The Tocsin is Sounding

I’m not in a good mood.  This happens.  Partly this is because I was caught by a cold in the middle of a downward spiral (downward spirals happen.  They’re fairly normal, I know how to correct for them, and most people can’t tell I’m in one.  It’s just human interaction becomes a little more difficult and I become more of an hermit.  Also, at a party, you might notice me in a corner, more. I’ve been dealing with this since I was seven or eight.  I manage it so that chemicals don’t need to manage it for me. In this case it was responsible for my catching a cold, because I’ve been so isolated from human contact going to a diner made me catch a cold.)

Yesterday a very good friend sent me a note.  While she didn’t object to Out of the Darkness’s post, she said she might stay away from the blog more, because she knows politics are horrible, but she doesn’t need her nose rubbed in it.

At the same time I spent all day yesterday overcoming the desire to shutter the blog and walk away.

Not because politics are dire, or because I don’t have anything to say (as some of you have noted, a lot of what I write about is not political but cultural.)

No, I’m not going to shutter the blog.  But I’m going to take my gloves off, turn the crucifix to the wall, and speak my mind.

I’m sick and tired of people who treat politics as people in the village treated soccer.

Soccer was a big thing in my day.  For one, it was regional, which meant it tied in to your native pride.  For another it was passionately felt.  Families had allegiances to a soccer club for generations. Money was paid to “Women” to hex the opponent before a big game.  People who neither watched nor listened to soccer, nevertheless knew that “their” club was on the side of light and good and the others were agents of Satan.  I knew a man who disowned his son for rooting for the wrong club.

Those thinking this was displacement for not being able to DO anything are absolutely right.  First Portugal had a mono-party regime.  And then it had so many parties that it made no difference. So, soccer.

I’ve long been disturbed by Americans’ ability to treat politics as the village treated soccer.  It might have made sense once upon a time.  Politics were regional, hereditary, and whoever won you at least had the illusion they wouldn’t endanger you (that this was still believed to be so during the cold war shows how irrational the belief is.)

That Americans are still doing that shows you that humans are REALLY great apes with the group identification gene overcoming reality and self-preservation.

This was exemplified yesterday when I was in one of Alexander Pournelle’s threads.  He’d just posted about the long — and silent — war queuing up all over the world.  China’s moves, Russia’s attitudes, the long game of Iran.  All of these are things that are clear and present dangers.  But his first comment on a post about Russia was from a guy saying “Oh, yeah, we should elect Trump.  He can grab Russia by the p*ssy!”

The ONLY partisan thing in Alex’s post was that he pointed out that our government is doing NOTHING about this, except, well… piddle, twiddle and negotiate.  He did not post in support of Trump, and in fact it had nothing to do with partisan politics (I doubt either of the creepy clowns have the wherewithal to conduct a rational war. Sometimes I think that onet would be better because he’ll view it as an insult to his dignity.  Then I remember “the art of the deal” and his tendency to admire Putin.  Then I think the other would be better, and I remember she doesn’t GET security and her vp is a robot imperfectly programmed with Maoist phrases.  He’d probably GIVE us to the Chinese, let alone sell us. And she hates the military.)

But the creature commenting on Alex’s post can ONLY see his team and the other team.  If his team is acting like putzes, he must show the other team is no better, because “Go Dems” is about the level of his understanding of national politics.

Time and time again, I come up against this.  And now?  There’s a new team in town.  They’re the “burn it all downers.”  They’ve coalesced around Creepy Clown Trump, because subconsciously they knew he’d destroy the GOP and they think that this will lead to the emergence of a party that represents them better. (They also believe that the “GOPe” has betrayed them, because Trump told them so.  And perhaps because they, like him, have ZERO understanding of parliamentary procedure, or how the government is divided, or even the power of an hostile press.)  Mind you for a party to represent them it would want mostly to burn civilization to the ground and “abandon all hope” which is the only thread they have in common.

THEY TOO think politics is soccer, and they’ll lie (to themselves, most of all) distort and harass in the service of having their team win, with no thought what comes after.  They must pound down any shred of hope, even if it involves saying that the American populace is equivalent to the Russians in the tens or the Chinese in the 40s.  Yes, that’s right.  Culture be damned, we’re all EXACTLY the same and population dynamics are the same, and reactions are the same.  This can only be maintained by someone who never lived abroad among natives.  OR someone who needs his team to “win” so badly nothing else matters.

For some years now, I’ve been trying to explain to the “abandon all hopers” and to the “we need to fight it out with each other right here and now and that’s the only important thing” that this is not how the world works.

Look, I blame Hollywood.  In Hollywood there’s wars and revolutions, and they’re fought internally with no input from anyone else. And one side wins.  Books tend to do this too, and it’s something I fight VERY hard not to do.

We no longer live in the world of the 1700s, and even then the rest of the world got a say (a major say, both for and against, btw) even though voyages by sea took forever and there were no intercontinental missiles.

The world is as far away as the press of a button.

The US has been enforcing Pax Americana for about 100 years (give or take) now.  This is not an ideal situation, of course, but it is what it is.  We had the firepower and the wealth to do it, so we did it.  I’ll remind you that without it, you’d all be speaking Russian — and you might still be.

Unfortunately the isolationists and people who think you can end wars by saying you won’t fight have the bit between their teeth.  They’ve conspired to make America the weak, dithering, self-harming derelict on the street corner.

No one is really afraid of the derelict, and that’s why you’re seeing adventurism abroad from all sorts of bad actors.  Because regardless of what you were taught in school, there are bad actors in the world and they don’t depend on American “aggression” to act.  In fact, they depend on America being busy elsewhere, looking in the mirror and popping its own zits, like an adolescent psycho.

There is another reason the US was suited for “world’s policeman.”  We didn’t have imperial intentions.  Because we’re not a country of soil and blood conquering another land and giving it to our blood means nothing to us.  Which is why to quote Dave Freer “The Americans are awful imperialists.  All they want to do is go home.”

This is already imperiled and wait till you taste the way other countries do imperialism.  You’re gonna die.

BUT if we kill one of the major parties, the one opposing the vile progs who hate America, if we descend into the madness of “let it all burn” and encourage destruction of institutions and cultural structures?

The world will be RIGHT HERE, at our door.  In less time than it takes you to say “Are we being invaded?”

Alex Pournelle has been sharing links like this, and this, which are nibbling at the edges, seeing if we’re dead yet, so they can bite.  And if we act dead (which we’ve been so far) they devour us, even though we’re bigger than they are and have plenty more resources.

Two years ago, though you probably never heard of it, the Chinese got hold of most of our files on people with secret classification.  Yeah, they sold some of that to scammers, but do you want to bet none of those assets, the ones with juicy info on their files, are compromised?  I wouldn’t.

And the Russians have compromised our government.  Yes, Hillary’s server, but Obama too, and our voting system.  Any halfway sane country would be saying ALL ballots will be paper and ALL voters have to re-register NOW and ID will most frackingly be necessary for voting.  A serious country would be pointing out to the perpetrators that wars have started for less than this.

We’re not acting like a serious country, because the Kumbaya kids want to believe in “give peace a chance.”  And the journalists will not report it, because they are social signaling as being on the side of the rich and powerful, which are in this country the left.

And meanwhile, Republicans, Democrats and burn it all downers continue squabbling and fighting like there is nothing more important in the world than making sure their “team” wins.

Listen, do you hear that?  The tocsin is sounding.  The idea of America will not perish from the world, but we can be hurt so badly that all of civilization goes down for the count.

If that’s what you think you want, go look in a mirror and think about why you hate the world and humanity.  And if you really hate us and despise us so much, do us a favor and rid the world of you.

The rest of you, the ones who are capable of realizing this is not a soccer match, open your eyes.  This is not a game. The results affect our lives, the lives of our descendants, and even for those who have no descendants, the life of the species who gave them birth and who has nurtured them.  (And if you think everyone has done you wrong, and you want to burn it all down, I say to you: you first.  Matches and gasoline are not hard to obtain.)

It is time to remember that by the people and for the people government thing.  It’s time to start fighting as hard as you can.  Sure the press, the left and the burn it all downers managed to give us nothing but Creepy Clowns — incompetent ones at that — for the national election.

The national election is not the only one.  There’s local ones.  Work and vote for your local sane candidates.  Or “saneish” candidates.  Anyone who understands water is wet and fire will burn will do.  And after they’re elected, don’t step back and expect them to save you.  Continue working.

The tocsin is sounding. Iceberg dead ahead.

You want to play with the deck chairs, you do so at your own peril.

This is the time to be grown up.  Infants screaming the world done them wrong and they want it all to diiiiiiiiie will be ignored.  They will be first in line for protection, if the shit really hits the fan.

It’s time to be a grown up.  It’s time to do what you can, in whatever small way to shore up the Republic, or ensuring it can come back.

America is still as it always was the last best hope of mankind.  No, it’s not perfect.  Its ideal government lasted less than 10 years.  Ideals and the world don’t coexist.  So, no, you didn’t get perfection.  Sorry, the world is like that.  But you got to be born in the best country in the world, measured in prosperity and ability to make your own way.  If you don’t see anything special about that, I bet you there are millions in the rest of the world who’d trade with you.

You’re not getting your way and a pony too.  But there is no reason to destroy what we have.  Yes, the fight for freedom is continuous.  No, you’ll never be able to declare you won and go home.  That’s soccer, not life.

Now stop whining and work to preserve liberty in our life time.  Or get out of the way.

 

 

 

382 responses to “The Tocsin is Sounding

  1. At the same time I spent all day yesterday overcoming the desire to shutter the blog and walk away.

    Forbid!

    • Yes, please don’t shutter the blog. It helped me cheer up after the 2012 election.

    • Truth. I come here every day (well, everyday I’m not being shot at or can get some time at a nipr computer)to talk to folks and generally keep abreast of what’s going on with the world outside my little bubble.

  2. scott2harrison

    In case we have not said this enough, thank-you thank-you thank-you for the blog. As an immigrant from a non-anglosphere country your insights are very valuable and appreciated not to mention a much better than average set of commentators.

  3. Dedicating Ruckus

    Hmm. Imperialism, you say?

    It’s true that America is not blood-and-soil imperialist. We didn’t invade other countries and plunder their resources, nor take their land for our people. What America is is ideologically imperialist. American empire manifests in there being barely a government on the planet — even Russia’s — which doesn’t at least pretend to operate along democratic lines, the lines America declares are morally obligatory.

    Our imperial wars were the ones where we destroyed all the governments that didn’t play to this line, then occupied their nations — mostly humanely, it’s true — and reconstructed the governments along our own lines. The only exceptions were the communist states, with which relations are complicated. But even they now largely play along with the ideas of ‘democracy’, ‘human rights’, ‘freedom of X’, &c., which were developed and evangelized by the US. There are no major world powers with formulas of legitimacy that do not descend from ours.

    In any case, the US’ role as global policeman mostly involves a whole lot of going Somewhere Else and stomping on people there, a pursuit for which a growing number of people have acquired a distaste. Pushback against the US, catalyzed by its growing fecklessness, similarly usually amounts to some other nation doing things in its own backyard which the US objects to. It’s far from clear what direct relevance to US citizens living in America has the Ukraine, or Syria, or the South China Sea, or Yemen. (Yes, trade networks and such; but the US is certainly notionally capable of being self-sufficient within its borders, should it actually be required to do so.)

    If the US withdrew from the world stage entirely, closed its borders and stopped playing policeman, it would certainly create all kinds of havoc worldwide. But within the US? It seems as if our exploits as policeman largely take the form of exporting order and/or chaos depending; whether this is worth it to US citizens is unclear.

    • Oh, please.
      Will someone with more time demolish this?
      Ideologically imperialistic? SNORT GIGGLE.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Not worth the trouble. 😦

      • It takes a great deal of (mis-) education to believe such. Out side of a sudden epiphany, something outside my power to achieve, I doubt it could be cured.

      • The perfidy of America knows no bounds!
        We had the temerity to defend ourselves from violent attack, win, then occupy the attacking countries and set them back upon their feet again, admittedly in our own image, but since their old political structures led to war against us, why would we not.
        But our real crime is this deceitful insidious way that our TV and movies constantly bombard the rest of the world with ideas antithetical to local mores and customs. Free and independent women? The Arab world recoils in disgust. Open gay and lesbian relationships? Sharia has a cure for that.
        In fact the rest of the world would be ever so much more comfortable if we USAians were to simply admit the error of our ways, reject the foolish notion of natural rights as laid out in our Constitution, and become just another weak simpering socialistic nation among nations. And as luck would have it our current crop of betters has us well on the way of becoming exactly that. Funny that to fundamentally change America was the one promise he actually might keep.

      • William O. B'Livion

        To an extent we’ve *tried* to spread modern, pluralistic Democracy far and wide.

        We’ve *tried* to export our notion of human rights.

        But we have the worst imperialists in the world running the State Department, and are now on the verge of losing it here.

        OTOH, we HAVE spread McDonald’s, Levis and Bevis and Butthead globally.

      • I think he/she/it is all upset because you told him/her/it that they did not get a pony.

      • Sorry. Too busy being imperial. Now if someone will hand me my hat. Yes, the Napoleon one.

      • I lack a 2×4 sound enough to beat sense into this head.

      • Sorry, I just buffed my claws and I don’t want to get that sort of stuff on them. 😉 =^^=

      • He forgot to mention slavery and Indians… er, Siberian-Americans. Bad troll.

      • roy in nipomo

        Could it be that the poster doesn’t understand the difference between imperialism and hegemony?

    • Not even ideologically imperialistic. More like ideologically seductive. Do you honestly think we fill amphibious landers with Coca-cola and Errol Flynn movies? We *offer stuff for sale* and if the locals don’t want it, we don’t force it down their throats. Happy customers come to you, and sometimes bring lumps of that soft yellow metal they know how to find and you don’t. Happy customers are repeat customers. You know who made out like bandits during the gold rush? The STORE OWNERS. They didn’t force anyone into their stores. They didn’t have to.

      We mention our ideas, and act on them. Others see, and want the same. Airplanes, moon landings, hell, even Miranda rights. Do you know how many countries have had to point out that the right of non-self-incrimination is purely American, and an English bobby doesn’t have to read a perp *anything* on arrest? The idea has gone viral! Please, tell me when we invaded England? (OK, there was that slight navigation error on the part of John Paul Jones during the Revolution but we’ve been very well behaved since then.)

      And how dare you deny agency to others? Just because they aren’t Americans, you would deny them a refreshing beverage and a fun adventure movie?

      • Oh, we don’t even have to sell our culture. People pirate and steal it. The same goes for Japan and India. Muslim terrorists who hate Hindu culture and officially think music is bad are always being found with Bollywood musicals in their stashes.

    • No, son. We’re not imperialist. What we are, is better. Our society is just plainly better than those of the other countries who have tried to become more like us. Pretending otherwise only makes you look ignorant of the truth.

      • This. Dedicating Ruckus (hereafter Commenter) is pushing the Obama Fallacy – that being looked up to is imperialism, so we must “lead from behind” and apologize repeatedly and abandon victory wherever it’s acheived and announce “red lines” that we then ignore and elsewise knock ourselves down repeatedly, both internationally and at home, to “level the playing field”. After all, if we’re better than others we stole that.

        Somehow.

        Midnight SEAL team raids in the International Prestige Exchange vaults, no doubt, stealing all that prestige that’s rightly due to Burma and the Norks.

        Others have made the point that “cultural imperialism” (“we don’t force them to, but they still like our stuff” as opposed to “speak Japanese and bow to the occupation troops or we’ll cut your head off” as practiced by one current ally back before this was the case) is not real – If China and Byelorus made better movies than Hollywood and Bollywood, they would be in demand. If Japan made better monster movies an Anime (hey, they do!) then they would sell better than those from the US and have a dedicated, even fervent market even in places speaking other languages.

        And if the US made clothing and shoes more efficiently at better quality, the US made stuff would outsell those made in Vietnam and Maylaysia and the Phillipines (hint: they don’t, even here in imperialism central). Our Imperialism Czar is obviously falling down on the job (Oh, wait, that was The Dowager Empress. Nevermind.)

        And to the most insane point, if the US went isolationist, closing the borders and abandoning all contact with the world, we’d suffer as well. Have you paid any attention at all to where our “stuff” comes from the last 40 years or so? What happens to all the millions of people around the world whose livlihood is tied to supplying the US market? Back to the rice paddies for you!

        And one of the characteristics of isolationism is “now we can spend less on defense!” – after five years of that, all those angry furriners could come over here and make us buy their stuff!!

        At which point Commenter would get to see real imperialism, cultural and otherwise.

        • As if all those Chinese branded iPhones are Apple Imperialism rather than brand theft?

        • China seems to be getting fond of making kind of half Hollywood movies lately. American actors, maybe rather high profile ones (Matt Damon and the Great Wall next year), lots of English spoken, more Hollywood style storytelling. Maybe somebody should go there and tell them they are being invaded.

        • Heck, when the Chinese made better action movies then Hollywood, Hollywood just imported the directors (John Woo), actors (Jackie Chan, Jet Li & Chow Young Fat), and other folks (Wo Ping), and appropriated the heck out of them.

          • Weren’t those mostly Hong Kong filmmakers, acting upon China’s Great Merging as their German predecessors had the ’30s?

            • Yup.

              For maximum fun, check out the Thai version of the Voice on YouTube. Guy got picked to compete after auditioning with the Dragonball Z theme song. All the judges and most of the audience had a nostalgia attack.

    • Our imperial wars were the ones where we destroyed all the governments that didn’t play to this line, then occupied their nations — mostly humanely, it’s true — and reconstructed the governments along our own lines.

      Care to point out where we did this to a nation that didn’t attack us first? I’m not the world’s greatest historian, mind you, but for matching your description, I only know of Japan and Germany, and they kind of, you know, Declared War on us before we did these things. Japan even attacked us. Also, they were doing Bad Things to their neighbors. Since some of their neighbors were our friends, we didn’t like that, so we stepped in to stop it, and made sure it was unlikely they would do the same kinds of things in the future.

      • You know, I’m not sure what it says that I was actually reading the comment as complimentary at that point. It wasn’t until it got to the “maybe we should just stop” part that I twigged it wasn’t.

      • Not even in the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Cuba during the Spanish American war, which is the usual example cited — there was at least an arguable attack on us in Cuba by the nation controlling all three, and a well established Doctrine of leaving others alone as long as they played nicely in our backyard.

      • There are two, or perhaps 1.5, the first was the Philippines, but President McKinley saw it as a choice of us or Germany and reluctantly picked up the mantle, and Puerto Rico, another colony of Spain and right on our door step. Most Americans would love to give Puerto Rico it’s independence, given what a financial drain it is.

    • Oh dear lord. Someone’s been gulled by Marxist propaganda. “Imperialism” wasn’t even a thing until the Marx brother who should have remained forever a nonentity made it one (he’s where most of the ___isms came from, actually)(and yes, I know he’s no relation to Groucho & Co. He’s a much bigger and worse joke, though).

      The mere use of the phrase “ideologically imperialistic” completely discredits the rest of this ridiculous screed. One creates an Empire by taking over other, weaker entities. If other entities choose to copy you, that is not empire-building. It’s smart people copying what they like and/or what works.

      Anti-US sentiment is largely driven by two factors: communist agitprop (which, as you have superbly demonstrated, can slide in and make itself at home because it’s deliberately geared to hit the less noble emotions such as envy) and resentment. If you don’t believe that giving a crapload of money and time and effort to rebuilding non-functional nations generates resentment, you are clearly one of those fortunate few who’s never been the recipient of charity they wished they didn’t want. People who have no idea how the USA works envy us for our good fortune, and resent our ability to do things our way. If we don’t periodically demonstrate that we can wipe the floor with them, they’ll try to take over – as the red-diapered wannabe intelligentsia is doing right now, and discovering to their horror that this nation actually is pretty much ungovernable.

      That’s by design, because everything works better if you’ve got a society of responsible individuals governing themselves.

      You, my dear useful idiot, clearly are not a responsible individual.

    • Our imperial wars were the ones where we destroyed all the governments that didn’t play to this line, then occupied their nations — mostly humanely, it’s true — and reconstructed the governments along our own lines.

      ….you mean when we fought the guys who wanted to take over the world, US INCLUDED, and instead of just leaving them in ruins and death we rebuilt stuff?

      THIS you are spinning into zomga we’re imperial?

      Uh, right. And Christianity is identical to Islam because they both want folks to convert. Ignore the difference in reactions between piss Christ publicly funded in a gallery and rumors of an English language Koran in a toilet.

    • “Ideologically Imperialistic”

      Julius and Augustus Caesar are laughing the dead decayed asses off.

    • “Ideologically Imperialistic”

      …really…

      Julius and Augustus Cesar are laughing their dead decayed asses off.

    • Reading all the comments here about how America is at heart NOT an Imperialist nation, and how we “didn’t invade other countries and plunder their resources, nor take their land for our people”…

      Have ANY of you checked with the Iroquois, Sioux, Cherokee, and Mexicans on this one?

      Because we pretty much DID invade their land and take it for our people.

      • Because we pretty much DID invade their land and take it for our people.

        Who the hell are you calling “they,” you presumptive goal-post shifter?

        • More seriously, to invade a nation there has to be a nation– “a whole bunch of tribes” is not a nation, and failure to agree with Mexico’s notion that Texas should belong to them because it use to belong to Spain, even though they had to actively recruit Americans to try to do anything with it, isn’t much to hang a claim on either.

          • Funny how that Mexican land theft worked, isn’t it? The Mexicans cut a deal to attract Americans to their Texas province to act as a buffer against the Comanche, break the promise and then get huffy when the Texians (of both Mexican and American origin) decide they no longer owe allegiance to the usurping government in Mexico.

            Somebody might could ought write a book giving a clear perspective on those events, one telling them (given present day piety) from a female point of view. Give it a catchy name like Daughter of Texas and people might buy and read it.

            Could even follow it up with another book (better yet, a trilogy) about how that happened, perhaps by focusing on immigrants from Germany to Texas in 1847, under the auspices of the Mainzer Adelsverein.

            Maybe it could be called the Adelsverein trilogy.

            Nyahhhh, people don’t like being confused by actual facts, not when fashionable falsehoods are so congenial to their prejudices.

        • He’s been a pain in the ass “burn it all downer” on facebook for two months now. And the goal post shifting has gone pro.

      • Their land? Their land?

        How can you steal land from people who deny the concept of ownership of land?

        Perhaps if the Iroquois hadn’t tried using us as pawns in their wars against other tribes their complaints would sound more legitimately..

        • To be fair, I have heard rumors that Indian tribes had a concept of owning land, but people willing to take the land claimed they didn’t, to make it easier to take their land.

          Nowadays, Communist hippies embrace the claim, then say things like “It’s horrible that we took away the land that they didn’t even hold” and “If only we can be like these Indians, and repudiate property altogether!”

          To be sure, the way that we acquired these lands was very messy: between lies (both sides), wars of conquest (both sides), honest trading (both sides) and treaty-making and breaking (again, both sides), we have a lot of dynamics involved.

          I have yet to see, however, how this is any different from how any other group of people have come to acquire land, nor do I see how it will be any different any time in the future.

          • Oh, and I would like to edit to add that “any other group” includes the natives themselves. Too many people try to paint the natives as perfectly peaceful, and perfectly in harmony with nature, when they were just as willing to go to war for land conquest (against natives and newcomers alike) when it suited them, as any other group of people!

            (And they were also willing to be destructive to the land when it suited them as well…)

            • Let’s not forget that they all had the concept of slavery well developed before they ever saw a white or black person. See Daniel Boone’s experience with the Shawnee.

              • Very much so. Indian tribes had slaves. As did the Romans and everyone else.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  “But that’s different”. [Sarcasm]

                  Had to deal with an idiot (he got himself kicked off later on) on Baen’s Bar who acknowledged the “evils” of the Aztecs but still thought the Spanish was “in the wrong” for coming to Mexico and conquering the Aztecs. 😦

          • It’s messy. The ones who weren’t agricultural had a concept of “right of usage” but not of owning as farmers do.

          • To be fair, I have heard rumors that Indian tribes had a concept of owning land, but people willing to take the land claimed they didn’t, to make it easier to take their land.

            From the evidence we had, broadly speaking they had the standard tribal view of property.
            “I can see something I want, and I can get it, so it’s mine.”

            That is, technically, a concept of owning land– but it’s not one that aligns with what folks want it to say, y’know?

      • As a nation? Like fuck. And that is called “people who were aware of land values displacing aboriginals who weren’t.” Man, those imperialist homo sap taking over Europe.
        Have you always been this annoying, or are you specializing now?

    • More seriously, American’s are some of the worst imperialists. Not as bad as the Germans or Belgians, but definitely worse for the locals than the British, and probably the French.

      Europeans had their own particular model of Imperialism, which generally included declaring a particular area to be a “protectorate” or even a “colony”, running up the flag, and shooting any Wogs who were silly enough to disagree. Then stores would be set up, mines opened, plantations built, rail roads constructed, harbors dredged, churches built, sewers dug, etc. etc. etc.

      If the Brits or the French are involved eventually they even get to the point that schools and hospitals and police stations are set up, and eventually elections are held… even if it did turn out to be “One Man, One Vote, One Time.” On the other hand the Belgians will just enslave you and work you to death, and there’s a 50/50 chance that the Germans will try to genocidally exterminate you, like they did in Namibia.

      American Imperialism was different. Americans didn’t want to see themselves as Imperialist (even though the Cherokee, Sioux, Iroquois, Seminole and Mexicans have excellent reason to see them that way). Americans didn’t want the expense of having overseas colonies (except Hawaii, and Puerto Rico, because they make great vacation spots). That’s why we had arranged to make the Philippines independent even before the Japanese attacked.

      So the way AMERICAN Imperialism works is by picking a “Strongman” (“Dictator” is SUCH and ugly word), and backing him with the power of the USMC and the almighty dollar. As long as the fruit/ore/oil/whatever keeps flowing to our companies at reasonable prices, and Fubaristan doesn’t “go commie”, we’re good with it.

      Because financing a few swiss bank accounts and the Tonton Macoute is a damm sight cheaper than paying for hospitals and sewers and schools.

      • Bjorn Hasseler

        Your suggestion that Hawaii and Puerto Rico were seized for the purpose of being vacation spots shows just how badly you’re reading modern attitudes back into earlier eras and calls your entire analysis into question.

      • Your assessment of Hawaii and Puerto Rico’s importance is hopefully sarcastic, although given the dismissive tone of the rest of your comment I wouldn’t be shocked if you legitimately thought that.
        Your assessment of French and British colonialism is skewed, and I would recommend that you look into the level of control that the French still exert over their former colonies in Africa using the methods that you’re complaining so vociferously about us using. Furthermore, regarding cutting people loose, you might want to consider looking at the dominion system Britain employed beginning in the late 19th century.
        Also, the US paid for gobs of infrastructure projects during the Cold War. You just never hear about them, because most of them were created without the institutions needed to maintain them.

      • Yes, Americans are terrible imperialists. All they want to do is go home. And they don’t even exploit the coutnries they take over.

        • I think I remember this episode of Star Trek… Kirk and co were like totally just like the Klingons, because they were involved instead of letting the Klingons’ puppet run things for the Klingon’s benefit, and Kirk supported– mostly by doing business with– the least bad of the locals.

          Don’t get involved, there’s massive death because the other guy(s) do get involved, and they don’t care about the locals.
          Get involved and support a local, if they’re not ready to be an American politician from half a century in the future it’s your fault.
          Get involved and put in someone who isn’t one of the local psychos, and you’re a horrible person.
          Get involved only to stop large-scale obvious abuses, you’re evil because you didn’t do one of the above.

          At no point do the locals have any relevance at all, of course…..

    • Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. That other people imitate our Republican form of government simply shows that they recognize its vaiue–even if they, by and large, don’t do it very well.

      • It proves that they no longer believe that government legitimacy is bestowed by the Divine Right of Kings, in form if not in practice.

  4. Just remember, “Study Finds Controlled Washington, D.C. Wildfires Crucial For Restoring Healthy Political Environment”.

    http://www.theonion.com/article/study-finds-controlled-washington-dc-wildfires-cru-51780

    I think this means that an uncontrolled fire that burns the entire forest of the federal government would be bad. Rather, it should be a controlled, carefully prepared, and directed fire, clearing out only the clearly diseased sections of the forest, such as the EPA and the Departments of HUD, Education, Energy, Labor, and Homeland Security.

    • Can we do it in person, with flamethrowers?

      • That’s a way to reduce the deficit – tickets for physically dismantling the useless parts of the federal government. I suppose the real estate and buildings could be auctioned off, instead, but that wouldn’t be as emotionally satisfying.

        • Auction off the buildings with a promise of demolition. Let the buyers decide if they want to recoup their costs by selling tickets, or pieces, or whatever.

        • So…you’re talking bounties on gov’t infrastructure? How much can I get if I bring in the “ears” of an EPA Photochemical Assessment Monitoring Station?

          Bounties work for me.

    • I beg to…differ might be too strong a word, edit briefly:

      Reform and keep the Department of Energy national labs.

      Otherwise, I agree with the above, and I would add the Drug Enforcement Administration and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms at a minimum. I would not have added the FBI before July 4th of this year, but I’m seriously considering it now. I would also reform and keep Commerce, probably consolidated with Energy (and Transportation) into something patterned more on Japan’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry (focused on improved production here, not on improved trade with producers elsewhere, but eliminating most subsidies and trade agreements).

      The federal Department of Education should be replaced with five pages of instruction that could be summarized: Restore memorization. penmanship, and learning to do arithmetic by hand before using keyboards, calculators, and the internet. Require solid courses in math, the sciences, and history/civics.

      I could keep going, but that’s enough soapbox for one knight.

      • I don’t think your education reforms go far enough. I would simply replace it with something like “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of education, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” It should be considered anathema to a Free Republic to have a government that attempts to tell us how to think, or how to learn.

        And we need a similar amendment for economic activity….

  5. First, I agree entirely. The only optimism I feel today is that our antagonists in the larger world haven’t stumbled us all into a world war yet. Perhaps they didn’t really believe we would be so inept and expected a trap. Fortunately, the harpy is perceived as more militant than Obama. Not competent, but one takes hope where one may. And the orange clown is viewed as too unpredictable to provoke. He may of course be wooed, bribed, or hectored.
    Second, please tell us where Alex Pournelle’s website is. I would be fascinated to know his opinion on the former USN littoral vessel that was punctured bu the shot through the bow.

    Joy be unto you,

    DAB

  6. I was commenting elsewhere today (at a certain camel flop blog which shall remain unnamed here) that the prog side of the body politic in the USA is basically still running around screaming that the Rosenbergs were innocent. Despite documentary proof they were Soviet spies, on KGB letterhead.

    That’s where we are today. Hillary did not have an email server, Julian Assange who? Benghazi never happened, Trump is Satan and never mind why, all women who cry rape are always right, except the half dozen or so crying it about Bill Clinton.

    That’s their complete argument in a nutshell.

    The GOP for their part remains the Party of Stupid. Anything stupid they can do, they do it. They have research to find or make ever more stupid things to do and say.

    Take heart though, my American friends. It could be worse. You could be Canadians.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      “It could be worse. You could be Canadians.”

      SIGH. True.

      • If Trump wins, be prepared to deal with that sudden onrush of Democrats fleeing to Canada. 🙂

        • They always promise, but the *never* deliver!

          Teases…

          • I was going to say it…

          • and when they do, they end up slinking back quietly because they learn there refuge is not what they thought (see Johnny Depp and his run to France after a GWB win)

            • Just as soon as they discover that there is a vast difference between tourist and resident.

              • Johnny Boy apparently had some issues where the kiddies did not get to school because of road closings due to “youths” (muslims) “Demonstrating” (burning cars and attacking police) and decided that “you know, the good ol’ USA under GWB wasn’t really all that bad a place to be” and moved back

        • Nah, they always threaten that, but they never carry through. I think we should force them to sign conditional renunciations of citizenship whenever they say, “if [X] happens, I’ll move to Canada.” Force them to put their money where their mouths are.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          Poor Canada. 😉

          Mind you, if I thought they would, it would be an even better reason to vote for Trump. 👿

        • Like we want them. Barf.

          • Put em in Ontario. It’s not like they’ll change the politics there overmuch.

            • Dude, I’m in Ontario. Thanks very much. ~:(

              On the bright side, the stupid is all very concentrated in Metro Toronto/Mississauga. You can get away from it.

              • I’m in Langley, just outside of Vancouver.

                Getting away from it isn’t an option for me.

              • I haven’t followed your election returns closely, but I was under the impression that Quebec was where the truly loony are tuned. I gather their separatists are taking heart from the Brexit vote (and apparently not watching the Pound.

                Maybe we could spin off unite Chicago, Detroit, New York and Quebec into a new nation? Please feel free to add any appropriately statist Canadian provinces. An awful lot of us would happily cede Northern California*, Western Oregon and Western Washington, too, but can’t quite figure how to unify those with the other discards bold pioneers of that new nation.

                *From LA north.

        • Saw one tweet/gab (unsure which at atm, and ox too lazy to look it up just now) that Trump’s “Secret Plan” on illegal immigrants is to move them to the suddenly empty Hollywood as so many residents said they’d leave the country were he elected. I kinda like that idea. The overall result would be improvement for so much and so many. Therefore it’s not true.

        • Christopher M. Chupik

          OH GOD NO

    • I understand why *I* think that Trump is Satan incarnate, but that’s because I wonder how a male re-incarnation of Hillary (one slightly more cynical, who attempts to use the rhetoric of Republicans to get power) managed to be born at the same time as Hillary….

      I suspect that Democrats don’t like Trump because they see the (R) next to his name, and believe it….

      Having said that, I have the impression that the reasons why, despite the troubling information coming out about Trump, the polls don’t seem to be moving that much, is that Trump supporters knew who he was from the beginning, and like him or hate him, these accusations are no surprise…and besides, look at the alternative! In a similar way, all sorts of things coming out about Hillary won’t affect her, because they are already well aware of Hillary’s corruption, but they are already committed to voting for her anyway (and besides, look at the alternative!). Meanwhile, the people disgusted with both merely roll their eyes when some sort of new allegation comes up, because, well, they already knew what these candidates where like, so how is this supposed to change their opinion of them?

      The candidates on either side are so bad, it’s really hard to see how one side is going win….

      • Historically the American public has been quite comfortable with the formulation “He/She may be a bastard, but he/she is our bastard.”

  7. BobtheRegisterredFool

    Two years ago, though you probably never heard of it, the Chinese got hold of most of our files on people with secret classification.

    This the OPM compromise?

    • Actually the one I heard about was the IRS? I think. Don’t quote me. I just know all my friends with clearance were screaming.

      • Probably the OPM hack. That’s the one that had all my friends on the local convention committee who had (or used to have) clearance complaining.

        • Yeah, that’s almost certainly the OPM hack. News about it did circulate on the blogs at the time. IIRC, Ace joked about hoping that a Chinese honeypot would show up on his front doorstep.

          I don’t know how much wider exposure it got outside of the blogs, though.

          • Christopher M. Chupik

            Honeypots are welcome to try and persuade me to become agents of foreign powers. However, I must warn you that I’m a very stubborn man who will require lots of persuasion.

            • Christopher M. Chupik

              “an agent of foreign powers”, that is.

            • I demand equal honeypot privileges! (And I prefer dark hair over blond, if anybody’s listening–and I am assuming the foreign accent is a given?)

            • If there are any six foot blonde Chinese twins in the honeypot, I’ll have a go.

              Can’t imagine why they’d bother with a conservative in Canada, but I wouldn’t turn them down.

              • Christopher M. Chupik

                They’d be the perfect double-agent. Nobody would see it coming.

              • If you don’t mind dyed, there is a providence in China where they have very tall ladies– my cousin went to China on some sort of volley ball exchange thing (no, really) and she was impressed that their entire team (and the team’s families) were about as tall as she is. (5’10)

                • That’s probably just the result of human growth hormones have seeped into the water supply due to industrial accidents and poor agricultural/drainage practices. 😛

                  • BobtheRegisterredFool

                    There’s actually, I hear, a fair amount of regional variation between even Chinese populations that count as Han. That guy in the NBA? Is from a tall guy province.

            • You know, if I were seduced by redheaded twins into performing wild and passionate acts I would live in absolute terror of that ever being discovered. I would do anything to keep that secret. Absolutely anything.

              And to prove that you could release the information and, you know, just ruin me, could you burn the video to DVD? High Def and multiple angles would be best. After all, we have to be sure, right?

              And if, somehow, instead of redheaded twins it were redheaded triplets? Well, there would just be no recovering from that. None at all.

              😉

          • It got out and around but we’ve been used to one screwup after another.

            IIRC OPM was the big one. Military got hit with a smaller one too.

        • Exactly. Calling up my parents with the news that all their personal info including SSNs was now in the hands of God knew who was interesting.

        • All the data from everyone who ever *applied* for a clearance.

          *shudder*

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        There was an OPM compromise. Some SJW affirmative action Obama appointee awarded a contract to a company own by the Chinese.

        I vaguely recall that there was an IRS hack.

        There’s also Snowden and Manning.

        The Russian hacks of a bunch of Democratic and probably Republican party email servers.

        Clinton’s mishandling.

        If we know about this, there is probably worse we do not know about.

        Chaps, I’ve a feeling that our intelligence community’s security has been deeply compromised, and we are fortunate the Russians and Chinese haven’t been more interested in helping ISIS launch mass casualty attacks on us. Maybe McMullin might have a shred of ability and interest in mitigating matters.

        • Actually, we don’t know who performed the DNC hacks. The Dems are busy shrieking that it’s the Russians, but that’s because claiming that a foreign nation is performing the hacks to try and influence the election is the only way that they might be able to get people to ignore the information that the hacks have uncovered.

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            @20committee has apparently been saying for several years that wikileaks is a Russian front. Certainly, wikileaks is and always has been an enemy.

            Some of the documents allegedly have been released in different versions, indicating that someone in the wikileaks pipeline is editing for a specific effect.

            Democrats years ago were happy to proclaim wikileaks pure and shining truth, that wasn’t at all a fount for enemy disinformation.

            I thought Russia was credible enough for a working theory before I heard what the Democrats were saying. It is plausible that they were lying then, and telling a partial truth now.

            • Keep in mind that I’m not saying that it isn’t the Russians. I’m just saying that there’s no proof that it is. From what I’ve heard, there’s pretty much zero information at this point to indicate who performed the hacks.

              • BobtheRegisterredFool

                I thought the place where I might not have dotted my i’s and crossed my t’s was in my description of the OPM official.

                Actually, we can probably assume that if it was domestic, whoever did it is really confident, or did so on Hillary’s orders. Because it isn’t worth releasing them without the possibility of Hillary becoming president, the president might have all sorts of chances to find out who dunnit, and Hillary isn’t the nicest person in the world to cross.

                Of foreign powers, Russia and China obviously have the ability, and the grounds to think they could manage the fallout. China’s been quieter, and Russia louder.

                Which is still just mildly suggestive evidence.

                I think if it was Russia trying to manipulate the election, they obviously don’t fear Clinton’s reprisal. That’s not a reason to vote for her.

                I kinda tend towards thinking that the Russians have compromised both Trump and Clinton, and are meddling just to undermine our republican traditions.

                Of course, I would say that.

                • Gee, does anybody else recall the Clinton White House improperly accessing the supposedly secure data in a large number of personnel background files from the FBI? What was that called? Filegut? Flubgate? Hillary’s Happy Dance?

                  I wonder whatever happened to those files and who all the people thus compromised might have been.

                  • BobtheRegisterredFool

                    I did not. Guess how old I was then. 🙂

                  • I don’t remember what it was called, except maybe “swept under the rug”.

                  • Filegate. Craig Livingstone, a Clinton campaign toady was caught leaving classified FBI personnel files in unsecured areas.

                    • Somebody affiliated with the Clintons being careless about document security? Say it ain’t so, Joe!

                      Next you’ll be telling me nonsense such as a highly ranked supporter snuck classified documents out of a secure facility by stuffing them down his trousers.

                      Hillary has assured us that she takes data security very seriously and she will never again make the mistake of getting caught having an insecure system.

            • Some of the documents allegedly have been released in different versions, indicating that someone in the wikileaks pipeline is editing for a specific effect.

              While this is something I’ve been hollering at folks for every hack as far back as I can remember– “trust me, I stole this data but I wouldn’t lie?”– editing it yourself and releasing a couple of different versions would be a very effective way to discredit information you didn’t want shared.

          • There is no reason to assume that it is just ONE hacker. From the public news about the DNC we know there were at least two groups inside. There could have been more.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          Maybe I’m remembering Social Security instead of IRS?

          @20committee, whom I’m not sure is trustworthy*, has claimed that it is very likely Snowden was a cover for a higher, deeper Russian mole in the NSA.

          *Maybe I’m paranoid.

      • William O. B'Livion

        It was the OPM “hack” as my information was in there.

        And it wasn’t a “Hack” The Office of Personnel Manglement hired a contractor who hired a sub-contractor who was (or hired) a Chinese National who just took information.

        No hack required.

        • No hack required.“?

          You’re forgetting the political hack who initiated the process without ensuring due diligence would be observed.

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            I used the term compromise on purpose, but hack might not be wrong.

            Social engineering is also considered part of the toolkit for compromising computer security.

            It’d be a little much to suppose that the purpose of Obama’s election was appointees who would compromise specific aspects of security.

        • which is even more lovely.

    • Yep, and why I will have free credit protection courtesy of OPM for the foreseeable future. As I recall the personal data of something like 20 million current and former Federal employees.

    • Is there any doubt that there are other and greater breaches which have not been acknowledged?

      • Like Hillary’s e-mail server?

        Hillary and the FBI insist that there’s no evidence that her server was hacked. Guccifer claims that he hacked it.

        Note that the two claims are not necessarily mutually exclusive…

        • Yep – “no evidence” could mean “didn’t happen” or “hackers were good enough and in long enough to clean up any evidence”.

          Which way would you bet for the US Secretary of State’s bathroom closet server?

          • You mean, “What do you think the chances are that Guccifer was the only hacker who discovered that server, because no hacker in their right mind would refuse to leave such a treasure trove of exploitable and valuable data untouched?”

          • Indeed. Repeat after me: “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

          • There was one Exchange Server, but it lived on multiple physical machines over time. Odds are that each time the Exchange Server was moved the logs were not. So if the Exchange Server was compromised before it was on the final machine there would be no evidence of a compromise either way. Neither is it likely that complete logs were recovered from the final server, no matter how hard the FBI worked on reconstructing it.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          Didn’t she end up destroying a lot of potential forensic evidence?

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Likely.

        Of course, what’s more scary is the idea that there may have been breaches that nobody (but the people doing the breaching) knows about. 😦

      • William O. B'Livion

        I have no doubt.

  8. “Any halfway sane country would be saying ALL ballots will be paper and ALL voters have to re-register NOW and ID will most frackingly be necessary for voting.”
    I live in an area where half the English language radio stations are broadcast from Mexico. Usually not noticeable until election time south of the border. Then I hear lots of public service announcements (in English, but clearly labeled as Mexican PSAs) to make sure you get your new voter ID card or you won’t be allowed to vote.

    • The paper ballot thing has always been a concern of mine. How do you have a “recount” of votes preserved only as entries in a database? The Open Voting Consortium (http://openvotingconsortium.org/) designed an electronic voting system that provides a paper trail for such things: “The OVC recommended procedure for tabulating elections relies on a paper ballot that is then fed through a scanner into a locked ballot box so that all originals are saved in case of the need for a recount or audit.”

      • That’s how w vote in NY currently.

      • Because having the source code for your voting machiens laying around is a great way to keep it from being hacked?

        Also, Maxine Waters supports it, so my inclination is to want to stay the heck away. Yes, I know my state is already using it.

        • You miss the point, I think. The voting machine prints out a paper ballot which you can then review for its accuracy, after which it is scanned for tabulation and goes into a locked box for use in recounts. Hacking the voting machine should have no effect in that case, unless you don’t bother to review your paper ballot output. If the machine was hacked so as to misrepresent your choices, you’d just verify that fact and the machine would be taken off-line and you’d vote on an unhacked machine.

    • An Instapundit link today includes a quote from an Oregon Senator who wants to eliminate electronic voting… and replace it with nationwide voting exclusively by mail.

      /facepalm

      • Yep. Because fraud city.

        • I’ve been wondering if we might actually see serious fraud investigations this time around. Assuming Trump doesn’t win (which I expect will happen, unless the Democratic machine dumps hard on Hillary), he might ignore the Republican agreement about not pursuing fraud investigations and do it on his own dime.

          • The Dowager Empress could faceplant on stage. I’m not sure if Robot Comrade Mao could win in her stead.

          • Doubt it. He doesn’t like spending his own dime.

            • And there’s some evidence that he never really wanted the job anyway.

              • My consideration is relying on his giant ego to not allow him to lose without a tantrum.

                • BobtheRegisterredFool

                  The models are ego, money, and ideology.

                  If he were an ideological Republican, first and foremost, he would have quit when it became clear he would be a liability.

                  If he is an ideological Liberal Democrat, first and foremost, he will stick it out past the election, and keep stirring the pot to prevent Republican recovery.

                  If primarily driven by ego, he will pivot out of the election in a way that tries to make him look a winner. Raising a fuss about dolchstoss, and quitting shortly before the election might do it.

                  If primarily by money, his pivot will be in the direction of monetizing the die hard Trump followers. Expect him to work together with Bannon.

                  • I would suspect that any combination of the three* is also possible, and perhaps even likely that he’s doing it for all three reasons…

                    * (I think we could rule out Ideological Republican — even if the other three possibilities can be ruled out, and he’s doing this because he sincerely wants to win, he’s not doing it because he’s ideologically a Republican; at best, he’s ideologically a Trumpist…)

    • I am of the opinion that voter ID and paper ballots are insufficient. We must also do the finger dye routine.

      That way we can simultaneously vote for our “leaders” and give them the finger.

      • I agree. This is pretty much the only way to guarantee an individual can only vote once regardless of how many fake credentials he or she has. Assuming we’ve done away with monstrosities like vote-by-mail and months of early voting, and restricted absentee ballots to only those who are physically unable to reach the polling place on election day.

      • And it’d be good as a way to show that we push for that in other places, that “Yes, we do that ourselves.”

      • The other alternative is to require that all votes be open to the public, so they could be audited, down to the individual person casting the vote.

        While anonymizing the vote prevents the possibility that we’d be intimidated to vote one way or another, it unfortunately opens up the door to fraud. I don’t know if there’s a good compromise solution to the two issues at hand, though…

  9. I think the steady stream of garbage in the media is also contributing to a general funk. Even if you hit the mute button or eschew the mainstream press, depressing, infuriating, annoying, vexacious, puerile, and/or fury inducing stuff is in the air. Sort of the media version of Houston in August under a high pressure ridge – you can’t go outside without feeling like someone dumped a stale, sopping wet wool blanket over your head, and even A/C doesn’t get rid of the knowledge that at some point you do have to open the door, if only to get the mail and let the grocery delivery guy in.

    I’ve been hiding in my fiction, trying to write instead of doing a lot of other things that need doing. But books come to an end, and I do need to do other things. Like reinforce why England did not have an absolute monarchy and why this was so vitally important for things later on. (And I need to read Antonia Frazier’s book about the 1832 election reforms in England.)

    • “I think the steady stream of garbage in the media is also contributing to a general funk.”

      I completely cut off television and radio seven years ago. Movies, Netflix and Sirius Radio-Chill only. No cable, no broadcast.

      This improved my mood and outlook considerably. I recommend cutting the cable to everyone. Enough propaganda comes in over the transom anyway without letting them pipe it straight into your eyes and ears.

      • Do you stream any content from Amazon? I don’t use Netflix much.

      • I ignore most of what is on. But I hear it at work (kids in Govt class talking), at my place of worship, on the radio (mostly as jokes), and so on, enough that I get annoyed.

    • I’ve been reading evodevo which for anyone who knows me is everything you need to know.

    • Steady stream of garbage in the media? You mean the repeated messages about their Democrat Pinto being a truly excellent car and a real bargain. Those rear-end explosions are only a minor convenience and you probably won’t even notice if by chance one happens to your car.

      Am I the only one who notices that everybody in the MSM holds a union card, and that the largest shareholder in the NY Times is Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim?

      Objects in the Media may appear larger than they are.

      • And if the Pinto does explode, it’s always the fault of the Free Market and/or Republicans. If only things were even more regulated! If only those dastardly Republicans had given us more funding! If only those Republicans had voted with us when we passed this monstrosity! If only more Republicans had voted! If only the Republicans had stopped us!

        It’s an especially interesting phenomenon in cities, where it’s undoubtedly the Republicans’ fault, despite not having a Republican mayor for *decades*.

  10. My gut feeling (and fear) right now is that Putin has dirt on *both* of the leading candidates, and Russia’s making a fuss about the election to try and make everyone think that Putin actually cares who wins.

    As far as Pax Americana is concerned, a story idea that I’ve got floating around in my head includes the idea of what exactly Japan does if it becomes clear that the US isn’t willing (able, but no political will) to uphold its post-WW2 commitment to defend Japan (for those unaware, the US effectively promised to act as Japan’s security guarantor in perpetuity in return for Japan’s unilateral total disarmament after WW2). That’s not the focus of the story, but it’s one of the themes lurking in the background. And it wouldn’t have come to mind if I weren’t convinced that there was a good chance of that exact situation occurring sometime within the next couple of decades.

    • … sometime within the next couple of decades.

      Ah. An optimist.

    • Iirc haven’t there already been a bunch of rumblings about that going away.

      • Not that I’ve heard of. For one thing, a good-sized chunk of the Japanese population still gets the vapors over things like suggesting that maybe the Japanese Self-Defense Force could come to the aid of a military ally fighting a defensive war. Too much of the Japanese population still doesn’t seem to be ready to handle its own defense. And I don’t think I’ve ever heard any mention of it on the US side.

        I could be wrong, though.

        • There was some stuff over summer about rereading that article of Constitution.

          • Yeah, the bit that I mentioned above about coming to a military ally’s defense is one of the things that Abe’s government has been trying to push recently. I can’t remember if he actually got that definition accepted, but it did have a chunk of the Japanese population experiencing the vapors.

            • the last several years (gee, like 7 or so?) the JSDF and J-Gov’t have ratcheted up a few things that riled up the population and the usual suspects over their willingness to prep for a more active roll in their own defense. I think your realization is possibly already concluded by many over yonder.

              • A great number of those protesting their US Protectors are unwilling to pay for protectors of their own. (See: NATO members who make their “mandatory” minimum percentage of GDP investments in defense … see also how many many things can be labeled “defense”.)

                Having Americans provide such services allows them the defense equivalent of having their cake while eating it, too. (Especially when the US will pay for cows that stop laying and hens that stop giving milk because of American military jet overflights.)

        • I don’t know, when I was in Japan (early 90s) stationed at MCAS Iwakuni every so often we would all be confined to base because of demonstrations by the locals at the gates “Americans Go Home!” kinda stuff. I didn’t get the impression that the Japanese people were all that opposed to providing their own defense. Although, admittedly I don’t speak Japanese… so I wasn’t really able to talk to a lot of the locals.

          The Mama San at the little bar that I liked was always happy to see me, but I think that was more about the money she would make selling me drinks and the fact that I was one of the quiet ones who never caused trouble rather than national defense.

          • scott2harrison

            Around that time I was reading that there was a LOT of trouble being made by relatively few American servicemen on leave. As in multiple rapes. I know that the rules for leave in the navy became truly ridiculous from postings on Baen’s Bar by a Navy petty officer. Things like if you went out for a dinner with your wife and wanted to have wine with the meal, you had to have another member of the Navy along who did not drink.

            • a LOT of trouble being made by relatively few American servicemen on leave

              Yep. But there’s more to it then that. In the vast majority of the cases, the description of the assailant would be more then just “American”. And I’ll leave it at that.

            • There was a LOT of trouble in the Navy/Marine Corps around that time (*cough* Tailhook *cough*). Although I don’t recall for sure, but I think a lot of the issues in Japan were after I was already safely home from that deployment, or at least the fallout was.

              We DID have some weird cannibal attacks on base while I was there. It seems that a few Marines running on the sea wall alone in the late evening were attacked and beaten pretty badly. The “cannibal” thing comes in because they had a few bites taken out. Not bite marks… Actual bites take out! It looked like there were multiple attackers.

              Granted, everything I know went through the filter of base rumor, so huge grains of salt and all that. We were warned NOT to run the sea wall alone, and highly advised to use the buddy system everywhere else. Not being exactly a social person, I was usually alone, but luckily I guess I’m not that appetizing because nobody tried to eat me (which was a bummer because that MIGHT have been FUN… Yes, Marines can be odd that way. I did know a couple guys who made a point of running the sea wall after the announcement).

          • *gets the giggles* Did you ever spot the instigators?

            The ones in Sasebo led a demonstration through base housing.

            …. he was a 5 foot flat red-head, and she was a really big, tall blonde. Leading the “demonstrators.” Low priority place, so that’s where the guys who would NEVER pass as locals were sent.

            Some of the guys that worked in Security on base had been in the service at the time, married Japanese ladies and stayed– they had some awesome stories.

            That one came up because we had a “gaijin go home” protest happen while I was there, and it was… about half a dozen or so very elderly people, who were incredibly polite when I walked past them in the morning, sitting very neatly on lawn chairs and holding signs, and a couple of middle-aged folks who I think may have been relatives.

            • No, we were warned in no uncertain terms to STAY FAR AWAY from it. I did go to the gate and look out once out of curiosity, but didn’t see too much. Mostly middle aged Japanese with signs, milling about aimlessly.

        • getting two of your cities nuked would be cause enough to never want to do anything military again.

          I think that Japan lacks enough military age people to increase the size of their military.

          This crud is giving me deja vu all over again.

          • Actually, this gets into a point I’ve wondered about for a long time. Sherman claimed he would teach Georgians never to consider war again. Georgians went “So that’s how it’s done,” and took notes.

            It’s come up in other contexts, such as post WWI and II Europe. Why the different reactions? Is it because both Japan and Europe had a strong ally willing to fight for them, and the South knew if they didn’t help fight national enemies things would quickly go to pot?

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              That traitor Johnson sabotaged Sherman’s brilliant humanitarian utopia. /partisan nutjobbery

              He failed because of the long term aspects. Many confederate veterans settled back where they came from, and knew how to use force. When the Federal troops left, they had much of the local capacity for violence, and could recruit and train more. They could quietly murder whoever was in the way, and no one would say boo. (That changed when the WWII vets came home, and no longer wanted to live with the things they had come to detest in the nazis.)

              Alternatively, he was successful. That violence was in the form of banditry, terrorism, electoral fraud, and other things that gave plausible deniability. It was not in the form of open declared war. The Democratic Party to this day is shy of declaring open civil war, and resorts to trickery instead of open force.

    • Oh I’m pretty sure I know what Japan will do. It will scrap the pacifist bits of its constitution, ally with nations in the region that also distrust the PRC and likely rearm

      Oh wait, it’s already doing those things

      • PS take a look at the “Helicopter Carrier Dstroyer” Izumo. Remember that the IJN had the first ever custom built aircraft carrier in the world almost 100 years ago

        • Oh, I’m aware of those two ships (and one of them is named after what is probably the second most famous Japanese aircraft carrier…). There were similar discussions about STOVLs and the Hyuga-class which preceded them.

          On a side note, I find the Pacific campaign in World War 2 utterly fascinating. For obvious reasons, the commonly accepted view is that if two countries have large navies, then there will be a large number of wide-ranging sea battles spread across the length and breadth of whichever ocean the two countries share. That view often gets carried over to the sci-fi counterpart, the space navy. And yet, in the last century or so, this has only happened once – between the US and Japan in World War 2. Russia experienced complete disaster against Japan at the turn of the century. World War I promised a match-up between Great Britain and Germany, but instead the German fleet spent nearly the entire war in port with only the disappointing sortie at Jutland to shake things up a bit. And the WW2 German fleet was used purely for commerce raiding. France was knocked out of the war too quickly to matter (and then the fleet was attacked by the British). Italy never really did anything, either. The USSR had geography problems with its fleets (not that they probably would have changed things much).

          So, the US and Japan.

          China and India are currently hoping to join the club. We’ll see where that goes.

          • Oh, and I wouldn’t have been surprised if Japan had been able to beat Great Britain (the holder of the “strongest navy in the world” title at the time) in a straight-up match if the two had gone at it instead of the US and Japan.

            But, you know, US. As in, “We’ve already ordered as many fleet carriers as all of the carriers you built over the course of two decades. And that doesn’t include our light carriers. Or our escort carriers. And in light of Pearl Harbor, we’ve decided to order even more.”

            • Especially considering that the Brits thought a battleship and battlecruiser would be just fine without aircover.
              Naval aviation being just another fad, don’t you know.

              • William O. B'Livion

                It is/will have been “just a fad”. A long running fad.

                Read some of the selections from “Riding the Red Horse” by Vox Day, Christopher Nuttall et. al.

              • That was still official USN policy until after Pearl. No way were any chickenshit little airplanes going to be able to take out a battleship.

                Billy Mitchell had proven otherwise decades before, but they Navy just stuck their fingers in their ears and sang “Na-na-na-na….”

                • That’s the narrative. But the fact that the navy had eleven Essex-class carriers on order when Pearl happened suggests to me that some cracks had already started appearing in that foundation. That’s a *lot* of very expensive aircraft carriers.

                  • Well, you need someone to scout for the enemy battle line, and report back to your own battle line.

                    • Yeah, but *seventeen* of them?

                      (including six of the seven that were already in use)

                    • Plus, you could turn the hulls into battleships later, and dodge the Washington Treaty… at least that’s what a few thought.

                    • The Essex-class was built in direct response to the collapse of the Washington Treaty. So I’m not sure what dodging the Washington Treaty has to do with any of this.

                      It’s also worth noting that the first eleven of those carriers were ordered even before the British attack on the Italian fleet at Taranto.

    • I’m a wannabe Isolationist who is afraid of what would happen to the rest of the world if we just unilaterally pulled out all our troops and brought them home.

      If I became President (I don’t want to see the line of secession that would result in that — I’d suspect that millions would have to die before it got to me!) I would immediately tell all the places where we currently have troops, “Ok, we’re going to pull out in four years. You could either be left defenseless, or you can arm every man, woman, and child over the age of 12 with a rifle and a pistol, and train them in the use of said rifle and pistol, in those four years. We will do everything in our power to help you with rifle and pistol manufacturing, acquisition, and training to help you reach this goal, but after 4 years, you’re on your own.”

      I honestly don’t know how Germany, England, South Korea, Japan, or any other place where we have troops, would react to such a dictum. A combination of “Oh, no! The Evil United States is going to leave us!” and “Oh, no! We can’t trust *civilians* with pistols and rifles! Think of all the carnage that will result! We’ll be just like Switzerland!”…

  11. Ultimately I think this all means we’re rapidly approaching a crisis point, and when it hits then things will get interesting.

    But it hasn’t hit yet and there’s no point in speculating about what happens when it does, I guess.

    Re: the rest of the planet, I’m okay with the rest of the world feeling imperiled, because then they’ll remember how nice it is to live under the American hegemony. There’s nothing like the threat of danger to put the fear of God back into people and the little man in Moscow is obliging on that front. I think Americans feel it right now, much more immediately than other people, because its our resources and human capital on the line, and that’s why we’re so agitated.

    • As for when it comes to building up our own infrastructure, w/r/t pushing back against fascism, is there anything like Calliope for post-bachelors students who aren’t in schools, or is this one of those things that needs to be built now that I’ve thought of it? (I know there are individual publishers here and there…)

      • I think they’re trying to strike out in other areas (Calliope) — but you know, we’re individualists. You see a need, you build.

        • Free Range Oyster

          I see a bunch of needs. I even have mostly-formed plans to address several of them (off the top of my head: education, community outreach, secure communication, software, two or three different ones to support indie and human wave publishing) but what I’m missing is the time and money to put those together. I’m working three businesses to almost make ends meet; things are picking up, and I think we’ll be on our feet soon, but I’ve no time or energy to herd the other cats yet. Amusingly, this is one of the reasons I desire to be wealthy: because there are in fact problems that can be solved by throwing money at them, and I want to have the money to throw. The other being that I could better support creators I love and tribe members in need.

      • William O. B'Livion

        Calliope?

    • Yes, Poland appears to be very worried right now, mostly because Obama is pointedly ignoring everything that the Russians have been doing over the last month. Ukraine is as well, of course, but the US doesn’t have any military agreements with that country.

      • Ummm. Isn’t there something from the ’90s about “you give Russian back its nukes and we’ll protect you from them”? I guess I can Google as well as anyone else… The Budapest Memorandum. According to Wikipedia, there is no “we will help you” clause, just a “we will not nuke you” clause.

        • Clinton signed an agreement along those lines with regards to Ukraine. But iirc, it’s non-binding. In short, if Russia invaded Ukraine, then a US president could use the agreement as a pre-text to send troops to defend Ukraine. But that president wouldn’t really be under any real obligation to do so, either.

  12. “…her vp is a robot imperfectly programmed with Maoist phrases. He’d probably GIVE us to the Chinese, let alone sell us. And she hates the military.)”
    I have a little story that I made up. Once upon a time in the 60s, a bright young American student goes to Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship. He visits the Soviet Union on vacation where he is recruited by the KGB. When he comes back to finish school in the US, his handler orders him to marry someone who has volunteered and is dedicated to the cause of the great socialist paradise. That young woman would henceforth be his handler. That young man begins to stake out a political career and amazingly becomes president of the US! The only problem is the Soviet Union is no more, so he has no one to hand the keys over to. He tries to hand the country to the Chinese communists, but while they accept the intelligence and other items he turns over, they’ve never trusted the Russians and so they don’t trust that he is genuine. Besides what does China want with the US anyway? Just a mess dealing with those barbarians. The intel and technology is good enough. Then this KGB colonel takes power back in Russia and … Well the plot is already too ridiculous to go on. It will never sell.

    • Coming never to a theater near you: “The Clintonian Candidate”

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        Hillary is the Chinese candidate, Trump is the Russian candidate. Not running: the American candidate.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          McMullin…

          • Cruz was the American candidate.

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              He is no longer in the running. McMullin has a chance of taking Utah, maybe more depending on how Trump implodes.

              • McMuffin is only viable if Trump doesn’t implode, but instead rebounds. His only path is to win Utah so that he is the 3rd electoral vote getter in an election that goes to the House.

                • I could also see McMuffin winning if both Trump and Hillary implode sufficiently. I’m crossing my fingers, but not holding my breath.

                  I’m still somewhat undecided between McMuffin and Gary Johnson, though. I am heavily libertarian, so I really wish the Libertarian party had run libertarian Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates…

        • Although every time someone says “Trump is the Russian candidate” I have to ask if he’s done anything to actually help them like, oh, selling them 20% of our uranium stockpile in exchange for a bribe.

          • Paying taxes, maybe? Does he own properties there? (I haven’t bothered to look up where he owns stuff. If he does, that’d be a good reason to figure he’d be an anti-war-with-Russia-sorta-fellow.)

            • So far as I know, Trump hasn’t built anything in Russia, and doesn’t own any properties there. However, iirc, one of his campaign advisors has ties to Russia.

              • Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, “is best known for his lobbying efforts on behalf of pro-Russian Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych as well as for dictators such as Ferdinand Marcos and Mobutu Sese Seko and guerrilla leader Jonas Savimbi. He was an adviser to the presidential campaigns of Republicans Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole.”*

                The MSM wrung its collective hands over his links to Russia via Yanukovych and his role in funneling monies to American lobbyists.** That the recipients of those funds included the Podesta Brothers seemed to have been largely not worth mentioning.

                Podesta Group retains outside counsel over Manafort-related scandal
                A prominent D.C. lobbying firm has hired outside counsel over revelations that it may have been improperly involved in lobbying on behalf of pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians who also employed former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

                As first reported by BuzzFeed, the Podesta Group announced Friday that it has retained law firm Caplin & Drysdale to investigate whether or not the lobbying firm unwittingly did work for the pro-Russian political party in Europe that also hired Manafort.

                Although the Podesta Group was founded by Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, he has not been involved with the lobbying firm that bears his name for years. His brother, Tony Podesta, is currently chairman of the firm.

                *Wiki

                **Shakespeare got it wrong. First we kill all the lobbyists.

                • BobtheRegisterredFool

                  I understand the Podesta organization was also hired by a Russian bank and intelligence service proxy as lobbyists in connection with the Panama papers.

              • BobtheRegisterredFool

                Manafort is gone, perhaps because of the purported records showing Russian payments to him and Podesta. Or perhaps because someone got through to Trump how bad having one of the Russian bagman in the Ukraine working for him looked.

                Trump apparently has a history, a recent history, of making statements that are a close match to the propaganda the Russians are pushing. This might simply imply that he follows Russian propaganda, or maybe one of the people close to him is a Russian fount.

                There is some question in my mind which banks Trump uses to finance his activities. I have heard he has gone bankrupt enough that American banks won’t lend to him. I have heard he uses Russian banks. (Some Russian banks are used by their security services as intelligence proxies.)

                Besides Manafort, a number of his other associates are said to have Russian ties. Haven’t investigated, so can only mention businessman with ties to the Russian mafia (which is influenced by the security services), and Stone’s conduit to Assange (which doesn’t count if someone besides the Russians are running Assange). The mothers of his children were born and raised in Soviet controlled proxy states. They show no signs of strong anti-communism, and the movements of Ivana and Melania seem to make them plausible Soviet/Russian assets*.

                *Yeah, there is a fairly substancial xenophobic case against Trump.

                • Trump apparently has a history, a recent history, of making statements that are a close match to the propaganda the Russians are pushing. This might simply imply that he follows Russian propaganda, or maybe one of the people close to him is a Russian fount.

                  More likely he’s tied into the “alternative media” online that’s Russian– I think it’s Russia Today, AKA RT? They do a very good job on filling some of the more obvious gaps in American news, but with that lovely additional Russian twist that you’ve got to watch out for.

  13. Glad you’re not shutting down, though I understand the temptation. Your post yesterday was brilliant, and I’ve been thinking about it. Burn that which is infected, corrupt, septic and gangrenous.

    I have hated Communism from the time I was about 12. It is an evil, anti human religion. It took me a lot longer to realize that most of what passes for progressive ideas were no more than cultural warfare designed to destroy America from the inside out and thus enable the triumph of the totalitarian collective, or, as I like to call it, the Dark Temple of Death.

    Because most Americans did not recognize the ‘counterculture’ for what it was, we allowed it to grow. First it was a localized infection, then an epidemic and now we have a pandemic on our hands. All who suffer from the disease are unaware that they are sick (one of the disease’s defence mechanisms is to project itself on to those less infected) and do not wish to be cured. Meanwhile the rest of the country carries the disease in a less advanced form; this is true of anyone who has regularly engaged the organs of propaganda, which are ubiquitous, over the course of the last forty years or so.

    Burning that out is going to be a real B-I-T-C-Q-water-lily. I very much fear that the cumulative fruits of Cloward-Piven are going to catch up with us and bite us in the aspidistra hard. Then there will indeed be wailing and gnashing of teeth – and an easy out provided by those who arranged it in the first place.

    The real trick is going to be in finding the third way. Oh, I believe that at the right time it will be revealed. And I believe that enough of us will wiggle out of the trap that’s been set for us. Hard times a’ comin’, Miz Sarah. Pow’ful hard times. They gonna be excitin; times, and glorious. Lawdy, Lawd!

    • your life your liberty, your sacred honor — did you think it would be easy?

      • If it’s warm enough, I’m wearing that shirt on Election Day.

        All y’all join me?

      • Ah….so its not “Your life, your library, and your sacred honor”? I am much relieved – risking one’s life and honor and liberty is one thing, but risking one’s library?!?!? 😉

        • Oh, $DEITY no! I’m not risking my library for anything!

          My life, liberty, and honor, definitely.

          • Public or private?

            My own library, sure. I’ll risk it (I half believe the Inkling superstition about what the boooks one will have in heaven).

            My public library? If that goes, we don’t have liberty anymore anyway. Talk to any escapee from a communist regime.

            • I’ve come to believe the reverse: our private libraries are the most important, while the public libraries are meh.

              The problem is that We the People have power over what we can keep in our libraries — and so we need to make sure we keep important stuff in there, for whatever value of important we choose. The movement towards electronic libraries are going to be very helpful for this!

              Public libraries have the problem that public librarians don’t necessarily know what’s important — or worse, some of them value and promote the stuff that’s actually harmful to freedom and prosperity — so we lose all sorts of books. And frankly, some of the loss is inevitable, because it goes out of style: I was sad that a certain book, “Starting Forth” (by Leo Brodie, about an obscure but fantastic little computer language called Forth), wasn’t replaced in the public library system when it fell apart (probably due to it not being in print, among other reasons), and I was distressed when “The Star Beast” disappeared from our local public library just recently (probably because it’s not popular any more, and it’s available as an eBook — but that makes it that much more non-discoverable…).

              Another example: the American Library Association refused to stand up for the dissidents in Cuba who were arrested because they had books unapproved by the Cuban regime, on account of the claim that people with only thirty or so books aren’t librarians, so they won’t side with them. And here I am, thinking it’s a basic right to own and loan books, and that no matter how small a collection those books are, the act of owning and loaning books qualifies you to be a librarian…

          • They can have my library when they pry it from… 😉

      • Oh, hell no! Tough but satisfying. I’m down for the struggle, just not really sure where to get a grip on a workable piece of the problem. But I just keep at it. After all, the vast majority of bullets fired on the battlefield miss their targets, but even the ones that miss incentivize the enemy to keep his head down.

    • Part of our problem is our culture has abandoned the use of maggots, critters which consume dead flesh but leave the living flesh alone. How bad our cultural gangrene may be is awfully hard to tell, in part because the peacocks are making so much noise fighting to recognize the most “genders” without recognizing that, by the system they’re employing, the number ultimately is equal to the number of people on this planet.

  14. Copybook Headings time

    • For the newcomers:

      AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
      I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
      Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
      And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

      We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
      That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
      But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
      So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

      We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
      Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
      But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
      That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

      With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
      They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
      They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
      So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

      When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
      They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
      But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
      And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

      On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
      (Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
      Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
      And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

      In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
      By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
      But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
      And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

      Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
      And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
      That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
      And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

      As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
      There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
      That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
      And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

      And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
      When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
      As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
      The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

    • Our blog anthem:
      AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
      I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
      Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
      And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

      We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
      That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
      But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
      So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

      We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
      Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
      But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
      That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

      With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
      They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
      They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
      So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

      When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
      They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
      But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
      And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

      On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
      (Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
      Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
      And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

      In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
      By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
      But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
      And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

      Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
      And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
      That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
      And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

      As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
      There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
      That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
      And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

      And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
      When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
      As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
      The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

    • AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
      I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
      Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
      And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

      We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
      That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
      But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
      So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

      We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
      Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
      But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
      That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

      With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
      They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
      They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
      So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

      When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
      They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
      But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
      And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

      On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
      (Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
      Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
      And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

      In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
      By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
      But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
      And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

      Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
      And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
      That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
      And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

      As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
      There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
      That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
      And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

      And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
      When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
      As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
      The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

  15. “There is another reason the US was suited for “world’s policeman.” We didn’t have imperial intentions. Because we’re not a country of soil and blood conquering another land and giving it to our blood means nothing to us. Which is why to quote Dave Freer “The Americans are awful imperialists. All they want to do is go home.”

    I’m not fan of us being the world’s police, if for no other reason than it taxes our resources while the rest of the world seems to get a free ride then having to listen to the Anti-american crap coming from our so called allies. But what you and Dave said makes sense to me – Almost enough to get me to examine my “I’m tired of us doing the work and getting spit on” attitude. Food for thought.

    • Being the world’s policeman isn’t so very expensive if you don’t do it in Keystone Kops fashion, rushing about frantically in response to any new report of problems. Employing a Broken Windows methodology and relying on overwhelming force (rather than the “proportionate” sort) makes it far more practical.

      People who want us to withdraw inside our borders a) forget we no longer have any borders and b) demonstrate they’ve not grasped the significance of what a troop of Boy Scouts could have done in March of ’36 on the opposite side of that bridge into the Rhineland.*

      *http://ww2timeline.info/ww21936.htm
      March 7
      Adolf Hitler denounces the Rhineland provisions of Treaty of Versailles and Locarno Treaty. 14,500 German troops march in to join with 22,000 local police to re-occupy the Rhineland.

      German representatives inform foreign ministers and ambassadors of the German re-occupation of the Rhineland, and outline a peace plan including 25-year non-aggression pacts for all countries bordering on Germany.

      French General Staff of Army reports German forces in the Rhineland as 295,000, exaggerated to eight times the actual number.

    • Some things you do because if you don’t, no one else will. And some things you do because if you don’t, someone else will. And it probably won’t be in a way you like, or are willing to accept.

      What we each have to do, individually and as a culture, is decide what price we’re willing to pay to maintain our freedom of action within the world. Because if we’re not paying that price ourselves, we’re paying another price, to someone else.

    • The funny thing about worrying about what the rest of the world thinks of us, is that it’s a no-win proposition: I remember a reporter spending time in one of the *istans, asking a local what he thought about America. He asked if the United States should get involved with issue X, which was against the country’s interest (if I recall correctly) and the local’s answer would be “the US had better mind its own business, and stay out of it!” while if a neighboring country had invaded a certain valley that was contested land between that country and X, the local expected the US to come to their aid….

  16. Thank you for not closing the blog and walking away. I’m sure that no matter who wins the election next month (even a dark horse/black swan candidate) we’ll need it more than ever in the next few years.

    ((hugs))

  17. I cannot describe the sardonic, mordant laughter that wells up within as I view the party of JFK, LBJ and Bill Clinton claiming its knickers are all knotted up over a man like Trump staining the seat cushions Oval Office. As for their hissies over the insidious, evil Russians hacking our their election … this is still the party that wanted to “reset” relations after George W Bush did so much to alienate Russia, the party that spent the last twenty years of the Cold War arguing rapprochement was possible if only we’d stop being so beastly to the Kremlin, the party whose last great icon, the Lyin’ Lion of the Senate and drowning victim, tried to go behind the Republican president’s back and rig the 1984 election?

    Sorry, but I do view this as a sport, an entertainment where the side for whom I root will do what it will, as it will without regard to me. I cannot donate sufficient amounts to earn their attention and my vote has proven to be of very minor effect. Thus I watch with some perspective and no little emotional distance, hoping the team will play well and pull off an upset even if the MSM insists on casting them in the role of the Washington Generals. To do more, to entrust my heart to this fallible fools would ensure it gets broken and I cannot see accepting heartbreak at such hands as theirs.

    This is my home, my nation, and it grieves me to see it stumbling about in a dim and drunken stupor, but I no longer expect any words of mine to reach it.

  18. I think it will do certain parts of the world no end of good to discover that the US won’t step in and rescue them from their idiocies. It’s probably going to be a bit rough on the inhabitants but the survivors are likely to be a lot less whiny.

    Of course the survivors may not be terribly happy with the US for abandoning them, so it would probably be good if the US has had its own clean out at the same time.

    • Considering that many of those same parts of the world resent the hell out of the US for repeatedly saving them from themselves in any number of ways and for being better at just about everything than they are, I’m not overly worried on that front.

  19. Thank you. I feel like the proverbial little old lady, sitting in her living room, clutching her cat, while somebody tries to open her doors and get in. So I put down kitty, grab my double-barreled shotgun and a pistol, and wish to heaven the neighborhood watch weren’t off at a diversity training exercise, learning to sing Kumbya.

    The barbarians are circling, moving ever closer to our gates. And we have a clown rodeo instead of leadership.

  20. What can I say, when all has been said?

    All I can do is remind people that eight years of Trump is a friggin’ big pothole, probably crack the axles. We’ll have a lot of repair work to do.

    Eight more years of the Left is a cliff. Someone else will just be sweeping up the pieces.

    So… do that at the Presidential level. Congressional level, hold the nose and do some work for the McClones, we didn’t manage to flush them in the primaries.

    Keep working hard on the County Board of Supervisors, County Sheriff, School Board – there are still decent opponents to the incumbents, ones with a chance of winning in those races.

    Oh, I do have a team – Team American Liberty. Only one that matters.

    • That, and work on the cultural and educational aspects. Mentoring and tutoring organizations, Junior Achievement, coaching of youth sports, stuff like that. Build the communities that are real communities, not collections of people with superficial demographic similarities.

  21. There is a saying that has been haunting me regarding this country.

    “People get the government they deserve.”

    What I am afraid of is that we, as in We The People, deserve this.

    We deserve the lies, the insults, and the contempt.

    We’ve been giving up freedom little by little for a long time. Each time it seemed it was a reasonable request to achieve some good and noble ends we were told. And now the good and noble ends turn out to be the acquisition of power, the maintenance of power and the execution of power over us.

    We allow ourselves to be tied up by countless laws and regulations that must be followed or be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. But there is no way to know what the law is but ignorance of the law is no excuse. Unless you’re connected. Then you don’t have to worry about it.

    Instead of keeping power in our hands were it would do the most good, we given it up.

    Trump and Clinton are symptoms of the disease of concentrating too much power in too few hands.

    So they fight over the carcass while we get the scraps.

    We have been irresponsible.

    We have been shielding people from the consequences of their actions so that they never have to learn. We’ve keep the Fool’s fingers from going wobbling back to the fire. The Fool will never learn to stop being a Fool but by avoiding the consequences of his folly he spreads his foolishness to others.

    Taking power back from the bureaucrats, judges, politicians and news media will be hard. You have to persuade people to accept the uncertain of freedom over the safety of slavery.

    Go forth and show what free people are and make the government we deserve.

    Thus endth the rant.

    • In our defense (yes, even mine) we have been misinformed and mis-educated. And free people need to work on THAT too.

    • I remember at the time saying of Obama’s election that the problem was not his presidency, it was the electorate willing to vote for him. The first was shorter of duration.

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        Yes.

        Discussed the flip side today.

        America is in the people. Clinton has limited ability to truly change the people without mass murder. Which probably wouldn’t be a good idea for her to try.

        Thus, there are limits.

        Long term, I dunno, but this is not for sure the end.

        • That’s my response when folk suggest some new law that will supposedly magically fix everything. Term limits. “Campaign finance reform”. Change in pay or benefits for elected officials. Whatever.

          None of those will “fix” the problem because they aren’t the cause in the first place. They’re the result. In the end, the problem is low information voters who are infected with the twin pathologies of “there ought to be a law” and “goodies that other people pay for.”

          That’s the problem that has to be addressed. But that’s a lot harder than some magical “we’ll just pass this one law and…”

        • Last night, the Republican Party headquarters in Orange County, North Carolina was firebombed.


          The firebombing probably was not committed by marginal, uneducated people. Orange County is the wealthiest county in North Carolina. It is heavily Democratic, with Democrats and independents outnumbering Republicans 5-1. The county is home to the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and Duke University is just outside the county’s boundary. So left-wing students or professors could have been involved.

          See:
          REPUBLICAN HEADQUARTERS IN NORTH CAROLINA FIREBOMBED; IS DEMOCRATS’ VIOLENT RHETORIC TO BLAME?
          powerlineblog.com/archives/2016/10/republican-headquarters-in-north-carolina-firebombed-is-democrats-violent-rhetoric-to-blame[DOT]php

  22. Well, as a civil servant I’m glad to see that at least somebody is sane. Reading this along with a V. D. Hanson piece on NRO reminded me of how badly we’re standing. For the particular work I do at a particular agency, it breaks my heart working with the public seeing how little they understand their country and how it works. My co-workers have been increasingly quitting the work as it feels like we’re not on the same plane of existence as the citizens we’re trying to help.

    Regardless of the election result for President, it is going to end in tears. Frankly I’ve been preparing to bunker down to ride out what I can. Thankfully there are a couple boltholes to go bush still.

  23. On Russians hacking the election:

    The issue of hacking electronic voting machines comes down to access. Those I’ve seen aren’t connected to the Internet, so that requires physically accessing the program, or planting a virus, or changing EPROMS, or adding hardware, all to implement a man-in-the-middle attack. More simply, they could just botch the OS on boot-up and leave a dead machine. But it all comes down to access at one point.

    I’m not saying it’s impossible for the Russians to do, only that actually getting their hands on a machine is harder than their hackers going through a firewall and doing mischief.

    Since voting machines usually have more than one register for back-up purposes, and some now have paper print-outs, the man-in-the-middle attack or disabling machines are probably the most likely avenues of attack if they can get their hands on a machine. A virus in a central location is probably more likely than adding hardware.

    I really think all the Russian hacking the election talk is to lay the groundwork in the event of a Trump victory. Then the Democrats claim the results were hacked by the Russians and try to get it thrown into Congress. That might be behind the “Russians hacking for Trump” the Democrats are going with over the Hillary emails. That, and it avoids having to deny the emails are true.

    • What I understand is that they have already hacked ELECTION ROLLS.

      • They can’t do that! Hacking elections is Democrat turf!

        Don’t they at least have to pay some kind of franchise fee?

      • Which I assume would be easier, for some places allow registering online. But what does that accomplish? That data is already freely available, which is why we all get targeted political junk mail after primaries. At worst they could trash the database, in which case, in most states, standard procedure would be provisional ballots until registration could be verified. Since here has to be some sort of means to verify voters at each precinct/parish, and since early voting requires such a list, that would surface long before November.

        Or are you thinking about some other means of attack, maybe having nothing to do with the election? Maybe “sell” the data to crime syndicates, as seems to be common these days?

        I’m honestly drawing a blank on the advantages of hacking the election rolls, at least for the purpose of meddling with elections.

        • I think the idea is that you could add people to it.

          And remember that the Feds get EXTREMELY hostile whenever a locality decides to start cleaning up the voting rolls.

        • How about inserting all kinds of new members to it? So that people who don’t live there can walk in and vote as one of the ghost registrations?

          • Both of which requires boots on the ground, implying acting in cahoots with a domestic group. Yet, as places like Virginia has shown, no foreign hacking is required.

          • Not really useful for the Russians, though.

            I think the main purpose of such claims is as distraction from the crimes being committed right under our noses.

            Pseudolus: The plague! The plague! Run for your lives! ( To audience) Don’t just sit there! Run!

            “When in trouble or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout”

        • In Indiana, a local organization headed by a national Democrat operative is being investigated by the State Attorney General for falsely changing EXISTING voter registrations, as well as for registering dead persons to vote.
          The only advantage I can see of changing the info (name, address, etc) in the way it has apparently been done is to cause those voters to be rejected at the polls, providing the “persons disenfranchised by Indiana’s voter ID laws” upon whom a challenge to the laws could then be brought. (Because, of course, in the last suit by the Democrats, they could not produce in court even one person who was disenfranchised by that law.)
          JPDev

          • Generating confusion and disqualifying large numbers of ballots has a benefit outside the polls.

          • scott2harrison

            Enough!!! How do we get the entire Democratic party declared a criminal organization? Including all registered Democrats being found guilty of membership and losing their vote for life.

    • The thing that confuses me is that nobody *needs* voting machines. The old system of sorting and counting paper ballots worked just fine, and still does in some places.

      I expect the true reasons have to do with “trust us, we wouldn’t fiddle the database” and “sorry, there’s no way to do a recount.”

      • It’s high tech. It sounds cooler. And the computer counts it for you automatically instead of needing to wait until a bunch of people finish with the votes by hand.

        Fortunately, my local district still uses paper ballots. And I don’t think I’ve heard anyone threaten to convert us to an electronic system any time soon. Of course, part of the reason why that hasn’t happened yet is that someone would first need to come up with the money to convert us over…

        • We’re still paper here, too. I think if they switched to electronic they’d have to get all new poll workers as well as money. Poll workers might be harder to find. (It’s the elderly neighbors who do it, and remind each and every one of us to get the rest of the family in to vote.)

          • Ours had no problem learning. And these ladies had been at it so long they knew everybody. So we have things like them flipping to your name before you say a word while another askes “Has Kevin showed his ID?”

      • Our county went with voting machines a long time ago to curb meddling with the ballots. Either that, or in some counties voters were so polite that they voted in alphabetical order. They were also, somehow, tracking ballots, for one let slip to my father that they appreciated his vote, and he said “How do you know how I voted?” At that point they clammed up.

        You can do recounts on the things since they store the votes in multiple areas. One prints a paper tape for that purpose. Have seen a news photo of a poll worker with such a tape in his hand during a recount.

        That’s why I think a man-in-the-middle or an attempt to shut the machines down are the most likely forms of attack. With a man-in-the-middle attack, you could vote one way and the machine tally it another. This gets into an area that Heinlein commented on with mechanical voting machines in his book on running for office.

        • The thing with electronic voting machines is that, in addition to the conveniences you’ve mentioned, they enhance opportunities for graft. After all, somebody earns commissions on the sales and maintenance of those things.

          Locally the machines print a paper tape recording the vote, so you can examine that if you’re so inclined. And it may be an actual representation of your vote as cast. My preference would be for the machine to produce a printed summary which goes in the ballot box proper.

          The problems with with paper ballots were made manifest in 2000. Some people do not accurately and completely check the box, leaving vote counters trying to determine whether the voter dragged the pencil across that part of the ballot or truly meant to cast a vote for Diebold Machines for president. Anybody who has ever looked at bubble sheet test answers likely can regale you for hours with the difficulties of interpretation (especially if you are buying the drinks.)

          Then we have the problem of hanging Chad.

          While voting machine manufacturers are as eager as locksmiths to attest to the reliability and security of their devices, that doesn’t mean you should accept their attestations. The facts are that no such device can ever be designed that will be both foolproof and invulnerable to tampering. The best we can do is limit the damage doable by such manipulations.

          The simplest and easiest way of beating the systems remains registering false voters and turning out bodies to vote under those identities. Sadly, we tend to entrust the processes to the people with the most to gain by manipulating them. As Alan Greenspan has observed, “Rules cannot take the place of character.”

          • It was the same with mechanical machines. As the years passed and parts became harder to find, those costs went up.

          • Read of an interesting method today, this was somewhere near Searcy, Arkansas — they don’t do advance ballots. You go to the polls, fill out the form on the screen, and the system THEN prints your ballot, which you hand in on the spot.

            The discussion was about voter fraud and how easy it is to, uh, repackage ballots in the wild for later use, let alone flip numbers in a computer.

            • Searcy is in White County.

              My Dad voted in Lonoke County. They have big paper ballots and fat laundry markers, the same system we used to use, except now the ballots are fed into a scanner/shredder, so as far as I’m concerned the votes go to /dev/null.

              Pulaski County, where I vote, has Diebold terminals. You show your ID, the poll worker plugs an 8-track sized box into her laptop, types a while, and hands the 8-track to another poll worker, who walks you over to the machine, inserts the 8-track, and then stands looking over your shoulder to “help” while you vote. When you’re done, the worker gives the 8-track back to the first poll worker. There’s no paper tape in the voting machine.

              Confidence of secret ballot: zero. Doesn’t bother me, but I could see how some people could feel intimidated.

              • The Diebolds I’ve used have a card. This is set up district-wise at the polls (multiple districts at each voting precinct). This cards is handed to you. You then go to the machines. Our machines are set up so that the back of the screens face outward and a wall is at your back. No one can walk behind you. You insert the card, the ballot comes up, you vote, verify your selections, and then cast your ballot, which is like pulling the big red lever in the mechanical machine days. The card ejects and at this point is “dead.” You hand the card back to the poll workers.

                The Diebolds uses multiple data storage just as our old handheld meter reading machines did. There is no paper tape, but for paper fans, recording your vote on paper tape means diddly squat to something like a man-in-the-middle attack.

                Back in the mechanical machine days, you gave your voting slip to a poll worker and were directed to a specific machine. The slips were maintained in sequential order. I often wondered if the voting machine maintained a sequential record. If so, it would be trivial to match the slips to the votes.

              • Does the scanner actually shred the ballots? The ones I worked with retained the set inside.
                My advice to those worried about vote fraud is to work the polls- either directly for your supervisor of elections, or for your political party.
                In a lot of ways, that will put your mind at ease about some things (it’s not hacking the machines, its people able to vote in two different states).

                • I worked the polls. DID NOT set my mind at ease. I didn’t realize how many amnesiac people there were, who showed up to vote to be told they’d voted early or by mail. It’s way MORE than people voting in two states.

                • There was an open trash can underneath, that the shredded strips dropped into.

                  I’m 100% certain they were shredded… as to what was recorded, who knows?

          • The problems with with paper ballots were made manifest in 2000. Some people do not accurately and completely check the box, leaving vote counters trying to determine whether the voter dragged the pencil across that part of the ballot or truly meant to cast a vote for Diebold Machines for president. Anybody who has ever looked at bubble sheet test answers likely can regale you for hours with the difficulties of interpretation (especially if you are buying the drinks.)
            ———————–

            Our local paper ballot system doesn’t have those issues. Vote selections are marked with what is essentially the equivalent of a small round self-inking stamp. And given that the only way that you can interact with the ballot while voting is literally through a small hole in the overlay, it seems to be a design that’s resistant to the various issues that I’ve seen described with other paper voting systems.

      • Funny enough, Florida went back to paper ballots, with the old “fill in the circle using this marker” type ballots.
        Once you vote, you the voter puts the card in the reader machine. If something is miss marked, it spits your ballot right out.
        After the polls closed, the scanner would print out a tape with all the basic results on it that we would tape in a publicly visible location. A dupe tape was locked in with the ballots.
        Finally, the machine was plugged into a phone jack, and faxed the results to the precinct.

        • That idea is so crazy it just might work!

          Thus it cannot be allowed. Our politicians would rather accept rampant fraud than admit they can’t run for scheiss.

    • Are the machines that compute the final tally insulated from the Internet?

      • That would actually be irrelevant, for a recount goes back to the machines. And easy way to verify results would be for counties to confirm the submitted tallies are what is recorded. That could be hacked as well, but it’s increasing the level of difficulty.

        • That’s true about recounts, but there has to BE a recount for it to show up. If the margin is large enough, what’s the likelihood of having a recount?

          • Margin in what? There’s usually more than one election going on. So if someone’s doing some monkeying and the race for dogcatcher in Podunk, Mississippi, is so close there’s a recount, then this sort of monkeying comes to light.

            No, this sort of thing is typically done on the precinct level, which makes it hard to detect. I was told by an uncle who was a politician of a county that, long ago, only turned in their results for gubernatorial elections after the race was decided, and the county always went with the winner. Always. Then came one election where it was close and a neighboring county didn’t turn in their results, either. The speculation was it was to make the first county sweat a little. He couldn’t remember who broke down and sent in their results before the other, but it was his speculation that they were monkeying with the votes so they could go to the new governor and say “See, we helped you in the last election.”

  24. so which 10 years were those with the ideal government?

    • I said it didn’t even last 10 years. 😀

    • Depends on what date you pick for the birth of the USA. 1776 when we declared our independence, or 1783 when we actually signed a peace treaty with the English? 1789 when our constitution was signed, or 1791 when the Bill of Rights was added?
      It ended in 1791 with the Whiskey Rebellion when the new nation levied a tax on the production of alcohol for which a good many citizens took great exception.

  25. Bjorn Hasseler

    *slow clap*

  26. please vote:
    https://www.goodreads.com/poll/show/143505-what-book-about-a-library-should-we-read-for-september

    Also, does anyone know of an Access developer who might like a job in Connecticut? Hartford area.

  27. I’m getting pretty tired of the burn-it-downers. They remind me of Rocket in Guardians of the galaxy asking Starlord why he’d want to save the galaxy. Me response is the same: “Because I’m one of the idiots that live in it!”

  28. floridaeditor

    Thanks for taking the time to write this blog. You have a lot of optimism I don’t share. This post has hit a kind of sore spot for me because while I’m ready for things to burn down, I don’t want it to, I just don’t think it can be stopped and I’m tired of trying. So, no, I’m not saying “burn it down;” I’m saying, “Just let them burn it down. It’s worth saving, but it can’t be saved.”

    My job for the last 28 years has involved covering the activities of government. Every politician sees his job as solving problems. They’ll solve imaginary ones if we run out of real ones, or if they can’t blame their political rivals. That’s where we are today and it won’t change without something drastic happening. I know this because I see it every single day. Government demands more and more power, and voters absolutely agree.

    After following your advice to “build around, under, and over” for many years — before I even heard you say it — I need to stop. I have a perfect track record of exactly zero victories and there is an insurmountable amount of lost ground between me and my starting point. It’s time for me to recognize that I don’t have the talent, knowledge, or willpower to make a difference. I don’t want to burn it down because the world has done me wrong. I don’t want it to burn down at all. But it’s gonna burn. I have run out of ideas.

    So truly — good luck. I’m stumped about how to save anything at all for myself or my children. I’ve enjoyed reading you, but I’m taking your advice one last time and getting out of the way.

    • Don’t fall into the fallacy of thinking that current trends will continue unchanged and unabated. We can guess, but we just plain don’t and can’t know what the future will honestly bring.
      In the 70’s and 80’s, folks thought the Soviet Union would last forever.
      In the 30’s, people thought Proper, Honest to Hitler Fascism was the wave of the future.
      In 1910, the idea that the German, Russian, Ottoman, and Austria-Hungarian empires would be dead and gone within the decade would have seemed ludicrous.
      in 1869, the idea of Prussia crushing France would have likewise seemed ridiculous.

      We can make our best predictions, and some will be right, some will be wrong. But, you cannot be absolutely certain.

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        We have an awful lot of uncertainty right now. Things probably are going to shift quickly soon in ways no one can predict or control.

        Else if 2020 is similar, we can just elect someone on a Buckman platform, and secure the Mexican border in accordance with our Roman heritage.

        • OUR SOARING ECONOMY – FROM NEWSMAX: Bankruptcy filings by U.S. businesses soared 38 percent in September from a year earlier in an ominous sign of a weakening economy, says Wolf Richter, editor of the Wolf Street blog. Last month’s bankruptcies reached 3,072 to bring the year-to-date total to 28,789 and marked the eleventh straight month of increases from 2015, according to data from the American Bankruptcy Institute. “Rising bankruptcies are an indicator that the ‘credit cycle’ has ended,” Richter says in a commentary about the limits of the Federal Reserve’s ability to help an economic recovery. “The Fed’s policy of easy credit has encouraged businesses to borrow – those that could. But by now, this six-year debt binge has created an ominous debt overhang that is suffocating these businesses as they find themselves, against all promises, mired in an economy that’s nothing like the escape-velocity hype that had emanated from Wall Street, the Fed and the government.”

          The new president may have to face a recession, or worse. Another legacy of the indifferent Obama.
          http://urgentagenda.com/PERMALINKS%20IX/OCTOBER%202016/11.SHORT.HTML

          Without information about the “normal” rate of bankruptcies it is difficult to interpret this. Of tw things can we be sure:

          Donald Trump knows how to see a business through bankruptcy.

          Hillary Clinton “can’t be responsible for every undercapitalized entrepreneur in America.”

          • Someone pointed out that Trump has had ~20 businesses go bankrupt, but ~500 that succeeded. Even allowing for exaggeration that is an absolutely stellar ratio — the average is more like what, a quarter? half?? (Just saw somewhere that around 13% of U.S. bankruptcies are businesses.)

            Some different stats:
            http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-bankruptcy-stats-idUSBREA0511620140106
            “Business bankruptcy filings in the United States dropped 24 percent in 2013 to their lowest level since at least 2006, according to a report on Monday.”

            I think we’re partly still seeing a correction after the dot-bomb era made everyone go wild with venture capital that had no realistic hope of a return.

            • Running a business and running a country are not even close to the same thing. I grant you understanding how businesses should be run would help, but the way Trump ran them was crony capitalism, which he ALSO thinks will work for the nation.

            • Look, I grew up in a corporatist, national-socialist nation. I don’t want to go back there anymore than I want to go back to the international socialism that came after.

    • The “get out of the way” applies to people obsessively trying to convince us we’re doomed.
      As for your inability to believe it, you’re listening to too many depressives. Things are never as bad — or good — as they sound. Perspective is important.

    • Also, I find it a little odd that when I say the people who are ROOTING for us to fail should get out of the way, you think it applies to you. Don’t you find that slightly specious?

    • Not everyone CAN make a difference. I don’t know if you’re evaluating yourself objectively (though that’s a capacity that few have), but if you truly can’t, that’s ok. You can help the overall position of those who work to reverse the tide simply by being as self-sufficient as you can.

      On the other hand, have you considered the possibility that you’re trying TOO hard? It’s possible that you need to take some time to relax and let ideas flow. Or possibly simply talk to some different people in order to get some different viewpoints? For myself, anything actually creative requires that I have a few hours away from pretty much everything, so that I can let my mind wander. It opens me up to new associations, usually of things I already know, but frequently in new combinations. But if you try something like this, it’s still possible to defeat yourself by expecting it to solve problems immediately. It might take weeks of sitting quietly, maybe listening to music, or doing some relatively mindless hobby, like doodling, or crocheting/knitting, or what have you, before you think of anything to do.

      I’ve been trying to do some things myself, but I keep running into roadblocks. Probably most of them are self-inflicted, but many of them are simply the universe out to prove that perversity is real. I start to get moving, then get sick, or else find that I wasn’t the first to be interested in the PERFECT little establishment I was going to try to buy, and the first ones got their variance approved, or I have an idea (that is now largely a standard in the industry where I was working at the time), but after sinking all the available money i had into equipment, I had the wrong parts to make it work. Take some time, rest, relax, and don’t even think about such things for a while. Let your batteries recharge.

      • You do what you can. It may seem that you’re not making any impact, but you can never tell when something you do or say strikes the right spark with someone who has more influence than you. Or even different influence than you.

  29. And now for a lighter moment, regarding politics and soccer…

    We now return you to your regularly scheduled seriousness.

  30. By the way, really good show, Sarah. Danke.

  31. As a side note of optimism, if it all goes to pot, I wouldn’t worry too much about the rest of the world showing up ready to imperialize.
    No one else has the power projection capacity that the United States has. I mean, the reason we got involved in Libya was that NATO didn’t have the munitions to pull it off. And we provided half of France’s air transport when they intervened in Mali.

    • When the RPG Twilight 2000 got an overhaul and setting update several years back, I skimmed through the new rulebook. And spent a lot of time rolling my eyes.

      You see, while the US was reduced to a shell of its former self, the Russians were apparently landing troops in multiple locations around the world – i.e. showing a transport and logistical capability that they didn’t have even at the *height* of Soviet power.

      • I’m rather more worried about missiles THEN troops, if they have any.

        • Well, one of the basic premises of Twilight 2000 was that at least a few missiles have already flown…

          • Patrick Chester

            Though you’re talking about Merc 2000 up above, right? I know when the Soviet Union fell, they retconned the future history for the regular Twilight 2000 game to still cause a Third World War, and Merc 2000 is an alternate history where WWIII didn’t happen, but much wackiness still manages to ensue.

            • No, this was the updated version that was released a while back (can’t remember exactly when). IIRC, there was some “post-war setting” stuff that had the US in really poor shape, and the Russians able to land troops in multiple locations around the world.

  32. “Then I remember “the art of the deal” and his tendency to admire Putin.”

    I expect Trump means it exactly the same way I do, when I say I admire one thing about Putin: that he *never* forgets his JOB is to put Russia first, and while we may deplore his methods, he always does what he believes is in Russia’s best interests.

    I believe the same of Trump, if for no other reason than selfish motives: what’s good for America is good for Trump.

    (Side note: the other day I read an analysis, I forget where, that pointed out Putin’s current actions are the direct result of America looking weak — not for Russian expansionism, but rather because if America is unwilling to knock heads together, Russia again feels the need of a buffer zone to protect itself.)

  33. Got a real laugh the other day– was listening to radio from the dry side of the state, and a guy running for Governor mentioned how it’s just amazing, King County can get over 80% turn-out but those of us on the dry side are more like 30%, we could totally win this stuff if we’d just get people out to vote.

    ….

    It’s been by mail for years. And I know that several folks who live in King County also get ballots in their second home.

    I also heard from some of my neighbors that they never *got* the ballots they applied for, and that’s not even the ones that are military. When it went to by-mail-only, I heard about an entire Orthodox Jewish neighborhood that showed up to vote… their ballots never came, but I betcha they were sent in.
    😦

      • Boss Tweed said, “I don’t care who does the voting as long as I do the nominating.”

        The Parties have gone belt-and-suspenders and control both in a lot of places…

        • I’d almost be willing to settle for disqualifying representatives and senators from any state with a district recording more than 100% of the eligible vote for any candidate, and disqualifying that state’s electoral college votes.

          It would make the results much more even.

          Then disqualify anyone else elected until all the functionaries responsible for the system that allowed such a travesty have been replaced.

    • I should probably remind my stepmother to shred Dad’s ballot, so he doesn’t end up voting Dem this year.

      I mean, his obituary was in the paper and everything, but since Whitman county tried to send me a ballot even after I moved to Idaho…

  34. For some reason I tied my work email to this; so
    c4re-c

  35. I do trust you understand that I’m not a “burn it all down”, even in my darkest moments. No, my darker moments are more “well, if it’s going to burn down despite all I can do, I might as well bring marshmallows”. 😉

    I lost a lot of hope for the short and middle term when Indiana went for Trump, pretty much ensuring the nomination to him. Longer term? Actually, while the next four years (at least) might be really, really painful this can work out for better in the long run. You see, for some time now the GOP has been trying to “out Democrat the Democrats”, oh there’s some mumbling about faith and the GOP tended to be more openly hawkish (the Democrats were at least as aggressive, just hid it behind rhetoric and didn’t admit to it), but by and large they’ve been stampeding to the Left. The problem, from my conservative/libertarian view (I suppose Goldwater conservative might be pretty close–I find very little in Goldwater’s “Concience of the Conservative” that I disagree with) is that they’ve been winning or just being edged out with that strategy.

    Maybe what has to happen is that they lose so badly that they are forced to reassess this “run to the ‘center’ (which is actually really far left)” strategy.

    Although sometimes I am thinking we may end up with Sarah having been precient with “Usaian” being an underground religion awaiting the day when they can rebuild Constitutional government based on liberty.

    But burn it down hoping to bring forth some kind of free republic from the ashes? Historically, when has that ever worked? That certainly doesn’t describe the American Revolution. Might describe the French (if you squint and hold your head right).

    No. Just…no.

    • There is an argument to be made for not just bringing marshmallows but graham crackers and chocolate bars.

      1. Stipulate Hillary gets elected. Does anyone think the economy will turn around or is it more likely to continue its long slow death or even to crash completely?

      2. Assume Hillary appoints a reliably Liberal Justice. Citizens United and Heller get overturned.

      3. With trendlines what they are, Russia and Iran have no need to take us to war. They can simply push through us to achieve what they want with minimal resistance.

      4. I don’t know about you, but this makes 2018 look like a total route for Republicans, with most of the new arrivals being conservatives. I’m thinking Watergate level election. Followed by the first impeachment of a Justice (possibly more than one) president and vice-president. Sure, this assumes we learn the facts about Comey’s and Lynch’s dive as well as get inside looks at the Clinton pay-to-play operation, but how big a stretch is that?

      Watergate level collapse of confidence in government strikes me as more likely than Civil War, although one cannot be too sure of what a desperate Hillary might do. International war seems unlikely because our enemies would be too busy grabbing pieces while we’re distracted — China, the Far East, Iran the Middle East and Russia the Near East — and prefer to do nothing to pull our heads out of our butts and back into the world.

      Afterward, well, oh my, I wonder what we’d do in that world?

      • “Assume Hillary appoints a reliably Liberal Justice. Citizens United and Heller get overturned.”

        You can also assume that many if not all the decisions that have limited Obama’s executive orders on immigration, EPA, etc. will too. Oh, and any decision allowing ANY voter id.

        “I don’t know about you, but this makes 2018 look like a total route for Republicans, with most of the new arrivals being conservatives.”

        With Citizens United overturned, every remotely conservative organization will lose its’ tax-exempt status. Meanwhile, the newly unrestrained IRS, DOJ, SEC, and FEC will stage a re-enactment of the Wisconsin John Doe investigations on every conservative candidate. If our “three felonies a day” regulatory and campaign finance laws environment aren’t sufficient, the candidate will simply be “Trumped” as “victims” of conservative “rapedidates” appear like magic. Of course, with any kind of voter verification a “civil rights violation” and a free hand on immigration, it may not matter.

        • Sorry – did I forget to insert phrasing indicating my description as “best case scenario”?

          • I prefer to think of it as the political version of Larry the Liquidator’s speech in Other People’s Money. And I say Amen, and Amen, and Amen. Because like Larry, I always say Amen when I hear a prayer.

      • Collapse of confidence in government will lead to shooting, imo. People will start ignoring the government, which will lead to the government attempting to tighten its hold so that people are *forced* to pay attention to it, and things will spiral that way until someone gets pushed too far.

        • As was discovered when NY state tried too push gun regulation on the counties, a lot of sheriffs are quite close to the people who elected them and prone to forgetfulness when called to impose such restrictions en masse.

          See: GROWING LIST OF SHERIFFS SAYING ‘NO’ TO OBAMA GUN CONTROL or just put “sheriffs refuse to guns” in your search engine of preference.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            IIRC one East Coast state (Conn?) tried to get its citizens to comply with a gun-turn-in-program but were very very surprised at the response (or lack of response) of its citizens. 😉

            • I was vastly entertained by at least one story where the government held a gun buyback program, and one or more firearms dealers outbid them.

              • Regular occurrence up in Seattle, and one that happened down in San Diego– they rescued multiple priceless antiques from being melted down.

            • Then there was the attempt at confiscation where the intern compiling the list pointed out that the first several names on the list ‘people who didn’t turn in their guns and we need to send the police to take them’ were prominent members of the police department… I want to say it was New York, but I’m not finding the article. So… *salt*