Flag Bearers

When I was very little, my mom sang a song to put me to sleep.  You’ll see from one particular word what must be the vintage of that song: “Soldier out on the trenches, if you see the flag bearer fall with it in his hands; lift that flag, soldier, in a bit of green/red rag, you have the country* in your hands.”

There is smoke in the air, this fourth of July.  Yesterday the air was clear, but when we opened our balcony door last night, the smoke was choking, as though our neighborhood were grilling right on the porch.  Since I’ve not heard sirens, I assume it’s one of the weather weird things and we’re getting smoke from somewhere far away, maybe even Arizona.  But in a way it’s fitting that the flag is flying against a background of smoke and ashes.

Yesterday a friend and I tried to remember any other country that was ever governed by an elite which hated everything the country stood for/everything that made it stand as a nation and wished to dismantle it from within.  We couldn’t think of any.  Certainly not any that hadn’t been governed by an occupying elite.  Maybe there’s a reason the movement our elites approved of was called “Occupy” (and largely financed by the elites.)  [Or maybe the elites should tell Occupy as the Church of Satan told the pro-abortion protesters “Whoa, dude, you’re giving us a bad name.]  Even then, the political elites would be less worrisome if they weren’t supported by a crazy train of academics, artists, press, all of them indoctrinated in the same hatred of the land that allows them to exist.  (And brainwashing has got really good.  These are people who presumably can read and write, but they seem incapable of studying up and really seeing how bad the rest of the world is.)

Our money printing presses are running overtime, and our elites, like Morsi in Egypt, seem to have only one idea of how to run the economy “keep borrowing” – in our case from the future.  Da Tech guy says it sounds familiar, and he’s absolutely right.

Our internal agencies, which are supposed to protect us are being used as a bludgeon against one political side (apparently the thing about “progressive” also being on an IRS BOLO was a thin and unconvincing narrative.  I.e. if it was the IRS is more inefficient than we thought, since no progressive group was delayed in non-profit status.)  And the lady running Truethevote, a group that tries to remove dead and duplicate registrations from the books was harassed by the IRS, the NSA, the ATF and Homeland Security.  No word on whether the EPA got in on the act, but I suspect they’re even now designating her kiddie pool a wetland.  And I’m sure the Department of State that left four of our own to die alone in Benghazi is very interested in stopping TrueTheVote.  After all, it’s very important to maintain the APPEARANCE of consent of the governed.

And while the crazy train leads the parade, foreign powers are looking for a moment to strike the wounded eagle.

Countries have fallen from less than this.  They’ve gone down in smoke and ashes and risen no more.

So, there is smoke in the air, and things look bleak.  Fortunately this is not the first time things have looked bleak for us.  And fortunately other countries are not the USA.

I got from Audible and am listening to – at CACS’s instigation – a series of lectures called Brotherhood of the Revolution.  I already knew our founding was done by the skin of our teeth and through a series of lucky incidents.

I bet things looked bleaker than now that winter at Valley Forge.  But they succeeded.  They succeeded in no small measure because individuals took up the cause.  How many actually fought?  I have the figure at 3% from various places.  My husband’s 14 year old direct ancestor – after whom he’s named – joined the Connecticut contingent as a drummer boy.

But in small towns and in far away places ordinary people held the flag aloft.  The thing about American women fighting as well as their men was likely true.  America proved too expensive, too much trouble to hold.

We’re a miracle nation, born not of blood brotherhood, not of territorial disputes, but of a belief in securing Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness to the largest possible number of individuals.

Have we stumbled in this?  Often enough, we have.  The founders themselves allowed slavery to survive to be resolved by another generation, and the resolving of that crisis gave a central government far too much power compared to the individual and the states.

But the thing is we’re trying.

During the Iraq war, a trucker, one of the “human shields” volunteering to go help Saddam, I mean “preserve peace” said on television he didn’t believe Saddam had any evil intentions.  Why would a nation that couldn’t even secure clean water for its citizens even consider making war on anyone?

The trucker was I THINK British, but his opinion (besides betraying a jaw-dropping lack of knowledge of history) was very American.

It is in America that we assume that the government exists by consent of the governed; that their first duty is to secure the comfort and safety of the people, and other than that leave people alone to pursue Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Other countries have now included similar language in their constitutions, but the belief and mind set is not in their DNA.  It doesn’t course through their veins and form their thoughts.

And then they always try to go one better and guarantee other things, things that in the end deny those three rights, positive rights, like a right to wealth, a right to sustenance, a right to – this is the most vicious – equality.  Equality not just before the law, but of results.  And then the horrors of collectivism tumble forth because it’s impossible for a government to give anyone anything that was NOT stolen.  Governments produce nothing.  At their best, they protect those who do produce things.  At their worst…

So – there is smoke in the air the flag flies in, this fourth of July.  But the flag hasn’t fallen.  Someone I respect greatly told me it’s inevitable it will fall; that we’re headed for a hard crash.

Maybe that’s right.  Maybe it will fall.  I hope not.  We’re fandom.  A lot of us know people who can barely hold it together – health, mind, economics – in the world as is.  If we crash we’re each going to lose friends and neighbors and people who make life worth living.

But even if we crash, it’s not the end.  It will never be the end while one of us stands; one of us who believes in Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness, one of us who believes the consent of the governed means more than being able to count the votes, one of us who believes that in the proper order of things the government exists to serve the people, the government belongs to the people and not the other way around.

If that flag falls in the muck and mire towards which it’s sagging, it is the solemn duty, the very great privilege of each and every one of us still standing to lift it up high and continue the fight.

They pledged their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor.  I pledge mine.  And no, I don’t think those are just words, or that it’s all a game.  All of us who believe in the principles of our founding pledge our lives, our fortunes, our sacred honor, implicitly or explicitly.

May we never be required to pay even as we stand ready to.

May we escape the crash we so richly deserve and may my grandchildren celebrate the fourth of July on clear days when their government works to secure their liberties, not take them away.

*(Country is given as Patria which literally would be fatherland, but obviously can’t be translated that way because of what has happened to that word. Motherland which would be permissible since Patria in Portuguese is feminine, still holds same echoes and homeland makes you want to say “security.”)

228 responses to “Flag Bearers

  1. Sarah, I am not sure it makes it up there, but that mysterious dense smoke from nowhere here in Texas is the result of agricultural burning, courtesy of our sainted neighbors to the south.

  2. From your lips to God’s ears. Many thought in the Great Depression that America would fall. We didn’t then and I hope that we don’t now.

    • > Many thought in the Great Depression that America would fall. We didn’t then

      Sure we did. The Republic ended and the Empire began.

      Here’s the report from the coup d’etat:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_switch_in_time_that_saved_nine

      • I just read on Vox’s blog linking Tam’s account of what the pigthugs have just now done to you. There is steam coming out of my ears. What was it the Injun said in “little Big Man”? “What awful people! We must have a war with them!”

        • > I just read on Vox’s blog linking Tam’s account of what the pigthugs have just now done to you.

          Thank you for your support.

          • I’m jaw-dropped that this can happen, in this country and on the fourth. I’m also vaguely sick. All of yesterday I alternated between rage and dread not improved by our local fireworks playing the hippie anthem but not the real one. There’s this giant shoe suspended over us. It’s going to fall. I’m just trying to prepare people to survive. I’m glad I didn’t know this yesterday. I might not have been able to be so upbeat.
            Keep us updated, and move out of that pit as soon as you can.

            • > There’s this giant shoe suspended over us. It’s going to fall.

              It’s fallen on me twice already. The first time it wasn’t so bad, but the second time it landed on my fiance too, who has done nothing wrong. Nonetheless, she’s caught in the gears of the machine.

              Once Leviathan goes after you…well, we all know about “two felonies a day”.

              Fingers crossed.

              Sarah, please keep up the great blogging. Reading your upbeat posts, and being part of the community hear always reassures me that American lives on somewhere, even if not in MA.

              • This made me feel sick too– Good thoughts going your way tjic.

              • You should talk to my grumpy old Tanker neighbor, who has a white-hot, nay, ultraviolet-hot hatred for people he calls Massholes. He’s from New Hampshuh! He claims to be half-German, 3/8 Finn, and 1/8 Mohawk. He, too, is a berserker, as in, “Wow, what are all these people doing lying on the floor, and why do I have all of this blood on my hands?

                The closest I ever came to dying on the public roads was because of an encounter with a female horribly-bad driver from Assachusetts.

                • It could have been worse. She apologized, a bit. Had it been a male masshole, you betcha he would have jumped right out of his car and started cussing me out for getting in his way, even were I all messed up going ow ow ow and bleeding out.

                  • Oh, I really don’t care very much what people in that part of the country do. They are not my people. The proudest boast I can make about my family is that all four of my great-grandfathers served honorably against the United States of America in the Lincoln War.

                • > He’s from New Hampshuh!

                  Heading there tomorrow morning with a bunch of MLS numbers to find a new house. I give up; I’m leaving before the thugs shoot me, my fiance, or my dogs.

                  • Dorothy Grant

                    Good luck with the house hunting!

                    • I don’t want to have to do this with CO…

                    • We’ll find you a nice house in Texas (lizard-free!) if you give us your needs and price range. The job market for STEM major students is good in TX. The colleges here are world class.

                    • Hey, I can put you in touch with three realtors in San Antonio – two are guys that I work for, the third is a member of my Red Hatter group! Come to San Antonio, the summers are bearable as long as your AC is in tip-top condition!

                    • Come to Dallas or Ft. Worth! They have fewer lizards! Ft Worth is cheaper than Dallas. It’s cooler in Dallas than in San Antonio. I can also put you in touch with realtors.

                    • IF we ever leave CO, (remember, Denver is still the city of my heart, even though, yes, it’s full of libs) it will be for TX. We have friends-close-as-family in both Dallas and San Antonio. I like the river walk, but I think Dan would find more work in Dallas. Also, I’ve been promised a tour of the Natural History Museum this September.
                      For now, though, we’re fixed in CO. This could change if Dan’s job goes South and I get too disgusted with our legislature.

                    • My husband works in the IT field for a really large corporation. I think he knows who to send your husband’s resume to if necessary. There are many places your husband can work in the Dallas area. In addition to computer there are a number of Fortune 500 companies that have their national headquarters in the metroplex.

                      One other thing, there are dinosaur remains to be visited in TX. Your multilingual ability will put you a step ahead of the rest of us in Dallas. There is a greater variety of restaurants in the Metroplex than in other large cities I’ve known. There are many locations of Half-Price Books, our local used book chain.

                      Sorry for spamming you. You are just the sort of immigrant Dallas needs.

                    • LOL. My multilingual ability is mostly a thing of the past. And thank you. But I think the illustrious Roman and my other CO friends would put up a fight if I moved to TX.

                    • Hey– we almost settled in Dallas in the mid 1990s… and then other things happened and we ended up in Germany instead.

                    • Concur, and Amen.

                    • Let us try to be charitable, here, and say good things about Massachusetts. I think of MIT, Springfield Arsenal, USS Constitution (even though she now has glue-lam knees, instead of grown knees), Paul Revere and the Revere Copper Company, the battles of Lexington and Concord.

                      USS Lexington was arguably the fastest aircraft carrier ever built, with a General Electric battle-cruiser plant. Enterprise the Nuke ain’t even in it; Lex got up to 37 knots at one time in the twenties. Her plant was designed in 1916.

                      (Sorry about the digression, that’s the way my mind works, or doesn’t.)

                    • My impression is that MIT’s powers that be are transforming the place into a middle-of-the-pack Ivy League school instead of the nation’s co-preeminent (with Caltech) technical university.

                    • If you want to be up where it’s dry, mostly flea-less, lizard-poor, and snows, Amarillo and Canyon are an option. Not as many tech jobs as the silicon prairie, but a more diversified economy. But it is pretty flat, unless you don’t mind looking down on your topographic relief instead of up.

                    • @ emily61 – Hey, I’m not terribly interested in working for a large company – I LIKE working for myself and am doing OK – but that said I also am contemplating whether moving to TX is a good idea anyway, even if it means not being self-employed.

                      Certs and college degree may be a problem. Experience and work ethic not so much.

                      Would getting in touch with your husband be a good idea, and if so, how to best do so?

                    • Moving to TX is a great idea! What do you want from my husband? The offer was extended to Dan Hoyt.

                    • Emily, email (I just typed that liem which tells you how well I’m doing) at sahoyt at hotmail dot com and we’ll send resume and then we’ll see. I still love CO, but…

                    • Not sure…. Call it a background uneasy feeling, but over the last year or so I’ve been getting the notion that I should head down that way. May be a couple years before I can (kids/school/preps to address lack of HR-friendly bullet points).

                      It’s all very tentative r/n, and I’d rather discuss more of this off-forum if appropriate. You can add @gmail to my board name for a valid email.

                    • Sarah – one way or the other, whether you end up in TX, or stay in CO – I wish all the best for you ad Dan.

                    • It has been a long time since I did any house hunting. What sort of ammo load do you recommend, or do you prefer bow or perhaps live trapping?

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Maybe that was the problem with my last job hunt. I didn’t have the correct ammo. [Wink]

  3. EncourageablePunster

    Profoundly stated, as usual, milady.
    Happy Independence Day.

    David Gerrold wrote a brilliant passage in “A Matter For Men”, in which a civics professor explains to the class that “rights” have nothing to do with getting goodies. As he put it, “freedom” means being afforded the opportunity to make choices and to bear responsibility for the results, good or bad. “Freedom is not about being comfortable. It’s about seizing and using opportunities. It’s commitment. Commitment means the willingness to be uncomfortable.”

    • David Gerrold????? IIRC Gerrold’s politics have become hard left (as in Stalinist hard.) Perhaps memory is playing tricks on me, perhaps he wrote that before BDS set in, or perhaps he is a better writer than I recall.

      A quick bit of searchengining turns up David Gerrold: Socialism Is Good, so colour me impressed that Gerrold would have had a character make that argument.

      • The first two or three books in the Chtorr series actually do make those kind of arguments. I might speculate that one of the reasons we’ve been waiting over ten years for book five in the series is that his personal political views have skewed so hard that he can’t write those characters any more.

        • The book in the Chtorr series where Gerrold has the protagonist become a child molester as part of a cult nauseated me so much that I can’t read Gerrold any longer.

          • Holy cow, I cannot believe I… I never really got the implications of that.

            Frak.

            I’m actually embarrassed now by how much I liked those books.

            • Rob Crawford

              There were some interesting and fascinating ideas in the books.

              What a pity the author decided his “hero” had to be a monster.

  4. masgramondou

    Yesterday a friend and I tried to remember any other country that was ever governed by an elite which hated everything the country stood for/everything that made it stand as a nation and wished to dismantle it from within. We couldn’t think of any.

    I think the British intelligensia – the Labour party, the BBC, the grauniad and co – have done much the same.

    There’s a great obit I just read –
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10157613/Ken-Minogue-resisted-the-relentless-march-of-state-control.html – about one of people who inspired Lady T to reverse much of that that makes a really good point:

    The great historian AJP Taylor wrote, in the introduction to his English History 1914-45, that “Until August 1914 a sensible, law-abiding Englishman could pass through life and hardly notice the existence of the state, beyond the post office and the policeman. He could live where he liked and as he liked. He had no official number or identity card. He could travel abroad or leave his country for ever without a passport or any sort of official permission. The Englishman paid taxes on a modest scale: nearly £200 million in 1913-14, or rather less than 8 per cent of the national income. The state intervened to prevent the citizens from eating adulterated foods or contracting certain infectious diseases.”

    Such was the connection between state and individual exactly 100 years ago. Today, there is literally no area of life, ranging from the family to our private conversations, where the state (partly thanks to new, powerfully intrusive methods of government surveillance) does not believe that it has a role. It shapes our lives from above, tells us what we should think, and constantly seeks ever greater powers to regulate our behaviour.

    Anyway have a great cebration all you revolting ex-colonials and don’t let your leaders throw it all away!

    • And people talk about this change as though it were an utterly natural phenomenon — with no connection to the will of Man or of men.

      Damn “Progressives”!

      M

    • Minogue was featured in a post by The American Spectator’s R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.

      The book was The Liberal Mind, and if Kenneth never wrote another book—he wrote many others—this one would have sealed his reputation as least for me. In it he explained the motivation for all the liberals’ good causes and many of their fla fla causes. I have quoted him repeatedly in my writings. He wrote of the “suffering situation,” that is to say, the perceived wrong supposedly suffered by some group that sets off a huge crusade among the enlightened, the liberals. The condition of the blacks in America and eventually the whole wide world, the condition of the poor and even those suffering some sort of income disparity, the condition of women, of gays, of household pets—you name it, they all have provoked the liberals’ good works and resorted to the police powers of government.

      I think the liberals’ increasingly desperate search for suffering situations explains their near-hysteria over gays. Surely America could have found a peaceful relaxed way to see that tolerance of homosexuals could have been reached without the great uproar of the campaign for homosexual marriage and all the rest of the hubbub that has gone with this latest Marxian struggle for “human rights.” Yet there are few suffering situations left. You think I am being facetious when I refer to the suffering of household pets. Yet surely the alleged suffering of animals has attracted liberals. Yet the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ early campaigns against fishing, hunting, and the use of laboratory animals are obvious precursors to the so-called liberals campaign for… if not human rights then perhaps planetary rights.

      Well, Kenneth was the first to spot this absurdity, the suffering situation indeed! As his life went on he spotted many other aspects of politics worthy of our consideration. And so this week in London will be a little quieter without him, but I shall remember with heightened poignancy that the life of the mind has been leant sparkle and rigor by the life of Kenneth Minogue.
      http://spectator.org/blog/2013/07/03/kenneth-minogue-rip

  5. I spent the last three weeks in Germany, and it was, as always, a fascinating contrast in some ways, and a spooky reminder of the rapidity with which really bad ideas can spread among the “educated” and the (self-)Anointed. No, not that bad German idea, the “we must save the Euro no matter what it takes” and “no borders, no deportations, no illegals” ideas, among others. Perhaps more Eurocratic bad ideas than German, to be fair. Meanwhile, older West Germans are quietly seething because the pension and benefits cuts they took to help the former East get back on its feet in 1990 are still in effect. The cost of energy is so high that many offices ask you not to use the lights unless it is absolutely necessary. And ordinary Germans grousing about the NSA data collection, with a few nods to the days of the Stasi.

    We need to claw our way back to individual liberties and individual responsibilities, not just for us, but because, despite what the Anointed say about “leading from behind,” the US is still what a lot of people turn to. There’s a lot to admire and enjoy in Germany and other parts of Europe, especially once you get away from the urban elites, but I’m profoundly glad to be back home.

  6. War is coming.

    Which is terrible.

    But the fact that it’s terrible doesn’t make it untrue.

    • In a sense, war is a lady here. It’s still nonviolent, thank G-d, but it is war nonetheless.

      • Already. War is already here. Curse you, ipad autocorrect!

        • Gracious, and here I thought you was gone metaphorical, as in War Is A Bee-atch.

          Instead what you were saying is … sitzkrieg. Very apt, mon frere.

        • > In a sense, war is a lady here. It’s still nonviolent, thank G-d,

          I sort of liked it the first way. 😉

      • Oh, we’ve been in a cold war forever. Since before I could vote.

        • Yeah. Also since before you were in America. Also since before you were born. Also since before you could have voted in America even if you were here and an adult, because you’re a woman and women couldn’t vote until 1920.

          • The 19th Amendment made women’s right to vote universal, but in parts of this country they were able to vote well before that.

            • I could be wrong, but I think Wyoming was the first state to allow women to vote, back when it was a territory, before it even became a state.

              • They were allowed to vote in certain states and often in local and municipal elections , so no – women were not entirely politically powerless before 1920. A lot of these states, localities and cities were in Western states, so it has always been my theory that the western frontier states offered a heck of a lot more freedom to women. The first serving sheriff and the first practicing doctor all were in western states. Then there is the Texan land and cattle magnate, Lizzie Johnson Williams, who parlayed a career as a school-teacher, bookkeeper and writer for Leslies’ Illustrated Weekly into a fortune, and married at the age of 39 with a pre-nuptial in place that stipulated she would own free and clear, any property acquired before her marriage or under her maiden name after it.
                One of the more wildly wom-lib types at the IAG posted a while ago about how women were so oppressed, oppressed I say – before they had the national right to vote. I would have taken the opportunity to argue her down from this, but as they say – you can’t logically argue someone out of a position that logic didn’t put them into.
                And it’s a small group. Also, I have banned political discussions there anyway.

              • Think so. Women got the right to vote in the Wyoming Territory in 1869.

      • If you know your Pratchett, you would know better than to mess with The Lady.

  7. 1. I don’t recall a July 4th on which my mood was as somber as it is today.

    That said, I take refuge in the distinction between I see no hope and There is no hope. The better angels of my nature remind me that I posted this less than two weeks ago.

    2. Governments produce nothing. At their best, they protect those who do produce things.

    Although it’s possible to interpret this so that it’s almost always true, I have a quibble with it. Iirc Adam Smith acknowledged that governments can undertake projects that are too big for individuals; IMO the same goes for projects that cannot pay off during a business cycle or few. Consider the genesis of the Internet. Consider that private enterprise is taking humans into space a full half-century after governments first did so. Consider the Nobel Prizes won with government funding & by civil servants in many cases.

    Please note that I have not compared this track record, and this ideal, with how our government behaves in recent decades.

    3. Happy July 4th. May we live to see the holiday restored to its former vitality.

    • Thank you for giving my parents (and me) refuge from Communism, America. Happy birthday and get well soon.

    • masgramondou

      Although it’s possible to interpret this so that it’s almost always true, I have a quibble with it. Iirc Adam Smith acknowledged that governments can undertake projects that are too big for individuals; IMO the same goes for projects that cannot pay off during a business cycle or few. Consider the genesis of the Internet. Consider that private enterprise is taking humans into space a full half-century after governments first did so. Consider the Nobel Prizes won with government funding & by civil servants in many cases.

      I’m not sure that the fact that governments these daya “invest” in infrastructure, universities etc. means that no one would do so if the government didn’t.

      Almost all the infrastructure (canals, railroads, sewerage systems etc.) built before the first world war was funded and built by private enterprise. In some cases the government gave them tax breaks or awarded them the right to sell/develop land but that was pretty much it for government aid. Even more recently the channel tunnel between England and France was initially built by private money once governments had decided on the preferred crossing type. [ Admittedly it went bust and the initial private investors lost most of their money but it is still a private company and it does make some sort of a profit…]

      Likewise it is true that governments do fud lots of basic scientific research, universities and the like these days. It is not at all clear to me that they should or that if they did not these things would not get funded. [Well I’m pretty sure most grievance studies facuties would not get funded, but I find it hard to see this as a major loss]. Many universities have donations from alumni and philanthopists, and much cientific research is partially funded by charities and industries (e.g. Cancer reseach).

      • A lack of funding for greivance studies might actually be seen as a positive (along with some other areas)!

      • Governments can by and large build monuments to themselves and not much else. The world is littered with those monuments, bold and impressive. But in the last couple of centuries something different has happened, the growth of the ability to maintain commerce and business on a global scale. The ability of the individual or group to make enough difference that the leftovers challenge government in scale but actually do something worthwhile. the Brooklyn Bridge was built by private interests for public use. The old PRR mainline through to Pittsburgh represents one of the greatest roads of all time. As for ;long term projects the New Haven’s upgrade, grade separation and electrification project started in 1890 and was not completed even though efforts continued into the great depression. Prior to the Progressives soaking up our wealth we, the Americans did amazing stuff. With our own money. Look around and see, at least in areas that were developed before the Progressive era. The 20th century is littered with the monuments to the wasted monuments of the misallocation of resources by Progressive governments of one kind or another. It’s one thing for a person or business to spend their money on an extravagance. It’s another when money is extracted from the taxpayers to build something like the Merritt Parkway. It’s one thing to build roads. G.N.D.N. roads are something else.

        • I funded a study on duck penises through kickstarter. Not as silly as it sounds, it was a study on sexual evolution. The subject was not awe-inspiring but I WANT to make citizen supported science a thing.

          • I don’t know, I think the evolution of the penis is pretty awe-inspiring. /runs/

          • I sorta like ducks, because they are somewhat absurd. Watching one take off and fly is like watching a heavily-laden old flying boat, just barely able to achieve a positive rate of climb. Oh yeah, duck dicks are weird.

            • Something like fifty years ago, having read pretty much all of the books in my classroom library (I forget whether this was in Third grade or in Fifth) I read one titled 1,001 Questions About Birds. The only question and answer I recall was:

              Q: Do ducks have penises?

              A: Of course ducks have penises!

              Gawd, I wish I had discovered Heinlein sooner. As if I flippin’ cared about birds.

              • The correct answer would have been, ‘only the drakes.’

                Yep, I subscribe the, ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer, club.

            • Of course, I dreamed I had ducks in cages in my attic ALL NIGHT.

  8. We’ve always been a step away from disaster, I think – all the way along. But the difference these days is that we are suffering from a Ruling Class Elite who genuinely seem to despise the ordinary citizens.
    Bumpy ride, I fear.

    • > We’ve always been a step away from disaster, I think – all the way along.

      We’ve been five steps, and two, and three, and four.

      Today I feel like like we’re one away. Maybe one and a half.

      * demographic implosion
      * insane levels of debt
      * 35% of working age adults out of the labor market
      * cultural fragmentation
      * a deep longing for socialist and authoritarianism
      * a deeply socialist and authoritarian government
      * a higher education bubble
      * strong and hard working economic competitors
      * wars raging overseas for little or no purpose
      * leaders who hate America

      One good push and we’ll stumble. One really good push and we’ll go right over the railing.

  9. “Yesterday a friend and I tried to remember any other country that was ever governed by an elite which hated everything the country stood for/everything that made it stand as a nation and wished to dismantle it from within.”

    Oliver Cromwell and his puritans? The Committee of Public Safety? The bolsheviks in Russia? There are a few others, but all the ones I can think of came, as did those, in the _aftermath_ of a civil war of some sort, rather than the prelude to one.

    • masgramondou

      Oliver Cromwell and his puritans?
      I don’t think so. They won a war mostly because they were able to inspire a plurality of not majority of the population that they were right. And to a significant degree they were fighting for the rule of law as opposed to the abitrary dictates of the king. They may have disliked certain “popish” and/or “pagan” British traditions but they also very definitely believed in other British traditions that made the country strong.

      • Since the time of King John was forced to sign the Magna Carta by a group of rebellious barons there had precedence for limiting the power of the King. Cromwell did oversee the expansion of suffrage and an attempt to create uniform Parliamentary districts. Yes, Cromwell did sign the death warrant for the king, after he had been tried by the Rump Parliament and found guilty of treason against the state. Cromwell did not play with Parliament himself, the country being seriously divided into religious/political factions. (Cromwell, while Puritan was actually in favor of religious toleration, which put him at odds with many others.) Sadly, he for a time set up a system of regional military governors before attempting to restore Parliament and then ruling on his own.

    • The Bolsheviks hated every standing government or social system that they did not run. The Imperial Russian government fell in a revolution. When the Bolsheviks finally took complete power they then set up what they viewed as an entirely new confederation.

      The rise of the fall of the Weimar Republic in 1933 might serve as an example. It was achieved from within by their own lawmakers using their own laws.

      • Probably true, particularly the last. Particularly since the seeds of that too were sown in their schools.

        • Control of the schools is essential. First you have to make sure the little darlings learn not to really think for themselves, then you have to train them to believe what your experts tell them, even if what they see, if they take the time to look, contradicts it at well nigh every turn.

  10. A few days ago I was involved in a discussion where a person told us that within 24 hours after the Japanese tsunami the US had airlifted generators and pumps to the closest working airport that could have been used to prevent the Fukushima reactor failure. Seems they had located all their backup generators in the basement area where they were of course flooded out. With generator power and pumps to clear the water and mud the catastrophic failure of the cores could have been avoided.
    The Japanese refused to accept the equipment.
    Speculation was that they could not bear to suffer the loss of face that media coverage of them accepting our help would have brought.
    Someone else in the discussion made a remark about how could any official choose appearance over the safety of their people. My immediate response was one word, Bengazi.
    Ever so much better to accept the loss of four Americans than to admit that “peace in our time” was untrue. Hell, he might have lost the election, can’t be having that now can we. Just not the Chicago way is it?

    • The problem with the Japanese is not just that they hate losing face, but that they really hate feeling obligated. Since Japanese people are practically born feeling beholden to their parents, family, neighbors, etc. for life, they are not happy about taking on further feelings of obligation to those they don’t live close to. They especially don’t like it if the US and Japan aren’t perfectly happy-bunnies at a certain moment, or if they’re not perfectly clear about whether we’re going to be all “de nada” about it, or hold them to paying back the obligation somehow.

      • “There. Is. No. Debt.”
        [Mike Harmon, to the Keldara, re the farming and other equipment he bought for them]

        • One of America’s less endearing attributes is publicly expressed demands for gratitude from other nations, e.g., “We saved France’s bacon in WWII and they should support us now!” and “We rebuilt Japan/Germany after WWII, they should support us now!”

          Such raised voices are (I believe) a minority, but because they imply strings attached to our (past) beneficence they shame us. They do not reflect the American Spirit of generosity but express a Yankee trait of grasping penny counting.

          It is noteworthy that many of the more unattractive traits in the American Character — priggishness, avariciousness, puritanism — are derived from those who settled in the North East. In many ways they hector the rest of the nation for failing to “live up to” the moral standards they espouse.

          I also note that many of the indigenous residents of the NE don’t like those a-wholes either. In every region of America there are forever those who make the rest of us cringe.

          • William O. B'Livion

            There’s two different ways of looking at that. One is “you owe us so you should do as we want”. The other is “because of what we did you shouldn’t be dick heads”.

            • Too frequently those who mean the latter express the former. We have a tendency to pound the tympani when we ought be tapping the snare. We aren’t a perfect nation, merely an exceptional one.

              • Rob Crawford

                I think you prefer hearing the former.

                • Who likes hearing about their flaws, their mistakes, their intrusions?

                  What is preferred is not the issue. The good will of the critics is what matters, whether they are trying to help you improve or destroy your confidence.

          • It was kind of bothersome when they spray-painted “take back your garbage” on the headstones at the military cemetery in Normandy. I don’t really feel guilty, having been offended by that. At least that was only vandals.

            It’s also worth noting that “because we saved their bacon in WWI and WWII” isn’t the only reason that Americans claimed they owed us support. There’s also the North Atlantic Treaty, under Article 5 of which (freely agreed-to by all signatories) all parties agree to regard an attack against one member as an attack against all. America has had military forces stationed in Europe ever since, at the expense of the American taxpayer, just to be prepared to live up to our obligations under that agreement, and our doing so has saved the other members an awful lot of money. But when, contrary to the expectations of 1949, it was America that was attacked, quite a few of our “allies” preferred to hem and haw.

            It’s noteworthy, I think, that even in spite of this broken promise, Americans are continuing to spend our money in their defense. We’d have been well within our rights to simply bid “adieu” to a number of erstwhile “allies”, but we didn’t. The spirit of generosity seems very much alive, to me.

            • ” We’d have been well within our rights to simply bid “adieu” to a number of erstwhile “allies”, but we didn’t. The spirit of generosity seems very much alive, to me.”

              At least in some of us, I guess I’m just not feeling that generous today. My thoughts are that people who stab you in the back aren’t allies, they are traitors.

              • Lord Palmerston: “Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests.”

                They can’t be traitors, merely inconstant — as is the United States. It is in the fundamental nature of democracies that they will be so. To think otherwise is to recognize that the United States has betrayed Gaddafi, Mubarak and countless others. The US has its own interests which it must and ought pursue and cannot disdain such interests in the name of supporting “allies” to the detriment of our interests.

                Further, we cannot often know when a nation ostensibly obstructing us is covertly aiding us. Jordan must publicly denounce Israel even (especially) when it endorses Israeli actions. The Philippines may, for domestic purposes, criticize the US even while allowing our return to Subic Bay.

                A boy may profess undying adoration when all he wants is a night. Nations, like people, must know when and how far to trust.

                • Yes we most certainly did betray Mubarak, Qaddafi and many others, the US has a horrible track record of betraying its allies, that is one thing as a US citizen I am not proud of. IMHO it is not in our best interests to betray allies unless they have first betrayed us, in which case I no longer deem them allies.

                  • It would be mean-spirited and partisan to observe that betrayal of (rather than by) our “allies” seems to occur more often these last fifty years when one political party holds power. It is probably no coincidence that the MSM can be trusted to defend that party — else they might not think they could get away with it.

                  • To paraphrase Dr. Pournelle, from one of his books: Individuals might have honor. Governments, not so much.

                    ( I think the book was about mercenary sojers on a different planet, fighting what was a thinly-disguised Spanish Civil War.)

                    • Janissaries, I believe I recall that line. Note that absolutely every author I have read that is a Vietnam Vet views the government with distrust, disgust, and contempt. They view the government as inherently dishonorable, dishonest (two different things), and not simply because they were fickle, but they all take it as a matter of faith that if word comes from the government, it is a lie, and said government will actively and consciously trade soldiers lives, and honor for political or financial gain.

                    • Per my English teacher, everyone who fought during the Vietnam war either hates the gov’t or is insane. That probably greatly influences what is said on the subject.

                  • One might question just how far our alliance went with Qaddafi, or to what extent good faith was actually involved on either part. I think it was a relationship that was strategic and one of convenience on both parts.

                    There is a limit to how far anyone can prop up a strong man government, or any government that has become unstable for that matter.

      • masgramondou

        FWIW and as I understand it, the problem was the incompetant morons at TEPCO who denied to everyone – including the Japanese government – that they had a major problem. The government then of course says “thanks for the offer but its under control” to the US because TEPCO had assured them of that.

        TEPCO’s upper management should all have been sent to clean up Fukushima in person on the ground and probably swimming in the water tanks. This was not the first time TEPCO had been caught in denial about nuclear safety issues

  11. For some reason, this, and much of the recent SFWA kerfluffle – along with attacks on the old guard like Pournelle ( a majorly accomplished man who has been charming in any interview I’ve seen, and is a regular guest and friend of people who do not hold his views… and can back those views up. His Falkenberg stories also gave me my jones for ancient history that elementary and middle school nearly beat out of me..), reminded me of John Ringo’s AAR report from Ravencon.

    Hysterical reading, if only available in PDF form..

    http://orthogonaltonormal.com/midden/RavenCon%202006.pdf

    • I love Jerry. Jerry has more talent in his little toe nail than the collective clutter of SFWA.

    • Wow. The RavenCon AAR really is something, in a “YGTBFKM, this sh-t isn’t real oh my gads what a bunch of please it can’t get any worse oh heavens it did” way.

      • Oh yes – and as related by Ringo? Heh – he’s one of the very few authors who can elicit a maniacal gleeful chuckle out of me with amazing consistency…..

    • Thanks for posting that, it was a great read. And a reminder to go out and buy another Ringo book or three.

    • My library now needs more John Ringo in it.

    • Wow, thanks for posting that. At turns hilarious and terrifying. And apparently I need to pick up a book by that principal lady.

    • I downloaded that, Read The Whole Thing, and saved it to the hard drive. I want to drink with John Ringo. Hell, I want to buy him a whole buncha drinks.

  12. They’re attacking Pournelle now? I hadn’t heard that and if true it really ticks me off!

    Back to the subject of this thread. I am not optimistic. IMHO the fuse is lit and though there might still be time for us to come to our collective senses and stamp it out it is obvious to me that we won’t.

    Mr. Pournelle often reminds us in his blog that to despair is a sin and yet he also reminds us of The Gods Of The Copybook Headings.

    • Yes, but yet…. but yet… will it be a sharp short correction or a hard and long one? We can change that. And G-d can perform miracles. And despair is a sin. Be not afraid.

    • Sadly – yes. Recently at least one SFWA member has started publicly snarking on Pournelle regarding comments that were in private fora. These include twitter comments like:

      “Pournelle will remain Pournelle and likely never change. But that’s no excuse for his comments.”

      “Pournelle (noun): Term for a well-known author who complains things were better “back in the day” when jerks could act with impunity.”

      “I’d be nice if people RT’d last tweet. I’d love Pournelle to become a meme. Not that real Pournelle’d understand memes if they bit his butt.”

      … and so forth. Some of these comments show a profound ignorance of the mans work, his attitudes, and the many positions he has taken. The meme comment is an unwarranted hit against the technical competence of a very computer-savvy individual.

      Another writer who’s on a podcast I like with accomplished authors I respect has – while passively aggressively refusing to name names – written a diatribe telling the “Twelve Rabid Weasels of SFWA,” to “please shut the f*** up.” Her fans take it she’s now writing about Pournelle and others of his ilk, in addition to previous thoughtcrime violators.

      Lastly – someone else has been posting screen caps from private SFWA-related fora of Pournelle’s comments.

      • Funny — I’m seeing a bunch of assholes in action. Or do they think being female exempts them?

        • The twitter posts were by a self-proclaimed male (no one knows you’re a dog on the internet, right?) – so perhaps he thought he could take advantage of his male privilege just this once?

          • Do people here know about the attempted boycott on political grounds of the first Worldcon, because the con committee refused to turn Worldcon into a Communist political pamphlet festival? The boycott notoriously ended, because the fans doing it finally realized that it was idiotic to sit out a convention in a coffee shop. Especially when there was going to be a showing of the film Metropolis.

            Nowadays, there’s some who want to force all their enemies (including the non-political conventioneers, and those who don’t support the Right Causes sycophantically enough) into the coffee shop, and post armed guards to keep actual sf out.

            • Oh, and Metropolis is sexist. And the woman who wrote the screenplay is especially sexist. The original Maria was a kind lady, whereas she should have been the provocateur robot all the time.

        • FWIW – I always feel torn posting stuff like that. Sure – gossip == bad. At the same time, when a man I respect and consider a mentor of sorts is viciously and unfairly attacked, I feel duty bound to at least point out the bad behavior and let others know. If they’re interested in finding out who’s responsible, they can follow the lead themselves.

          • People should be accountable for what they spew; it helps encourage thought before speech.

            If they aren’t willing to own their words maybe they should keep them indoors.

      • Pournelle is a Redleg. I am partial to artillerymen. When you think about it, artillery is the most efficient way to kill people and break things, once you’ve decided to do that.

        Pounelle is a Redleg. Being partial for artillerymen, I could love him just for that. He is also a polymath and generally a very smart, very cool, and very creative guy.

        Artillery: If yer going to kill people and break things, artillery is the best way to do it. Here’s to you, Saint Barbara!

  13. I bet things looked bleaker than now that winter at Valley Forge. But they succeeded. They succeeded in no small measure because individuals took up the cause. How many actually fought? I have the figure at 3% from various places. My husband’s 14 year old direct ancestor – after whom he’s named – joined the Connecticut contingent as a drummer boy.

    Listening to the Navy history that SuburbanBanshee linked at her blog, my mind is turning to the various support things that don’t make sense in this day and age. How many folks took “credit” they knew they couldn’t afford to offer? Mis-measured the stuff that was purchased– in the customer’s favor? “Lost” stuff that was intended for the Brits?

    • During the winter of 1777-8 when the head quarters were at Valley Forge things were quite bad. The bloom was off the rose, so to speak, and people were growing war weary as it entered yet another winter with no good end in sight. There had only been one American Victory of note during the prior season, the Battles of Saratoga.

      With the Continental scrip largely worthless and the British in Philadelphia and New York paying in Pounds Sterling people were reluctant to sell to the Continental Army for good reason. So, with his army spread out in a crescent through some of the richest farm land in the country General Washington saw them starving, without proper attire and most too ill to serve. While he had not wished to do so, he finally did order General Greene (who he had been forced to post as the head of commissary) to go through the surrounding countryside and requisition goods from the locals. Unfortunately, by the time General Washington decided he had to take such a move the British had already gotten most of what was to be had, and what remained was what the locals were hiding to live on themselves.

      • Given that such behavior was the norm, not the dire last resort, for most of human history– not surprised.

        Think about what the Brits would’ve done to someone who had rebel vouchers in their house.

  14. The government in spying on everyone makes clear they fear the common people do not support them. Yet they keep heaping more actions upon the list of things to which the people will not consent. It is self fulfilling. Such progressions always end badly. Either the government will be swept away or they will do like so many regimes and have a blood bath where anyone suspected of not deeply supporting them are massacred as happened in Cambodia and the Ukraine. The places this happened the people were always disarmed first. I suspect the Americans are not going to give their arms up until they are hot and empty.

  15. Arwen Riddle

    Happy Independence Day, Sarah!

  16. Tam gives us these new lyrics to an old anthem:

    Oh, beautiful for drone-filled skies
    A tax code so arcane!
    A voting class on their fat ass
    From Houston to Fort Wayne!
    America! America!
    You voted stuff for free
    You made your bed, ye overfed
    Go watch some more TV!

    • Shelley, chorus from Hellas:

      Another Athens shall arise,
      And to remoter time
      Bequeath, like sunset to the skies,
      The splendour of its prime;
      And leave, if naught so bright may live,
      All earth can take or Heaven give.

      An if is not an inevitability.

  17. I’m surprised no one’s brought this up yet, so:

  18. another video appropriate for July 4th.

  19. With all due respect and meant in the most respectful and kindly way, bite me, bless your heart.
    George III was an evil tyrant who’s policies turned fairly loyal British subjects into revolutionaries in response to the many and serial abuses laid upon them. The whole point being that American colonists were treated as chattel or at best second class citizens with few of the same rights enjoyed by all natives of the homeland. Had we been treated fairly this would still be a part of the Commonwealth instead of our own independent nation.
    As for blaming the US for all the ills currently in vogue in western Europe, horse sh!t. All those countries are last I knew run by grownups and their deficiencies and failures stem more from Marx’s legacy than from any American influence.
    As for that parting shot of antisemitism, troll much?

    • Apologize if this doesn’t make much sense, but I see that Sarah had gone and squelched the evil beastie. Well struck m’lady!

      • Shucks – I spend an evening with Adams, Franklin, Jefferson and Dickinson and I miss out on the troll hammering!!!

        I wanted to complain that Trainwreck Obama, Joey Biden, Harry Reid, Robert P. Casey, Jr., Dick Durbin, Kay Hagan, Tom Harkin, Mary Landrieu, Patrick Leahy, Claire McCaskill, Robert Menendez, Patty Murray, Nancy Pelosi, Elijah (with a name like that he’s gotta be Jewish) Cummings, Maxine Waters and Sheila Jackson Lee haven’t been paying their Temple taxes nor donating to the B’nai Brith, but I guess Rollery is just one more klown who can’t see the forest for the Jews.

      • I’ve been reading this crap all over blogs today and I’ve had enough.

  20. Ooops. Sorry about responding to someone already taken care of by the Iron Fist of Blog Administration.

    In other news, we had so much rain today that everybody in the neighborhood let off their bottle rockets and amazingly huge fireworks bought down in Tennessee. Dang, I just watched from the window and loved it!

  21. Oh, VERY well done, milady! You may have started life in Portugal, but now you are just as American as anyone, and more so than many!!

    Once again, WELL DONE!!! Bravo!!

  22. They are non-believing Jewish. They have made socialism/communism their new religion.

    • In which they are no different from anyone else. Yes, the MOT have a terrible lack of self preservation instinct, enough to make even this descendant of conversos (who sometimes feels very confused on the religious front) blush and hide and my older son grind his teeth and say “Really, really? They think they’d survive ten minutes?” particularly when they attack Israel — but it’s no different from intellectuals of any other stripe. People get “So sharp they cut themselves” or another way “so sophisticated they stumble on their own feet.” I think too it’s a bit like white guilt writ large. It predisposes people to infection by communism/socialism. Perhaps at some level they know it would destroy them and it’s an atonement ploy. And idiots like the troll don’t help.

      • One of my grandmothers used to say such people are “as proud as a hog on ice.” They’re fine until they try to move.

      • Given the number that have family religious backgrounds that involve a lot of heavy philosophy– Catholic and Jewish for examples– I think there may be a cultural disposition towards replacing a religion with a cultural political philosophy that makes lots of demands.

        (I’m still banging my head over the “meatless Mondays” at colleges; heaven forbid they do it on Friday…. it’s like the inversion is on purpose, and increasingly oblivious.)

      • I would love to see you and Harold Covington converse on this subject. Somebody accused Harold of being a Grammar Nazi in comments on his blog, and Harold replied that he was not a Grammar Nazi, just a Nazi.

  23. Hey, some of my best ancestors got tossed out of both Scotland AND the Ulster Plantation for liftin’ th’ kai. Smile when you say “back borderer Scots-Irish ruffian.” 😉

    • na king, na queen, na lords, na ladies, we won’t be fooled again!

      • Were that but true, dear heart.
        But then I gaze upon the current resident of our people’s house with all the trappings of royalty that he and his lady wallow in, and I despair at the depths to which our current crop of Low Information Voters TM have brought us to.
        Fooled again? Hell, a majority of those who actually shook a leg and voted on election day ate it up with a spoon, twice!

        • Don’t you believe it. The reason the poor woman conducting investigations on vote fraud was so harassed is that without it they’re very far from a majority.
          Which is what worries me. When the majority is effectively disenfranchised, the landing is going to be UGLY.

          • There are at least three data sets about a major election: polls, vote tabulation, and exit polls. Among that data, I’m not aware of discrepancies big and persistent enough to imply that “massive”, election-swinging fraud consistently occurs.

            I was a boy in the original Mayor Daley’s Cook County, so don’t get me wrong. Of course Democrats cheat, and of course they look for more ways to cheat. Of course they should be monitored and resisted.

            However, “extraordinary claims etc.” Unless I see evidence to the contrary—by evidence I don’t mean disgruntled anecdotes—I presume that the nation’s electoral shift since the Reagan-Gingrich era has bigger causes than Democrat cheating: rectifiable causes, if Republicans would deign to get their act together (assuming things are not yet past a point of no return).

            • Sigh. The polls were massively manipulated. I know this because they are abroad too and the pattern is always the same. And exit polls — er… you know those have been proven fallible over and over again.
              The worm in the apple is the vote early — it allows them to calibrate the fraud. Before they could be surprised. Not any more. As for the rest — no, I have no proof. It is impossible to have proof when it’s not being persecuted. However, I know what I saw. If you believe 1/4 the people in my city voted by mail, then forgot and showed up at the polls, I have some swampland in Florida I’ll sell you cheap. And come on, in CO we had several counties where more than 100% of the people voted for Obama. I don’t know if Lin is reading this, but I can appeal to her for confirmation if she is. She was going over the numbers.

              • I remember some of the more interesting fraud/shenanigans stories from the 2008 elections were from Hillary supporters during the primaries…

                • More than stories, IIRC. There are convictions.

                • Beyond all that, the polls, etc. in the Reagan election (first) were as skewed towards CARTER as the ones we saw towards Obama. It’s just it was all same day voting. They drink their own ink, and believed they were ahead. they didn’t cheat ENOUGH.
                  As further evidence the fix is in — the only reason Hilary would have knuckled out was KNOWING she couldn’t lose 2016 — and having that promised to her. Seriously. Go through what you know of the Clinton’s. Mere promises wouldn’t do it. She’d have to know it was for sure. That means mere voting won’t guarantee it…

              • 1. I agree that voting by mail and election-day registration are novel opportunities for fraud. Point taken.

                2. The rest of your post seems mostly anecdotal. If I read it correctly, it invokes coordination involving polls, vote tabulation, and mail voting. Conspiracies of that scale are hard to keep hidden (and to set up and implement).

                3. I’m open to hyperlinked evidence which corroborates extraordinary claims, but for now I’m sticking with the simple explanation of why America swung left since Reagan/Gingrich: Republicans are the Stupid Party.

                • They’re not hard to keep coordinated when no one is looking. Look at RES’s comment, where he linked True The Vote.
                  Look ultimately it’s not hard to hide a conspiracy when you control the journalists. Your proof? JORNOLIST or the mess that is the “climate change” stuff. Hidden for years, still mostly hidden or swept under the rug.
                  More conspiracies? IRS, Benghazi.
                  Look, I too used to think there couldn’t be conspiracies. Those have shaken my faith.
                  Of course I’d prefer to believe there’s no conspiracy. If there is, we’re done with talking and I don’t think any of us wants to shoot.

                • No argument on the Stupid Party — I’d wager money that Romney’s campaign was sabotaged from the inside. (Can’t give you anything but anecdote, but it is fairly well known.) — OTOH I submit to you the impression of “not stupid” from the democrats is fostered ONLY by the almost total control of information flow.
                  Look, it is neither smart nor sane to make their conference all about abortion, or to tell people they belong to the government. But the media didn’t report that, so… win!
                  Same with their vaunted info collecting. As I said, they kept trying to get me as one of their in-group. That means there are bugs the size of truck horses in their system, considering how vocal I am.
                  ALSO do you really believe considering how they govern that they are oh, so smart about everything else? No. It’s just the media can’t hide the mess their governing is FULLY. G-d knows they try. What is this? Summer of Recovery 5?
                  On conspiracies: consider what RES said — that it’s not even a coordinated conspiracy. It’s just good little boys/girls at all levels trying to do what’s rewarded. I’d sort of bet on that, with minimal “conspiracy” spine.

                  • Yep– brainwashed child minds– who stay juveniles of the species.

                  • On conspiracies: consider what RES said — that it’s not even a coordinated conspiracy. It’s just good little boys/girls at all levels trying to do what’s rewarded. I’d sort of bet on that, with minimal “conspiracy” spine.

                    This, IMHO, is plausible. Not proven, but plausible. In the present discussion, I don’t take issue with it. It’s consistent with, though not identical to, the Founders’ belief that government power expands unless explicitly kept in check.

                    But then there is the task of explaining how such “emergent” behavior results in coordination among polls, vote tabulation, and mail-in ballots.

                    • Coordination among polls, vote tabulation, and mail-in ballots is easy when every campaign hires on veteran staff who know how to deliver election victory.

                      Nobody has to be taught, they simply have to demonstrate an ability to “know how to win” — while keeping the candidate’s hands clean.

                      As for polls, they generally are expressions of observer bias, constructed and tested against their ability to support what the cognoscenti “feel in their gut.” Almost every poll contains significant unexamined premises that render the results unreliable.

                      Of course, since there is no effort to perform systematic analysis of a phenomenon that everybody insists doesn’t exist, the only evidence there can be is anecdotal. And anecdotal evidence is not enough to justify the sort of broad statistical investigation that would surely occur if there were half so many anecdotes about Republican vote fraud.*

                      *Alright, I acknowledge there would be no widespread investigation of Republican vote fraud in response to anecdotes alleging it. The MSM & the Dems (but I repeat myself) would simply assert it was ongoing and widespread and demand legislation to prevent Republicans winning election.

                • GS I have seen the polling stations change since Carter. He was voted in the first time because the DEMS were better with the media. TG Reagan knew how to manipulate the media. I am of the opinion that Reagan’s ability to use the media made the DEMS (not all were really radical then), but the radical portion had to regroup and come up with a plan to get their people elected. They captured the important institutions such as education, etc. You think it would be seen by now… Well yes, it was known before I was born. My father was already sounding the alarm in the 60s and 70s… but he is a nut and a broken man.

                  BTW one of the changes was voter ID. I had to show my ID the first time I voted and the second time. Another change– military vote is not counted… they have found ways to make it impossible for military stationed in foreign countries to vote. Even if the military votes, their votes aren’t counted because 1) they get the ballots too late or 2) it doesn’t have a stamp because the ballot went through the military system. I personally think that voter fraud using ballots was discovered by playing with the military vote.

                  Can I prove it using newspapers, academic papers, or journals? Of course not, because these institutions are part of the problem. You say anecdotal as a bad word. IMHO that idea came to us from the higher institutions of learning who do NOT want to listen to the little people. They want us to listen to the adults with child-minds who have been brainwashed.

                  • GS– sorry you did hit a very hot button with anecdotal… The reason is when I was working on my Masters in Adult Education (I didn’t finish because I ended up in the hospital) case studies and other types of reports were anecdotal. The reason the academic world can get away with not calling certain reports as academics is because they have credentials. I was spitting mad– a case of the pot calling the kettle black because unless you go to the same universities and get the same brainwashing, you could not get the credentials.

                    Not trying to be harsh– getting off my soap box now.

                    • Afaic disagreement and personal attacks are two distinct things. No worries, Cyn.

                      Wrt your overall point: My ex is Asian. She was vague about her father’s US contacts, but apparently they were at the Congressional/Cabinet level. She told me that her father had talked to one of our muckety-mucks who bemoaned that the American character was changing, and overall not for the better.

                      Her father’s conversation would have taken place no later than the early 1970s.

                      Democrats take advantage of this dangerous tendency. Most post-Reagan Republicans pretend to oppose it but are actually ambivalent.

                    • Unfortunately I agree–

                • These are not “extraordinary” claims. Vote fraud has been well documented pretty much since voting began. The only issues here are scale of the fraud and the reporting of it.

                  Consider the open testimony in Florida, 2000, expressing complaints over the infamous “Butterfly Ballot”: “But they TOLD me to vote the number 2 spot.” Who told that elderly voter was never asked by the media, just as they mainly ignored the fact that the ballot design was selected and implemented by a local Democrat election official.

                  We have witnessed manufactured election victories on multiple occasions in recent decades. Minnesota senator Al Franken (2008) and Washington governor Christine Gregoire (2004) are two elections stolen in plain sight. I recommend plugging “john fund stealing elections” into a search engine and looking at the results — including the Media Matters rebuttals. I also suggest investigating the Soros funded “Secretary of State Project.”

                  Or you could just go to http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/ and evaluate the information.

                  The Purloined Election principle allows the vote fraud to occur in plain sight, without any effort to allow more than anecdotal reports. Considering the extent of complaints and the number of PolySci students needing thesis topics, does it not seem odd that nobody has produced a paper proving or disproving election fraud?

                  Finally, on the issue of whether the Dems steal elections or the Republicans throw them — why can’t it be both?

                  • Definitely both, BUT in the Reps defense — it’s pretty hard to break through the barricade of media palace guards. All we have right now is David with his slingshot, facing Goliath. The fact that Goliath is hysterical over the sling shot means maybe he’s not as big as we’ve thought.

                  • I think it was Champlain, an early French explorer in America, who was amazed at how many Indians he saw. It seems the Indians were having an election, and everybody from the outlying villages had shown up to skew the vote in their favor.
                    Humans!.

                • GAS, just one anecdote: voting by the military in the 2012 election was DOWN 78% from 2008, and down 52% from the off-election of 2010. There’s no way that happens without some type of fraud. The few people who’ve been willing to comment to me said their ballots arrived either pre-marked, or on the day AFTER the election. Either one of those is fraud — just a different color of fraud. As for other “anecdotal” evidence, several precincts in Philadelphia had 100%+ voter turnout, and ALL of them voted for Obama. I think one political district had 28 registered voters and had 56 votes cast for Obama. That doesn’t happen without fraud. Proving fraud and knowing it happened are two different kettles of fish. Proving it requires more fight than most elected officials are willing to put up.

                  Allen West was the target of MASSIVE voter fraud, and it’s being slowly dig through. There’s enough evidence right now to send several people to jail, and the interested parties (NOT prosecutors, or even electoral officials, but newspapers, private citizens, and NGOs) continue to barely scrape the surface. The evidence so far indicates that 55,000 votes may have been fraudulently cast, out of 135,000 total. Yeah, it’s voter fraud. If “immigration reform” passes, we can expect to see democrats in public office until the populace gets so sick and tired of them, they kill them all. That may not be much past the next presidential election.

                  • When I wrote, somewhere on this tree, that I take Democrat cheating for granted, I meant that I take its existence for granted. Of course it should be resisted.

                    Unfortunately the word ‘Republican’—and maybe, for too many swing voters, even the word ‘conservative’—has come to have a stigma whose intensity is comparable to that of 1988’s ‘liberal’ when Bush 41 used it to squash Dukakis. Iirc RES had something to say about that.

                    I continue to maintain that the GOP has bigger problems than Democrat cheating. I continue to be concerned that not enough is being done to address those bigger problems. I continue to be concerned that bashing the Left is too much of a distraction from things that our side is leaving undone.

            • Wayne Blackburn

              Well, here’s one page with items to ponder, and links to the originals:

              http://www.truethevote.org/news/how-widespread-is-voter-fraud-2012-facts-figures

            • Wayne Blackburn

              And, in order to avoid the spam filter, I will break this into two comments, and give a link to another article here:

              http://www.wnd.com/2012/11/the-big-list-of-vote-fraud-reports/

              • The first sentence in your link:

                The outcome of the Nov. 6 presidential election shocked almost everyone, with very few analysts expecting Barack Obama to win so decisively and to take so many of the “battleground” states that seemed to be pulling toward Romney.

                Huh? Maybe it shocked cocooned groupthinking opponents of Obama, but it didn’t shock me. (I was hopeful that Romney would prevail, but skeptical.) It didn’t shock the betting odds either.

                • Wayne Blackburn

                  The more honest polling places said during the run-up to the election that most of the polls were weighted FAR too heavily Democrat, so yeah, actual poll results, rather than doctored numbers, showed Romney leading.

            • Polls are adjusted as a matter of course— the only thing that polling does is give them numbers to punch into what they think the demographics of the turnout will be.

              Exit polls, IIRC, likewise.

          • Figures I saw recently estimated the TEA Party activities boosted Republican turnout in the 2010 elections by about 10% (high/low estimates = 10%/5%), as reported in James Taranto’s WSJ column Best of the Web Today:

            President Asterisk
            This column is not alone in thinking it’s possible the Internal Revenue Service stole last year’s election. Economist Stan Veuger describes new research he conducted with colleagues at Stockholm University and Harvard:

            [We] set out to find out how much impact the Tea Party had on voter turnout in the 2010 election. We compared areas with high levels of Tea Party activity to otherwise similar areas with low levels of Tea Party activity, using data from the Census Bureau, the FEC, news reports, and a variety of other sources. We found that the effect was huge: the movement brought the Republican Party some 3 million-6 million additional votes in House races. That is an astonishing boost, given that all Republican House candidates combined received fewer than 45 million votes. It demonstrates conclusively how important the party’s newly energized base was to its landslide victory in those elections. . . .

            President Obama’s margin of victory in some of the key swing states was fairly small: a mere 75,000 votes separated the two contenders in Florida, for example. That is less than 25% of our estimate of what the Tea Party’s impact in Florida was in 2010. Looking forward to 2012 in 2010 undermining the Tea Party’s efforts there must have seemed quite appealing indeed. . . .

            It might be purely accidental that the government targeted precisely this biggest threat to the president. It may just be that a bureaucracy dominated by liberals picked up on not-so-subtle dog whistles from its political leadership. Or, it might be that direct orders were given.

            As we’ve repeatedly emphasized, the possibility that the IRS was acting under orders from the White House, as alarming as it is, is far less so than the “dog whistle” alternative. If the IRS did the bidding of the party in power without having to be ordered, then the federal government itself, not just the current administration, is so corrupt as to call into question the very integrity of American democracy.

            http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323393804578559583374805870.html
            [scroll down]

          • I don’t want to get so overcommitted to my position in this discussion as to start defending the Democrats. Per my initial comment, I was a boy in the original Mayor Daley’s Cook County. I take Democrat cheating for granted. I also recall that Illinois Republicans used to win statewide elections anyway (Donald Rumsfeld was once my Congressman).

            Romney’s loss was unnecessary, but the losing side’s reaction to it is more worrisome than the loss itself.

            • Reaction more worrying than the loss? Have you been drinking the MSM Kool-aid, GS?

              Reasonable efforts to protect the integrity of the ballot box are worrisome?

              Nobody is saying that is all that is needed. When a sizable majority of the populace polls agreement with Republican positions until they are identified as Republican positions there is legitimate reason to think the ideology is not the problem. When the MSM can label “extreme” a position on limiting abortion after 20 weeks — a position reportedly supported by 62% of the state — the problem is not ideological, and it is not that Republicans are “the stupid party.”

              It takes time to develop alternative means of communication, getting around the gatekeepers who can define two-thirds of the public as extremists, who can depict the TEA Partiers as racist mobs and the Occutards as a grass roots expression of fundamental American values.

              As for vote fraud, well, as the book says: If It’s Not Close, They Can’t Cheat: Crushing the Democrats in Every Election and Why Your Life Depends on It (by Hugh Hewitt.) But the more widespread and credible the accusations of vote fraud, the less legitimate the government. So prophylactic measures against vote fraud are merely good political hygiene, intending to reduce the chances of catching a socialist disease.

              • Reaction more worrying than the loss? Have you been drinking the MSM Kool-aid, GS?

                One might ask something like Why does the reaction worry you more than the loss? You did not. You wrote, Have you been drinking the MSM Kool-aid, GS?

                Reasonable efforts to protect the integrity of the ballot box are worrisome?

                I present this without comment.

                • Wayne Blackburn

                  Well, since you insist on being cryptic. I’ll try a different tack: What reaction is more worrying than the loss? Because I am stymied.

                  Next, what possible implication are you making in quoting, “Reasonable efforts to protect the integrity of the ballot box are worrisome?” Your lack of comment baffles me, if you are going to post it.

                  • Thanks, WB – ye’ve saved me the trouble of typing that out.

                  • Next, what possible implication are you making in quoting, “Reasonable efforts to protect the integrity of the ballot box are worrisome?” Your lack of comment baffles me, if you are going to post it.

                    To indicate the loading in a question (or in language) is baffling?

                    • To claim loading where none exists is baffling, yes.

                      “Reasonable” is the only possible loading, and the boundaries of that have been well established throughout this discussion, but as you’ve apparently not been paying attention, they would include such minor items as regular purging of voter roles, limitation of early voting & same-day registration, voter ID, protection against fraudulently cast ballots and the standard routine of qualified poll watchers performing their routine duties. There may be more — the list is not intended to be comprehensive. None of these steps is individually or collectively unreasonable.

                      Whether or not vote fraud occurs (nor how extensively) is beside the point: those are prophylactic steps to reduce opportunity for fraud and to increase the chances of catching any who attempt to perform it.

                    • Care to expand on that gs? I found it a reasonable question, but obviously you did not. You say it is a loaded question, but I can’t see how it is loaded.

                    • Help and dalmations, I took pains to keep an extended reply to RES | July 5, 2013 at 4:23 pm civil—and accidentally deleted the whole thing.

                    • bearcat | July 5, 2013 at 11:19 pm,

                      If someone opens discussion of a disagreement with Have you been drinking Kool-Aid?, it does not conjure up the better angels of my nature. (They’re in here somewhere, honest. 😉 ) It does not move me to meet my interlocutor halfway and search for common ground as well as areas of honest disagreement.

                      Reasonable efforts to protect the integrity of the ballot box are worrisome?

                      There is only one sensible way to answer this question. Hence my characterization of it.

                    • There is only one sensible way to answer this [Reasonable efforts to protect the integrity of the ballot box are worrisome?] question.

                      I can think of several:

                      It all depends on how you define “reasonable.”

                      Those aren’t what worry me.

                      Sorry the MSM Kool-Aid bit threw you. It was a reference to the popular myth is that the solution to all problems of the GOP are that the party is not sufficiently indistinguishable from the Democrats. If your concern is that the party of McCain and Graham is falling for the MSM advice, you’re in good company here; many of the regulars here in America’s Hoytland are concerned the GOP has drunk that MSM proffered, hemlock-laced beverage.

                    • Asking if you had been drinking kool-aid wasn’t a response to disagreement, it was to your claim that being upset in response to cheating was worse than cheating itself.

                    • This clarification is welcome. After the remarks I took issue with, your subsequent points are worthwhile reading.

              • What reaction is worrying you? I’m assuming by your comments it is not the same reaction that worries me. The one that worries me is that Republicans, or at least their leadership, have a spine about half as stiff as a piece of limp spaghetti, and no matter how blatant the Democrats make their cheating, the Repubs simply roll over at take it. Obvious and successful voter fraud, without repercussions, leads to a disenfranchised and disillusioned electorate, which inevitably leads to bloodshed.

                • The Dark Crystal just crossed my mind wrt today’s GOP. The socons have the backbone and the RINOs have the brains.

                  What worries you worries me too.

                  What really worries me is that way too many Republicans/conservatives/libertarians continue to blame Obama, the Democrats, the voters, etc. What I see too little of is the attitude that By heaven, we are going to win back the faith that the American people put in Ronald Reagan’s Republican Party. Republicans have forgotten—or, worse, they choose to ignore—that Reagan (and Eisenhower) was rarely if ever nasty; he disagreed with opponents in a affirmative and constructive—but unmistakable—way. They seem to have forgotten that Americans respond to optimism: genuine optimism.

                  That’s some of what worries me. Though my response to you is incomplete, it’s the best I can do this time of night & hopefully better than nothing.

                  The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
                  But in ourselves, that we are underlings.

                  • True, but Gingrich was also popular, and he had a mouth that I wouldn’t say was ‘rarely if ever, nasty.’ The problem I see is that the Republicans aren’t nasty enough, to beat your opponent most times you must become like your opponent (there is a quote that says that more eloquently, but I’m to lazy to look it up right now). The Republicans think they can be forthright and honest (stop laughing, I mean in comparison) and take the high road by not condemning their opponents and repeatedly beating them and us over the head with the perfidy of Dems; and the populace will recognize that and respect them for it. That doesn’t work to well when the media refuses to report on the perfidy as long as it originates in the Democratic Party (unless of course they can twist it and blame it on the Republicans).

                  • Governor Romney is a very positive and polite man, generally soft spoken. As a result many attacked him for lacking fire.

                  • Wayne Blackburn

                    What I see too little of is the attitude that By heaven, we are going to win back the faith that the American people put in Ronald Reagan’s Republican Party. Republicans have forgotten—or, worse, they choose to ignore—that Reagan (and Eisenhower) was rarely if ever nasty; he disagreed with opponents in a affirmative and constructive—but unmistakable—way. They seem to have forgotten that Americans respond to optimism: genuine optimism.

                    It has gotten to the point that this is no longer possible. The Media will portray any disagreement as evil, comedians will satirize quotes from politicians that will persist for years being attributed to that person as an actual quote, calls for raising children to respect others are derided as out of date, you can forget anyone having a chance of being elected who didn’t go to the “correct” schools, which specialize in indoctrination of the Left way of thinking, and there are far more things that happen and will continue to happen until the Left is marginalized by loudly and blatantly shining the light on their perfidy for decades.

                    Reagan had a population of older people who really believed in things that you’re counting on. Too many of them are gone. A velvet glove will no longer work. It will require an army of hammers. The problem is not with Republicans blaming the Left. It’s with the Stupid Party leadership bending over and grabbing their ankles every time the Democrats point their finger and say, “If you don’t do what I want, I’m going to call you a bad name!”

                    • The Culture is a gigantic echo chamber, its resonance tuned to amplify anything “stupid” said by conservatives and diminish stupid statements from liberals.

                      If the current vice-president were a Republican his gaffes would be a daily feature on The Daily Show and Letterman would have a weekly Top-10 list of Biden gaffes. When Republicans state truths at variance with the popular fashions of thought — “Murphy Brown is a bad role model for our kids”* or “Trees are a major source of volatile organic pollutants”** — they are ridiculed until years later it becomes safe to admit the validity of the statements.

                      This will remain a problem for Republican candidates until the MSM loses its power to demand Romney explain gaffes that were accurate statements and ignores gaffes, misrepresentations and lies from Barack “57 States” Obama.

                      By way of example, ask 10 people who said these statements and see how many misattribute the quotes:

                      “I can see Russia from my house!”

                      “I was recently on a tour of Latin America, and the only regret I have was that I didn’t study Latin harder in school so I could converse with those people.”

                      Kudos to Jay Leno for recently stepping forward to poke fun at Obama. Pity he waited so long to do so.

                      *Full quote: “It doesn’t help matters when prime-time TV has Murphy Brown — a character who supposedly epitomizes today’s intelligent, highly paid, professional woman — mocking the importance of fathers, by bearing a child alone, and calling it just another ‘lifestyle choice.’ ”

                      **Actual quote: “Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do.”[

            • The development of computerized gerrymandering and creative use of estimation in crafting the census makes representative government increasingly problematic. It ain’t by accident that members of the House now enjoy greater job security that do senators (although there is research under way to develop methods to gerrymander states.)

              Another anecdote on the topic:

              We’re told that no one is listening in on our phone calls, that only meta-data is being collected. But meta-data alone provides an ideal profile of your associations, affiliations and leanings.

              From there it’s a few simple steps to deduce your personal preferences – and if you’re unregistered but likely to vote a certain way.

              A lower-tech effort with the same purpose was pulled off last year in Arizona. A national left-wing advocacy group, Mi Familia Vota, sought to register new voters with as much certainty as possible that they would vote for Democrats.

              Calls were made with the promise of home improvement store gift certificates if the respondent would answer a list of questions. The freebies never came. Instead, union members and paid activists canvassed and registered likely prospects in key congressional and legislative districts.

              The results were dramatic. In the 13 offices where state-wide voting occurs, there’s not a single Democrat. But red-state Arizona’s congressional delegation, elected by district, was turned blue.

              A left-wing takeover was also achieved in Colorado, as detailed in a 2010 book, The Blueprint. That effort was funded by four mega-donors. But that funding will be dwarfed by what’s in store.
              http://townhall.com/columnists/barneybrenner/2013/07/05/data-mining-and-elections-n1633684/page/full

              • …although there is research under way to develop methods to gerrymander states.

                Yes, you drive the ones who won’t buy in out. Eventually they all live in one state (with the scorpions and lizards) it won’t present much problem at all. Then you can finally rewrite The Voting Rights Act, and voila, you don’t have to worry anymore.

                • Other methods being developed include but are not limited to:

                  Dual Registration: people moving to other states but keep their old registration active and voting.

                  Dual Residency: people acquiring seasonal residencies in other states (e.g., winter home in FL) and registering and voting in both states.

                  Bus Voters: especially useful with early voting & walk-in registration, this technique brings supporters in by the bus load, ostensibly to canvas for the candidate, but encourages them to register and cast a vote while they are there.

                  Dead Voters: a classic approach, venerated in most municipalities.

                  Faux Voters: non-existent voters who are nonetheless registered and voted.

                  Mass Manufactured Votes: this was easier in the days of punchcard voting machines, allowing a skilled operator to punch the chad of an entire stack at one time.

                  Undocumented Voters: enabling non-citizens to vote or removing all barriers to their doing so.