-powerful — any part of the machine with permission not given to the OS might as well not be on the machine.

When the application needs to store something in a file, all it has to do is bother the OS to “make a file, name it ‘shopping list,’ and standby for me to type until I get sleepy and just tell you to save it and close.” How the OS does that is a matter of indifference for the application. Maybe the OS just opens a pipe right down to the carpet beneath the desk and writes it on the backs of dust mites. Nobody cares. But my goodness, what a tempting target for information filching. This is where the real power is. All of those things that our browser labored to guess and tease from the system, the system already knows.

Say I use the world’s most secure file-encrypting application to store my shopping list on the disk. I create an empty file and encrypt it. I open and decrypt the file, and write things into it. Then I encrypt and save the new version. The operating system just saw everything that I did. Every keystroke was handled by a system call or a running routine. Sometimes lower-level pieces do this (BIOS), but the problem is the same. What if the OS takes my keystrokes and splits (“tees”) my typing so that a copy of it gets encrypted into the file, and a copy of it goes straight to our trusty dust mites? The application has no clue, and neither does the user. And if the OS doesn’t do that, who is to say that the hardware doesn’t? And this is without even considering temp files created while you have it open, or ransacking your “recycle bin.” My goodness is that thing ever aptly named.

So at this point, we’re just speculating. And that’s how it’s likely to stay because much of this is below the level that most people will ever get traction on. Security researchers, bless their Cheeto-clogged hearts, will suss some of this from time to time. Still, consider the opportunity and the capability for this sort of thing to be done. Our dust mites may in fact be a temporary storage device, or a reserved piece of another device, or a temporarily allocated, fleeting location on a CPU, cache, RAM, video, or other chip on the system. It only has to persist until it can be encrypted by a different mechanism, and then stored. Perhaps as metadata in ordinary files like the encrypted blobs in common office files. Not all of the file is in XML; just the parts that you care about. Perhaps the encrypted data is stored as cookies — hiding in plain sight. We expect them to be gibberish, and to a sufficiently dispossessed user, gibberish is indistinguishable from very good encryption. One method would be to include a seeming hash which when actually hashed will produce a known value that advertises “I am a file containing pilfered metadata at typical locations 2 and 47,” and the rest is gravy.

Obviously, the goal is not to steal all of your precious data — the data that is precious to you. This process will ignore anything in your Windows/Win/Win32/System and so forth directories. MS knows what’s in there — they put it there, and the same is true for the Apple side of the house. Likewise, they don’t want your movies, your music, your photographs, your games. Starts looking like a much smaller task now, doesn’t it? They might note the filenames, but they’re not grabbing the files. And if I were actually running this data theft program, and had to prioritize, I would make recently changed files my go-to.

They don’t need to grab your hard drive. Your interactions with it will point them to what they need, a shining trail. They don’t need all of anything. They just need enough small pieces of small things to fill gaps in knowledge. This is how tech will help prioritize the actions of government for when they really do want to ransack your disk, to turn your digital apartment upside-down.

While poking small amounts of data into files and cookies may seem like a lot of trouble to go to in order to get anything useful, consider five things:

  1. The value if it were done.
  2. The ease of transport.
  3. The capacity of your machine to spend its time on millions of tedious tiny things that you don’t care about.
  4. The enormous installed capacity of big data.
  5. The fact that everything is pushing you harder and harder into cloud apps, sharing files, backing up, logging in, subscribing, validating your existence, renewing your “license,” and so forth.

Notice how all of these apps need to phone home now? And who knows what gets pushed in the endless stream of “usability” updates, not just the security updates. All I know is my purely desktop copy of Office started telling me my login name to a system I wasn’t logged into, right in the title bar, as well as, “not logged in”. Thanks, Windows. Thanks for putting that all together in the background despite the fact that I did not want this copy of Office to be “online-aware” and have never used OneDrive. Granted, that’s trivial compared to the dust mite thing. But boy, are they motivated. They get what they want.

Screwed

I have presented a brief description of a possible method, with some background, some hand-waving (and a little help from our face-eating friends) for exfiltrating data. I am no expert, but that doesn’t mean I’m out here with a dowsing rod calling the geologists fools. I know a little.

I used to think that hiding in the crowd was secure enough. It is certainly true that going all security-conscious will raise your profile for increased scrutiny just in case anybody’s watching. Again, let the user report identify himself through his action. But I now believe that even the herd defense is of little use. The technology has proceeded so far, so fast, that ubiquitous collection is well plausible. I haven’t proven anything, but I try to make a reasonable case (Wake up, sheeple!) that an assumption along these lines is reasonable.

What is left is to try to segregate areas of your life into different channels, and secure those individually, to whatever extent is possible. But that’s a story for another day.

Western Institutions Becoming Unreliable by Design

 

Big thought, short article.  The center cannot hold, and it’s no accident.  From Obama nationalizing medicine and carmakers to banksters capriciously declining to service various transactions (guns, Russians, charities), the malaise of the twenty-first century, so far, is the decline in the reliability of western institutions.  Rule of law, contracts, finance, education, marriage, alliances, freedom of God, Guns, and Gutenberg… all circling the bowl.

Numerous outfits such as Visa and MasterCard, as well as Mcdonald’s, have decided that Russians may no longer use their services or purchase their products.  These private companies conducting foreign policy should be charged under the Logan Act, uh, I’ve heard it said and makes sense to me.  I’m no expert.  But they won’t be.  They are just the corporate side of our fascist corpo-state flexing on Heaven, as it is on Earth.

There may be short-term effects like reducing Putin’s appetite for destruction, but the next thing that happens, as the Gods of the Copybook Headings inform us, is that there will be a reaction.  The risk in dealing with Russia was always there.  The risk in dealing with the West is new.  Say goodbye to reserve currency status, vestigial hegemony over things like SWIFT, the internet, the UN, and any presumption of goodwill and fair dealing such as underpinned the decaying notion of the US as THE exceptional nation. From crime sprees and secure borders to wars and currency collapse, this stuff has been brewing for a while, and I suspect we are approaching — or are now upon — an inflection point or a phase change.

I am pro-NATO, pro-Ukraine, pro-USA USA USA, and I still think that we are screwing this up with heavy-handed, short-sighted destruction of little more than our own dwindling credibility.  Our political class selected a faceless nothing as President to wear as a prophylactic while they did all of this to us.  They will be fine.  We will not, and “we” are a lot more than just Americans.

There’s a lot of ruin in a country (Smith), but there’s not an infinite amount, and it’s not just the country that is in imminent danger.  It’s the whole of Western and Western-styled civilization.  This will be a century of dictators to make the 20th century look like a prototype.

Free Speech and Power in the Time of Ukraine

 

Russians are being cut off just as Canadians were cut off, and just as Americans were cut off.  This is not to equate the three causes — the cut-off Americans were pro-Trump, the Canadians were anti-mandate, and the Russian government is currently killing its way through Ukraine.  Different cases, right?  Yet the same tools are being used to silence individuals who have opinions contrary to the “dominant paradigm”.  That similarity is the real danger.  In the middle to long term, this is worse even than the horrors currently inflicted on Ukraine – globally homogenized censorship is a recipe for unending invasion and suppression.  It is the boot poised above the human face.

Conventional wisdom has nothing to do with it.  A paradigm is not wisdom, and convention has folded before dominance.  I recall a bumper sticker artfully pinned to the door of some facultron in the English Department at my university, “Subvert the Dominant Paradigm”.  This was an explicit, if cheeky admission of Brando’s defiant answer “Whaddya got?” when asked in The Wild Ones, “Hey Johnny, what are you rebelling against?”.  But now we simply Meet the New Boss.  They rebel against nothing; they carry out their instructions, and curry favor with The System.  They decide and the shotgun sings the song.  The radicals are now the establishment, and they have mortgages.

Trump was thrown off of Twitter while he was still President.  Remember that the US Supreme Court ruled he could not block people on that platform.  Neat trick — the platform is such a public utility that Trump cannot block people, but such a private entity that they de-platformed the US President.  And so on.  Now we see the Russians with their accounts closed, their finances monitored and restricted, their assets seized or rendered valueless, and so forth.  Just like the Canadians before them.  I won’t shed a tear for a Russian oligarch but neither the target nor the justification matter much compared to the power and the method.  After all, once the power and the method are accepted, targets and justifications come easily.  Once the machine is running, they need only turn the dial.

I’ve written before about our “digital rendition” as a parallel to the “extraordinary rendition” of terror suspects (battlefield capture etc) for interrogation in other jurisdictions.  The US Government uses private companies onshore and presumably offshore to do its bidding.  Those companies surveil us for their own private purposes, remember?  But when the government demands to see something, the companies provide.  And soon the whole thing is an explicit federalization of the entire online business sector.  And devices.  And software.  And finance.  Big Tech is now another branch of government, and unlike the rest, it zealously protects and advances its interests.

De-list the President?  Sure.  Bankrupt some truckers?  No problem.  Ruin some doctors, researchers, dissidents, activists for not bowing to and serving the Dominant Paradigm (note fear caps)?  You got it.  By the way — we do not expect to be regulated, restricted, required, remediated, remonstrated, or anything which apparently starts with re-.  You feel me, government?  Yes Sir, Big Tech — we feel you.

God Damn the Russians.  I studied Russian in college.  I enjoy some Russian literature.  I like stories from and about Russia.  I’ve visited Russia.  So spare me the horrors of “Russia hatred”.  Right now Russia is worthy of our hatred, and we are not individually responsible in this us-vs-them scenario for honoring the distinction between them and the leaders of them.

The problem come in when our own institutions — government, tech, banking, publishing, and so forth — decide that they will abandon their own professional requirements.  You and I are not professionals in the public square, but our institutions are.  Meanwhile, our woke disaster means that increasingly, you and I must play the professional even in personal life, while faceless incorporated entities (includes government!) are allowed to play the person even while wielding enormous professional power.  California authorized selective disconnect of paying “customers” of government services based on COVID compliance.  Perhaps all bets are off.

There is nowhere to go when the globohomo powers-that-be decide that your money in their custody is their money, that your speech must be their speech, and that your candidate must be theirs.

Everybody supports Free Speech, capital letters and all, when nothing unpopular is being said.  Virtue is easy when vice is obvious.  Despite my hissing disdain for Russia’s apologists both foreign and domestic, and my utter sanguinity with a sanguinary end for Putin, I do not want our institutions corrupted further with a blank check to express hatred and to exert power, on our behalf, against those with whom I disagree.

Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion was confronted with an ally in a war, Britain, who was also an enemy in serious, existential diplomacy over a “White Paper”.  How to reconcile these?  Don’t:

“We will fight the war as if there were no White Paper, and we will fight the White Paper as if there were no war.”

There may be two problems, Russia and censorship, and they may be connected, but if we allow the connection to paralyze us, then we are doomed.  There is a logical consistency which is largely beyond the reach of most human affairs.  Conservatives know that not all things may be reconciled with the knowledge at hand, yet two things which may not be congruent to our current understanding may still both be wrong.  Much of conservatism, secular and religious, is the recognition that were imperfect, and imperfectible.

Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is wrong.  Tech’s silencing of dissent is wrong.  Finance’s abruptly and selectively closing channels is wrong.  Some of these wrongs seem not to be entirely wrong given other wrongs.

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall.”

Yes, you are allowed to hate Russia.  Yes, you are allowed to oppose military intervention.  Yes, you are allowed to agitate for freedom of speech, even for Russians and their stooges, uh, supporters.  Yes, you are allowed to say all of that and tell the logic cucks to shove off.  These are separate problems to be addressed separately.

What happens when the next ridiculous obsessive crisis puts this site in the crosshairs, when payments processors and hosting companies will no longer do business with places like this because of the views expressed here?

Russia to Seize Hundreds of Leased Airliners

 

According to Joe Blogs, Russia has just passed a law allowing Russian airline operators to simply declare themselves the owners of commercial aircraft leased from western companies.  Ireland likely hardest hit, IIRC.  These are Airbus and Boeing aircraft owned by leasing companies, but the deals are off, and the planes are due to be repossessed.  How?  Aye, there’s the rub.

Over 500 aircraft worth over $10 Billion may simply be swiped from the western owners.  This is another destruction of wealth, not just a transfer.  The aircraft are no longer supported with parts and inspections from manufacturers and owners.  And a great number of the planes are grounded anyway — Russian airlines don’t have as many destinations to go to these days.

This may be an expensive way to find out what can and cannot be done.  We shall see.

BDB

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