The Sons And Daughters Of The Future – A blast from the past from 2/25/14

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*Sorry guys. I was going to put up a guest post, but we had to run errands early morning, so it would be late, and I don’t do that to guest posts.  And I’m running a (very mild) fever due to something son brought home from rotations.  (See, we should never have taught him to share.)  So I’m sorry, but it’s a blast from the past. – SAH*

Almost twenty three years ago, right after I’d given birth, I was handed this slim pamphlet that started with how I couldn’t hope to mold my child.  I remember one phrase, which is still stuck in my craw: “Your children aren’t yours.  They’re the sons and daughters of the future.”

At the time I wasn’t sure if the nausea was from that sentence or from the morphine they were pumping into me, (because I had a massive uterine infection, due to three days hard labor.)

Now I’m fairly sure it is that sentence.

There was a comparison to children as arrows, shot from a bow, and you couldn’t control how they flew.

Right now I’m seeing every competition archer among my readers (and my husband used to be one) cringing and going “what do you mean you can’t control it?”

Actually the arrow thing is a good analogy.  Yes, part is how you shoot it, and part is in the wind, and the way it plays, and…

In the same way, some of your kids’ traits are genetic (a lot of them surprisingly so.  My second child is exactly like my dad, and my older child has a way of reminding me of my paternal grandmother, who died a year after he was born.) and some of them will be upbringing.  And some of them you can’t control.

For instance, in making me who I am, there are genetic traits – I come from a family of singularly stubborn people and terribly stubborn women, and also of people who like telling stories.  On both sides – but also the place and time I grew up in, and incidental things in my upbringing.  Given my temperament, if I hadn’t been sickly at a time when the society hadn’t yet processed the existence of antibiotics, for instance, (and so where quarantine and bed rest were strictly enforced for anything more serious than a sneeze) and therefore spent days upon days alone, in a room that didn’t even have a window (it was a shot gun apartment.  The bedroom was the middle room) I probably wouldn’t have started by telling stories to myself and ended up reading voraciously.  I’d have been out hiking, or climbing walls or something.

And while a lot of what I learned was from my mom and dad, from my grandmother… a lot of it was also incidental.  If my brother hadn’t been ten years older than I (just about) and an engineering student when I was a pre-teen, I’d probably never have discovered science fiction.  And if I hadn’t discovered science fiction at that crucial time, I wouldn’t have ended up being guided in a lot of my thoughts on society and the world by Robert A. Heinlein.  And I wouldn’t be here, now.

Now, none of those influences accounts for me as I’m now.  Not even Heinlein.  After a while, you raise yourself.  And no, my parents could not control how I’d react to the states, or the closed shop market of SF/F ten years ago, or— Any of that.

However, my parents could – and did – give me certain principles.  My dad’s was probably mostly “Never cry.  Legionnaires don’t cry.”  I don’t know how long that saying passed father to son I the family – and dad could see no reason his daughter shouldn’t be equally stoic – but there it is.  There was a warrior ethos there.  Even if you’re bleeding from both knees or if – as I did at eight – you just fell from a cliff (Dad and I used to go cliff climbing) and scraped your back raw; you might be in pain, but if you’re still on your feet, don’t cry and snivel.  It doesn’t make it better and it distresses others.  There was also dad’s strong abhorrence to lying (I get a special dispensation for telling stories.  I hope.) If you did something awful, it was better to fess up.  And you treated your friends and associates fairly.  If someone was your friend, or if someone had done you a kindness once, they’d need to do something fairly horrendous for you to ever turn on them.

Then there was mom who instilled in me the idea that you try your best.  You always try your best even if you work yourself into the ground.  If you can, you do.  If you can’t, you still give it a try — as hard as you can.

And grandma with “to stop is to die.”  You keep trying, no matter how many times you’re defeated.  And if you heart breaks, you continue working from your gut.  And also, you look after the weaker: cats, children, lost animals, strangers.  You look after them, because you’re stronger, and that makes it your obligation.  You don’t pass the buck.  You don’t take the animals to a shelter where they might get killed.  You don’t send the starving stranger to the curate or the civil authorities.  You set the table for the ragged man and treat him as an honored guest.  And you take in the poor dumb brute animals and look after them, and if you can find them a home, you make sure it’s good.  Because you’re strong.  And so it’s your duty.

Those are lessons you don’t lose.  Mostly given by example.  If I’m ever tempted to betray someone, I can see dad’s eyes, and feel him glaring at me across the ocean.  And though grandma is gone, if I fail to help someone – or something – in need when I can, I can hear her clucking her tongue.

What I’m trying to say is that the children might be the sons and daughters of the future.  They will – if everything goes well – see times you don’t know, in ways you don’t know.  But how you fire that arrow is important.  What you can give your children in guidance, and more importantly in example, is as important as your genetics and maybe more important.  Because people aren’t dumb brutes.

I find it particularly interesting that the “let them go, you can’t control them” instruction was being given to beginning parents in the early nineties.  It wasn’t as if we lived in a Victorian society where “honor thy father and thy mother” was graven law, inside every public place.

Was it an attempt at making child rearing a “public” thing?  Certainly we withstood a lot of push for us to put them in daycare starting at three months and give them “quality time” an hour or so a day.

And certainly the dream of public child rearing, collective, has been with us a long time, by people who think society would be better improved by standardizing their principles to everyone.

I even understand – all too well – that if I had been in a traditional job, I’d have had no choice.  Many people have no choice.

But that is the impaired situation, not the one to be elevated to ideal.  Even in that situation, you can usually block a lot of time for your kids.

Maybe it’s me making a virtue of necessity, but we didn’t give our kids much quality time.  What we gave them was quantity time.  I didn’t drop everything to play with Marsh.  Oh, okay, fine… there were rousing games of dinosaurs versus army men, but only when the alien dinosaurs invaded (it was this pack from the natural history museum… never mind.) Sometimes.  But most of the time, he played in the office, at my feet, while I worked.

And Robert would sit at my research desk and do his homework.

I sort of kept an ear out for them.

I continued keeping an ear out for them – and that I could have done even if I’d worked. – it requires finesse and reading between the lines, but you can figure out if one of their friends has a flexible relationship with the truth, and if another is leading them into trouble.  You can guess when the kid has decided not to bother with… oh, math.  And you can redirect.

I remember the thrust of that pamphlet was that you couldn’t.  If your kid decided to join a gang, it wasn’t your fault.  And if your kid didn’t want to finish high school it wasn’t your fault.

Part of it seemed to be to absolve parents from even trying.

I wonder how many people overwhelmed by life (and we’ve been too, a few times) took this as an excuse to just let go.  To let the kids grow up however.  “It’s not my fault.  They’re the sons and daughters of the future.”

Fortunately, I remembered dad and my mom and grandma.  Mom never told me that in so many words, but I knew that if I brought home less than a B I’d have to sleep outside with the cats.  It was sort of understood.  Since I was by nature a slacker, and kept an sf book under my geography textbook, and wrote snarky remarks on the side of my economics test (Well, the teacher WAS a Keynesian) if my mom had decided I was “the daughter of the future” I’d probably have dropped out of school in fifth grade and now be a factory worker in Portugal.

So my kids got that same kind of floor put under them.  “You’re expected to learn.  You’re expected to work hard.  No, you’re not expected to do the best you think you can.  You’re expected to do the best I KNOW you can.”  Robert still shudders when he talks of me standing behind him while he wrote an essay and saying “You’re not illiterate.  Watch verb concordance.”

And part of it was… that quantity time.  Not just the time while we worked, but we dragged them with us on things that interested us.  It was at a lecture about Mars that number two son fell in love with aerospace, for instance.  And we’d sit around reading together.  And we took them with us to lumberyards and groceries and talked.  And of course, if they were headed down a dangerous path we headed them off.

Are we to credit or blame for everything they are?  Of course not.  And we do know parents that tried their best, and yet … well, particularly when impairment or mental illness intrudes, you really can’t help the result much.

BUT for most parents, you can.  And it’s not a matter of being your kids’ best friend.  That’s silly.  They have best friends.  You’re supposed to be their parent, mentor and example.  You’re supposed to say “here there be dragons” and “here there be meadows of great beauty.”  You share more of the reasons with them as they grow, of course, but they’ll get a lot of it even without your saying why or how – from how you behave.

They’ll surprise you.  You’ll find they develop talents and notions you never saw coming.  That’s part of the fun.

And as they grow as adults, they’ll change and move away from the roots you gave them.

The arrow will fly through the air influenced by a lot of things, and well away from you, till you can’t see where it lands – but you gave it that first impulse.  And you made it.  It’s your arrow.

You’re not supposed to shoot blind and then say “it wasn’t my fault” if it doesn’t fly at all, or if it kills someone.

Just because you don’t have complete control, it doesn’t mean you have no control.

My children aren’t the sons of the future.  They’re my sons.  And I did my best to make sure they had a future.

Because that’s my job.  That’s what parents do.  Grandma told me so.

Doing Evil by Doing “Good”

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There is a peculiar strangeness to virtues, to those things we strive to practice and which are good for us and society in general: you have to know when to stop.

An excess of virtue seems to turn to vice and derange the mind just enough that it doesn’t realize what it’s doing.

Perhaps part of it is that we’re a less religious society, so some people have never been warned of the dangers of keeping the form but forgetting the purpose.  Or perhaps because so many people have forgotten the idea of “virtue” as such and just have these left over, ingrained reflexes of a post-Christian society.  These people can usually be recognized by saying quite the most stupid things about who Jesus was or what he believed, while running down those who have any religious belief in the mean time.  You’ve run into these critters, for instance, deploying memes on compassion to claim Jesus was an illegal immigrant (as though the forms and borders of the 21st century applied to the 1st) or deploying memes to say Jesus expelled the “capitalists” from the temple, (ignoring that the sin was doing it under the aegis of the temple, aka, confusing the market place with religion and vice versa which is not, usually, a sin of capitalists, except in those places corrupted by socialism,) or oh, telling us that we should be willing to pay more taxes because we ere enjoined to look after the poor, or perhaps my favorite from the party of abortion-on-demandTM reminding us that Mary was a single mother, (again completely missing that the forms of the society in 21st century America and 1st century Judea couldn’t be more different.  She risked stoning, had someone not stood by her, and yeah, for the record I completely oppose stoning single mothers, even without divine intervention.  OTOH I don’t remember her asking for government benefits for her baby. Must be a different translation of the New Testament I read.)

But this is not a religious blog, and at least one third of my readers aren’t Christians, as far as I can track.  This was just to explain that the society retains the “form” of Christianity and a lot of the impulses, while having lost the why.

Which allows virtues to morph into truly repulsive behavior, which destroys lives while going unchecked, because it’s hiding under cover of something “we all know to be a virtue.”

Take charity, or if you prefer compassion — caritas, by any other name — which in many ways is unraveling society and destroying lives.

Charity, as practiced by all the Abrahamic religions is supposed to be a PERSONAL virtue.  Sure you can band together with people of your faith or others to extend the reach of your charity. BUT you are not supposed to force other people to participate by force.  That might be organized crime, or perhaps just extortion, and like some organized criminals, you might have the best intentions in the world, but it does not sanctify the arm twisting. Because you’re still “causing harm to do good” and that’s always bad.  Because your knowledge of others is limited, you won’t know the unintended consequences of your actions, or even if you’re extorting from the “right” people. (Not that there’s any “right” people to extort from but people delude themselves about the “rich” paying their “fair share.”

Government is particularly bad about this.

Take us, for ex.  I pay an unreasonably high tax rate, because I fall under a category that is meant to catch under-reporting lawyers and doctors, not free-lance writers. For the government, though, we’re exactly the same thing and if some government drone noticed that we fall into it too, he’d probably assume all moderately-successful writers are exactly like the series “Castle.”

And even programs supposed to be more discriminating (in the right sense) do very weird stuff.  Keeping in mind I’m a writer: we learned earlier that when our kids applied for student loans, we had to make sure my money from writing was in another account, neatly labeled business and locked away by being part of a corporation.  Because suppose I go a few advances, and had been doing well indie for six months, and had 40k in the bank the month the kids applied: the program ASSUMES all of it is available to pay for their tuition (we paid half of each) and none of it would go to taxes or other business obligations.  Nor did it seem to understand the money might be there for some other reason: a new computer, or whatever the need for making more money was.  There were a couple of years we had to shoulder the full thing, because my not unusual situation was completely opaque to what is supposed to be a fairly sophisticated ah “ability and needs” judging program, led them to believe we had a year’s income sitting around in the bank, waiting to be spent on tiddly winks and chocolate milk, and that the kids were only applying for loans out of joi de vivre.

In the same way, many a family business goes bankrupt when the main owner dies, because even though the business’s worth is invested (particularly in the case of farms or restaurants) in things that are neither convenient to sell nor can be sold without destroying the ability to make more money, the government expects the heirs to pay full tax on their WORTH.  It’s amazing how many small businesses (not ours, though some of my colleagues got books seized when the copyright passed to heirs, and the assumption of the copyright value was… interesting to say the least) have a worth of a million or so, while barely making enough for a family of four, once you run it and pay employees.

The thing is this is all done in the name of compassion, which has been outsourced to the government and therefore is going after the — on paper — rich to give to the — on paper — poor.  This is a lot like the left’s conception of Robin Hood (they have him as wrong as they have Jesus.  Mostly Robin Hood stole from tax collectors and gave back to the people.) And they think it’s a good thing.

But the repercussions or our… ah, developmentally disabled tax system has destroyed many many lives.  And not those of the plutocrats the left imagines it’s taking undeserved money from (they should know about undeserved money, since those of them who work work entirely on the parasitic mechanism of the state “equalization”machine.)  It has taken the money from family businesses that had sometimes taken generations of patient work to build, it has made it harder to survive as a middle class working person than an indigent lay-about, and it has made it harder for families to climb out of government assistance, because after taxes the proceeds of honest labor are much lower than what you can get milking the system.

To the extent that generations on welfare stunts the ability to be a contributing member of society this false compassion based on extortion has destroyed entire generations of people and might have done irreparable harm by creating a tribe of anti-socials in our midst, who consider themselves entitled to living as they wish while not working. I’m not sure how many of those a functioning society can support.  I suppose at some time we’ll find out.

That’s the macro level.

The local level…. Ah, compassion.

Look, I do realize that some people, at times, are homeless through no fault of their own.  We’ve never quite hit that point but after some exceptionally bad years, I won’t say we weren’t close.  We stayed off soup kitchens by eating a lot of rice and frozen vegetables for years.

But you have to understand just like our “hunger in America” count dieting people (the question is “did you ever go to bed hungry” or “Do you normally eat all you want.”) so does homelessness in America count your kid who is between jobs and staying in your guest room, or your friend who just moved to town and crashed on your sofa for a week.  The most common time someone in America is “homeless” is 1 day.  Second most common is 2 days, etc.

But there is real homelessness.  Of course there is.  When Acacia Park, downtown Colorado Springs was infested with them (is it still?) I used to hear them talking candidly among themselves during their morning walk.

Do you know what I never heard them say “I can’t find a job.”

Do you know what I heard them talk about?  Drugs, mostly.  The young ones would talk about not going home, because their parents (gasp) would require them to stop doing whatever it is they were doing, drug wise.

There were also complaints about cities making it hard to beg, talk of having “dropped out” 30 years ago, and the injustice of even thinking of finding a job.

Were a lot of these people drug addicted or mentally ill.  A-yup.  Were a lot of the mentally ill drug addicts who were trying to self medicate?  A-yup.  Were a lot of them on the run from legally prescribed drugs that would control that mental illness?  A-yup. Do a lot of drugs, when used over time, have the uncomfortable side effect of bringing on mental illness which might have been latent?  Seem to.  The relation hasn’t been very well documented or studied, but anyone who knows people who did a lot of drugs in the sixties has noted a difference before and after.

The one thing that’s certain is that encouraging (with money and freebies and that famous “compassion”) the homeless to continue in their destructive lifestyle has horrendous social consequences.

Those shelters and soup kitchens that cater to all without demanding sobriety will turn teens who left home because parents objected to their pot use into hardened street people who will not have any skills and fall, rung by rung into being utterly useless and unable to integrate in normal society.

But they do worse.  Around these soup kitchens and shelters, if near residential areas, there grows an area of crime and desolation, because you know, these people still have to pay for drugs somehow.  If near commercial areas, they blight the tendency of shoppers to come to that area, because no one wants to be followed/accosted or screamed at by people who are acting crazy (whatever the real reason.)

The do gooders then claim the fault is of “normal society”, of those horrible bourgeois who don’t want to live or shop in an area where they’re likely to be assaulted, insulted or mistreated, not mention robbed from.

But of course, there are very few (some of course) middle class people who are that by virtue of having inherited all their money.  Most of us stay out of homelessness by working daily, sometimes brutal hours, so we can pay our taxes and still live and build a future for our children.

When you make the work and our limited enjoyments more difficult we move on.

Now the “compassion” in the more “progressive” locales has reached the point of if not outright encouraging, not discouraging “homeless” — which really should be “barbarians” because they’re actually not just homeless.  The habitual ones are people who live outside our civilization as effectively as though they were the nearby tribe who lives from raiding us — from defecating on the street.

You know, I come from a society where many many illnesses were endemic that shouldn’t be: from cholera to TB to typhoid.  They were finally controlled not by modern medicine but by a rigorous program of public hygiene; by making people buy shoes and wear them on public streets and spaces (in my mom’s time, though there was still a law forbidding going barefoot, which I fell afoul of when boarding the train to school on a day I had forgotten to put shoes on.  Shut up. It was in finals.)  Other things it discouraged included spitting or on ground.  Or pooping on the ground, where it could contaminate ground water.

In the densities of people in cities, it is very easy for one barbarian to infect the entire tribe and I look forward to seeing what sort of new epidemics develop in one particular city.  Or I would, if our society weren’t so interconnected and people didn’t travel all over taking their germs.

And ultimately that’s it.  Like a gap in our immune system — or an exploit-worthy flaw in a computer system — this “outsourced compassion” and this non-judging charity without paying attention to when it actually becomes harmful, is a gaping and growing wound through which barbarism is invading civilization.

The idea that instead of people being secure in their possessions and in the enjoyment of their space, anyone who has anything is somehow beholden to those who don’t is a Marxist lunacy, (not Christian) and a part of that whole fixed pie economics fallacy.  It’s the idea that whatever you have you stole from someone, and if you wish to enjoy a clean and safe walk through your neighborhood, you’re some sort of despoiling ogre who caused the filth and the aggression of your neighbor, and therefore must have your nose rubbed in his (never learned to restrain it) anger and filth.

It destroys decent life, enjoyment of the fruits of one labor and the safety that civilization is supposed to provide.

It’s not Charity.  It’s the “Marxist virtue” of envy dressed in charity garb and strutting and dancing to fool children and idiots.

And unless we start combating it, it is enough, by itself, to undo civilization.

 

 

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike & Sunday Book Promo

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Sunday Book Promo!

*Note these are books sent to us by readers/frequenters of this blog.  Our bringing them to your attention does not imply that we’ve read them and/or endorse them, unless we specifically say so.  As with all such purchases, we recommend you download a sample and make sure it’s to your taste.  If you wish to send us books for next week’s promo, please email to at outlook dot com.  One book per author per week. Amazon links only.-SAH*

FROM ALMA BOYKIN: Vaguely Familiar (Familiar Tales Book 3).

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When stone calls to stone, Familiars and mages must answer.

Lelia Chan’s and Tay’s chance discovery of a fragment of a blood-soaked knife leads them deeper into what it means to be a shadow mage and her Familiar. Meanwhile, Morgana Lorraine heads west, looking for answers (and really good bacon), leaving Officer Jamie Macbeth to deal with the Off Ramp of Doom and his mother-in-law’s ongoing displeasure. But the stone won’t stay quiet.

Could the Off Ramp and the stone be connected? As the stone’s call grows stronger, Lelia and friends race to find an answer to an evil that won’t go quietly.

A short novel. 56,000 words.

FROM MACKEY CHANDLER: Been there, Done That

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*as cover artist, I want to point out this man asked me for a horrible outfit.  Described it exactly.  What’s a cover person to do? – SAH*
April and her partners Jeff and Heather have a secret. They’ve been to another star, and are sending a crew to a couple more close-by stars. The Earthies have tried to do this already, and failed. The Three have just a hair better technology, and with a little luck and April’s good sense, managed not to kill themselves right away.
Any normal person would be hot to bask in the glory and grasp a place in the history books with the likes of Columbus, de Gama, and Neil Armstrong. Jeff just wants to go grab as much of the prime real estate as they can find before the Earth nations catch up.
There are a few hitches along the way with people wanting to partner with them unasked, spies, more spies, and the Martians. The Martians are nuts and are the only other people who know there are aliens out there, but they are more than happy to keep that a secret too, even if they have to kill you to do so. There’s always something happening on Home and among April’s friends, but that just keeps life from being boring between the real crises.

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it! For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.

We recommend that if you have an original vignette, you post that as a new reply. If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, then post that as a reply to the vignette. Comments — this is writing practice, so comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them. And since these are likely to be drafts, don’t jump up and down too hard on typos and grammar.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is: concern

Complaining About My Boss

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Yesterday we went out to dinner, because we were celebrating a lot of things, and I was reminded I should also celebrate finishing the revision on Guardian.  (Yes, it’s in Larry’s hands right now.)  And then I realized I only finished that on Monday.  Here I’ve been feeling like a total failure because I haven’t finished anything since I finished it, but I didn’t even take half a day off.  (I did clean the house.  It hadn’t happened in two weeks.)

In Jordan Peterson terms, I am a horrible employee and a worse boss, and I should just fire myself and find someone else to be me.

I don’t think I’m the only self-employed person whose boss is utterly unreasonable, and who keeps running long after she should have rested.

I think in fact it’s a compulsion of creatives to think we should be creating all the time.

Well, we’re in a time of transition for various reasons, and transition times are great for establishing new habits.  So I’ve been thinking of what I’d like for my new habits (besides a walk a day, which is now doctor ordered.) and I think Saturday will be my publishing day (alas not this week, as I have three things ALMOST ready to go (note the almost) and perhaps work for PJ day.  And Sunday I’ll take off.  I haven’t taken a planned day off in years.  I’ve taken days off because Dan kidnaps me and drags me off to the zoo or a museum or the botanic gardens, or just for a walk, but not planed ones.  I don’t think there’s been a day since my 20s that I got up and said, “I can read or do whatever and no one cares.” So I want to experience that again, at least once a week. Mind you, what I end up doing might be taking a drawing pad out and drawing trees, or playing with Greek and Latin, but that’s still a day off.

We still need to figure out someone to do data entry for our taxes, so they don’t eat Dan’s life and writing time (yes, yes, I know, “people do that”.  We just haven’t found anyone who does that.  I mean, we’d pay but it has to be someone we trust and also we don’t want to pay accountant-money for data entry.)

Later, when boys are both off the pay rolls (one or two years, at most) we hope to offload some of the least fun stuff like data entry and house cleaning to someone we pay, just so we can have that day a week and maybe evenings off.

Because, yes, it took Jordan Peterson to make me understand that if I force myself to work all day every day with no reward, the me that works is going to “break.”

I was reading a book of Simak’s shorts, which comes with excerpts from his diary, and in it he talks of losing “something” in his writing from his early days to his middle years.

I too feel I lost something,  some energy.  However, I think that’s mostly because I’m perpetually harassed and overworked.

Yes, we still desperately need my money, but I’m — probably — not a machine.  It’s time to schedule time off before “broken” becomes “destroyed”and my employee can’t do what I want me to do.

Anyway, all this to say, I’m an idiot and tend to overwork myself.  Anyone else suffer from this?

And now I’m outahere because I have a pile of work, if  want to take tomorrow off.

Bernie Sanders: The Special Socialist Who Is More Equal Than Anyone – By Amanda S. Green

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Bernie Sanders: The Special Socialist Who Is More Equal Than Anyone – By Amanda S. Green

If I had to describe Our Revolution by Bernie Sanders in just a few words, I’m not sure I could. I am a firm believer that we need to read (or listen or watch) what those who try to influence our country have to say. But damn, I also have to wonder why publishers today feel like they can’t edit memoirs by political figures. If Hillary Clinton needed an editor – and she did – Bernie needed a fleet (a flock?) [I think that for editors the technical term is either a flak or a flake, depending on the editors- SAH] of them. If nothing else, the best thing I can say about the book is it appears to be his stream of consciousness retelling of his life. Other things I could say include self-serving, delusional, inconsistent, insulting and WTF?!?.

Everything I would expect from a man who admits to being a socialist but who has no qualms running as a Democrat in order get what he wanted. Let’s face it, nothing about Bernie should be a surprise. He is the classic socialist, proclaiming he wants equality, especially economic equality, for all and yet he lives the life he condemns. He might be taken more seriously if he sold a home or three, distributed his wealth to the poor and actually got out and worked instead of being a career politician. In other words, Bernie is the living, breathing advertisement for why there should be term limits in Congress.

So, how long has he been in DC?

In 1990, Bernie was elected as Vermont’s lone Congressman, the first member of Congress in 40 years or so to be elected from outside the 2-party system. Reading his description of those first few weeks and months, you can almost see the “innocent” Bernie with stars in his eyes packing his bags and going to Washington where he was going to change the world. The Dems had promised him they’d play nice. But, sniffle, they lied. According to Bernie, he found himself in a sort of “no-man’s land” despite assurances he’d be welcomed by the Democratic caucus.

Here is the morning’s first WTF moment. Why in the name of all that is holy would he think the Democrats would welcome him with open arms? He wasn’t one of them. He had defeated democrat candidates during the course of his political career. He was not a supporter of their platform. Why in the hell would they want to welcome him into their hallowed halls?

A more important question, quite possibly, is why was he so naïve as to believe they would welcome him?

So, instead of spending his first few weeks after the election actually doing work for his constituents, he negotiated with the caucus so he could get the committee assignments he wanted. Once again, we see that good socialist ideal at work – we’re all equal except for those of us who are more equal. I want and so I will get and then I’ll worry about the rest of you.

There’s some of his usual, I did this and I did that and I hate war. Then, in one of his “ooh, I had this really cool idea” moments – or his mind wandered and his editor (did he have an editor?) didn’t have the balls to tell him “no” – Bernie suddenly jumps ahead to 2003 to condemn President Bush and blame him for the “hundreds of thousands dead, millions displaced from their homes, massive instability in the region, and the growth of a number of fanatical terrorist organizations that continue to threaten the lives and safety of the American people and our allies” in Iraq. (OR, p. 42) Oh, and he’s still against war, no matter what the reason.

Then we jump back to his first year in Congress. Bern must be really flexible, or he owns stock in Bengay, because he really does love patting himself on his back. He started the House Progressive Caucus, which has been in “the vanguard in the fight for economic and social justice.” (OR, p. 42) He’s fought the deregulation of Wall Street and the “unfair” tax system. He claims to have one of the strongest voting records on worker’s rights, seniors, women, children, LGBT issues, and the environment. Man, he must get tired being so wonderful. If he opened his shirt, would he wear Superman’s emblem on his chest? (Or maybe a double-S for Socialist Superman?)

He gleefully applauds his actions in 1999 when he took constituents into Canada to buy their medicine because the evil pharmaceutical industry here charges too much. Mind you, I agree with him about the price of many of our medicines here. However, the solution isn’t to run over the border to buy meds that might not be as well-regulated as they are here. It certainly isn’t to do so in what amounts to nothing more than a media event to drum up support for your own political career.

The solution to the high cost of medicine is multi-fold. Among the steps that need to be taken is to stop giving pharmacy companies exclusive rights to meds for year after year when they can charge outrageous prices before other companies can finally start making generic versions. Yes, there should be some exclusivity but not to the point it’s at today. Another possible solution is to streamline the approval process for new drugs. But that sort of thing doesn’t get the press coverage or the “feelz” that taking a bunch of senior citizens or chronically ill over the border to buy cheap meds does. I guess if he’d been a Congressman in the South, he’d have taken them into Mexico.

[Actually the way to make medicine cheaper would be to cut down some of the unnecessary red tape on medical research way beyond safety.  It might also save lives by getting life saving drugs to market faster.  The disparity between drugs here and abroad is that due to some complex regulation we HAVE to sell cheaper abroad.  But the drug companies need the money from here to make the average 20 years experimentation/red tape jumping and the 10 drugs that don’t pan out for every one that does.  It’s a very complex issue and perhaps some of the bureaucracy could be cut down and make it slightly cheaper.  Probably not a ton, though, given the excess of caution that Americans demand. Sure we can have cheaper drugs.  We just can’t have cheaper INNOVATIVE drugs. Bernie is as usual an ignorant buffoon.  Oh, wait, he’s a self admitted socialist, so QED – SAH]

Can you imagine the coverage when his bus was stopped and arrests made because they’d brought back “medical” marijuana?

In 2005, Bernie cemented his intention of becoming a lifelong politician. He ran for Senate. Oooh, that young Illinois senator, someone by the name of Obama, came and campaigned for him. And guess what? Bernie won! He beat the rich man. Funny, not once does he talk about his own economic status at that point. I guess that might not fit his narrative of the poor little socialist running against the evil capitalist pig.

There’s page after page after page of “I did this” and “I did that”. I’ll be honest. I skimmed most of it. The whole section read like the kid in high school who kept stamping his foot in frustration when denied something he wanted and telling everyone who would listen why he should have gotten it. However, one part caught my eye.

It seems Bernie is our veteran’s biggest supporter, at least in his own mind. He spends much of a page or so describing how he introduced this wonderful bill that would have helped our veterans more than any other bill in recent history. Except no one, including the Republicans who so vocally espouse their love of vets, wanted to support it. What he doesn’t say in all this is what the bill was or what their objections happened to be. Again, doing so would ruin the narrative I guess. So instead of facts or specific details, we get to see him once again paint himself as the Sisyphus of Congress, except he never did anything deceitful (at least not that he’ll admit), rolling the stone of social justice uphill without any help or understanding. But, by damn, he will keep fighting until our great country falls to his Socialist ideals.

Three chapters and almost 50 pages into the book and he finally gets to the part where he is starting to think about running for president. I guess all the wordage before, all the “look at how wonderful I am”, was his justification for his run. To me, I’m beginning to wonder if he didn’t have the same editor as HRC did for her book, “What Happened”. Since they came from different publishers, it seems doubtful but, damn, both books suffer from many of the same problems. [That’s because both of their heads are filled with the same kind of fecalith-SAH] Too much jumping around, too much self-aggrandizing and much too much bullshit.

After assuring the country in an interview he was not going to run for president, what changed his mind? According to the Bern, there were four basic reasons.

First. Did it make sense that Hillary Clinton, the centrist candidate of the Democratic establishment, be anointed as the Democratic nominee and be allowed to run without opposition? Was that good for democracy? Was that good for the Democratic Party? Was it good for the progressive movement? (OR, pp 46-49)

Pardon me while I laugh more than a bit hysterically. First, why in HELL did Bernie think the DNC would allow him to beat their fair-haired, hand-picked successor to Barry O? Then there’s the whole “was that good for democracy?” bit. While I detest HRC and know she would be anything but good for democracy, especially in the long run, the thought that Bernie would be better is laughable. Does the old socialist really believe his ideas and desire destroy the foundation of our country would be good for democracy? Again, this first reason is more than laughable.

it was also assumed that Jeb Bush, the son of President George H. W. Bush and the brother of President George W. Bush, would be the likely Republican candidate for president. What was going on in our country? Was there really going to be an election between the son and brother of former presidents and the wife of a former president? Talk about oligarchy! Talk about political dynasties!  (OR, p. 49)

Is he serious? Maybe his memory is slipping. What else could explain how he apparently didn’t have any problem with the Kennedys. You know, that little Democratic dynasty with one brother who became President and two others who were senators and who ran for president. Or how about all their kids and spouses who have gone into politics? What gives them a pass while the Bushes don’t get one? Oh, I know. It’s that convenient little (D) beside their names.

Then there’s the problem of him not calling out Clinton here as well. Her husband had been president. She’d become senator after Slick Willy left the White House and now she was running – again – for president. Why wasn’t she included as a dynastic wannabe? Could it be that oh-so-convenient (D) behind her name as well?

Gee, does that mean our resident socialist has a double-standard? Surely not. Hah!

There are three more reasons, but Bern doesn’t get to them right away. Hell, Bernie doesn’t get to the second reason for 12 more pages. Twelve pages where he does his own version of savaging Hillary. It is much too early and I haven’t had nearly enough coffee to deal with all that. So we’ll hold it and the other three reasons for next week. After that, there will be one more post on this book. I’m not sure I can stomach any more than that. Even if I could stomach it, I know I don’t want to continue exposing myself to the brain-killing stupidity of the book.

The only good thing I see happening right now is that Bernie’s so-called revolution looks to be passing into the hands of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. [I disapprove of this spelling of Occasionally Cortex – SAH] She has done more to show how much damage the so-called democratic socialists can do to our country than Bernie ever did on his own. I pray they don’t find a more well-spoken politician to take her place at Bernie’s side. But we also have to remember to look long and hard every time the DNC allows one of Bernie’s Bots to run as a Democrat. We need to point and laugh and call them out on it. The Dems by themselves are bad enough. Add in the rabid Bots and they are even worse.

For now, I’m going to find the brain bleach and consider if it is too early to drink.

(Help Amanda drink enough to keep snarking.  We’ll collect for her liver transplant later.
Hit her Pourboir jar now! – SAH)

Hate Speech

angry-44591

What is hate speech?  A lot of places in Europe — and Canada, our very own stray piece of Europe in the Americas — have anti-hate speech laws, our tech giants are desperately scrambling to enact anti-hate-speech here, and everyone is very concerned about it.  But what is hate speech?

Sure, it’s anything that denigrates someone’s religion, skin color, or culture.

And if you believe that, I have some swamp land in Florida I’ll sell you cheeeeeeep.

We don’t have to imagine how these laws would be applied.  We’ve seen them applied in Because these “laws” are subject to interpretation, and because exceptions are carved out for artistic expression and legitimate grievance by those who are applying the laws, they get applied haphazardly and at the whim of those who hold power.

And we know those who hold power here because they’ve been conducting “days of shame” against what they consider hate speech, or outright banning it or closing down social media accounts.

So, for instance “piss Christ” is totally not an hate crime, but a legitimate artistic expression against something the artist believes offensive.  The Virgin Mary painted with elephant dung? Totally not offensive.  A picture of Mohamed with a bomb in his turban.  Oh, hell no, that’s horribly, horribly offensive.

Saying anything that anyone on the other side deems racist, including comparing Michelle Obama to a gorilla?  The most hate-speechy thing ever. Because Racist.  Calling a white president Chimpy McBushHitler?  Totally not hate speech.  (Does the left realize that they’re revealing their own deep seated racism, in that they think only black people look like apes?  I mean, let’s be honest, all people look like apes.  Mostly because we are.)

However starting an hash tag to #cancelwhitepeople is totally not racist, because according to the left’s major dysfunction, hate speech or racism only can be so when it comes from a position of power.

And despite the fact that women and minorities are in many positions of power in the West, for the left it’s always the nineteenth century, and only white men have power.  In fact, the more power they acquire, mostly through social-media company control and lynch mobs, the more they scream it’s “patriarchy” and “white supremacy.”

Dear Lord.  I grew up in a patriarchy (even that nowhere as bad as those in the Middle East) and I visited a white Supremacy (South Africa.  Again not anywhere as bad as the middle East.  Yes, Arabs are white.  No Islam is NOT a religion of racial integration.) These strange and pathetic people controlling the cultural establishment but still raging about how oppressed they are have no clue what either of those things are.

So we know precisely what hate speech is.  “Anything the left doesn’t like and which makes them feel uncomfortable.”

The thing is though that societies and powerful elites — and let’s face it, in our society the left is THE powerful elite with the megaphone.  The Marxists could never do anything but propaganda but that they do very well and it has led to the control of the media, entertainment and mass media. Which except for the internet (which is why they’re trying to control that too) means they control the discourse — need to hear things that make them uncomfortable.

Because every human society develops blind spots.  And the left is not exempt, witness convincing themselves they live in a society that’s “White supremacist” and “patriarchal” when schools, jobs, and certainly every cultural institution gives white males last place in hiring or … well, anything, including grades, and makes them work twice as hard to get where others get without effort.

The left has in fact been in a position to control all discourse for fifty years before about the last decade.  And what happened?  It set a course ever more hard left, and enshrined Marxism in teaching, in the study of history and in all social discourse, despite the fact the USSR fell, despite the fact every socialist country is a murderous sh*tshow.

Because talking about it made them uncomfortable and they could hang the figleaf of “There’s never been real socialism/communism.”  (Which is true, because neither of those work as long as we don’t have angels in charge.  Their next step is to say we should be administered by computers.  I’ve heard it already from the derpier fringe.  It’s like they never read stuff like Caidin’s The God Machine.  Wait, they probably never did, or if they did they’ve forgotten it, because it’s uncomfortable.)

That figleaf can’t withstand any real opposition but they don’t have any real opposition.  It’s their Bubble and they’ll shut you down if they want to.

Yes. I know.  So far the big tech companies went after truly repulsive people. But what you must understand is that they see no difference between those people and us.  You can tell by what they call us.  They are so unused to any kind of opposition, that if you challenge them on anything you’re “a nazi.” and “worse than Hitler.”

For reducing the bureaucratic regulations in our insane bureaucracy and so called environmental regs that benefit no one but the bureaucrats (our stupid forest fires for instance are the result of environmental regs that lead to mismanagement of forests.  Forest fires are NATURAL.  IF you don’t want them, you need intervention.) Trump is called Hitler.

Notice that the people calling him this aren’t arrested, just like the ones protesting oppression under Bush didn’t even get a “Shut up please.”

And for not agreeing with their taste in books (or rather in authors.  They don’t read books.  They interpret the authors’ politics) we get called nazis and sexist and racist and homophobic, even though none of this makes any sense whatsoever.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been called a Nazi for advocating minimal government, personal freedom and the equal application of law.

All of which means from their extreme left perch, the left sees everyone else as Nazis, and given the power to shut up people that make them uncomfortable, they’ll shut all of us.

Frankly the tech companies have proven they’re in collusion, which I’m sure falls under some kind of regulation, particularly since they are more or less natural monopolies.  (Yes, there are natural monopolies, but they are only extended to any length with government money and support.)

It won’t work, you know. For them, I mean.  In the long run it doesn’t work.  The right now knows they’re not alone.  They’ve had a taste of community, and the left can’t erase that.  But if we let it go on, it will take us down a very bad path for very long.

Most of these companies aren’t really “left” — they’re left by default because their controllers aren’t political and go with what they think “everyone believes” which is mostly the mass media — yes, there are exceptions, like Facebook, but most aren’t really left.  They’re just…. derpy and half-on.  They don’t know anything.

They just know the left calls them horrible names if they don’t do what the left wants.  Which is why they do what the left wants.

It’s time to make noise.  A lot of noise.  Not in defense of unpalatable bullshit, but in defense of speech.  Even stupid speech.  Even ridiculous speech.  Yes, even hate speech.  Usually the more the haters (real haters) speak, the more they foam at the mouth and reveal their biases. So it’s a good thing for them to be out in the open and not some enticing forbidden fruit.

And it removes the left’s authority to declare anything that they don’t like “hate speech.”

Which must be done, if we are to save civilization.  Not even “Western Civilization” just civilization.  Because if they remove the ability to debate issues like civilized people, it’s going to get very uncivilized, very fast.

Yes, I know they’re the establishment and they hate losing power.  That’s too bad. Come up with better ideas.  You don’t actually have ANY ideas left, but screaming “oppression” and inventing reasons why you’re oppressed.

The USSR fell.  Maybe they should sit down and examine why, instead of running around with their fingers in their ears and screaming injustice to drown unpleasant voices.  And they certainly don’t have a right to jam fingers in OUR ears.

No one ever needed protection to say they loved apple pie and mom.  And also honestly, universally accepted speech is not needed.

What is needed is for all voices to be heard equally.  And then the polity can choose the best.

Yes, what I am telling you is to stop being polite.  The left uses rudeness and mau-mauing in big mobs to scare corporations and to give the impression the left is the majority (if they’re a quarter of the nation, I’d be surprised.)

The right takes it because they want to be reasonable and polite. And we’re busy people, with real lives so we can’t match the obsessives of the left with their hates of the day and their twitter mobs.

But there’s more of us than of them, so force yourself to say something and it will force multiply.

It’s time the gloves came off.  Go and be loud.  Because if we don’t stop this train it’s going to end in the cartridge box, and once it gets there, even if we win, we lose.  If people have to actively fight the left, for real, physically, the regime that comes after will be all those horrible things the left thinks we are.  It’s normal human reaction.

And you and I won’t like that any better than we like socialism.

So, go make noise, so you don’t have to make war.

 

 

Kiss Your Ash Goodbye: The Yellowstone Supervolcano, Part I, A Vulcanology Primer By Stephanie Osborn

Kiss Your Ash Goodbye: The Yellowstone Supervolcano, Part I, A Vulcanology Primer

By Stephanie Osborn

Excerpted from Kiss Your Ash Goodbye: The Yellowstone Supervolcano, © 2018

http://www.stephanie-osborn.com

Images in this article are public domain unless otherwise noted.

What is a supervolcano?

“The term ‘supervolcano’ implies a volcanic center that has had an eruption of magnitude 8 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI), meaning the measured deposits for that eruption is greater than 1,000 cubic kilometers (240 cubic miles).” ~U.S. Geological Survey

That said, often volcanic eruptions with a slightly lesser VEI of 7 are also considered supervolcanic. This is because the VEI does not take density of ejecta into account. Magma chemical composition varies, depending upon the source of the melt. This can produce lava with varying densities.

CRATER LAKE
Crater Lake, in Mount Mazama, with Wizard Island cinder cone.

What is the Volcanic Explosivity Index?

It is a means of ranking a volcanic eruption, similar to the Richter or moment magnitude scales for earthquakes. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, “The Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) is a relative measure of the explosiveness of volcanic eruptions. It was devised by Chris Newhall of the United States Geological Survey and Stephen Self at the University of Hawaii in 1982.” It categorizes eruption characteristics, such as volume of ejecta, eruption cloud height, etc. Again quoting the USGS, “The scale is open-ended with the largest volcanic eruptions in history (super-eruptions) given magnitude 8.” Since it is open-ended, some geologists do estimate that a very small number of eruptions in geologic history may have reached a 9, though such a rating is currently unofficial.

 

VEI Ejecta vol

 

Type Description ~Freq. Plume Troposphere Stratosphere
0 <104 m3 Hawaiian Effusive continuous <10m negligible none
1 >104 m3 Strombolian/

Vulcanian

Gentle daily 100m-1km minor none
2 >106 m3 Vulcanian/ Sub-Plinian Explosive every 2 weeks 1-5km moderate none
3 >107 m3 Peléan/ Sub-Plinian Catastrophic 3mo. 3-15km substantial possible
4 >0.1km3 Peléan/ Sub-Plinian Cataclysmic 18mo. >10km substantial definite
5 > 1km3 Peléan/ Plinian Paroxysmic 12yrs. >10km substantial significant
6 >10km3 Ultra-Plinian Colossal 50-100yrs. >20km substantial substantial
7 >100km3 Ultra-Plinian Super-Colossal 500-1000yrs. >20km substantial substantial
8 >1000km3 Ultra-Plinian Mega-Colossal >50,000yrs. >20km vast vast

The Volcanic Explosivity Index.

Are all supervolcanoes explosive?

NO.

There are supervolcanoes known as “traps” which tend to be nonexplosive. These are typically long cracks — sometimes fields of parallel cracks — from which vast quantities of lava (“flood basalts”) flow over the surrounding terrain. The term refers to the step-like terrain common to such features. One of the best known in the geological community were the Deccan Traps. This eruption occurred some 60 million years ago in the Deccan Plateau region of what is now India. The residual lava beds originally may have covered some 580,000sq.mi. (1.5million km²) — more than 2x the size of Texas. Multiple flows over time covered the area in ~6,600ft (2,000m) thick basalts. It is one of the largest volcanic features on Earth.

How strong is a supervolcano?

That depends on the type of supervolcano and your definition of “strong.” There are two types of supervolcano:

1) Megacalderas, or “massive eruptions”:

These are cliff-edged craters, usually (though not always) NOT surrounded by a mountain, where the violence of the eruption emptied the magma chamber. The overburden collapsed into the chamber, leaving a sinkhole-like depression.

LAKE TOBA

Lake Toba — the lake IS the caldera.

2) Traps, or Large Igneous Provinces:

As already mentioned, these are huge regions of lava flow resulting from flood basalt eruptions, often hundreds or thousands of square miles with volumes on order of millions of cubic miles. The lavas are normally laid down in sequential eruptions over millions of years.

 

SIBERIAN TRAPS
Siberian Traps lava flow. Image credit Benjamin Black via USGS.

While traps are considered supervolcanoes, usually it is the megacaldera which is being referenced, due to its violence.

What is the difference between traps and megacalderas?

Traps tend to be effusive and megacalderas tend to be eruptive. This is not always true but usually is. The difference lies in the chemistry of the melt.

Effusive flows tend to have thin, runny lava (low viscosity), usually basaltic in composition. Dissolved gases escape quickly. This produces dramatic lava fountains and swift flows. Example: Kilauea.

Eruptive flows tend to have thick, viscous lava (high viscosity), usually granitic in composition. Dissolved gases are held in the melt.  Pressure builds, and an eruption ensues when the containment (volcanic vent/neck/chamber) fails. Example: Mt. St. Helens.

If the melt chemistry changes for any reason, a trap can become eruptive, or a megacaldera can become effusive, at least temporarily.

How strong is a supervolcano? (Take two)

When Mt. St. Helens erupted, it released thermal energy equivalent to approximately 24 megatons (MT). 7 MT of this was expended in the blast alone. The St. Helens eruption was a VEI 5.

As previously mentioned, the Volcano Explosivity Index is logarithmic. A supervolcano eruption is VEI 7-8. This is 2-3 orders of magnitude stronger than St. Helens. A supervolcano, therefore, would release an estimated 2,400-24,000 MT (2.4-24 gigatons (GT)) of thermal energy. If we scale the blast size up proportionally, this would result in a blast equivalent to approximately 700 MT to 7 GT.

How many supervolcanoes exist?

That depends on who you talk to, and what criteria they are using. Some say as few as half a dozen, others as many as 20 or more.

Keep in mind, there may also be ocean-floor volcanos of which we’re unaware.

A Partial List of Known Active/Dormant Supervolcanoes Currently In Existence

  • Aira Caldera/Sakurajima, Kagoshima, Japan
  • Baekdu Mountain, China/North Korea border
  • Campi Flegri/Phlegraean Fields, Naples, Italy
  • Cerro Galan Caldera, Catamarca province, Argentina
  • Kurile Lake/Kurilskoye Lake, Kamchatka, Russia
  • La Pacana, Zapaleri tripoint, Chile/Bolivia/Argentina
  • Lake Toba, North Sumatra, Indonesia
  • Long Valley Caldera, Mammoth Mountain, California, USA (south of Mono Lake)
  • Macauley Island, New Zealand
  • Mount Aso, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan
  • Tambora, Sumbawa, Indonesia
  • Taupo Caldera, North Island, New Zealand
  • Thera/Santorini, Santorini, Greece
  • Valles Caldera, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
  • Yellowstone Caldera, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA

 

To obtain a copy of Kiss Your Ash Goodbye: The Yellowstone Supervolcano by Stephanie Osborn, go to: Kiss Your Ash Goodbye.